Chapter 2
Marine Aviation in the Marianas, Carolines, and at Iwo Jima1

The Marianas2

While Marines of the 4th MAW were engaged in neutralizing enemy strongholds in the Marshalls, American military operations in the Central Pacific were accelerating. By June of 1944, Operation FORAGER, the invasion of the Marianas, had gotten under way. For the operation, Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, commanding the Fifth Fleet, had assembled more than 800 ships, a far cry from the total of 82 ships that had been available for the Guadalcanal landings barely two years earlier. A similar increase in aircraft strength available for FORAGER was notable. Shore-based aircraft for the invasion of the Marianas totalled 879 planes; 352 belonging to the Marine Corps, 269 to the U.S. Army, and 258 to the Navy. Marine aircraft consisted of 172 fighters, 36 night fighters, 72 dive bombers, 36 torpedo bombers, and 36 transport aircraft.3

Despite the large number of Marine shore-based aircraft in the Gilberts and Marshalls, air operations in the Marianas were carried out largely by the Navy carrier planes. Previous attempts by exponents of Marine aviation to have

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Marine flyers operate from carriers had not yet reached fruition. The invasion of Saipan on 15 June found Navy aviation in full control of the skies. During the epic air battle of the Philippine Sea, which was to become known as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot," the Navy destroyed 476 enemy aircraft, nearly all of them in the air. Between 22 and 24 June, 73 Army Air Forces Thunderbolt fighters (P-47s) were catapulted from the Navy carriers USS Natoma Bay and USS Manila Bay 60 miles off Saipan and landed on Aslito airfield. These planes gave valuable assistance to the Navy in furnishing close support for the troops on Saipan, where bitter fighting was in progress.4

At the end of the Saipan operation, numerous voices were raised in criticism of the close support the hard-pressed Marine divisions had received on the ground. The most frequent complaint was that excessive time was required before a much needed air strike was actually executed. Many of the requested missions had to be cancelled because the infantry had already advanced beyond the targets before the first airplane appeared over the battlefield. An evaluation of close air support on Saipan summed up the situation this way:

. . . as compared with the assistance given to the fighting troops by naval ships, close air support was decidedly inferior. In the early part of the operation, close support missions were flown exclusively by navy planes, and only toward the end of the operation were army aircraft . . . employed for this purpose. At no time were specially trained Marine pilots available for this kind of work.5

Responsible officers of the 4th Marine Division attributed deficiencies in close air support on Saipan to inadequate training of pilots, overcrowding of radio circuits between troops on the ground and units controlling the air strikes, involvement of too many echelons in the control of air strikes, and poor coordination between aviation, naval guns, and artillery. Following the Saipan operation, General Holland Smith once again urged that air groups be designated and trained as direct support groups and be assigned to CVE-type carriers (escort aircraft carriers, hereafter referred to as CVEs), and that Marine aviation provide air groups for this specialized duty.

At the same time, General Vandegrift, Commandant of the Marine Corps, initiated action designed to get Marine aviation assigned to carriers. Following discussions with the Chief of Naval Operations and a conference at Pearl Harbor in August 1944, attended by General Vandegrift and ranking naval leaders, the placement of Marine aircraft on carriers was authorized. On 21 October, Marine Carrier Groups, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, was established as a tactical command with headquarters at Santa Barbara, California. Colonel Albert D. Cooley was appointed commanding officer of the Marine Carrier Groups, which consisted of Marine Base Defense Aircraft Group 48 (MBDAG-48) at Santa Barbara and MAG-51 at Mojave. In early November, the two groups were redesignated

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as Marine air support groups. Each group consisted of four carrier air groups, each with an 18-plane fighter squadron and a 12-aircraft torpedo bomber squadron. The Marine air support group was scheduled for assignment to a CVE division of six carriers. Each carrier air group was to be stationed on a CVE. The Marine air support group staff was to function in the flagship as part of the admiral's staff for directing operations of the carrier air groups in support of ground troops in a target area.

It was not envisioned that the Marine squadrons would furnish all close air support. Instead, Marine aviation was to provide close air support for Marine divisions when the situation permitted. Though carrier-based Marine aviation was not yet a reality during the Marianas campaign, the framework for such an organization was rapidly being laid.

