(A reunion group of former  Marines attached to the squadron from its inception in July 1943 to the active duty  personnel assigned to the squadron today.)


Lynn Hagen, Chairman, 12000 First St. W. Watson, MN 56295

(320) 269-8925    lynnhagen@maxminn.net

Jim Gill, 1st Vice Chairman, Robertsdale, Alabama

Van McCarty, Executive Committee, Meridian, MS

Jerry Ruud, Executive Committee, Mahwah, NJ




Editor and Chairman's Column

                The Quantico reunion was a great success this year. We had a good attendance of over 85 attending the bus tours and approximately 111 in attendance for the banquet.

                We started out with  the majority arriving Thursday afternoon and evening, although several  had arrived on Wednesday.   We set up the Ready Room on Thursday evening and the visiting and getting acquainted with each other began. 

                Friday morning we had breakfast courtesy of the hotel and started our annual  business meeting at 0900.  Discussion of old business, reading of the financial reports, and providing the itinerary of the reunion.

                New business was that of election of officers.  Jerry Rudd of  Mahwah, NJ was elected to the Executive Committee, to help in planning of upcoming reunions. Jerry was in the squadron from November 1967 to December 1968, working in electric shop and QC Inspector. His wife Judi also attended. Jim Gill nominated Jerry and was seconded by Jim Norris and passed unanimously by all present.

                At the meeting, Van McCarty made a motion that Lynn Hagen continue as chairman of the reunion association and to serve as interim treasurer for the period of no longer than the next meeting. Also in that motion was for Jim Gill of Robertsdale, Alabama  to remain in his position as First Vice Chairman. Jim served as a  mechanic  in Korea. (251) 947-4900.  The motion was seconded by Joseph Werner and  passed unanimously by all present.

                Van McCarty of Meridian, MS will also be new to the organization this year  serving on the executive committee. Van served in the squadron from 1968-71. Van's wife Robin and family also attended the reunion. (601) 483-6984 or robin@mississippi.net.

                I will be taking over the financial responsibilities for a one year trial. Also sharing this duty will be Jim Gill and Van McCarty. Any questions on our finances can be directed to any of us.

                New business was the discussion of where to have our next reunion.  There isn't anyone volunteering to host the next reunion.  We  decided to go to Pensacola, Florida next fall after the hurricane season, possibly in October. Motion made by Terry Williams, seconded by Jerry Ruud that  the 2005 reunion be held in Pensacola.

                The 1959-61 VMF (aw) group has had a reunion at Pensacola and they also highly recommended it.

                Those in attendance stated they would like to see the Blue Angels perform their  routine. We will try to plan this event into our reunion.  I am going to try to use hotels, tours, etc that other Marine Corps squadrons have used in Pensacola.  We can save a lot of energy by following someone else.  For those who would like to come to Pensacola that have not attended a reunion, it would be great if you could invite someone you served with and share past experiences.  I can tell you from experience, you will recognize them after many years  as soon as they walk across the floor. This happened to me at Quantico when Chris  Sheffe walked in after 37 years. You can recognized them almost immediately.  This can really make for a fun time discussing old times, sharing pictures, and finding out who has the poorest memory. It was really a great moment.

                A note about Pensacola, the mayor of Pensacola is John Fogg, who was a pilot in 115 and also flew with the Blue Angels.  Maybe the tour buses can stop at City Hall for lunch during one of our tours.

                Also at Pensacola NAS  is the National Museum of Naval Aviation. This museum contains aircraft of the Navy, Marine Corps and  U.S. Coast Guard. There are over 150 aircraft on display in the museum.  There is a wood flight deck in the museum with aircraft displayed as if they were aboard a carrier.  Some of the rare aircraft on display are a SB2U "Vindicator" , a F4F-3 with non folding wings, a Japanese  N1K2-J Shiden Kai, called "George" by the allies. Every aircraft flown by VMF, VMF(aw) and VMFA-115 squadrons are on display, including the F4D Skyray, F4 Phantom, F9 Panther, and the  F4U Corsair.

                As for new business we discussed  funding to keep the organization alive and to continue   the newsletter. We send out a lot of  newsletters and rosters to many Marines.  We decided  that $10.00 a year from all members will help cover expenses.

