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On Oct. 24, 1944 — Cdr. David McCampbell, USN, the commander of Carrier Air Group 15 aboard USS Essex (CV-9), attacking a force of 60 Japanese aircraft — along with his wingman — shot down nine enemy aircraft, a single-mission record for an American pilot during World War II. When he returned to Essex from the 95-minute battle, his Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter was out of ammunition and almost out of gas.