January 1945 until September 1945

Attached to Air Group 85 on the USS Shangri-La, CV-38

 

 
Email from Rob Mears 31 May 08

Subject: VBF-85 Combat Veteran Corsair


    I thought that you might be interested to know that, of the ninety-eight or so F4U Corsairs still in existence today, only five (5) of the earlier -1, -1A, -1D models that are still around actually flew in combat during World War II.  One of these planes is a Goodyear-produced FG-1D Corsair, BuNo.92213.  My recent research has uncovered that this plane actually flew with VBF-85 from 7/22/1945 until 9/27/1945 during the final days of the war!

    I've been researching the surviving Corsair population for close to 25 years, and I'm about to publish a book outlining the in-depth individual histories of each of these historic aircraft.  As you can imagine, this small handful of Corsairs that actually took part in WWII combat operations are top priority in regard to my research.

    I was hoping you might help me determine some facts regarding this plane.  All I have that ties FG-1D, BuNo.92213 to VBF-85 is the simple squadron assignment that was entered on the planes Naval Aircraft History Card.  If you are in contact with any of the original pilots or their families, it would be wonderful if there was a way to review their log books to see if any of them operated FG-1D, BuNo.92213 between July & September 1945. 

    The current owner of the plane is performing a meticulous restoration of the fighter back to airworthy condition in California, and in a few more years it should take to the skies again.  I was hoping you might have larger-scale scans of the VBF-85 Corsair photos displayed on your website.  We've been looking for detailed shots of the paint scheme worn by the VBF-85 Corsairs during that time, and these are the first I've seen!!  They will certainly help to recreate the paint scheme for the restoration.  It's fascinating to wonder if one of the planes in these photos might actually BuNo.92213 itself!  Very exciting stuff :)

    I very much look forward to hearing from you, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions for you as well.  Thanks!

    Rob

Rob Mears
F4U Corsair Historian