VMF/VMF (AW)/VMFA-115 NEWSLETTER

March 5, 2004

 

LYNN HAGEN     EDITOR   320 269  8925

 

>lynnhagen@maxminn.net    Watson  MN  56295

 

 

I am trying to email this newsletter to save printing

And postage costs to those I have email for.

 

SPRING     2004    EDITION

 

 

REUNION  PLANS FOR  QUANTICO

 

                It was decided at the last reunion in  Beaufort to have the 2004 reunion at Quantico, Virginia.  This years dates are August 6 & 7th.  We will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Dumfries, VA. 

                The VMF (AW) 115 Reunion Group of 1959-61 era were also  planning to have their reunion at Quantico  this year. Initially they had planned  for September to attend an Expo of new equipment for the military on the base at Quantico.   They  later found out that this is for General Grade of Officers and those  in the Marine Corps who purchase weapons.  This is a display of new weapons that manufacturers want to sell to the Marines.  It did not appear to be an event for the public, although the Marine Band and Drill team from 8th & "I" will be performing there.

The  1959-61 SkyRay "Ford" group have decided they will join us. They are expecting about 43 attendees. Some of their members have been at our reunions in the past and the last reunion at Beaufort.

                Bill Horner of Pocahontas, TN is in charge of the  VMF (aw) 115 reunion group.  Bill is listed on the roster as 1960-61 Embarkation officer.  We had an incorrect address for Bill on the roster. The mistake was on the roster I inherited, and the correct address is 395 Howell Loop, Pocahontas, TN. 38119. Also Bill has a new area code and his telephone number is  731 376 0405. I have added an additional  number  of rooms to our contract with the hotel.  We will try to keep the cost down as much as possible.  We will need to recover enough to pay for the banquet meal and ready room, and the bus trip to the D.C. area.  If we have enough rooms rented, there may  not be a cost for the ready room.

                  Our initial plans  are  to go to the evening parade at the Marine Barracks at 8th & "I" in Washington  D.C.  This is a battalion size parade that is performed each Friday night throughout  the summer months.  This is dictating our reunion dates as the parades end in the middle of August.  They do not allow parking  at the Marine Barracks, so we will be using a charter bus to drop us off at the parade. The parade starts at 8:45 in the evening.   It will be a full day for us, trying to see the WWII Memorial, the new Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, "Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center,  then  we will all go together for an evening meal and then the parade later on. Guest with tickets are seated at 7:15 p.m. Parking for the parade is located at the Maritime Plaza with a free shuttle to the barracks.  The web site for the Marine Barracks is ::>http://www.mbw.usmc.mil/parades/.

                For those who have never been to Marine Corps Base, Quantico, it is located on Interstate 95 36 miles from Washington D.C. and 20 miles north of Fredericksburg, VA.

At the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Museum they have the B-29 Enola Gay on display in a completely reconditioned form.  They are calling this building the Nation's Hangar. The National Air and Space Museum will become the largest museum of its kind in the world. Some of the aircraft beside the B-29 will be a Northrop N-1M Flying Wing, Boeing 307 Stratoliner,  Air France Concorde, Boeing 367-80, Space Shuttle Enterprise, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, P-47D, Junkers Ju52/3m  17 passenger trimotor.

                The schedule is very subject to change at this time. The tour buses in the Washington D.C. area charge an hourly rate for touring with  a minimum of four hours with a one hour bus garage time as part of the minimum. We are free to travel to any of the sights in the D.C. area as there will be no mileage charge on the buses. Only  a hourly rate.

It might be possible to go to Arlington National Cemetery to see the Marine Iwo Jima Memorial and Joe Fosses gravesite. If anyone would be interested in seeing Joe's grave, please let me know in advance. For anyone visiting the National Cemetery, Joe's grave is in Section 7A, just below the Tomb of the Unknowns.

                An article in the American Rifleman magazine has a notice from Joe's family that memorial contributions can be made to : The Joe Foss Institute, 7745 E. Redfield Road, Suite 400, Scottsdale, AZ 85260  (480) 348-0367 or The  NRA Foundation, Joe and Donna Foss Endowment for Youth  Education, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030-9400  (800) 554-9498 or www.nra.org.

 

                To make hotel reservations you can either call the hotel at 1-800-Holiday or  703 221  1141.  You must ask for the code VMF  when making your reservations to get the contracted rate of $72.00 per night. We have rooms blocked for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  The banquet is planned for  Saturday evening at the hotel. We will need to know meal choices, beef or chicken at some point. The web site for the hotel is >www.hiexpress.com/dumfriesva.

