Question on Unit Markings

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by Mr. Ed, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    I was wondering if anyone could help me research what the markings were for a particular aircraft. George Thompson, who was a Hellcat pilot with 2 confirmed kills, is a friend of mine. I'm going to make a model of one of the aircraft he flew. He was with VF-88 on the Yorktown (CV-10) during 1944-45. He said there was a white RR on his tail.

    Any ideas on where I would look to find out all those details of aircraft markings that we modelers are so obsessed with? Does anyone know of a decal sheet that might include markings for VF-88?

    Thanks in advance,

    Ed
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  3. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    Beautiful! Where did you find that? I've got a few books dedicated to the Hellcat and have been searching the web - and nothing illustrated for VF-88. This looks like a nightfighter in black paint. Am I correct?
     
  4. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    VF-88 1945....
     

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  5. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    More likely a 'normal' fighter in Gloss Sea Blue, as a nightfighter squadron would be coded VF(N)-xx
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    The link is just above the pitcure. Bomb Taxi answered the question about that color.
     
  7. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    Much thanks. I'm going to meet with George soon and will show him these pictures. I can't tell if he's in the squadron portrait because he looks a little different now that he's in his 90's (and not in very good health, unfortunately, which is why I've got to get a move on with this build).

    I'm not sure how detail oriented I should be, considering he told me that there wasn't any one aircraft that was really "his". I don't believe Hellcats typically had the pilot's name steciled onto the side. Am I correct?
     
  8. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    #8 R Leonard, Aug 31, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
    Generally, unless one was the CAG, or other exalted personage, one took what was spotted on the deck where one’s position was in the launch program. Some squadrons assigned particular aircraft to particular pilots, others did not, but the reality was that a given pilot was not likely to always fly the same aircraft over and over. This trips up a lot of researchers as they tend to look at things from the eyes of land based units with their more permanent attachments between a pilot and “his” plane. Most of the USN photo moments of pilots in their planes were after the fact; so and so might have eight flags down the side of “his” plane today, but tomorrow he and his mates get relieved by another air group, which takes over the aircraft, and fresh paint covers those flags.

    VF-88's first CO was Dick Crommelin. Dick flew in VF-42 at Coral Sea and VF-3 at Midway off the old Yorktown (CV-5). He and my father were USNA classmates, squadron-mates, and shared a cabin aboard Yorktown through the battle of Midway.

    Dick was the in the driver’s seat of the well known Aleutian Zero in February 1945 when, while waiting for permission to take off from NAS North Island, it got chopped to pieces by an SB2C which came up behind it; stopping just short of the cockpit when the Beast driver saw metal flying in every direction. Dick got his shot at flying the A6M2 because his older brother John (whom we always called "Uncle John"), who was Director of Training for ComFAirWest and grand high keeper of the Zero, decided his little brother, as a squadron commander, needed to know how a Zero handled before going west.

    Dick was killed in an fog-bound mid-air collision while on a strike near Hokkaido on 15 July 1945. The XO, Malcolm "Chris" Cagle, took over command of the squadron for the rest of the war. Moving up to XO was Johnny Adams who as an Ensign had also flown in VF-42 and VF-3 at the same time as Dick and my father. Below is are messages regarding Dick Crommelin’ loss.

    VF-88, nor did any other squadron, adopt the letter identifiers until after 28 July 1945 when the order to switch to letters went into effect (apropos of nothing else, the guy who assigned which letters to what carrier was my father, then the AsstOpnsOff for TF-38). VF-88 did, indeed, sport the double RR, as did all the Yorktown (CV-10) aircraft. Letters were assigned to carriers, not to air groups. Before the 28th, VF-88 would have the standard Yorktown geometric markings: the rear third, diagonally painted white on the horizontal stablilizer, and a white right angle triangle with the hypotenuse side towards the fuselage on the upper right and lower left wing.

    The standard color for a nice new F6F-5 was gloss dark sea blue. As the navy camouflage regulations as the -5s entered production in April 1944, it is safe to presume that almost all, if not all, -5s were painted in the overall gloss sea blue at the factory. Carrier based fighters were ordered to be this gloss sea blue color starting on 13 March 1944; all carrier aircraft were ordered to take on this scheme on 25 June 1944. The exceptions to these edicts were carrier aircraft dedicated to ASW work (read, ‘in the Atlantic’). Some often mistake this gloss sea blue color for black, especially in B&W photos and then presume that USN carrier based night fighters were painted black. Not so, they were blue.

