Marine Reunion Association, Inc. Newsletter
VMFA-115 MARINE REUNION ASSOCIATION, INC.
A reunion group of former Marines attached to the squadron from its inception in July 1943 to those on active duty status with the squadron today.
Lynn Hagen, Chairman and
Editor, 12000 First St. W.,
FOR SEPTEMBER 30TH AND OCTOBER 1ST, 2005 AT
Plans have been confirmed for the reunion. You can make reservations anytime directly with the hotel. The Hampton Inn's telephone number is 850-932-6800. Again like other years we will be using the code VMF when making reservations. The toll free number for reservations is: 1-800-HAMPTON
I have some smoking rooms reserved for those who desire. The hotel rates this year are $99.00 facing the town and $129.00 for an ocean view. This hotel was involved with hurricane Ivan and will reopen July 2005 after a complete refurbishment. We have a block of rooms that should be " double queen" rooms.
I had a lot of trouble getting a hotel this year due to the
hurricane.. I felt committed to having
the reunion in
The VMF (aw) 115 group of 1959-61 used this hotel a few years back and were happy with their accommodations. We are planning to arrive Thursday afternoon/evening, with a get together in the Ready Room, business meeting Friday a.m., and Banquet on Saturday evening The breakfast before our annual meeting and Saturday evening banquet have not been arranged as of this date.
Jake passed away almost a year ago in
Jake and Bill both went to
For those of you who served with Jake or got to know him at several of the reunions, would you believe he would do this type of stunt? Jake was also at Guadacanal in 1942 with VMF-121 and with VMF-115 at Emiuau and recalled to the Korean War.
I have been getting very good feedback from former members who have contacted me recently.
Correia, who lives in
Phil retired as a MGySgt and his email is>>firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim said their first F4D Skyray came in from
In February, 1958, Jim went with the squadron to
wrote a note with a new address. It is now
Jack McEncroe, Steamboat Springs, a former CO of the squadron. Our roster list Jack as a pilot in the squadron in 1968.
John W. Creahan,
Rosenwinkle. Myron enlisted in the Marines December 1942. He was
assigned to VMF-115 on July 3,1943, but he volunteered for a combat
conditioning course at
Myron left Zamboango, Mindanao on May 27 and arrived in
Pierce, Greers Ferry, AR. Gus is going to try and make the
He can be reached at 501-825-7451 >>email@example.com.
The internet world can work wonders in locating and forwarding information on those who have been in 115 and lost in the fast paced world.
got a email from George L McGuaghey, call sign "Sugar Bear" out of Chu Lai. George's home address is
Steve Silver, RIO,
Another friend of these two is John F. McCormick, Jr.
Anyone have an address for Bob Matthew? Tom Flanik
saw him at a reunion at MCRD at
Another email from Earl Davis, who was with 115 in 1975-76 as a Sgt. Major. It was his only tour with the Air Wing, and he said; " He was damned glad it was with the Silver Eagles." Earl was in USMC for 32 years. He missed the last reunion because of the wedding of his 2nd Lt. Marine son.
An original charter
member of VMF-115 who communicates regularly with me is Lynard Love of
Feel free to submit anything you would like, and if you want it to be unanimous, it can be arranged. Its too late for any of us to get an Article 15 or a Court Marshal. Confessions of things we have done or observed can now be enjoyable and shared with everyone.
Lawrence Montondo, an original member of 115 who was a parachute rigger in the squadron
missed the last reunion at
I HAVE MORE TIME OVERSEAS THAN YOU HAVE IN THE MARINE CORPS.
All of us have used this sentence at some time in our Marine Corps tour of duty, but this Marine said it with real meaning.