 

QUANTICO REUNION ATTENDANCE

                We are going to need an accurate estimate on how many will be attending the reunion in August. As in the past we will require advance deposit for the tours and banquet costs. Banquet numbers can be changed up to a certain date. It will be hard to change the contract with the bus company.

                We normally like to have reservations 60 days in advance , about June 6th. If some are attending that will not be able to go on the bus tour, please let me know. Those not able to go the the bus tour will not be charged. Past experience with this at the Dearborn reunion found us paying for a half full bus. This also happened at the Portland reunion. We will try to divide up the cost of the bus per person. I expect the Saturday bus trip per person will cost between $13 and $20.00 per person. I can not guarantee this until plans are finalized. The majority of the events  planned on the tour are free admission.

                Please let me know as soon as possible if you are wanting to attend, so I know what I need to do to contract a bus tour. Some buses hold 47 passengers, some 57,etc. The  owner of one bus company told me that autos are not welcome at the various sights in the DC area. Parking is difficult and they have space available for tour buses at all sights.

 

I received a note from D.O. Morris after the last newsletter. Two of the people  we  were searching for  are deceased according  to Mr. Morris.

They are  Frank Weber and John McElhiney.

The last information on John McElhiney was as pilot from 1943-45 and last address on an old roster was Placentia CA. Francis Weber was listed as pilot in 1944/45 and last address was listed as  Sarasota , Florida.

 

TAPS

                I received notice from Harry Rawlinson about the death of Charlie Flaig.  Charlie was an original member of 115 and lived at Mill Hall, PA.

 

                Returned by the post office and marked deceased is Wally Rost, Bellevue, Washington. Our records indicate that Wally was with the squadron in 1943 in ordnance.

 

Marshall Abramsky who was an original member of 115 passed away in October 2003.  Mrs. Billie Romine called with the information. Marshall had wanted to come to the reunion in Beaufort, but his health prevented him from attending. He was living with his daughter in Woodstock, GA.  His death was from heart problems.  Marshall's wife passed away in 2002.  His daughters address is 705 Farmdale Way, Woodstock, GA. 30188. Marshall had the honor of being first on the roster. He was a mechanic with the squadron during WWII.

 

                M/Sgt Stephen A. Bodnar  who was with VMF-115 during WWII. I received a letter from Mrs. Mary Bodnar telling of his death on January 31,2004. Mr. Bodnar had became disabled after surgery in August 2001. In her letter, Mrs. Bodnar said that the surgeries were many since and then throat cancer. Mr. Bodnar went though 7 weeks of radiation and died 3 days later. He was 80 years old.

                Mary and Stephen were married for 56 years. Mary tells in her letter that  her husband was with Joe Foss overseas and that they got to meet Joe again at the Cherry Point reunion.              

 

Returned by the post office, Emil Garski, Langhome, PA.

 

SOME INTERESTING FACTS OF VMF/VMFA 115

 

                Lt. Col. Robert S. Hemstad was the only CO to be a Commanding Officer of 115 twice. He was CO in August 1955 and again August 1959 to July 1961.

                When VMF-115 was attached to Mag 33 at Pohang, Korea they flew 9250 combat sorties and 15,350 combat hours, and most of the missions were in sub marginal weather. VMF-115 expended more ordnance than any other  "jet" squadron in Korea.  They went to MCAS El Toro after Korea.  They received their new F4D Skyray aircraft in the spring of 1957 and then became VMF(aw)115.  In February 1958 they left for Atsugi, Japan and in May 1959, they returned to Mag 24, Cherry Point.

 

                The Marine Corps Association's calendar for 2004 displays a photo of a VMFA-115 Hornet being launched from the nuclear carrier, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) during Operation Iraqi Freedom for the month of April.  The calendar is totally dedicated to pictures of Marines during  the Iraqi War.

 

William Kull, former 115 pilot from Corona Del Mar, California, sent me a disc with some photos of the squadron in Korea.   I will try to put some of these in the newsletter as space is available.

 

New additions to the roster

Bradley Brueax of  Sulphur, La.  Bradley was in VMF(aw)115 from 1959-61. He was with the squadron forming at Cherry Point and disbanding after serving in Atsugi, Japan.  He would like to make a reunion in the future.  Brad started out as a jet mechanic and ended up as a maintenance clerk.  >kbreau@schrumpf-law.com

337 625 3655

 

Herbert W. Darley, 2423 Tredway Drive, Macon , GA< 31211-2217 contacted Clyde Brummel for a Squadron History Book.  Clyde forwarded his letter to me. Herbert was an original mechanic with the squadron from 1943-45.

