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The Fourth of July, 1944 July 1, 2006

Posted by daveintexas in honor.


Lieutenant JG Haig Elezian Jr. lost his life leading Division 2 of VF-31 in an attack on Japanese fighter aircraft defending the Bonin Islands, the largest of which is Iwo Jima.  A mere 500 miles from the Japanese homeland and the first deep incursion there since Jimmy Doolittle’s raid in 1942.

There were two airfields on Iwo Jima, defended by 80 Japanese aircraft and some of the best pilots VF-31 encountered in the war, top line airplanes and well trained fighter pilots.  They weren’t ready to give up yet.

The men on VF-31 woke up at a quarter of four in the morning.  Their mission was to fly combat air patrol at 15000 feet and provide cover for the aircrews attacking the two airfields on Iwo.  They saw Japanese planes engaging American planes at 10000 feet, and some dropped to engage.

While they did, a group of Japanese fighters circled back, climbed to 20000 feet, put the sun at their backs, and dove in on the planes of VF-31 holding position.  They successfully defended themselves, shooting down 11 Japanese planes, but lost 3 of their own. 

Lt. (jg) Haig Elezian

Lt. (jg) Frank Hancock

Lt. (jg) Malcolm Lewis

requiescat in pace gentlemen.


1. Michael - July 3, 2006

Thanks, Dave.

2. Daniel Schaefer - September 28, 2009

this is my great uncle. he looks just like me when I was 21. im 23 now thought I would never see his face heard all about him when I was younger its great to see he’s remembered. I just did a random search of his name, this is awesome!!!

3. daveintexas - October 12, 2009

Daniel, I’m glad you stopped by.

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