Remembering VF(N)-101

How can VF(N)-101 best be remembered?

I created this blog back in 2015 when Flight Lieutenant John Kelly’s son sent me this picture of his father on a group picture.


Collection John Kelly (courtesy Gunnar Kelly)

This is how I got started writing a blog with the idea of remembering unsung heroes.

There were 8 faces but only one name. 

Richard Emerson  Harmer was also smiling, as well as other night fighter naval aviators from VF(N)-101 aboard the Enterprise, but I did not know who he was… 


Then Bob Brunson, another naval aviator on that picture, found my blog and I could add his name on another smiling face.


Bob Brunson who knew Richard Harmer’s son gave me his email to contact him. What evolved from this contact was more than 3 gigabytes of files about his father Richard Harmer.

Photos like this one…

Lots of documents, and foremost his complete 1944 diary.

The start of the transcription is here.


I just had to turn back time, and start writing on each of the 39 naval aviators seen on the deck of USS Saratoga 15 July 1942…

VF-5 July, 1942

Top row (left to right): Price, Reiplinger, Altemus, Gunsolus, Eichenberger, Innis, Gray, Kleinmann, Morgan, Roach, Dufilho, Smith

Center row: Currie, Robb, Wesolowski. Starkes, Davy, Holt, Daly, Presley, McDonald, Tabberer, Barbieri, Haynes, Bass, Blair, Bright

Bottom row: Kleinman, Stover, Crews, Brown, Southerland, Harmer, Simpler, Richardson, Green, Jensen, Clarke, Stepanek. (photo from the collection of Capt. H. W. Crews)

I just had to turn back time before writing about VF(N)-101.

To contact me you can write a comment or use this contact form.

From a wooden deck to the Wooden Wonder…

This is the first post on this blog created in September 2015. It started with the idea of paying homage to Jack Kelly. What was to be a tribute to Jack Kelly became a tribute to Richard Harmer and VF(N)-101 thanks to Tom Harmer’s contribution.

Post No.1


collection Flight Lieutenant John Kelly


collection Flight Lieutenant John Kelly

Chance Vought F4U Corsair Mishaps Part II

Richard Harmer flew the Corsair.

Inch High Guy

CorsairMishap_11_VF-17-CV-17-USS-Bunker-Hill-July-1943-01A Corsair from VF-17 “Jolly Rogers” noses over after encountering the barrier aboard the USS Bunker Hill CV-17 in early 1943. The deck planking shows evidence of earlier repairs, suggesting this is not the only such incident to have occurred.

CorsairMishap_12_Fleet-Air-Arm-1836NAS-Corsair-II-T8G-landing-mishap-HMS-Smiter-1944-IWM-A29168A hard landing aboard HMS Smiter has mangled the landing gear leg of this Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Corsair II. The wear pattern on the forward portion of the wing at the root is caused by mechanics servicing the engine and was commonly seen on Corsairs. (Imperial War Museum)

CorsairMishap_13_F4U-4_of_VA-74_crashes_near_USS_Philippine_Sea_(CV-47)_1949The end of the road for this F4U-4 of VA-74, which is missing the outboard section of its port wing. The carrier is the USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) in 1949.

CorsairMishap_14_F4U-4_VMF-322_crashes_near_USS_Sicily_(CVE-118)_on_14_October_1949_(NNAM.1996.253.7157.063)The Landing Signals Officer looks on as this F4U-4 of VMF-322 goes over the side of the USS Sicily (CVE-118) on 14OCT49. (NNAM.1996.253.7157.063)

CorsairMishap_15_VF-85-Shangri-La-aft-midair-collis-with-US-planeThis F4U-1D was involved in a mid-air…

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Chance Vought F4U Corsair Mishaps Part I

Richard Harmer flew the Corsair.

Inch High Guy

CorsairMishap_01_VF-17-CV-17-USS-Bunker-Hill-July-1943A birdcage Corsair of VF-17 “Jolly Rogers” bounces high during a landing attempt aboard the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17). The squadron was working up their new mounts during the first half of 1943, but a high accident rate led the US Navy to initially declare the Corsair unsuitable for carrier operations. Note the ammunition coveres prominent on the wings.

CorsairMishap_02_USS-Shangri-LaThis Corsair has suffered a landing gear collapse and tail separation as the pilot is assisted from the remains of his aircraft. The ammunition covers on the upper wing were interchangeable, and this has led to the white bar of the national insignia being scrambled – a common occurrence and an interesting detail for modelers.

CorsairMishap_03_Bunker-Hill-VF-17-1943One of several Corsair mishaps aboard the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) is this VF-17 Corsair, showing details of the undersurfaces. VF-17 would deploy from land bases in the Solomons later in 1943, where they fought against…

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Chance Vought F4U Corsair Color Photographs Part III

Richard Harmer flew the Corsair.

Inch High Guy

F4U_21_RAA factory-fresh F4U showing details of the landing gear. A total of 12,571 Corsairs were produced. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)

F4U_22_Vought-F4U-1A-Corsairs-VMF-214-White-829-at-Munda-Point-1943-01A study in paint wear. This F4U-1A is seen at Munda Point during the last months of 1943. It was assigned to VMF-214, a Marine squadron.

