Commander William Robert Maxwell Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Biography | show moreshow less
W. Robert Maxwell enlisted in the Naval Air Corps 18 April 1941, while attending the University of Wisconsin. He entered flight training with the first Flying Badger Unit at NAS Glenview 1 July 1941, and then to NAS Pensacola for Basic Training 1 October 1941. At NAS Miami he received his wings and Ensign's Commission 12 May 1942.

Commander Maxwell's first squadron duty was with VF-11 at NAS San Diego flying F4F Wildcats. Following stops at Maui and Fiji VF-11 reached Guadalcanal 26 April 1943. His tour was cut short by a mid-air collision during a strike on Munda Air Base. After 4 days in the water and 12 days on Jap held islands he was rescued by natives and Coastwatchers and returned to Guadalcanal. His "adventure" was circulated throughout the Allied Forces and newspapers making him, next to Rick-enbacker, the foremost castaway since Jonah.

Following release from the hospital in New Zealand he was returned to the States and reported for duty at the Fighter Director Training Base NAS St.-Simons Island, and then to VF-4 aboard the USS Ranger in the North Atlantic flying FM-2's. On 21 March 1944 he received orders to VF-51 flying F6F Hellcats aboard the USS San Jacinto as part of Task Force 58. Combat engagements during this tour of duty involved the Mariannas, The Bonins, Iwo Jima, Palau, The Philippines and the Battles of the Philippine Sea.

On 30 November 1944, VF-51 was relieved at Guam and Bob was ordered to NAS Daytona Beach in the Fighter Training Command. He was separated from active duty 7 October 1944, and retired 1 November 1956.

Tally Record: 8 kills, 2 probables, 3 damaged. All Air.

Aerial Combat: His biggest day came at dusk 15 June 1944 while on Combat Air Patrol over Task Force 58 west of the Mariannas. Bob led his 4 plane division in an attack on 10 enemy fighter planes, and in the ensuing battle personally destroyed 3 plus 1 probable. After effecting a night rendezvous he held his division intact until a lull in anti aircraft fire from his own ships enabled him to lead them in for a night carrier landing. The total score for his division: 7 kills and 3 probables.

Commander Maxwell became VF-51 and the San Jacinto's first Ace.

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