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  F6F-5 Hellcat Bureau Number 77830  
USN
USS Randolph CV-15
VF-16

Pilot ┬áLt. Commander James H. McPherson, O-100312 USN (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA  August 13, 1945


Aircraft History
Built by Grumman. Assigned to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F6F-5 Hellcat bureau number 77830. Assigned USS Randolph (CV-15) to Carrier Air Group 16 (CAG-16) to squadron VF-16. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On August 13, 1945 took off from USS Randolph (CV-15) piloted by Lt. Commander James H. McPherson at 7:15am on a mission to conduct a dive bombing attack against Mobara Airfield and Tateyama Airfield both in the Tokyo area. This Hellcat was one of fifteen Hellcats participating in the mission, each armed with a 500 pound bomb plus four 5" High Velocity Aircraft Rocket (HVAR). The weather was hazy with7/10 cloud coverage between 3,000' to 4,000'.

When this aircraft failed to rendezvous, it was believed lost due to anti-aircraft fire. The last two pilots in the formation Lt. W. J. Ruefle and Lt(jg) W. J. Watson. Jr. believed they saw a plane crash into Tokyo Bay off the southern end of Tateyama Airfield as they pulled out of their dives and reported an large oil slick with a fire at the center. When this aircraft failed to return, McPherson was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Search
Afterwards, a search was conducted for this aircraft with nil results.

Memorials
McPherson was officially declared dead August 14, 1946. He earned the Silver Star, Air Medal with 2 Gold Stars, Purple Heart (posthumously). He is memorialized at the Honolulu Memorial at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). McPherson also has a memorial marker at his parents grave at Skyview Memorial Lawn in Vallejo, CA.

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F6F-5 Hellcat 77830
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List August 1945 - F6F-5 Hellcat 77830 - loss location listed as "Shikoku" incorrectly
NARA "COMAIRGR 16 - ACA Reps Nos 1-70-Air opers against Japan, 7/10/45-8/15/45" page 356-357
(Page 357) "F6F-5 / VF-16 / Presumed AA / Not known / Missing, believed crashed. Bureau #77830. VF-16 / Lieut. James H. McPherson, USN / AA / Missing in action.
(Page 359) "After the attack Lieut. James H. McPherson, USN. failed to rendezvous. Lieut. W. J. Ruefle and Lt(jg) W. J. Watson. Jr., in the last team to attack, believe they saw a plane crash in the water off the south end of the [Tateyama] airfield and as they pulled out of their dives saw a large oil slick with a fire in the center. A search was made of the area which was negative."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James H. McPherson
FindAGrave - LtCdr James H McPherson (photo)
FindAGrave - LCDR James Hauhuth McPherson (photo, memorial marker)

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Last Updated
February 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
F6F

MIA
MIA
1 Missing

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