Robert Lee "Cherry" Klingler
Robert Lee "Cherry" Klingler had some experience in and F4U Corsair squadron
in 1942 before joining Butch O'Hare's re-forming fighter Squadron at San Diego. "Cherry" was one of the
first to begin training in the new F6F-3 Hellcats. He picked up the nickname of "Cherry" because of his
perpetual blush and rosy cheeks.
Hersch Pahl (L) with "Cherry" Klingler
After the squadron was deployed, he first flew with other divisions; however, after shooting down
a couple enemy aircraft and gaining more combat experience, he flew as a division leader during the next two combat
cruises on the USS Hancock.
L-R, Robert A. "Bob" Hobbs, Robert L."Cherry"
Klingler and Herschel A. Pahl
Christmas, 1943, the squadron met with our dear friends, Frank and Ethal Hoogs, at Wailiku, Maui
Dinner, at which time we joined the Hoogs
family and others, in memorializing our late skipper. "Butch O'Hare.
He later participated in the 21 plane Memorial Flight of Hellcats back to Barber's Point on Dec 26,
On 29 March 1945, he lead his division heroically in protecting one of our downed aviators in a life
raft in Kagoshima Bay in southern Japan. During the dog fight with enemy fighters his division shot down five enemy
fighter planes which later lead to the rescue of "Pete" Somerville, the man in the water. You can read
more of this heroic action here.
"Cherry" was a friendly,
lovable individual who loved to party with the rest of his buddies during our rare leisure moments ashore. He enjoyed
participating in our song-fests even though he was not famous as a vocalist.
Cherry loved to party - here he's mixing drinks in celebration
of the birth of Randy, Hersch's first born.
One night while the squadron was temporarily ashore at Barber's Point, while the Hancock was in drydock
in Pearl Harbor being repaired, "Cherry" helped Cliff Seaver, my room mate, Jim Driver and I, in celebrating
the birth of my son Randy.
The celebration involved the four of us simply having a sip or two of champaign that I chanced to
find. After the party was
over, "Cherry" came to my rescue when I continued my celebrating in the near-by sleeping quarters of
other pilots who were sleeping.
Cherry Klingler was an all-round good guy who I was proud
to have served with on all three Combat Cruises - a true and loyal friend.
Once again "Cherry" participated in a rescue operation of a pilot in trouble (me) as he
removed me from "harms way" and put me back to bed.
I consider it an honor to have served with this great guy in Butch O'Hare's fighter squadron, during
all three combat cruises.
After the war, "Cherry" became an educator in the public school system and raised a family.
- Hersch Pahl
"For those who fought for it...
freedom has a flavor the protected will never know!"