Incident Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat 2529,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 78087
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Date:Thursday 8 January 1942
Type:Silhouette image of generic WCAT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat
Owner/operator:VF-42 US Navy
Registration: 2529
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Pacific Ocean -   Pacific Ocean
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:USS Yorktown
Destination airport:
On 6 January 1942 the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown and her escort left San Diego towards the Samoa Island and then the Pacific theater. On the 8th, the Yorktown launched at 1415 hrs the second flight of the day, 12 planes, for a 100 mile search ahead, 30 mile search astern and for inner air and combat patrol. At 14:17 hrs, Ens William S Woollen of VF-42 took off but went off the end of the flight deack without enough speed. His left wing dropped and his F4F-3 BuNo 2529 went into the water 300 yards ahead of the carrier. The latter steered to avoid the plane and the destroyer USS Russel proceeded to pick up pilot. That was done at 1430 hrs. The fighter sank.

Woollen was rescued unhurt, but when the Yorktown crossed the Equator six days later, he was accused by King Neptune's Court of swimming in unauthorized waters as well as attempting to make a land place do what a seaplane is supposed to do. On board the destroyer Walke, he was thoroughly initiated into that worthy organization of King Neptune's with the title of "Senior Aviator Aboard the USS Walke.


"They Turned the War Around at Coral Sea and Midway: Going to War with Yorktown's Air Group Five", by Stuart D. Ludlum. ISBN 1-57638-016-5
CINCPAC War Diary, January 1942 (available online at

Revision history:

19-Jul-2017 13:12 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Country, Phase, Source, Narrative]
08-Sep-2018 13:58 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
24-Dec-2020 21:00 Reno Raines Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Narrative, Operator]

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