KITS 05/2022

OTU VF-2, NAS Melbourne, United States of America, October 1944

Naval Air Station Melbourne was established on October 20, 1942 and the first training course commenced on January 18, 1943 on F4F Wildcat aircraft. Hellcats started to arrive at the unit as of June 1, 1943,

fully replaced originally operated Wildcats as of Oc-

tober 1, 1944, and their inventory varied between 75

and 150 machines. During 1944, 546 pilots completed

their pilot training at this base, another 916 pilots

from January to October 1944. Hellcats belonging to

this unit sported a prominent marking carried on the

front part of the engine cowling consisting of stripes

or other geometrical shapes.

Ens. Gordon Arthur Stanley, VF-27, USS Princeton (CVL-23), October 1944

Gordon Arthur Stanley, born on July 13, 1921, in Seattle, Washington state, shot down 8 enemy airplanes

in the course of World War Two, all achieved flying

with VF-27. This unit became famous thanks to its

unique marking - cat mouth and eyes, painted by Ro-


INFO Eduard

bert Burnell on all noses of the Hellcats belonging to

this unit. Most of the Hellcats sporting the cat mouth

with eyes was destroyed on October 24, 1944, during

the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The aircraft ended up on the

ocean bottom together with Light Aircraft Carrier

Princeton sunk by the single bomb launched from

the D4Y Suisei (Judy) dive-bomber. Afterwards VF27 operated from the board of CVL-22 Independence,

however without the cat-mouth and eyes markings.

May 2022