BH-03(184) Vought F4U-1D Corsair, VF-84, White 184, 57803, February 1945, Lt. Willis G. Laney
The Vought F4U Corsair is an American fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War 2 and the Korean War. The Corsair was designed as a carrier based aircraft. Initially its difficulty in landing on carriers, rendered it unsuitable for Navy use until the Royal Navy overcame the landing issues.
After the carrier landing issues had been tackled, it quickly became the most capable carrier based fighter bomber of the Second World War.
VF-84 flew F4U Corsairs and was formed around a nucleus of veterans of VF-17, the Jolly Rogers. The new squadron’s commanding officer was Lt. Cdr. Roger R.Hedrick, former executive officer of VF-17.
VF-84 was assigned to the USS Bunker Hill. As part of Task Force 58, the carrier and Carrier Air Group 84 (CVG-84) participated in the final drive across the central Pacific. Roger Hedrick was promoted to head CVG-84 on the combat loss of the air group’s commanding officer, and Lt. Cdr. Raymond “Ted” Hill took over the fighter squadron.
VF-84 took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima; raids on Tokyo and other targets in Japan; the discovery and sinking of the Japanese battleship Yamato and support of the invasion of Okinawa, including combat air patrol over the invasion fleet to defend against Kamikaze attack, ground support, and combat air patrol over targets on Okinawa.
On 11 May 1945, while off Okinawa, two Japanese kamikazes struck the Bunker Hill in quick succession, with a bomb penetrating to the pilots’ ready room, killing 22 members of VF-84. Both the Bunker Hill (then the TF-58 flagship) and CAG-84 were knocked out of the war. Although VF-84 was reformed in July 1945 as an F6F Hellcat squadron, the war ended while it was still in training. While in the Pacific, VF-84 was credited with 92 kills for a loss of 4 aircraft and nine of the squadron’s pilots became aces.