Scales, Harrell, CDR

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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, USS Cabot (CVL-28)
Service Years
1935 - 1960

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Year of Birth
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This Military Service Page was created/owned by Donald Losey (Fallhiker), MM1 to remember Scales, Harrell, CDR USN(Ret).

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Date of Passing
Sep 17, 1995
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Lieutenant Harrell Henry Scales:

Navy Ace with 6 Aerial Victories to his credit.

Hal Scales Entered the US Navy in 1935 and was assigned duty to the lite Cruiser USS Memphis in 1938.

He was assigned to flight training at Pensacola NAS Florida and graduated as a Naval Aviator in March 1939 with the rank of Ensign. 

Following duty in various squadrons he was assigned to NAS Floyd Bennet Field New York as Naval Acceptance Test Pilot for aircraft being built at Grumman, Vought, and Brewster aircraft companies.  He performed the Navy acceptance tests for the deliveries of F2A Brewster Buffalo, the Vaught F4U Corsair, and the Grumman F4F Wildcat. In 1942 after the Grumman F6F Hellcat was designed he performed the original Navy tests for this fine fighter aircraft

In 1943 Lt. Scales was assigned to Fighter Squadron 31 (VF-31), which was the second naval air squadron to be outfitted with the F6F Hellcat, when it was being formed at Atlantic City, New Jersey.  This Fighter Squadron was assigned to Air Group 31 and deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Cabot, CVL 28.  During the time that the Air Group 31 served aboard the USS Cabot and engaged in hostilities from January 1944 through September 1944 Lt. Harrell Scales became a Naval Ace with 6 confirmed aerial victories to his credit.

Engagements flown in which Lieutenant Scales shot down enemy aircraft:

Medals Awarded to Lieutenant Scales while serving with VF-31

  • Distinguished Flying Cross

Commander Scales continued a distinguished Naval career in various squadron assignments and retired from the US Navy in 1960.  Following his final assignment of the head of systems research and development branch at the division of ordinance, he then accepted a position with Honeywell Inc.  defense systems division in West Covina California

Harrell Scales passed away in September 1995

Other Comments:

        A former test pilot, Lt. Harrell H. "Push" SCALES of Ft. Smith, Ark. has put the Navy Hellcat fighter to practical purpose in recent action with Fighting 31 by shooting six enemy aircraft in aerial combat.

       In one of the last missions leading a fighter sweep against an airfield in the Philippines 13 Sept., SCALES shot down two Zeros in a low-level dogfight and destroyed a Japanese bomber on the ground.

       "There were about 15 Zeros and 11 Hellcats in the air," said SCALES. "The fighting took place at very low altitude, sometimes at 50 feet. After shooting down two Zeros, I made a treetop strafing run on the field, and there - staring from the window of the operations tower - was a big fat Jap taking in the show. I laughed all the way back at the expression on his face," SCALES said, describing the action.

       In that day's fighting alone, SCALES' squadron downed 26 Japanese aircraft in the air. Later, on 21 Sept., while his squadron was topping that score with 29 downed in a day, SCALES got his sixth plane. He sighted it as it was making a dangerous attack on a friendly fighter. SCALES turned in to intercept the attack and after a hard chase, he brought the Japanese down, spinning and smoking.

       SCALES was among the Fighting 31 pilots launched to help break up the enemy carrier based attack in the Battle of the Eastern Philippines.

       "We sighted the bombers about 40 miles away from our Task Force, already formed into a column for the attack, " SCALES said. "Their formation contained about 15 bombers and 20 fighters.

       "We dove through escorting fighters and gave the bombers priority on our shots. I opened up on a two-man dive bomber and as the plane exploded, the pilot and gunner bailed out.

       "Climbing again for more altitude, I found myself in a perfect position for an attack on one of the Zeros. After I opened fire, he began to burn, and the pilot parachuted. That finished my fighting for the day; there was nothing in the air but Hellcats.

       "Debris, oil slicks and smoke were all that was left of the powerful carrier air force that had trained two years for a chance to destroy the American fleet," SCALES said.

       Like most Navy fighter pilots, SCALES is sure the Hellcat is the ultimate in fighter planes, carrier-based or otherwise.

       "The fine showing made by this squadron was due in my mind to very severe training, a fine spirit among pilots and the world's finest plane," he said. "Our squadron has always worked with one idea, attack, keep on attacking, and never give a sucker an even break."

       In operations against enemy shipping on 14 Sept., SCALES led his four-plane division in what was probably the most distant carrier attack ever. Arriving over the target 350 miles away, his division strafed and set fire to four Japanese coastal vessels.

       SCALES, holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, got his first taste of aerial combat in the Marshalls when he shot down a Zero. In the Bonin Islands, he helped destroy a four-engine Japanese patrol plane snooping on our forces; and off Hollandia, he led his division in a strafing attack that destroyed an enemy tanker.

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US NavyNAS PensacolaFloyd Bennett Field, NYVF-31 The Meataxes
USS Cabot (CVL-28)
  1938-1939, USS Memphis (CL-13)
  1938-1939, NAS Pensacola
  1938-1942, Floyd Bennett Field, NY
  1943-1945, VF-31 The Meataxes
  1944-1945, USS Cabot (CVL-28)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 Marshall Islands Operation (1944)/Battle of Kwajalein Atoll (Operation Flintlock)
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)
  1944-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 Southern Philippines Campaign (1945)/Battle of Mindanao
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