Lest it be thought that Marine aviation was completely left out of operations on Saipan, it must be mentioned that some Marine aircraft did take off from carriers and perform a very useful mission in support of the ground action. These were airplanes of VMO-2, commanded by Major Robert W. Edmondson, and VMO-4, under captain Nathan D. Blaha. Most of the small artillery spotter monoplanes flew off the carriers USS Fanshaw Bay and USS White Plains on 17 June, landed on YELLOW Beach and the dirt strip at Charan-Kanoa, and subsequently, on 22 June, moved to Aslito airfield.

The flying personnel of VMO-2 soon noticed that combat situations varied considerably from textbook theory, as related in the squadron history:

From the first hops on, it was realized that use of our planes could not be employed the way it was originally intended. Theoretically, we were to remain at all times behind our front lines, never going deep into or even over enemy territory and all artillery firing and adjustment was supposed to be done behind our own pieces. Very little time was needed for us to realize that this method was impractical and relatively ineffective. Due to the rugged mountainous terrain, observation was practically impossible from such a position. Consequently, we found it necessary not only to go behind enemy lines, but deep into enemy territory to scout and pick out targets, and to remain there while fire was conducted on these targets so proper adjustments could be made and the effect of the fire on the targets could be observed. Therefore, most all of our flying was done over and forward of our front lines for the remainder of the Saipan and Tinian operations.6

The monoplanes of VMO-2 continued their spotting missions until the end of the Saipan operation on 9 July 1944. None of the pilots or planes was lost, though enemy antiaircraft fire hit many of the aircraft; two of them had their gas tanks damaged but both returned safely to their base. On the night of 26 June, enemy bombers raided the squadron area and dropped numerous antipersonnel bombs, wounding some of the Marines on the ground.

Considerably less lucky in the course of the Saipan operation were the men of VMO-4, whose mission in support of the 4th Marine Division was identical to that executed by VMO-2 for the 2d Division. The first two planes of VMO-4 left the White Plains 150 miles offshore on 19 June and arrived safely at

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the Charan-Kanoa strip. The remaining aircraft, in crates, were brought ashore two days later; by 22 June, eight squadron planes were in operation. From this point on, and for the duration of its employment on Saipan, bad luck appeared to dog the squadron. Six days after reaching Saipan, VMO-4 had already lost a substantial number of its original aircraft. Two planes were damaged beyond repair by enemy fire; another had to be scrapped after it collided with a vehicle during takeoff. Loss of the fourth plane resulted in the death of the pilot as well.

The misfortunes of VMO-4 did not end there. On the night of 26 June, the squadron area was bombed. This raid, from which the men of VMO-2 had escaped relatively unscathed, had a far more serious effect on the sister squadron. Three enlisted men of VMO-4 were killed and three officers and men were wounded. Among the seriously injured was the squadron commander, who had to be evacuated and was succeeded by Lieutenant Thomas Rozga.7

Another Marine aviation unit on Saipan was Air Warning Squadron 5 (AWS-5). On 17 April 1944 the squadron, commanded by Captain Donald D. O'Neill, had been divided into three detachments for operations with V Amphibious Corps. one of these was assigned to the Northern Troops and Landing Force, the other two to the 2d and 4th Marine. Divisions. The initial mission of these detachments was to provide an early air raid alert for the headquarters to which they were attached and to record all enemy air activity observed. On the morning of D plus 2, 17 June, the squadron went ashore on Saipan. As fighting on the island progressed, the detachments displaced forward with their radar equipment in line with the advance of the two Marine divisions. While conducting a reconnaissance for a new site to be occupied on 29 June, a lieutenant and five men were taken under enemy machine gun fire. The lieutenant was killed and a corporal subsequently was reported as missing.

On 12 July, after the battle for Saipan had come to an end, a dozen aircraft of VMF(N)-532 joined the Army Air Forces night fighters already stationed on the island. An advance echelon of 7 officers and 32 enlisted men had been flown to Saipan a week earlier. Beginning 10 July, in addition to patrolling over Saipan, the squadron maintained one night fighter on station over Guam between the hours of 1930 and 0530.

The invasion of Guam on 21 July found MAG-21, commanded by Colonel Peter P, Schrider, offshore awaiting the seizure of the Orote Peninsula. The air group had been detached from the 2d MAW on 4 June and subsequently was attached to the 4th MBDAW. After 30 days at sea, the aviation Marines were eager to go ashore and get an airfield operational on the peninsula. Due to the heavy and prolonged fighting in this particular part of Guam, the forward echelon of MAG-21 was still ship-bound a week after D-Day. Two days later, a work detail of 50 men finally went ashore to assist in the restoration of the old airstrip. The initial job was to clear the strip of shell fragments and Japanese

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dead in various stages of decomposition. There remained to be done another extremely unpleasant job, which fell to the bomb disposal officer of MAG-21: clearing the area of mines, unexploded bombs, and the booby traps around the designated bivouac area.

