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F2A: Buffalo

Designed and built by Brewster Aeronautical Corporation in 1937, the F2A Buffalo aircraft was the U.S. Navy's first monoplane fighter aircraft and was intended to replace the Grumman F3F.  Introduced in June 1939, the aircraft had already been modified a number of times and held the designation of F2A-3 upon United States' entry into World War II.   The aircraft was 35 feet in length and approximately 26 feet in height.  For armament, the Buffalos had two fixed forward-firing 0-50-in guns in the upper cowing, along with two 0-50-in guns in the wings.

Operating with U.S. Marine Corps Fighter Squadron 221 (VMF-221) at Midway Island, the Buffalo aircraft helped to defend the island against the Japanese air raid in June 1942 during the Battle of Midway.  The aircraft met with numerous losses in the air rights with the enemy's Aichi D3A1 "Val" dive bombers and Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" fighter aircraft.   This battle ended the aircraft's squadron service, and they were relegated to be used as advanced trainers.

In 2012, a team of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) divers working at Midway Atoll discovered the wreck of a F2A-3, one of the aircraft that defended Midway during the Japanese attack.   NOAA determined that the aircraft crashed in 1932 while trying to land in a squall. 

Image:   NH 97540:  Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo fighter, August 1942.    Piloted by Lieutenant Commander Joseph C. Clifton.  NHHC Photograph Collection.