With the recent discovery of the USS Lexington (CV 2) wreckage in the depths of the Coral Sea in March 2018, a large number of aircraft wrecks from the embarked air group were spotted near the carrier.
Among them was an F4F-3 Wildcat with the "Felix the Cat" insignia painted on it, which at first glance seemed out of place. It is true that Fighter Squadron (FV) 3 had flown from the carrier deck earlier in World War II, but at the time of the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 7-8, 1942, FV-3 was based ashore in Hawaii.
However, a closer look at the historical record reveals that prior to boarding Lexington on 15 April 1942 for what would be the ship's last cruise, VF-2 took possession of nineteen of VF-3's Wildcats for the coming campaign.
In addition, twelve pilots from the "Felix the Cat" squadron were transferred to VF-2. As part of the organization of the squadron's aircraft, maintenance assigned them all new side numbers. With the press of events, no effort was made to disguise the markings that the VF-3 planes already bore, including the squadron insignia, Japanese "Rising Sun" flags that signified air-to-air kills, and bomb silhouettes to indicate air-to-ground attacks.
One of the older VF-3 aircraft was assigned the side number F-5 and was assigned to Lt. Albert O. Vorse, Jr, who had fought with the "Felix the Cat" squadron. This is the aircraft that inspired our jacket.
Naval message regarding VF-3 air actions on February 20, 1942, in which Lt. Noel A.M. Gayler shot down some of the planes represented by the Japanese flags painted on the fuselage of F4F-3 found on the bottom of the Coral Sea.