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Secretary of the Navy Washington


"In my opinion, Grumman saved Guadalcanal."
   ~ Secretary of Navy, James Forrestal


To the men and women of Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation:

What you have done for your country in the past fifteen years will be remembered as an example of the strength and resourcefulness of the American aircraft industry in peace and in war. A solid foundation was laid in that small shop of yours fifteen years ago and although the superstructure has grown beyond anything Roy Grumman and Jake Swirbul then dreamed of, it has remained unshaken. When you made promises, you kept them, and when the Navy asked you to do the impossible, you did that too.

Claims for airplane performance go quickly out-of-date in such a time as this what you are producing today will be outmoded by your designs of the future. But nothing can detract from the achievements that have made your name well known throughout the world.

Your Wildcats held the line when the going was toughest. In the hands of like Foss, Smith and Carl of the Marines, and Thach, Flatley, and O'Hare of the Navy, they started the tide of victory in the Pacific. In the Atlantic, teamed with Avengers, they escorted millions of tons of vital materials and hundreds of thousands of troops safely through the submarine-infested sea lanes.

The first of your Avengers were completed thanks to a foresighted building program in time to hit the Japanese fleet at Midway in 1942. Although other planes have come and gone, the Avenger now being manufactured to Grumman patterns by General Motors is still the Navy's Number One torpedo bomber, made doubly versatile by the skill and daring of the Navy and Marine crews who fly it.

I think everyone has heard of your Hellcats and of the reputation you achieved in 1943 when you set an all-time record in the aircraft industry for accelerating production. I have no doubt that you would still be beating your own record month after month if the Navy had not had to slow you down a little.

Of your F7F, the Tigercat, it need only be said that Navy and Marine pilots have been expecting great things of it, and I am quite sure they will not be disappointed.

A couple of years ago I said that, in my opinion, Grumman saved Guadalcanal; that is to say, Grumman airplanes were largely responsible for saving a most important foothold in the Pacific. Grumman Aircraft has been a mainstay of the Navy's carrier forces since your earliest days, and you have never failed us. On behalf of the United States Navy, and of the American people, I give you hearty thanks.

- James Forrestal 


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