Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 PFF #44


Lt. William "Muf" Mufich
Lt. Mufich was stationed with VF-18 (the Fighting 18th) F6F-3 Hellcat Squadron aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in 1944. Lt. Mufich often flew as wingman for the third highest Ace in terms of confirmed shootdowns, Lt. Cecil E. Harris. Lt. Harris scored a total of 23 Japanese planes destroyed in air-to-air combat during the war in the Pacific.

I examined the charred and water-damaged flight log of Lt. Mufich in early May of 2005, and I noted four ‘Rising Sun’ stamps in his log, and a ‘possible’. Hellcat pilots were scrupulous about claiming shootdowns – unless the plane was observed as destroyed in the air or splashing into the sea, the plane was not claimed.

I was able to find a photograph of one of the Hellcats from VF-18, and I’ve placed the Squadron emblem (a + symbol) in its proper place on the tail of the plane in my artwork.

Number 14 was a Squadron plane that Lt. Mufich often flew, though it must be noted that Hellcat pilots were not assigned individual aircraft because of the way that the planes were maintained and readied for missions on the hangar deck.

Lt. Mufich autographed the covers in May 2005 during my visit to his home. He died peacefully in Kalispell, Montana, at the age of ninety years of age in 2010. I don't read the newspapers very often, so I missed his obituary last year.  I'm trying to make up for that fact.  I found it to be an honor to meet and talk with an American war hero intimate with this particular aircraft whose valiant service to our country proves him to be an Ace extraordinaire.

The U.S.S. Intrepid was struck by two Kamikaze planes on November 28th, 1944, the second of which penetrated the flight deck and went into the hangar deck below. The bomb the second Kamikaze was carrying did not go off until after it entered the Intrepid. When it did detonate, it set off a chain reaction of devastating explosions involving countless torpedo and bomb laden American aircraft waiting for launch within the hanger deck. These explosions disabled the fighting effectiveness of the ship until repairs could be made. Sixty-nine sailors and pilots lost their lives in the attack. Lt. Mufich was on the flight deck when the Kamikaze hit occurred, and escaped injury.

He not only made a trip to visit the U.S.S. Intrepid (it's now a floating museum) in New York Harbor in 2006, but he also had his photograph taken in the Ready Room aboard his ship, holding my cover and standing next to a photograph of himself and his squadron taken in 1944. He was wearing a smile.

This may be long winded, but I wanted to take the opportunity to urge everyone who has a father, mother, uncle, aunt or even a neighbor who's a WWII vet to take a few minutes to watch THIS VIDEO if you haven't already.  I've also included a link to a  group called the Honor Flight Network. If you've never heard of it and YOUR WWII veteran has not visited his or her memorial in DC, you should take five minutes to watch the video. We are losing OUR WWII veterans at the rate of a thousand a day. Remember them and remember the reason they gave of themselves.

Be sure you stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy where the hostess Beth Niquette presents another session of Postcard Friendly Friday!

12 comments:

  1. Dave, this is wonderful. Can't wait to show the whole post to my dad. He'll really enjoy this.

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  2. Your cover is beautiful in it's simplicity and meaning. Both my husband's parent and mine were very much involved in WWII. Sadly they are no longer with us but I've done my best to record as much of possible of their stories. I have my FIL's flying logs, which I treasure.

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  3. A unique a memorable card. These were brave young men, some who never had the chance to grow old, those that remain must be treasured.

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  4. The video is beautiful and brought tears. I was a teenager during WWII but many of the veterans aren't that much older than I. My husband was in during occupation and before we married. Beautiful artwork as always!

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  5. wonderful post and video. my father was in the south pacific in ww2. beautiful art work, too! Happy pff!

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  6. That's an interesting postcard. Mine is up - My PFF Entry.

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  7. You do such beautiful work. Thanks for all the details behind the project.

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  8. Wonderful artwork for this special weekend Dave and a wonderful video. Cheers to all involved in this project. One of the best!

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  9. Wonderful cover, great history you have with Lt. Mufich, awesome video... Thanks for sharing... Happy PFF!

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  10. Very creative artwork, Dave!

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  11. Wow Dave! It's always a testament to your skill and mastery that I can look at your artwork and not decide which is the photo and which is the drawing!! This is a perfect example of that. It was so nice to have you come over and say hi too and take a look at my "doodles". Well, they are certainly doodles compared to your fine pencil work. Love the cover, love your historical aptitude!

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  12. PS. Just saw the trailer. Sad to learn that 1000 of these fine men and women are now dying everyday. I know these sorts of documentaries will preserve their stories for generations and generations to come :-)

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