Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum’s Corsair was assigned to Marine Squadron VMF-115. Famous Marine ace Joe Foss was chosen to take command of the unit just 16 days after it was established in Santa Barbara, California on July 1, 1943.
Though VMF-115 was officially the “Silver Eagles,” Foss commissioned Walt Disney artists to create an unofficial logo for the squadron, “to exemplify a more aggressive, devil-may-care attitude.” What developed was a happy, anthropomorphic Corsair smoking a cigar — Foss’s trademark — complete with goggles and silk scarf. The unit was often called “Joe’s Jokers” by the men in the squadron. Some versions of the logo have cards arrayed behind the plane.
Foss never flew the Flying Heritage’s Corsair. By the time the plane entered the squadron in the Philippines, Foss had (again) contracted malaria and had been sent home to recover.
Cory Graff is the military aviation curator at Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum.