Memorial Day

Mojave Traveler

Well-Known Member
February 20th,1942.It's approximately 1700 hrs in the south pacific near the Solomon islands, and Task Force 11,led by the aircraft carrier USS Lexington, has just survived an attack by nine Japanese "betty bombers". A group of Grumman F4F Wildcats launched from the Lexington had eliminated 5 of the bombers and were pursuing the remaining 4.

A sickening feeling came over the task force as radar picked up another wave of eight bombers coming in fast.Only two Wildcat fighters remained in combat control position above the American task force.Pilots "Butch" and "Dufilho" flew towards the incoming enemy aircraft "Balls to the wall".(FYI: The term "balls to the wall" came from WWII pilots who flew at full speed by pushing the accelerator lever, which had a ball attached to the top, all the way forward until it almost touched the firewall".

As the pilots neared the bombers, both test fired their four wing mounted 50 caliber Browning machine guns.Dufilho's guns jammed,leaving one fighter plane between Task Force 11 and certain devastation by 8 incoming torpedo bombers.Yet by the time it was all over Butch had taken out 3 of the enemy planes and not one torpedo aimed at the Lady Lex hit their mark. Butch was hailed as a national hero who saved possibly thousands of lives that day.

Butch lost his life during a night time mission on November 26th, 1943.Shot down by a Japanese bomber, the ultimate fate of Butch and his plane are still unknown.If you ever find yourself walking through Chicago's airport, stop for a moment at a display set up in his honor to pay respects to an extraordinary American hero,Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare.

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