Its gull-wing shape made it instantly recognizable. Its characteristic sound while in an attack dive led the Japanese to call it "The Whistling Death." Combined with its high speed, agility and toughness, the Vought F4U Corsair was one of the finest fighters ever built. Originally thought to be too powerful to fly from a carrier, the Corsair weaved a path of destruction in battle after battle during WWII, totally outclassing the much-feared Zero. The last of the great piston-engine fighters, the Corsair went on to become an important component of the US naval air power during the Korean War. Even while it was being replaced by jet aircraft, pilots flying this tough warbird were credited with downing a few MiG-15 jet fighters.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USN F-4U-1D Corsair fighter attached to VBF-83, which was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Essex in the spring of 1945.
Wingspan: 6.5 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: June 2005
Historical Account: "Curtain Call" - Following quick repairs, USS Essex operated with Task Force 38 off Leyte supporting the occupation of Mindoro (December 14th - 16th). She rode out the typhoon of December 18th, and made a special search for survivors afterwards. With TG 38.3, she participated in the Lingayen Gulf operations, launched strikes against Formosa, Sakishima, Okinawa, and Luzon. Entering the South China Sea in search of enemy surface forces, the task force pounded shipping and conducted strikes on Formosa, the China coast, Hainan, and Hong Kong. Essex withstood the onslaught of the third typhoon in four months (January 20th - 21st, 1945) before striking again at Formosa, Miyako-jima and Okinawa (January 26th - January 27th).
For the remainder of the war, she operated with TF 58, conducting attacks against the Tokyo area (16th-17th, and February 25th) both to neutralize the enemy's air power before the landings on Iwo Jima and to cripple the aircraft manufacturing industry. She sent support missions against Iwo Jima and neighboring islands, but from March 23rd - May 28th was employed primarily to support the conquest of Okinawa.
In the closing days of the war, Essex took part in the final telling raids against the Japanese home islands (July 10th - August 15th).