    By the time VF-88 reached combat, the standard air group on a fleet carrier consisted of a VF, a VBF, a VB, and a VT squadron. Some would tell you that VF squadrons were F6Fs and VBF squadrons were F4Us, but that was not always true. At any rate, in the standard CV type VF squadron there was one four-plane division of dedicated night fighters. These were usually F6F-5Ns, even when the VF squadron was F4U (VF-85 comes to mind, there’s a photo one can find without much difficulty just waiting to trip up the unwary that has two F6F-5Ns sporting Shangri-La’s end of war Z code - both VF-85 and VBF-85 were Corsair squadrons). Point being, a VF-88, or any other VF or VF(N), for that matter, F6F produced after March 1944, would be gloss sea blue, not black. For that matter, there has been posted here before in another thread a nice picture of an F6F-3N in the pre-March 1944 sea blue/non spec blue grey/light grey tricolor scheme as well. What folks don’t seem to get is that carrier night fighters operated just as much in the day as night, in fact, there were at least as many daylight credits to Navy nightfighter pilots as nighttime.

    Yorktown Geometric marking (pre 28 July 45) profile can be found here
    http://www.markstyling.com/F6F_JPEGs/F6F.41.jpg

    Yorktown Geometric markings photos (official USN)
    [​IMG]

    Yorktown Letter Markings (VF-88)
    [​IMG]

    Dick Crommelin
    [​IMG]

    Johnny Adams
    [​IMG]

    VF-88 Gamecocks
    [​IMG]

    Message received in TF38 flag message center re Dick Crommelin missing
    [​IMG]

    Message received in TF38 flag message center re Dick Crommelin negative search
    [​IMG]


    Regards

    Rich
     
  9. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Very nice Rich!
     
  10. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Can only add this for starters. Just for your information.
     

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  11. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    And this.
     

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  12. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    This is exactly the kind of detailed information I've been looking for. Thank you so much. This is the reason I hang around here - you people are so very helpful. I'm going to show all of this to George Thompson when I see him this week. Mr. Leonard - he probably knew your father and others, and perhaps there's some way the 2 of you can communicate. He's not in great shape physically but his mind is as clear as ever.

    BTW, that Eduard 1/48th scale profipak kit is a beauty. Again, thanks a lot.
     
  13. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    Sorry, one more question: I assume that there was a large white RR on the top side of the right wing. Considering there was an RR on the bottom of the left wing I would think there would be one of the same size and in the same relative place on the opposite wing. Am I right about this?
     
  14. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    #14 R Leonard, Sep 1, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
    Really don't have much else on happenings in VF-88. Last time I saw Johnny Adams, who was my father's wingman at Midway, was at Pensacola in 1998. Afraid he's gone now. VAdm Cagle died, I believe, in 2003. I had some communication with Hoke Sisk, another squadron LT, around 2000, but I believe he's passed in the meantime, too.

    But here's a question for you. Did your Mr Thompson serve in VF-30 before going to VF-88? In my rather incomplete list of USN/USMC pilots and aircrews - as of last night some 24,600 individuals with 29,900 entries - I show a George G Thompson in VF-30, but not in VF-88. Note that in my lists, not being included in a particular squadron means absolutely nothing other than i simply haven't yet run across the name as associated with the squadron. For example, I only show 24 pilots for VF-88; should be at least 15 more I don't have. I show but 14 pilots for VBF-88, so I'm short at least 20, maybe 22; 11 pilots for VB-88, makes me at least 10 short there and I've no crewmen; and worst is the VT-88 list where I show but 4 pilots and no crewmen.

    Get me Mr Thompson's middle name (if he's not the same as the VF-30 gent) and his rank during his time with VF-88 and I'll merrily add him to my listing.

    - Long time denizens of this Board are familiar with my propensity for making lists -

    Oh, and yes, the RR should appear on the upper right wing.

