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  F4F-4 Wildcat Bureau Number 5172  
USMC
MAW-1
VMF-121

Former Assignments
USN
NAS New York
NAS San Diego
USMC
VMF-122

Pilot  Lt. Oscar Mortimer Bate, Jr. (survived) New York, NY
Crashed  November 12, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman as a model G-36 with manually operated folding wings. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as F4F-4 Wildcat bureau number 5172.

Wartime History
In U. S. Navy (USN) service, assigned to NAS New York. During April 1942, transfered to NAS San Diego.

During June 1942, assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Air Wing 1 (MAW-1). On June 15, 1942 assigned to VMF-122. On August 15, 1942 assigned to VMF-121. No known nickname or nose art. During August 1942 until lost this Wildcat operated from from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.

Mission History
On November 12, 1942 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal on a mission to intercept Japanese fighters and bombers attacking U. S. vessels in Iron Bottom Sound. During the interception, this Wildcat was shot down by escorting A6M2 Zeros. Bate managed to bailed out safely.

Fates of the Pilot
Bate landed unhurt in the jungle. He believed he was behind Japanese lines in enemy territory but managed to make his way northward and returned to the American perimeter and returned to duty. Previously, on October 25, 1942 Bate survived bailing out of F4F Wildcat 02055.

Wreckage
Until around 2014, this Wildcat crashed into the jungle and remained in situ. The landower described the aircraft and very complete.

During 2013–2014 local people from Barana village and other areas were hired by Anders Markwarth to salvage wreckage from the crash site including the intact wing and other wreckage that was carried from the crash site to the nearest road then transported to the Markwarth Collection. The recovered wreckage was stored at both Renandi and Point Cruz until containered an exported to Australia.

Between 2014–2017, the main dataplate with "Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat bureau number 5172" was removed and displayed at Barana Village Relic Display (Barana Museum).

References
The Harvard University Catalogue - The Law School page 157, 249, 251, 836 (index)
U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949 - Bate, Oscar Mortimer, Jr.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4F-4 Wildcat 5172
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List November 1942 F4F-4 Wildcat 5172
Thanks to Donna Esposito for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
Wildcat

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