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Location: /Squadron Patches/USN NAVY Squadrons

WWII Patch, USN, VF-31 Flying MeatAxes

WWII Patch, USN, VF-31  Flying MeatAxes

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch
USN VF-31
Navy Fighter Squadron 31
USS Cabot  (CVL-28)
Flying Meat Axes
5.25 inches


VF-31, "The Flying Meataxes" destroyed 165 Japanese airplanes in aerial combat, tops among all CVL (light carrier) squadrons. They deployed with USS Cabot, CVL-28, from November, 1943 through September 1944. The squadron was established on May 1, 1943, under command of Lt. Cdr. Robert A. Winston, and left San Diego NAS in November 1943, to take part in the havoc that the Fast Carrier Task Force wreaked upon the Japanese Navy in 1944.

Squadron # "Nickname" Start End A/C Carrier/Base Top Ace (kills w/ sqn) CO (kills w/ sqn) Kills #
Aces
VF-31 "Meataxers" Jan 1944 Sep 1944 F6F Cabot CVL-28 Cornelius Nooy (19) Bob Winston 165.5 14

A list of their raids reads like an inspection tour of Jap bases:
Kwajalein - Jan. 29, 1944 -  Having conquered the Gilberts, the Fast Carrier Task Force turned its attention to the Marshalls in January 1944, with Kwajalein atoll first on the hit list. Cabot and Essex staged the first fighter sweep on Jan. 29. Lt. Cdr. Winston, a fighter pilot for eight years, led eleven F6Fs on this sweep, the "Meataxers" first combat. Three pilots missed the pre-dawn rendezvous, but Winston led his remaining planes to provide top cover for the Essex fighters, who were busy strafing down below. Herb Houck, VF-9 CO, radioed back that there was heavy overcast at 6,000 feet. So Winston led his division in at 5,000 feet and sent the other VF-31 division to 25,000 feet. Winston and his wingman, Ens. Cornelius Nooy, joined up with a column of aircraft in the early morning gloom, only to find out they were Zeros. After Winston fired at the tail-end Charlie, the Zeros turned and attacked the two Hellcat pilots, who only escaped by flying a tight Thach weave. One Zero came in too close and Winston got off a deflection shot that dropped him in the lagoon. After more maneuvering, the Grummans broke off and outran the Jap fighters. (Nooy was also credited with a win on this mission.)   All but one of the "Meataxers'" planes returned to Cabot on this day. One damaged fighter had ditched; fortunately a destroyer rescued the pilot.
Truk - Feb. 16
Palau - Apr. 1 -  Pushing westward through the Pacific, the carrier task force (TF-58) struck Palau for two days, starting on March 31. Lt. Cdr. Winston's division of VF-31 had CAP on the evening of April 1, when the FDO vectored them onto a radar blip 75 miles out. The four Hellcats investigated and found 9 Judy dive bombers flying in three V of V's. The lethal Grumman fighters made short work of the outclassed bombers: Winston splashed 3, Nooy also splashed 3, and the other Cabot pilots finished off the rest.  Cabot, along with the rest of TF-58, rested and refitted, at Majuro anchorage for a week in April.
Hollandia - Apr. 21
Truk - Apr. 29-30 -  The next time VF-31 faced enemy fighters, Lt. Nooy scored a triple, and Ray Hawkins got his first. Cabot was part of Task Group 58.2 - four carriers, two cruisers, one battleship, and nineteen destroyers. The carriers cruised in a diamond formation, with cruisers and battleship inside and the destroyers in a four-mile circle around the outside. All these supporting ships provided anti-submarine defense and an awesome amount of anti-aircraft fire.  Cabot was on the starboard point of the diamond, closest to Truk on this morning at 0530. The carrier was in Condition One, with four Hellcats idling on deck, two of them in the catapults, ready for launch in a matter of seconds. At 0545 word came from the CIC that 12 Jap torpedo bombers were approaching; Hawkins was catapulted off and almost immediately came face-to-face with a Kate. With a burst from his .50 caliber machines guns, he sent it into the drink. He turned around and followed the other enemy planes, right through the wall of flak being thrown up by the American ships. At such times the AA gunners forgot any aircraft recognition skills they had, and blasted away at anything in the sky. Hawkins spent an eternity in the two minutes it took him to pass through the fleet's gunfire. He was unhit, and all the Kates were accounted for, although no more by him that day.
Marianas/Tinian - June 11 -  In this fighter sweep, they scored 13 aerial victories, paced by Lt.(jg) V.A. Rieger.
Marianas/Jap fleet - June 19  -  Like most Hellcat squadrons, the Meataxers scored heavily on this day, downing 28(?) enemy planes. John Wirth got four and Ray Hawkins got three.
Iwo Jima - July 3 -   Nooy had 4 kills, on his way to becoming the top CVL ace of the war, with 19 victories.
Bonin Islands - August
Palau - Sept. 6
Mindanao - Sept. 9 -   Began three weeks of operations in the Philippines
Visayas - Sept. 13 -  Another big day for the squadron, downing 25 Jap planes. Texan Lt.(jg) Ray "Hawk" Hawkins downed five Zeroes over Jap airfields on Negros, on his way to becoming the second ranking VF-31 ace, with 14.
Luzon - Sept. 21 -  This was VF-31's biggest day, scoring 29 kills. "Connie" Nooy was already an ace when he led his division in a raid on Clark Field, outside Manila. Attacked by a large number of enemy fighters, he kept the 500-lb. bomb in its rack, and shot down four of them, while he forced a fifth into the ground (2 Zeros, 2 Tojos, and a Tony). He then delivered his payload into a hangar at the former U.S. base, earning him his second Navy Cross. Hawkins shot down a Zero and three Ki-57 Topsy transports on the same raid.
Luzon - Sept. 22 -   This was the last day of combat for VF-31's Cabot tour, on which they downed 6 Vals, bringing their total for the tour to 145. Having produced 14 aces in their tour, they rotated home at the end of September, and VF-29 replaced them on Cabot in time for the Leyte operations in October. VF-31 returned to the war (briefly) in July, 1945, with USS Belleau Wood, another CVL, and saw three days of combat on this tour, adding another 20 kills, to bring their total to 165 aerial victories.


Citation For Award of The Navy Cross
NOOY, CORNELIUS NICHOLAS
(First Award)
- Synopsis: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Cornelius Nicholas Nooy, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VF-31), embarked from the U.S.S. CABOT (CVL-28), in action on 4 July 1944, while deployed over the Bonin Islands. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Nooy's outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
(Second Award)
- Synopsis: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Cornelius Nicholas Nooy, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VF-31), embarked from the U.S.S. CABOT (CVL-28), in action on 21 September 1944, while deployed over the Philippines. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
(Third Award) - Synopsis: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Navy Cross to Cornelius Nicholas Nooy, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Combat Plane, in action on 24 July 1945, while deployed over Kure, Japan. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: April 15, 1921 at Smithtown, New York
Home Town: St. James, Long Island, New York
Awards: 3@ Navy Crosses (WWII)


ROBISON, CHARLES W.
Synopsis: - The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Charles W. Robison, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VF-31), embarked from the U.S.S. CABOT (CVL-28), in action on 24 July 1945, while deployed over Kure, Japan. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Price: $175.00 $155.00


Product Code: PatchUSN.031.VF31.FlyingMeatAxes
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