                We would like donations made out to the VMFA-115 Marine Reunion Assn. They may be mailed to me at 12000 First St. W. Watson, MN 56295.  This is a shortened up version of our official name, VMF/VMF(aw)/VMFA-115 Marine Reunion Assn. Inc. Included  with your  dues, I would like an  update of your address, zip code, telephone number, email address and job duties and years you were attached to 115. We have over 700 on the roster and much of the information is incomplete. If you do not want any information given out, please let me know. I am going to have the roster reprinted for those who request one.  Again we need funds to cover the printing of  a minimum of 17 pages plus postage.  For those who have Microsoft Excel program on their computers, I can email a copy to you without costs.  This is also true for a copy of the email addresses I have collected.  I cannot guarantee accuracy of the emails, as my typing sometimes isn't prefect.


Thanks to the MCB Quantico Marine Honor Guard

                Thanks to Sgt. E. Christopher of Marine Base Quantico for providing us with a 4 Marine Honor Guard at our banquet. Everyone enjoyed meeting them and having them join us for the banquet. Having active duty Marines joining us at our banquet adds a lot to our evening.



 We left Quantico on Friday morning with two buses and 85 Marines, wives, friends, and children.

                Our first stop was at Arlington National  Cemetery where the driver left us off in the parking lot for a couple of hours on our own. My wife and I walked up to the Tomb of the Unknown for the changing of the guard ceremony. It was a long walk of about a mile, so I recommend anyone going to Arlington to pay the $6.00 for the shuttle.  Joe Foss's grave is located just below the Tomb of the Unknown in section 7a.  We saw the graves of John Kennedy, his wife, and two children. The four graves are side by side. John's brother, Robert is buried separately near by.

                A lot of the folks just relaxed at the park like atmosphere at the entrance.  A  former member of 115 saw our caps and drew his immediate attention. His name was Avaie Malson, who was at the Rose Garden with the squadron.

                After we got back on the buses, we drove to the Iwo Jima Memorial also located on the Arlington Cemetery grounds.   This memorial stands alone, and is very large in size.  The flag on this memorial is never flown at half staff.

                A quick survey of the Marines attending stated the majority had never been to the monument.  We all got together for several photo sessions. This makes for a nice backdrop for groups of Marines. Everyone was impressed with the actual size of the memorial.  We saw a smaller version of the Memorial at Parris Island and also there is a small version at the entrance to Marine Base Quantico.

                After leaving the Cemetery, the bus took us across the Potomac River, making the first stop the Vietnam and Korean Memorials. We noticed the change from 10 years ago when my wife, family and I paid the Nation's Capital a visit. Instead of wide open green areas, there were barricades, fencing, and berms to keep these well know landmarks from terrorism. These two are within walking distance.

                The Vietnam Memorial has new  construction of lighting and half of the wall was closed to the public.  The two Memorials are directly in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

                The Korean Memorial was very special to see. As you walk through  the memorial , there is a black granite wall  several feet long. On the wall are etchings of soldiers, airmen,  Marines, sailors, construction equipment, airplanes, tanks, jeeps, and symbols of several types of equipment used by our troops in the Korean Conflict.

                The wall has all the United Nations countries that participated around the border of the memorial. They recognize all the countries that were part of the United Nations Forces.

                In the center of the Memorial, were statues of soldiers and Marines in combat gear, and walking in a ready combat formation.  The earth under the statues was a small amount of grass giving it a "real life" formation.

                The images in the black granite actually looked as if they were copied from real photos.

After visiting the Vietnam and Korean Memorials, we were off  to the new World War II Memorial.   It is divided into two sections, one for the Pacific War and the other for the Atlantic War, combined with a reflection  pool of water in the center.  On each end of the memorial, there are engraved statements that had been made by important people involved with the War. At the entrance there is a round pedestal that has a phrase, part of which states, "We came to liberate, not to conquer". One of the statements at the memorial is a quote of Gen Eisenhower that states, "D-Day June 6, 1944, You are about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you…I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle."  All the major battle areas of the Atlantic theater have engraving in stone at the Atlantic end  of the memorial. At the other end in the Pacific theater, all the major battles are listed around in a circle under the Pacific  monument.

After we loaded the buses, we were off to the Marine Barracks at 8th & "I" Street S.E. in Washington D.C.

As we arrived , Marines in their dress blues of almost every rank were there to greet us. A Marine in dress blues jumped aboard the bus to welcome us and show the driver where to park the bus.  We arrived early and  everyone was on their own for supper. The street across from the Barracks has several cafes.  After eating, we entered the Barracks to the parade grounds passing quarters being lived in by General grade officers.  The Marines  were escorting the women to their seats, and offering help to those who needed it.  One  of the women seated in the bleachers stated that the Marines were impressive and that she wished she were  nineteen and single again.

