|Pilot 2nd Lt. George A. Treptow, O-009927 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL
MIA October 2, 1942
Built by Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, New York as a model G-36 with manually operated folding wings. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as F4F-4 Wildcat bureau number 02112. Shipped overseas to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW), Marine Aircraft Group 23 (MAG-23) to squadron VMF-224 "Fighting Wildcats". Squadron Number 121. No known nickname or nose art.
On October 2, 1942 after radar detected an formation of roughly twenty to thirty incoming enemy fighters. On the ground, a red alert was sounded and all available aircraft were scrambled. 2nd Lt. George A. Treptow took off from Fighter 1 on Guadalcanal at 12:20pm. Also scrambled were fourteen Wildcats from VF-5, eleven Wildcats from VMF-223 and seven SBD Dauntless dive bombers.
Meanwhile, thirty-six A6M2 Zeros from the 6th Kokutai and Tainan Kokutai led by Lt. Kofukuda escorting nine G4M1 Bettys from Misawa Kokutai acting as decoys took off from Rabaul at 9:10am. By 10:00am. all the Bettys plus eight Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai and one Zero from 6th Kokutai aborted the mission due to engine trouble. By 12:10pm the remaining twenty-seven Zeros were over Guadalcanal at 27,880' to perform a fighter sweep.
After take off, Treptow climbed alone attempting to reach the other Wildcats and entered a dogfight. No one saw Treptow go down and was likely shot down by Zeros.
When this Wildcat failed to return and was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was F4F 02110 (Kendrick, KIA), F4F 02098 (Lees, MIA), F4F 5195 (Morgan, MIA), F4F 03502 (Smith, survived), F4F 02118 (Galer, rescued). Several other Wildcats were damaged or suffered mechanical problems.
Treptow was officially declared dead on February 19, 1945. He earned the Purple Heart and was promoted to Captain, posthumously. Treptow is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He also has a memorial marker at Bethania Cemetery in Justice, IL.
Fold3 NARA "United States Marine Corps Headquarters, Marine Aircraft Group Twenty-Three, First Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force page 62
"1230 Air Raid.... Radar reported flight of small fast planes approaching Henderson Field. 14 planes of VF-5, 11 of VMF-224, 11 of VMF-223 and 7 SBD's scrambled to attack. At 1300 about 30 Zeros and some bombers were engaged over field... Four Zeros were shot down and 6 of our fighters were shot down of which 2 pilots were recovered uninjured. VMF-224 - 2nd Lt. G. A. Treptow shot down within our lines plane & body burned."
Fold3 NARA "War Diary Marine Fighting Squadron 224 Marine Aircraft Group 23 First Marine Aircraft Wing, FMF From October 1, 1942 to October 31, 1942 page 3
"October 1, 1942 - At 0630 today, the decorations indicated were presented to the following squadron officers... In the same ceremony.. 2nd Lts Lees and Kendrick of VMF-223 were decorated... 2nd Lts Lees and Kendrick receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross."
October 2, 1942 - At 1200, the air raid alarm was sounded and the following pilots of this squadron took off.... 2dLt Hartley, Treptow., Walter, Brooks and Johnson. The enemy's force, which consisted of twenty or thirty Zero fighters, was encountered over the [Henderson] field...
2nd. Lt. G. A. Treptow, flying with this squadron, and 2dLt Lees of VMF-223 failed to return from the engagement."
AAIR USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List October 1942 F4F Wildcat 02112 piloted by Treptow
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George A. Treptow
FindAGrave - LT George Arthur Treptow (photo, memorial marker photo)
Capt George Arthur Treptow (photo, tablets of the missing)
First Team and The Guadalcanal Campaign Ambush [October 2, 1942 mission]
Guadalcanal Tome I pages 305-310 (U.S. pilots page 306, Japanese pilots 309)
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May 22, 2017