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Post-WW2 Military and Naval Aviation Please use this forum to discuss Military and Naval Aviation after the Second World War.

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Old 11th June 2022, 10:59
keith A keith A is offline
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Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

WW2 pilot who commanded VF-45 and AG-45 in 1945. I know his date of birth and death (Born: 9 Oct 1917 Died: 8 Apr 2006), that he joined the Navy in 1940 and after qualifying as a pilot flew with the anti-submarine patrol in Cuba (no idea what that is, a Navy squadron?)by 1945 had reached the rank of Lieutenant but can anyone shed light on his post WW2 career? He commanded VF-16A 1947-8. I know he flew the F4U-4 and F9F-2 and may have led a squadron in Korean War 1952-53 but not which of these aircraft he flew. He was "Air Officer" on the USS Kearsage but am not sure what his duties were. I know he won the DFC.

He was promoted Commander in 1950 and left the Navy in 1961 still as a Commander and joined the aerospace industry.

best regards

Keith
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Old 12th June 2022, 13:14
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

Keith. The USAAF A/S component on Cuba in August 1943 (before the Navy took over these operations) was the 15th A/S Sqn. at Batista Field; they had 11 B-24s, 9 B-25s and 2 B-34s.

They were assigned to the 26th A/S Wing HQ Miami (the c/o was a certain Harry Halverson).
Nick
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Old 12th June 2022, 14:06
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

Cheers Nick, I had always assumed it was a USAAF gig. When did they abdicate this to the Navy? If Forkner was involved as a pilot it must have been very briefly because he is with VF-45 by 1944. I read ages ago that pilots from the Florida NAS flew occasional A/S sorties on the SNJ but hadn't linked it with Cuba. Perhaps it means they patrolled the waters around Cuba?

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Keith
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Old 12th June 2022, 16:20
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

After Forkner won his wings in December 1940 he was retained in the Training Command as an instructor for about 18 months. Between then and joining the newly commissioned VF45 in March 1944 as Executive Officer, he was assigned to VS40, an inshore patrol squadron, based at St Julien, Cuba. With VS40 he would have flown the Vought OS2U and Douglas SBD.
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Old 12th June 2022, 16:57
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

Keith.....the AAF Anti-Sub Cmd. was re-designated as 1.BC (1st AF) and duties handed over to Navy by Order of EDC/1AF on 31 August 1943, effective from the 24th.
VS40 had 12 OS2U-3s and 6 SBD-5s at St. Julien on 7 March 1944, as George mentioned.


Nick
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Old 12th June 2022, 18:02
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

Just to clarify, VS40 had been conducting patrol operations since June 1942 and so there was no question of it "taking over" anything from the Army in August 1943. The Army simply withdrew from ASW operations.
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Old 12th June 2022, 19:01
keith A keith A is offline
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

Cheers George, "Up the Navy" as we used to say many years ago in Portsmouth (I was a Royal Marine) when in a boozer with the Pongo's (Army). Actually the words were a bit more...pungent and aggressive but "Pongo" started it. My interest however is mostly in the characters of VF-45 and by extension those connected with James B. Cain and the "Bridges of Toko-Ri", and again by extension "The men of the Fighting Lady". But again my limited information, which has been building a lot from you pair and others (the late and very great Frank B Olynyk among them)

Forkner's replacement, as you probably know, was Knokey who'd flown the FM-1 off USS Mission Bay in the ETO 1943-44.

My next post will clarify...
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Old 12th June 2022, 19:09
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

I am looking for the squadron/detachment commanders, and career details of the following who served on the USS Essex in Korean waters from 1951-52.

VC-3 (F4U-5), VC-61 (F9F-2P), VC-35 (AD-2/4), VC-11(AD-4) and HOS-3.

My interest is in their careers pre-Korea, and post Korea, although given these pilots were in their thirties the latter would rarely include the Vietnam War.
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Old 12th June 2022, 19:12
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

Actually my tortuous link is between the pilots of VF-45 (Cain, Forkner etc.) and their later service in Korea.

Apologies, I get (or should be) carried away

regards

K
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Old 13th June 2022, 09:12
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Re: Cdr Levern "Lee" Elbridge Forkner

Found an answer to one of the leaders of the B Detachments on Essex. VC-61 was led by Sutt (Sutton?) Jaynes.
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