Off Nantucket, MA – December 10, 1944

Off Nantucket, MA – December 10, 1944


Hellcat Fighters
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of December 10, 1944, a flight of eleven F6F Hellcats were engaged in practicing night breakups and rendezvous off Nantucket Island.  Lieutenant John Ignatius Drew, piloting (Bu. No. 58164), was leading a division of four planes in which Ensign John Daniel Cassidy, piloting (Bu. No. 58277), was the second section wingman.  After the final rendezvous, Lieutenant Drew and Ensign Cassidy didn’t join up with the rest of the flight.  Due to the darkness their absence wasn’t noticed and the other nine aircraft began returning to Nantucket Naval Air Station.  Meanwhile, Drew and Cassidy had joined up together, but didn’t see the other aircraft.  Ensign Cassidy radioed the flight leader asking for their position and was told that the aircraft were nearing the navy base. This was the last communication from Ensign Cassidy.  Both Cassidy and Drew subsequently disappeared and were presumed to have crashed in the ocean. 

     As to the cause of the disappearance, it was stated in the navy accident report, “”Since the night was clear and the pilots were familiar with the area the likelihood of their having become lost is small.  Therefore it is assumed that the pilots may have been victims of vertigo or collision.” 

     Both men were assigned to VF-88

    Source: U. S. Navy Accident Report dated December 10, 1944.

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