World War II 1945 to 1950 Korea 1953 to 1963 Vietnam The Last Crusade & Phinal Phantoms
Grumman F-6F-3 Hellcat Grumman F-6F-5 Hellcat Grumman F8F Bearcat Grumman F-9F-2B Grumman F-9F-6 North American FJ-3 Fury Grumman F11F Tiger Vought F-8E Vought F-8J McDonnell F-4S Phantom McDonnell F-4N Phantom
Squadron established
15 AUG 1943
San Diego Los Alatimos Kahului Eniwetok USS Lexington (CV 16) Alameda Santa Rosa Kahului Barber's Point enrt. Guam USS Antietam (CV 36) Alameda Boxer (CV 21) Alameda Barber's Point Boxer (CV 21) Alameda Boxer (CV 21) Alameda Miramar Boxer (CV 21) Alameda Boxer (CV 21) Alameda USS Boxer (CV 21) Alameda Moffett Field USS Princton (CV 37) Alameda USS Princton (CV 37) Moffett Field Oriskany (CV 34) Moffett Field USS Oriskany (CV 34) Moffett Field Oriskany (CV 34) Moffett Field USS Oriskany (CV 34) Moffett Field Yorktown (CV 10) Moffett Field USS Yorktown (CV 10) Moffett Field USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31) Moffett Field USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31) Moffett Field BHR (CVA 31) Moffett Field USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31) Miramar USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31) Miramar BHR (CVA 31) Miramar USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31) Miramar BHR (CVA 31) Miramar USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31) Miramar Ticonderoga (CVA 14) BHR (CVA 31) ? Lemoore USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) Miramar USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) Miramar Yuma Oriskany (CVA 34) Miramar USS Oriskany (CVA 34) Miramar USS Oriskany (CVA 34) Miramar USS Oriskany (CVA 34) Miramar USS Oriskany (CVA 34) Miramar USS Oriskany (CVA 34) Miramar Oriskany (CVA 34) ? Miramar USS Coral Sea (CV 43) Miramar Squadron disestablished
1 MAR 1978
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World War II

Establishment

Grumman F6F Hellcat

F6F-3 of Ens. Lawrence M. Cauble

Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat flown by Ens. Lawrence M. Cauble, VF-19 Satan's Kittens, USS Lexington (CV-16). Sept to Oct. 1944

The F-6F, introduced in the summer of 1943, quickly proved to be superior to its main rival, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, and become the Navy's front-line fighter across the the Pacific theatre to Japan and the end of World War II.

During the Second World War, the Hellcat accounted for 75% of all aerial victories recorded by the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, earning it a reputation of being an ace-maker.

F6F-5 of Cmdr. Theodore Hugh Winters

Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat flown by Cmdr. Theodore Hugh Winters, VF-19 Satan's Kittens, USS Lexington (CV-16)

The Hellcat was first reported in use by VF-19 on 07 August 1943, with just seven F6F-3, though by the end of the month, this figure rose to 36. The -5 joined the squadron in July 1944, as VF-19 boarded the Lexington. Half way through its war service, VF-19 reported 56 aircraft: 29 x F6F-3, 2 x F6F-3N, a F6F-3P, 21 x F6F-5and one F6F-5P.

Original unit badge circa 1943

Original squadron insignia, created by Disney artist Hank Porter.

The program for the Establishment of Command ceremony of the second squadron to bear the designation VF 191 begins retelling the history of VF 191 with:

"On a hot summer day in July at NAAS Los Alamitos, Calif, VF 19, commanded by then Lt. Cmdr. Hugh Winters (now a retired Navy Captain), began flight operations as a new squadron with an airplane complement of one Piper Cub, a Grumman Duck and a F6 Hellcat."

According to US Navy aircraft location records, Air Group NINETEEN was established on 15 August 1943, consisting of VF 19 (Fighting), VB 19 (Bombing) and VT 19 (Torpedo). Initially stationed at Los Alamitos, the first aircraft appeared on record at the beginning of September, 1943. where it started to receive its aircraft, the Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat and TBM-1 Avengers for VT 19.

CDR Hugh Winters with F6F Hellcat.

Cmdr. Hugh Winters, the first CO of VF 19, with his F6F "Hellcat". Picture courtesy of US Navy.

Back to the timeline

ENS. Lawrence M. Cauble.

