McWhorter III
Hamilton McWhorter III

HamiltonMcWhorter III (1921 - 2008)

Navy flier Hamilton McWhorter, born and reared in Athens, attended Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia, completing the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Epps Fields, in 1940. He entered Navy flight training at Pensacola and was commissioned in 1942. Joining VF-9 in early 1942, he began combat flying F4F Wildcats from the U. S. S. Ranger in the North African invasion, November 1942. His squadron, the first outfitted with the new F6F Hellcats, embarked in March 1943 on its first Pacific area cruise. McWhorter flew initial strikes against Marcus, Wake, Marshall, and Gilbert Islands, Rabaul, Truk and Saipan and in landings on Tarawa and Kwajalein. He became the first F6F Ace, with a double kill over Rabaul Harbour in November 1943 and a triple in February 1944 over Truk Atoll where he downed two Zekes in less than ten seconds and a third a few minutes later. He earned his nickname, "One Slug," when he downed a twin-engine Betty with 86 rounds of ammunition which included the test firing burst of his guns. He tallied a total of 12 kills. In the Trans-Pac flight demonstration in 1948, McWhorter flew an F8F Bearcat from Moffett Field, CA, to Barbers Point, Oahu, with landings aboard carriers spaced 800 miles apart. He commanded the VF-12, flying the F2H Banshees, early Navy jet fighter, aboard the U. S. S. Coral Sea. McWhorter's awards and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation with star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, seven Air Medals, Victory Medal, American Area/European Area with Star, Pacific Area with seven stars, China Service, U. N. Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal.

Hamilton McWhorter, the First Naval Carrier Double Ace in World War II, was enshrined August 26, 1989.