Vraciu, Alexander, CDR

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
16 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Commander
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1961-1963, Carrier Division 3 (COMCARDIV 3)
Service Years
1941 - 1963
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Tailhook
Commander
Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

25 kb

Home State
Indiana
Indiana
Year of Birth
1918
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Michael Frederick, DK2 to remember Vraciu, Alexander, CDR USN(Ret).

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
East Chicago, IN
Last Address
Danville, CA

Date of Passing
Jan 29, 2015
 
Location of Interment
Oakmont Memorial Park - Lafayette, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Unknown

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 




 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Alex Vraciu was born on November 2, 1918, in East Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from DePauw University in 1941, and he received his private pilot's license through the Civilian Pilot Training Program in 1940. Vraciu enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Navy on June 24, 1941, and began flight training on October 9, 1941. He was commissioned an Ensign and designated a Naval Aviator on August 28, 1942, and then completed fighter and carrier training before joining VF-3 (later redesignated VF-6) in March 1943. Lt Vraciu was credited with the destruction of 9 enemy aircraft in aerial combat before transferring to VF-16 in February 1944. He then destroyed an additional 10 enemy aircraft before returning to the U.S. in July 1944, for a total of 19 aircraft destroyed and 1 damaged during World War II. Lt Vraciu joined VF-20 in November 1944, but was shot down in the Philippines in December and joined up with guerrilla forces, reaching friendly lines in February 1945. He then served as a text pilot at NATC Patuxent River, Maryland, from April to September 1945, followed by service on the staff of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air at the Pentagon from September 1945 to October 1951. During this time, he helped start and implement the Naval and Marine Air Reserve Program. His next assignment was at NAS Los Alamitos, California, from November 1951 to March 1954, and he then completed U.S. Naval General Line School before serving as Communications Officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12) from December 1954 to February 1956. CDR Vraciu served as Commanding Officer of VF-51 from March 1956 to January 1958, followed by service as Officer in Charge of ATU-202 at NAAS Kingsville, Texas, from February 1958 to January 1961. His final assignment was as Assistant Operations Officer for the Commander of Carrier Division THREE from February 1961 until his retirement from the Navy on December 31, 1963.

After retiring from the U.S. Navy, Vraciu moved to
Danville, California, where he worked for Wells Fargo bank. In retirement he continued to give public lectures to schools, businesses, and civic groups.

Vraciu appeared in "The Zero Killer" (2006), during season one, episode six, of the History Channel's Dogfights series.

In his later years, Vraciu declined invitations to write an autobiography; however, he agreed to be interviewed and participated in oral history projects at the Indiana Historical Society and the University of North Texas, which eventually resulted in the publication of his biography, Fighter Pilot: The World War II Career of Alex Vraciu (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press, 2010).
   
Other Comments:

Navy Cross
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
Battalion: Fighting Squadron 16 (VF-16)
Division: U.S.S. Lexington (CV-16)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander [then Lieutenant, Junior Grade] Alexander Vraciu, 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 SIXTEEN (VF-16), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-16), during operations in the vicinity of the Marianas Islands. On
12 June 1944 while participating in a daring strike against enemy shipping in a Saipan Harbor, Commander Vraciu dove through intense anti-aircraft fire to sink a large enemy merchant ship by a direct hit on its stern. On 14 June 1944 in the course of a strike against enemy positions in the islands of North of Saipan, Commander Vraciu sighted an enemy search plane. Despite an altitude disadvantage, he approached the plane so skillfully keeping in its "blind spot" that he was able to overhaul it and shoot it down. On 19 June 1944 with his Task Force under attack by a numerically superior force of enemy aircraft, Commander Vraciu struck furiously at the hostile bombers and, in the face of vigorous fighter opposition, succeeded in shooting down six thus contributing to the break-up of a concentrated enemy attack. On 20 June 1944 while flying escort for bomber and Torpedo Planes on a long-range strike against the Japanese Fleet, Commander Vraciu fearlessly closed with a group of hostile fighters, blasting one from the sky and severely damaging another to enable our forces to attack and disable a Japanese carrier. By his devotion to duty, Commander Vraciu reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

US Navy High Individual Aerial Gunnery Award - 1957
   
 Photo Album   (More...


  1956-1958, 131X, VF-51 Screaming Eagles

Commander

From Month/Year
March / 1956

To Month/Year
January / 1958

Unit
VF-51 Screaming Eagles Unit Page

Rank
Commander

NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot

Location
Not Specified

Country/State
Not Specified
 
 
 Patch
 VF-51 Screaming Eagles Details

VF-51 Screaming Eagles

Type
Air Units - Fixed Wing

Existing/Disbanded
Deactivated

Parent Unit
Fixed Wing

Strength
Air Squadron

Created/Owned By
Not Specified
   

Last Updated: Dec 31, 2019
   
   
My Photos For This Unit
C.O. - VF-51
3 Members Also There at Same Time
VF-51 Screaming Eagles

Petersen, Forrest Silas, VADM, (1944-1980) OFF 131X Lieutenant Commander
Smith, Robert, CPO, (1954-1974) AE AE-7129 Chief Petty Officer
Wolf, George, MCPO, (1948-1977) AT ATR-0000 Petty Officer First Class

Copyright Togetherweserved.com Inc 2003-2011