THE SECOND WORLD WAR
VF-84, White 167, 57803, February 1945,
Lt. Cdr. Roger Hedrick.
The Vought F4U Corsair is an American fighter aircraft
that saw service primarily in World War 2 and the Korean War.
The Corsair was designed as a carrier based aircraft.
Initially its difficulty in landing on carriers,
rendered it unsuitable for Navy use until the Royal Navy overcame the landing issues.
After the carrier landing issues had been tackled,
it quickly became the most capable carrier based fighter bomber of the Second World War.
USSÂ Bunker Hill (CV/CVA/CVS-17, AVT-9) was one of 24Â Essex-classÂ aircraft carriersÂ built
during World War II for theÂ United States Navy.
The ship was named for theÂ Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolutionary War.
Commissioned in May 1943 and sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations,
the ship participated in battles in the Southwest Pacific,
Central Pacific and the drive toward Japan through Iwo Jima,
Okinawa, and air raids on the Japanese homeland.
While covering theÂ invasion of Okinawa,
Bunker Hill was struck by two kamikazesÂ in quick succession,
setting the vessel on fire.
Casualties exceeded 600,
including 346 confirmed dead and an additional 43 missing,
the second heaviest personnel losses suffered by any carrier to survive the war after Franklin.
After the attack,
Bunker Hill returned to the U.S. mainland and was still under repair when hostilities ended.
After the war,Bunker Hill was employed as a troop transport
bringing American service members back from the Pacific, and decommissioned in 1947.
While in reserve the vessel was reclassified as an attack carrier (CVA),
then an antisubmarine carrier (CVS) and finally an Auxiliary Aircraft
Landing Training Ship (AVT) but was never modernized and never saw active service again.
Bunker Hill and Franklin were the only Essex-class ships never recommissioned after World War II
Fighter Squadron 84 or VF-84 was an aviation unit of the United States Navy.
Originally established on 1 May 1944,
it was disestablished on 8 October 1945.
It was the first US Navy squadron to be designated as VF-84.
VF-84 flew F4U Corsairs and was formed around a nucleus of veterans of VF-17,
theÂ Jolly Rogers.
The new squadron's commanding officer was Lt. Cdr. Roger R.Hedrick,
former executive officer of VF-17.
VF-84 was assigned to the USS Bunker Hill.
As part of Task Force 58, the carrier and Carrier Air Group 84 (CVG-84)
participated in the final drive across the central Pacific.
Roger Hedrick was promoted to head CVG-84 on the combat loss of the air group's commanding officer,
and Lt. Cdr. Raymond "Ted" Hill took over the fighter squadron.
VF-84 took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima;
raids onÂ Tokyo and other targets in Japan;
the discovery and sinking of the Japanese battleship Yamato and support of the invasion of Okinawa,
including combat air patrol over the invasion fleet to defend against Kamikaze attack,
ground support, and combat air patrol over targets on Okinawa.
On 11 May 1945, while off Okinawa,
two Japanese kamikazes struck theÂ Bunker Hill in quick succession,
with a bomb penetrating to the pilots' ready room,
killing 22 members of VF-84.
Both the Bunker Hill (then the TF-58 flagship) and CAG-84 were knocked out of the war.
Although VF-84 was reformed in July 1945 as anÂ F6F Hellcat squadron, the war ended while it was still in training.
While in the Pacific,
as credited with 92 kills for a loss of 4 aircraft and nine of the squadron's pilots became aces.
Roger Hedrick was an ace with 12 confirmed victories.
He left VF-17 and became the CO of VF-84 aboard the USS Bunker Hill.
In his career he received Silver Star,
Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 gold stars in lieu of 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Flying Cross;
Air Medal with 2 gold stars in lieu of 2nd and 3rd Air Medal;
Presidential Unit Citation; Navy Unit Commendation; American Defense Service Medal:
American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 4 bronze stars;
Victory Medal, World War ;
China Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal.
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