Marine Reunion Association, Inc. Newsletter

Spring 2005

 

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., Watson, MN  56295  (320) 269-8925.  Email:  lynnhagen@maxminn.net  

 

REUNION  PLANNED FOR SEPTEMBER 30TH AND OCTOBER 1ST, 2005 AT HAMPTON INN PENSACOLA BEACH, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA.

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 Pensacola  to follow the motion made at the last reunion.   In a future newsletter, I will have final details as to  the  itinerary.  We will try to keep registration costs  at  $60.00 per person. We will again need advance payments to guarantee the "numbers" for the caterer and tour company.  August 1st, 2005 will be the deadline . Registration advance payments checks need to be made out to the VMF/VMF(aw)/VMFA-115 Marine Reunion Assn. I will try to have another newsletter out this summer with more details. Checks need to be sent to Lynn Hagen, 12000  First St. West, Watson, MN 56295.

          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 Stub, VMF-121 and VMF-115 , pilot

          Jake passed away almost a year ago in Henderson, Nevada.  Jake was originally from Minneapolis and would like to visit with me about Minneapolis and a lawyer friend of his who lives in my home town. The retired lawyer's name is Bill Prindle.  Bill Prindle and Jake grew up together two doors apart in Minneapolis.

Jake and Bill both went to Luther College in the Minneapolis area .   Jake's father was a Doctor of Ministry, pastor of the Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.  Jake decided on Martin Luther's birthday, that he would paint the statue of Martin Luther with red paint as a joke.

          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.

 

          Philip Correia, who lives in Los Angeles,  is the only member who has Los Angeles for an address. Phil was in the squadron from September, 1969 to September, 1970.  Phil recognized some of the names that have been published.

Phil retired as a MGySgt and his email is>>westlaaud@aol.com.

          Jimmie W. Thompson, Wrangell, AK dropped a line with his experiences in 115.  After "A" school in Memphis late in 1955, he joined VMF-115 at El Toro MCAS. The squadron was flying F9F-5 Panthers at the time.

          Jim said their first F4D Skyray came in from Pax River, Maryland about June 1956. Jim was with the squadron when the CO got killed in the first F4D. He said that the squadron aircraft were grounded for some months to do approximately 160 modifications to each plane. He was with the squadron at Mojave MCAAS to do the repairs and modifications. 

          In February, 1958, Jim went with the squadron to Atsugi, Japan for 4 months.  Then they went on to Ping Tumg, Formosa.  Jim was there until May 1959 and the squadron was then called VMF(aw) 115.  He got discharged from Treasure Island as a Sgt.  His MOS's were 6441 (metal shop) and 6442 (Hydraulics).  His USMC time was November 1954 to May 1959, being attached to 115 from December 1955 to May 1959.   His P.S. on the letter said his CO in Japan and Formosa was Lt. Col. "Hap" Langstaff.

          Don Schmick wrote a note with a new address. It is now 307 Taft Court, Elizabeth, PA 17022-3199, phone 717-361-5037.  Don and his wife, Helen attended the reunion this past year, Don was in China in 1946 with the squadron.

          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, 95 Winston Road, Buffalo, NY 14216 was a 115 Pilot with the squadron from December1944 to February 1946, was with the squadron in the Philippine  Islands and Peiping, China. John is married with 6 children, 18 grandchildren and 4 great-grand children.  John attended the reunion at Santa Barbara in 1993. His New York telephone number is 716 834 9754. His winter address is 2117 Tama Circle #101, Naples, FL 3412, telephone  number is 239-732-5208.

          Dan Williams, Middletown, KY, served in 115  from December 1967 to December 1968. His duties were Comm/Nav (6216) with a secondary MOS of plane captain.  Dan extended for 6 month in Vietnam with MABS-13 Special Services at Chu Lai. >>dmwill3@aol. com.

