White MF-1, fown by Captain Robert
E. Galer, Commander of VFM-224, Henderson Field /Guadalcanal/New
Caledonia, September 1942
Note that this is
one of the 130 profiles/captions included in my new Pacific Fighter
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.