Off Nantucket – December 10, 1944
On the night of December 10, 1944, a flight of eleven U.S. Navy planes were engaged in practicing night carrier breakups and rendezvous near Nantucket Island. One of those aircraft, was an F6F-5 Hellcat, (#58277),piloted by Ensign John Daniel Cassidy, 20, of Fighter Squadron 88, (VF-88). Ensign Cassidy was second section wingman in Lt. John Ignatius Drew’s squadron. Lt. Drew was also piloting an F6F-5, (#58164).
At some point Cassidy and Drew became separated from the group, but their absence wasn’t noted until Cassidy called the flight leader asking for their position. The position was given, and no further communications from Cassidy or Drew were received. Neither of the two pilot’s or their aircraft were ever seen again.
The night was very dark, but clear, with scattered clouds at 2,000 feet. The pilots were familiar with the area, and investigators determined that the likelihood of them becoming lost was small, and theorized that they may have been involved in a mid-air collision of suffered the effects of vertigo and crashed into the sea.
A memorial marker to Ensign Cassidy was erected in Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia. It states he was “lost at sea”.
U.S. Navy Crash Briefs for each aircraft/pilot dated December 10, 1944
www.findargave.com, Memorial# 30180216