This is the true story of one of the most successful of all United States Navy Fighting Squadrons in World War II. They were the top guns of their day and came to be feared by the Japanese fighter pilots who described them as “attacks on us by wolves.” Their victorious achievements are as follows: 152 Japanese planes destroyed in the air and two on the ground in only 76 days of combat; five small enemy cargo ships and 17 barges carrying troops and supplies sent to the bottom of the sea. No bomber escorted by them was lost to enemy aircraft and no ship covered by them was ever hit by bomb or aerial torpedo. The squadron had thirteen aces and two more who later went on to become aces with VF-84 (combat veterans of VF-17 composed the nucleus of this squadron). They were the first Navy squadron into combat action with the new Chance Vought Corsair and were instrumental in proving this powerful new fighter to the Navy. VF-17 were known as the Skull and Crossbones squadron and “Blackburn’s Irregulars” â having adopted the old pirates ensign of the Jolly Roger as the squadron insignia; since World War II they have become known as the “Jolly Rogers.” The Skull and Crossbones Squadron is a mission by mission chronicle of all the squadron’s great air battles. Also included are more than 350 photographs and detailed appendices listing all squadron aces, every confirmed victory and war diary.
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