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Monday, June 21, 2021

Alexander Vraciu

Lockheed S-3B Viking

Came across this photo or the Lockheed S-3B Viking  and thought that's kind of a cool airplane, something different anyway. Then I read the blurb and find the photo was taken at Vraciu Field, which took me aback. I thought I knew the names of all the US air bases, or at least I was familiar with them, but I've never heard of this one.

On board the aircraft carrier Lexington, Lt. j.g. Alexander Vraciu holds up six fingers to signify his "kills" during the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" on 19 June 1944. (National Archives)

Turns out El Centro was recently renamed Vraciu Field in honor of Alexander Vraciu, a WW2 fighter ace. 80 of his relatives showed up at the ceremony. The Navy Times has the story about his wartime exploits, Wikipedia fills in the blanks.

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