Mar 6

Meeting “Butch” O’Hare

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 12:01 AM


Admiral John S. "Jimmy" Thach, USN (Ret.) (1905-1981)

Admiral John S. “Jimmy” Thach, USN (Ret.) (1905-1981)

In this excerpt from his 1970 oral history interview with Commander Etta-Belle Kitchen, USN (Ret.), then-Admiral John S. “Jimmy” Thach recounts his first first meeting with future Medal of Honor recipient and fighter ace Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare in 1940.

The complete oral history is a delightfully told memoir from the man who was probably the Navy’s foremost fighter plane tactician of World War II. He is best known as the inventor of the “Thach Weave,” whereby U.S. fighters could successfully combat Japanese Zeros. Thach tells of devising the maneuver at home with kitchen matches. In a series of enjoyable tales, Thach describes his Naval Academy years, graduating in 1927, early experience in patrol planes and fighters, flying with Butch O’Hare, early combat operations against the Japanese culminating in the Battle of Midway, teaching tactics at the Navy’s Operational Training Command, making training films to indoctrinate new pilots, and then acting as operations officer when he returned to the combat theater on the staff of Vice Admiral John S. McCain, Commander Task Force 38.

O'Hare (left) and Thatch (right) in front of a Wildcat

Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare (left) and Admiral John S. “Jimmy” Thach (right) in front of a Wildcat.

To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to

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