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  F4F-4 "Impatient Virgin" Bureau Number 03520  
USMC
MAW-1
MAG-11
VMF-112

Pilot  1st Lt. Jefferson J. DeBlanc (survived) Lockport, LA
Crashed  January 31, 1943

Aircraft History
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 03520.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to 1st Marine Air Wing (MAW-1), Marine Air Group 11 (MAG-11) to squadron VMF-112 "Wolf Pack". Nicknamed "Impatient Virgin".

Mission History
On January 31, 1943 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal piloted by 1st Lt. Jefferson J. DeBlanc one of eight Wildcats on a mission to escort twelve SBD Dauntless dive bombers on a mission to dive bomb Japanese transports bound for Vila on Kolombangara Island including Toa Maru 2. The target was 250 miles away, meaning fuel would permit only 15 minutes over the target are for the F4F Wildcats.

Over the transports, Japanese F1M2 Pete floatplanes were escorting the ships with Ki-43 Oscars from the 11th Sentai, 3rd Chutai (misidentified as Zeros). De Blanc claimed two F1M2 Peted and three Zeros [Oscars] shot down. Low on fuel and he was attacked by Ki-43 Oscar piloted by Sgt Takeo Takahashi set on fire and forced to bail out over Vella Gulf. Also lost was F4F Wildcat 11983 piloted by Feliton (survived).

Rescue
Landing in the sea, wounded DeBlanc swam for six hours before reaching Kolombangara Island. For three days he lived alone eating coconuts before being located by natives who traded him for a sack of rice to another tribe, who turned him over to a British Anglican missionary who then notified an Allied coastwatcher that arranged his rescue twelve days after bailing out. Afterwards, De Blanc earned the Medal of Honor for this mission.

Memorials
Postwar, DeBlanc earning a masters degree in math and a doctorate degree in education. He stayed in the Marine Corps Reserve, retiring in 1972 with the rank of Colonel, after six years as commander of Marine Air Reserve Group 18 based at NAS Belle Chasse.

DeBlanc passed away on Novembe 22, 2007. He is buried at Saint Michaels Cemetery in Saint Martinville, LA.

References
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List January 1943 F4F Wildcat 03446 pilot Deblane [sic]
FindAGrave - Jefferson Joseph DeBlanc, Sr (photo, grave photo)
Toa Maru No. 2 by Charles Darby Conservation Development Services, New Zealand
Nakajima’s Fragile Falcon by Jon Guttman painting by Jack Fellows

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
Wildcat

Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor Citation

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