Checkerboards over Wake

After an epic two-week battle for the remote island outpost of Wake, 449 Marines, 68 U.S. Navy personnel, and 5 U.S. Army soldiers, as well as a force of civilian contractors, surrendered to a 2,500-man force of Japanese infantry backed up by a 19-ship armada on this day in 1941– two days before Christmas.

While transiting the area, Navy aircraft fly conducted a heritage flight off the coast of Wake Island in the western Pacific Ocean, in October from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Three Navy CVW-17 birds (NA tail flash), the top two F-18E/F’s from VFA’s 94 and 113, while the bottom is an EF-18G Growler from the Cougars of VAQ-139, over Wake. (Navy photo by Lt. Aaron B. Hicks)

A Marine flight consisted of four F-18C’s from VMFA-312, a unit that first saw combat during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 and was credited with 59.5 Japanese kills during the war, also participated. As the “Checkerboards” C-model Hornets are a bit long in the tooth when compared with more current E-series Super Hornets, they are a good analogy to VMF-211’s F4F-3 Wildcats flown at Wake back in 1941.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 26, 2017) Four F/A-18C Hornets, assigned to the Checkerboards of Marine Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312, fly in formation over Wake Island and the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during a U.S. Navy Heritage event for the crew. Theodore Roosevelt is currently underway for a regularly scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony J. Rivera/Released)

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