Top Gun 1945 (UPDATED)
Lynn Ritger just spent the last three days playing "Squirrel!" in the digital archives of undesignated film footage at NARA and found some gems.
Lynn is a solid historian, but there are times he is seriously "bent." He took the footage he found and did this:
Top Gun 1945
Be sure to expand to full screen!
Here's the original footage, taken aboard Hornet on April 12, 1945, the day of the first "Kikusui," the massed Kamikaze attacks. The Hellcats are from VF-17.
One of the 20-year old kids landing at last light here is my old friend the late Bill Hardy. That day, he entered his first and only air combat, when he and his wingman were in a hurry to get home to Hornet because they had never landed at night and it was getting close, when they got a call from the FDO on one of two radar picket destroyers that had been attacked all day and were under a final attack they felt would be final (it was, for one). "As much as we didn't want to, we were the only ones around, so we got stuck with the duty," as Bill put it. They arrived over the ships and in "two of the four scariest minutes of my life" Bill shot down five D4Y "Judy" kamikazes and his wingman shot down three. "We then skedaddled and I had my two scariest minutes in the pattern, making my first night carrier landing."
Oops! He did it again!