AIR: Scratch One Tinpot

"It was sort of an impromptu affair."

Captain Thomas G. Lanphier Jr., Army air hero (TIME, May 31), was shop-talking, with the professional airman's elaborate understatement, about one of the strangest engagements of this or any war—a battle in which U.S. fighter planes sank a Japanese destroyer by gunfire.

"We came out of the floatplane base on Poporang Island—there were six of us, five P-38s and one Vought Corsair—and we spotted the destroyer. It turned broadside to me. We were firing our four .50-caliber machine guns and one cannon.

"There were Japs jumping overboard everywhere. It took a couple of runs to clear...

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