Vraciu, Alexander, CDR

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
5 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Commander
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1956-1958, 131X, VF-51 Screaming Eagles
Service Years
1941 - 1964
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Decommissioning
Order of the Golden Dragon
Tailhook
Cold War
Commander
Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

52 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).

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Contact Info
Home Town
East Chicago, Indiana
Last Address
Danville, California

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

 Official Badges 

US Navy Retired 20


 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback




 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.

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Other Comments:
US Navy High Individual Aerial Gunnery Award - 1957
   
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World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)
Start Year
1943
End Year
1944

Description
The Solomon Islands campaign was a major campaign of the Pacific War of World War II. The campaign began with Japanese landings and occupation of several areas in the British Solomon Islands and Bougainville, in the Territory of New Guinea, during the first six months of 1942. The Japanese occupied these locations and began the construction of several naval and air bases with the goals of protecting the flank of the Japanese offensive in New Guinea, establishing a security barrier for the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain, and providing bases for interdicting supply lines between the Allied powers of the United States and Australia and New Zealand.

The Allies, in order to defend their communication and supply lines in the South Pacific, supported a counteroffensive in New Guinea, isolated the Japanese base at Rabaul, and counterattacked the Japanese in the Solomons with landings on Guadalcanal (see Guadalcanal Campaign) and small neighboring islands on 7 August 1942. These landings initiated a series of combined-arms battles between the two adversaries, beginning with the Guadalcanal landing and continuing with several battles in the central and northern Solomons, on and around New Georgia Island, and Bougainville Island.

In a campaign of attrition fought on land, on sea, and in the air, the Allies wore the Japanese down, inflicting irreplaceable losses on Japanese military assets. The Allies retook some of the Solomon Islands (although resistance continued until the end of the war), and they also isolated and neutralized some Japanese positions, which were then bypassed. The Solomon Islands campaign then converged with the New Guinea campaign.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1943
To Year
1944
 
Last Updated:
Oct 22, 2014
   
Personal Memories

Memories
Vraciu entered combat in October 1943, flying from USS Independence (CVL-22) with Butch O'Hare as commander of Fighting Six. Vraciu scored his first victory during a strike against Wake Island on October 10, 1943. Alex Vraciu was O'Hare's wingman - both scored that day. When they came across an enemy formation O'Hare took the outside airplane and Vraciu took the inside plane. O'Hare went below the clouds to get a Japanese Mitsubishi Zero and Vraciu lost him, so he kept an eye on a second Zero that went to Wake Island and landed. Vraciu strafed the Zero on the ground, then saw a Mitsubishi G4M Betty bomber and shot it down. Alex Vraciu later told, "O'Hare taught many of the squadron members little things that would later save their lives. One example was to swivel your neck before starting a strafing run to make sure enemy fighters were not on your tail." Vraciu also learned from O'Hare the "highside pass" used for attacking the Japanese Mitsubishi Betty bombers. The highside technique was used to avoid the fatal 20-mm fire of the Betty's tail gunner.

   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  297 Also There at This Battle:
  • Barritt, Frank, S1c, (1942-1945)
  • Bibb, James, PO2, (1942-1945)
  • Bivin, Homer Richard, CAPT, (1941-1976)
  • Breaux, Calvin, SN, (1944-1946)
  • Brosnan, Ryan
  • Delchamps, Newton, MCPO, (1941-1965)
  • Dickie, Joseph F., PO1, (1943-1946)
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