ENS. Lawrence M. Cauble. Picture courtesy of L. Cauble.

Into Action!

FIGHTING SQUADRON NINETEEN boarded USS Lexington (CV 16) July 1944. and departed for Hawaii. They off loaded at Pearl Harbor and flew to NS Kahului, Maui. The island of Maui is formed from two volcanos: Mauna Kahalawai and Mount Haleakala. Haleakala over ten thousand feet high with a huge crater at the top, so big that one day LT. Linsday took his four plane division and flew down through the crater. Later, Linsday and three others paid a visit to the small village of Hana where Charles Lindbergh was buried. VF 19 then flew back to Pearl Harbor where they boarded the carrier USS Intrepid (CV 11) and sailed for the island of Tarawa to rejoin the USS Lexington.

The squadron's first mission was to fly straffing runs for the invasion of Guam. After that they flew many similar flights over Palau, Iwo Jima, Leyte, Formosa, and Okinawa. The attacks on Formosa and Okinawa were first attacks on the Japanese: The two islands were being used as fuel stops for ferrying planes down to the Pilippines, with many aircraft still lined up on the tarmac. Being surprised, the Japanese put up very little defence. US aircraft made low attack runs and within a few minutes had all the enemy aircraft burning.

The most next operation was preparing attacks prior to the landing of troops on the island of Leyte. The Battle for Leyte Gulf beacuse the climactic American naval victory over Japan. While the carrier came under constant enemy attack in the engagement in which the USS Princeton (CVL 23) was sunk, her planes joined in sinking Japan's super-battleship Musashi and scored hits on three cruisers. The next day, 25 October 1944, they sank the Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaka and joined aircraft from USS Essex (CV 9) in sinking the carrier Chitose. Later in the day, they aided in sinking a third carrier, the Zuiho. As the retiring Japanese were pursued, her planes sank the heavy cruiser Nachi with four torpedo hits off Luzon.

During the battle, the Hellcat of Ensign Arthur W. Howe III was hit, and Howe had to bail out. As he who parachuted into the gulf, another pilot directed enemy fire away from him. However, Ensign Howe was captured by the Japanese. He was first and taken to Manila, then after about seven months, he was moved to a prison in Omori, Japan. During his time in captivity, he was subjected to the brutal and inhuman treatment inflicted by the Japanese on Allied prisoners. Ensign Howe was the only member of VF 19 to be taken prisoner during the second world war. He was awarded a Purple Heart and the Air Medal for his World War II service.

While covering the battle of Leyte, a four aircraft division, lead by LT. Linsday, armed with six 50 caliber machine guns, a 500 pound bomb and, fopr the first time, a 5 inch rocket, attacked Manila. After the attack, they pulled out at tree top level and turned a south to join up at a large lake a few mile south of Manila. Unfortunately one of the division's planes was hit and lost power and had to ditch in the lake. Circling, LT. Linsday saw that the pilot had left the aircraft, but had not inflated his flotation unit. Linsday then cut his own unit loose and dropped it to the downed pilot. They stayed as long as they could, but finally had to head back to the carrier. Months later, the squadron learned that local fishermen waited until after dark and then picked him up: With the natives he walked north for about a month to where US soldiers had made a beachhead. After landing aboard Lexington, Linsday counted 24 holes in his aircraft, all small except one about the size of a saucer. That hole was 1ocated on the leading edge of the wing and it was right where the wing folding mechanism was damaged beyond repair. The crew cannibalized what ever they could use and then pushed the aircraft over the side.

Lexington under attack, Nov 1944

F-6Fs of VF 19 on the deck of the Lexington during an attack, November 1944. Picture courtesy of US Navy.

During the action, the Lexington lost her island structure to a kamikaze plane. Within 20 minutes major blazes were under control and she was able to continue normal flight actions. Her guns knocked down a would-be kamikaze heading for the carrier USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) as well. On 9 November Lexington arrived at Ulithi atoll, in the Caroline Islands, to repair battle damage and learn that Tokyo once again claimed her destroyed.

F-6F of VF 19 crash aboard Lexington, Nov.
              1944.

A crashed F-6F of VF 19 being cleared from the deck of Lexington, Nov. 1944.

