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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