VMF/VMF(AW)/VMFA–115 MARINE REUNION ASSN., INC.

FALL 2006 NEWSLETTER

 

     A reunion group of former and current Marines attached to the squadron from its inception in July 1943 at Santa Barbara, CA to the active duty personnel of the squadron today.

 

Lynn Hagen, Editor and Chairman, 12000 First St. W., Watson, MN 56295   320.269.8925   

Jim Gill, 1st Vice Chairman, Robertsdale AL

Van McCarty, Executive Committee, Meridian, MS

James Brady, Executive Committee, Severn, MD

 

 

 THE BEST TOUR I HAD IN THE MARINE CORPS WAS MY TOUR WITH VMFA-115, ONLY I DIDN’T KNOW IT THEN.” (A Marine Corps officer’s statement.)

 

REUNION AT LACONIA, NH

As we now have all returned home from the last reunion in New Hampshire we are planning the next reunion to be held in San Diego, September 21-22.  The reunion in New Hampshire turned out very well.  They were many new faces and many of the familiar ones and everyone made new acquaintances.

We started out Thursday in the Margate Inn on Paugus Bay of Lake Winnipesaukee.  This lake is located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and is within eyesight of Mount Washington.  The fall colors had just started to change during our visit and the area was very beautiful with the White Mountains in the background

     We started our reunion with the annual business meeting Friday morning.  We discussed where we would like to have the next reunion.  We elected James Brady to replace Jerry Rudd on the executive committee. Jim lives in Severn, Maryland and is employed at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.  He told me that the museum is a high threat as a terrorist target due to its relationship to Israel.  Jim was also at the Quantico reunion, so you may have also met him there.

     After the business meeting we boarded a bus to travel to the Portsmouth Naval Yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  We were given a bus tour of the base, a tour of the museum pertaining to submarine service, and a special tour due to the request of some of those in attendance.   

     The driver was telling about having third graders coming for a tour and when he told them that next to the old Marine Barracks building there was a graveyard for three Marine mascot bulldogs and a horse named “Old Tom” who was ridden by a Col. Huntington, USMC about the 1898 era. The children always asked for a special tour to see the graveyard.  Well, then came the VMF 115 group on a tour bus, also asking to see the animal graveyard, the driver obliged and we saw the Marine barracks with the graveyard next to it.

The Marine Barracks have been closed for several years. The Marines arrived at Portsmouth in 1906. The Marine Barracks was built and became an official “Post of the Corps” in 1813. It stands as the second oldest Marine Barracks in the country and the second oldest building on the shipyard. It served the Marines until July 29, 1986 when the post was decommissioned.

     The Naval Prison for Marines and sailors was closed in 1974.  86,000 Prisoners went though Portsmouth.  This building was unique in that it was constructed of all poured concrete construction with the concrete being poured continuously.   This building is in the process of being remodeled to be used as office space in the future.  We were told there are approximately 8,000 people working in the shipyard. This is a very old shipyard as the Navy arrived here about 1815 and was the first Navy shipyard to be established. The first warship built in America was built here in 1690, the HMS Falkland.

      They also built the first submarines here in 1917 and also the first U.S. made submarine with a welded steel hull, the “Snapper” in 1937.  During WWII, this base built about 100 submarines.   “SAND LANCE SSN660 was the 134th and last sub built at Portsmouth, was launched November 1969 and commissioned September 1971.

     During WWII, in 1943, there were over 20,000 civilian workers at the shipyard.

The first warship built in North America, HMS Falkland was built in 1690 at Portsmouth.

Portsmouth was the first US Navy shipyard established in 1800.  The largest steamship constructed in the Navy at the time was the      FRANKLIN (1867).

     At Portsmouth, was the first submarine was built at a US Navy shipyard in 1917.

     The first submarine was built with an all welded steel hull, was the SNAPPER in 1937.

50% of all subs built during WWII were built in Portsmouth. It took 100 days to build a sub. 10 nuclear subs were built here.  The first US submarine constructed of high tensile steel, the BALAO in 1942.

     In 1944, Portsmouth built 31 subs, establishing a record. The first nuclear submarine built in a Navy shipyard, the SWORDFISH in 1958.

     The tour guide gave each of us a history book of the shipyard, titled “Cradle of American Shipbuilding”.   In the book, one page describes the normal work day of 10 hours a day which was changed to an 8 hour day for all mechanics, workmen, and laborers employed by or on behalf of the Government of the United States. This was an act of Congress in 1868. The 10 hour day had gone into effect in 1840.

