Corsairs were built from 1942 to 1952, and had the longest production run of any piston engined fighter in U.S. history.
The most powerful carrier aircraft at the time, it nevertheless suffered from teething problems when first introduced. The Corsair was not acceptable for carrier duty until the low speed handling/wing stall problems and po-go sticking tendencies when landing were resolved.
This meant that initial batches of the aircraft were sent to the Marines, who flew them from land bases and were more than happy to get them!
4FU Corsairs were considerably faster than the F6F Hellcat even though they share the same engine. Part of the reason is the massive 13ft 4in propeller used by the Corsair to extract most out of the engine output.
Due to the large propeller, the Corsair employed a inverted gull wing to allow the use of shorter landing gear than otherwise would be required. The bent wing also gave the Corsair pilot an advantage during ground attack, as he had a better view of the ground through the wing 'notch'.
The Corsair's use on carriers increased towards the end of the war, in order to help combat Japanese Kamikazee attackes. Even so, the bulk of Corsair sorties were flown from land bases.
Corsairs were of course, the stars of the TV show Black Sheep Squadron. The real life Major Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington did use the plane to score 22 kills (Pappy had a total of 28 kills, 6 in a P-40), while in VMF-214 'Black Sheep' Squadron.
Nicknamed the 'Whistling Death' by the Japanese, it must have been quite terrifying to be on the receiving end of this plane.
By 1945, Corsairs were heavily used as ground attack fighters. It carried bombs, napalm, and rockets, in addition to its six 0.50 cal machine guns.
Corsairs would continue the role of close ground support in the Korean war, while jet fighers took over role of air combat.
Here's the Corsair showing the bent wing folded up tight for carrier operations.