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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

NH 106328 U.S. Navy Fighting Squadron Fifteen (VF-15)

Photo #: NH 106328  U.S. Navy Fighting Squadron Fifteen (VF-15)
Description: Squadron's top pilots pose On board USS Essex (CV-9) at the end of a six-month tour of duty in the Pacific, that included the Battles of the Philippine Sea (June 1944), Leyte Gulf (October 1944) and many other actions.Photo is dated 1 December 1944 and was released on 4 December 1944. The original caption states, in part: Each pilot is credited with five or more enemy planes ... their tally reads: 310 enemy planes shot down in combat, with half a million tons of Japanese shipping sunk or damaged. ... The squadron's victorious score card is shown in the foreground. Commander David McCampbell, Commanding Officer of VF-15's parent unit, Air Group 15, is standing just to right of the score card. His Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter (nicknamed Minsi III) is in the background, with Japanese flags painted below its cockpit representing thirty-four kills. For a list of those present, as identified in the original caption, see: Photo # NH 106328 (complete caption). Collection of Rear Admiral Samuel E. Morison, USN, (Retired). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command.
Related Content

Medal of Honor citation of Commander David McCampbell, USN (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 223):

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander, Air Group FIFTEEN, during combat against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the First and Second Battles of the Philippine Sea. An inspiring leader, fighting boldly in the face of terrific odds, Commander McCampbell led his fighter planes against a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft bearing down on our fleet on 19 June 1944. Striking fiercely in valiant defense of our surface force, he personally destroyed seven hostile planes during this single engagement in which the outnumbering attack force was utterly routed and virtually annihilated. During a major fleet engagement with the enemy on 24 October, Commander McCampbell, assisted by but one plane, intercepted and daringly attacked a formation of 60 hostile land-based craft approaching our forces. Fighting desperately but with superb skill against such overwhelming air power, he shot down nine Japanese planes and, completely disorganizing the enemy group, forced the remainder to abandon the attack before a single aircraft could reach the fleet. His great personal valor and indomitable spirit of aggression under extremely perilous combat conditions reflect the highest credit upon Commander McCampbell and the United States Naval Service."

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Wars & Conflicts
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