Tuesday, April 3, 2012
VF-42 Wildcat Aboard USS Yorktown, 1941
As we approach the anniversaries of the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway, it is important to note the numerous Hampton Roads connections to both battles. We will start with this picture of Ensign Arthur J. Brassfield overseeing the maintenance of an F4F-3A Wildcat fighter aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) on November 14, 1941. The carrier was conducting neturality patrols in the North Atlantic at the time of this picture.
The fighter and men belong to the NAS Norfolk-based fighter squadron VF-42. Yorktown was built at Newport News Shipbuilding in the 1930s and then homeported at Naval Operating Base Norfolk until her departure on December 16, 1941. "Art" Brassfield served both as a Wildcat pilot and as the squadron's engineering officer. During the Battle of the Coral Sea, Brassfield shot down one Type 99 dive bomber, an A6M "Zero," and four Type 99s during the Battle of Midway.
More local connections to these battles will come in future posts.