     One of the advertisements that the Naval Board has used to prevent closing of the shipyard in 1876 was that the harbor is open in the coldest weather, and the port is at all tides and seasons accessible, is a refuge for vessels coming from a sickly station with an epidemic on board, the ships can occupy the outer harbor. The last statement was that there was a large population in and around Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine who have passed their lives in shipbuilding, and the naval mechanics in that vicinity are among the best in the country. 

     The clock in the tower of the former Naval Base headquarters building is reputed to be the first clock in the U.S. Navy to strike ships bells rather than the hours. A shipyard worker received patent rights to the striking mechanism in 1879.

     In 1905 at the invitation of President Theodore Roosevelt, envoys from Russia and Japan met at the yard to discuss terms for ending the Russo-Japanese War. Russia and Japan had been fighting for dominance of Korea and Manchuria. On September 5, 1905, the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed ending the war between the two empires.

     In 1941, three British and one French submarine were overhauled under Lend-Lease. The British submarine in particular had seen considerable service and required complete and extensive refits.

After the war, the shipyard was ideally situated to receive the surrender of German submarines captured in the North Atlantic waters. They were brought there to be studied or be disposed of. The German crews were kept in the naval prison and were required to work on captured submarines and explain the various systems to the naval authorities. The German submarine at the museum in Chicago was kept at Portsmouth at a pier in the back channel during the war, and then towed to Chicago after the war.

     We were served a wonderful meal in the officers club on base and then proceeded to tour the submarine museum.  We saw a devise used to rescue sailors from submarines, and a history of the base, and many items of interest about the construction of submarines and ships constructed through out the years at Portsmouth.

     Typical of Marines, one of our Marines said he would rather take an airplane than have 800 feet of water above his head.

     Friday evening everyone was on there own for evening meal. Several of us went to a Steak and Seafood Restaurant just down the road that had to be tops in all respect. 

We had a nice Ready Room for everyone to meet and spend time with new and old friends.   The room was decorated with the current recruiting posters showing drill instructor giving a meaningful command.  Many of the wedding guests who were also in the hotel gave our Ready Room a good look as they walked by.  This year we were missing the normal assortment of “cruise books”, squadron photos, photo albums that we have had in the past.  Next year we will try to get back to having everyone bring mementoes of their time in the squadron.  The word did not get out to attendees to bring these along to share.  It can be hard to “drag” these things on a airplane when you are already carrying a couple of heavy suitcases.   We will see about replacing our squadron banner that was stolen at the Beaufort reunion.  From now on we will be more careful and hang the banners inside the building.

     We were again happy to have Dorothy Alton and her son, Roy in attendance. She has not missed a reunion. In the later years, either her son or daughter has accompanied her. Dorothy lives in New Jersey.

     Also in attendance was Carol Ann Egy, of Gulf Breeze, Florida.  She was a “special friend” of Swede Larsen, who passed away recently. She still enjoys our company.   On the bus trip to Portsmouth, we had a bus driver who didn’t know much about shifting a bus and every time he tried to shift gears, it would grind a lot.   Carol Ann enjoyed ribbing the driver.

 

     Receipts:   Those who want receipts for funds they gave to me at the reunion, please let me know and I will send you one. During the reunions things get hectic and rushed, so feel free to ask for a receipt.

 

Saturday we started out with breakfast courtesy of the motel, and then departed to Weirs Beach for a tour boat cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee. This boat had multi levels with areas to get in out of the cold.  This lake is very beautiful with well maintained homes with a mountain view in the background. One of the things that caught my attention was the construction of boat protective areas in front of their home made out of local rock. They were like miniature sea walls.

Saturday evening we had our yearly banquet.  We started as usual with 4 Marines from the local area Marine Corps League presenting the colors.  Marine Corps hymn was then sung by everyone with a wonderful meal of prime rib, strawberries and ice cream, chicken, and a salad. 

     We did not have a special speaker this year.  For a program, I introduced our WWII Marines, Andy Moynihan, William Hodson, Dorothy Alton, Ken Goode and Don Sypkens.  Also Andy Moynihan’s friend, Ed Davis who served in WWII in VMF-214 was honored.

