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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Remembering Charles Arthur Tabberer (1915-1942)

 This is a draft post I had written 5 months ago using what I had found on the Internet.

1942 VF (5) Squadron Saratoga 3-22 Tabberer

Charles Arthur Tabberer-born on 18 December 1915 in Kansas City, Kansas -enlisted in the Naval Reserve on 12 October 1939 and was appointed an aviation cadet on 11 January 1940. Following flight training in Florida at Pensacola and Miami, Cadet Tabberer was designated a naval aviator on 1 November. He was commissioned an ensign in the Naval Reserve on 12 December. After further training at San Diego, California, he was ordered to report to Fighting Squadron 5 (VF-6) which was then assigned to Yorktown (CV-6).
Ens. Tabberer served with VF-6 throughout his short naval career. Promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on 29 May 1942, his squadron was assigned to Saratoga (CV-3) for the invasion of Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands. Lt. (jg.) Tabberer was one of the 11 “Wildcat” (F4F) pilots lost when elements of the Japanese 26th Air Flotilla opposed the Guadalcanal invasion force on 7 August. Through the efforts of Tabberer and his comrades, the Japanese aerial forces were beaten back. For his sacrifice, Lt. (jg.) Tabberer was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, posthumously.

A ship was named after him.
(DE-418: dp. 1,350, l. 306’0″, b. 37’7″, dr. 13’4″, s. 24.3 k. (tl.); cpl. 222; a. 2 6″, 10 40mm., 3 21″ tt.; cl. John C. Butler)