          Jack Forrest, Gouldsboro, PA.  Jack was a "Desert Rat" at Mojave with the squadron at El Toro and Mojave in 1955/57 era. Jack was a Sgt. and plane captain in the squadron.

          Lynn "Gator" Guyer--new email address:  >>guyer@isp.com  (Nov 2004)

          Myron 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 Camp Pendleton. This kept  him from arriving at Santa Barbara until the first of September, 1943. This  program was intended to train them for squadron physical fitness program, but it fell by the wayside.  LeRoy Lamure, along with  Myron were trained for ordnance at Norman, Oklahoma.  I do not have a current address/ status of Leroy Lamure on the current roster.

          Myron left Zamboango, Mindanao on May 27 and arrived in San Diego on July 1st, and was home on leave when the A bomb was dropped on Japan. Myron was born and lived at Fairmont, MN until 1957.

          Danny Burks, Louisville, KY, was with 115 at Chu Lai, Vietnam 1968-69. Danny is new to our roster. His email is >>dburks7016@aol.com for those who knew and served with him.  502-364-0017

          Joe Burke, Berkeley Heights, NJ.  Joe was with the squadron at El Toro in 1955-57 as a squadron pilot first in the F9F-5, then the F4D Skyray. >>paraclete@catholic.org

          Gus Pierce, Greers Ferry, AR.   Gus is going to try and make the Pensacola reunion. He is now retiring from the Defense Contract Admin Service after retiring from USMC. His career has been with the quality control with the Space and Aircraft Division. Gus was with 115 in Korea in late 1953 to late 1954.  Gus  was with 115 returning to El Toro in the 1960's for about 4 years. His total service was 15 years in USMC and 22 years with USMCR. His service included tours in both Korea and Vietnam. Gus has several of  his pictures  in Charlie Romine's book, and one of the photos is of Gus climbing into the cockpit with a canteen cup.

He can be reached at 501-825-7451 >>guspierce@sbcglobal.net.

         

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.

 

          I got a email from George L McGuaghey, call sign "Sugar Bear" out of Chu Lai.   George's home address is 2733 Southington Road, Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120, and email is: >>gmcgaughey@mcdonaldhopkins.com. George lists on his email that he was an RIO  at Da Nang with VMFA-542 and at Chu Lai with VMFA-115 as a 1st Lt. in 1969-70.  George now lives in Barrington, Illinois. I also have an email address for George as>>rodoskygj@Ameritech.net. The email I received had been forwarded to others, so I am just picking out bits and pieces of information from it.   George forwarded the address of Steve Silver , that was printed in the last newsletter for information on his address.

Steve Silver, RIO, Chu Lai, RVN, 1st Lt., VMFA-115, 1969-70.   470 Hepzibah Hill Road, Coatesville  PA 19320.  >>loboaww@comcast.net

          Another friend of these two is John F. McCormick, Jr. of Tulsa, Oklahoma.>>jfm@praywalker.com.  John is listed also as a RIO on the main roster.

          Anyone have an address for Bob Matthew?  Tom Flanik saw him at a reunion at MCRD at San Diego at VMFA-531's reunion.  He was in 115 from 1961 to ??.

          Richard Miney of Evanston , Illinois was in 115 from August 1970 until July 1971, which covered 6 months in Da Nang and the remainder in Iwakuni, Japan. Richard was in USMC 1967-71 and his MOS was radar.  He served in VMFA-323, VMFAT 101, and VMFA-115. >>dminey@aol.com

          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 Waco, Texas.  L.D. is now 83 years old, gets up at 4:30, cooks and eats 3 meals a day, and looks forward to hearing "any story about this squadron".  This is a good reason for everyone to share a good story. This squadron is over 60 years old now, and there had to be many exciting, not so exciting, sad,  things that would be unbelievable to non Marines, etc.