 

                Louis Weller, of Davison, Michigan dropped a note with some information for the newsletter.  A sad part of his letter informs us of the death of his wife, Eva, on October 17,2003.  Louis and Eva  helped us get Hotel arrangements  for the reunion in Dearborn. Louis is planning on being at Quantico this year. He was attached to VMF-115 in Peiping, China in 1945/46.

                The story he forwards goes like this: A friend of his who lives in Southern Michigan named Leslie Harcus ( a former Marine) was traveling with his wife to Las Vegas, and had a lay over in Minneapolis.  He told Louis that his wife struck up a conversation with another lady across the aisle in the waiting area, and Leslie started talking to this ladies husband.  Les stated, some way or other, they got on the subject of the Marine Corps.  It turned out that this fellow had been stationed in the jungles in the Phillippines at a place called Zamboango, and   his squadron got orders to go to Peiping, China.  His name is Arnold W. Ribnick. He was with the First Marine Air Wing, stationed at West Field in Peiping. His squadron was VMF-115. His planes were Corsairs and his best buddy was Jack Colby. Louis is going to contact Mr. Ribnick.

 

Cruise book of  1969-70  Blue Cover wanted:

                Van McCarty (>robin@mississippi.net would like to receive copied pages from the cruise book of the entire roster of the squadron.  He found one at the Beaufort reunion, but didn't have a way or time to copy from it. He was busy going to the  flight simulator, and failed in enough time to try that event also.  Van  was attached to VMFA-115 from 1968-71 as a mechanic. His address is  1714 61 Court   Meridian MS  39305 and telephone number is 601 483 6984.

                Van is also updating the roster web site from the Beaufort reunion and if you know any emails of 115 member, please forward them to Van and he will update the site.

 

CORRECTIONS TO THE   ROSTER

 

James Hairfield   (1960-61) with VMF (aw) 115 had new address at 3250 Durone Lane, Memphis, TN.  38119    901 757 4350

 

Warren E. Cruikshank sent in his new address.  888 W. 2nd Street  #9  Washington , N.C.  27889   252 975 6732 

No email address.

 

NEW ADDITION TO THE ROSTER

 

                Dale Martin   106 Elm St. Zeigler, Illinois  62999. Dale was a plane captain who was attached to 115 for a year. He arrived in Iwakuni, Japan in January 1971, then sent to join 115 in  Naha, Okinawa, then sent TAD to DaNang, Viet Nam in April 1971, and stayed in DaNang until June 1971, when the squadron  left  for the Rose Garden at RTAFB  MCAS Nam Phong, Thailand and remained there until February 1973.  Dale has offered photos of the planes from that time period.  >Wireu@aol.com

 

  Robert J. "Swede"  Larsen

                I received a email from Harry Rawlinson that has been forwarded to me about Swede Larsen's condition. The email states Swede had a throat biopsy last week (third week of January) for cancer on his vocal chord, and will be treated with radiation 5 times a week for about10 minutes a day. They have a new cancer center at the hospital in Gulf Breeze, Florida so Swede doesn't have to travel to Pensacola every day. Cards may be sent to Swede at 199 Camilia Street, Gulf Breeze , Florida 32561-4266.

 

TDR-1 AIRCRAFT PROJECT ON BOUGANVILLE AND GREEN ISLAND

                I wrote a story of this project in my second newsletter .  The story came from Tom Brown, Editor of Mag-24 Bombers.  The story was of the TDR and TDN remote controlled aircraft that were to be  remotely flown into Japanese positions by the Navy in the Pacific Islands.  A feature length article was written in Aviation History magazine,  January  2004 edition. The name of the article is "The U.S. Navy's Kamikazes". This was a Navy project started in 1943, and Tom Brown and some other Marines got involved in this very secret project.  This is a good article to read for those interested in a "secret Navy" project that got a little help from some Marines. Tom Brown said the author didn't have all the facts straight, but it's good reading anyway.

 

Joe Foss making the right decision in Oregon in 1947

                Joe told the story of about being invited to a  hunting  trip with Oregon's Governor, its Secretary of State, and President of the Senate. Joe had decided not to go, as he felt,     "something just wasn't right about this trip. The President of the Senate had invited Joe and the others to fly to a dry lake where  the owner of the ranch was to pick them up. Bad weather had forced them to land in Klamath Falls, but for some reason they decided to fly on. They were flying in a single engine Beechcraft Bonanza. No one knows for sure the cause of the accident, although speculation was focused on a mixture of engine failure and bad weather.

When the plane didn't show up at it's planned destination, a ground search was started. The plane wreckage and 4 bodies were found. In one horrible instant and 4 of Oregon's top leaders were gone.

