Marine Night Fighter Squadron 541 (VMF[N]-54I) was one of several Marine Corps night fighter squadrons that distinguished itself in combat in World War II’s Pacific theater. During their two-year existence, the Bateyes compiled an impressive operational record. Activated on 15 February 1944 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, VMF(N)- 541 was placed under the command of Major Peter D. Lambrecht. The new squadron was positioned on Peleliu in the Palau Islands by late September that year, shortly after the airstrip was secured. The squadron’s radar-equipped, single-engine F6F-3N/5N Hellcat fighters flew night-bombing strikes and patrolled the skies for intruders, scoring the Marine Corp’s only aerial victory in the Palaus operation on 31 October.
Lest We Forget
By Lieutenant Commander Rick Burgess, U.S. Navy (Retired)