From the time that the first Marines of MAG-21 started to restore the airstrip, and for many weeks thereafter, they were constantly harassed by enemy snipers and bypassed stragglers who lurked in the underbrush at night and infested the coral caves on both sides of the strip. Mechanics of the air group captured several Japanese; hundreds remained to be killed or captured on Orote Peninsula.

By 31 July, a 2,500-foot section had been added to the coral strip, which had already been cleared. The strip was ready for operations and several Marine officers planned to have the first American plane to land on Guam be one from VMO-1, commanded by Major Gordon W. Heritage, whose craft were poised on the escort carriers USS Sangamon and USS Suwanee.8 This plan was frustrated when, during the afternoon of 31 July, a Navy torpedo bomber from the USS Chenango attempted a landing on the newly constructed strip shortly before the Marine observation planes were scheduled to arrive. The importance of the occasion was not lost on the numerous observers gathered to witness this memorable event, which was recorded for posterity in these words:

Sniper fire cracked across Orote Airfield as the first American plane attempted to land on the captured strip, and the Marine reception committee lay pinned to the deck at the moment the Grumman torpedo bomber began its cautious approach toward the former Jap airbase. Halfway down the strip, mangled and charred Jap bodies lay in grotesque mounds before a fallen redoubt of concrete. The stench of 3,000 other dead Japs was over the scorched peninsula . . . a bullet-riddled wind sock flapped wearily in the hot breeze from across Apra Harbor. The noise of battle from the smoky mountain sides beyond the harbor rode on the same wind.

The word passed quickly. In a few minutes the strip was lined with curious spectators. But as Navy Lieutenant (jg) Edward F. Terrar, Coffeyville, Kansas zoomed the field, the sharp whine of bullets cut the air overhead, and the onlookers scrambled for cover without thought of dignity. Unmindful of the commotion on the ground, the Navy pilot dropped his flaps, cut his throttle and came on. His wheels touched lightly once, bounced harder a second time, and as the plane leaped on the third impact, he opened the gun and roared back into the air for a second try.

As he circled for another approach, the Marines on the ground weighed curiosity against prudence. But even the sniper was caught up in the drama of the situation. As suddenly as they had begun, the shots ceased. The TBF settled in again, but this time it greased the runway all the way, and pulled up to an easy stop as Marines swarmed around on every side. The time was exactly five o'clock; American aviation was on Guam.9

The stay of this American aircraft on Guam was very short-lived. Three minutes after landing, heavy sniper fire forced the torpedo bomber to take off. Minutes later, without major fanfare, a "grasshopper" of VMO-1, piloted by

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the squadron commander, Major Gordon W. Heritage, landed on the airstrip as previously scheduled. As it developed, neither the torpedo bomber nor the VMO-1 spotter planes were the first American aircraft to touch down on Guam following its recapture. That honor fell to an Army liaison aircraft assigned to the 77th Infantry Division Artillery, which had taken off from an improvised airstrip elsewhere on the island at 1310 of the 30th.10

Work on the field continued at a furious pace through 4 August, by which date all but 150-200 yards at the west end of the strip had been completed. Except for unloading parties working on board ships, most of the MAG-21 headquarters and service squadron personnel moved into a new bivouac area at the east end of the field. Initially, the lot of these men was not an easy one. For one thing, the new "shelter-half camp" lacked mess and sanitary facilities. The air group history gives a vivid account of conditions prevailing at Orote airstrip at this time:

In the camp, unavoidably in some respects, the men lived for more than a month in filth. The group did not bring with it ready-made heads or sanitation facilities. Men ate canned rations for some time before stoves could be set up and hot rations served. Worse than the mosquito that pestered Marine aviation men in the South Pacific, far worse was the big, fat ordinary variety of houseflies that swarmed over everything on Guam the first month. Of course, as the dead were gradually buried and ration cans properly disposed of, the fly began to disappear.

