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WENDORF, EDWARD GEORGE Commander Edward G. "Wendy" Wendorf passed away on February 10th from natural causes. To those who knew him, he was intelligent, loving, hard-working, and humorous. His heroic service as a pilot during World War II became legendary. Wendy, as he was known to his friends, was born February 22, 1922 and grew up in the small central Texas town of West. He enrolled at the University of Texas with a football scholarship and played for two years before entering Naval Flight Training, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He earned his wings and was commissioned in June 1943. He joined the Fighting Sixteen aboard the USS Lexington in October 1943. In his first combat assignment, he provided aerial support for the Marines landing at Tarawa to attack Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands. Wendy shot down a Betty bomber and three Japanese Zeroes, and was hit by anti-aircraft fire that disabled his tail hook, hydraulic flaps, emergency air brakes, and left him with a head wound and one bleeding eye. He flew 45 minutes back to the USS Lexington while holding one hand over his damaged eye, where he successfully landed on the deck, stopped by a cable barrier erected to save him. He is known as the only naval aviator to execute a one-handed landing without tail hook, flaps, or brakes. Over 220 bullet holes were found in his F6F Hellcat #13, which was later used as a promotion to buy Bonds for the War effort. When his wound healed, he returned to duty and continued his service in the Pacific for seven more months through the taking of the Marianas in July 1944. During this time he was credited with one more Zero at Truk Island and a Kate torpedo plane on the day of the Turkey Shoot for a total of six victories, which qualified him as an "Ace." He remained in the Navy for 24 years, including service as a flight instructor at Pensacola, a tour on CNABATRA's staff, Executive Officer of a Utility squadron (VU-3), Air Officer aboard the USS Bennington, a transport pilot in the Military Air Transport System, and a tour at the Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, D.C. Following his retirement from the Navy in 1966, he worked at Ryan Aeronautical Company for 10 years, managing the Firebee and Superfirebee programs. He spent the next 10 years with General Dynamics, Convair Division as a Logistic Manager for the Cruise Missile Program, retiring from General Dynamics in 1987. Wendy was a natural athlete and avid sports fan, and enjoyed playing tennis and golf. He volunteered at local high schools, Rancho Bernardo Hospital and as a Docent on the USS Midway. He is survived by his second wife Jan and his three children with Marjorie Wendorf: daughter Dee Winn, and two sons, Mark and Kit Wendorf of Encinitas, and six grandchildren. Interment will be at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. A Memorial service will be held on March 11, 2013. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to a charity of your choosing in his name.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 24, 2013
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