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  F6F-3 Hellcat Bureau Number 66021  
USS Princeton

Pilot  Ensign Leonard C. Keener, O-176922 USNR (MIA / KIA) CA
Crashed  November 1, 1943

Pilot History
Keener earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart posthumously.

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman. Assigned to VF-23.

Mission History
On November 1, 1943 took off from the USS Princeton on a mission over Bonis Airfield. Last seen on a strafing run over the target and failed to return, crashing over the target area.

In the early 1970s, pieces of wreckage with Bureau Number 66021 were noted by Charles Darby at Bonis in a pile where they had been collected.

Charles Darby visited this wreckage in the 1970s:
"I never got any shots of the shredded shards remaining of 66021. Was lucky even to find the serial. Don't know where it crashed --- maybe there's more left there and what I saw was only bits that had been carried back to the scrap pile?"

Officially declared dead on January 11, 1946. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Thanks to Ted Darcy for additional information
Note: Another source incorrectly lists this aircraft lost over Rabaul

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


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