Dec 7

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010 11:55 AM

In the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, families back home in the United States with loved ones serving in the Pacific were naturally worried about their status. Lieutenant (junior grade) Thomas C. Provost, III, a naval aviator in Fighting Squadron (VF) 6 serving in the carrier Enterprise (CV 6), was out at sea far away from the damage and destruction wrought by enemy aircraft on the morning of December 7th. Only when the “Big E” slipped into port at dusk on December 8th did Provost and those on board see firsthand the devastation of the attack. After being refueled and replenished through the night, the carrier steamed out of Pearl Harbor in the early morning hours of December 9th. On that day, Provost joined other members of the crew in placing this card into the outgoing mail, delivering word to his family that he was well, had received a letter from them dated November 24th, and would write to them shortly (which he did on December 15th).

As a member of VF-6, Provost participated in the early battles of the Pacific War, including air-to-air combat at Midway, where he and and a squadronmate were credited with splashing an enemy dive bomber. He later flew F6F Hellcats with VF-81, scoring a kill with that squadron. Provost died after World War II in an aircraft accident while serving as a test pilot.