30-Second War Story

November 10, 1943 Pacific Theater: On approach to landing on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise, a Grumman F6F Hellcat tailhook caught a wire.

Almost at one, flames enveloped the fuselage.

While the carrier's crew rushed to fight the blaze with fire hoses, the catapult officer, a Philadelphian named Lieutenant Walter L. Chewning, Jr., clambered up the plane's side. Chewning assisted Ensign Byron M. Johnson, the pilot from the burning aircraft. Both escaped without significant injury.

Chewning received the Navy Cross, Marine Corps medal for his quick action.


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