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WWII Patch, USN, VC-80 Torpedo Pecker - Woody Woodpecker USS Manilla Bay

WWII Patch, USN, VC-80  Torpedo Pecker - Woody Woodpecker  USS Manilla Bay

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch
USN VC-80
Navy Composite Squadron 211
USS Manila Bay
(CVE-61)
Torpedo Pecker -
Woody Woodpecker
Battle of Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands
5.25 inches

VC-80 Established 16 Dec 1943
VC-80 Disestablished 11 Sep 1945

VC = Composite Squadron

USS Manila Bay (CVE-61)
was a Casablanca class escort carrier of the United States Navy. She was laid down as Bucareli Bay (ACV-61) under Maritime Commission contract by Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Washington on 15 January 1943; renamed Manila Bay on 3 April 1943; launched on 10 July 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Robert W. Bockius; reclassified CVE-61 on 15 July 1943; acquired by the Navy on 5 October 1943; and commissioned the same day at Astoria, Oregon, Captain Boynton L. Braun in command.
Launched:     10 July 1943
Commissioned:     5 October 1943
Decommissioned:     31 July 1946
Class and type:     Casablanca-class escort carrier
Aircraft carried:     27

Service Record - Operations:    
  Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign,
  Western New Guinea campaign,
  Battle off Samar,
  Battle of Mindoro,
  Invasion of Lingayen Gulf,
  Operation Magic Carpet
  Awards:     8 Battle stars

USS Manila Bay returned to Pearl Harbor on 31 August 1944. Two days later, Captain Fitzhugh Lee took command of the veteran carrier, and after embarking VC-80, Manila Bay  departed on 15 September as a unit of Carrier Division 24 (CarDiv 24). Steaming via Eniwetok, she reached Manus 3 October and began final preparations for the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte Gulf.
Leyte Gulf -Assigned to the Task Group 77.4 (TG 77.4), Manila Bay departed on 12 October for waters east of the Philippines. Prior to the invasion, her planes pounded enemy ground targets on Leyte, Samar, and Cebu Islands. She launched ground support, spotting, and air cover strikes during the amphibious assaults on 20 October, and she sent bombers and fighters to support ground forces during the critical first few days at Leyte. As USS Manila Bay cruised to the east of Leyte Gulf with other carriers of Admiral Stump's "Taffy 2" (Task Unit 77.4.2, TU 77.4.2), powerful Japanese naval forces converged upon the Philippines and launched a three-pronged offensive to drive the Americans from Leyte. In a series of masterful and coordinated surface attacks, an American battleship, cruiser, and destroyer force met and destroyed enemy ships in the Battle of Surigao Strait early on 25 October. Surviving Japanese ships retreated into the Mindanao Sea pursued by destroyers, PT boats, and after sunrise by carrier-based bombers and fighters.
Manila Bay sent an eight-plane strike against ground targets on Leyte before sunrise; subsequently, these planes bombed and strafed retiring enemy ships southwest of Panaon Island. A second strike about midmorning pounded Mogami. In the meantime, however, Manila Bay turned her planes against a more immediate threat: the enemy attack against ships of Taffy 3.
Samar - Battle off Samar - A running battle ensued between the escort carriers of Rear Adm. Clifton Sprague's Taffy 3 and the larger, vastly more powerful surface ships of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Center Force. The self-sacrificing attacks by American destroyers and destroyer escorts, and the prompt, aggressive, and unceasing torpedo, bomb, and strafing strikes by planes from Taffy 2 and Taffy 3 contributed to the American victory against great odds in the Battle off Samar.
Manila Bay launched two airstrikes during the enemy pursuit of Taffy 3 and two more as the Japanese retreated. At 0830, she sent four torpedo-laden TBM Avengers and a seven-plane escort to join the desperate fight. Three launched torpedoes at a battleship, probably Yamato, but they missed. The fourth plane launched her torpedo at a heavy cruiser, most likely Chikuma. It hit the ship to starboard near the fantail, forcing her out of control. The second strike an hour later by two Avengers resulted in one torpedo hit on the portside amidships against an unidentified battleship.
As the Japanese ships broke off attack and circled off Samar, the airstrikes continued. At 1120, Manila Bay launched four Avengers, carrying 500 pound bombs, and four bombers from other carriers. Escorted by FM-2 Wildcats and led by Commander R. L. Fowler, they soon joined planes from other Taffy carriers. Shortly after 1230, some 70 planes surprised and attacked the retiring Center Force, strafing and bombing through intense antiaircraft fire. Manila Bay's bombers made a hit and two near misses on the lead battleship, probably Kongō or Haruna. Manila Bay launched her final strike at 1245, strafing destroyers and getting two hits on a cruiser.
Later that afternoon, Manila Bay's CAP intercepted a Japanese bomber-fighter strike about 50 miles north of Taffy 2. Her four fighters broke up the enemy formation, and with reinforcements drove off the attackers before they reached the carriers. Her planes continued to attack enemy ships the following day. Laden with rockets and bombs, one of her Avengers scored two hits on Kinu and several rocket hits on Uranami. Both ships sank about noon in the Visayan Sea after numerous air attacks.
Manila Bay resumed air operations in support of Leyte ground forces on 27 October. During ground support and air cover missions, her planes shot down an Aichi D3A "Val" on the 27th and bagged two Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscars" on the 29th. Late on 30 October she sailed for the Admiralties, arriving Manus on 4 November.