                Once seated,  several  Marines gave us  the history of the barracks, the history of the drum and bugle corps, Marine Band,  etc.  The Marine Barracks was built in 1801.  The flag flying over the barracks has 15 stars and 15 stripes,  a flag of that era. The 15 stars are for the addition of the  states of Kentucky and Vermont.  At the conclusion of the evening parade, The Marine Corps flag and current US flag were retired. Then the 15 star flag US flag was retired.  A bugler played taps atop of the building in the dark with a spotlight on himself.

                They explained the reason the Marine Band wore red uniforms, following traditions back to early military days, when boys were used as drummers and buglers. They were considered noncombatants and therefore were dressed in red and  did not carry any insignia of rank.  The Marine Band  personnel wear red blouses with white trousers with no rank insignia.

                The Marine Band is considered the President's Own, being created by President John Adams on July 11, 1798. The band has been in continuous service since created.  They perform at many functions during the year.

                The Commandant of the Marine Corps home is located on the north end of the parade ground. It is a multi level home built in 1803 that is listed on the National Historic Landmarks, a designation given in 1976.  The home had every floor and room lit up for the parade.

                I had the privilege to sit next to Margaret Shutler, wife of Lt. General Phillip Shutler.  Mrs. Shutler explained several things about the home of the Commandant, as she had been a guest at the home during the period her husband was on active duty.

                Mrs. Shutler explained that the furniture is left in the home.  Each Commandant, as part of tradition, leaves a piece of furniture to be added to the home when they depart. Tours of duty for the Commandant are two years and can be extended for two years.   Next to the Commandants home are a row of brick homes occupied by the General Grade Officers and their families.   Across from the parade field are the offices of the Marine Corps Institute, which is correspondence school for Marines on active duty. There are no Marines living in the Barracks, as they have barracks some distance from 8th & "I".

                The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps is four star General William L. "Spider" Nyland, a former Radar Intercept Officer who flew with VMFA-115 in 1970-71 and 1975-76.  The Shutlers talked with General Nyland and invited him to join us at the reunion, but they had other commitments. They sent their greetings though the Shutlers.

                Marine Barracks is the home of the Marine Corps mascot, a English bulldog, named "Chesty XII" who joined the Marine Corps in 2002.

                The Marine Barracks is also home to the  Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps. They originated in the 1930's and performed at the evening parade and also at many other events. The announcer stated they perform over 500 performances per year. 

                The parade consisted of performance by  the Drum and Bugle Corps, The Precision  Silent Drill Team, and rifle drill by the entire detachment of Marines from the barracks. When the Marines did their precision  rifle order of arms, all rifles hitting the asphalt made only one sound. This was followed by a parade of all units marching around the parade grounds under spotlights. The events continued until approximately 10:45 p.m. As we were escorted out of the barracks, Marines in their dress blues were directing traffic and made sure everyone left in an orderly, military like fashion.

                I can say this for myself and all the others in attendance, this Evening Parade is something special for all former Marines, and is a must if you are ever in the D.C. area. Tickets can be had on the internet or in writing starting about the middle of February each year and the parades run though the summer until the middle of August. 


Tour of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

On Saturday morning we loaded one bus to the new Smithsonian museum at the Dulles Airport, located about 28 miles west of downtown Washington D.C.

                The building was opened in December 2003. One of the highlights of the museum in the Enola Gay B-29, that is now completely assembled and restored.  Other aircraft are the French Concorde,  a F-4 Phantom aircraft marked in VMFA-232, a sister squadron of VMFA-115. The aircraft was painted by Marines at Cherry Point before being flown to the museum.  Other aircraft we enjoyed seeing were the F4U Corsair, hanging at the entrance that had neither USN or USMC markings, several other aircraft that the Marines have flown over the years.

                As for rare things to see, they have a Japanese aircraft (Kawasaki Ki-45) discovered after the war that would fit into a submarine with quick disconnect wings. The Japanese had planned to use this aircraft to destroy the Panama Canal.

