The introduction of the Chance Vought F4U-1 Corsair to combat represented a significant shift in the balance of power in the Pacific air war. These powerful long-range Marine fighters of Major William E. Gise’s VMF-124 landed at Fighter Two on Guadalcanal on the morning of 12 February 1943 and launched on their first mission by noon. Some of the pilots flew nine hours that first day.On 1 April, 1st LT Kenneth A. Walsh scored his first three victories when Admiral Yamamoto started his “I Operation” to avenge the loss of Guadalcanal. Walsh was division/flight leader of seven F4U’s on combat air patrol in the vicinity of Russells and was relieved by six P-38’s after two hours on station. Within one minute after the Corsair flight set course to base the P-38’s were attacked by a superior number of Japanese fighters. Unseen by the enemy, Walsh prepared his flight to intercept and joined the melee of Zeros and P-38’s with his Corsairs in a dogfight over the Russells.Ken Walsh’s peers recognized him as one of the toughest and most aggressive Marine fighter pilots. He joined the Marine Corps in December 1933 and received his wings as an enlisted pilot at Pensacola in April 1937. He flew as a Lieutenant in October 1942 and had accumulated 1600 flying hours before entering combat. He flew as a Marine pilot in all ranks from private to lieutenant colonel and finished the war with 21 victories….all in Corsairs. For his combats on 15 and 30 August 1943 he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.Signed by Boone Guyton and Ken WalshSIZE: 18” x 24”
Boone Tarleton Guyton United States Navy, (September 4, 1913 – April 4, 1996) was a Naval Aviation Cadet, experimental test pilot, author and businessman. In a flying career spanning the biplane era through the jet age, Guyton was perhaps best known for his test pilot years at Vought-Sikorsky (Chance Vought) and his participation in the development of the F4U Corsair and various other military aircraft including the OS2U Kingfisher and the radical Vought V-173 flying pancake.
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