A typical act of courage, often seen by the squadron, was taken by Lieutenant (JG) Robert Blakeslee of Kalamazoo, Michigan. When on an anti-snooper patrol with one bomber, he encountered 19 enemy twin-engined planes approaching the task force. He immediately turned into them and attacked single handed. The bomber under escort, was five miles beyond before he realized what was happening as it never occurred to him that a lone fighter would go in on the fire power of 19 turrets. Through his quick action and daring attack Blakeslee split up the enemy formation, shooting down two before he was himself forced to make a water landing. His action averted what might have been a serious threat to the force. Although an entire task force searched the area thoroughly that night, Blakeslee was not recovered.

November 1944, Air Group 19 transferred to USS Enterprise (CV 6) then aboard the USS Long Island (CVE 1) and headed home. They returned to the main land US in December 1944. The squadron disbanded for 30 days of well-earned leave.

20 January 1945 saw the squadron reformed at NAS Alameda under the command of Lieutenant Commander. J. G. Smith and the formation of a new squadron VBF 19. The first two weeks were spent dividing the pilots into the VF and VBF squadrons. Lieutenant E. L. Lindsay, former CO of VF 19, took command of VBF 19. The squadrons then moved to Santa Rosa, taking up their new home on 05 February. Training resumed with emphasis on gunnery, bombing and FCLP. From 05 April to 05 May, the squadron conducted rocket training at NAAS Arcata.

On returning to Santa Rosa, the was squadron was then given the good news that they would be the first to get the Navy's newest fighter, the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat. The first group of 25 pilots departed for the New York and the Grumman factory on 18 May 1945. After a week of lectures and visits to various parts of the factory, the pilots began flying the aircraft back to Santa Rosa. For many, this was their first experience of a coast to coast flight. Once all the pilots had returned, on 25 July, the squadron started carrier qualifications aboard the Takanis Bay. The F6F-5 Hellcat was last reported in squadron with VF 19 on 28 July 1945. By August 1945, the Hellcat had been fully replaced with the Bearcat.

By 28 July, the squadron was combat ready and all hands were granted five days liberty while the planes were loaded aboard the USS Langley (CVL 27). The squadron joined the Langley on the 03 August and set sail for Hawaii. They were en-route to the Pacific when Japan surrendered on 16 August 1945 and was at NAS Kahaului, on Maui T.H., and undergoing routine advanced training when the war officially ended. With the declaration of peace, many pilots immediately returned to civilian life and were returned to the mainland United States. On 10 September, the Air Group joined the USS Boxer (CV 21) for a shake-down cruise. The USS Tripoli (CVE 64) joined the Air Group and along with the Boxer, day and night air operations were carried out with the Air Group executing strikes from 150 miles at sea.

Training continued with frequent carrier operations including the USS Langley, USS Corregidor (CVE 58)‎, USS Boxer and USS Hornet (CV 12). By 12 October, all the remaining pilots were night qualified while aboard the Hornet.

The air group returned to the States aboard the Hornet for Navy Day celebration at Montery. After six days on the West Coast the air group returned to NAS Barber's Point, Oahu for reforming. More pilots went home, but replacements came from Air Groups 13 and 15 which were being decommissioned.

On the 12 November, Bombing-Fighting Squadron NINETEEN traded their old F4U-4 "Corsairs" in for the new F8F-1 "Bearcat". Air Group NINETEEN was the first Air Group to land an F8F-1 on a carrier at night. The remainder of the month was spent in advanced training; including gunnery, bombing, strafing, group tactics, field carrier bounce, night field carrier landings, and so on. On the 29 November, the Air Group carried out Direct Ground Support Training Missions.

Even with the continuation of training, allowances were made for peace-time and Command Air Pacific permitted a quarter of the Air Group at a time to return to the States for a fifteen day leave period.

The first fatality of the reformed Air Group occurred on the 10th of December when Esign George Blakenship of Bombing-Fighting Squadron NINETEEN was killed over bombing target "Sugar Kane", on Molokia, T. H. He was observed to have pulled off one of the sheer wing tips of the F8F he was flying, in a pull out from a bombing run and to rollover and crash.

The loss of men through demobilization and leave was having am impact on the operational efficiency of the Air Group. While at Barber's Point, some of the air station's personnel were temporarily assigned to the Air Group NINETEEN's squadrons, as each squadron maintained all its own planes. The efficiency and availability of each squadron was greatly improved.