      I then introduced the Korean War veterans, and this is starting to be a sizeable group at our reunions.  Jim Gill, John Reader, Ken Uhl, Ray Shinkle, and Tom Tucker.

     We want to thank Lisa Hazeltine and her father, Andy Moyihan for all the work they did getting the reunion organized and the very good time we all had. Thanks.

 

New Board Member

     James Brady will be taking over the position that was held by Jerry Rudd.  Jim lives in Severn, MD and is employed by the Holocaust Museum in the metro D.C. area. Jim has been very active in helping us at reunions. His years in 115 were 1971-72-73 as an electrician.  >jbrady@ushmm.org

 

REUNION ATTENDEES

Tom and Helen Tucker, 18 Sunrise Trail, Crystal City, MO 63019.   This was their first reunion and Tom was in ordnance in Korea in 1951.

Ed and Natalie Davis were guests at the banquet. Ed and Natalie were friends of our host, Andy Moyihan.

Ed and Bonnie Malin, also friends of Andy’s.

Dorothy Alton and son/Roy, Longport NJ/Margate, NJ

John and Mrs. Reader, Mantua NJ

Ray Shinkle, Grand Island, FL

Don Sypkens, Turney, MO

Tom and Helen Tucker, Crystal City, MO

Lynn and Cindy Hagen, Watson, MN

Bernie and Linda Blasko, Whitehall, PA

Jerry and Elaine Carpenter, Port Allen, LA

Carol Ann Egy, Gulf Breeze, FL

John and Jane Gibson, Cleveland, NC

James and Joyce Gill, Robertsdale, AL

Ken and Vi Goode, Exeter, NH

Andy Moyihan/family Liza, John, Andrew and Nate, Laconia, NH

William Hodson, wife Dorothy, and daughter, Patty, Brawley, CA

Ken Uhl, Longhorne, PA

George Martina, Blackhawk, SD

Mr. and Mrs. Ray Teague, Oak Leaf, TX

John and Darlene Kennedy, Warwick, RI

John and Liza Chouinard, Temepleton, MA

Ron “Skitch” Hendrickson, Rutland VT

 

Ray and Emily Teague, 602 Shallow Creek, Oak Leaf, Texas 75154.  This was their first reunion and Ray was in Vietnam with the squadron.  > emilyteague7@hotmail.com

     Tom and Helen Tucker, made their first reunion. Tom was in the squadron as ordnance during the Korean War. The Tuckers live in Crystal City, Missouri.   636-937-6817

     John and Darlene Kennedy, Warwick, RI.  John was in 115 from 1989-1991 era and was an armorer.   401.461.7065

     Ron Hendrickson “Skitch” joined us for his first reunion.  Ron served in 115 at Iwakuni, Japan when VMFA-115 came to replace VMFA-334. He is retired from USMC with active duty from 1969 to 1978.  He just now retired from General Electric Aircraft Engine Department.  Ron lives at 220 Mussey St., Rutland, VT  05701  802-775-6528.

We welcome these individuals and couples who made the first reunion and we expect to see them at later reunions.

 

Bernard and Linda Blasko who have attended other reunions, traveled from Whitehall, PA. Bernard was in avionics in the 1969-70 era.  At the banquet, we sang “Happy  Birthday” to Linda.

John and Lisa Chouinard drove up from Templeton, MA.  They have attended the Quantico reunion. John is retired from USMC and was in 115 in 1971 in power plants.  >Xmarine3@aol.com

 

PUBLICATIONS ABOUT USMC AIRPLANES

     The November edition of “FLYING” magazine has an interesting article about Marblehead, MA being the birthplace of USMC aviation that started On 1 August 1912 with Lt. Alred Cunningham and his first flight, a first solo flight for him in a Burgess/Curtis Hydroplane. There is a plaque at the site officially sanctioned by USMC.

     The July 2006 issue of Smithsonian “Air and Space” has an article about the F4D Skyray aircraft.

There is a photo of a VMF(AW)-115 F4D aircraft in the article.  It shows 19 F4D aircraft in a circle with all the ground support equipment and all the Marines attached to the squadron. The article tells of all the attributes of the F4D “Ford” aircraft.  The 19 aircraft are of VMF(aw)-115.

 

New Addresses and Emails, Etc.