 

VMF-115 ENDS MOJAVE TOUR  NOVEMBER 1956

"Desert Rats" win award from Douglas Aircraft Co.

                (Reprinted from the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Santa Ana, California base newspaper.)

                The self-christened "Desert Rats" of VMF-115 returned to El Toro after a 3 month stay at the desert air base.  At that time the squadron was flying F4D Skyray aircraft as part of Mag 33. Col. Marion Carl was CO of Mag 33 and Lt. Col. R.H. Spanjer, was CO of 115. The flight was about 100  statute  miles and took less than 10 minutes to fly to El Toro.

                Major General Marion Dawson, CG of the 3rd MAW, credited the squadron with an almost "unbelievable" accomplishment in performing over 100 factory modifications on the F4D, and in completing the task well ahead of schedule.

                A representative of Douglas Aircraft Co, El Segundo, CA,  presented to the squadron as Certificate inscribed: "Certificate of Appreciation to Maintenance Personnel VMF-115".

"Presented in recognition of the outstanding maintenance record established by the personnel of VMF-115, MAG 33, 3rd MAW , during the period of September 15 to November 19, 1956."

                "Through the untiring efforts of the maintenance personnel the field modification program of the F4D Skyray at MCCAS Mojave was completed ahead of schedule. The exceptional devotion to duty represents the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps."

                Several of the pilots and mechanics involved with this project are active in this organization today. The squadrons activities earned them the name of "The Desert Rats."

INTERNET FUN

If you have access to the internet, there are several sites that have information on VMFA-115. One that I recently discovered is  …>>http://www.militarycom.com/HomePage/Unit Page Bulletin Board/

There are several listing from former Marines attached to 115. A sample page post notices about Lt.Col Logan being in command of 115 in the mid 80's, another story of a pilot flying under a bridge, former Marines asking about Major Duffy who was killed in a second tour in Viet Nam. My information is that Major Duffy was killed in a midair collision with a South Vietnamese observation plane, April 27, 1972.  Others asking about Capt. Horace Logan as he flew with 115 at Chu Lai.  As for H. Lee "Shiloh" Logan III, his name was on the 1995 roster and his name had been taken off, due to a return from the post office. The last address we had for him was RR1, Box 168B, Ridgeland, SC 29936 and we had him listed as a CO  in 1986. Can anyone update his address for us?

Van McCarty entered one about "ichi, ichi, go" Everyone who has been stationed in Iwakuni. Japan is familiar with these Japanese words. They are the Japanese words for one, one , five.  Van McCarty is keeping a roster of email address of members of our organization. If you know of  email addresses of VMF-115 members, would you drop him a email. >robin@Mississippi.net. He took the Beaufort reunion site and is trying to continue it. Thanks Van.

A note posted on this internet site by Richard Lewis asking about a midair collision that cost the life of 1st Lt. K. Kissinger. Richard Lewis was with VMFA-115 in 1993-94 and went to Japan with the squadron. Can anyone add or update this incident?

 

Air Medal Awards

                I received an email from Donald Bowen after the Beaufort reunion about Air Medals. Don tells us that Air Medals are a coveted aviation award. One version is awarded for valor, and is termed an "individual award", and is noted on that Air Medal ribbon by gold star(s).  Secondly, there are Strike/Flight Air Medal awarded for completion of a certain number of combat sorties. In Viet Nam, the number was twenty.  The total number of these awards are represented on the Air Medal ribbon by bronze numerals.

                Another note from Don is about the 1970's cruise book that was  donated to the squadron at the Beaufort reunion. It was donated by 1st Lt. Jim Goett who served in115 as Awards Officer in 1969/70.  Jim Goett did stop by and attend part of the ceremony's  at the Beaufort Reunion. Jim lives in Vero Beach , FL.  Thanks Don for the information.

>>donbowen@earthlink.net

 

INTERESTING FACTS

60% of Marines who fought in WWI were college graduates or had attended college.  Bumper Sticker:  "If you can read this-Thanks a teacher, If you're reading it in English- thank a veteran.

 

Jet Fuel in Korea

                On a web site, a former Marine who served in 115 wrote that he was with VMF-115 from December 1949 and spent his time in the engine shop. He stated that the squadron received its first F9F-2 in the Corps. At that time they fueled the aircraft with 115/145 aviation gasoline with a 10% addition of 1100 weight aviation oil to lubricate the Vickers designed high pressure fuel pumps on the J-42 engine. The author stated he didn't think Jet fuel had been invented at the time. He thinks jet fuel became available in 1951. The author states the squadron went to Korea with F9F-4's, J33A-16 engine, switched to the Navy's F9F-2 with the J-42-P6 engine for an interim period, then  back to the F9F-4 after Allision fixed an impeller problem with the J-33. The Marines name is Roger C. Clements > ramjet84414 @ yahoo.com.

