Harris, Cecil, LCDR

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
15 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Primary Unit
1944-1945, USS Intrepid (CV-11)
Service Years
1941 - 1959
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

90 kb

Home State
South Dakota
South Dakota
Year of Birth
Not Specified
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Cory Butterfield, AO1 to remember Harris, Cecil (Cece), LCDR.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Not Specified
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

24 kill ace of USS Intrepid VF-18


Second-highest scoring U.S. Navy ace of World War Two, Hellcat pilot


   
Other Comments:
here was another Pacific ace from the inland state of South Dakota. Born in 1916, he was attending Northern State Teachers' College when WWII started. He joined the Navy before Pearl Harbor, and was appointed an aviation cadet. He trained at Minneapolis and Corpus Christi, and in April 1942 became part of VGF-27, followed by more training. VGF-27, on board the escort carrier Suwanee CVE-27, took part in the Operation Torch landings in North Africa. In early 1943, Suwanee sailed to the southwest Pacific to support operations in the Solomons. Because the escort carrier was so small, her Wildcat-equipped fighter squadron was detached to operate from land, and was re-designated VF-27. Harris served here, shooting down two Japanese planes.

Later, he flew F6F Hellcats for VF-18, based on the carrier USS Intrepid, CV-11. He downed 3 Hamps and a Zero on Sept. 13, 1944.


On October 12, 1944, he embarked on a memorable mission, the war's first air strike at Jap airfields on Formosa, in preparation for the liberation of the Philippines. Following the invasion of the Marianas in June-August, under Admiral Nimitz, and General MacArthur's drive from New Guinea to the south, the Americans were ready to make good on the General's famous pledge "I shall return."


On the 12th, the Fast Carrier Task Force began three days of strikes against the large Japanese air forces on Formosa. VF-18 flew cover for the torpedo squadron, VT-18, and the dive-bombing squadron, VB-18. Harris was one of 16 pilots from VF-18 participating in the day's fighter sweep, launched before dawn in order to catch the enemy aircraft on the ground at first light.


VF-18 flew northwest from the Intrepid, to hit an airfield on the northeastern corner of Formosa, as squadron CO Lt. Cdr. Ed Murphy had briefed them the previous night. On schedule, all the Hellcats catapulted off the carrier, and began the slow climb to altitude. Murphy's own division of four planes was in the lead, the second division behind and to his right. Behind the second division, and well to the left was Harris' third division. The fourth division flew behind and to the left of Harris; all climbing at 150 knots. Many other planes from Task Force 38 carriers accompanied VF-18. All maintained radio silence, as they leveled off at 15,000 feet.


As they approached Formosa, they pointed their noses downward and began to gain speed. When Harris, his wingman Burley, and Lt. Bill Zeimer's section approached the field, five enemy bombers had just taken off from the field. In a few seconds Zeimer's gunfire tore into and exploded the first bomber. Harris soon added one of his own. They turned and both quickly splashed another bomber each. Easy so far, but Zeroes appeared up above, dove down and shot up Zeimer's plane. His chute opened and Zeimer floated down. His wingman, DiBatista, locked onto the Zero and avenged Zeimer's loss. Another Zero dived onto DiBatista, and hit him with 20mm cannon fire. But in the deadly round-robin of aerial combat, Harris got behind this Zero and his concentrated 50 caliber fire took a heavy toll. The Zero crashed into the trees and blew up, for Harris' third victory of the day.


While escorting the DiBatista's damaged plane back to Intrepid, he downed another Zero, his fourth of the day.


He followed this up by shooting down three Judys on the 14th. His mission on the 29th earned him a Navy Cross. Over Luzon, he intercepted two flights of Japanese fighters that were preparing to hit American bombers and torpedo planes. He led his division to the attack, downing four and disrupting the remainder. Harris accumulated a total of 24 victories against the Japanese (the second highest scoring US Navy ace). He was out of action from November, 1944, when the Intrepid was badly damaged in a kamikaze attack. He earned the Navy Cross, the DFC, a Silver Star, and two Gold Stars.


   
 Photo Album   (More...


  1944-1945, USS Intrepid (CV-11)

Lieutenant

From Month/Year
- / 1944

To Month/Year
- / 1945

Unit
USS Intrepid (CV-11) Unit Page

Rank
Lieutenant

NEC
Not Specified

Location
Not Specified

Country/State
Not Specified
 
 
 Patch
 USS Intrepid (CV-11) Details

USS Intrepid (CV-11)

USS INTREPID   (CV-11)

CLASS - ESSEX (Short Hull) 
Displacement 27,100 Tons, Dimensions, 872' (oa) x 93' x 28' 7" (Max) 
Armament 12 x 5"/38AA, 32 x 40mm, 46 x 20mm, 82 Aircraft. 
Armor, 4" Belt, 2 1/2" Hanger deck, 1 1/2" Deck, 1 1/2" Conning Tower. 
Machinery, 150,000 SHP; Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 4 screws 
Speed, 33 Knots, Crew 3448. 