                The Boeing 307 Airliner is on display. This aircraft was force landed in the water after restoration in Washington state.  Then it was rebuilt and now on permanent display.  Don Sypkens, one of our original members of VMF-115, worked for TWA after the War as a flight engineer.  He said that crews would rather fly the Boeing 307 for less pay than to fly the Lockheed Constellation.  The 307 was a B-17 wing and a variant of the B-17. The aircraft appears now to be brand new.  During our tour of the museum, there were several protesters near the Enola Gay protesting war/bombing, as it was difficult to understand the shouting. The museum staff decided to close the museum and we (and many {thousands} of visitors to the museum) had to leave as they closed the museum. This shortened our tour by about 45 minutes. There were women laying on the floor acting like they were dead and had covered their bodies  with  makeup and  dirt. The security people did a poor job of handling the situation and also a poor job of checking their bags of the protesters  when entering. The security personnel did a very thorough inspection of VMFA-115 Marines and their families  camera bags, purses, and pockets and anything we had with us.



We held our yearly banquet at the Holiday Inn Express at Dumfries, VA, on Saturday evening , August 7.

We had over 100 in attendance.  We started out with a Marine Honor Guard from the Marine Base at Quantico. Due to the restricted ceiling heights, we had to move the presentation of colors outside on the lawn.  We presented the Colors, Pledge of Allegiance, sang the Marine Corps Hymn, and then proceeded  inside.

                Prayer was given by Donna Serect, daughter of Dorothy "Sarge" Alton.  We were served a meal of beef or chicken.   For the program, we had a reading from Joseph Werner, a  mechanic in the squadron during 1945 and also went with the squadron to China in 1946.

                Lt. General  Phillip Shutler was introduced as a former pilot of 115 in 1959-61 era. He spoke a few words to everyone as this was his first appearance at our reunions.

   Our main speaker was John B. Maas Jr., the Commanding Officer of the squadron in Korea . His rank in Korea was Lt. Col. and he went on to retired from the Marine Corps. John   and his wife live in Fredericksburg, VA.  Mr. Maas was also stationed at MCAS, Edenton, North Carolina in 1949-50 as a pilot. His email is bluldr115@aol.com.

                An email from  Matthew Peck in July, a former XO of the VMFA-115  in Vietnam, dropped an note  stating that Col. Maas is a really top  notch Marine. His email said that Col. Maas is  known far and wide as  "Blue Lead", his call sign at 115/K-3 in Korea. Mr. Peck has been very helpful with advice on running a squadron reunion. He has a lot of experience, as he is very involved with VMFA-235, The Red Nose squadron. His recommends Pensacola as a good place to visit, fairly central, and a good climate. He states the Naval Aviation Museum is "World Class".

                Don Bowen and his wife Carole Bowen attended from Florida. Don was a former CO of the squadron in 1969-70. They had to leave early due to illness and missed the banquet.  This year's reunion was well attended with two former Commanding Officers.

                Richard Goodwin made a lawn chair with embroidered VMFA-115 logo on it.  He raffled the chair off after the banquet and the proceeds to the reunion organization exceeded $140.00.  Thanks, Mr. Goodwin of Georgetown, Delaware. Anyone who would like to have one of these chairs, feel free to contact him.  chairman41648@netzero.com or (302) 855-1234.

                We ended our evening with a lengthy picture taking session.   Mr. Maas and the Korea veterans who served under him followed by a lot of pictures with the Marine Honor Guard, and everyone else we could get to stand up.



Peiping, China  1946

                This year we were excited to have Marines who were attached to VMF-115 when the squadron went to China after the war.  Mr. Joseph Warner was a mechanic with the squadron from 1945-46.

Don Schmick, was assigned to VMF-115  with MAG-12 , then VMF-115/ MAG-24. Don said the squadron was then flying the F4U-4's Corsairs. Over the past couple of years, Don has sent some information on pilots that had hand written there name on a roster, and we haven't had any luck in locating them.   His job in China was plane captain. Don is also a member of the China Marines Association.  Don and his wife Helen attended the reunion at Quantico for the first time, and they really enjoyed the fellowship. They live in  Harrisburg, PA.    Don donated  a Daily Inspection Form for all aircraft except VP/VPB/VJR and amphibian type planes. He also donated a Plan of the Day for 15 July 1946. It dealt with Marines who had been threatening  Tiestsin Police Bureau personnel  in China.  shschmick@earthlink.net



                I apologize to the China Marines who were present at the reunion in Quantico. I failed to recognize the China Marines present at the banquet.  I realized after the event that we had a " special group" of China Marines who we have never recognized.  At future reunions, we will make sure this doesn't happen again.