How easy it is to plan reunions !

This is just a sample of  an email I received prior to the Beaufort Reunion after all the planning was done.  There have been a few mistakes made as the address labels were printed and roster updated. I'll take responsibility for all mistakes. Some mistakes are minor and they are corrected as soon as I am notified.

The email went as follows:

                " I have several corrections, the TWIT that signed me up for this newsletter, put my middle initial as J, it is L.  Secondly, my address is 1803 xxxx  xxxx, not 1802, and the zip code is XXX06.

                The rest of what I passed to you is really not that important, but what you  NO  S---, NEED  TO KNOW, is that if you were to sit down & try to figure the ABSOLUTE WORST date to pick for time frame for 2003, guess what, YOU PICKED IT!!!!  Regularly a Thurs/Friday combo is bad, because Parris Island graduates a series on Friday so all the motels are filled for at least Thursday.

                Now for the really bad news, you aren’t going to be able to find a room in 50 miles of here for the dates you picked. If there is one time you do not want to try to find a room in Beaufort, it would be the last weekend of the "BEAUFORT WATER FESTIVAL", the third week, to include both weekends. Care to venture a guess as to when that might be….You got it,  THE WEEKEND YOU PICKED"   No S--- if you could slide the reunion a week or a month your life would be so much easier.  It's all the same to me cause I'm here, & you have to remember, "If you ain't from HERE, you can't get to there from there!"

                The water festival is, THE event of the year for Beaufort, if you really have to be here then you need to advise all the troops to try to make their reservation TODAY!!!, if not 6 months ago. It's is a great time to be here but that is the problem!

                This email was from a Marine who lives in the Beaufort area and  was attached to VMFA-115 for two different tours.  I did not hear from him at the reunion and I don't know if he bothered to show up. Anyway, the squadron's CO, XO, and other pilots were involved with picking the date. I picked the hotel.  We ended up having every room in the hotel taken with some Marines and their families having to stay at other hotels in the Beaufort area. We had no troubles at all with hotel availability or the reunion. Everything went great. I am the "TWIT"

 

UPDATES AND GENERAL INFORMATION

New email address:

                 Billy Smith    >smithbs.ctr@2mawbft.usmc.mil

                 Noel Douglas  who was in 115 at Chu Lai in 1967 & 1968 and again in 1970-71 at Danang.  I have asked  Noel if he could help us with the reunion as he lives in the Quantico area. His email is >noel.Douglas@navy.mil. We have Noel listed as a RIO in 1970-7

Rich & Debbie Renock new email:  rjr209@ adelphia.net

                Joe Rice     >jrice54561 @ cox.net contacted me about the upcoming reunion.

                Russell Scanlan- new email address, >rscanlan1 @ houston.rr.com . They live in Katy, Texas and their telephone number is 281 347 4799.

Buck Peck  wrote a short note about helping us with our reunion. Buck is involved with VMFA-235 organization. Buck did the newsletter for 10 years for the 235 group. Buck was attached to 115 in 1959 and 1966-67.

>buckpeck @ whro.net

Remember Lynn Guyer of Wylie, Texas, >Guyer1066 @ cs.com,  who was at the Beaufort reunion and  wants to have a reunion in Texas in 2005.  He would like to have it in Dallas area and he has already started contacting organizations about this. It  is nice to have one our younger Marines  involved.      Lynn and his wife, Merrily were at the reunions with a lot of Marines that had been in the squadron with him.

                He said he would have all of us in jail by the end of the reunion. The editor  is just kidding of course.

 

THE MIGHTY JOE   FOSS

Copyright 2003, Joe Werner,  >allright @ optionline.net,

Joe was a mechanic with  VMF-115  1945-46

 

                Joe Foss flew up to Heaven  with Angels as his guide,  the Angels later bragged to Angels how wonderful was their ride.

Joe was met by St. Peter, who was at the Pearly Gate,

He said, Joe, I'm glad you're hear I thought you might be late.  Joe was taken on tour of the streets to see the Marines on guard duty there.

                To make him even more aware, that was there, he was permitted to fly his Corsair.

                Thank God Joe Foss is in Heaven, a place we knew he would be, No doubt he sends his best wishes…to You, You and ME!.

 

We need funds to continue to print the newsletter. Postage and printing costs are eating up our funds. Any donations for the newsletter/ organization need to be made out to the VMF/VMF(aw)/VMFA-115 Reunion Association.   We have approx. 600  Marines on the roster.  Next reunion is planned for Dallas, 2005.

 

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