Tag Archives: Marines

D-day Photo Montage

Just a few quick photos of the preparations for, execution of, and aftermath of the D-Day invasion (Operation Overlord) June 6, 1944.  Thank you for your sacrifice.

Advertisements

Warbirds – F4U Corsair

Considered by many to be the best carrier based fighter-bomber of World War II, today we honor the May 29, 1940  first flight of the F4U Corsair on Warbirds.

Despite early issues with getting Corsair squadrons qualified for carrier landings, the Marine Corps had no reservations about using her as a land-based fighter beginning in 1942.  The navy restricted the planes from carrier landings until early 1944.  Despite the Corsair’s superior performance in almost all categories, veteran Navy pilots preferred the F-6 Hellcat as it was easier to land having less tendency to bounce.  Many naval aviators disparagingly called the F4U “hog”, hognose”, or even “bent-wing widow maker”.

The F-4 Corsair’s combat debut in 1943  was as part of the fiasco near Kahili known as the “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre”.  4 P-38s, 2 P-40s, 2 B-24s, and 2 F4Us were lost with no more than 4 Zeros downed.  Despite this rocky first encounter, Marine pilots soon learned to take advantage of the Corsair’s superior capabilities and six .50 caliber machineguns versus Japanese fighters.  These ground based squadrons would operate in some of the Pacific theater’s hottest zones like Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Philippines, Marshall Islands, Palaus, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

The F4U has had a star-studded cast of pilots.  Charles Lindbergh served as a test pilot and evaluator while Hall of Fame baseball player Ted Williams was a flight instructor for the F4U at Pensacola.  Among Marine Corps Corsair pilots there were 15 confirmed aces and 4 Medal of Honor recipients.  The first Corsair Ace was Second Lieutenant Kenneth A. Walsh while the most famous was probably Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington f the Blacksheep Squadron (VMF-214).

Having seen service with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Royal New Zealand Airforce, and the U.K. Royal Navy Fleet Arm, the end of WWII did not spell the end of the Corsair’s career.  The F4U would serve with Argentinian, El Salvadoran, French, and Honduran militaries.  Combat roles would include the First Indochina War, the Suez Crisis, the Algerian War, and War of Tunisian Independence.  But, the Corsair would truly shine as close support aircraft and night fighter during the Korean War.  Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the U.S. Navy’s 1st African-American naval aviator, flew Corsairs on combat missions from the USS Leyte (CV-32). He was shot down on December 4, 1950 and became the first U.S. Navy officer killed during the Korean War.

F4U Corsairs feature prominently in media.  John Wayne starred in a film about Marine Corps aviators called Flying Leathernecks.  The made for television movie and follow-up series Baa Baa Black Sheep fictionally portrays the actions of Greg “Pappy” Boyington and the Black Sheep Squadron (VMF-214)

You can view a very thorough history of the Vought F4U Corsair on YouTube in this 5-part series.

(If you have suggestions of other aircraft to cover in upcoming Warbirds posts, please put them in the comments.  Thanks.)

F-35 Lightning II Update

Found a cool video catching up on some of the latter developments with the F-35 Lightning II.  Cool stuff.

And first video of the F-35 at Yuma.

And a few pictures to go with it.

f-35b flight line

f-35 takeoff

F-35 flyover

f-35 preps for takeoff

F-35 Joint-Strike-Fighter demonstration team

Thanksgiving For The Troops – Part 2 (Repost)

Earlier I did a brief post on thanking our veterans this season.  I thought I’d continue the theme today with our serving soldiers.

Don’t believe everything you read…

Don’t believe everything you read… – Posted on Facebook October 12, 2009 at 8:36am

A Harley rider is passing the zoo, when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to kill and eat her under the eyes of her screaming parents. The biker jumps off his bike, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back, letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A New York Times reporter has watched the whole event. The reporter says, “Sir, that was the most gallant and brave thing I saw a man do in my whole life.”

The biker replies, “Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and did what I felt was the right thing.”

The reporter says, “Well, I’m a journalist from the New York Times, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page. So, what do you do for a living and what political affiliation do you have?”

The biker replies, “I’m a U.S. Marine and a Republican.”

The following morning the biker buys The New York Times to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page:

U.S. MARINE ASSAULTS AFRICAN IMMIGRANT AND STEALS HIS LUNCH

Happy Birthday United States Marine Corps

Ooo-Rah, devil dogs!

