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USS Yorktown Robert Duncan

Like many kids growing up in the 1930s and ‘40s, U.S. Navy Captain (Ret.) Robert Duncan was fascinated by aviation. The Marion, Illinois native learned to fly as a teenager and enlisted in the Navy to fly fighter planes as the war raged on in Europe and the Pacific. The Japanese Zero fighter plane had taken a deadly toll on American fighter pilots early in the war due to its speed and agility, but Grumman’s new Hellcat fighter plane would soon turn the tables on the Zero. As fate would have it, Duncan made naval aviation history as the first Hellcat fighter pilot to shoot down a Japanese Zero. He went on to become an ace and later flew jet fighters in the Korean War.

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