Friday, September 14, 2007

Cdr Hamilton McWhorter 1921-2008

A Georgia native whose family roots date from the regions settlement in the 1700s, Mac McWhorter was a Naval aviation cadet undergoing training when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941

After earning his Wings of Gold in early 1942, Ensign McWhorter was trained as a fighter pilot in the robust but technolgically outmode F4F Wildcat. Initially assigned to VF9 - A fiercly spirited and hard playing fighter squadron. He first saw combat in November 1942 against Vichy French forces in North Africa.

After returning to the united states, VF9 became the first unit to convert to the new Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter. The fighter the US Navy would use to crush Japanese airpower during the long offensive from the Southwest Pacific to the shores of Japan.

From mid 1943, Hamilton McWhorter was constantly engaged in the unforgiving and deadly aerial warfare that characterized the battles against Imperial Japan.His fifth aerial victory, in November 1943 off Tarawa Atoll, made him the first ACE in the Hellcat, and seven subsequent victories ensured his place in the annals of air-to-air combat. McWhorter's combat service, from the beginning of the war to the last campaign off the shores of Okinawa, makes his story a must read for the serious student of the Pacific air war.

Hamilton McWhorter III retired from the Navy as a Commander in 1969.