See Mac on the History Channel

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

James Bishop

Jon, I was deeply saddened by the news of your fathers passing. Mac was a online friend of mine going back sometime to early in 1995 . I am a Navy veteran Aviation Ordnanceman and can appreciate Mac's accomplishments as a Naval Aviator. I never had the honor to meet him personally but did get to talk to him on the phone . We shared emails and I sent him stuff about Aviation Ordnance and Navy events that I figured he'd be interested in & he sent me news when he got it too. I once asked him about his younger days in Georgia. I believe that was one of the best letters I ever got back from him. He had some wonderful stories I am sure I need not tell you as you must've heard a few of them. I must confess I love a good story andI enjoyed him telling me about his family and some of his adventures as a young man...I was very sick around christmas found out I was diabetic and in the hospital a real down time for me & forgot him a Christmas Email but Mac didn't forget me I have a picture Mac sent me he said that " was another pilots plane but he flew it of the Ship I will miss Mac and his emails .

My Thoughts & Prayers to you,

Richmond, Virginia

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Walt Blaseck

In the fall of 1953, I checked into VF-12 as a brand new Ensign, fresh out of flight and Jet School. Your Father was the Skipper and a fine Skipper he was. We were flying "Banshees" and it was a great Bird.

A few months later, we cruised down to "Gitmo" for Aerial gunnery where three other guys
and myself were ComAirLant gunnery champs.Mac was extremely proud of us for that feat.
A short time later, he completed his tour and was transferred out. He was a quiet man who led the squadron by example and intelligence. I for one, was sad to see him go. Through the years we kept in touch and were able to see each other at our Squadron reunion
in San Diego.

During all those years, I never knew he was an "Ace" in WW2 until just a few years ago!
I asked him why he never mentioned it and he replied "I had so many Buddies and friends
killed flying next to me in combat, I preferred not to bring back those memories by talking
about it". Very few men would keep quiet about such an accomplishment!

I'm sure he's on tha big "Carrier in the Sky" lookin down at us, with that big smile and a
twinkle in his eye!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jay Stout

I first met Mac at the "Wings over Gillespie" air show in 1998. Eric Hammel,
the great World War II historian, was also there and suggested that I ask Mac
if he'd like to get together to write his story. Well, I put my pitch
together and talked for about five minutes straight. Mac just replied in
typical, understated, no-words-wasted Mac fashion: "Sure."

That was the start of a wonderful working relationship. I spent a lot of
great weekend afternoons with Mac. They were made that much more enjoyable
when Louise visited with us.

As I mentioned earlier, Mac was a man of few words—especially when it came
to talking about himself. It was something we had to work around. I used to
tell him, "Mac, humility is a wonderful attribute, but the book's only going
to be fourteen pages unless you talk at least a little bit about yourself!"
In the end he came through, and his modesty was still apparent in the book.
At any rate, I really enjoyed working with him. He worked hard and honest,
and was a fine writer. I'm very proud that Mac—who had seen and done so
much—liked me.

Physically, Mac was the classic gentle giant. He had hands like a baseball
glove—big and rough. And an iron grip all the way to the end. But he never
showed off with that massive strength. A person just knew it was there. I
liked that about Mac.

And I'll miss him.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Chuck Sweeney

My condolences on the passing of a very wonderful man. I remember the first time that I met “Mac” McWhorter was at Gillespie Field where he was on a panel of Pilots discussing tactics during WWII and he stood out as being very articulate but humble. My fondest memory of him was in May of 2004 aboard the USS Midway before it was open to the public. They had a “Handshake across the Oceans” ceremony with a large group of Japanese Zero Pilots who were touring the United States and wanted to meet US pilots from WWII. Mac was selected to be the U.S. representative to do the handshake with one of the Japanese pilots and he did a great job as always. Of course he stood head and shoulders above all of them but he was very gracious about the whole thing. With the help of an interpreter, he met a Zero pilot who happened to be in one of the same air battles with him but we figured they didn’t come across each other in the sky or the Zero pilot wouldn’t have made it through an encounter with Mac.

Mac was awarded five Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFCs) and was a great supporter of the DFC Society and the Lindbergh Chapter. His legacy with the DFC Society will continue as he is in a painting by the renowned artist Ruth Mayer entitled “Distinguished Flying Cross” .

The original of the painting is in the San Diego Air & Space Museum and will eventually be part of an interactive exhibit at the Museum. I will personally miss Mac very much and just feel lucky to have known him even for such a short period of time. I am also glad that I was able to meet so many members of his fantastic family.

