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USS Yorktown CV-10
Kenneth Moore 2005
|Pilot Lt(jg) Roy A. Bechtol, O-251371 (KIA) Lubbock, TX
Crashed June 23, 1944
Built by Grumman as Model G-50 in Bethpage, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F6F-3 Hellcat bureau number 42135.
Assigned to the USS Yorktown CV-10 to Air Group One (AG-1), to Fighting Squadron One "High Hatters" (VF-1). No known nickname or nose art.
On June 23, 1944 at 12:28pm took off from USS Yorktown CV-10 piloted by Lt(jg) Roy A. Bechtol on a mission against Pagan Island. Over the target, while strafing Pagan Airfield hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed in flames into the ground. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Bechtol was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, posthumously. Bechtol is memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at the courts of the missing, court 5. He also has a memorial marker at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery in Austin, TX.
The crash site of this Hellcat remains on Pagan Airfield. During 2005, the crash site of this Hellcat was visited by Kenneth Moore.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F6F-3 Hellcat 42135
NARA "Fighting Squadron One (VF-1) [May 1943] 1 October 1944 - 22 October 1945 (2) page 14
"Bechtol, Roy Alph - Lieutenant (jg), A-V(N), USNR. Age: 23 Nickname: 'Beck' Next of kin: Mrs. Billie Jo Bechtol, (wife)., Home address: 2614 - 25th, Lubbock, Texas. Decorations: [blank] Combat record: Planes destroyed airborne: Four planes plus bomb hit on Hayataka class carrier. Strikes (location and number): Guam 6, Bonin Islands 2, Pagan 1, Jap Fleet 1, Shipping strikes 1. Killed in action over Pagan Island 23 July 1944."
NARA "USS Yorktown War Diary 20 June 1944 Air Group One page 27b, 31
(Page 27b) "20 June 1944 - Air Group One, VF-1 Lt(jg) Roy A. Bechtol"
(Page 31) "One F6F and pilot [Bechtol] were seen to crash in flames over target."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roy A. Bechtol
FindAGrave - LtJg Roy A Bechtol (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Roy A. Bechtol (memorial marker photo)
Saipan Tribune "WWII Fighter Plane Found on Pagan In CNMI" December 9, 2005
Saipan Tribune "Finding lost WWII plane is Christmas Gift to Pilot's Family" Dec 25, 2005
Leatherneck Magazine "Moore's Marauders: Finding a Few Good Men and Women" March 2010 pages 33-36
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