Early in the Pacific War in WWII the Grumman F4F Wildcat was the best fighter aircraft the U.S. had but was out performed by the Japanese Zero. The Wildcat’s folding wings allowed for a greater number of aircraft that could be carried but added extra weight and reduced the aircraft performance. New features such as self-sealing fuel tanks, heavy armor made up for the Wildcat’s lesser performance. By the end of WWII the F4F had flown approximately 15,500 sorties with a kill ratio of 6.9 victories to 1.
In March 1941 Robert Galer was appointed Captain and in 1942 became the CO of VMF-224 “Fighting Bengals” and became a Major. Between August 30 and November 2, 1942 VMF-224 shot down 60 enemy aircraft with Galer credited with 11 of these during a 29 day period flying the F4F-3. After WWII Galer served in Korea; ending his flying career with 14 victories. Robert Galer retired as a Brigadier General who had received the Medal of Honor, the British DFC and Purple Heart plus numerous others.