Remembering Ensign Mark K. Bright (1919-1944)

1942 VF (5) Squadron Saratoga 3-27 Bright

Lieutenant (j.g.), U.S. Navy R
Fighting Squadron 5 (VF-5), U.S.S. Saratoga
Date of Action: August 7, 1942


The Navy Cross is presented to Mark K. Bright, Lieutenant (j.g.), U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Wingman, Fifth Division, Fighting Squadron Five, during the Guadalcanal-Tulagi action on August 7, 1942. Upon sighting an enemy force of eleven dive bombers about to enter upon a diving attack against transports and other surface vessels, Lieutenant (j.g.) Bright played an important role in an attack upon them which resulted in the destruction of nine of them, thereby breaking up the enemy attack and preventing the enemy from registering any hits upon their targets. He personally shot down two of the enemy bombers, one of them while in its dive before its bombs had been released. He also assisted in destroying two other planes which crashed under the combined fire of his guns and those of other friendly pilots. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service.

CinC Pac Serial 28 (1943)
Birth: 2/8/1919 – Lodi, CA
Home Town: Anderson, IN




During the morning of 17 June 1944, Lt Mark K. Bright, an F4F and F6F ace (9 kills) serving with VF-16, is killed by antiaircraft fire while attacking ground targets at Guam/Agana Airdome.


Remembering Ensign Foster J “Crud” Blair (1920-1969)

1942 VF (5) Squadron Saratoga 3-26 Blair

Blair’s name appears many times in the book. The author used his diary to document his book.


Ensign Foster J “Crud” Blair survived the war, and we even know how he got his nickname.

From the Hall of Valor Website

Foster John Blair
Date of birth: April 13, 1920
Date of death: July 27, 1969
Burial location: Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Place of Birth: Pennsylvania, Sciota
Home of record: Stroudsburg Pennsylvania

Foster Blair was credited with shooting down 2.33 enemy aircraft in aerial combat during World War II.

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant, Junior Grade [then Ensign] Foster J. Blair, United States Naval Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity with the enemy while his squadron has been based at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. Ensign Blair his distinguished himself heroically in aerial combat with complete disregard for personal safety while shooting down two enemy bombers in action occurring over Guadalcanal on 28 September 1942. His gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: September 28, 1942

Service: Navy

Battalion: Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3)

More here

Foster Blair was born on April 13, 1920, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program on February 26, 1941, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Miami, Florida, on October 14, 1941. His first assignment was as an F4F Wildcat pilot with VF-5 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) from November 1941 to December 1942, and during this time he was officially credited with the destruction of 2 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, plus 1 damaged; although he claimed the destruction of 4. After serving with VF-3 from January to April 1943, LtJg Blair served as an F6F Hellcat pilot with VC-21 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nassau (CVE-16) from April to June 1943. His next assignment was as an F6F pilot with VF-6 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVL-22) from June to November 1943, and during this time he claimed another enemy aircraft destroyed in the air, although he was only officially given credit for 0.333 of the victory. This gave him a total claimed of 5 during World War II, but he was only officially given credit for 2.333 air victories with 1 damaged. LT Blair served with VC-39 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56) in November 1943; having landed on another aircraft carrier when his ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine on November 23, 1943. He next served as a flight instructor at NAS Sanford, Florida, from January 1944 to June 1945, followed by service as an Air Coordinator with the Pacific Fleet from June to November 1945. LCDR Blair served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from July 1946 to July 1953, and during this time he served as Executive Officer of VF-79A at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, as Executive Officer of Fleet Air Service Squadron 832 (FASRON-832) at NAS New York, as Officer in Charge of RTU-1 at NAS Willow Grove, and then as Assistant Officer in Charge of BTU-1N at NAAS Whiting Field, Florida. He returned to active duty in the Navy in July 1953, and attended helicopter pilot training at NAAS Ellyson Field, Florida, from July to September 1953. He served a brief tour on the General Court Martial Board from September to November 1953, and then served as a helicopter pilot and as Operations Officer of HU-2 at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, from November 1953 to March 1956. During this time he deployed aboard the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) from May to August 1955. CDR Blair served at NAS MFS, Millington, Tennessee, from March 1956 to January 1959, and then at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, from January 1959 to June 1962. His next assignment was at Naval Station Rota, Spain, from June 1962 to May 1964, followed by service with the Inspector of Naval Materials on Long Island, New York, from May 1964 to November 1965. His final assignment was at Headquarters 3rd Naval District in New York City from November 1965 until his retirement from the Navy on June 30, 1966. Foster Blair died on June 27, 1969, and was buried at the Laurelwood Cemetery in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

His Silver Star Citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity with the enemy while his squadron has been based at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. Ensign Blair his distinguished himself heroically in aerial combat with complete disregard for personal safety while shooting down two enemy bombers in action occurring over Guadalcanal on 28 September 1942.

