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USS Wasp (CV-18)
|Pilot Lt. Frank E. Standring (rescued) TX
Crashed July 25, 1944
The formation of sixteen Hellcats was divided into four divisions. Two divisions led by Lt. Punnell and Lt. Knight to flew top cover to intercept any enemy fighters while the other two divisions led by Lt. Garwood and Lt. Standring were armed with 350 pound bombs with instant fuses were on a bombing and strafing missions. One Hellcat aborted the mission.
Inbound to the target, the formation flew low over the sea until 30 miles from the target, then accelerated to full speed and climbed to 8,000' and approached Babelthuap Island (Babeldaob) from the east and observed no enemy aircraft in the air. The two divisions led by Lt. Garwood and Lt. Standring began bombing and strafing Babelthaup Airfield attacking three parked aircraft and anti-aircraft positions. The formation experienced heavy and medium anti-aircraft fire and performed evasive jinking maneuvers.
Retiring eastward, Lt. Standring's division spotted a medium cargo vessel on the eastern side of Urukthapel Island and made two strafing attacks without results. Pulling up, this Hellcat's drop tank was set on fire and began burning the wings. Observed by his wingman Ensign Houston who reported it over the radio to Standring who immediately jettisoned the drop tank.
In an attempt to put out the wing fire, Standring dove then climbed but the flames had damaged his control surfaces. Afraid his wing might fail, Standring rolled over and bailed out at 5,000' and landed safely in the sea roughly 8 miles west of Urukthapel Island. Observed not to have his life raft, Lt. Knight circled and dropped his life raft to him that landed roughly 2,000' away. From above, Standring was observed to retrieve the raft and inflate it.
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