But the men were only on Guam a few days when dengue fever and dysentery began to take their toll. Dengue fever, with its symptoms very much like malaria, doesn't hang on and recur like malaria, but its original effects are much more painful. Every section of the MAC. was hit seriously by dengue in those first few weeks. As soon as hot food was served, when dead Japs had all been buried, and when plenty of fresh water was available, dengue and dysentery slowly disappeared. After the first month and a half, cases dropped appreciably.11

On 4 August, Marine aviation returned to Guam in force. MAG-21 squadrons, flying in from the aircraft carrier USS Santee, safely touched down on the airstrip, just before noon. The first squadron to land was VMF(N)-534 flying Grumman Hellcats, led by the squadron commander, Major Ross S. Mickey, followed by VMF-216, -217, and -225. As the squadrons touched down, the planes were moved to the edge of the runway for parking since revetment areas had not yet been completed. At 0600 on 7 August, VMF-225 took off from Orote Field to make the first regular combat air patrol flown by Guam-based aircraft.

Barely a week after Orote Field had become operational, distinguished visitors arrived on board a large C-54 Skymaster transport. The dignitaries included Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, and Lieutenant General Alexander A. Vandegrift, Commandant of the Marine Corps. Awaiting them at the field were Lieutenant General Holland H. Smith, Major General Roy S. Geiger, Major General Henry L. Larsen, Brigadier

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General Pedro A. Del Valle, and other ranking Marine and naval officers on the island.

Even though pilots and ground crews had landed on Guam with high hopes of engaging the enemy in combat, they soon learned to their disappointment that no enemy airmen were going to challenge American domination of the skies over the island. For a few months following the capture of Guam, there were several air alerts, but no enemy bombs were dropped. There were no operational accidents in more than 6,000 takeoffs and landings during the first month. Orote airfield had the distinction of becoming the first all-Marine airfield in the Pacific Theater. Situated only 1,500 miles from Tokyo, the new base dispatched fighters and bombers to attack Japanese-held Pagan Island, 200 miles north of Guam, and Rota, only 55 miles to the northeast and halfway to Saipan. The establishment of Orote airfield represented a long and ambitious step forward in the two-year story of developing American air power in the Pacific. Just two years earlier, Marine pilots had flown into embattled Henderson Field on Guadalcanal to establish a precarious foothold in the southern Pacific. Almost a year later, in August 1943, Marine aviators were the first to ]and on Munda airstrip on New Georgia. That advance of only 181 tortuous miles had followed a year of bitter fighting in the South Pacific. By August 1944, American forces had advanced boldly into the Marianas—1,100 miles west of the Marshalls and halfway along the 3,000-mile road from the Solomons to the Japanese homeland.

In flying strafing and bombing missions against the enemy-held island of Rota, the pilots of MAG-21 initially concentrated their attacks on the enemy airfield. Continuous bombing, on the average of once a day for four consecutive months, kept the enemy field in a chronic state of disrepair, The run to Rota and return required barely an hour and at least one pilot cracked: "Sighted Rota, sank same, and got home in time for lunch."12

For a while it appeared that the bomb runs to Rota were a picnic, and Marine aviators came to look upon the island as something akin to a practice range—a place to discharge a dull, routine, and necessary, but not overly hazardous, task. Enemy antiaircraft fire initially was feeble. As weeks turned into months, the enemy antiaircraft gunners marooned on the island apparently derived some benefit from tracking the daily low level sweeps of the Marine pilots. In any case, as time went on, the raiding aircraft began to get hit. Some managed to limp back to their base, others were shot down outright. In contrast to their earlier nonchalance, the pilots learned to respect Rota. When vegetable gardens were subsequently spotted on the island, the Corsair squadrons were dispatched to destroy them and so to deprive the enemy holdouts of a much-needed food supply. The tactics used were simple but effective. Several fighters dropped belly tanks of aviation gasoline on the targets. Planes following closely behind the belly-tank-bombers would then

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strafe the fuel-soaked fields with incendiary bullets.

Another enemy-held strongpoint frequently on the receiving end of Marine fighter bombers was Pagan. Ever since the American invasion of the Marianas, the enemy had tried to keep the Pagan airstrip operational, but these efforts were frustrated by continuous air raids. Taking off with a heavy gas load, carrying belly tanks and a pair of thousand pound bombs apiece, the Corsairs repeatedly attacked the enemy airfield on Pagan in the face of fairly heavy antiaircraft fire. Enemy aircraft caught on the ground were raked by strafing fighters, and in time the field became well pockmarked with bomb craters. In keeping the enemy airstrips on Rota and Pagan Islands in daily disrepair, the Corsairs of MAG-21, acting as fighter-bombers, played a vital part in protecting the new B-29 Superfortress bases on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam from enemy air action.13