Red and Judy Twomey has moved into an assisted living center named Cambridge Center. Their new address is 711 Matador Lane, Mesquite TX 75149.  Red and Judy have been faithful in this organization and attending many reunions. 972.329.3135 and email is >LtwoanJudy@aol.com

Lynn Guyer >guyer@isp.com   Lynn was at the reunion in Beaufort and sent a new email address as guyers4@verizon.net.  Lynn has been working in Iraq as a civilian employee since we met him at Beaufort.

     I received a telephone call from Max Ballard, who saw our newsletter on the internet site.  Max was in 115 in 1970-71 and worked in engine shop with a MOS of 6024.  Max is trying to locate Marines who he served with. Max had spent several trips to Udorn Air Force Base in Thailand doing engine repairs on 115’s aircraft. Max is interested in attending our reunion. His said his wife has never been on the west coast. Anyone who remembers Max, please contact him.  828-446-3459  

Francis A. Winnecer, Winklespadrise, New Jersey has contacted me and I have misplaced the information he gave me about himself.

Don Bussell, was in 115 from January 1982 thru May 1983 as Intel officer and Ground Safety Officer.  He is presently flying for Delta Air Lines out of Cincinnati. >Dwb1956@aol.com   740.701.2665

     Andy Galante was in 115 from October 1962 to April 9, 1963, before being transferred to Japan. His job duties were basic avionics and aircraft electrical technician.  Andy lives at 14524 Hillsdale Dr.  Sterling Heights, Michigan  48313.   >andyg1@wideopenwest.com

     Bill (Carlos) Harvey was with the squadron during 1967-68 in Fire Control. Bill lives at 100 S. Ridge Road # 108, Wichita, KS 67209.  He is currently an instructor at Vatterott Colllege, Wichita campus.  >bill.Harvey@vatterott-college.edu

     Micheal A. Boudreaux (also known as Bozo), 707 S. 2nd Street, Nederland, TX  77627, his dates of service in 115 were from July 1974 to August 1975. His MOS was 6636m F-4 Electrical systems Tech and also worked in Com/Nav shop the last 2-3 months.  >Boo582@aol.com

Paul W. Long >pdlong@insightbb.com. Paul was with 115 in Korea in 1953-54 and is asking about our reunion group.  Paul was later transferred out of 115 to VMA-212.  

 James A. Swindell   Jim served with 115 in Danang in 1966 with 115. He saw our notice of reunion in the Legion magazine.  Jim also served in VMFA-314, the “Black Knights” squadron.  He said he still has his coffee cup with the 115 shield on it and also a VMFA-314 coffee cup. He treats them with a lot of care. 

Jim deployed out of Santa Ana, CA (El Toro) with the Wing on the aircraft carrier, the USS Constellation. They landed in Iwakuni, Japan in September 1965. Jim served in USMC from 2 Feb 65 to 2 Feb 69, being discharged at Camp Pendleton.  He stated that he would like to see his old buddies again.   Ricswindell@aol.com

 

THE PRESENT COMMANDING OFFICER OF VMFA-115

Lt. Col. Randy “Fester” Nash, who took the squadron to Japan this past summer, says that he would like to join us at San Diego reunion next September.

 

CORRECTION FROM LAST NEWSLETTER

I received a notice from Don Emello about a mistake is the last newsletter. Don stated that Jack Maas was the CO of the squadron taking over from Col. Tim Cole in the middle of 1953. This is a discrepancy from the 115 History book where I took this information.

 

ADDRESS CHANGES

     Ken and Vi Goode   new address is 3 Sterling Hill Lane, Unit #322, Exeter, NH 03833, tel 603. 778.4829  >Kenneth.goode@worldnet.att.net    Ken is one of the original World War II, 1943-45 member of VMF-115,  working in radio shop. Ken and Vi attended the reunion and they really enjoyed themselves.  

Ed MaGaa, pilot in the squadron in 1966 era emails a new address:  P. O. Box 725, Custer S.D. 57730    EagleMan4@aol.com

Bill Harvey, was in 115 from 1967-68 in Fire Control.  100 S. Radge Road #108, Wichita, KS 67209   316.945.3328   >bill.Harvey@vatterott-ccllege.edu

Len Fuchs, >leonard.fuchs @cox.net, P.O. Box 2557, Gilbert, AZ  85299  480.926.2660

Len was a 1st Lt. In the squadron in 1970-71, was in S-4A, Buildings and Grounds. He retired from USMC as a Col.  He sends his warm regards from Arizona to Minnesota.

