A Jolly Roger Corsair, a tricky Dick and an near Ace golfer.
Here we see a Vought F4U-1A Corsair being serviced in the Pacific after a forced landing on Nissan Island in March, 1944. Nissan is in the Green Islands of Papua New Guinea, exactly midway between Rabaul and Bougainville. The place had just been secured a month before by Kiwi’s of the 3rd New Zealand Infantry and at the time a young Richard Millhouse Nixon was a Navy supply officer at the base.
The plane belongs to one Lt (JG) Tom ‘TK’ Killefer of U.S. Navy fighter squadron VF-17 (the original Jolly Rogers). The unit flew Corsairs from island strips in the Solomons until late 1944 when they transitioned to Hellcats and moved to the USS Hornet. Although the squadron was near-legendary, counting among their number no less than 12 aces and 161 Japanese victories, they were redesignated after the war and then disestablished. Today, VFA-103 flies an almost identical Jolly Roger unit emblem on their F-18s, although the two squadrons are not related.
Lt (JG) Killefer himself earned 4.5 victories, just escaping being an ace by the skin of his teeth. He passed at a ripe old age of 79, while dressing for a Father’s Day dinner and after having played 18 holes of golf.