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VF-44 | "Crusaders" | Fighting Squadron Forty-Four


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VF-44 | "Crusaders" | Fighting Squadron Forty-Four

Established | 1 Feb 1944
Disestablished | 18 Sep 1945

47 kills, 3 aces


September 1944 - October 1944      CVL-28 USS Cabot         CVLG-44     Aircraft: F6F-5
10 October 1944 - 27 January 1945     CVL-27 USS Langley   CVLG-44     Aircraft: F6F-5, F6F-5P


Embroidered on wool.



Fighting 44 benefited from a battle-wise skipper. Mac Wordell had been exec of VF-41 during Operation Torch, and was known as an officer who took care of his troops. Like most CVL fighter COs, Wordell doubled as CAG. Thus, when Langley sailed that fall of 1944, the air group was ready, with a few Torch veterans to lend experience.

Beginning 13 October, FitRon 44 splashed four snoopers in five days as the Philippine campaign got underway.


More than half the squadron's victories were claimed 24 October, when two dozen Japanese planes fell to VF-44 CAPs. That morning John Montapert splashed three Zekes and a Kate to become the first ace. Mac Wordell notched a Tony, then chased down the Judy which bombed and sank Princeton. Lt. Carl Brunmier and Ens. Milo Shaffer each scored triples during the day. Four more victories came over Leyte and Luzon on the 27th, ending the month with a total 32 victories.


The next three kills came on 5-6 November, with Carl Brunmier achieving acedom with a pair of Zekes. The squadron added five more victories the 11th, dropping assorted Japanese fighters into Ormoc Bay. The skipper notched three Tonys to make ace himself, almost exactly three years after he was downed by AA over Morocco. His sixth victory, a Dinah, splashed on the 25th.

Langley leads Task Group 38.3 into Ulithi anchorage, 12 December 1944.




Langley rolling heavily to starboard during Typhoon Cobra, 18 December 1944. Taken from USS Essex.





CVL-27, Langley, heels over in heavy weather in the So. China Sea as crew maintenance men and Hellcats of VF-44 ride out a typhoon.






Tillman, Barrett. U. S. Navy Fighter Squadrons in World War II. Specialty Press. 1997. p 77.


USS Langley ( navsource.org)




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