Grumman F3F-2 BuNo 0976, 1/48 Accurate Miniatures
This is the Accurate Miniatures gem - I was so happy when they finally released a good model of my favorite Grumman fighter. The model is done OOB with kit decals, to depict F3F-2 BuNo 0976, flown by 1st Lt. Bob Galer of VMF-2.
On August 29, 1940, while doing night carrier qualification aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3) off San Diego, Galer was forced to ditch in the ship's wake when his engine cut out after he switched tanks; he was barely able to get out before it sank. In 1988, the airplane was discovered at a depth of 3,600 feet by a Navy submarine, and it was raised in April 1991. Being at that depth, it was not corroded by salt water, and was restored at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. It is now on display at the National Musuem of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, the only original Grumman F3F-2 in existence.
Galer went on to command VMF-224 and take the squadron to Guadalcanal on August 30, 1942. Between August 31 and September 28, 1942, Galer scored 11 of the 27 victories claimed by VMF-224, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for leadership above and beyond the call of duty.