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Jack Mason Gougar

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Jack Mason Gougar
Born(1920-09-29)September 29, 1920
New Lenox, Illinois
DiedJanuary 1, 2007(2007-01-01) (aged 86)
Biloxi, Mississippi
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1/10/1941-3/1/1968
RankLieutenant Commander
UnitUSS Yorktown, USS Hornet, USS Sangamon, Blue Angels
Battles/warsWorld War II
*Battle of Midway
*Battle of the Coral Sea
*Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
AwardsAir Medal (3)

Jack Mason Gougar (September 29, 1920 – January 1, 2007) was a full career aviator with the United States Navy. Beginning his career as an enlisted man, he earned his commission as a Mustang while participating in World War II.

Navy career[edit]


  • Enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 10, 1941, as a seaman.
  • He served as radio man/gunner aboard torpedo bombers off of several aircraft carriers during World War II.[1]
  • He was one of the last enlisted pilots (Mustangs) before the Navy required all pilots to accept commissions.[1]


The following was written by LCDR Jack Gougar and submitted to the Blue Angel Alumni Association and published on their website.[2]

  • January 10, 1941 - March 1, 1941 -- Great Lakes Naval Training Station (USNTS) - Seaman Recruit
  • March 1, 1941 - June 1941 -- NAS San Diego, CA, Aviation Radio School, Seaman Second Class
  • June 1941 - August 1941—Temporary duty with Scouting Squadron Five at NAS Nolfolk, VA.
  • August 1941 - June 4, 1942 -- USS Yorktown - Torpedo Squadron Five. Aviation Radioman/Gunner, Douglas TBD Devastator. Witnessed sinking of USS Lexington during the Battle of Coral Sea (5/8/42). USS Yorktown damaged. Temporary duty Torpedo Squadron Three during the Battle of Midway. Survived sinking of the USS Yorktown. Seaman First Class, Radioman 3C, Aviation Radioman 3C.
  • June 1941 - October 26, 1942 -- NAS Kaneohe Bay, USS Hornet Torpedo Squadron Six. Aviation Radioman/Gunner, Grumman TBF Avenger. Crew member for Evan K. Williams, Naval Aviation Pilot First Class. Witnessed sinking of USS Wasp 9/15/42. Torpedoed Japanese heavy cruiser during the battle of Santa Cruz, 10/26/42. Landed aboard the USS Enterprise following the sinking of the USS Hornet. Aviation Radioman Second Class
  • January 1943 - March 1943 -- NAS Seattle, CASU Seven, Croaton detail at McChord Army Air Base, Tacoma, WA. Aviation Radioman in SO3C Curtiss Seamew Scout aircraft.
  • April 1943 - April 1944 -- USS Sangamon Composite Squadron VC37. Aviation Radioman/Turret Gunner in Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft. Married Florence Catherine Campbell, 5/15/43, at NAS Alameda Chapel. Squadron training at NAAS Monterey, CA, NAS Los Alamitos (Long Beach), CA, and NAAS Holtville, CA. While at Los Alamitos, ditched at sea off San Clemente Island on my birthday, 9/29/43. Crew member for Ensign Evan K. Williams. Participated in action at Kwajelein, Eniwetok, Tarawa, Hollandia, New Guinea.
  • May 1944 - May 1945—Radio Tech "B" School at Herzl Junior College, Chicago. Texas A&M University. NTTC Ward Island Corpus Christi, TX.
  • May 1945 - July 1947—Flight Training - St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN), Pre-flight School at University of Georgia (Athens, GA). It was during my stay at U of GA that the war ended. I was on duty in the Duty Office. Adjacent to us was the Telephone Exchange. The operator came bursting in with the news that the war was over. I gave her a list of key people to notify. A cadet was on duty with me. In a very short time, the CO of Pre-flight School came rushing in asking if the exec had been in. Of course, I replied in the negative. Not long after that, the exec showed up and asked if the skipper had been in. I replied "yessir". Exec: "What did he say?" I replied that the skipper had said to give everyone three days off. The cadet with me almost had cardiac arrest. As soon as we were alone, he excitedly told me I couldn't say that. I replied "watch me." A short time later, the skipper came in with "has the exec come in yet?" I replied "yessir." Skipper: "What did the exec say?" I replied, "He said to give everyone three days off." To this day, no one but the frantic cadet and my close friends ever knew that a sailor had given the entire Pre-Flight School a modest vacation to celebrate the War's end. Daughter Leslee Joan born 8/5/45 in Winchester, MA. University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA), Primary training at NAS Memphis, TN on Boeing-Stearman N2S. Basic training at NAS Corpus Christi, TX on North American SNJs. Intermediate training at NAS Pensacola, FL, SNJa and Consolidated PBY Catalinas. Graduated Aviation Pilot First Class, 4/27/47. Son Jon born at Pensacola Naval Hospital, 7/15/47. February 1942, the executive officer of our squadron, Lt. H.T. Johnson, went down in the Pacific, was captured by the Japanese, and spent almost the entire war in a prison camp. In April, 1947, Commander H.T. Johnson, as Superintendent of Training, pinned my wings on me. To my astonishment, he remembered me and gave special congratulations....a treasured memory. His second seat man, Chief Naval Aviation Pilot Chuck Fosha, was, of course, a prisoner too. Twenty years and two months later, Commander Fosha, as NAS Pensacola Personnel Officer, signed my retirement papers. Don't you know, those signatures are among my most treasured keepsakes
  • September 1946 - September 1949—NAS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, FASRON 109. Utility pilot in SNJ, SNB, F6F, R4D aircraft. Daughter Karen born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, 10/31/48. Aviation pilot first class, Aviation Electronicsman/Aviation Pilot first class, Aviation Chief Electronicsman/Naval Aviation Pilot.
  • November 1949 - December 1951 -- NAS Pensacola, NAAS Corry Field, Pensacola. Attended instructor's basic training unit. Flight instruction in instruments, aerobatics, night flying on North American SNJs. Awarded 1,000 hour accident free instructor citation. It was during the "Peace Dividend" under President Harry S. Truman and United States Secretary of Defense Johnson that severe cuts in the armed forces were made. Temporary Officers (Mustangs) were demoted to their enlisted ranks, and reserve officers were "riffed." There immediately became a severe shortage of instructors in the Flight Training Command. Enlisted pilots were called in from all over the fleet to fill the gap. Curing that time, we received commendations from both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets for the product we were sending them. I set an all-time record for the number of instructor hours that I flew in one month: 102.
  • December 1951 - September 1953—FAETUPAC, NAS San Diego, CA. Anti-sub warfare instructor. Lockheed P2V-3W Neptune, Douglas R4D, Beechcraft SNB aircraft. Graduate of naval all-weather flight school at NAS Corpus Christi, TX, Aviation Electronicsman/Naval Aviation Pilot.
  • September 1953 - September 1954—MAAG Saigon. Flew as pilot of Beechcraft SNB-5 aircraft, military advisor to the French. Operated in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore. Last American aircraft out of Hanoi, North Vietnam after the fall of Dien Bien Phu. Aviation Electronicsman/Naval Aviation Pilot.
  • September 1954 - September 1955—NAAS Barin Field, Foley, AL. Maintenance test Pilot in North American SNJ aircraft. Aviation Chief Electronicsman/Naval Aviation Pilot. Promoted to Ensign USN9T 7/2/55.
  • September 1955 - October 1958 -- NAS Pensacola, Florida and NAAS Saufley Field. Attended Instructors Training and qualified as formation flight instructor in SNJ aircraft. Ground training instructor in communications and meteorology. Ground training division officer. Ensign. Promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade, 1/2/57.
  • October 1958 - March 1959 -- NAS Memphis, TN. Officer electronics school. Lieutenant Junior Grade.
  • March 1959 - January 1965 -- McGuire AFB, NJ. VR3 Naval Air Transport Squadron Three and EASTAF Operations. Promoted to Lieutenant 8/1/59. Qualified Navigator in Douglas C-118 aircraft. Qualified Second Pilot 9/14/59. Qualified First Pilot 5/17/60. Qualified Plane Commander in C118 aircraft 3/16/61. Qualified Aircraft Commander in C130 aircraft 7/1/64. Received 5,000 Hour Accident-Free Pilot Award 4/23/62. Lieutenant Junior Grade. Liaison Officer for all Air National Guard transport squadrons east of the Mississippi.
  • January 1965 - December 1965—NAS Pensacola, FL Operations Department. Transport Plane Commander in Douglas R4D and Douglas C-54 Skymaster aircraft. Lieutenant. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander 3/1/65.
  • December 1965 - September 1967 -- Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team. Maintenance officer and C-54 transport plane commander. Lieutenant commander. While flying from Tunis, Tunisia, to Turkey, experienced #1 engine failure. Landed on the Island of Rhodes, Greece. Suffered a collapsed lung and was returned to the Naval Hospital and given six months to live.
  • September 1967 - March 1968 -- NAS Pensacola Maintenance Department awaiting disability retirement. Lieutenant commander.
  • March 1, 1968—Disability retirement. Lieutenant commander.


