VF-18 Fickle Fingers F6F-5 Hellcat Model
Fly with the VF-18 Fickle Fingers in this hand crafted F6F-5 Hellcat Model. Each model is carved from wood and hand painted to provide a unique piece that will always be treasured. This model was made for family members of LTJG Ralph Dupont, who was KIA during Formosa.
- Length – 13.5 inches; Width ~17 Inches
- Made from Mahogany
- US Veteran Owned Business
Fighting Squadron 18 (VF-18) was a unit of the United States Navy that served on the USS Intrepid (CV-11) in 1944. It was the second squadron to be given the VF-18 designation. During its time on the Intrepid, VF-18 provided air support for the invasion of Peleliu, participated in the last major air battle in the Pacific, and played a role in locating and launching the first strikes against the Imperial Japanese Navy’s primary battleship fleet during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Upon returning to the US, VF-18 gained widespread recognition for its success in combat and was given the nickname “Two-a-Day 18” due to the number of enemy aircraft its pilots destroyed. The squadron’s leading ace and the Navy’s second-highest scoring fighter pilot, Cecil Harris, also gained significant media attention. VF-18 is now recognized as the fourth-highest scoring Grumman F6F Hellcat squadron of World War II.
On October 12, the Task Group 38.2 launched fighter sweeps over northern Formosa in order to destroy Japanese air power in preparation for the amphibious invasion of the Philippines. The Japanese, who had been on alert following carrier strikes on the Ryukyus, responded by sending hundreds of aircraft to defend the island’s air bases and attack Halsey’s carriers. During this engagement, Fighting Squadron 18’s youngest pilot, Arthur Mollenhauer, shot down five Japanese planes in quick succession, earning him the title of “ace” and press coverage in newspapers across the country. Despite this success, the squadron also suffered significant losses over Formosa, with several pilots being shot down or forced to bail out. The air battle continued for the next four days, with VF-18 pilots participating in strike missions against Formosa and repelling waves of Japanese bombers during combat air patrol (CAP). On October 14, the squadron successfully turned back an attack by around 30 enemy aircraft and was credited with a total of 23 Japanese planes shot down. Three of these were claimed by Cecil Harris, bringing his total number of enemy planes destroyed to 13 and solidifying his position as one of the country’s leading aces.