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Watch A Marine WWII Ace Describe Downing 7 Japanese Bombers On His First Combat Patrol
On April 7, 1943, Medal of Honor recipient and Marine fighter ace James E. Swett shot down 7 Japanese bombers, taking out four all on his own after he became separated from his wingmen.
He was also on his first combat patrol.
Born on June 15, 1920 in Seattle, Washington, Swett grew up in San Mateo, California and attended college there in 1939, where learned to fly. After the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Swett enlisted in the Naval reserves. He began flight training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas in 1941 and graduated at the top 10% of his class, according to the Los Angeles Times. Following his graduation from flight training, Swett accepted a commission in the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant.
In December of 1942, Swett shipped out to the Pacific where he served in the skies over Guadalcanal, the scene of brutal jungle warfare between entrenched Japanese forces and beleaguered U.S. Marines.
After returning from a routine patrol off the coast of the island word came down that 150 Japanese fighters were heading toward the Marines’ position from the north.
According to his Medal of Honor citation, Swett took to the air in his Wildcat fighter and “unhesitatingly hurled his 4-plane division into action against a formation of 15 enemy bombers and personally exploded 3 hostile planes in midair with accurate and deadly fire during his dive.”
During the dogfight, Swett became separated from his three fellow pilots, but continued fighting, destroying four more enemy bombers. Though his aircraft’s left wing had been hit and badly damaged during the fighting, Swett engaged an eighth enemy bomber, but its tail gunner opened fire on him, shattering his windshield and damaging his engine.
In total, the battle lasted just 15 minutes, and though Swett had downed a number of enemy aircraft, he wasn’t clear of danger.
“I was cut up around the face by flying glass,” Swett told told The Oregonian, the newspaper in Portland, in 1991, reports the New York Times. “I made a good water landing, but my shoulder straps were too loose and I hit my head on the instrument panel and broke my nose. I struggled to get out of the cockpit as the plane sank, but my parachute straps got caught and dragged me under. I don’t know how deep I was before my life raft inflated and popped me to the surface.”
Fortunately, a Coast Guard vessel was nearby and came to his aid. As the ship approached Swett, one of the crewmen called out:
“Are you an American?”
To which Swett replied, “Damn right I am.”
Afterward he was taken to a nearby harbor and given Scotch and morphine to ease the pain.
Swett retired from the Marines in 1970 as a colonel and on Jan. 24, 2009, he passed away of congestive heart failure at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California. He was 88.
Watch Swett’s account of that day in the video below.
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"