Lost and Found – November 10th Edition

What to remember about November 10th…

    • 1775  Birth of the U.S. Marine Corps; Continental Congress authorizes the raising of 2 battalions to assist navy
    • 1865  Commander of Andersonville prison camp is hanged for murder of Union soldiers in his care; poet Walt Whitman wrote of the condition of prisoners he saw “There are deeds, crimes that may be forgiven, but this is not among them.”
    • 1898  Armed Democrat white supremacists violently overthrow elected government of Wilmington, North Carolina
    • 1958  Harry Winston donates the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian
    • 1969  Sesame Street show makes its television debut
    • 1975  Freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks on Lake Superior; tragedy is memorialized in folk song by Gordon Lightfoot
    • 1975  United Nations passes Resolution 3379 declaring that Zionism equates to racism and discrimination
    • 1997  Pakistani muslim Mir Aimal Kasi is convicted of murdering 2 CIA employees and wounding 3 others in Virginia
    • 2009  Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammad is executed in Virginia

Lost and Found – August 13th Edition

What to remember about August 13th…

  • 1818  American suffragette and abolitionist Lucy Stone is born in Massachusetts; inspired Susan B. Anthony to join the cause
  • 1878  First death in the Memphis, Tennessee yellow-fever epidemic; in next few months 20,000 will die
  • 1910  Florence Nightingale dies; founder of professional nursing and the school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London
  • 1912  Famed American golfer Ben Hogan is born in Stephenville, Texas
  • 1918  Opha May Johnson becomes 1st woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps
  • 1926  Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro is born; responsible for the deaths of thousands of dissidents
  • 1937  3-month Battle of Shanghai begins between China’s National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army
  • 1995  New York Yankees baseball legend Mickey Mantle dies
  • 2004  American chef, author, and television personality Julia Child dies; WWII veteran of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – that agency later becomes the CIA

Operation Watchtower – Guadalcanal 1942

Throughout the first half of 1942, Japanese forces had captured islands, established bases, and cut off most of the supply lines to U.S. allies Australia and New Zealand.  Guadalcanal, its airfield, and several nearby smaller islands nearby were key pieces in the Japanese effort to project their power across the South Pacific.  U.S. Admiral Earnest King came up with a plan to not just halt the advance but to seize the initiative from Imperial forces in the pacific.  That plan was called Operation Watchtower.

Eight months to the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 11,000 United States Marines supported by the Navy struck the first offensive blow against the Imperial Japanese.  Approaching in bad weather, the initial landings of the Battle of Guadalcanal went nearly unopposed.  Moving on from the beach, Marines found themselves swallowed by the “green hell” of the inland jungle.  Their early goal of capturing the airfield was accomplished with light casualties.  The six-week planned duration for the operation was seeming overly pessimistic.

However, on the seas and in the air, a fierce battle was raging.  Dozens of aircraft were lost on both sides as naval forces hunted each other in the tropical waters.  Concerned over fuel levels and equipment losses, it was decided that the American aircraft carriers be pulled back.  Without air cover, the invasion’s support ships were soon savaged by Imperial naval forces based out of Rabaul.  U.S. naval forces were forced to abandon the island to seek the protection of the carrier group.  With only 14-days of supplies and almost no heavy equipment, the Marines on Guadalcanal were on their own.

Dysentery, malaria, and the tropical heat would savage the allies as much as Japanese forces would.  Approximately one-in-five soldiers was struck down by one ailment or another.  Despite this, work continued on the airfield.  By August 20th, the first Marine aircraft arrived to support their brothers on the ground.  Perimeters expanded and patrols sought out and skirmished with scattered Japanese resistance.  It was thought that Imperial forces might soon be willing to surrender in the face of the successful invasion.  Ground commanders didn’t know that Guadalcanal’s defenders would soon be receiving ground, sea, and air reinforcements.

The struggle for Guadalcanal would stretch on for six moths.  During the campaign, approximately 31,000 Japanese and 7,100 Allied troops would lose their lives.  With the final victory, Japanese forces had been halted at the furthest point of their advance.  For the remainder of the war, Japanese forces would steadily be driven back and back.

For a great period movie about the battle, check out Guadalcanal Diary starring Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte, and Anthony Quinn.

Lost and Found – July 11th Edition

What to remember about July 11th…

  • 1765  Future 6th President John Quincy Adams born in Massachusetts
  • 1782  British officers surrender Savannah, effectively ending Georgia’s involvement in the American Revolution (H/T David)
  • 1798  United States Marine Corps is reestablished in preparation for Quasi-War with France; USMC originally formed November 10, 1775
  • 1804  Alexander Hamilton mortally wounded in duel with Vice President Aaron Burr at Weehawken, New Jersey
  • 1864  Confederate forces begin 2-day assault on Fort Stevens; President Lincoln attends as defenders repel invaders from Capitol
  • 1914  “Babe” Ruth plays his first game in the Major Leagues; pitches for the Boston Red Sox in victory over Cleveland Indians 4-3
  • 1921  Former 27th President William Howard Taft is sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; only person to hold both offices
  • 1945  Soviet Union announces that it will turn over civilian and military control of West Berlin to the Allies
  • 1947  Exodus 1947, former U.S. transport ship, departs France with 4515 Jewish passengers in attempt to run blockade and reach Palestine
  • 1955  1st class of cadets sworn is in at temporary site of the United States Air Force Academy, Lowery Air Force Base in Colorado
  • 1977  President Jimmy Carter presents posthumous award of Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 1979  Skylab, the first successful U.S. space station, re-enters the atmosphere; debris falls in Australia and Indian Ocean
  • 2007  Former First Lady Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor Johnson dies (b. 1912)
NASA Skylab, America’s First Space Station