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Frank Cronin
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F4U-4 of VF-32, Flown by Lt. Frank J. Cronin USN, 1950

July 15, 2013 · in Uncategorized · · 22 · 3.1K

I first saw a mention of Lt Frank Cronin on page 24 of the Osprey book " Corsair Units of the Korean War". Considering we had the same name I sought to try to locate him to say hello. I did locate him and wrote him a letter. He responded to my letter and we did correspnd for a short while. I made this model for him and sent it to him. He sent me the short note that is attached thanking me for the model. I received a note from his wife stating that his health was fading and again stated how much he enjoyed the model and how much he enjoyed his Naval career and flying the F4U.

Frank enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and went through pilot training and received his wings. In 1944 he deployed to the South Pacific. He was initially assigned to SBD and SB2C aircraft.He was reassigned to Fighters due to the increase of the Kamikazes. He flew F4F and F6F aircraft. In 1945 he returned to the US where he first flew the F4U. In 1950 his Squadron, VF-32, aboard USS Leyte redeployed from the Mediterranean to Korea. He flew numerous missions against Communist forces and played a significant part in the close air support thoughout Korea and for the USMC units at the Chosin Reservoir.

He retired from the USN in 1964 as a Lt. Commander. He was awarded three Air Medals, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Sadly Francis Joseph Cronin passed away on March 9,2011 after a long illness.

I wished that we had had the opportunity to meet each other. This model is my way of saying, thank you, to the persons that have served. To be able to send a model to a person with my own name raises this to a higher level.

Reader reactions:
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6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

22 responses

  1. Damn, Frank, that is a very cool and moving story! Thanks for sharing that and thanks for building the model for that naval aviator. The Corsair does look great too. What a great tribute, and gift for the "other" Frank!

  2. Nice piece of work, Frank...the model AND the effort to "reach out" and touch someone as deserved at your namesake. Good for you.

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    said on July 16, 2013

    Beautiful build Frank.It always impresses me how you manage to track down the vets to make your models that bit more special. Very well done.

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    said on July 16, 2013

    By the way is this fine example the Hasegawa 1/48? I'd like to build a late mark Corsair but don't know which kit is most accurate.

    • Thank you all for the nice compliments.
      This is the 1/48 Hasagawa kit. It has been around for some time. It is somewhat basic but overall very good. HobbyBoss has two 1/48 F4U-4's out right now but I have no further info on either one of them. HobbyBoss has done some fine kits so these may be well done.

      • Having built several Hasegawa kits and one Hobby Boss kit, the HB kit is no improvement on the Hasegawa kit, and in fact is retrograde. It is a scale-down of the pretty completely incorrect Trumpeter kit. Wheel wells and gear doors are wrong, cowling is wrong, decals suck. I did one, I'll never waste my time on another.

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          said on July 17, 2013

          Thanks Tom. HB kit is way more expensive so i'll source a Hasegawa when the time comes.

        • Tom,
          Thanks for the info. You have saved me time, energy, and money by not perusing the HB kit.

        • totally agree on that overview of the HB kit- I am still not sure what all the positive fuss is about that kit- almost as bad as the academy F4U-5! one think you left out about the HB F4Us was the ficticious wing fold hinges.

  5. He was a squadron mate to Lt(jg) Thomas Hudner and ENS Jesse Brown. Hudner's deliberate crash-landing to attempt to rescue Brown, the Navy's first African-American Naval Aviator, is one of the most poignant stores of the Korean War and resulted in Hudner being the only member of the Navy to be recognized with the award of the Medal of Honor for his effort "above and beyond" the call of duty.

    Nice model, Frank.

  6. That's a beautiful Corsair and a moving story. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Nice build and a nice story Frank, Bravo Zulu!

  8. you cant beat that with a hammer. an outstanding story and build.

  9. that's lovely frank

  10. very nice Frank ive done a few kits for vets its an awesome feeling but I have not found a vet with my name that is just too cool

  11. Good stuff, Frank. Keep 'em coming.

  12. Great job Frank. That kit is still the best -4 out there.

  13. Frank .. you did the 'ol gull-bird" a TRUE justice .I can still remember the F4U's on the flight line at Olathe Ks. NAS in the mid 50's ...BEAUTIFUL
    build .. a sincere Semper Fi from VMF 215 !

  14. I knew Frank several years ago when he owned a condo next to mine in St Augustine, Fl. He and his lovely wife would visit quite often, I lost contact with him, and was sorry to read about his passing. He was a wonderful gentleman. I have two pictures of him in his Corsair hanging on my wall in the "mancave". I will cherish them. I also have a model of the Corsair among my collection. RIP my friend.

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