During the Second World War, St. Louis Cardinals manager Billy Southworth received a unique handwritten request.
It seems that a commander of a Marine fighter squadron in the Pacific made an offer to Southworth that he could not refuse. If the St Louis Cardinals sent baseball caps to his squadron based in the South Pacific, he and his pilots would guarantee to shoot down one Japanese fighter for each cap received.
Southworth agreed, and sent a box of 20 caps to the island of VellaLavella. By early 1944, Southworth learned that the Marine Squadron had splashed 48 Zeros, and that number was still climbing. The Cardinals manager later discovered that the Commander that made the request, was none other than Maj. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington and the squadron was no less than the famed VMF-214 "Black Sheep Squadron."
“Fighting Forty-One” began on June 1, 1945 when it was commissioned at NAS Chincoteague, Virginia, flying the F4-U Corsair. In July 1948, the squadron was designated Fighter Squadron 3B (VF-3B), only to be re-designated VF-41 in September of the same year.
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