William Pratt Marontate
Pilot / Division Leader
|HOME OF RECORD
2111 Hamlin Street, Seattle WA
|NEXT OF KIN
Parents, Frederick & Winifred Marontate
|DATE OF BIRTH
December 3, 1919
June 24, 1941
|DATE OF LOSS
January 15, 1943
|CAMPAIGN / AREA
Missing In Action
Declared Dead February 15, 1945
|CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
William Marontate was a talented Marine fighter pilot serving with VMF-121 in the campaign for the Solomon Islands. In a series of furious dogfights, he notched twelve confirmed kills – the second highest score in the squadron after Captain Joe Foss.
On 15 January 1943, Lieutenant Marontate in F4F-4 BuNo. 03509 was part of the fighter escort for a bomber strike against Japanese ships in the northern Solomon Islands. He shot down another enemy aircraft – his thirteenth – but his luck abruptly ran out. A mid-air collision tore a wing off his plane, and although Marontate may have bailed out, he was never seen alive again.
Marontate was officially declared dead on 15 February 1945.
Navy Cross, Air Medal (4), Purple Heart
|LAST KNOWN RANK
|STATUS OF REMAINS
Missing in action.
Manila American Cemetery
Coming soon. Contact the webmaster for more information about this Marine.
Lieutenant William Marontate, twenty-three, was from Seattle, Washington – a brash youngster who had never been intimidated in his life. He said or did what he pleased, regardless of who was around. Well-built, he was soon given the nickname “Guts” from a habit he had of inflating his belly and protruding it amazingly.
As we neared the ships [on 15 January], the P-39s were attacked by a swarm of new square-wing Zeros, supposed to have added speed and climbing ability. Three of my boys, led by Bill Marontate, went down to get in on the fun. I remained at altitude because several Zeros were circling there also. In short order, there were several Jap chutes in the air. I saw one Wildcat, too, its left wing missing, spinning slowly toward the water at about a 45° angle. This was apparently Lieutenant Marontate.
Everyone returned with the exception of Bill Marontate. He must have had a head-on crash with an enemy plane. Before he went down, however, the other two boys with him, Presley and Bate, saw him shoot down one Zero. A gunner in a dive bomber saw him bail out safely. There were six other chutes in the air then, and all went down near the Jap destroyer. Our only hope is that Bill is a prisoner. His score was thirteen planes. He was a 4.0 man as well as a pilot.
– Joe Foss, Flying Marine: The Story Of His Flying Circus, As Told To Walter Simmons, 1943
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