Stephen Stockwell   sstockwell@FOAMEX.com     Stephen read about us in the March/April edition of Vietnam Veterans of America magazine.  Stephen was in 115 from February 1971 to November 1971 as a RIO (Radar Intercept Officer).  1000 Columbia Ave, Linwood, PA 19061   610. 859.3604  

            “Editors note”:  Maybe we should plan a reunion in the future for PA. There are a lot of Marines from 115 in Pennsylvania on our roster.  Many of these are recent additions. “Just a thought”!

      Paul W. Long, was with 115 in Korea at K-3 in 1953-54.   pdlong@insightbb.com 

     Jimmye L. Jones   jimmyej@cox.net  Jimmye “served four tours in VMFA-115, Cherry Point in 1962-65, Atsugi from 65-66, Vietnam1966, and Vietnam again in 1969.  Jimmy worked in ordnance. Jimmy is retired from USMC as GySgt.

Jim Perry, Perry2656@aol.com, emailed asking about reunions.  He said it is difficult to travel with his wife, but is interested in our organization. Jim was in the squadron from October 65 to September 1966.  He asked if I was there when the squadron broke 1000 combat sorties.

     Jim was a friend of 2nd Lt. James Pitts, who took his own life in November 1966. Lt. Pitts was a friend of Jim’s and they had served in VMF-251 and had made a Med cruise together as well as countless deployments. Lt. Pitts was the Maintenance control officer.  Jim said that the best tour I had in the Marine Corps was his tour with 115, only he didn’t know it then.

Mike Gollihur, was in 115 from November 1967 to December 1968.   72 Sandalwood Drive #12, Chula Vista, CA 01010  619.425.28665.  He doesn’t know it yet, but we are going to ask him to help us with the San Diego reunion.     MGOLLIHUR@aol.com

     Mike stated that when he checked into Avionics, B.C. Kidd and Dave Horne were in charge of the radar shop. He served under 3 CO’s, the last one being Lt. Col.  G.W. Vaughan. Checking the history book, Lt. Col Vaughan was CO from 17 Jan 68 to 12 Aug 68. Preceding Lt. Col Vaughan was Lt. Col Richard Carey (Oct 67-Jan 68) and Lt. Col. Kenny C. Palmer (July67-Oct 67).   Mike said the one officer that he vividly remembers was a Captain Springer, who wanted to be the first Marine pilot to shoot down a Communist MIG aircraft. He said he hung out in the Radar shop with the snuffies (enlisted men) because he wanted to know everything about the radar in the aircraft.

Paul and Naomi Vess with a new email address: >panavess@peoplepc.com   Paul and Naomi were planning to come to New Hampshire, then just before the reunion, his doctor advised him not to travel. We wish him well and hope he feels better, and will make more reunions. Paul was in 115 in 1951-53 and worked in Avionics. He has made the reunions at Dearborn, Quantico, Beaufort and others.

 

ROSTER OF VMF-115 DATED 29 DEC 1951

 

     I have a copy of the original orders for the squadron to deploy from Cherry Point to El Toro in January 1952. The orders include a 4 day preliminary cold weather survival training and embarkation. Lt. Col. Thomas M Coles is listed as the Commanding Officer. If anyone would like a copy of this roster, please let me know.

 

Jack B. Maas, Jr. “Cactus Air Force” VMF-112, CO of VMF-115 in Korea

 

     Jack Maas was our guest of honor and main speaker at our reunion in Quantico in 2004.  Jack passed away in January 2006. There is a story written in a previous newsletter about Jack.

     In the June 2006 issue of a magazine called “WORLD WAR II, they have written a complete story about Jack’s USMC career.

     The story starts with Jack being assigned to VMF-112 flying F4F’s, leaving San Diego in October 1942 aboard the SS Lurline that went straight to New Caladonia, then ferried to Espirtu Santo and then Guadalcanal, arriving there in November 1942.

     Jack tells about Guadalcanal, being on an airstrip about a half mile inland on a grass strip. They had no control tower, just radios and an operations tent.  There were no runway lights and no revetments. If someone came in the dark, a couple of jeeps would light up the runway. Jack got to fly with John L Smith, Lt. Col. Harold Bauer, CO of VMF-112.  The article states that in his first 10 days flying combat, he had a forced landing after running out of fuel. One of the photos in the article states that the pilots in the new squadron of VMF-112 were 2nd Lt’s with the exception of a Captain Fraser.

