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  F6F-5 Hellcat Bureau Number 78022  
USS Langley (CVL-27)

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USN c1940
Pilot  LCDR Merlin Paddock (MIA / KIA) Osmond, NB
Crashed  April 16, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman as Model G-50 in Bethpage, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F6F-5 Hellcat bureau number 78022.

Wartime History
Assigned to the USS Langley (CVL-27) to Carrier Air Group 23 (CAG-23) to squadron VF-23. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On April 16, 1945 at 9:00am took off from USS Langley (CVL-27) piloted by LCDR Merlin Paddock off Okinawa armed with a single 500 pound bomb on a fighter sweep and bombing mission over Kanoya Airfield at Kagoshima on Kyushu Island in Japan. Over the target, this aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Paddock was last seen bailing out and his parachute observed to open over southern Kagoshima. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Recovery of Remains
During 1948, Paddock's remains were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Paddock was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is buried at Osmond Cemetery in Osmond, NB.

Marjorie Paddock (wife)
John Irving (brother)
Ruth Voorhees (sister)

Navy Serial Number Search Results - F6F-5N Hellcat 78022
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List April 1945 - F6F Hellcat 78022
NARA "U. S. S. Langley War Diary April 1945" page 24
"16 April [1945] L-15 day
0900 launched 8 VF for Sweep No. 1 over KAGOSHIMA.
1318 recovered 7 VF from Sweep No. 1 over KAGOSHIMA. Plane No. 14 of VF-23, Bureau No. 78022 piloted by Lt.Comdr. M. PADDOCK, U.S.N., CAG 23 was shot down by enemy A. A. fire over southern KAGOSHIMA. Pilot bailed out and parachuted seen to open."
NARA "Aircraft Action Report VF-23 16 April 1945 Report No. 98" page 1-4
[Page 2] "VF-23 Lt. Comdr. Merlin PADDOCK, USN hit by A/A - bailed out over Kagoshima Airfield Kyushu, Japan. Chute seen to open at 1500 ft. Missing In Action"
[Page 3] Map of Fighter Sweep Over Kagoshima and Ichiki Fields 16 April 1945
[Page 4] Intense medium and light A/A was encountered over the target during the dive, pullout and on retirement, originating from positions emplaced in the hills just west of the field.
FindAGrave - LCDR Merlin Paddock (grave photo)
A War To Be Won "The tragic story of Merlin Paddock as remembered by an enemy pilot and his widow" by Henry Sakaida November 30, 2017
Thanks to Henry Sakaida for additional research and analysis

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Last Updated
April 15, 2020

Tech Info

Photo Archive

Map April 16, 1945

1 Missing
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