Grumman Hellcat F6F

1P-GHF6F

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Grumman Hellcat F6F. By: John Ficklen, Signed by: Alexander Vraciu

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Grumman Hellcat F6F. By: John Ficklen, Signed by: Alexander Vraciu

Alexander Vraciu (born November 2, 1918) was a leading United States Navy fighter ace and Medal of Honor nominee during World War II. He once shot down six Japanese dive bombers in eight minutes.

Vraciu's most successful day as an aviator occurred during the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, also known as the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot", on June 19. Despite a malfunctioning supercharger, he intercepted a formation of Japanese dive bombers and destroyed six in a period of eight minutes. After Vraciu landed, ordnancemen on Lexington discovered that he had used only 360 bullets; on average, each of these six kills had followed a burst less than five seconds long.

The next day, escorting bombers in an attack on the Japanese Mobile Fleet (Kido Butai ), Vraciu downed his 19th victim, making him the foremost US Navy ace by a considerable margin, although he would hold that title for only four months.

For his actions at the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, Vraciu was nominated for the Medal of Honor. However, when the nomination reached the desk of Admiral George D. Murray, at Pacific Fleet Headquarters in Hawaii, it was downgraded to a Navy Cross.

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Grumman Hellcat F6F

Grumman Hellcat F6F

Grumman Hellcat F6F. By: John Ficklen, Signed by: Alexander Vraciu

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