Maas first victory with 112 was a Japanese aircraft, a G-4M bomber in November 1942, the next was in January 31 1943 was a Nakajima A6M-2, a floatplane variant of the Zero, called “Rufe” by the allies. During the same dogfight, Jefferson J DeBlance received the Medal of Honor for shooting down five Japanese airplanes the same day.

     May 13, 1943 Jack shot his next aircraft down, a Japanese Zero and got a probable west of   Florida Island. He then returned to El Toro as instructor a fighter training unit later in 1943.

     He was assigned to VMF-451 at Mojave, that was preparing to go aboard the USS Bunker Hill to return to the Pacific, but changed squadrons as joined VMF-322.  The USS Bunker Hill was damaged on May 11, 1945.

     Jack then transferred with the squadron to Kadena, Island of Okinawa during Easter, 1945, just after Kadena airfield was secured.

     Jack made “ACE” with his fifth kill flying out of Kadena flying a FG-1D.  A Goodyear Aircraft built version of the Corsair. He was credited with shooting down  a  “Tojo” , a  Japanese interceptor aircraft  (Nakijima Ki44 )and a half share credit north of Izena Shima to Ie Shimaon May 25, 1945.      

      Upon returning to the states, Jack became an instructor at Quantico.   Jack became Commanding Officer of VMF-115 28 September 1952 in Korea where he flew 77missions.   He became a friend of Ted Williams of baseball fame, who was a F9F Panther pilot flying in Marine squadron VMF-311.

     After returning stateside he did tours at Squantum, MA with the reserves, MCAS, Beaufort, South Carolina, MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, Jack was in the USMC for 27 years before retiring to Fredericksburg, VA to manage the airport and then enjoyed flying antique airplanes.

     We were excited to have him as our main speaker at our banquet.  He told about pre-flighting an aircraft, then getting ready to fly, when the plane captain told Jack he couldn’t fly this airplane, the engine had been removed.

 

ABOUT OUR REUNIONS

 

     Our reunion normally starts with some people arriving on Thursday.  Come Friday morning, we will start by having our required annual business meeting.  After the business meeting, we normally have some type of bus tour to visit something with a military/aviation/Marine theme or other interesting places in the area.  Friday night we all go out for supper in small groups or as one large group. This is a time to take your “old buddies and their wives” out for a quiet dinner. 

Saturday again starts with another tour, trying to have a noon meal with the tour, and then returning to the hotel early to prepare for the banquet.     

Saturday night we have a formal banquet.  This is a formal affair. Marines who drive their own vehicles like to wear their suits, those who fly are excused due to the amount of luggage they carry.

 We try to have a program and/or a main speaker. Then we bring the group again to attention, and the Marine Honor Guard retires the colors.

      In Pensacola due to the hurricane, there were no Marines available.  In Dearborn, we used the HMX-1 squadron (the President’s own helicopter squadron) to present our colors, (hotel supplied the flags) and they joined us for supper in their dress blues. They were an advance party to bring the President’s helicopter to Dearborn.  The photo op session here was great.  Dorothy Alton had her picture taken with each and every Marine. They were glad to join us to break up their monotony waiting for the weekend visit of the President.

     At Quantico, the Marines color standards were too tall to bring in the hotel.  We did our color ceremony outside the hotel, and then proceeded with our banquet. These Marines were from the Quantico base.  Things don’t always goes as planned, but we will strive to maintain this organization in a military/Marine format. I feel this is why we attend reunions.

 

Cost of Reunions

     The costs of the reunions for each person attending is determined by the total costs of bus trips, ready room rental, ready room snacks, banquet room rent, banquet meal costs and small miscellaneous expenses.   We try to determine the cost in advance, and let everyone know the costs.  We try to keep under budget and normally do.   One of the costs is renting tour buses.  These normally are $650.00 to $700.00 for a full day, or an hourly rate for partial time, and we divide the costs by total attendance. The larger the group, the lower the cost. We had full bus loads at Quantico that resulted in a low bus cost per person. If we can get a large group at San Diego, this helps keep the cost down.  (55 is a full bus load)

     We will try to attend the graduation ceremony at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. This graduation event and parade is every Friday morning.  For those who have not seen a Marine recruit graduation, this is a must see.  The graduation lasts approximately an hour and half and everyone sits on wooden bleachers.  Reunions that contact MCRD can reserve a bleacher section for the group. I am going to try to make this reservation. If we use a bus, this makes getting on the base easier, as security is very tight. The last time I was there, February 2005, they had everyone use a gate on the south side of the base next to the airport runways.  The buses will be able to drop everyone off on the parade deck. During our stay at the recruit depot, you will see recruits in training and the most impressive graduation ceremony.  At my visit to the ceremony in 2005, they honored a recruit who did 37 pull ups, resulting in a promotion. Some Marines leave boot camp as lance corporals.  We will try to eat our noon meal at the PX restaurant. From the base, we will travel to the Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, and a short drive north of the city.