Grumman prototyped a new Wildcat under the designation XF4F-8, which was to be produced by GM/Eastern Aircraft as the FM-2. With lightened structure and a more powerful Wright R-1820 radial engine, the FM-2 was notably quicker, faster climbing, longer ranged and more maneuverable than its predecessor. To help control the increased power, the new plane had a distinctive, taller vertical tail. All-in-all, it was a great improvement, and more than four thousand FM-2s were built in 1943-45. Of those, over three hundred went to the British. The U.S. Navy FM-2s operated exclusively from escort carriers (CVEs), small ships with notoriously lively flight decks. They were used in the Atlantic, teamed with TBM "Avengers" for anti-submarine work, the escort carriers' original purpose. In the Pacific, CVEs did ASW too, but also employed their "Avengers" and "Wildcats" to provide air cover for invasion forces and close air support for ground troops. Those missions produced opportunities for aerial combat against Japanese planes, and two Navy pilots achieved "ace" status in FM-2s. The GM Wildcat also played an important role in the 25 October 1944 Battle off Samar, in which a force of the slow CVEs and their escorts out-fought a vastly superior Japanese surface fleet.

Citations For Award of The Navy Cross
Norman "B" Parmley
Awarded for actions during the World War II
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Norman "B" Parmley, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane in Composite Squadron EIGHTY (VC-80), attached to the U.S.S. MANILA BAY (CVE-61), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle off Samar, on 25 October 1944. Accompanied by only one other torpedo plane and unsupported by fighter escort, Lieutenant Parmley braved intense anti-aircraft fire to press home a torpedo attack and score a direct hit which severely damaged and left smoking heavily a hostile battleship serving with the enemy Task Force attacking our invasion Fleet at Leyte. His courage, airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

      General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 02328 (March 1, 1945)
      Action Date: 25-Oct-44
      Service: Naval Reserve
      Rank: Lieutenant
      Company: Composite Squadron 80 (VC-80)
      Division: U.S.S. Manila Bay (CVE-61)
      Date of birth: 20-Nov-19
      Date of death: 1-Apr-94
      Place of Birth: Murphysboro, Illinois
      Home of record: Murphysboro, Illinois

Walter Lester Fisher
Awarded for actions during the World War II
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander [then Lieutenant] Walter Lester Fisher, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Division Leader in Composite Squadron EIGHTY (VC-80), attached to the U.S.S. MANILA BAY (CVE-61), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle off Samar, on 25 October 1944. While leading his Division as sole opposition to intercept eighteen Japanese dive bombers and their escort of twelve fighter planes, Lieutenant Commander Fisher pressed home his attack to shoot down one plane himself and to aid his squadron in destroying three others, thereby contributing materially to diverting the enemy from a bombing attack on Allied carriers until they were completely routed by our air reinforcements. After his plane was shot down in combat, he floated in a life raft for twenty hours until his rescue. His courage, airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

      General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 02328 (March 1, 1945)
      Action Date: 25-Oct-44
      Service: Naval Reserve
      Rank: Lieutenant Commander
      Company: Composite Squadron 80 (VC-80)
      Division: U.S.S. Manila Bay (CVE-61)
      Date of birth: 27-Oct-17
      Place of Birth: Boise, Idaho
      Home of record: San Jose, California

Woody Woodpecker is an animated cartoon character, an anthropomorphic acorn woodpecker who appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz animation studio and distributed by Universal Pictures. Though not the first of the screwball characters that became popular in the 1940s, Woody is perhaps the most indicative of the type. Woody was created in 1940 by storyboard artist Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, who had previously laid the groundwork for two other screwball characters, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the late 1930s. Woody's character and design would evolve over the years, from an insane bird with an unusually garish design to a more refined looking and acting character in the vein of the later Chuck Jones version of Bugs Bunny. Woody was originally voiced by prolific voice actor Mel Blanc, who was succeeded by Ben Hardaway and later by Grace Stafford, wife of Walter Lantz.

Lantz produced theatrical cartoons longer than most of his contemporaries, and Woody Woodpecker remained a staple of Universal's release schedule until 1972, when Lantz finally closed down his studio. The character has been revived since then only for special productions and occasions, save for one new Saturday morning cartoon, The New Woody Woodpecker Show, for the Fox Network in the late 1990s/early 2000s.  Woody Woodpecker cartoons were first broadcast on television in 1957 under the title The Woody Woodpecker Show, which featured Lantz cartoons bookended by new footage of Woody and live-action footage of Lantz. Woody has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 7000 Hollywood Boulevard. He also made a cameo alongside many other famous cartoon characters in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.


