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Thursday, October 18, 2018
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington during World War II
|Birth name||Gregory Boyington|
|Other name(s)||Gregory Hallenbeck|
|Born||December 4, 1912|
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
|Died||January 11, 1988 (aged 75)|
Fresno, California, United States
|Buried||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Years of service||1934–1947|
|Other work||Boeing — draftsman and engineer|
Vought F4U-1A Corsair, BuNo 17883, of Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, the commander of VMF-214, Vella Lavella end of 1943
Boyington shortly after receiving the Medal of Honor
This American Hero shaped my Early Life!
I wanted so badly to be a Fighter Pilot that flew planes off Carriers!
I had his Plane both the P-51 Mustang used in China by The Flying Tigers and the F4U Corsair!
I also had a Model Fleet of PT-Boats, Destroyers, Battleships and AirCraft Carriers!
My Favorite Battleship was of Course:
The U.S.S Alabama BB-60
I bought my youngest Son a Photo of a Flying Tiger!
I still own a Photo of the U.S.S. Lexington!
On the Deck of my Photo of the U.S.S. Lexington the Crew spells out her Cruising Miles 300.000!
That was in the 1970's!
Ba Ba Black Sheep was my Favorite Television Show!
Little did I know that Pappy Boyington lived until 1988!
Medal of Honor citation
Boyington's Medal of Honor citation reads:
"The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
MAJOR GREGORY BOYINGTONUNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVEfor service as set forth in the followingCITATION:For extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Marine Fighting Squadron TWO FOURTEEN in action against enemy Japanese forces in Central Solomons Area from September 12, 1943 to January 3, 1944. Consistently outnumbered throughout successive hazardous flights over heavily defended hostile territory, Major Boyington struck at the enemy with daring and courageous persistence, leading his squadron into combat with devastating results to Japanese shipping, shore installations and aerial forces. Resolute in his efforts to inflict crippling damage on the enemy, Major BOYINGTON led a formation of twenty-four fighters over Kahili on October 17, and, persistently circling the airdrome where sixty hostile aircraft were grounded, boldly challenged the Japanese to send up planes. Under his brilliant command, our fighters shot down twenty enemy craft in the ensuing action without the loss of a single ship. A superb airman and determined fighter against overwhelming odds, Major BOYINGTON personally destroyed 26 of the many Japanese planes shot down by his squadron and by his forceful leadership developed the combat readiness in his command which was a distinctive factor in the Allied aerial achievements in this vitally strategic area. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
Boyington resigned his commission in the Marine Corps on August 26, 1941, to accept a position with the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO). CAMCO was a civilian firm that contracted to staff a Special Air Unit to defend China and the Burma Road. This later became known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG), the famed Flying Tigers in Burma. During his time with the Tigers, Boyington became a flight leader. He was frequently in trouble with the commander of the outfit, Claire Chennault. Boyington was officially credited with 2 Japanese aircraft destroyed in the air and 1.5 on the ground, but AVG records suggest that one additional ground "kill" may have been due to him. (He afterward claimed six victories as a Tiger, each kill detailed in his autobiography, but there is no substantiation for that figure, and aircraft destroyed on the ground normally do not count as victories.) In April 1942, he broke his contract with the American Volunteer Group and returned on his own to the United States.
On September 29, 1942, he rejoined the Marine Corps and managed to gain a major's commission. The Marine Corps needed experienced combat pilots and in early 1943, he was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 11 of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and deployed to the South Pacific as Executive Officer of Marine Fighter Squadron 122 operating from Guadalcanal until April 1943. While assigned to VMF-122, Boyington did not gain any victories. He became commander of Marine Fighter Squadron 112 from July to August 1943. In September 1943, he became Commanding Officer (CO) of Marine Fighter Squadron 214, better known by its nickname, the "Black Sheep Squadron."
Boyington received the nickname "Gramps", because at age 31, he was a decade older than most of the Marines serving under him. The name "Gramps" was changed to "Pappy" in a variation on "The Whiffenpoof Song" whose new lyrics had been written by Paul "Moon" Mullen, one of his pilots, and this version was picked up by war correspondents.
Boyington is best known for his exploits in the Vought F4U Corsair in VMF-214. During periods of intense activity in the Russell Islands-New Georgia and Bougainville-New Britain-New Ireland areas, Boyington added to his total almost daily. During his squadron's first tour of combat duty, he shot down 14 enemy fighter planes in 32 days. By December 27, his record had climbed to 25.
A typical feat was his attack on Kahili airdrome at the southern tip of Bougainville on October 17, 1943. Boyington and 24 fighters circled the field, where 60 hostile aircraft were based, goading the enemy into sending up a large force. In the fierce battle that followed, 20 enemy aircraft were shot down, while the Black Sheep returned to their base without loss.
Boyington’s squadron, flying from the island of Vella Lavella, offered to down a Japanese Zero for every baseball cap sent to them by major league players in the World Series. They received 20 caps and shot down more than that number of enemy aircraft.
On January 3, 1944, he tied World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker's record of 26 enemy planes destroyed, before he was himself shot down. Boyington himself claimed his total as 28, including the six kills he claimed with the Flying Tigers.
On that mission, forty-eight American fighters, including four planes from the Black Sheep Squadron, were sent on a sweep over Rabaul. Boyington was tactical commander of the flight and arrived over the target at eight o'clock AM. He was seen to shoot down his 26th plane, but he then became mixed in the general melee of dogfighting planes and was not seen or heard from during the battle, nor did he return with his squadron. Boyington's wingman, Captain George Ashmun, was killed in action.
In later years, Masajiro "Mike" Kawato claimed to have been the pilot who shot down Boyington. He described the combat in two books and numerous public appearances (often with Boyington), but this claim was eventually "disproven," though Kawato repeated his story until his death. Kawato was present during the action in which Boyington was shot down, as one of 70 Japanese fighters which engaged about 30 American fighters.
Prisoner of war
Following a determined but futile search, Boyington was declared missing in action (MIA). He had been picked up by a Japanese submarine and became a prisoner of war. (The submarine was sunk 13 days after picking him up.) According to Boyington's autobiography, he was never accorded official P.O.W. status by the Japanese and his captivity was not reported to the Red Cross.
He spent the rest of the war, some 20 months, in Japanese prison camps. After being held temporarily at Rabaul and then Truk, where he survived the massive U.S. Navy raid known as "Operation Hailstone", he was transported first to Ōfuna and finally to Ōmori Prison Camp near Tokyo. During that time he was selected for temporary promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel. A fellow American prisoner of war was Medal of Honor recipient submarine captain Richard O'Kane. At Ōfuna Boyington was interned with the former Olympic distance runner and downed aviator lieutenant Louis Zamperini.
On August 29, 1945, after the atomic bombs and the Japanese capitulation, Boyington was liberated from Japanese custody at Omori Prison Camp. Boyington returned to the United States at Naval Air Station Alameda on September 12, 1945, where he was met by 21 former squadron members from VMF-214. That night a party for him was held at the St. Francis Hotel in downtown San Francisco that was covered by Life Magazine in its issue Oct. 1, 1945. The coverage of the party marked the first time that the magazine had ever shown people consuming alcohol. Prior to his arrival, on September 6, he accepted his temporary lieutenant colonel's commission in the Marine Corps.
God Bless, Peace, Love and Knowledge!
Floyd Clifton Wooley
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