Operational and Building Data 
Built by Newport News. Laid down 1 Dec 1941, launched 26 Apr 1943, commissioned 16 August 1943. SCB 27C reconstruction at Newport News started 9 April 1952, completed and recommissioned 20 June 1954. Redesignated as an attack carrier (CVA 11) 1 October 1952 while in overhaul. SCB 125 angled deck modernization at New York Navy 9/1956 to 2 May 1957. Redesignated as an ASW carrier (CVS 11) 31 Mar 1962. FRAM II life extension 3/1965 to 10/1965. Operated as light attack carrier with CVS designation off Vietnam.


FATE: Decommissioned to reserve, 15 March 1974; was last CVS in service. Donated as a Museum and Memorial, and ownership transferred to Sea*Air*Space Museum, 27 April 1981. Stricken upon transfer of custody to Museum, 23 March 1982. Preserved at Sea*Air*Space Museum in New York City. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ref. no. 86000082, and designated a National Historic Landmark, 14 January 1986.



Type
Surface Vessels

Existing/Disbanded
Redesignated

Parent Unit
Essex-class

Strength
Aircraft Carrier

Created/Owned By
Not Specified
   

Last Updated: Apr 23, 2008
   
   
My Photos For This Duty Station
No Available Photos
34 Members Also There at Same Time
USS Intrepid (CV-11)

HYLAND, John, ADM, (1934-1971) Commander
ROGERS, William, LCDR, (1942-1946) Lieutenant Commander
Van Antwerp, Lloyd, RADM, (1936-1966) Lieutenant Commander
WOLFE, Malcolm, CAPT, (1934-1965) Lieutenant
Toaspern, Edward, LTJG, (1942-1946) Lieutenant Junior Grade
Smith, Jakie, S2c, (1943-1946) Seaman Second Class
Davis, William, PO2, (1942-1945) CM CM-0000 [Other Service Rank]
Sample, William Dodge, RADM, (1918-1945) OFF Rear Admiral Upper Half
Sprague, Thomas Lamison, VADM, (1917-1952) OFF 132X Captain
Dudley, James, LT OFF 130X Lieutenant
Evans, Halbert Knapp, CDR, (1939-1952) OFF 131X Lieutenant
Vraciu, Alexander, CDR, (1941-1964) OFF 131X Lieutenant
Coleman, Thaddeus Thornton, CAPT, (1941-1973) OFF 131X Lieutenant Junior Grade
Darragh, Frank, LTJG, (1940-1945) OFF 131X Lieutenant Junior Grade
Somerville, Ronald, LT OFF 131X Lieutenant Junior Grade
Norgren, Willard E., ENS, (1944-1945) OFF 131X Ensign
Springer, Maurice Dean, ENS, (1942-1945) OFF Ensign
Gannuscio, William, (1942-1950) AMM AMM-0000 Other Service Rank
Agee, Robert Hampton, PO1, (1943-1946) WT WT-0000 Petty Officer First Class
Backstrom, Raymond, PO1, (1942-1945) FC FC-0000 Petty Officer First Class
Boone, Richard Allen, PO1, (1942-1945) AOM AOM-0000 Petty Officer First Class
Phillips, Hugh, CPO, (1941-1962) PH PH-0000 Petty Officer First Class
Repass, Harry, PO2, (1942-1945) ARM ARM-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Rybarczyk, Albert Peter, PO2, (1942-1944) ARM ARM-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Sharninghouse, Ora Henry, PO2, (1942-1944) AOM AOM-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Taylor, Jesse Junior, CDR, (1942-1965) ARM ARM-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Hollinhead, Cecil, PO3 RM RM-8273 Petty Officer Third Class
Barnett, Ollie, SN, (1942-1965) GM GM-0000 Seaman 1st Class
Pennington, Milton, S1c, (1943-1945) PrT PrT-0000 Seaman 1st Class
Thomas, Edgar, S1c, (1944-1946) AOM AOM-0000 Seaman 1st Class
Walker, Allen, S1c, (1944-1946) S2c S2c-0000 Seaman Second Class
Gant, Maurice, S2c, (1942-1946) AO Hospital Apprentice 2nd Class
PRESTON, Benjamin, CAPT, (1939-1969) Lieutenant
Spinelli, Domenick Anthony, CDR, (1944-1968) Ensign

Copyright Togetherweserved.com Inc 2003-2011