Herbert W. Darley, original member of 115 and a mechanic with the squadron. Herbert telephoned me with his interesting story. Herbert is now 79 years old and lives in
A 2nd LT. was
giving him a hard time about ever getting a hardship discharge to come
through. Herb told the 2nd
Lt.., I have more time overseas
than you have in the Marine Corps. Herb
did not have to go to
Joe Cannava, a
Silver Eagle from August 1968 to September 1969. Joe lives at
Other members of the squadron who may have been listed in other editions of the newsletter:
A new addition to the roster submitted by Louis H
Kenneth J Rigner, retired USMC as a Sergeant Major
who was a NAP, Enlisted Pilot. Ken sent me a short version of his 22
year career in the Corps and one of the most enjoyable tours with VMF-115. Ken
joined 115, l Jan 1949 at MCAS ,
Kenneth James Reigner, Sergeant Major, USMC (Ret), born
August 2, 1921 in
In 1945, Ken was selected for flight school and graduated 2
July 1947 as NAP 129-47(Naval Aviation Program). While in stationed in
In Ferbruary, 1952, the squadron arrived at K-3 in
Ken was promoted to Sgt Major on 14 February, 1958. Then he
did a 15 month tour at
Ken was awarded 2
Air Medals, a GC Medal w/ 6 stars, a
Presidential Unit Citation with 2 stars.
Ken retired from USMC 20
September 1962 and now lives in
A forgotten item of the last reunion was of Col. Maas's story about preflighting a F9F and after he was done preflighting, the plane captain told him he had better not fly that particular aircraft. "Why?' Col. Maas asked? The plane captain replied that the engine had been removed, and the tail section reapplied after the engine removal. Col. Maas told the story without embarrassment.
Robert J. "Swede" Larsen, Gulf Breeze,
Major Larsen was born April
5, 1924 in
Major Larsen joined the Marine Corps and received his
After WWII, he attended the
At several of the reunions that Swede has attended, he claimed that President Bush was the youngest Navy pilot at age 18 and he was the youngest Marine pilot at 19.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Martha Birch Larsen. He is survived by eight children, 11 grandchildren and his special friend, Carol Ann Egy.
"Swede" was a pilot with the squadron 1943-45, joining the squadron as the "youngest pilot in the Marine Corps" at the age of 19. Swede retired from the USMC with 23 years of active service and retired with the rank of Major.
In the January 1997 newsletter of VMF-115, Swede's
biography was printed as follows: Swede
was awarded his decorations a half century late. In a ceremony at the National Museum of Naval
Aviation in June l996, Swede was awarded 13 Air Medals. Swede's medal
count now exceeded 40 which includes 20 Air Medals and Five DFC,
(Distinguished Flying Cross). After
accepting the DFC's, Swede jokingly remarked, "At least I didn't
receive them posthumously". Swede
was a front line participant in WWII in
the Pacific, and then again in
A Marine who was with the squadron tells of Swede breaking formation when they were ferrying their aircraft to leave for the Pacific, flew under the Golden Gate Bridge, a stunt that cost him 3 month flight pay.
Allen's stepson, Jim Hromsco sent us a notice of his death as he had received the last newsletter. Allen was listed on the original roster as a mechanic in the squadron from 1943-46.
William H. Bradford, Amity,
William's wife, Thelma Bradford sent a
note telling that her husband passed away August 7th, 2004. William was a Nondenominational Minister for
about 35 years. Thelma stated that he wasn't able to make any of the
reunions. Thelma said that she wanted to
thank: " all of you (guys) Marines- for helping keep our country free.
