Windy Hill, Merle William Davenport, John Orrin Ellsworth and William Lee Landreth in Bougainville
Merle William Davenport
“Butch” Merl is the only true fighter ace pictured in the snapshot. He was credited with 6 confirmed aerial victories during his time in the PTO. Merl passed away in 1989.
John Orrin Ellsworth
John’s Stateside Grave Marker
William Lee Landreth- The last Living Original Pilot from VF-17
From Country’s 2012 obituary:
“He grew up to pilot the powerful F4U Corsair with fighter squadron VF-17, the Jolly Rogers, and was eventually its last surviving original pilot. “Country”, as his squadron mates dubbed him, was credited with 3 kills and 1 assist while his squadron destroyed 154 planes in 76 days of combat in the South Pacific. No bomber escorted by VF-17 was lost to enemy aircraft, no ship ever hit by a bomb or aerial torpedo. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/venturacountystar/obituary.aspx?pid=158047970#sthash.OJ6tGm6u.dpuf
Mr. Landreth eventually passed away due to complication from a WWII injury sustained during his stint with the VF-17. My heart goes out to his family. I hope they find this page and this snapshot of him with his comrades.