I posted the following album of photos to various personal collections and another anonymous community! -lol
The first image had no information on the pilot and he looked disturbingly familiar. Guild member Paolo Viti asked me if I knew who the pilot was. I replied that I didn’t but was working to identify him and get his “story”. Well, I did just that!
This young man is Takeo Tanimizu, a Japanese ace credited with 32 victories. Photo 1 shows his aircraft, an A6M5 Model 52, with distinctive victory marks which he employed to bolster the morale of the young and inexperienced pilots of his group. Photo 2 shows a portrait of Tanimizu with presumably, his pet monkeys. Photo 3 shows the distinctive victory marks – 5 Superfortress kills and 1 probable or damaged bomber. Photo 4 shows a “pantheon” of Japanese aces but more importantly, the caption beneath Tanimizu’s photo (upper right corner) is noteworthy! I quote from a web-site: “Tanimizu also showed compassion as a fighter pilot, once zooming in low and throwing his life preserver to U.S. Marine Captain Harvey Carter of Glendale, California, who had just been shot down and was swimming in the ocean. Although he served his Emperor to the best of his abilities and survived the war and eventually lived to a ripe old age, Tanimizu all through the rest of his years was to lament his actions and pray nightly at the small Buddhist altar in his home for the souls of the men he had killed.” Read more at: http://www.rjgeib.com/heroes/tanimizu/tanimizu.html