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  FG-1A Corsair Bureau Number 14212  
USMC
MAW-2
MAG-12
VMF-321
"Hell’s Angels"

Pilot  1st Lt. E. Vic Smith (survived)
Crashed  January 22, 1944


Aircraft History
Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation in Akron, Ohio. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as FG-1A Corsair bureau number 14212. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC), 2nd Marine Air Wing (MAW-2), attached to Marine Air Group 12 (MAG-12) to Marine Fighting Squadron 321 (VMF-321) "Hell’s Angels". This aircraft had no known nickname, nose art or squadron number.

Mission History
On January 22, 1944 took off from Torokina Airfield on Bougainville at 12:45pm as one of sixteen Corsairs on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Rabaul. Other aircraft escorting included other Corsairs, P-38 Lightnings, P-40 Warhawks and F6F Hellcats. Weather was scattered cumulus clouds at 8,000' and unlimited visibility.

Ten Corsairs including four from VMF-321 including Lt. Keim, Lt. Fughe, Lt. Wardle and Lt. Amburgery flew ahead of the bombers, circling Rabaul at 24,000'. Over the target, anti-aircraft fire was heavy and accurate at 10-11,000'. After observing the bombers drop their bombs on Lakunai Airfield, the formation was engaged by enemy fighters, fired several burst without result. Departing via St. George's Channel, enemy fighters dropped several phosphorous bombs on the formation from above then departed without firing their guns. Also lost was FG Corsair 13270 piloted by Wardle (MIA). When this Corsair and failed to return from the mission, the cause of the loss was unknown.

During the mission, a Corsair was seen going down in flames and the pilot parachuting into the sea at 120° eight miles off Cape Saint George and 2 Baker-30 (PBY Catalina "Dumbo") was contacted.

Rescue
A PBY Catalina rescued Smith who later returned to duty.

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - FG-1A Corsair 14212
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List January 1944 - FG-1A Corsair 14212
VMF-321 Aircraft Action Report - January 22, 1944 pages 1-3

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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