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Ensign Satoshi Yoshino
Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) A6M2 Model 21 Zero Pilot

Click For EnlargementBorn in Chiba in 1918. He passed his exam for Otsu, Yokaren at 16 years old on June 16, 1934. Finished his Navy flight training in March 1938. Assigned to the Saiki Kokutai, Omura Kokutai and Soryu. Assigned to the newly organized Chitose Kokutai in October, 1940. In October 1941, he was deployed at the Marshal Islands. In early February, he was assigned to Rabaul flying the Type 96 (A5M4 Claude).

On February 11, 1942, Yoshino took off from Gasmata Airfield leading three others against three RAAF Hudsons attacking ships off Gasmata (Surumi). The group was credited with a total of three. In fact, lost were Hudson A16-91 and Hudson A16-126. The Chitose Kokutai records states that on February 6th and February 11th, he was credited with shared 3. The record didn't say how many scored on the individual days.

The Chitose Kokutai became the 4th Kokutai during the middle of February 1942, and transferred to the A6M2 Zero fighter. Later, assigned to the Tainan Kokutai flying out of Lae Airfield.

On June 9, 1942 Zero pilots including A6M2 piloted by Yoshino took off from Lae Airfield to intercept B-26 Marauders of the 22nd Bombardment Group attacking Lae, following them down the north coast of New Guinea towards Cape Ward Hunt, chasing them at 100' above the sea. Waiting in the area were eight Airacobras of the (3 x P-39s and 5 x P-400s) 39th Fighter Squadron. Yoshino failed to return from the mission and was reported as missing. P-400 Airacobra piloted Lt. Curran 'Jack' Jones made a head-on attack against his Zero. After scoring hits, he observed the pilot to climb out onto the wing and look back before the Zero crashed into the sea. He also observed a diagonal stripe on the Zero, indicating a leader's aircraft.

Yoshino is credited by the Japanese as having shot down 25 enemy planes in total. Other sources present his total as 15 enemy kills. According to Yasuho Izawa, who checked with Tainan and Chitose Kokutai records, Yoshino had 22 missions, destroyed 7 aircraft, shared 9, and shared/probable 2 before he was killed.

Nihon Kaigun Sentokitai by Hata and Izawa
Revenge of the Red Raiders page 105 - 107
P-39 Airacobra Aces of World War 2 page 13
Thanks to Minoru Kamada, Henry Sakaida, Larry Hickey and Edward Rogers for additional information

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