37¢ YB4F6F Hellcat
American Advances in Aviation
Issue Date: July 29, 2005
City: Oshkosh, WI
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.75 x 10.5
Grumman Aircraft made the F6F Hellcat fighter to engage the enemy in the Pacific theater of World War II. The basic Grumman design philosophy was “Make it strong, make it work, and make it simple.”
The Hellcat could out-climb, out-dive, and out-run the famous Japanese Zero fighter. Heavily armored, it could absorb more damage and keep flying. One Hellcat ace pilot declared, “If they could cook, I’d marry one!”
Grumman and its work force performed remarkably to manufacture Hellcats. The first units were assembled by stiff-fingered workers in a cold new plant whose heating system was yet to be installed.
To secure enough skilled workers, Grumman recruited and trained women and blacks, farmers and fishermen. More than 30 percent of the Grumman work force were women, many with small children at home. Grumman set up nursery schools to enable the mothers to work full-time.
Between September 1942 and November 1945, Grumman delivered 12,275 Hellcats to the Navy. At their peak, the company produced 20 fighters a day.
F6Fs defended the Pacific fleet and supported the Marine strike forces. Hellcats shot down about 5,000 Japanese planes and lost just 270 of their own in combat.