In 1945, the war was coming to the Japanese mainland. The carrier Essex was off the coast of Japan. On February 16th, a flight of VF-4's "Red Rippers" from the Essex was on fighter sweep over the Tokyo area. Lt. Dean "Diz" Laird flying his F6F-5 spotted a flight of Mitsubishi KI-21-11 (Sally's) from the Hamamatsu Army Flying School. "Diz" was on the attack, severely damaging one, and spotting another bomber ahead of him. After blasting away with the Hellcat's six wing guns, Diz saw the second "Sally" bomber burst into flames. The bomber's cockpit and interior were completely enflamed. "Diz" flew up alongside the Sally and watched in dismay as three of the crew bailed out. They had no parachutes, something "Diz" Laird will forever have embedded in his memory. "Diz" Laird became the only Navy Ace to have victories over Germany and Japan. "Diz" finished the war with 5.75 victories.