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  F6F-5 Hellcat Bureau Number 78022  
USN
USS Langley (CVL-27)
CAG-23
VF-23

Pilot  LCDR Merlin Paddock (MIA / KIA) Osmond, NB
Crashed  April 16, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman as model G-50. Assigned to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F6F-5 Hellcat bureau number 78022.

Wartime History
Assigned to the USS Langley (CVL-27) to Carrier Air Group 23 (CAG-23) to squadron VF-23. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On April 16, 1945 took off from USS Langley (CVL-27) piloted by LCDR Merlin Paddock at 9:00am off Okinawa armed with a single 500 pound bomb on a fighter sweep and bombing mission over Kanoya Airfield at Kagoshima on Kyushu Island in Japan. Over the target, this aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Paddock was last seen bailing out and his parachute observed to open over southern Kagoshima. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Recovery of Remains
During 1948, Paddock's remains were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Memorials
Paddock was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is buried at Osmond Cemetery in Osmond, NB.

Relatives
Marjorie Paddock (wife)
John Irving (brother)
Ruth Voorhees (sister)

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F6F-5N Hellcat 78022
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List April 1945 - F6F Hellcat 78022
NARA "U. S. S. Langley War Diary April 1945" page 24
"16 April [1945] L-15 day
0900 launched 8 VF for Sweep No. 1 over KAGOSHIMA.
1318 recovered 7 VF from Sweep No. 1 over KAGOSHIMA. Plane No. 14 of VF-23, Bureau No. 78022 piloted by Lt.Comdr. M. PADDOCK, U.S.N., CAG 23 was shot down by enemy A. A. fire over southern KAGOSHIMA. Pilot bailed out and parachuted seen to open."
NARA "Aircraft Action Report VF-23 16 April 1945 Report No. 98" page 1-4
[Page 2] "VF-23 Lt. Comdr. Merlin PADDOCK, USN hit by A/A - bailed out over Kagoshima Airfield Kyushu, Japan. Chute seen to open at 1500 ft. Missing In Action"
[Page 3] Map of Fighter Sweep Over Kagoshima and Ichiki Fields 16 April 1945
[Page 4] Intense medium and light A/A was encountered over the target during the dive, pullout and on retirement, originating from positions emplaced in the hills just west of the field.
FindAGrave - LCDR Merlin Paddock (grave photo)
A War To Be Won "The tragic story of Merlin Paddock as remembered by an enemy pilot and his widow" by Henry Sakaida November 30, 2017
Thanks to Henry Sakaida for additional research and analysis.

Contribute Information
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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
F6F

Photos
Photo Archive

Map
Map April 16, 1945

POW / MIA
MIA
1 Missing
Resolved

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