Marine Ace, Phillip DeLong WWII

United States Marine Corp Ace, VMF-212

Artwork and research by; Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette

Marine Ace, Phillip DeLong WWII

There are 350 limited edition prints in this series. Print size: 12×18″

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Limited Edition, Signed by the Ace. $65.00

All signatures by both the Aviator and the Artist is done in soft graphic pencil.

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Poster Print $14.95    Poster prints are not autographed or numbered.

Phillip C. DeLong

Marine Corp Ace, VMF-212

Chance Vought F4U-1A Corsair

Phillip entered the war as the Americans were defeating the Japanese and not worried anymore that the enemy would over run them. It was the Japanese who were now on the run. Phillip was a normal boy who grew up in a normal town with normal values who by chance was called to arms when he knew his country needed him. He was also drawn to flying. He was also my third Marine Ace. I am so proud that I got to meet Phillip and be the one to tell his story. Enjoy!

Phillip DeLong was born on July 9, 1919 in Jackson, Michigan where he graduated from high school in 1937. He attended the University of Michigan and enrolled in the NROTC program. He studied Aeronautical Engineering while he was at the University of Michigan.

Phillip left collage and entered the Naval Aviation Cadet program. He switched and entered the U.S. Marine Corps in Corpus Christi, Texas and attended his flight training form March 1942 through December 16, 1942. Phillip graduated and was given his aviation wings and commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corp.Phillip then attended advanced fighter training at NAS Miami from January through February 1943. Then from the end of February through March he became carrier qualified at NAS Glenview, Illinois on the USS Wolverine.

He was sent to MCAF El Toro, California and was there from April and into May of 1943. His route to his first combat cruise was with VMF-212 to Hawaii then on to Midway, then Guadalcanal , and ended at Espiritos Santos. His Squadron would later be stationed on Bouganville along with the “Black Sheep” squadron. His squadron was then moved to Efate, and finally Green Island.

The war had been raging in the Pacific for a year and a half as Phillip was transferred into the fry in the new F4U Corsair fighter. The Corsair was being stationed on land bases since it was being reconsidered for carrier duty. The fighter was large and the nose of the fighter sat up high with only the largest of the carriers able to handle it easily. After arriving at the air base on the Solomon’s he was promoted to First Lieutenant. The conditions on these island bases had been improved a lot compared to what the first Navy and Marine aviators and crews faced.

Phillip gained his first aerial victories on January 9, 1944 with two confirmed Zeroes and damaging a third while flying over Kabanga Bay. He was flying Corsair, F4U-1A BuNo 17878. The encounter happened after lunch that day when Phillip’s flight pulled in behind five Zeroes. Phillip was flying wing for his skipper, Hugh Elwood. Elwood fired first and knocked out the first enemy fighter. Phillip was able to hit and burn another that made his first aerial victory. During the aerial battle Phillip and Elwood were separated as happened in many aerial combats. Phillip pulled in behind another Zero who was trying to sneak up on a Navy F6F Hellcat. The pilot of the Hellcat was unaware of the oncoming enemy and was flying along straight and level. The Zero was slightly above and well in front of Phillip. The Japanese was slightly too far ahead of Phillip for a guaranteed hit. The Hellcat was just above and ahead of the Zero. The Japanese was going to attack the Hellcat from the bottom.

Phillip was frustrated and wanted to help keep this Hellcat from falling to the guns of the enemy fighter. In desperation he fired all six of his fifty caliber machine guns way over the head of the Japanese fighter hoping that the enemy pilot would be scared away when he saw tracers being fired at him from behind. He knew the bullets would arch toward the enemy with little effect.

Amazing as it seemed the bullets that Phillip fired rained down by chance onto the Zero. The enemy’s aircraft was mortally damaged along with its pilot. Apparently a few bullets from either Phil’s or the Zero’s guns struck the Navy Hellcat who was unaware of what had just happened. The Hellcat was only slightly damaged. However the Navy that the Hellcat belonged to got real mad and sent a letter to VMF-212 telling the Marine squadron to stop shooting at the Navy planes. How ungrateful! This gave Phillip two aerial victories in his first air battle.

To read more about Phillip DeLong then please consider one of our prints or one of our upcoming books. Thank you.

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DeLong and his F4U in the Soloman Islands. Note the “red” outline of the star and bar on his fighter.

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Did I say “OUCH!”

This is a photo the F4U Corsair that I painted above. No Corsair was assigned to any one pilot. Each aircraft was flown as the aircraft was available. One day Phil would fly one Corsair and then when he had a day off another pilot would use the F4U. This Corsair #777 was just one that Phil flew in combat.

At the time of this photo another pilot was flying Corsair #777 and had an accident on December 14, 1943 at Bougainville. Phillip flew this Corsair on four missions before its demise. Phillip was a 1st Lieutenant at this time. The aircraft flipped over and tore off the entire tail and rudder. Phillip never had an accident flying the Corsair from WWII through Korea.

Everyone wants to know what the white strips are on the fuselage in front of the canopy. This is tape that had to be applied to seal the fuel tank access panel to keep gasoline fumes from entering the cockpit. In later models of the Corsair this problem was corrected.

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Sadly Phillip passed away in July, 2006. I will miss him.

Phil Delong and the Artist

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Phil signed 350 of this print.

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Original paintings of Phillip’s F4U Corsair’s are available. Each canvas has been autographed by the Ace.

Painting size is 24×48″ $3,000.00. This includes shipping.

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