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Remembering Ensign Horace Ancel Bass Junior (1915-1942)

1942 VF (5) Squadron Saratoga 3-25 BassBass was born in Roanoke, Virginia on 22 September 1915, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 24 February 1941. In May 1941 he was designated “aviation cadet”, and after aviation training was appointed ensign on 5 December 1941. Bass underwent further flight training and reported to aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) in early 1942.
Assigned to aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) during the pivotal Battle of Midway, he flew as part of the combat air patrol on 4 June 1942, and, although his plane was damaged, shot down an attacking Japanese dive bomber and a fighter. For his important part in the battle Bass was awarded the Navy Cross.
Assigned to Fighting Squadron 5 on board Saratoga, Bass again flew in the combat air patrol during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons of 23–25 August 1942. As he and his fellow pilots protected Saratoga, Bass was shot down and reported missing in action. He was presumed dead on 24 August 1942.

A ship was named after him.


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Remembering Ensign Leon W. Haynes

1942 VF (5) Squadron Saratoga 3-21

About the time Thatch and Sellstrom were landing on Lexington, Gill’s radar operators reported another suspected snooper to the north. This time LT Gill selected the two-plane “Orange Section” of LTJG Onia B. Stanley and ENS Leon W. Haynes to check out the intruder. To illustrate the terse and compact fighter direction vocabulary, the entire vector order was as follows, “Orange Section from Romeo—Vector three four three—Buster—Angels six.” Orange Section has already been explained, and “Romeo” was Gill’s call sign. The rest meant take a heading of magnetic 343 degrees at maximum sustained power at an altitude of 6,000 feet. The only higher power setting would be “Gate” meaning full military power, which could only be used for a short time without engine damage. They proceeded out about twenty miles when ENS Haynes spotted another “BIG” silver four-engine flying boat, which apparently also spotted the two fighters because it immediately jettisoned its bombs to gain flying speed. LTJG Stanley tallyhoed back to Gill, and the two fighters set up their attack while sparkling flashes and tracers coming from their intended target showed that gunners with twenty mm cannons on the big boat were seeking their range. On their first pass Stanley’s four fifty caliber machine guns failed to fire, but Haynes had the satisfaction of putting the tail cannon out of action. In the meantime Stanley realized he had not flipped on the gun master arm switch because it was located in a different position than in the Wildcat he usually flew. In the next pass his guns worked and he could see his tracers penetrating through the wing and in to the cockpit. The engine area of the wing was soon a sheet of fire and gray smoke, and the huge craft went into a steep dive that ended up as a circle of flame on the ocean’s surface. The task force could also see the smoke of the second burning Kawanishi. [33, pp.93-94]



The pilots of the U.S. Navy Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3) in front of a Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat fighter, 5 March 1942.

Standing (l-r): Newton H. Mason, Howard F. Clark, Edward R. Sellstrom, Willard E. Eder, Howard L. Johnson, John H. Lackey, Leon W. Haynes, Onia B. Stanley, Jr., Dale W. Peterson, Marion W. Dufilho, Rolla S. Lemmon.

Sitting (l-r): Robert J. Morgan, Albert O. Vorse, Jr., Donald A. Lovelace, John S. “Jimmy” Thach, Noel A.M. Gayler, Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare, Richard M. Rowell.

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Remembering Lieutenant Alexander F. Barbieri (1907-1993)

1942 VF (5) Squadron Saratoga 3-23 Barbieri



In spring 1942, VF-5 received two eX-lawyers recently commissioned as A-V(S) lieutenants, Alexander F. Barbieri and William S. Robb. They fearlessly employed their administrative skills to handle the paperwork. Simpler later quipped that when necessary they even “bossed” him around. 

 Found on Find a Grave

Alexander F Barbieri

Birth: 1907
Death: 1993

Inscription: CDR US NAVY World War II Bronze Star Medal

Burial: Holy Cross Cemetery
Yeadon, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot: Section 12 Range 5

Alexander F. Barbieri, A Longtime Judge, 85
Published: January 12, 1993

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 11— Alexander F. Barbieri, a former administrator of the Pennsylvania court system and an active judge until last May, died Saturday at his home in Chestnut Hill. He was 85.

Judge Barbieri, who was born in Philadelphia, served on the Common Pleas Court, the Commonwealth Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a judicial career that spanned nearly three decades.

He was appointed to the Common Pleas Court in 1964 by Gov. William Scranton. In 1970 Judge Barbieri was one of the founding judges appointed by Gov. Raymond Schaefer to the Commonwealth Court, which was established to ease some of the appellate burden on the Superior Court. In 1971 he was named to a seat on the State Supreme Court, but lost a retention election the next year.

In 1973 he returned to Common Pleas Court. The next year he was appointed administrator for all Pennsylvania courts, a position he held until 1983, when he became a senior judge on the Commonwealth Court.

Judge Barbieri is survived by his wife, Dorothy; three daughters, Alexis Wiley, Christina Young and Andrea Barbieri; a grandson, four brothers and three sisters.

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