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 Quantico. His son William R. was with 115 in Iwakuni.  Larry and his son would like to be at Pensacola next fall.   If any of the original members have a WWII roster of everyone, Larry would like a copy.   His address is 4724 Daughtry Blvd E, Jacksonville, FL 32210.

 

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 Macon, Georgia. Herbert is looking for  a complete picture of the original squadron.  He quit high school and gave up  a football scholarship to join USMC in 1942. Herb joined the squadron at Santa Barbara as a aircraft mechanic, and embarked with the squadron to Emirau.   When they were leaving for the Pacific at San Diego, other military personnel were granted no leaves.  Joe Foss said: "These men are going overseas and into combat and they are going to have liberty." When Herb returned from the Pacific, they offered him a job of training replacement mechanics if he would extend for 6 months with the rank of PFC.  Herbert was recalled during  the Korean War as a PFC.   He had a wife and two children and was asking for a "hardship discharge" from the Marine Corps. At that time there was a shortage of funds and his wife and family had not  received  any allotments for four months. Herb retained his PFC rank when recalled in 1950.

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  Korea.    Herb spent some time at Quantico and Cherry Point.  His highlight of being at Cherry Point was at Christmas, when his job was taking a boat out to several islands to look for a Christmas tree. He found a nice tree and drug it  behind the boat back to Cherry Point.  Herb would like to attend the reunion at Pensacola, but needs the use of a electric cart or wheelchair to get around. Any one who would like to contact Herb can at 748-743-1559.

 

          Jerry Carpenter, Port Allen, LA. He was recently added to the roster. We list Jerry as being in the squadron January 1968 to January 1969 working in hyd/pneumatics shop.

          Joe Cannava, a Silver Eagle from August 1968 to September 1969.  Joe lives at Newport Beach, CA. >>jcannava@wmmfinancial.com  Joe was the S-4 officer and a pilot in the squadron.

Other members of the squadron who may have been listed in other editions of the newsletter:

Warren Cheney, P.O. Box 721014, Pinon Hills, CA 92372-1014 >>warren.cheney@lmco.com  

Martin Weber, 9845 Dexter/Pinckney Road, Pinckney MI 48169>>Secondary@dapcoind.com 

 

          A new addition to the roster submitted by Louis H Weller from Michigan. Louis met this former 115 Marine at the airport in Minneapolis.  Arnold W. Ribnick, 2306 Sumter Ave S., St. Louis Park, MN  55426.  Arnold was a "China Marine", 1st Marine Air Wing, VMF-115, Peiping, Tsingtao, 1945-46.

          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 , Ewa, Hawaii. Ken left 115 , 12 July 1952 from K-3 Korea to MCAS  , Itami, Japan. He spent 3 ½ years in 115. Ken served with Jack Maas in VMF-112 and 115, D.O. Morris in VMF-115, Joe Foss in VMF-121, and James E. Johnson in VMF-112.

          Kenneth James Reigner, Sergeant Major, USMC (Ret), born August 2, 1921 in Springfield, MA.  Graduated Tech High School in l939, and enlisted 20 September 1940. After Paris Island, SC boot camp, went to AMM School at Jacksonville, FL.  Joined VMF-1 at Quantico, VA on April 1941.    The squadron was equipped with F3F-2's, in June came the F4F-3'. After Pearl Harbor, his squadron became VMF-111 and was sent to North Island, California. In March 1942,  a new squadron was formed as VMF-112 with 20 men from VMF-111.  After intense training, VMF-112 was deployed to the South Pacific and arrived at Guadalcanal on 1 November 1942.  Kenneth's squadron did very well. He was promoted to MTSgt prior to stateside duty.

          In 1945, Ken was selected for flight school and graduated 2 July 1947 as NAP 129-47(Naval Aviation Program). While in stationed in Hawaii at Ewa, Ken joined VMF-115 which had F4U-4's. October 1949, they received F9F-2's and were then stationed at Edenton MCAS, North Carolina.  They had lots of training from Cherry Point, NC, to Puerto Rico and aboard the USS FDR and USS Tarawa, and also at Pax. River, Maryland.