 

Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, California

     Located approximately 15 miles from downtown San Diego is the air station that the Marines moved to when Marine Corps Air Station EL Toro at Santa Ana was closed. This is a former Navy Air Station where the “TOP GUN” school was located for fighter pilots.  There is a very nice Marine Corps aviation museum located on the base. They have many nice aircraft from Marine aviation on display.  Many will be unhappy to see the aircraft sitting outside in the weather. They are working for a museum to be located outside of the base across the street from the base.  If anyone has Marine aviation things they don’t know what to do with, the Museum would appreciate donations.  This is a “young” museum and there are many things needed.

 

VMFA-115 and VMF-115 Patch of “Joe’s Jokers”

     These patches are available from Sgt. Mike’s catalog.   The Joe’s Joker patch of VMF-115 is the patch that Walt Disney created for Joe Foss for his new squadron. Sgt Mikes telephone 1.866.776.2607

 

STORY ABOUT THE F4D SKYRAY AIRCRAFT

     In the July 2006 issue of Smithsonian Air and Space magazine, there is an article on the Skyray aircraft.  VMF(AW)-115 flew this aircraft from April 1955 to September 1963 when the squadron changed to the F4B Phantom. These aircraft were used by the Navy and Marines during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The F4D that are available in museums include the Naval Air Museum at Pensacola,  Patuxent River Naval Air Museum at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, and the Pima Air Museum, Tucson, AZ.

TAPS

      During a telephone conversation with Leroy Blonshine who was in the metal shop in 1966-67, said his brother-in-law, Merritt Smith died of Agent Orange cancer, lymph nodes, shortly after returning from Vietnam. Merritt worked in avionics.

 

AGENT ORANGE IN 115 PERSONNEL

     In the future, if anyone would like to participate in writing a “buddy letter” to the VA for an agent orange claim, maybe we could keep a confidential list of those having agent orange troubles.   Many Marines that I have talked to are having trouble with agent orange.   Marines serving at the Danang air base seem to have the most diagnoses of Agent Orange problems. There is a possibility that we could get those with AO problems to send a letter to the VA.  The more letters, the better the chances are for a claim.

     Many people have contact me for information and want to be added to the roster. I ask them if they have any problems with agent orange and I get many “yes” replies. 

 

Information from Marines wanting information, or in need of something, etc.

 

Hank Salvatore would like to know if any of the WWII group (1943-45) would have any of the dates and islands that the VMF-115 squadron was sent to during WWII.  He would like to hear from anyone who can help him with this.  316 Buxmont St., Philadelphia, PA 19116-1002   tel 215.464. 4480 or you can email his office in care of  >bsikora@hanksbeverages.com

Paul Martinello, who is the son of the late Joesph Martinello, inquired about the New Hampshire reunion.  Paul and Joseph had attended the Philadelphia reunion and had thought about attending this year’s event. Paul Martinello, 30 Boblink Lane, Somers, CT 06071

     Looking for:  GySgt. Theodore J. Thomas, USMC retired is looking for a Sgt. Larry Anderson who was in avionics with 115 during the 1966-67 era. Mr. Thomas was his “best man” at his wedding in 1963.   615-595-2480 >tedgaye@bellsouth.net

Capt. Chamberlain, a current Silver Eagle pilot was asked by his skipper to find any alumni associations.  He said we qualify.  Hopefully we can get together with the squadron again for a 65th or 70th anniversary reunion of this squadron. 1943 + 65 years will be 2008.  We had a very good time having the 60th reunion at Beaufort in 2003 and look forward to doing this again. >chamberlinba@ 2mawbft.usmc.mil

 

DUES

     This was a subject we brought up a few years ago to sustain our organization. We decided on a $10.00 per year dues.  This pays for the cost of publication of the newsletter, envelopes, mailing costs, costs of our legal matters, (State of Oregon incorporation registration costs), and some costs pertaining to reunions.  At reunions we pick up the costs of meals for our Marine honor guards and guest speakers.  We try to recover our reunion costs with registration fees and will be a great effort to control costs.

