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  F4U-1A Corsair Bureau Number 55828  
USMC
VMF-214

Pilot  1st Lt. Robert A. Alexander (survived) Davenport, IA
Crashed  September 23, 1943

Pilot History
Alexander was born in Davenport, Iowa. He enlisted in the U. S. Marine Cops (USMC) on April 23, 1942. He was killed in action piloting another F4U Corsair on September 30, 1943.

Aircraft History
Built by Vought. Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to squadron VMF-214 "Black Sheep". No known markings or nickname.

Mission History
On September 23, 1943 took off from the Banika Airfield on a mission to escort 24 SBD Dauntless dive bombers and TBF Avengers rendezvousing over Munda. On the way to the target, five escorts aboarted, and then proceeding to Jakohima, a hill with anti-aircraft positions west of Kahili (Buin).

Alexander experienced a bad cylinder, but decided to press ahead anyway. When his engine began to fail, he was ordered back to base, but several A6M Zeros attacked, causing him to dive to avoid their attack. During the dive, the engine stopped, but the Zeros did not close, and he was able to restart the engine and fly with lower power settings.

He turned for Barakoma Airfield and radioed ahead that he expected to make an emergency landing, before the runway had been completed. On arrival saw construction equipment still on the runway, and was forced to land on the side of the airfield, bounced on landing and swerve around construction vehicles before hitting a ditch that caused the F4U to overturn. Ground personnel rush to the crash and assisted him out of the crushed cockpit. He was surprised one of the rescuers was Seabee Ensign from his hometown in Davenport!

Fighter Command Intelligence New Georgia Air Force VMF-214 Squadron Report:
"He still had fairly good control, kicking rudder from one side to the other, missing trucks and bulldozers. Ship then hit a big ditch and he gave up the hopes of saving it - unsnapped his buckle, got down on the floor of the cockpit and hung on. Plane overturned crushing the canopy."

Later, Alexander was flown aboard a J2F Duck back to his squadron at Banika Airfield.

Wreckage
After the crash, this Corsair was written off.

References
Fighter Command Intelligence New Georgia Air Force VMF-214 Squadron Report
The Davenport Democrat and Leader "Davenporter downs a Zero only to be rescued by a Davenporter in South Pacific" October 7, 1943
"X"
The Black Sheep page 219-221, 226, 429

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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