I think I wrote my very first commemoration for Veterans Day about 25 years ago for my local newspaper. I told the story of Marine Capt. Herb Freuler and his actions during the Battle of Wake Island. He and Carl Davidson, his wingman, were in squadron VMF-211. Half of the squadron’s planes had rushed to Wake Island to give the Marines on the ground some air cover. The men of the squadron literally fought to the last aircraft.

Just three days before Christmas in December 1941, Freuler and his wingman attacked two full squadrons of Japanese Naval aircraft on their way to blast Wake. Two FULL squadrons.

Freuler and Davidson were facing 25 to 1 odds.

These were Japanese aircraft carrier pilots too, a cut well above the Japanese Army Air Force pilots who had started the attacks on Wake Island 12 days earlier and had found the handful of Wildcats from VMF-211 to be a tenacious and deadly foe.