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CVL-22
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PAGE 6

Oct 5, 1943
 
Butch O'Hare debriefing. Marcus Island.

The Mighty I's first squadron was "Fighting 22", Lt Commander James Peters was the Air Group Commander. When Commander Peters led his fighters over the island of Marcus on 1 Sept 1943, it marked the beginning of the carriers battle career. Simultaneously, it marked the beginning of Fleet Admiral Chester W Nimitz tremendous Central-Pacific Offensive.

With the Mighty I on that first raid were two other new carriers- the USS Essex and the USS Yorktown.

Together, this carrier force attacked the enemy from dawn until dusk, and when the force retired, 70 percent of the buildings and emplacements on Marcus had been reduced to shambles.

This initial raid by Independence borne planes provide an interesting footnote regarding the claim that the Mighty I was the first carrier to carry an operational squadron of F6F Hellcats.

Prior to the raid, Comdr Peters' airman ingeniously painted wheels on the bottom side of their F6F wings to give them the appearance, while in flight, of being F4F (Wildcats). The idea was designed to trick the Japs into believing that the Hellcats (considered by aviation authorities to be the best all around carrier fighter) were not yet in use.

After the raid on Marcus, the Mighty I steamed back to Pearl Harbor and during a brief respite, Captain Fairlamb was detached, and Captain R L Johnson, formerly the ship's Executive Officer, assumed the duties of Commanding Officer. Commander W F Rodee USN, meanwhile, replaced Captain Johnson as Executive Officer.

At about this time, the ship also welcomed aboard "Fighting Six" and the famous Lt Commander Edward H ("Butch) O'Hare of Lexington fame. Also on board was another famous Naval aviator Lt (JG) Alexander Vraciu, who brought down a record 19 enemy planes during the Marianas campaign.


Rear Admiral Montgomery speaks with pilot Lt JG Alexander Vraciu.
Vraciu brought down a record 19 enemy planes during the Marianas campaign.

 


Captain R L Johnson (left) speaks with our Air Officer Rear Admiral Montgomery.

 

Officers mess.

Sept 23, 1943
 
Beer party. . .
 
Some in the photo, (not in order),  are: ? Adams, Walter E Parsons, Walter C Zaremba, William R Mattix, James C Martin, ? Brooks, Avon Shipman, Carroll Tinsley, Harry Mazetti, Albert Krajewski, Robert A Parks, ? Mayes, William R Hayes, ? Boyer, Kournies G Crammer, Joseph Lombardo, Cono J Sarivole, Donald B Heinemann, Lyle D Wheatley, ? Stalker,  Robert J Neff, Henry Shouel.

Pay day on the flight deck.

June 30, 1943
 
Master at Arms Force.
 
Photo courtesy George Corlett

Beer Party, Hawaiian Islands.

V-4 Division at beer party on Nimitz beach , Oahu, Hawaii, July, 1944.
 
Courtesy Edward Dudo.

Sixth Division Gunners mates June 1945.
 
Courtesy of George Corlett.
 
Not shown: Stasko, Cramp and Seace

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UPDATED  Monday April 20, 2015
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