          In Ferbruary, 1952, the squadron arrived at K-3 in Korea with F9F-4's. Ken flew 53  combat missions and returned to the states and joined VMF-314 and VMF-334 , where he served until l956.  Ken became a flight instructor with VMFT-20 at Cherry Point, NC, for two years with the 9F-5's and FJ-3's , mainly gunnery and high altitude tactics.

          Ken was promoted to Sgt Major on 14 February, 1958. Then he did a 15 month tour at Iwakuni, Japan, and then back to Cherry Point and into VMT-1 instrument squadron  with F9F-8T's.  Ken also flew from the USS Wright in 1947 and the USS Wasp in 1953. 

          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 Tempe , AZ.   Ken forwarded a color copy of the patches he wore as an Marine.  He has a patch of VMF112 Wolf Pack of 1942-43 at Guadalcanal, a NAP patch from 1952 in Korea with Master Sgt stripes with NAP wings in the center, a VMF-115 patch  of  1951-56 era, a VMFT-20 patch of 1956-58and a patch of VMF-314 of 1953.

 

2004 Reunion Footnote

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.

 

TAPS

Major Robert J. "Swede" Larsen, USMC retired

          Robert J. "Swede" Larsen, Gulf Breeze, Florida, passed away February 14, 2005. Swede was buried at Barrancas National Cemetery, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida with full military honors and a solemn ceremony.

Major Larsen was born April 5, 1924 in Philadelphia.

          Major Larsen joined the Marine Corps and received his "Wings" at Pensacola two months after his 19th birthday.

After WWII, he attended the University of Pennsylvania before returning to the Marines. In Korea, he flew the F9F Panthers. During his service in WWII and Korea, he received Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medal Awards and Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, Campaign and Unit Citations.

          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 Korea. 

          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 Beahm, Pottstown, PA 1999

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, Arkansas

          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 Liberty."  Our roster list Wm "Ham" Bradford as being in Material from 1943 to 1945, being a "charter member" of the Santa Barbara/ Emirau, St. Matthias Island  squadron of VMF-115.

ILLNESS

          Gilbert Jolly, a original member of 115 at Santa Barbara, had heart surgery just before Christmas. His wife wrote on the Christmas Card that he was doing well after the surgery. Gilbert was the squadron barber at Emirau Islands during WWII. Gilbert was caught by Joe Foss giving his buddies haircuts and ended up giving haircuts with a homemade chair. Joe had brought clippers along for Gilbert to use.  Gilbert had Charles Lindbergh in his chair, and at the last minute, Lindbergh was told to leave the Pacific after Roosevelt found out the he had been flying combat missions with the squadron. This had leaked out by a news correspondent.

 

Bob Morris, CO, VMFA-115, 1977-79

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 Ridgeland, SC which is about 25 miles from Beaufort.  Bob was the CO of 115 from September 1977 to December, 1979. Bob took over the squadron on its return to the States after some 15 years of deployment to Japan and SE Asia.  He was also the XO of the Squadron from June 1973 to March 1974, where they were the last Marine Squadron "in country" at the "Rose Garden" in Nam Phong, Thailand.  Bob retired in 1979 as XO of MAG 31 in Beaufort.>>nimbus@ hargray.com

 

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 Korea at K-3, I was a brand new Second Lieutenant assigned to Marine Photo Squadron 1 (VMJ-1) flying the F2H-2P Banshee.

          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, Formosa. Dead heat.

          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                           

(later F6A) Skyray.  After several months at Cherry Point, 531 was deployed to Key West and assigned to NORAD for the Cuban Missile Crisis.  A glorious time for 531 and the Marine Corps.

          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 Vietnam.

HQMC was kind enough to send me to Cherry Point to get refresher training in the Phantom before moving overseas.