Other China Marines who have attended other reunions are Louis Weller from Michigan and D.O. Morris of Orange Park, California.


Marine Corps Base at Quantico

                Our tours did not include the base, although a few of the Marines did go out to the base on their own to shop, play golf, or just sightseeing.  We toured the base with John & Lisa Chouinard.  The Chouinards live in Mass. and John is retired from USMC and is a recent addition to our roster.  The base is located about 35 miles south of Washington D.C.  The town of Quantico is located within the confines of the base. The stores in Quantico are all catering to Marines, clothes and uniform shops, barbershops and other stores primarily for Marines.  There is a small version of the Iwo Jima Memorial outside the gate at the base at Quantico. You may contact the Chouinards at Xmarine3@aol.com.

                I would also like to thank John Chouinard for helping us getting our roster more organized and into Microsoft Access so we can print labels off the roster.


                James Cline (clinej@wcitg.net) sent an email about two former  Commanding Officers of 115. He had talked with Col. Robert O. White's son in Minnesota and Robert had died about 9 years ago. Lt. Col. White was listed as CO from 1 March 1954 to 5 June 1954. A short paragraph in the VMFA-115 History books states that Lt. Col. White's F9F-5 ran out of fuel as he was about to land, and he crashed about a half mile short of K-3 (Korea) runway. The plane was totally destroyed, but he temporarily resumed his duties after only six days in the hospital.

                Also James said that Col. James E. Johnson  preceded Lt. Col. White as CO from  5 October 1953 to 4 October 1953.  Col. Johnson was the CO who had the Valentine picture taken in 1954.  The squadron is posed around a F-9 Panther Jet in the formation of a valentine.  Jim said that Col. Johnson passed away about 9 years ago.

Frances Gill, wife of Jim Gill passed away in May 2004. They lived in Robertsdale, Alabama and she had attended many reunions.

(from the MAG-24 Marine Bombers Newsletter)

                MSgt Edward Chipple, USMC retired, May 22, 2004.  The last address for Mr. Chipple was 2021 E. Corwin Road, Bullhead City, AZ 86442 and listed on our roster as a WWII member of 115.


Other items of interest

I received a email from Jack Fucik, a 115 pilot during 1965-66 from Walnut Creek, California. In a past newsletter, I  made a reference to a Skyray pilot who flew a Skyray to Litchfield. I referred to him as a NAP pilot.

Jack states that he was a new 2nd Lt. at the time, about  Spring of 1964, and thinks the pilot was Major Smokey Divokey (sp),  the spelling he is unsure of.

At the time Jack had 49 hours in the Skyray, when the new Phantoms came in. Jack stayed with 115 until Major Chuck Sewell became CO of VMFA-314.  Jack and  1st lt. Dave Levine were given  temporary orders to be  indoctrination pilots for the Black Knights (VMFA-314) when they came in country (Vietnam) replacement squadron for VMFA-115 in January of 1966.  Two weeks later they were both permanently assigned to 314. Major Sewell went on to become a Grumman test pilot. Chuck Sewell was killed ferrying a WWII aircraft on the east coast. He had been the XO of VMFA-115 and was CO of 314.



               New Additions to the Roster

James C Cline, clinej@wcitg.net, (740) 984-2927.  Jim was in Korea with the squadron. He was a late arrival at Quantico this year. It was also his first reunion.  He has a scrap book full of events that happened during his Marine Corps tour of duty.  In his scrap book he has the statistics of Lloyd Merriman, who was a professional ball player for Cincinnati.  Those at the reunion said he is living in Florida. Jim lives in Beverly, Ohio.

Avaie Malson, met the tour group at Arlington. He was at the Rose Garden.  5611 Wahoo Court  Waldorf  MD 20603 august.malson@ngc.com

Gerald (Jerry) Ruud and his wife Judi from Mahwah, N.J. made their first reunion. Jerry was with the squadron in 1967-68 and is now on the executive board.

                Richard Miney, Evanston, IL, in USMC from 1967-71. His MOS was radar and served in  VMFA-115, VMFAT 101, and VMFA-323. He was in 115 from August 1970-to July 71, which covered 6 months in Da Nang, and remainder in Iwakuni.  Dminey@aol.com

                An email from C.J. Ski Scozzari makes reference to finding of one of his old friends. His name is Simon "Pete" Caban,  295 Deer Leap Circle, Henderson, NV 89052 (702) 616-3445. Pete was with the 1959-61 Skyray Group.


