|Pilot 1st Lt S. O. Hall (rescued)
Crashed July 18, 1943
Built by Chance-Vought. Delivered to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) as F4U-1 Corsair bureau number unknown. Assigned to squadron VMF-213. No known nickname or nose art.
On July 18, 1943 took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal this Corsair piloted by 1st Lt. Hall at 7:35am leading a division as part of a three divisions of F4U Corsairs from VMF-213 on a mission to escort nine B-24 Liberators on a bombing mission against Kahilli Airfield on southern Bougainville.
Over the target at 23,000' the formation approached the target from the northeast. As the B-24s started their bomb run, approximately thirty A6M Zeros intercepted that attempted to lure the Corsairs escort away from the bombers.
Lt. Hall's division did not encounter Zeros until over Fauro Island while returning homeward. Spotting Zeros below chasing an American plane, Hall and 1st Lt. E. O. Shaw dove down and chased them off the tail of the plane they were attacking. Shaw set one of the Zeros on fire causing it to go down in flames.
Next, four Zeros attacked Hall and Shaw from above, one of which hit Hall's Corsair causing it to smoke. He sucessfully ditched roughly 5 miles off the eastern tip Mali Island off Choiseul Island. Other Corsairs observed him being strafed. When this aircraft failed to return, Hall was declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was F4U Corsair piloted by Winnia (MIA/POW).
Fates of the Crew
In fact, Hall survived, escaped from behind enemy lines and was returned to duty.
VMF-213 War Diary July 1943 pages 34-35
Page 35: "Four zeros attacked Hall and Shaw from above, one of which got a successful shot into Hall's plane, starting it smoking. Hall went into a glide in the direction of Choiseul and was last seen to land in the water about 5 miles off the eastern tip of Mali Island."
War Diary VMF-213 October 1943 page 19 "Squadron Losses of Pilots and Planes - Lt. Hall F4U"
Charles C. Winnia Diary, July 18, 1943
"Mission to Kahili well done –" [Believed to have been written by Lt. Alonzo B. Treffer] "Lt. Winnia lost in a dog fight over Kahili. Lt. 'Red' Hall went down Choiseul near Bougainville. Hall made a safe crash landing 5 Zeros strafed him. Only 11 pilots left.. [in VMF-213 as of this date]"
AAIR USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List July 1943 - F4U piloted by Hall July 18, 1943 no bureau number listed
National Public Radio (NPR) "A World War II Diary and Lost Love" March 3, 2004
Thanks to Alonzo B. Treffer family for additional information
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February 14, 2020