Early years: According to Walter Lantz's press agent, the idea for Woody came during the producer's honeymoon  with his wife, Gracie, in Sherwood Lake, California. A noisy woodpecker  outside their cabin kept the couple awake at night, and when a heavy rain started, they learned that the bird had bored holes in their cabin's roof. As both Walter and Gracie told Dallas attorney Rod Phelps during a visit, Walter wanted to shoot the thing, but Gracie suggested that her husband make a cartoon about the bird, and thus Woody was born. The story is questionable, however, since the Lantzes were not married until after Woody made his screen debut. Also, their story that the bird's cry inspired Woody's trademark "Ha-ha-ha-HAA-ha!" is also questionable, as Mel Blanc had already used a similar laugh in earlier Warner Bros. cartoons such as Elmer's Candid Camera.

Woody Woodpecker first appeared in the film Knock Knock on November 25, 1940. The cartoon ostensibly stars Andy Panda and his father, Papa Panda, but it is Woody who steals the show. The woodpecker constantly pesters the two pandas, apparently just for the fun of it. Andy, meanwhile, tries to sprinkle salt on Woody's tail in the belief that this will somehow capture the bird. To Woody's surprise, Andy's attempts prevail, and Woody is taken away to the funny farm — but not before his captors prove to be crazier than he is.

The Woody of Knock Knock was designed by animator Alex Lovy. Woody's original voice actor, Mel Blanc, would stop performing the character after the first four cartoons to work exclusively for Leon Schlesinger Productions (Later renamed Warner Bros. Cartoons) , producer of Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. At Schlesinger's, Blanc had already established the voices of two other famous "screwball" characters who preceded Woody, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Ironically, Blanc's characterization of the Woody Woodpecker laugh had originally been applied to a Bugs Bunny prototype, in shorts such as the aforementioned Elmer's Candid Camera, and was later transferred to Woody. Blanc's regular speaking voice for Woody was much like the early Daffy Duck, minus the lisp. Once Warner Bros. signed Blanc up to an exclusive contract, Woody's voice-over work was taken over by Ben Hardaway, who would voice the woodpecker for the rest of the decade. To complete the connection full circle, Hardaway, who had also worked under Schlesinger at Warner Bros., was the designer of the Bugs Bunny prototype that Blanc supplied the aforementioned laugh for. Haradaway's nickname around Termite Terrace (the ramshackle building where the Looney Tunes were originally produced) was "Bugs," and the bunny prototype's first model sheet was labeled "Bugs' Bunny"--the apostrophe was later dropped.

Audiences reacted well to Knock Knock, and Lantz realized he had finally hit upon a star to replace the waning Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Woody would go on to star in a number of films. With his innate chutzpah and brash demeanor, the character was a natural hit during World War II. His image appeared on US aircraft and mess halls, and audiences on the homefront watched Woody cope with familiar problems such as food shortages. The 1943 Woody cartoon The Dizzy Acrobat was nominated for the 1944 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons), which it lost to the MGM Tom and Jerry cartoon The Yankee Doodle Mouse.
Woody Woodpecker and his captive client in The Barber of Seville (1944), directed by Shamus Culhane.

Animator Emery Hawkins and layout artist Art Heinemann streamlined Woody's appearance for the 1944 film The Barber of Seville, directed by Shamus Culhane. The bird became rounder, cuter, and less demented. He also sported a simplified color scheme and a brighter smile, making him much more like his counterparts at Warner Bros. and MGM. Nevertheless, Culhane continued to use Woody as an aggressive lunatic, not a domesticated straight man or defensive homebody, as many other studios' characters had become. The follow-up to The Barber of Seville, The Beach Nut, introduced Woody's chief nemesis Wally Walrus.
The post-war woodpecker
Woody's wild days were numbered, however. In 1946, Lantz hired Disney veteran Dick Lundy to take over the direction chores for Woody's cartoons. Lundy rejected Culhane's take on the series and made Woody more defensive; no longer did the bird go insane without a legitimate reason. Lundy also paid more attention to the animation, making Woody's new films more Disney-esque in their design style, animation, and timing. Lundy's last film for Disney was the Donald Duck short Flying Jalopy. This cartoon is played much like a Woody Woodpecker short, right down to the laugh in the end. It also features a bad guy named "Ben Buzzard" who bears a strong resemblance to Buzz Buzzard, a Lantz character introduced in the 1948 short Wet Blanket Policy who would eventually succeed Wally Walrus as Woody's primary antagonist. From Wikipedia

Price: $195.00 $170.00


Product Code: PatchUSN.080.VC80.ussManillaBay
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