Back to the timeline

VF 19 left Pearl Harbor on 23 of June 1944 and was relieved at Ulithi Atoll on 23 November 1944. In those five months, it took a major part in the actions leading to the landings on Guam, Palau and Leyte and participated in attacks on Iwo Jima, the Bonins, Mindanao, Cebu, Negros, Panay, Formosa and Nansei Shoto, and many strikes against Luzon. Among its outstanding accomplishments were:

  1. No bomber or torpedo plane that it was delegated to escort was ever shot down by an enemy plane.
  2. Commander T. H. Winters, Jr., and Lieutenant Garbow are and probably will remain the only two men who have ever seen three enemy aircraft carriers actually sink in one day.
  3. Lieutenant William Masoner shot down six enemy twin engine bombers in one day and brought back a gun camera film to prove it.
  4. The squadron shot down 155 enemy aircraft in a period of a little over three months.

Tally Ho and Splash Sheet


VF-19 VB-19 VT-19
JAPANESE AIRCRAFT 490 133 54
AIRBOURNE 155 10 2
PROBABLES 18 1
ON GROUND 190 105 45
DAMAGED 127 17 9
NAVAL SHIPS SUNK includes {ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO and NACHI} 5 6 5
TONNAGE 3000 67500 62700
DAMAGED 24 10 6
TONNAGE
112000 64530
MERCHANT SHIPS SUNK 25 29 15
TONNAGE 7000 95200 32450
DAMAGED 59 67 28
TONNAGE 9000 133500 28500
CITIES & TOWNS DESTROYED 3 3
INDUSTRIAL TARGETS (MISC) 8 39 34
RADIO STATIONS 2 4 1
POWER PLANTS 1 3 2
FUEL STORAGE 5 12 6
REFINERIES 1 5 5
WAREHOUSES 2 15 20
MILITARY TARGETS 60 44 31
AMMO STORAGE 7 9 1
BARRACKS 22 20 24
HANGERS 31 15 20
GUN EMPLACEMENTS 201 58 19
ANTI AIRCRAFT 86 30 9
COASTAL DEFENSE 8 11 7
Machine gun nests 107 17 4
Airfields struck 71 28 25
Ship and harbor facilities 10 10 10

Awards Received

Lieutenant Bruce Linsday

Lieutenant Bruce A. Linsday.

Born 7 December 1920, Concord Michigan, Bruce Linsday was the son of Allen Clyde and Helen Hubbard Linsday and brother to Elton. Linsday joined the Navy January 1941 and entered Pensacola as a Cadet for flight instruction. He was sworn in as Ensign in the July. In 1943 he was assigned to Fighting Squadron 19 which was forming up at NAS Los Alamitos.

During the campaign, he was awarded the following:

Air Medal 24 September 1944: for shooting down an enemy aircraft, 150 miles from the Lexington, which was heading towards the fleet.

Gold Star in lieu of second Air Medal 24 October 1944: for shooting down a Japanese aircraft over the Philippines.

Navy Cross 25 October 1944: for leading a strafing attack to silence guns of light cruiser and damaged a battleship with 500 lb bomb.

Distinguished Flying Cross 6 November 1944: for flying through intense anti-aircraft fire to seriously damage three enemy cargo ships, two with rockets and strafed the third.

After the war, Bruce Linsday went into teaching and after receiving his Masters Degree, became an elementary school principal. He remained in the Navy reserve, commanding three fighter squadrons and eventually retiring as Navy Captain.

  • NAVY CROSSES:
    • Commander T. H. Winters, Jr. USN, & Gold Star in lieu of 2nd Navy Cross
    • Lieutenant Roger S. Boles. USNR
    • Lieutenant Elvin L. Lindsay. USNR
    • Lieutenant Bruce A. Linsday. USNR
    • Lieutenant Herman J. Rossi, Jr. USNR
    • Lieutenant Albert Seckel, Jr. USNR
    • Lieutenant Henry V. Bonzagni, Jr. USNR
    • Lieutenant Joseph J. Paskoski. USNR
    • Lieutenant Edwin F. Schoch. USNR
    • Lieutenant John F. Hutto. USNR
    • Lieutenant Bruce W. Williams. USNR
    • Lieutenant William J. Masoner, Jr. USNR
    • Lieutenant (jg) Luther D. Prater. USNR
    • Lieutenant (jg) William E. Davis, III. USNR
    • Lieutenant (jg) Charles E. Phillips. USNR
  • SILVER STAR MEDALS: 9
  • DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSSES: 32
  • AIR MEDALS: 25
  • PURPLE HEARTS: 16
Medals, Lt Linsday

The medals awarded to Lt. Bruce Linsday.
Left to right: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Air Medal, Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, World War II Victory Medal.
Picture courtesy of Cpt. Bruce Linsday USNR (RET).