Tabberer (DE-418) was laid down at Houston, Tex., on 12 January 1944 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 18 February 1944, sponsored by Mrs. Mary M. Tabberer, and commissioned on 23 May 1944, Lt. Comdr. Henry Lee Plage, USNR, in command.
On 27 June, Tabberer headed toward Bermuda for shakedown training. At the end of a fortnight’s postshakedown availability at the Boston Navy Yard, she got underway on 16 August to escort Severn (AO-61) to the Hawaiian Islands. The two ships transited the Panama Canal late that month and reached Pearl Harbor on 7 September. For over a month, the destroyer escort conducted underway training in the waters surrounding the islands. Her exercises included antisubmarine warfare drills and gunfire p ractice. She also screened carriers Coral Sea (CVE-67), Ranger (CV-4), and Saratoga (CV-3) during night flying qualifications and amphibious support training.
On 16 October, Tabberer sortied from Pearl Harbor with Task Group (TG) 12.7, a hunter/killer group built around Anzio (CVE-67), formerly Coral Sea (CVE67). Upon arrival at Eniwetok on the 23d, the ships joined Admiral Halsey’s 3d Fleet and, on 27 October, stood out of Eniwetok as TG 30.7. After stopping at Ulithi during the first three days of November, the task group headed for the 3d Fleet fueling group’s operating area to conduct antisubmarine sweeps. On 18 November, TG 30.7 registered its first kill when Tabberer’s sister-ship Lawrence C. Tavlor (DE-416) sent I-41 to the bottom after a coordinated depth charge attack with Melvin R. Nawman (DE-416). Following a r eplenishment period at Ulithi, Tabberer sortied with TG 30.7 on 9 December to resume antisubmarine sweeps of the Philippine Sea during Task Force 38’s Luzon strikes in support of the Mindoro landings.
On 17 December, as Tabberer was steaming in company with the 3d Fleet fueling group to the east of the Philippine Islands, rising wind and a choppy sea forced her to break off preparations to take on fuel. The barometer dropped precipitously as the weather grew worse. By evening, the little warship was fighting a full typhoon. During the night, Tabberer lost steerageway and could not fight her way out of the deep troughs. She frequently took rolls up to 60 degrees and, on several occasions, approached an angle of 72 degrees from the vertical.
The high winds and seas continued to batter her on the 18th. By 1830, her mast and radio antennae were gone. At 2130, a signalman trying to rig an emergency antenna sounded the “man overboard” alarm. Tabberer rushed to the rescue. Once on board, the sailor reported that he was from Hull (DD-360) and that his ship had gone down about noon that day. Thus, she was the first ship of the 3d Fleet to learn of the tragedy of 18 December 1944. Though unable to call for help, she immediately embarked upon a search for other survivors. Her rescue efforts continued through the night, all day on the 19th, and into the 20th. In all, she saved 55 officers and men both from Hull and Spence (DD512). Later, Tabberer was relieved by other units of the fleet, and they rescued an additional 36 men, a few of whom belonged to the crew of the typhoon’s third victim Monaghan (DD-354). Outstanding rescue efforts during the storm won several members of Tabberer’s crew Navy and Marin e Corps medals, Lt. Comdr. Plage, the Legion of Merit, and the ship, the Navy Unit Commendation.
On 21 December, the destroyer escort reentered Ulithi lagoon before heading back to Hawaii. She stopped at Eniwetok early in January 1945 and reached Oahu soon thereafter. Following a short availability, she stood out of Pearl Harbor on 29 January. She steamed via Eniwetok and Saipan to screen TF 38 during the air strikes in support of the marines who stormed ashore at Iwo Jima on 19 February. Tabberer remained in the Voleano Islands through the first week of Mareh, screening the carriers from enemy submarines and aircraft. Though the task force was subjected to several air attacks and carriers suffered kamikaze and bomb hits, Tabberer sustained no damage. On 7 March, she headed for the Philippines and entered San Pedro Bay Leyte, on the 12th.
From late March to early May, the destroyer escort cruised with various task groups of TF 38 during the invasion of Okinawa. Once again, she protected the American earriers from Japanese submarines and aircraft while their planes struck enemy positions. Although she operated continuously for 52 days and sighted many unidentified planes, the ship never came under attack. Frequently, she rejoined the Anzio hunter/killer group for night antisubmarine sweeps.
Tabberer put into Apra Harbor, Guam, on 11 May to replenish and make repairs. On the 23d, she departed again and rejoined Anzio for further antisubmarine operations on the sea lanes between Okinawa and the Marianas. On 31 May, Anzio planes scored a kill, and Tabberer assisted Oliver Mitchell (DE-417) in recovering evidence of their sueeess. Following a visit, lasting just over a fortnight, to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, she resumed antisubmarine sweeps with the Anzio task group. For the remainder of the war, she hunted Japanese submarines and protected the logistics group during the 3d Fleet’s final air assault on the Japanese home islands. During the final month of the war, she destroyed mines and rescued four d owned Anzio airerewmen.
After the cessation of hostilities on 15 August 1945, Tabberer remained in the Far East to support the occupation forces. She escorted ships between Okinawa; Jinsen, Korea, and Tientsin and Taku, China. She also destroyed mines in the Yellow Sea. On 22 December, the little warship departed Tsingtao, China, to return to the United States. Along the way, she made stops at Okinawa, Eniwetok, and Pearl Harbor before entering San Francisco on 15 January 1946. In April, she shifted to San Diego where she was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 24 April 1946.
Tabberer was recommissioned at San Diego on 7 April 1951, Lt. Comdr. Willard J. McNulty in command. In June, she changed home ports from San Diego to Newport, R.I., and in August reported for duty with the Atlantie Fleet. For the next nine years, she operated along the Atlantic seaboard from Key West, Florida, to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Frequently, she operated in the Caribbean area, often near Guantanamo Bay and Vieques Island. Tabberer participated in a variety of exercises and, on several occa sions, embarked Naval Academy and NROTC midshipmen for their summer cruises. She left the western Atlantic only once during this period-in the fall of 1957-for a two-month deployment to the Mediterranean. After that, she resumed her operations along the east coast.
On 19 April 1959, the destroyer escort put into port for the last time. At Philadelphia, she began preparations for deactivation. Tabberer was placed out of commission, in reserve, in May 1960 and was berthed at Philadelphia for the remainder of her career. On 1 August 1972, her name was struck from the Navy list and, on 3 October 1973, she was sold for scrapping to Mr. David Hahn of Key West, Florida.
Tabberer earned four battle stars and a Navy Unit Commendation for service in World War II.

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Dick Gray survived!

Update about Lieutenant Richard L. Gray.

From the collection of Robert B. Brunson

Robert Brunson

Ensigns learning squadron tactics before joining a squadron

Dick Gray

Message from Robert Brunson…

After returning to the States, Dick was as J.G. and was our Instructor for a couple of months in Operational Training at Jacksonville. He worked with eight of us flying F4F Wildcat in February-March of 1943.