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Cmdr. "Tommy" Blackburn ~ Free Shipping

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11 x 14 Print Size ---- Unlimited Print Edition
“Tommy” Blackburn's squadron included 10 ensigns and two fliers with combat experience. During their period of familiarization with the new corsairs, VF-17 became known as “Blackburn’s Irregulars” & official naval parlance called the men “high-spirited” because of their hell-raising antics with the powerful Corsairs. They ran trucks off the road by flying inverted down the highway, staged dogfights over racetracks, hedgehopped over official ceremonies making the navy brass “hit the dirt”, and buzzed residential areas, which resulted in howling protests. Blackburn insisted that his unit would give the Japanese real trouble if they could ever get into combat. His wish was granted & the unit was finally assigned to the aircraft carrier “Bunker Hill”. However, the orders were changed and VF-17 arrived at Ondonga, New Georgia, in October 1943 as a land-based unit due to alleged inadequacies of the corsair landing gear. “Blackburn’s Irregulars” adopted a “Jolly Roger”-skull and crossbones on a black flag-for their unit insignia, which was painted on each side of the engine cowl.

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