Original U.S. WWII Grumman F4F Wildcat Aircraft Manufacturer's Identity Number Skin Piece With Original Photo Of Sailor and Aircraft It Was Taken From - Removed by US Navy Martin PBM Mariner Tail Gunner Jack Moses
Original Item: One-Of-A-Kind. Now this is a fantastic memento of WWII. This piece of aircraft skin bears the identification number of F4F 4 and is from a Grumman Wildcat. Before 1962, the Navy designation system was quite different from what is used now. The first letter was for the class of aircraft (F for fighter in this example). The letter after the number was a code for the manufacturer (F for Grumman, U for Vought, H for McDonnell, B for Boeing, D for Douglas, and so forth). For example F4F the first f was Fighter, the second was Gruman and the 4 stood for the 4th design.
The Grumman F4F Wildcat is an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that entered service in 1940 with the United States Navy, and the British Royal Navy where it was initially known as the Martlet. First used by the British in the North Atlantic, the Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of the Second World War.
This display panel, which appears to have once been framed, measures approximately 14” x 11”. The display features (2) 4 ⅜” x 2 ½” inch black and white photographs. The top picture is of Jack Moses standing next to the aircraft with the identification number on the tail rudder visible and circled. The bottom picture is also of Jack standing with the aircraft but pictured from the front side. The description at the bottom, which was written by Jack, is as follows:
Grumman F4F 4 “Wildcat”
This aircraft manufacturer’s identity number was taken
from the rudder fabric of this U.S. Navy fighter that
crash-landed at NAS Lake City, Florida in the spring of
1944 when its landing gear was stuck in the retracted
position and wouldn’t extend. The plane was tied down at the edge
of the field for months and was eventually surveyed for parts.
I souvenired this from “Boneyard”: 12.23.’44
It is all in wonderful condition and comes more than ready for further research and display.
Jack, the eldest of three, was born December 3, 1925 in Oklahoma City to Samuel J. Moses and Blanche Garten Moses. Jack attended Lincoln Grade School, Webster Jr. High, (where he won the Letsizer Art Award in the ninth grade), and graduated Central High School midterm '44. His father Sam was a WWI Vet & a Sergeant in Company A, 179th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division, Oklahoma National Guard. Some of Jack's happiest days as a boy were spent accompanying Sam to National Guard drills and events. One of the highlights of these trips was serving as Camp Orderly for Company A at a National Guard State-wide encampment in Fort Sill. At Central, he was a member of the Blackshirt Pep Club, was staff artist for the Sooner Spirit, the school's weekly paper and co-art editor of the school yearbook, The Cardinal. Jack was awarded the Silver Medal for art. Upon HS graduation, he and 7 close friends joined the U.S. Navy to serve in WWII. Jack became a tail gunner on a PBM Martin Mariner, and for part of the war was stationed in the Galapagos Islands. He also served aboard the Battleship New Jersey. Later as a Naval Reserve, he served as an instructor in gunnery and aircraft recognition. He was re-called to duty for the Korean Conflict and was stationed in Whidbey Island, Washington where the Navy utilized his artistic abilities on the base newspaper and to make drawings of proposed new hangar buildings for the base's planned enlargement. He received a Navy Letter of Commendation upon discharge.
Grumman F4F Wildcat
The Grumman F4F Wildcat is an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that entered service in 1940 with the United States Navy, and the British Royal Navy where it was initially known as the Martlet. First used by the British in the North Atlantic, the Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of the Second World War. The disappointing Brewster Buffalo was withdrawn in favor of the Wildcat and replaced as aircraft became available.
With a top speed of 318 mph (512 km/h), the Wildcat was outperformed by the faster (331 mph (533 km/h)), more maneuverable, and longer-ranged Mitsubishi A6M Zero. US Navy pilots, including John "Jimmy" Thach, a pioneer of fighter tactics to deal with the A6M Zero, were greatly dissatisfied with the Wildcat's inferior performance against the Zero in the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. The Wildcat has a claimed air combat kill-to-loss ratio of 5.9:1 in 1942 and 6.9:1 for the entire war.
Lessons learned from the Wildcat were later applied to the faster F6F Hellcat. While the Wildcat had better range and maneuverability at low speed, the Hellcat could rely on superior power and high speed performance to outperform the Zero. The Wildcat continued to be built throughout the remainder of the war to serve on escort carriers, where the larger and much heavier Hellcat could not be used.
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