Rell declares holiday to honor Corsair combat plane

Governor Jodi Rell proclaimed Tuesday, May 29 Corsair Day to honor the World War II combat planes built in Connecticut.

Lt. Nick Manero, of Bridgeport, is one of the many who flew Corsair combat planes during World War II. He spent four years with the Marines and flew on dozens of combat missions over the Japanese islands of the Pacific.

Manero remembered his Corsair as he examined the one on display at Sikorsky Airport. ?Usually they have a bomb rack under the center piece, three 50s in each wing, that?s six machine guns,? he said.

On what would be his last mission, he was in the Marshall Islands when a Japanese artillery shell exploded in his cockpit. ?It caught me in the eye, blew out my eye, my face, my shoulder,? Manero remembered.

Manero flew the Corsair 200 miles back to his base despite the injuries. He earned a Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.

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