Quantico Attendees

                Mrs. Billie Romine and her two friends, Ruby Scrible and Ramona Layno, both  had husbands that were in the USMC, came from Pine Knoll Shores, N.C. They referred to themselves as the "Southern Bells". They are very gracious and soft spoken according to my wife, Cindy. The three attended the events are Beaufort last year and appeared to have a very enjoyable time.

                Congratulations to Paul and Naomi Vess of Apex, N.C. They were married a week before the reunion.  They have also attended reunions at Beaufort and Dearborn.

                The WWII attendees at Quantico were missing there buddies at the reunion, so they decided on Thursday evening to call those not in attendance. Called were Clyde Brummell, Red Twomey, Frank Salvatore, and maybe some others I am not aware of.

                Don and Helen Schmick of Harrisburg, PA made their first reunion appearance. Don was with the squadron in 1946 in China. dhschmick@earthlink.net


What Chu Lai, Vietnam is like today

                A first time attendee at Quantico is Richard "Charlie" Brown, with 115 at Chu Lai in 1969-70 has just returned from a visit to Vietnam. Charlie has made several visits to Vietnam in recent years. Charlie lives in Moraga, California and works for the FAA.

                He tells that Chu Lai is still a military installation and that military guards prevent anyone from entering. He had been on top of the hill where the Army PX used to be. Only the rocket proof revetments exists today. He said that many pine trees had been planted in the area. He thinks they may have been planted by reeducation camp internees, as the trees are planted "plantation type".  For those who have been to Chu Lai, there were many pine trees in the MAG-12 area near the beach. All of the wood huts and other building have been torn down.

                There are plans to build resorts, hotels and an  industrial park at Chu Lai in the future.  At Da Nang where Charlie has been visiting, he said the area near the  R&R Center at China Beach is being built with new roads and hotels, resorts, etc. The homes and the Vietnamese population are being relocated.

                At the hotels where Charlie has stayed during his many visits to Vietnam, he seldom sees any U.S. business people.  There are many business people from many other countries present.  To get to Viet Nam, Charlie either flies to Paris, then on Vietnam Airlines to  Saigon, then onto Da Nang, or he flies to the Philippines, then onto Viet Nam.


VMFA-115 Pilot became an Astronaut

                 Norman Thagard, MD entered active duty with the USMC Reserve in September 1966.  He achieved the rank of Captain in 1967 and was designated a naval aviator in 1968, and subsequently assigned to duty as a F4  pilot with VMFA-333 at Beaufort MCAS.  He flew 163 combat missions in Vietnam while assigned to VMFA-115 from January 1969 to 1970. He returned to Beaufort and was assigned to VMFA-251.  After his military time he resumed academic studies in 1971 in electrical engineering, and a degree in medicine. His is a licensed physician. Upon completion of an internship in internal medicine at Medical University of South Carolina, he reported to Johnson Space Center in July 1978.

                He is a pilot and has logged over 2200 hours flying time, the majority in high performance jet aircraft.  Dr. Thagard was selected as an astronaut candidate in January 1978. A veteran of five space flights, he has logged over 140 days in space.  He was a mission specialist on STS-7 in 1983   (Orbiter Challenger ), the flight engineer on STS-51B ( Challenger )  in 1985, and STS-30 ( Orbiter Atlantis ) in 1989, the payload commander of STS-42 ( Shuttle Discovery ) in 1992, and was the cosmonaut researcher on the Russian Mir 18 mission in 1995. He lived and trained for more than a year at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Star City, Russia.  All training as well as the flight was conducted in the Russian language.

                Upon launching in a Russian Soyiz rocket from the Baikonaur Cosmodrome, Republic of Kazakstan, on March 14, 1995, he became the first NASA astronaut to launch from any site other that the Kennedy Space Center and on any non-US  spacecraft. After its completion, Dr. Thagard was the U.S. record holder for the longest space flight and, with 140 days in space overall, was the most experienced U.S. astronaut ever.  The mission , which began from central Asia, ended at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, with a landing aboard the Space shuttle Orbiter Atlantis on July 7, 1995.  Dr. Thagard retired from NASA on January 3, 1996.


