10 July 45. First Strike on Tokyo for Air Group 85
The men of the Shangri-La were not only fighting a war, they were also in the mental business of avenging Pearl Harbor. This was a general feeling throughout the pacific campaign. Thus when any group had “the first” opportunity to attack Tokyo, it was important and sentimental to the men. As a result, the following documents were preserved and kept by two VBF pilots. McCracken kept a flight briefing card dated 10 July 45, on the back of which is a list of aircraft side numbers, and the pilots assigned:
Call sign: Spider 21 was the division of
Joe (Horne) in side #23 (Division and section leader)
Chap (Chapman) in side #26 (flying wing on J. Horne)
Davis in side #29 (section leader flying J. Horne’s other wing)
Kelley in side #6 (flying wing on Davis)
Call sign: Spider 22 was the division of
Hugh (Horne) in side #17 (Division and section leader)
Kirk (Kirkland) in side #27 (flying wing on H. Horne)
MC (McCracken) in side #30 (section leader flying H. Horne’s other wing)
Slats (Slates) in side #19 (flying wing on McCracken)
Standing by is VBF pilot Feeley in a VF aircraft side #43 Schaeffer kept an “undated” VBF-85 flight schedule, in place of the date is typed “Tokyo Express run for D-Day.” Looking down the list, you can see the same two divisions above, in the same order with the same call signs, which correlates the dates as the same. Looking at the flight schedule, it can be seen that Schaeffer was a Division leader, and that his wingman was normally Allen O. Philipp.
This was a busy day for Schaeffer and Philipp, flying the first bomber raid on Tokyo, lead by the XO (O’Neill), from 0500 until 0930; then going back out on an air cover RAP CAP mission from 10:45 until 15:00. That’s pretty much a full day of flying!