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Lieutenant Cornelius Nicholas Nooy:
Navy Ace with 19 Aerial Victories to his credit.
Born in Smithtown Long Island NY. on April 15, 1921.
He graduated from Long Island High School in 1939 and studied horticulture at the New York State Institute of Agriculture before entering the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in August of 1942 and received his wings in January 1943.
On May 1, 1943 Ens. Nooy was attached to the newly formed Fighter Squadron 31 (VF-31) under the command of Lt. Cmd. Robert Winston at NAS Atlantic City New Jersey.
Ens. Nooy along with the other members of VF-31 were assigned to the USS Cabot, flying the Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighter. He served with VF-31 onboard the USS Cabot from September 1943 until October 1944. During the time that USS Cabot was engaged in hostilities from January 1944 through September 1944 Lt. Nooy became a Naval Ace with 15 confirmed aerial victories to his credit.
Lt. Nooy flew as the wingman to both Air Group commanding officers. Flying as Lt. Cmdr Winston's wingman in division 1 and flying as wingman for Lt. Cmdr Wallace.
Lt. Nooy was one of the original 10 pilots from VF-31 who signed up for a second tour of duty which was served aboard the USS Belleau Wood. In that second tour he downed 4 more enemy planes bringing his total to 19 aerial victories and became the highest scoring Light Carrier (CVL) Ace and the 4th highest scoring ace in the US Navy.
Engagements flown in which Lieutenant Nooy shot down enemy aircraft:
Medals Awarded to Lieutenant Nooy while serving with VF-31
- Navy Cross
- Gold Star in lieu of 2nd Navy Cross
- Gold Star in lieu of 3rd Navy Cross
- Silver Star
- Gold Star in lieu of 2nd Silver Star
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Gold Star in lieu of 2nd Distinguished Flying Cross
- Purple Heart
- Air Medal
- Gold Star in lieu of 2nd Air Medal
- Gold Star in lieu of 3rd Air Medal
- Gold Star in lieu of 4th Air Medal
- Gold Star in lieu of 5th Air Medal
- Gold Star in lieu of 6th Air Medal
After the war Connie Nooy moved back to his native New York but stayed in the naval reserve and in 1952 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was vice president of the American Partition Company and ran for political office in Branchberg NY in 1954.
Cornelius Nooy passed away at the age of 36 on March 12, 1958 from cancer.
Lt. (jg) C. N. NOOY
Shooting down five enemy planes and conducting successful bombing missions would be a good day's work for a squadron, but Lt.(jg) Cornelius N. NOOY of Smithtown, Long Island managed it alone.
A Hellcat pilot of Fighting 31, NOOY destroyed five fighters in aerial combat while on a bombing raid against Clark Field near Manila on Sept. 21. The day's work brought his score of planes destroyed in the air to 15, one of the highest records for a carrier-based pilot.
The pilot for the Navy's "Meat Axe Squadron" said, "When we arrived over Clark Field, the Zeros were waiting and the inevitable dogfight began. I saw a lone Hellcat from my squadron having some trouble with two Zeros and went to help. I opened fire on a Zero which was attacking the Hellcat from behind, and he crashed to the ground. Turning to the other Zero, I saw my bullets striking home, and he followed the first, burning and crashing.
"The next was one of the Jap's fast inline engine fighters, which I shot down after a chase of 10 miles. Returning to join other planes of my squadron, I engaged another Zero, which was destroyed when I came in firing, close enough to see the pilot's face. The last Zero accounted for after he escaped from several other Hellcats by heading into a cloud. I followed him in and opened fire close on his tail; soon, he was imbedded in a rice field below," NOOY said.
After the Japanese planes were cleared from the air, NOOY was still carrying his bomb and aimed it at the service area. He scored a direct hit and left a large hangar burning.
Nooy destroyed three more enemy planes over the Philippines on 13 Sept. After shooting down the first two, he attacked a third Zero from astern and was getting good hits when his guns went out. The Zero was badly damaged, but still flying.
NOOY then pulled up over the Japanese plane and maintained altitude at 50 feet, trying to force the plane to crash. As they passed over an elevation, NOOY pulled up, barely missing the treetops. The Zero was left piled into the hillside.
On the 4 July strikes against the Bonin Islands, Fighting 31 ran into what they consider their toughest aerial opposition. NOOY destroyed four of 15 Japanese aircraft to be shot down by the squadron in a predawn fighter sweep, and probably accounted for another. After the fight, NOOY led an injured pilot and two lost planes back to the Task Force without the aid of a compass or radio.
NOOY, who holds the Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, received the Purple Heart when wounded in a strike against the Marianas. He saw his first action against the enemy in January in the Marshalls campaign, he was credited with saving his commanding officer from being shot down by driving away several enemy fighters, downing one and probably destroying another.
During the raid against Palau, NOOY shot down two of the nine attacking enemy bombers wiped out by Fighting 31. He also damaged two others, which were destroyed by other Hellcats after his shots started them downward with smoke trailing.
Besides holding one of the top places among carrier pilots for the number of planes downed in aerial combat, NOOY participated in more than 30 bombing, strafing and photo missions in all Pacific Fleet operations from the Marshall Islands campaign through the Philippine strikes in September.