Thank God for
Gilbert Jolly, a original member of 115 at
I received a nice
email from Bob Morris after a mix-up in mailing address or something. We finally made contact. Bob and his wife Rebecca live in
VMFA-115 MEMORIES Buck Peck
Marine Fighter Squadron 115 was always
a well-known squadron dating from the first actions in the South Pacific during
World War Two while flying the F4U Corsair. I suppose that my squadron
assignments ere in the best interest of the Corps, but the fighter pilot image
seemed always just out of my grasp. In
Just across the field, VMF-115 was one
of two fighter units flying the then new Grumman F9F-5 Panther jet. Our
flying was better but the charisma of Fighter was still on their side. Time moves ahead and I was at Marine Corps
Air Station El Toro and assigned to Marine Fighter Squadron 451 equipped with
the new North American FJ-4 Furies. Just
around the field, VMF-115 had Douglas F4D Skyways, an afterburner equipped
delta. Our Furies could wax their ass in a dogfight, but I was still jealous of
their afterburner! Later both units
moved to Marine Aircraft Group –11 and deployed to Ping Tung,
In the sixties, I shifted into the F8U-1 Crusader at Beaufort for a time and 115 was not around. My next assignment was a move to Cherry Point and into the first Squadron of the F4H (VMF (aw) 531) Phantom aircraft. A prime opportunity as 115 was there but still in the F4D
F6A) Skyray. After several months at
Cherry Point, 531 was deployed to
After a couple of years I was shifted over to 115 to help them transition into the Phantom. 115 still had a few F-6 (F4D) Skyrays as they transitioned into the F-4 Phantom.
In time my FMF tenure was up and I was
sent off to the Technical Training Command.
Fast forward to
HQMC was kind enough to send me to Cherry Point to get refresher training in the Phantom before moving overseas.
arriving at MAG 11 in
Lt. Col. Larry Van Duesen was the C.O.
when I checked in and was a very pleasant man to work with. Shortly after
Several months later Lt. Col. "Moose" Campo replaced Lt. Col. Van Duesen. Moose was a real kick in the ass, a fun guy to be around. After the allotted six months was up, Lt. Col. Kenny Price? replaced Campo and I shortly thereafter completed my tour and returned to the states. Of all the squadrons that I was in, 115 is the only one that is still active! My memories of 115 are all Happy!
Semper Fidelis. Buck Peck
Editor’s note: The CO who replaced Lt. Col Campo was Kenny C. Palmer, 28 July 67-
4 Oct 67, according to the History book of VMFA-115. The books list Lt. Col., then Major Larry R.
Van Duesen as CO from 8 Aug 66 to 23 Jan 67 and Maj. Guy R. Campo was CO 24 Jan
67 to 27 July 67. Buck is very involved with the Red Nose squadron VMFA-235. VMFA-115 was replaced by VMFA-235 with their
F-8 Crusader aircraft when the squadron went to Iwakuni from
THE MAD BOMBER Don Bowen
They still talk about when Lieutenant Colonel Don Bowen "bombed" our Marine Base at Chu Lai. While returning in a F-4B from an interdiction mission in January 1970, his wingman informed him he had a hung 500 –pound bomb (one that did not release with others that did fall from the same rack ). Normally you head out to sea, and drop the rack, bomb, and all. Being a cost-conscious Marine, Don wanted to save the bomb rack, which was in short supply.
wingman informed him the bomb looked secure in the rack and its fuse arming
wire (safety) wire was intact, so Don elected to land (gently) in a
non-arrested field landing at Chu Lai.
Don softly touched down, commenced his rollout, and deployed his drogue
chute. Unaware that the bomb was following him, Don applied brakes to slow
down, and the bomb now rolls forward out of the chute, loses its arming safety
wire, and the fuse spins up and arms.
What had been a 500 pound piece of iron was now a very large armed bomb. Don was
completely unaware of what was occurring. Had he been notified earlier,
he could have easily jettisoned the chute.
The observers in the control tower were just too amazed and startled as
to what was unfolding to even call and warn Don that he might be blown to
smithereens in a moment. The bomb
bounced along and skipped off the runway into the SATS arresting gear equipment
and exploded. Don and his back seat
Radar Intercept Operator (RIO) heard and
felt the very loud "Whoomph" and watched in astonishment as
bits of iron rained down on their aircraft and others nearby. Both he and his
July 1946 Headquarters, First Marine
Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force
editor received an original order given to Marines stationed in
Subject: Personal Conduct of Marines.
1. There have been numerous recent incidents in which Marines have insulted, threatened, and show manifest disrespect to local Chinese police officers.
