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bob mack
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Hasegawa 1/48 F6F-5 Hellcat U.S.S. Hornet VF-17 “Jolly Rogers”

May 22, 2019 · in Aviation · · 22 · 3.4K

the VF-17 "Jolly Rogers" were formed on January 1,1943 at NAS Norfolk under the command of LT. Commander John T. "Tommy" Blackburn as CO and Roger Hedrick as XO...Blackburn was a and pilot but VF-17 was the second naval squadron to be equipped with the ...because they were flying Corsairs Blackburn wanted a reference for his squadron, thus the "Jolly Rogers" were born...they called the Corsairs "hogs" so Blackburn's became "Big Hog"...Blackburn's first combat assignment before "Fighting 17" was to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Santee Operation Torch North Africa, then over to the Pacific aboard U.S.S. Bunker Hill with VF-17...the Corsair was undergoing teething problems on carrier ops as visibility hindrance in the "Birdcage" style Corsair had to be worked out and they tended to bounce pretty hard and reckless when landing on carrier decks, thus the Navy made VF-17 a land based squadron and handed the Corsair off to the Marines...they set up shop at Ondongo New Georgia where the tradewinds made for a San Diego type glorious climate... there were no bugs or spiders and copious quantities of pineapple which provided a respite from spam, Vienna sausages and powdered fact the only complaint was no ladies for hundreds of miles...Blackburns mechanics beefed up the landing gear recoil springs and hydraulic pressure in the shocks and raised the seat for better visibility which led directly to the F4U-1A design a marked improvement of the type... In its two tours in the Solomon Islands, VF-17 amassed 152 aerial victories and produced 11 aces...the first VF-17 finished its combat tour on May 10, 1944...Roger Hedricks was sent back to the Bunker Hill to become CO of VF-84, thus when you see the "Jolly Rogers" emblem on a Bunker Hill Corsair with the yellow cowlings they are not VF-17 "Jolly Rogers" but VF-84 whose nucleus of pilots came from VF-17 and carried the patch for the purpose of prestige and nostalgia...Blackburn was sent to the U.S.S. Midway to takeover his new command as the Navy was trying to spread out the talent...the remnants of VF-17 was sent to the U.S.S. Hornet and equipped with -5 Hellcats and VBF-17 was imported to Hornet from Guam...VF stands for fixed wing fighter and VBF stood for fixed wing bomber fighter...This new Hornet squadron again amassed 161 victories, and produced 12 aces in its year in combat but it must be noted Blackburns group took on the cream of the Japanese Navy at Rabaul and Bougainville, whereas the second gang was fighting "greenies" ...nonetheless, the two combat tours of VF-17 were credited with 313 victories, the most of any US Navy squadron of WW11...this is the personal mount of LT. James Lano Pierce...ACE... 5.25 kills U.S.S. Hornet VF-17 1944-1945

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22 responses

  1. Excellent article Bob, and a great model of one of my favorite planes too ! I especially like the last two pictures... Do you have the autographed poster ?


    • thank you very much Louis...i don't have the print as i have a lot of aviation art already...i too like the photo of the old warrior...he has such a friendly upbeat look for being in his nineties

  2. Excellent build and article, Mr. Mack...nice work!

  3. Very nice Hellcat Bob! And a nice article to accompany the beast.

  4. Very sharp work on this Bob!

  5. Nice work, Bob.

    Probably another @#$@! typo, but VF-17 stood up January 1, 1943, not '44.

    • thank you very much Tom...and no that's 100% pilot mind just jumped time..correction made and thanks for the proof...your a machine

  6. Bob, you had me at ‘Hornet’!

    Beautifully built and presented Hellcat, my friend. For me, the subject doesn’t get much better, one of my favourite planes from one of my favourite carriers.

    Gorgeous realisation of that all over Sea Blue. The ‘matt satin’ finish of the ‘cat on the super shiny deck (you place glass over it?) looks spectacular.

    Just about perfect for me.

    ‘Liked’ - all day long.

  7. I can't add much more but a Bravo Zulu! A hot looking Hellcat.

  8. Nice work, Bob! I never tire of Hellcats.

  9. Nicely done Bob, I really like it.

  10. i appreciate that very much Tom and your marvelous work photography and settings are first rate

  11. Beautifully done, Bob! I doubt that carriers have shiny decks, but your effect of the semi-gloss plane on the glass covered deck is OUTSTANDING!


    • thank you very much for the compliment Jeff...the base is just a prop...i ordered a piece of blue plexi to try and impart the blue deck look...we'll see

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