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  F4F-4 Wildcat Bureau Number 12068  
USMC
VMF-214

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Richard Rudd 1971

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Earl Hinz 1980

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David Paulley 1982

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Richard Rudd 1982

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Chris Cowx 1998

Pilot  Lt. James "Jim" G. G. Taylor (survived)
Force Landed  March 14, 1943


Aircraft History
Built by Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, New York as a model G-36 with manually operated folding wings. On December 6, 1942 delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4F-F Wildcat bureau number 12068 at NAS New York. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Pearl Harbor and across the Pacific to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to U. S. Marine Corps (USMC). On January 21, 1943 assigned to Marine Fighting Squadron 214 "Black Sheep" VMF-214 on Espiritu Santo. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On March 14, 1943 took off from Espiritu Santo piloted by Lt. James "Jim" G. G. Taylor on a ferry flight bound for Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. This Wildcat force landed in kunai grass thirty miles to the east of Henderson Field, about a half mile inland from the north coast of Guadalcanal.

Bruce Gamble adds:
"I think Taylor is now deceased, but I interviewed him for the book more than 10 years ago and got the story."

Wreckage
This Wildcat remained in situ where it force landed until the 1970s.

Richard Rudd recalls the wreck site before recovery:
"Looked like it had been ground-looped, one U/C leg buckled and a wrinkled in the top skin of the wing on the ground on that side. But in those days around Henderson Field there were wings, props and all manner of bits and pieces lying around."

Display
During 1973, recovered using a tractor and loaded onto a barge and transported to Honiara. Later, moved to Vilu War Museum where it is displayed outdoors to this day.

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4F-4 Wildcat 12068
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List March 1943 F4F-4 Wildcat 12068
The Black Sheep page 79, 488, 526 (index)
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 45 (upper)
Thanks to Richard Rudd and Bruce Gamble for additional information

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Last Updated
July 22, 2018

 

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