Edwin Foresman Schoch

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Lieutenant

Edwin Foresman Schoch
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Birth nameEdwin Foresman Schoch
Nickname(s)Ed
Born(1916-09-13)September 13, 1916
Oakmont, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedSeptember 13, 1951(1951-09-13) (aged 35)
Elsberry, Missouri, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branch
Years of service1942–45 (4 years)
RankLieutenant
Battles/wars
  • World War II
AwardsSee below
Spouse(s)Arlene Whelply (1921–2009) (3 children)
Other workTest Pilot

Edwin Foresman Schoch (September 13, 1916 - September 13, 1951) was a United States Navy combat pilot and test pilot. As a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve, he flew in combat against Japanese forces in the Pacific with Fighting Squadron 19 during the summer and fall of 1944, then in January, 1945, was assigned to Fighter-Bomber Squadron 150, which was forming in the United States in preparation for an invasion of Japan in 1945. Japan’s surrender made both the invasion and fighter-bomber squadron 150 unnecessary. With war’s end, Schoch was hired by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, as an aeronautical engineer, became a test pilot, and test-flew several experimental and early-model jet fighter planes over the next several years before he was killed on a test flight in 1951.

Early Years

Born in Oakmont, Pennsylvania in 1916 to a railroad family that moved several times as he was growing up Edwin F. Schoch graduated from South Park High School in Buffalo, New York, then worked for several years as a railroad clerk, saving money during the Great Depression so that he could attend college. He enrolled in Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and a 2nd Lieutenant’s commission in the United States Army. Having learned to fly at VPI through the ROTC program, he wanted to fly fighter aircraft. He thought his chances of being able to do so were better in the Navy than in the Army, so upon graduation in the spring of 1941, he resigned his Army commission, enrolled in the United States Navy Reserve as a Seaman 2nd Class, and, having already learned to fly in VPI’s ROTC program, was quickly accepted into the Navy’s flight training program.[1]

World War II

Once he’d earned his pilot’s wings in the Navy, Schoch was assigned to Fighting Squadron 19, then forming for anticipated combat against the Japanese in the Pacific as part of Air Group 19. With his engineering degree, Schoch was designated as the squadron engineering officer, and flew 46 combat missions with the squadron from the USS Lexington (CV-16) in the summer and fall of 1944. Flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat, he shot down 4 Japanese planes in combat, and placed a bomb aboard a Japanese aircraft carrier during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. After his combat tour, Schoch was assigned to Fighter-Bomber Squadron 150, and began training, once again as the engineering officer, in the new Vought F4U-4 aboard the newly commissioned USS Lake Champlain (CV-39). The war ended before either the squadron or the aircraft carrier saw combat duty, and Schoch left the Navy in November, 1945.[1]

Wartime Honors

Schoch was awarded an Air Medal for his service during Fighting Squadron 19’s combat tour of duty, largely incorporating the Philippine campaign. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down three Japanese fighter planes in a single day, October 24, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He was awarded a Navy Cross for placing a semi-armor-piercing bomb aboard the Japanese light carrier Japanese aircraft carrier Zuiho on October 25, 1944, helping to sink that ship during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.[1]

McDonnell Career

Hired as an aeronautical engineer after leaving the Navy in November, 1945, Schoch quickly moved up to a test pilot position as the company grew. He was the 10th man to fly the company’s McDonnell FH-1 Phantom, the U.S. Navy’s first jet fighter to be carrier-qualified, and he was the 2nd pilot to fly the McDonnell F2H Banshee, the Phantom’s successor. Schoch on the Goblin on 23 August 1948The Phantom never saw combat service, but the Banshee was widely used during the Korean War (1950-1953) as a reconnaissance aircraft.Schoch was highly involved in the testing program for the company’s McDonnell XF-85 Goblin at what is now Edwards Air Force Base. The Goblin was an experimental Parasite aircraft|“parasite” fighter contemplated for use by the U. S. Air Force in conjunction with the Convair B-36 bomber.[2]Schoch was the only man ever to fly the XF-85.[3] He as also one of the lead pilots for McDonnell’s XF-88 program. Both the XF-85 and the XF-88 programs were cancelled in the late 1940s, but the XF-88 showed enough promise to be revived a few years later, and with some modification, eventually became the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. In between McDonnell’s experimental test programs at Edwards Air Force Base, Schoch flew numerous routine and maintenance test flights for aircraft already in production at the company’s St. Louis facility. [1]He was killed on his 35th birthday when metal fatigue caused the F2H Banshee he was piloting to crash when the tail section of the plane came apart in the air over rural Missouri. Exactly what happened will never be known – the few witnesses were a mile or more away, and there were no “black boxes” of instruments in those days. The crash site is about 60 miles northwest of St. Louis.

Awards and decorations

Navy Cross ribbon
Badges, patches and tabs
Air Medal - for his service during Fighting Squadron 19’s combat tour of

duty, largely incorporating the Philippine campaign.

Distinguished Flying Cross - for shooting down three Japanese fighter planes in

a single day, October 24, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Navy Cross - for placing a semi-armor-piercing bomb aboard the Japanese light

carrier Zuiho on October 25, 1944, helping to sink that ship during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Schoch, Ray (2014). An Aviator: The Aerial Career of Edwin Foresman Schoch.
  2. Powers, Richard D (1973). "Monstro and the Goblins". American Aviation Historical Society Journal. 18: 146–159.
  3. Jenkins, Dennis R.; Landis, Tony R. (2008). Experimental and Prototype U.S. Air Force Jet Fighters. United States, North Branch MN: Specialty Press. pp. 80–85. ISBN 978-1-58007-111-6.

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