2. The Tientsin Police Bureau has been extremely cooperative and of the utmost assistance to the Marine Corps in this area. It is highly desirable to maintain the cordial relationship and good will that exists between the Bureau and this Headquarters. Overt acts on the part of Marines toward member of the Chinese police do much to undermine that respect and good will.
3. As concrete examples, at 2230 on 30 June, two Marines entered a Police sub-station, laid hands on the Chinese desk sergeant and threatened several policemen with knives. They stuck knives into the officers desk. These two Marines were most fortunate in that they were not shot. The same date three Marines threw beer bottles at a group of Chinese policemen sitting outside another sub-station, hitting the building and breaking windows.
4. Chinese police officials have on several occasions recently been detained by Marine organizations, and weapons have been taken from them, being property of the U.S. Government. In case of doubt as to the ownership of weapons in the hands of police, record the number of the police officer concerned and notify the Division Provost Marshall who will investigate the matter through proper Police bureau channels.
5. It is the duty of every Marine in China not only to preserve the respect and good will of the Chinese toward the Marine Corps, but to enhance the traditions of our Corps by setting the highest of standards in conduct, in their relations with civilians, and by acting with proper decorum at all times.
The VMFA-115 History Book states that
the squadron left Zamboanga,
The same day, 22 October 1945, 1st
Lt. Charles M. Jackson became separated from the rest of the flight during
heavy weather enroute to
VMF-115 was a part of III Marine
Amphibious Corps whose primary mission was to supervise the surrender and
repatriation of 630,000 Japanese troops and civilians in
VMFA-115's other Astronaut
Manley "Sonny" Carter,
born August 15, 1947 in
He was the recipient of the Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unite Citation, Marine Corps Aviation Association Special Category Award 1982, NASA Meritorious Service Medal 1988, and NASA Space Flight Medal 1989. Carter was the Guest of Honor at the 215th Marine Corps Birthday Ball.
Carter graduated from medical school in
June 1973 and in 1974 entered the US Navy and completed flight surgeon school
In 1981 he completed a 9 month
Mediterranean cruise aboard the USS Forrestal with VMFA-115. In September 1982, he attended U.S. Navy
Fighter Weapons School ( TOPGUN) and served as 2nd Marine Air Wing
standardization officer and F-4 combat readiness evaluator at
Selected by NASA in May 1984, Carter
became an astronaut in June 1985, qualified for assignment as Extravehicular
Activity (EVA) Representative for the Mission Development Branch of the
Astronaut Office when selected to the crew of STS-33. The STS-33 crew launched,
at night, from
At the time of his death, Captain
Carter was assigned as a mission specialist on the crew of STS-42, the first
International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-1). He died April 5, 1991, near
I sometimes forget
Anyone who has requested that I send them a roster, newsletter, or anything else that I failed to do, please let me know, as these things slip my mind. I can email the latest roster in Microsoft Excel format.
"About Emailing the Newsletter"
This was to be a great idea, only things didn't work out so well. I had no way to know if the recipient received the newsletter. Some email servers will block out mailing that come as a group, and others like AOL now has filters in place to satisfy their customers who complain of too much email. "Block messages" is interfering with our goal of emailing the newsletter. I will still email to a few who I do not have mailing addresses. Just a reminder, at last year's reunion, we elected to start yearly dues. The group decided on $10.00 per year.
This is a invitation for everyone to provide information for this newsletter. All of us who were attached to this squadron were for a limited duration. Everyone's tour included something very unique. Things that happened during a tour were only known about by the Marines who were present at the time. If you had been permanently attached to this squadron for 30 years, you could tell of events for a very long period of time. This squadron has been involved in every military action for over 60 years. We would just like to hear what happened to aircraft, and Marines who were attached to this squadron. If you are aware of Marine became famous, etc, feel free to drop me a note, email or telephone call would be appreciated. I need information to keep publishing this newsletter. Thanks.