...and the Oscar Goes to "Florida Cracker" by Roy Grinnell
Since the return to the Philippines, the U.S. invasion forces were under constant attack by air. 1st Lt. Joseph M. Forster moved to the Tacloban Airbase, Leyte Island in the Philippines along with his group, the 475th FG, 432nd FS, on November 2, 1944, the same day Forster made Ace. On November 8, Forster and his wingman Lt. Walter Freeman were in the air at dawn from a mat strip in poor weather with towering clouds that rose from the deck as far as anyone could see. Almost immediately, Lt. Forster noted flak bursts near Dulag. Investigating, he spotted a lone Nakajima Ki.43 Oscar and gave chase. Just as the Oscar entered the clouds over the Catmon
Mountains, Forster fired in deflection and scored hits. Following the Oscar into the clouds, he scored additional hits. As he and Lt. Freeman rolled out of the cloud base, on each side of the mountain, they observed the Oscar falling out, engulfed in flames and slamming into the jungle.
Lt. Forster had just scored victory number 6 in dismal weather conditions! He finished the war with 9 victories, 3 probables, and 1 damaged.