"Where Duty Calls", a  book written  by Charlie Romine who writes about joining the Marine Corps in 1942 when he was 18 years old.  The books is written about his experiences with VMF-115 at Emirau, St. Matthias Island and  Zamboanga, Philippines Islands and also in Korea.  Those who would like to order the book, it is available from Hellgate Press,  P.O. Box 3727, Central Point, OR 97502-0032. Telephone orders are (800) 228-2275. The book sells for $12.95 plus $5.00 shipping. You may visit them online at www.hellgate.com (click on Korean War)



                Email forwarded from Tom Flanik, gunny@sos.net, about a squadron mate, Simon "Pete" Caban, 295 Deer Leap Circle, Henderson, NV  89052 (702) 616-3445. Pete is part of the 1959-61 Reunion group.

                Jim Mago, Jim.Mago@FALCONJET.COM, is part of the Chu Lai vets of 68-69.

David Clayton, 1952-53 Korea, trudiec@juno.com, lives at 463 Shawnee St. North Charleston, SC 29405

                Martin Weber, Pinckney, MI, Secondary@dapcoind.com

                Neil Baxley, 12 Red Tip Road, Lady's Island, SC  29907 (843) 470-3223, neilb@bcgov.net.  Neil joined the Marines in 1978, went to "A" school for aviation electrician, started out with VMFA-251 at Beaufort, then on the VMFA-333 for 11 months, then VMFA-115 was just returning from an 8 month deployment aboard the USS Forrestal, and he was transferred to 115. With 115 he went on several small deployments to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for a missile shoot,  NAS Oceana, Virginia, for carrier qualifications as 115 was working up for a 1984 float back to the Med.

                He also went with the squadron to Miramar, CA for Top Gun School  and Yuma, AZ MCAS for bombing practice. Neil also tells of a unique experience with 115. They took them down to the swamps at the end of the runway at Beaufort, and had them pitch tents an set up HQ there. All the aircraft were dragged down there and parked around the compass rose. They lived in "the bush" for a week pretending to be fighting some third world country. Aircraft from other bases attached them daily and we attached them. They did a multi-squadron launch against Cherry Point MCAS at the end of the week.  He said it looked pretty cool to watch 27 birds launch.  The powers that enjoyed that so much that they sent them to Cherry Point and they lived out in the woods there for a week. Neil said it was no fun riding to work everyday in a 6X6, wearing combat gear, and carrying MOP gear, trying to work on aircraft.   Neil is with the sheriffs department in Beaufort today.  Our VMF-115 banner was stolen from the hotel at our reunion there in 2003. Neil thinks the banner is hanging in a basement somewhere, but he said he will keep his eyes open for it.

                Merle L. Crabb, aircrew RIO in 1966-67, dropped an email after the last newsletter about aircraft accidents in Vietnam. On Memorial Day, 1966, Chuck Gieger and Merle punched out of No. 9 over Da Nang Harbor due to malfunction. This has been omitted  in the VMFA-115 History book. Merle was unable to attend this years reunion, but will try next  year.  rivrats@mchi.com

                Skip Sharp contacted me for information on Steve Silver, a RIO who flew with Skip in Vietnam  from April 1969 to April 1970.  Mr. Silvers was listed on a 1995 roster, but was removed for some reason. Can anyone help us with a current address?

                Harry Rawlinson forwarded an email about "Swede" Larsen's condition. Swede is home from the hospital (4  Sept. 04), has feeding tubes, and supposed to take only liquids by mouth. He cannot talk so writes a lot of notes.  Please email Swede and Carol  at Caegy@cs.com or drop a line to Robert Larsen, 199 Camilia St. Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561-4266.



                At our annual meeting we decided on $10.00 a year "dues" to our organization. We seem to be depleting funds each year. We would like to keep this organization solvent. Each person who emails me with an email address can receive the newsletter by email without cost to our organization.   To print a 6 page newsletter, put it in an envelope with .37 stamp costs us almost a dollar.

                At the present time I am emailing about 250 copies, and we have over 700 on the roster.  We need financial help to continue.  I feel it is very important to keep this organization alive and active. If it ever goes out of existence, it would be very hard to restart. We can thank the VMF-115 World War II Marines for starting and maintaining this organization. I think we owe it to them to continue.



                The next reunion is being planned for Pensacola in the fall of 2005, preferably October.  We need $10.00 yearly dues sent in to keep the newsletter and organization afloat. We need funds to make hotel, banquet, and tour contract obligations.

                I need information and stories sent to me to put in the newsletter. 




   Lynn Hagen

                 Editor and Chairman


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