    Regards,

    Rich
     
  15. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    Rich -

    Yes, this is the George G. Thompson you have in VF-30. He was also in VF-88. His rank was Lieutenant and his serial number is 1766-26. He recalls 6 or 7 fatalities in his unit during the time he flew, and he says VF-88 was known as the "GGs". He flew sorties over Kaving, Hollandia, Truck, Saipan, Tarawa and Kenian. He covered the landings, flew ground attack missions and destroyed several planes on the ground, and shot down an Emily flying boat and a fighter.

    It looks like marking this model will be easy. All I have to do is figure out how to cut out the right sized RRs from white decal sheet.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    -Ed
     
  16. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Mate, you will be able to find appropriate sized decals for them RR's.
    As far as upper and lower wings, not much to be found.
    Someone else may have something for you tho.

    Has he still got his original wings of Gold?????
    Once had a girlfriend whos father had his combat aircrew wings...

    Good on yah, and happy building with a purpose! Bill
     
  17. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Same gent! That's Great! I'll plug him in with VF-88 on the next go 'round. You would be doing me a great service if you could check to see if he's got a full roster around somewhere, or maybe a cruise book you could scan. Even a VF-30 roster would be welcome.

    If you go to a office supply store you may find some rub-on lettering. You might have to invest in a couple of packs, but you just place the letter over the surface, rub it with an eraser voila! lettering that looks painted on. Got the concept from the model railroad guys back, lo those many years ago in high school, when I had a job at the local hobby shop . . . they even had their own lettering sets just for that purpose; "Letterset" "lettraset" or something like that - forty years ago, it's a little dim. Tricks of the trade. I found the office supply store sizes worked well in 1/48th.

    Regards

    Rich
     
  18. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    Rich -

    I'm going to see him today, and I'll ask him those questions. Thanks for the tip on rub-on lettering. That would be a lot easier than cutting them out from white decal sheet. On the other hand, they can't be adjusted after they're applied. The Edward kit has a plethora (5 cent word of the day) of stencil decals so they'll be no getting away from using them on this kit. I was actually relieved by how simple the markings are for VF-88.

    N4521U -

    "Modeling with a purpose" - I like that one! So often I wonder what my problem is that I'm a grown man still obsessed with model airplanes.
     
  19. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    #19 Mr. Ed, Sep 3, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
    Rich - Here's what he has for VF-88. These people were alive in 1994:

    John Adams
    Mark Anderson
    Robert Appling (not "Applegate" as appears in one source)
    Marshall Bracy
    Bill Butler
    Malcom Cagle
    Bill Carnahan
    Donald Edgington
    Guy Edington
    Earl Godfrey
    Bjarne Goldman
    Ray Gonzalez
    John Haag
    Robert Hall
    Ron Hardesty
    Verne Honlola
    Robert Kelly
    Leo Kervian
    Billie Klug
    Leonard Komisarea
    Ralph Koontz
    Joe Kriz
    Paul Martin
    Marvin Odom
    Maury Proctor
    Blair Rodgers
    Hoke Sisk
    George G. Thompson ("G.G.")
    Donald Van Gordon
    Bill Watkinson
    Tom Welch
    John Willis
    Herbert Wood

    These guys died between 1991 and 1994:

    Ed Joyce, Henry Cleland, Dexter Clark, Robert Brown

    I believe these men were killed in action or operations, but I could be wrong in some cases. They served in VF-88 (source: Naval Aviation Museum Foundation magazine, Spring 1985):

    Vincent Dacey
    Ken Neyer
    Howard Harrison
    Joseph G. Sahloff
    Eugene Eamon Mandeberg
    Howard M. "Howdy" Harrison
    Laverne Nabours
    Wright C. Hobbs
    Theodore W. Hansen
     
  20. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Member

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    For VF-30, he has photo taken on the USS Montery "somewhere in the Pacific" in 1943:

    Killed in action or operations:

    Briggs Robertson
    George Riggin
    George Formenac

    The rest:

    Ed Joyce
    Gus King
    Jack Hoagland
    Charley Cavman
    George Thompson
    John Getty
    Oscar Tate
    John Staudemire
    Zack Hugher
    Buck Boren
    Dusty Hyde
    Jim Sliney (skipper)
    Chip Reding
    Stretch Dietrich
    John Gillespie
    Jack Kenney
     
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