In addition to being one of the most decorated Air Groups of WWII, Air Group 19 boasted eleven air aces, including:

  • Lieutenant Luther D. Prater, Jr. (8 1/2)
  • Lieutenant Cdr. Elvin L. Lindsay (8)
  • Lieutenant Bruce W. Williams (7)
  • Lieutenant (JG) Paul O'Mara, Jr. (7)
  • Lieutenant William E. Copeland (6)
  • Lieutenant Joseph J. Paskoski (6)
  • Lieutenant Herman J. Rossi, Jr. (6)
  • Lieutenant Albert Seckel, Jr. (6)
  • Lieutenant (JG) Robert A. Farnsworth (5)

LossesFolded US flag

Name Status Date AC BuNo From Down
Lieutenant Charles E. Neu Killed 03 September 1943 F6F-3 26120 NAAS Los Alamitos Nr. Norwalk, CA.
Ensign Lawrence G. Harkness Killed 13 December 1943 F6F-3 40526 NAAS Los Alamitos Off Point Firman
Ensign Steve E. Simoncik Missing 11 March 1944 F6F-3 40895 Pearl Harbor Off Kahului Harbor
Ensign Jay R. Millar Missing 22 April 1944 F6F-3 41454 NAS Kahului Maui
Ensign William E. Strunk Missing 18 July 1944 F6F-3 42095 USS Lexington (CV 16) Guam
Ensign D.G. De Luca, jr Missing 20 July 1944 F6F-3 42296 USS Lexington (CV 16) Guam
Ensign B.M. Wakefield Missing 04 August 1944 F6F-3 42356 USS Lexington (CV 16) Iwo Jima
Lieutenant Howard R. Burnett Missing 04 August 1944 F6F-3 42031 USS Lexington (CV 16) Iwo Jima
Ensign Blair M. Wakefield Missing 04 August 1944 F6F-3 42356 USS Lexington (CV 16) Iwo Jima
Ensign Joseph Kelley Missing 05 August 1944 F6F-3 41960 USS Lexington (CV 16) Haha Jima
Ensign Alfred N. Ruffcorn Killed 10 September 1944 F6F-5 58457 USS Lexington (CV 16) Philippines
Lieutenant Donald K. Tripp Killed 12 October 1944 F6F-5 58036 USS Lexington (CV 16) Formosa
Lieutenant Commander Franklin E. Cook Missing 12 October 1944 F6F-5 58565 USS Lexington (CV 16) Formosa
Lieutenant Clarence E . Bartlett Missing 14 October 1944 F6F-3 42327 USS Lexington (CV 16) Formosa
Lieutenant Robert W. Blakeslee Missing 14 October 1944 F6F-5 58415 USS Lexington (CV 16) Formosa
Ensign Francis P. Hubbuch Missing 24 October 1944 F6F-5 70186 USS Lexington (CV 16) Philippines
Ensign William H. Martin Missing 03 November 1944 F6F-5 70787 USS Lexington (CV 16) Philippines
Lieutenant Roger S. Boles Killed 05 November 1944 F6F-5 70686 USS Lexington (CV 16) Philippines
Lieutenant William E. Copeland Missing 06 November 1944 F6F-3 42013 USS Lexington (CV 16) Philippines
Ensign Charles E. Jarvis Killed 13 February 1945 F6F-5 70790 NAAS Santa Rosa North of Novato, California
Lieutenant (jg) Charles Thomas Duncan Killed 17 March 1945 F6F-3 43054 NAAS Santa Rosa Off Point Jenner, CA.

Deployments

From To Carrier Airgroup composition Tailcode Theatre
Jul 1944 Nov 1944 USS Lexington (CV 16) CVG 19: VF 19, VT 19, VB 19
Pacific
Jul 1945 Aug 1945 USS Langley (CV 27) CVG 19: VF 19, VT 19, VB 19, VBF 19 A En route to Pacific
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