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1941-1942 named holster & utility belt


R Leonard

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My father was a fighter pilot in VF-42 off USS Yorktown (CV-5) from June 1941 and then in VF-3 through the ships loss in June 1942.  This is the holster, etc., he wore up through the Battle of Midway.

 

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A close-up of the holster flap where you can see stamped in "VF-42" and his initials

 

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And a few miscellaneous shots

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awesome set and it's your Dad's - hard to get better then that - He was flying a Wildcat and had to go against Zeros - Super respect from me and he had a huge set of Ba__s! 

Did your dad know Jimmy Thach?

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1 hour ago, mdk0911 said:

awesome set and it's your Dad's - hard to get better then that - He was flying a Wildcat and had to go against Zeros - Super respect from me and he had a huge set of Ba__s! 

Did your dad know Jimmy Thach?

On the day the ship left Pearl Harbor for Midway there was a deck crash in which the VF-3 XO, LCDR Don Lovelace was killed.  My father, in the exalted rank of LTJG was the next senior pilot in the squadron, so Thach & the CAG, LCDR Oscar Pederson, fleeted my father up to XO for the duration on the action.  When all the smoke cleared away they returned to Pearl aboard USS Hornet and on arrival the VF-42 types flew off to MCAS Ewa and the VF-3 types to NAS Kaneohe, and that was that.  Flash forward to September 1944 . . . my father was with ComFAirWest at San Diego as Director of VF Training (this after a second combat tour, in VF-11 in the Solomons).  Thach shows up and tells my Dad's boss, CAPT John Crommelin(known as Uncle John around my house), that he was dragooning my father away to serve as his assistant in the Ops shop for TF-38 under VADM McCain.  So, they worked together for VADM McCain from October 1944 to the bitter end in September 1945.  McCain and Thach went home right after the surrender, McCain to die of a heart attack within days, and Thach on to as long career ending as an Admiral; my father spent an extra month on the staff with ADM Towers and then came home to take up Projects Director at TacTest at NAS Patuxent, hence on to other things.  When my father was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1965, amongst many kind messages from his contemporaries was a "Dear Billy" note from ADM Thach in which among other pleasantries was "Thank God, I was beginning to lose faith!" I remember Admiral Thach from my childhood, a tall drink of water who was always kind to small inquisitive rascals.

 

Here's McCain decorating my father with the Bronze Star (V) in February 1945; Thach is on the far left, smiling  with a nice new Legion of Merit (V).

 

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And my father aboard USS Hornet (CV-8) after the Battle of Midway.

 

1690440502_WNLinF4FafterMidway.jpg.d21bd6800304478ef238f3115d63e9a0.jpg

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43 minutes ago, OLDNAVYNUKESPOOK said:

Just have to ask: Was he able to keep and do you have his issued 1911/1911A1?

 

Ummm, that's not really a question I answer, though I've been told it was a little difficult to turn in a pistol when all the records are on the bottom of the Pacific.

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3 hours ago, R Leonard said:

On the day the ship left Pearl Harbor for Midway there was a deck crash in which the VF-3 XO, LCDR Don Lovelace was killed.  My father, in the exalted rank of LTJG was the next senior pilot in the squadron, so Thach & the CAG, LCDR Oscar Pederson, fleeted my father up to XO for the duration on the action.  When all the smoke cleared away they returned to Pearl aboard USS Hornet and on arrival the VF-42 types flew off to MCAS Ewa and the VF-3 types to NAS Kaneohe, and that was that.  Flash forward to September 1944 . . . my father was with ComFAirWest at San Diego as Director of VF Training (this after a second combat tour, in VF-11 in the Solomons).  Thach shows up and tells my Dad's boss, CAPT John Crommelin(known as Uncle John around my house), that he was dragooning my father away to serve as his assistant in the Ops shop for TF-38 under VADM McCain.  So, they worked together for VADM McCain from October 1944 to the bitter end in September 1945.  McCain and Thach went home right after the surrender, McCain to die of a heart attack within days, and Thach on to as long career ending as an Admiral; my father spent an extra month on the staff with ADM Towers and then came home to take up Projects Director at TacTest at NAS Patuxent, hence on to other things.  When my father was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1965, amongst many kind messages from his contemporaries was a "Dear Billy" note from ADM Thach in which among other pleasantries was "Thank God, I was beginning to lose faith!" I remember Admiral Thach from my childhood, a tall drink of water who was always kind to small inquisitive rascals.

 

Here's McCain decorating my father with the Bronze Star (V) in February 1945; Thach is on the far left, smiling  with a nice new Legion of Merit (V).

 

738857497_WNLBnzStrfromMcCain17Feb45.jpg.60427c0b578b13806e591618ec7a2636.jpg

 

And my father aboard USS Hornet (CV-8) after the Battle of Midway.

 

1690440502_WNLinF4FafterMidway.jpg.d21bd6800304478ef238f3115d63e9a0.jpg

awesome pictures and i would be so proud!!  - 4 kills - did he get number 5?

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1 hour ago, mdk0911 said:

awesome pictures and i would be so proud!!  - 4 kills - did he get number 5?

 

just found (you already know) his medals - damn!!!!

He won the Navy Cross at both Midway and the Coral Sea. He was also awarded the Legion of Merit (four times), the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (eight times) and a Bronze Star.

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1 minute ago, mdk0911 said:

 

just found (you already know) his medals - damn!!!!

He won the Navy Cross at both Midway and the Coral Sea. He was also awarded the Legion of Merit (four times), the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (eight times) and a Bronze Star.

 

1 minute ago, mdk0911 said:

 

just found (you already know) his medals - damn!!!!  and he was an ACE

He won the Navy Cross at both Midway and the Coral Sea. He was also awarded the Legion of Merit (four times), the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (eight times) and a Bronze Star.     

He scored a total of 6 victories of which were 2 Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete", 2 Nakajima B6N2 "Jill" and 2 Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero” planes, flying about 170 combat missions.

 

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17 minutes ago, mdk0911 said:

Title: Battle of Midway, June 1942

Description: A Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighter (Bureau # 5244) takes off from USS Yorktown (CV-5) on combat air patrol, during the morning of 4 June 1942. This plane is Number 13 of Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3), flown by the squadron Executive Officer, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) William N. Leonard. Photographed by Photographer Second Class William G. Roy, from the ship's forecastle. Note .50 caliber machinegun at right and mattresses hung on the lifeline for splinter-protection. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

 

 

 

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So, if you acquired a 1911A1 at a gun show, pawn/gun shop over the years, we’d sure like to see it.  P.S. we all salute your Dad!

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A great piece of history there. 

 

It is interesting to observe that all parts of this rig were of World War I manufacture.  The Model of 1916 holster was made by Graton & Knight.  The Model of 1912 pistol belt and double magazine pouch both bear WW1 dates.  Those Naval aviators at the tip of the spear in early 1942 were all pretty much equipped in this way.

 

Thanks for the post.

 

Regards,

Charlie

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