F4U_23_HGA view of the underside of a birdcage Corsair in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme. The folding portion of the wings were painted Blue Gray so they would better blend in with an aircraft carrier’s Deck Blue flight deck when the wings were folded. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)

F4U_24This Corsair carries a bomb rack under the wing. Even though this is a comparatively new aircraft the paint has already begun to wear at the ring root where mechanics stand while servicing the engine.

F4U_25_RAThe same aircraft from a different angle. The white dots on the fuselage are factory inspection stickers. (NASM, Rudy…

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Chance Vought F4U Corsair Color Photographs Part II

Richard Harmer flew the Corsair.

Inch High Guy

F4U_11_HGA fine study of a Corsair in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme showing how the grime can build up on the inner wings. On this aircraft the cowl flaps have been installed without regard to color. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff collection)

F4U_12The Corsair was a beautiful aircraft from any angle. The bent wings were adopted to allow ground clearance for the 13-foot propeller, giving the Corsair its distinct appearance. (LIFE Magazine)

F4U_13Artwork on Corsairs was a rarity compared to types operated by the USAAF. Here is a close-up of a FAA Corsair displaying a colorful image of Donald Duck.

F4U_14The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm ordered over 500 Corsairs. The examples here are seen in the Temperate Sea Scheme with the last three digits of their serial numbers roughly sprayed on their cowls.

F4U_15A Fleet Air Arm Corsair showing details of the wing fold mechanism. The three dark circles…

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Chance Vought F4U Corsair Color Photographs Part I

Richard Harmer flew the Corsair.

Inch High Guy

F4U_01The first of the breed! This is XF4U-1 BuNo 1143 seen in 1940. The prototype flew just 1n time to be painted in the colorful US Navy “Yellow Wings” scheme.

F4U_02_RAEarly production Corsairs had a framed canopy center section, leading to the nickname “birdcage Corsairs”. Although the paint is rather worn and faded, the white dots visible on the fuselage are factory inspection stickers. Note the primer showing through at the forward wing root, and the fading of the fabric wing panels and ailerons. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)

F4U_03_RAAlthough designed as a fighter, the Corsair could carry an impressive bomb load. This F4U-1D is seen hauling two 1,000-pound bombs beneath the fuselage. (NASM, Rudy Arnold collection)

F4U_04-4-corsair-of-vbf-82-uss-randolph_1946The Corsair was kept in service after the war, even as several other types were retired in the general de-mobilization which followed. Here is a rather worn F4U-4 in overall Glossy Sea Blue of…

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Grumman F4F Wildcat in Color Part II

Richard Harmer flew the Wildcat.

Inch High Guy

F4F_21A nice aerial shot of an F4F-3 of VMF-121 in the overall light gray scheme authorized on 30DEC40.

F4F_22More Marine F4F-3s, these carry the red cross markings for the Louisiana Wargames which were conducted from August to September of 1941.  The standard U.S. Army “C” ration, used throughout the Second World War and for many years afterward, was perfected using data gathered during the Louisiana Maneuvers.

F4F_23Grumman F4F-4 and Douglas Dauntless dive bombers aboard the USS Wasp (CV-7).  Wasp was sunk by three torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-19 on 15SEP42.  Her wreck was located in January by the RV Petrel on the seafloor at a depth of 14,255 feet (4,345 meters).

F4F_24A formation of Wildcats in the Atlantic ASW Scheme I of Dark Gull Gray upper surfaces and Light Gull Gray sides over White undersurfaces.

F4F_25_FM2An FM-2 Wildcat recovers aboard the escort carrier USS Charger (CVE-30) while another is…

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Grumman F4F Wildcat in Color Part I

A plane he flew

Inch High Guy

F4F_01This is the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat prototype in flight during the summer of 1940.  Finish is the “Yellow Wings” scheme, overall aluminum with Orange Yellow wings.  Note the large spinner, not fitted in series production.  The spinner was an attempt to reduce drag, but it also contributed to engine overheating.

F4F_02A fine photograph of an F4F-3 in an unusual paint scheme.  The aircraft is in an overall aluminum scheme without the prescribed Orange Yellow on the wings.  The Willow Green tail denotes an aircraft assigned to the USS Ranger (CV-4).  (LIFE magazine photograph)

F4F_03Three F4F-3 Wildcats of VF-5 from the USS Yorktown (CV-5) in the overall Light Gray scheme authorized on 30DEC40.  Note the small size of the national insignia on the fuselage.

F4F_04Three U.S. Marine F4F-3 Wildcats of VMF-111 pose for the photographer.  They wear the overall Light Gray scheme.  The temporary red cross markings denote the Red Force…

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Grumman F2F / F3F Color Photographs — Inch High Guy

One of the planes Richard Harmer flew.

The Grumman F2F was a single seat fighter operated by the U.S. Navy from 1935 through 1939. It was a refinement of Grumman’s successful twin-seat FF-1 design, being both faster and more maneuverable. Here are three F2F-1s from VF-2B’s second section in an impressive display of precision flying. The Lemon Yellow tail surfaces indicate aircraft […]

Grumman F2F / F3F Color Photographs — Inch High Guy