On 7 September 1944, Colonel Schrider, commanding MAG-21, was succeeded by Colonel Edward B. Carney, who remained in command until late March 1945. By late November, MAG-21 consisted of VMF-216, -217, -225, -321, VMTB-131 and -242, VMO-1 and -2, VMF(N)-534, VMR-253, VMB-612, and AWS-2. The complement of the group at this time included 529 officers and 3,778 enlisted personnel. Aircraft of the group included 113 fighters (98 F4US and 15 F6Fs), 15 night fighters (F6F-Ns), 39 torpedo bombers (TBFs and TBMs), 15 medium bombers (PBJs), 14 transports (R4Ds), 22 observation planes (OYs), and a solitary amphibious utility plane (J2F-6).14 As 1944 drew to a close, most veteran pilots of the MAG-21 fighter squadrons either had or were in the process of returning to Pearl Harbor and the continental United States for training on aircraft carriers.

THE CAROLINES14

The occupation of the Marianas by U.S. forces during the summer of 1944, coupled with further advances in the southwest Pacific, opened the door to the seizure of the Philippine Islands. The logical step before retaking the Philippines was the seizure of the western Carolines, whose possession would not only provide the final steppingstone to the Philippines but also protect the right flank of the invasion force. By this time, the Japanese were facing a strategic situation that had greatly changed to their disadvantage, for American forces were strongly emplaced

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placed on their inner line of defense. The fall of Saipan in the overall Japanese view of the war was a disaster comparable to the German defeat at Stalingrad during the winter of 1942-43. For many Germans the loss of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad meant the war could no longer be won; many Japanese reached the same conclusion following the loss of Saipan. While, for the time being, no political repercussions in Germany followed in the wake of the military debacle, the loss of Saipan proved a sufficient disaster to topple the cabinet of General Tojo. In announcing the fall of Saipan to the nation, the latter was forced to admit that "Japan was facing an unprecedented national crisis."16

As early as 10 May 1944, Admiral Nimitz had designated the commander of the Third Fleet, Admiral Halsey, to head the invasion of Peleliu and Angaur under the code name operation STALEMATE. A second phase of the operation called for the capture of Yap and Ulithi. The seizure of Yap was subsequently shelved, and the island remained in enemy hands until the end of the war. The invasion date for Peleliu and Angaur was set for 15 September. While planning for STALEMATE was in progress, Army Air Forces bombers frequently attacked enemy installations in the Palaus. As in previous invasions, the target was out of range of land-based fighter aircraft, and direct air support for the Peleliu beachhead would have to be furnished by naval aviation. The Navy had already struck at enemy defenses on Peleliu in March 1944, when carrier-based planes had dropped 600 tons of bombs on the island in a two-day raid. Preinvasion air strikes were designed to eliminate any enemy aircraft left in the Palaus. Once the Marines of the III Amphibious Corps had seized the Peleliu airfield, the main objective of the operation, Marine aviation was to be based on the island.

The task of bringing Marine aviation to Peleliu was turned over to the 2d MAW, commanded by Brigadier General Harold D. Campbell. The air wing, consisting of MAGs-11 and -25, had spent considerable time in the Pacific Theater. Some of its squadrons had participated in the Battle of Midway and in operations on New Georgia. On 30 June 1944, the headquarters of the 2d MAW moved from Efate, in the New Hebrides, to Espiritu Santo, where it joined the remainder of the squadrons attached to the wing. One week later, Major General James T. Moore took over as wing commander. Upon his arrival at Espiritu Santo, General Moore found the wing fully engaged in preparing for Operation STALEMATE. Commanding officers and loading officers of VMF-114, -121, -122, and VMF(N)-541 were reporting to the 1st Marine Division at Guadalcanal with embarkation data for the impending operation.

It is perhaps not surprising that officers of the 2d MAW should show a greater than average interest in shipborne movement to a new objective. Many of them remembered or had heard of the saga of the liberty ship S.S. Walter Colton, which in January 1943 had transported part of the wing headquarters to the South Pacific. At the

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time, what had begun as a routine three-week voyage when the ship pulled out of San Diego Harbor on 8 January, had turned into a seemingly interminable odyssey for the aviation Marines on board. No one to this date has (determined what factor was responsible for the strange voyage of the Colton, but something went awry along the way. The wing historian subsequently was to describe the sequence of events in the following words:

Instead of proceeding directly to Guadalcanal, the Colton received a change of orders directing her to Noumea; then, running ahead of schedule, she failed to pick up radioed orders from Pearl Harbor which directed her to Espiritu Santo instead. Dropping anchor in Noumea Harbor, the ship and passengers learned they were not expected there. Several days later they steamed on, arriving February 4 at Espiritu. Apparently the ship was not expected there either, for during the following 21/2 months while crew and passengers fretted to be moving, and the Squadron's materiel lay useless in her hold, the ship remained tied up in that big port without orders for further movement.

