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Marine Ace-of-Aces, Brigadier General Joseph J Foss

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US History Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary, Adults

      Commissioned on 31 March 1941 as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, Joseph J Foss would go on to become one of the most decorated American fighter pilots of World War II. In 1932, Foss became interested in aviation after witnessing an air show in South Dakota which was presented by The United States Marine Corps.[1] Prior to his commission in the Military, Foss had obtained his private pilot’s license, and upon completion of his military training Foss went on to become a flight instructor.[2] By 1942, Foss became the XO of the U.S.M.C. Fighter Squadron VMF-121 which was operating out of Henderson Field on the island of Guadalcanal. [3] Flying a F4F-4 Wildcat, Captain Foss had amassed 23 aerial victories during his first month with VMF-121; by January 1943 Foss would down three more enemy aircraft, tying World War I American Ace, Eddie Rickenbacker’s tally of 26 planes.[4]  On 18 May 1943, President Roosevelt presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Captain Foss, for his actions at Guadalcanal in the fall of 1942 [5], five other pilots for Foss’s squadron VMF-121 would also receive the Medal of Honor.[6] By 1944, now Major Foss would return to the Pacific theater with VMF-115, where he would fly the F4U-1A Corsairs, but was not able to achieve any additional victories before the war would end.[7] With-in the Department of the Navy, Brigadier General Joseph Foss’s aerial record of 26 kills was second to United States Navy Captain David Campbell’s 34 confirmed kills[8], and third overall in the Pacific Theater to United States Army Air Forces Major Richard Bong’s 40 kills.[9] This collection displays not only the model of aircraft BGen Foss had flown in WWII, but includes the headgear he had worn in the Pacific Theater. Included is a copy of his Congressional Medal of Honor Citation, and his picture on the cover of Life Magazine.





References

[1] “Brigadier General Joseph J Foss, ANG (DECEASED).” Marine Corps University. United States Marine Corps. Accessed November 7, 2019. https://www.usmcu.edu/Research/Marine-Corps-History-Division/Information-for-Units/Medal-of-Honor-Recipients-By-Unit/Capt-Joseph-Jacob-Foss/.

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Hull, Michael D. 2018. “Wildcat Warrior: Marine Corps Ace of Aces Joe Foss Wreaked Havoc on the Japanese over Guadalcanal, Becoming the First to Equal Eddie Rickenbacker’s American World War I Victory Record.” Aviation History. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.511788937&site=eds-live&scope=site.

[4] Ibid,44-45

[5] “Brigadier General Joseph J Foss”

[6] Hull, 43

[7] Ibid, 45

[8] "FLIER DAVID MCCAMPBELL, LOGGED 34 WWII KILLS." Rocky Mountain News [Denver, CO], July 4, 1996, 14B. Gale OneFile: News (accessed November 7, 2019). https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/A67784968/STND?u=umd_umuc&sid=STND&xid=f164d788.

[9] "Richard Bong, America's Ace Zero In: The pilot's domination over the Pacific helped win World War II." Investor's Business Daily, February 3, 2010, A03. Gale OneFile: News (accessed November 7, 2019). https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/A218126606/STND?u=umd_umuc&sid=STND&xid=eba5aa44.




[1] “Brigadier General Joseph J Foss, ANG (DECEASED).” Marine Corps University. United States Marine Corps. Accessed November 7, 2019. https://www.usmcu.edu/Research/Marine-Corps-History-Division/Information-for-Units/Medal-of-Honor-Recipients-By-Unit/Capt-Joseph-Jacob-Foss/.

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Ibid.,

[4] Hull, Michael D. 2018. “Wildcat Warrior: Marine Corps Ace of Aces Joe Foss Wreaked Havoc on the Japanese over Guadalcanal, Becoming the First to Equal Eddie Rickenbacker’s American World War I Victory Record.” Aviation History. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.511788937&site=eds-live&scope=site.

[5] Ibid,44-45

[6] “Brigadier General Joseph J Foss”

[7] Hull, 43

[8] Ibid, 45

[9] "FLIER DAVID MCCAMPBELL, LOGGED 34 WWII KILLS." Rocky Mountain News [Denver, CO], July 4, 1996, 14B. Gale OneFile: News (accessed November 7, 2019). https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/A67784968/STND?u=umd_umuc&sid=STND&xid=f164d788.

[10] "Richard Bong, America's Ace Zero In: The pilot's domination over the Pacific helped win World War II." Investor's Business Daily, February 3, 2010, A03. Gale OneFile: News (accessed November 7, 2019). https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/A218126606/STND?u=umd_umuc&sid=STND&xid=eba5aa44.

Joe Foss

National Portrait Gallery

Grumman F4F-3A Wildcat. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Eastern Division FM-1 (Grumman F4F-4) Wildcat

National Air and Space Museum

Vought F4U-1 Corsair. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Vought F4U-1D Corsair

National Air and Space Museum

World War II Patriotic cover

National Postal Museum

Badge, Aviator, United States Navy

National Air and Space Museum

Captain Foss, U.S.M.C

LIFE Magazine