Chuck Sweeney,
DFC Society

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Willy Driscoll

Please accept our sincere sympathies regarding the passing of your dad. I was at several aces events with your dad through the years. (I’m a Navy ace and flew during the Vietnam War with Duke Cunningham). The lessons we learned from aces like your dad were directly responsible for our success in combat. He’ll certainly be missed, but his lessons of combat will live on with all fighter pilots.

Sincerely,

“Mig Ace”

Rex Thompson

Hello Jon...
My apologies for not realizing the date for memories has come and gone!
I read several of the blog entries and was most impressed...but...I guess most
of his squadron-mates such as I...have passed away or are unable to send their
memories to you???I always thot he was a little older than I..but found that my birth date 2 Dec 1920, preceded his! We both had many things in common..
we both took Civilian Pilot Training before the war, but he had two years college before I did and beat me to the USNavy...After the war I stayed in the Ready Reserves until I flunked the vision test! so I had to find other ways to enjoy the outdoors...sailing!

Thanks for giving your Dad such a great "BLOG" sendoff...you are a fine Son!
rex thompson VF-12 USS Randolph CV-15 (now scrap!)..I have a piece of the flight deck,tho!

Mac recounts a battle victory

Leading the Hellcats was LT Hamilton W. "Mac" McWhorter III, now on his second combat tour in the Pacific after becoming the first Hellcat ace of World War II and the Navy's first double-ace of the war during his first Western Pacific tour a year earlier:

"We were orbiting at 12,000 feet on combat air patrol, when we were given a vector to intercept four bogies at twenty-thousand-plus. We applied full power and started climbing. By the time we got to 20,000, I spotted a single airplane ahead at 24,000, just making a bit of a contrail. I was climbing faster than the others in the division, and hit the water injection to catch up to him. I was right up on him at six o-clock and about one hundred feet below when I opened fire. He never made a move, but the engine went up and then his fuel tank caught. I was so close when he blew up that I had his engine oil all over the canopy. He went straight in as a fireball all the way down."
The date was May 12, 1945 - the Myrt was McWhorter's twelfth and final victory of the war.

Dad's Obit

UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
April 24, 2008
Hamilton “Mac” McWhorter was 7 years old when a barnstorming pilot visited his hometown and he took his first ride in an airplane.

From that moment, he knew he never wanted to do anything else.

The future Navy commander was a naval aviation cadet undergoing training when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Within a couple of years he had become the first American pilot to achieve “Ace” status flying a new airplane, the Hellcat.

By May 1945, he had shot down at least 12 Japanese planes and escaped danger on several occasions. In a book he wrote more than 50 years later, retired Cmdr. McWhorter recounted his war experiences, including battles over North Africa and the Pacific.

Cmdr. McWhorter died of natural causes April 12 at his home in El Cajon. He was 87.

His wife, Louise, said he loved flying and that was a big reason he made a career in the Navy. He later taught three of their five children to fly and after retiring from the Navy, he became a flight instructor at Gillespie Field.

“He was so proud that so many of his students became airline pilots,” she said.

Cmdr. McWhorter didn't talk much about the war to his family until he joined other fighter aces and started touring air shows where the members of the “greatest generation” shared their experiences.

Cmdr. McWhorter was born Feb. 8, 1921, in Athens, Ga., to Hamilton McWhorter Jr. and Nettie Lou Peurifoy McWhorter.

He met his future wife in November 1942 in Norfolk, Va., at a party thrown for a friend who had been shot down over the Atlantic during the invasion of North Africa. The friend had been reported dead, but when his friends found out he had been rescued, they threw a resurrection party.

Eight weeks later, Louise and “Mac” McWhorter were married. The couple had five children and later opened their home to a struggling Chinese immigrant family for a few years.

Cmdr. McWhorter was a member of the American Fighter Aces Association, the Distinguished Flying Cross Society and the Tailhook Association. He received several military honors including five Distinguished Cross Medals. Cmdr. McWhorter was elected to the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in 1989.

The family moved to El Cajon in 1968, and he retired as the executive officer of Naval Air Station, Miramar in 1969. Cmdr. McWhorter spent the ensuing years as a “gentleman farmer” tending to avocado trees at the family's home, as a flight instructor and an author.

He coauthored a book, “The First Hellcat Ace,” that was published in 2001. In 2006, Cmdr. McWhorter was interviewed for a History Channel segment on dogfights.

Besides his wife, survivors include sons, Donald of Lemon Grove, William of El Cajon, Hamilton IV of San Diego and Jon of San Diego; daughter, Georgia Scheingross of San Diego; and six grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church of El Cajon. Ashes will be interred at 1 p.m. May 5 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Donations are suggested to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.