Shinya Ozaki (upper)
and Lt. Kazuo Yamagishi (lower
Lt.Commander Dick Harmer
Last Mission of Zeke 43-188
This aircraft flew its last mission on June
19, 1944, the first day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea better
known as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot". The battle lasted
two days and was the greatest Naval Air Battle in history. Zero
43-188 may very well be the only surviving aircraft from that air
Pilot Shimazu Ozaki and another Zeke straffed a
Navy SOC seaplane attempting a rescue of a downed American flyer.
A USN F-6F of VF-10, flown by Lt. Henry C. Clem joined the battle,
but was shot down by Ozaki. In turn, a F4U-2 Nightfighter on temporary
day duty, flown by Lt.Cdr. R.E. Harmer of VF(N)-101 pursued Ozaki,
and damaged his Zeke.
It escaped back towards Guam streaming smoke. Ozoaki crashed landed his Zeke just off the airstrip,
and later died of his wounds. Rediscovered
in March of 1962, this remarkable aircraft was almost perfectly
preserved in the swampy area just off the airfield. It was recovered
and later returned to Japan. Today, it has been fully restored and
is on display at Hamamatsu in Japn.
Several books mention the combat that resulted
in the damaging of Zeke 41-188 and wounding of its pilot, after
he shot down an F-6F.
Red Sun Setting, page 139:
"Ensign T.E. Hallowell from Fighting 51,
had been lost, as well as Lieutenant Henry C.Clem, the executive
officer of the "Enterprise's" Fighting 10. Clem and Lieutenant
Commander Harmer, VF(N)-101's CO, were escorting a pair of "Montpelier's" SOCs
a few miles off Orote Point when a Zeke jumped the floatplane Clem
was covering. Clem tried to follow the agile Zeke but stalled
out. Before he could recover, the Zeke whipped around and shot
him into the sea. Harmer took out after the Zeke and was able to
a few shells into it but it escaped. When Harmer returned to where
Clem had gone in, all he could see was a slowly spreading oil slick."
Carrier Battle in the Philippine Sea, page 26:
"The VF-10 loss was Lt. H.C.Clem, the "Reapers"
exec, killed trying to protect an SOC rescuing a downed flier.
He engaged two Zeros strafing the floatplane, but the Japanese
was aggressive and skilled. Turning into the attack, Lt. Shimazu
Ozaki of 343 Kokutai shot Clem's F6F into the water but was bounced
by another "Enterprise" pilot. Lt.Cdr. R.E. Harmer was
CO of VF(N)-101, a small F4U-2 detachment doing daytime duty like
his F6F-3N counterparts. Harmer, who had first fought from "Saratoga" in
1942, got a brief shot at Ozaki, whose plane made off streaming
smoke. Forty years later, researchers established that the Japanese
Ace died of wounds after landing on Guam. The SOC took off safely
and returned to the task force."
Do you remember the two Japanese
Holdouts found in 1961?
I remember when they found the two soldiers
but other than the fact that one of them was shot and wounded by
an overexcited Guamainian while he and his comrade were trying to
steal some food. The other one surrendered because he was scared
to death and half starved, I don't remember when just that I was
there at the time.