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Old 25th May 2018, 15:46
MikeFink MikeFink is offline
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Seeking Odds and Ends, Second VF-18

Hey All,

I've compiled a good deal of information about the Navy's second VF-18 squadron, which conducted strike operations from USS Intrepid between 6 September and 25 November 1944.

Knowing the resources this group draws from and the fact that some of you might be privy to harder-to-find details concerning the group, I am asking if anyone on the board might have stumbled into interviews/oral histories (other than Hal Thune's), primary source materials other than those available via Fold3, interesting newspaper clippings, etc. that concern Intrepid's Fighting Squadron 18, known by the end of its combat tour as "Two-a-Day 18."

Any and all help is appreciated, even if it turns out I've already got the information you provide.

Cheers!
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Old 28th May 2018, 04:13
bearoutwest bearoutwest is offline
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Re: Seeking Odds and Ends, Second VF-18

Hello Mike,


Have you seen this thread:

http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=50526



Although the thread is primarily about USS Fanshaw and the FM-2 Wildcats, a lot of links to US Navy data sites might be relevant to your VF-18 search on the Intrepid.


Regards,
...geoff
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Old 29th May 2018, 00:53
MikeFink MikeFink is offline
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Re: Seeking Odds and Ends, Second VF-18

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearoutwest View Post
Hello Mike,


Have you seen this thread:

http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=50526



Although the thread is primarily about USS Fanshaw and the FM-2 Wildcats, a lot of links to US Navy data sites might be relevant to your VF-18 search on the Intrepid.


Regards,
...geoff
Geoff, thanks for the link. Unfortunately I've plumbed those sites before, but it never hurts to re-tread old haunts in case something slipped through the cracks.

If there's interest in this unit, I have Newspapers.com clippings I can share via link for members of these boards to browse, as well as a Flickr account with newspaper clippings, pictures, etc. pertaining to the men of the squadron. I could do an extensive write-up as well for those less familiar with "Two-a-Day 18." The other high-scoring Navy fighter squadrons of the war all have books written about them (at the very least they get the Osprey treatment). Unfortunately that's not the case with Fighting 18.

Cheers,
-Mike
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Old 31st May 2018, 05:41
bearoutwest bearoutwest is offline
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Re: Seeking Odds and Ends, Second VF-18

Hello Mike.
Expanding the discussion with a summary write-up wouldn't be a bad thing. There are a few people who are au fait with US carrier operations and F6F operations. A summary would give them a better idea where to add the snippet or gem of information that you are missing.


Did USS Intrepid carry out much in the way of F6F-3N or -5N night fighter operations? Or was that the Princeton?


Regards,
...geoff
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Old 31st May 2018, 11:46
twocee twocee is offline
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Re: Seeking Odds and Ends, Second VF-18

When Air Group 18 entered combat aboard Intrepid in September 1944 it included a detachment of 4 F6F(N) from VF(N)78. However, later that month the Navy changed its policy regarding night fighters and so the pilots from the detachment were transferred to VF18. Other detachments from VF(N)78 were aboard Hornet, Lexington and Hancock, and they too were merged with their respective air group fighter squadrons. VF(N)78 was decommissioned on 2 October 1944. Two other squadrons that had supplied night fighter detachments, VF(N)77 and 79, were also decommissioned around that time.

From then on, 4-aircraft night fighting teams were trained at NAS Barber's Point and assigned to the fighter squadrons of air groups passing through Hawaii on their way to combat.
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Old 12th June 2018, 00:59
MikeFink MikeFink is offline
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Re: Seeking Odds and Ends, Second VF-18

Sorry to be gone so long! Too many projects, too little time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearoutwest
Did USS Intrepid carry out much in the way of F6F-3N or -5N night fighter operations? Or was that the Princeton?
It's just as Twocee said. VF(N)-78 det. 2 served aboard Intrepid until the pilots were absorbed into VF-18 proper at the start of October. Intrepid's TG 38.2 traveled in company with Independence, which operated specifically as a platform for night missions, and in August there wasn't much for VF(N)-78 det. 2 to do as far as night Force CAP was concerned. 22 August is the only instance I've found of enemy engagement by VF(N)-78 det. 2. One "Zeke" was claimed destroyed and another damaged in a quick scrum at 0800.

There were definitely -3Ns aboard, since the Aircraft Action Reports mention the use of these aircraft on Lifeguard CAP. Interestingly enough, a sailor aboard Intrepid apparently developed a kind of capsule container for rafts that the night Hellcats could mount on their port bomb racks to drop in the vicinity of downed aviators. In the forwarding of the Action Reps, Mick Carney specifically called attention to the raft capsule idea.

William H.B. Millar was Ops Officer/leader of VF(N)-78 det. 2 and became something of a big name with VF-18 for his participation in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. According to the CAG-18 War History, Millar was responsible for relaying D.L. Watts' sighting report of Admiral Kurita's battleship force. Millar was unfortunately killed in March 1949 while test flying one of Vought's Cutlass prototypes.

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VF-18's highest scorer, Cecil E. Harris, was actually recommended for the Medal of Honor for actions spanning 6 September – 25 November 1944. He flew over 40 combat missions and 17 CAP/SNASP missions. From 15 September – 25 November he shot down 22 enemy aircraft, the great majority of which were fighters (14/22), and in circumstances in which his force was outnumbered 2 or 3:1. No damage to his plane was ever recorded despite such odds. He was also the primary trainer for Fighting 18 and the man who set flight rosters, since he was Flight Officer. The fact that he scheduled himself for the fighter sweep over Formosa on 12 October 1944 showed that he was willing to lead from the front.

The MoH citation as written was forwarded recommending approval first by Hancock's CAG—since Intrepid had been knocked out by kamikazes on 25 November, with VF-18 continuing its fight aboard Hancock; then forwarded recommending approval by Hancock's skipper, R.F. Hickey; then forwarded recommending approval by Admiral Gerald Bogan, CTG 38.2, who praised Harris as 'a great fighting man and deserving of this recommended award'; and then forwarded STRONGLY recommending approval by Slew McCain, who said that Harris 'earned unqualified respect and admiration throughout the fleet.'

I've started to upload some of the stories of the men of Fighting 18 on Wordpress. These are highly biographical, but I'm hoping to write more about the general combat experience of Fighting 18 and the role it played in the larger picture of the War in the Pacific.
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Old 14th June 2018, 12:39
MikeFink MikeFink is offline
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Re: Seeking Odds and Ends, Second VF-18

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeFink View Post
22 August is the only instance I've found of enemy engagement by VF(N)-78 det. 2. One "Zeke" was claimed destroyed and another damaged in a quick scrum at 0800.
This should read 22 September, by the way, day 2 of carrier strikes on Luzon.

https://www.newspapers.com/profile/m...fink/clippings contains all the articles I've clipped from Newspapers.com through the account I have with Wikipedia. Most of these are CAG-18 related, though some pertain to various other aces whose articles I've worked on, or relate in some way to USS Intrepid.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148582231@N02/albums is a host for various photos I've found during the hunt for more information concerning VF-18. These include art pieces done by pilots, official Navy documents, photos readily available online via extended families of these men, etc.

https://twoaday18.wordpress.com/ is a repository for some short biographical pieces I've written about members of VF-18. I am slowly adding articles to it in my spare time.
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