     We are printing between 300 – 350 copies of the newsletter. Also I have costs related to “new discoveries”. Those who just discovered us and would like a copy of the roster and I throw in some old copies of the newsletter and mail to them.

     Please, if you enjoy receiving the newsletter and would like for this group to continue, please mail your dues. What we ask is that the checks be made out to the VMF/VMF (aw)/VMFA-115 Marine Reunion Assn. Inc. or a shortened version of same. The mailing address is 12000 First St W., Watson MN 56295.

 

SAN DIEGO REUNION, SEPTEMBER 21-22, 2007

    

     Our contract has been signed for the 2007 reunion. This will be held at the Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside. The web site for the hotel is www.holinnbayside.com. Telephone (800)-650-6660, (619) 224-1787

     The charge for hotel rooms is $115.00 single or double. To make reservations for the guaranteed rate, please tell the representative that you are with the VMFA-115 group.  If you are planning on attending, please mark this on your new calendar.

     This hotel is located near the bay in San Diego. They have shuttle service to the airport.  It appears that attendees will not need a rental car due to the close proximity to the hotel.  The address is 4875 North Harbor Drive, San Diego  92106

     The Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar has a very nice museum with over 30 aircraft that have been flown by Marine Aviation. Some of these aircraft are not commonly seen in museums.  Some of the aircraft on display are an F9F-2 Panther, Chance-Vought  F4U-5N Corsair, McDonnell Douglas F4S, General Motors TBM-3E ( Grumman TBF), North American  PBJ-J, F9F-8P “Cougar”, Douglas F3D “Skyknight”, McDonnell F2H-2 “Banshee”, Vought RF-8G “Crusader”, McDonnell Douglas F/A 8, Russian Mig-15, Grumman A-6 “Intruder”, North American FJ-3 “Fury” and several other aircraft and helicopters flown by Marine Aviation Squadrons. They also have a nice gift shop with many items including 115 squadron patches from the Vietnam - late sixties era patch.>

     In downtown San Diego, the aircraft carrier USS Midway is docked and made into a museum. There are several aircraft displayed on the carrier deck and some in the hangar bay. These aircraft include the F-14 Tomcat, F4 Phantom, A6 Intruder and several other aircraft and helicopters.  The tour takes you through out the lower decks that include living areas, hospital and medical, food service, and ships operation areas and you can sit in the Captains chair and dream.

 

REUNION ITINERARY

     Our reunion will start Friday morning with our annual business meeting.   This is mandatory that we have this after breakfast.   After the meeting we will load buses and hopefully head for Marine Corps Recruit Depot for graduation ceremony.  This is a must for those who have not been a part of it or those who have not seen it.  We will try to have a tour bus to make easier access onto the base.  There are bleachers to observe the graduation events.  This is a place to wear your Marine Corps or the VMFA-115 cap to identify yourself as a Marine.  At past graduations, they call attention to former Marine units, and maybe we will be so honored.

     After the ceremony, if possible, we will let everyone have the noon meal at the Recruit Depot. You will also have time to take a short walk around the depot to see what has changed over the years.  (They now park on the parade deck).

     After the noon meal, we will head for the Marine Air Station at Miramar to take in the outdoor museum of Marine Aviation aircraft on static display and they also have a small indoor museum of Marine Aviation and a nice gift shop that sells Marine patches, etc.

     Saturday, we will try to see if possible to take everyone to the Navy’s aircraft carrier, the USS Midway that is tied to a pier in downtown San Diego in the area that was used by the US Navy in earlier times.

     This itinerary is just the ideas that I have planned. They are subject to change.  I must contact all of these organizations to make firm arrangements.  If anyone has any ideas for a tour on Saturday beside the USS Midway, please feel free to contact me.

 

1969 Edition of the VMFA-115 Cruise Book

     We have been donated a copy of the cruise book of this era by Jerry and Elaine Carpenter. The C.O. in the front of the book is Lt. Col. R.R.  Norton (Nov. 68 - July 69).

 

Remember, San Diego is site of reunion September 21-22, 2007.  We will need to know if you are attending by midsummer.