|Pilot 1st Lt. Robert W. Votaw (MIA / KIA, BR) CA
Crashed July 15, 1943
Built by Vought. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1 Corsair bureau number 02599. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Air Group 11 (MAG-11) to Marine Fighting Squadron 213 "Hell Hawks" VMF-213. No known nickname or nose art.
On July 15, 1943 took off from Guadalcanal at 1:30pm piloted by Lt. Robert W. Votaw as part of the 1st division led by Captain J. N. Cupp on a patrol mission over Rendova, Munda and Kula Gulf areas. Over Rendova at 2:30pm, the formation was informed that a large formation of Japanese G4M1 Betty bombers escorted by Zeros was approaching.
The Corsair formation began climbing in a circle to the northwest to gain altitude reached them over the northern end of Kolombangara Island at 20,000'. Also intercepting were P-40 Warhawks from the 44th Fighter Squadron and F4F Wildcats from F-21.
When this aircraft failed to return, the pilot was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost were P-40 Warhawk piloted by Murray (MIA) and F4F Corsair 02599 (MIA).
Votaw was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is buried at Lodi Memorial Cemetery in Lodi, CA at rhododendron wall F 50-B.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4U-1 Corsair 02599
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List July 1943 - F4U Corsair 02599 pilot Lt Votaw
NARA Marine Fighting Squadron 213 War Diary For July 1943
"July 15, 1943 - Cupps sighted a zero off the southern tip of Gonangga that was circling two burning spots in the water where two zeros had crashed. He got on the tail of this zero, unoticed by the Jap pilot, and shot him down, the zero crashing into the water. Thomas Votaw, Cupps second section, were below and behind Cupp, they saw 7 bomber below them after the bombers had broken their formation, 4 were heading west and the other three were about 18,000 feet; 2000 ft below them. Thomas dove on the bomber on the leftl after which he never saw Votaw. He cound not observe the results of his dive on this bomber, but when he pulled out of his dive he got on a zero which he fired on causing the zero to burst into flames and explode."
NARA Carrier Air Group Twenty-One War Diary 15 May to 5 August 1943 pages 18-2
(Page 19) "Our losses: Ensign Redinger, MIA."
NARA CINCPAC War Diary July 1 - July 31, 1943 page 294
(Page 294) "15 July 1943. 1. Contacts and actions with the enemy in the Pacific Ocean Areas. 0330Z/15 - 27 Jap VB(M)s and 50 zeros were intercepted over Rendova by 44 Blue VF's. 15 VB(M)s and 30 zeros were shot down. We lost 3 pilots."
NARA Second Marine Aircraft Wing War Diary for July 1943
"July 15, 1943 - 1425 - Condition red declared when a large bogey was reported closing. Fighter cover was vectored to intercept them and contact was made at 26,000 feet. Twenty-nine enemy fighters and 15 medium bombers were destroyed as compared with our loss of three fighters. No planes
FindAGrave - Robert William Votaw (grave photo)
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June 29, 2019