Profile no 24. Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat

White MF-1, fown by Captain Robert E. Galer, Commander of VFM-224, Henderson Field /Guadalcanal/New Caledonia, September 1942
After Galer graduated as a naval aviator in April of 1937, he attended further courses and was thereafter posted to a Marine Scouting Squadron. In January 1941, Lieutenant Galer was posted to MCAS Ewa on Oahu where in March he was promoted to Captain. When the war broke out, he was still stationed on Oahu Island, and in May 1942, he assumed command of VMF-224 equipped with the F4F Wildcat. The unit was later posted to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, and under the leadership of Capt. Galer during August and September, the unit claimed 27 Japanese aircraft shot down. Galer himself achieved 14 kills, with another three probables, including seven confirmed victories over the A6M Zero. This made him the fourth top-scoring Wildcat ace. The combat actions of VMF-224 earned him a promotion, and on 24 March 1943, Major Robert E. Galer was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Roosevelt. Part of the Medal of Honor citation read: "For conspicuous heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty as Leader of a Marine Fighting Squadron in aerial combat with enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area, August-September, 1942. Leading his squadron repeatedly in daring and aggressive raids against Japanese aerial forces, vastly superior in numbers.". Thereafter, Major Galer held a number of staff positions up to the end of the hostilities. Note this rather colorful and scruffy looking Wildcat. The colorful red markings were de nitely untypical for a Marine fighter, although the scruffy look of the machine was definitely typical of an aircraft based at Henderson Field. This was because the climate quickly bleached out the camouflage, not to mention the dusty and muddy conditions, together with the minimal maintenance available.

Note that this is one of the 130 profiles/captions included in my new Pacific Fighter Book.

© Claes Sundin 2019