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Eugene A. Valencia, Jr.
  • General Info
General Information
Eugene A. Valencia Jr. was a leading United States Navy fighter ace in World War II. A native of San Francisco, Valencia attended junior college before enlisting in the Navy for flight training in 1941. He received his wings of gold in February 1942 and joined Fighting Squadron 9 a year later. During his first combat deployment to the Pacific, he flew Grumman Hellcats from USS Essex in 1943?44. At the end of the first cruise in February 1944, Lieutenant Valencia was an ace with seven victories, including three in the large dogfight over Truk Atoll on the 17th of that month. Promoted to full lieutenant, Valencia prepared for VF-9's next deployment. He trained three other pilots in his "mowing machine" tactics and thereby formed perhaps the deadliest naval fighter division of the war. "Fighting 9" flew from USS Lexington and USS Yorktown during 1945, and Valencia's practiced team accounted for 43 of the squadron's 130 victories. Valencia himself joined the ranks of the "aces in a day" with six kills over Japan on 17 April, and at war's end all his pilots were aces. James B. French had 11 victories, Harris Mitchell 10, and Clinton L. Smith 6. 
April 13th, 1921 in San Francisco  /  Died:   Sep 15th, 1972
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Date: Sep 15th, 1972
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