Upon arriving at MAG 11 in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam the Group Executive Officer pretty well let me choose my squadron and of course I chose VMFA-115 and shortly became XO. Finally after 16 years I had made it to 115!

          Lt. Col. Larry Van Duesen was the C.O. when I checked in and was a very pleasant man to work with. Shortly after arrival at Da Nang, 115 was tasked to assist The Naval Weapons Development Lab at Naval Air Station China Lake, California in the field deployment of several rather  odd "weapons". As Executive Officer, I was assigned as Action Officer on this project.  We successfully completed the classified program and were highly commended by our Commanding General and the China Lake Director.

          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 Da Nang in 1967. VMFA-235 has a very interesting web site for those who have been attached to this squadron.

 

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.

          His 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 RIO exclaimed, "What in Hell was that?"  Belatedly, the tower personnel now informed him and his RIO as to what happened.  As he got out of the aircraft, he was met by a big crowd of officials including the Group Commander, several ordnance experts, the Legal Officer, Flight Surgeons, and other interested parties; all looking very grim.  Don decided it would be best NOT to smile and say, "Hi Guys!".  Fortunately, there were no injuries, and damage to the aircraft was slight.  Everyone around the airfield  who had experienced ground based rocket attacks agreed that a 500-pound bomb produces a much, much bigger boom!

 

14 July 1946  Headquarters, First Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force China

West Field, Peiping, China October 1945-December 1946

 (The editor received an original order given to Marines stationed in China that included VMF-115)

 

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.

 

VMF-115  in China

          The VMFA-115 History Book states that the squadron left Zamboanga, Phillipine Islands during October, 1945  for Okinawa via Laoag Airfield on Luzon. The next day they staged out of Chimu Field on Okinawa. While at Laoag Airfield,  2nd Lt. Robert W. Colbert landed his plane, and as it was still rolling out on the runway, it burst into flames. He jumped out, escaping with minor burns, but the plane was totally destroyed.

          The same day, 22 October 1945, 1st Lt. Charles M. Jackson became separated from the rest of the flight during heavy weather enroute to Okinawa. Two destroyers on the route were notified and begin a search. No trace of him was found.  The next stage of the squadron's movement came on 24  October with a flight to Tsingtao, China. The following day they arrived at their final destination, West Field, Peiping.

          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 North China.  The assignment was quickly complicated when Communist troops began an irregular pattern of ambushes, small firefights, and harassment along the vital railroad running from Taku To Tientsin to Peiping.

 

          VMFA-115's other Astronaut

          Manley "Sonny" Carter, born August 15, 1947 in Macon, GA. He passed away April 15, 1991. He is survived by his wife Dana, and two daughters.  He enjoyed wrestling, golf, tennis, L.A. Dodger baseball and old movies.  Carter was a professional soccer player from 1970-73 for the Atlanta Chiefs of the NASL.

          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 Pensacola.  After serving tours as a flight surgeon with the 1st and 3rd Marine Air Wings, he returned to flight training in Beeville, Texas and was designated a Naval Aviator in April 1978. He was assigned as the senior medical officer of the aircraft carrier,  USS Forrestal,  in March 1979, completed training with VMFAT-101 at MCAS Yuma, AZ. He was subsequently reassigned as a fighter pilot to duty flying F-4 Phantoms with VMFA-333 at MCAS Beaufort, S.C.

          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 MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. He then attended the U.S Naval Test Pilot School, gradating in June l984. He has logged over 3,000 flying hours and 160 carrier landings.

          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 Kennedy Space Center, Florida on November 22, 1989, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.  The mission carried Department of Defense payloads and other secondary payloads. After 79 orbits of the earth, this five-day mission concluded on November 27, 1989 with a hard surface landing on Runway 04 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.  With the completion of his first mission, Carter logged 120 hours in space.

          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 New Brunswick, Georgia, in the crash of a commercial airplane while on NASA business travel.

 

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.

 

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