SKON, Warren Andrew, CAPT

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Captain
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1970-1973, Office of the Naval Inspector General (Naval IG)
Service Years
1942 - 1973
Captain
Captain

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Minnesota
Minnesota
Year of Birth
1919
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember SKON, Warren Andrew (Andy), CAPT.

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Contact Info
Home Town
St. Paul, Minn
Last Address
McLean, VA

Date of Passing
Jan 19, 2012
 
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Presidential Service Badge US Navy Retired 30


 Unofficial Badges 

US Navy Honorable Discharge




 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Captain Warren Andrew Skon, USN Ret.
Navy ace pilot in WWII,
Awarded the Navy Cross,
4 Distinguished Flying Crosses
and 8 Combat Air Medals


Capt. Skon was a highly decorated pilot who took part in several major air-combat operations during his two years as a naval aviator in the Pacific. He participated in the Navy's first nighttime fighter actions from an aircraft carrier and was awarded the Navy Cross, the Navy's highest award for wartime valor.  

He was credited with shooting down seven Japanese airplanes during the war, making him an ace. (An ace is a pilot who downs at least five enemy aircraft.)  Andy Skon was a pilot assigned to VF-2, one of the highest scoring Hellcat units of WWII. They called themselves the "Red Rippers" Andy scored all his victories in 1944 downing four Zeke's, two Val's, and a Tony, during the only cruise of VF-2 on the Hornet. 

In 1943, when he was assigned to the USS Enterprise, Capt. Skon was the wingman to Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare, who was the Navy's first flying ace and who received the Medal of Honor in 1942.  

On the night of Nov. 26, 1943, a formation of Japanese torpedo bombers was detected flying toward the Enterprise and other ships in what the Navy called Task Force 58 near the Gilbert Islands. O'Hare, Capt. Skon and other pilots scrambled into action to confront the enemy planes, downing several in the Navy's first nighttime airborne firefight.  

Capt. Skon (then an ensign) was awarded the Navy Cross for his role in intercepting the enemy airplanes and repelling the attack. No ships in the U.S. group were seriously damaged.  

The Navy Cross citation praised Capt. Skon's "outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty" and said his "fighting spirit in the face of great peril was largely responsible for saving the carrier task group from serious damage."  

The award was bittersweet, however, because in the midst of the battle, O'Hare was shot down and lost at sea. Neither he nor his plane was ever found.  

The last person O'Hare spoke to, by radio, was Capt. Skon. As they were converging on a plane, Capt. Skon later told an Associated Press reporter, "Butch said, 'You take the side you want!' I said, 'I'll take the port.'  

" 'Roger,' he said, and that was the last word he said.  

"Then I saw tracers around his plane. I saw it sheer off and drop quickly below us."  

O'Hare, for whom Chicago's O'Hare International Airport was later named, was one of the few Medal of Honor recipients to return to action and later die in battle.

Capt. Skon was later assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the Pacific. Flying a F6F Hellcat, he shot down three Japanese planes, including two dive bombers, within a nine-day period in June 1944 that later became known as the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.”  

He downed two Japanese fighter planes on July 3, 1944, and two more on Sept. 21, for a total of seven. He damaged four other aircraft in aerial combat and, although it could not be confirmed, was believed to have shot down an eighth plane.  

After the war, Capt. Skon was a Navy flight instructor and commanding officer of Navy fighter groups. He managed a Defense Department project in connection with the White House Communications Agency from 1967 to 1970. When he retired from the military in 1973, he was the Navy’s assistant inspector general.  

In addition to the Navy Cross, Capt. Skon’s decorations included four awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal and eight Air Medals.
   
Other Comments:
NAVY CROSS
Awarded for actions during World War II  

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Ensign Warren Andrew Skon, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron TWO (VF-2), attached to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), and deployed over Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, in action against enemy Japanese forces on 26 November 1943. When warnings were received of the approach of a large force of Japanese torpedo bombers, Ensign Skon volunteered to join a fighter section of aircraft from his carrier, the first time such a mission had been attempted at night, in order to intercept the attackers. He rendered valiant service in breaking up that phase of the attack and succeeded in dispersing the enemy aircraft. His fighting spirit in the face of great peril was largely responsible for saving the carrier task group from serious damage. Ensign Skon's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: November 26, 1943
Service: Navy Rank:
Ensign Company: Fighting Squadron 2 (VF-2)
Division: U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6)


PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION
to the  U.S.S. HORNET and her attached Air Groups participating in the following operations:  March 29 to May 1, 1944, Palau, Hollandia, Truk; June 11 to August 5, 1944, Marianas, Bonins, Yap; September 6 to 24, 1944, Philippines, Palau: AG-2 (VF-2, VB-2, VT-2, Part of VFN-76). October 10 to November 22, 1944, Ryukyus, Formosa, Philippines, Luzon; December 14 to 16, 1944, Luzon; January 3 to 22, 1945, Philippines, Formosa, China Sea Ryukyus: AG-11 (VF-11 VB-11 VT-11). February 16 to June 10, 1945, Japan, Bonins, Ryukyus: AG-17 (F-17, VBF-17, VB-17 VT-17).  

for service as set forth in the following  CITATION:
"For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces in the air, ashore and afloat in the Pacific War Area from March 29, 1944, to June 10, 1945. Operating continuously in the most forward areas, the USS HORNET and their air groups struck crushing blows toward annihilating Japanese fighting power; they provided air cover for our amphibious forces; they fiercely countered the enemy's aerial attacks and destroyed his planes; and they inflicted terrific losses on the Japanese in Fleet and merchant marine units sunk or damaged. Daring and dependable in combat, the HORNET with her gallant officers and men rendered loyal ser- vice in achieving the ultimate defeat of the Japanese Empire"  

For the President,  
signed by the Secretary of the Navy
   
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 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 
 Duty Stations
School Assignments - StaffUSS Enterprise (CV-6)VF-1A Red RippersCarrier Air Group 2 (CVG-2)
USS Hornet (CV-12)VF-2 Bounty HuntersThe White House/White House Communications Agency (WHCA)Office of the Naval Inspector General (Naval IG)
  1942-1942, Naval Flight Training
  1943-1943, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
  1943-1944, VF-1A Red Rippers
  1943-1945, Carrier Air Group 2 (CVG-2)
  1944-1945, USS Hornet (CV-12)
  1944-1945, VF-2 Bounty Hunters
  1967-1970, The White House/White House Communications Agency (WHCA)
  1970-1973, Office of the Naval Inspector General (Naval IG)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II
  1944-1944 New Guinea Campaign (1943-44)/Operation Reckless
  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)
 Colleges Attended 
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesNaval War CollegeGeorge Washington UniversityGeorge Washington University
  1939-1941, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  1960-1962, Naval War College
  1963-1966, George Washington University
  1966-1968, George Washington University
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Jun 01, 1943, VF-2, THE RED RIPPERS2
  Jan 19, 2012, Warren A. Skon, Navy ace pilot in WWII, and wife Hazel Skon, both 92, die days apart
  Nov 09, 2012, General Photos2
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