Hellcat in action
Quickly becoming the backbone of the US Navy's fighter force, the F6F achieved one of its best days during the battle of the Philippine sea on June 19, 1944. Dubbed the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot," the battle saw US Navy fighters down massive numbers of Japanese aircraft while sustaining minimal losses. During the course of World War II, 305 Hellcat pilots became aces including US Navy top scorer Captain David McCampbell (34 kills). Downing seven enemy aircraft on June 19, he added nine more on October 24. For these feats he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
During its service in World War II, the F6F Hellcat became the most successful naval fighter of all time with a total of 5,271 kills. Of these, 5,163 were scored by US Navy and US Marine Corps pilots against a loss of 270 Hellcats. This resulted in a remarkable kill ratio of 19:1. Designed as a "Zero killer," the F6F maintained a kill ratio of 13:1 against the Japanese fighter.