Chance-Vought OS2U-3 "Kingfisher" - (scan - 1996)

Designed by Rex Beisel--also designed F4U. Catapult-launched from battleships and cruisers and, before advent of radar, provided over-the- horizon search capability. (The first operational use of catapult was on USS North Carolina 13 Jul 16.) Also used in other roles and was especially valuable for gun-fire spotting and air-sea rescues. Relatively small and weighed only 4000 lbs loaded. Kingfishers spotted Eddie Rickenbacker and 7 others after 24 days in Pacific. Rickenbacker, 2 other passengers, and crew of 5 left Hickam Field in a B-17D for Canton Island, one of the Phoenix Islands, 1800 miles southwest of Hawaii. Due to combination of inaccurate wind forecasts, lack of en route navigation aids, and possibly inaccurate sun shots due to defective navigation instrument, B-17 became lost, eventually ran out of fuel, and successfully ditched. 8 survivors split up into 3 life rafts which later became separated. After finally locating Rickenbacker's raft, Kingfisher crew, Lt. Willam F. Eadie, pilot, and Radioman L.H. Boutte, put sickest of the 3 (Col Hans Adamson) into rear cockpit and tied Rickenbacker and Pvt John Bartek onto either wing. Began to taxi toward their base on Funa Fuji Island--about 40 mi distant--in the Ellice Island Group, 500 mi southwest of Canton Island, their original destination. Shortly afterwards, they were met by a PT boat which took Rickenbacker and Bartek back to base. Only 1 of the 8 failed to recover from the long ordeal.

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