  • Stearman N2S
  • North American SNJ Texan
  • Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
  • Douglas DC-6 (R6D)
  • Lockheed C-130 Hercules
  • Douglas C-54 Skymaster

Battle of Midway[edit]

Serving aboard the USS Yorktown, Jack Gougar spent several hours in the water after it was sunk.[1]

Blue Angels[edit]

His last tour of duty was as engineering officer for the Navy Blue Angels.[1]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Gougar's awards and decorations include: 3 Air Medals, 3 Presidential Unit Citations, 10 Battle Stars (Asiatic-Pacific Campaign), Good Conduct Medal with 3 stars, Atlantic Defense Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Vietnamese Friendship Citation, 1000 Hour Accident-Free Flight Instructor Hour Award, 5000 Hour Accident-Free Flight Award. Commanding Officers Commendation for work with Enlisted Men, Saufley Field. Commanding Officers Commendation for Re-Enlistment Program. Congressional Letter of Commendation; Senator Mike Mansfield.



  • Cressman, Robert (2000 (4th printing)). That Gallant Ship U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-5). Missoula, Montana, U.S.A.: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company. ISBN 0-933126-57-3. Check date values in: |date= (help) Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  • Ludlum, Stuart D. (1997). They Turned the War Around at Coral Sea and Midway: Going to War with Yorktown's Air Group Five. Merriam Press. ISBN 1-57638-085-8. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

Other articles of the topic World War II : Donald W. Wolf, Leland Evan Thomas, George M. Campbell, Louis J. Carpellotti, John Clarence Butler, Richard S. Baron, Pedro Rodríguez (soldier)
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External links[edit]

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