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).

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, 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.

http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=704
   
Other Comments:
US Navy High Individual Aerial Gunnery Award - 1957
   
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Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Philippine Sea
Start Year
1944
End Year
1944

Description
The Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 19–20, 1944) was a major naval battle of World War II that eliminated the Imperial Japanese Navy's ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions. It took place during the United States' amphibious invasion of the Mariana Islands during the Pacific War. The battle was the last of five major "carrier-versus-carrier" engagements between American and Japanese naval forces, and pitted elements of the United States Navy's Fifth Fleet against ships and aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Mobile Fleet and nearby island garrisons.

The aerial part of the battle was nicknamed the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot by American aviators for the severely disproportional loss ratio inflicted upon Japanese aircraft by American pilots and anti-aircraft gunners. During a debriefing after the first two air battles a pilot from USS Lexington remarked "Why, hell, it was just like an old-time turkey shoot down home!" The outcome is generally attributed to American improvements in pilot and crew training and tactics, technology (including the top-secret anti-aircraft proximity fuze), and ship and aircraft design. Although at the time the battle appeared to be a missed opportunity to destroy the Japanese fleet, the Imperial Japanese Navy had lost the bulk of its carrier air strength and would never recover. During the course of the battle, American submarines torpedoed and sank two of the largest Japanese fleet carriers taking part in the battle.

This was the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1944
To Year
1944
 
Last Updated:
Jun 9, 2008
   
Personal Memories

Memories
Vraciu's greatest day in combat occurred during the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" on June 19. Despite a malfunctioning supercharger, he intercepted a formation of Japanese dive bombers and "splashed" six in a period of eight minutes. When he landed, the Lexington's ordnancemen discovered that he had used a total of only 360 rounds of ammunition, which works out to less than a five-second burst per "kill."[1] The next day, escorting bombers in an attack on the Japanese Mobile Fleet, he downed his 19th victim.

   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
Fighter Ace
Great Marianas Turkey Shoot

  258 Also There at This Battle:
  • Beckwith, John Edward, S1c, (1942-1945)
  • Block, Charles John, CPO, (1938-1945)
  • Breaux, Calvin, SN, (1944-1946)
  • Carter, Loyd, PO3, (1941-1945)
  • Cote, Arthur, S1c, (1943-1946)
  • Crowell, Marshall Medford, F1c, (1943-1945)
  • Dikel, Samuel, PO2, (1942-1946)
  • Earnest, Albert, CAPT, (1941-1972)
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