Major Wilfrid H. Stiles and several other officers and enlisted personnel got off the Colton on February 6, and were flown to Guadalcanal. Others followed at later dates, but some of those who left the States on that ship never were detached from her until she reached Auckland, New Zealand, late in April. The result was that the ship never reached Guadalcanal, nor did she reach Efate, where the material aboard also could have been used. Until she sailed for Auckland where the cargo finally was taken ashore, she remained at Espiritu Santo.17

No such long voyage was planned for the ground personnel of Marine squadrons attached to the 2d MAW, and ground elements of the air wing went ashore on Peleliu on 15 September only one hour behind the assault waves. During the early phase of the operation, enemy resistance was so fierce that aviation Marines were used as stretcher bearers, ammunition carriers and riflemen.18 Six Marines of the 2d MAW were killed and 11 wounded while aiding the ground troops during the early part of the operation. The unfinished Japanese airfield on Peleliu was captured on 16 September; roughly a week later it became operational. On 24 September, General Moore, with part of his staff, arrived by transport and set up his headquarters as Air Commander, Western Carolines (Task Group 59.6). In this capacity, he headed a combined Army-Navy-Marine staff in addition to personnel of the 2d Wing, to direct the operations of all aircraft based on Peleliu, Angaur, and Ulithi. Garrison Air Force, Western Carolines, whose largest component was the 2d MAW, had a threefold task. It had to provide air defense for all ground troops and convoys in the Western Carolines, furnish air support for the ground troops in the vicinity of Peleliu Island; and neutralize the remaining enemy bases in the Western Carolines.

The first Marine aircraft to operate on Peleliu Island were the spotter planes of VMO-3, commanded by Captain Wallace J. Slappey. The ground echelon of the observation squadron

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went ashore on Peleliu on 17 September and built a small airstrip about 500 feet long, just south of the main airfield. The first planes touched down on the following day, the remainder arriving on the 19th. On that day artillery spotting got under way and continued for the remainder of the month. The difficult and jagged terrain on the island required aerial observation 90 percent of the time. Most spotting was directed at seeking out previously unidentified natural fortifications, which had remained hidden from view beneath heavy vegetation. Despite the volume of fire directed against such fortifications, positive destruction of the enemy could not be determined because of the depth and strength of these positions. All enemy positions, buildings, and dumps of any kind that were exposed or built above ground level were either destroyed or left burning.

In addition to artillery spotting, the squadron assisted the infantry by executing numerous reconnaissance flights at extremely low altitudes over the front lines, seeking enemy gun positions that were holding up the advance. Other flights maintained a patrol over enemy-held islands to the north, looking for activities in general and barge movements in particular. Spotter aircraft also aided in directing amphibian tractor patrols to enemy troops trying to escape from the island. The pilots, not content with passively spotting targets, carried hand grenades and mortar shells along on many flights and dropped these on enemy troops and buildings. on occasion, planes returned from flights with holes from small arms fire and shell fragments. During the Peleliu operation, two OY-1 spotter aircraft were lost. The first loss occurred on take-off from the CVE on the day that the spotters were launched from the carrier off Peleliu. The second aircraft was shot down behind enemy lines. In both instances the flying crews were rescued.

On 24 September, the first eight F6F night fighters of VMF(N)-541, which had staged from Emirau through Owi Island, off New Guinea, arrived on Peleliu. Two days later, the Corsairs of VMF-114, commanded by Major Robert F. Stout, touched down. The Marine Corsairs wasted no time in assisting the ground troops in blasting the enemy out of his strongpoints. Details of these missions have been described elsewhere in this volume, but for the purposes of an overall description of Marine aviation activities on Peleliu there were two types of missions that deserve particular mention. One feat was the dropping of 1,000-pound bombs by Corsairs on enemy caves less than a mile from the Peleliu airstrip. The other was the employment of napalm, beginning on 12 October, against enemy caves and dugouts.

Japanese air power in the Western Carolines never posed any serious threat to Marine aviation. Enemy strips at Babelthuap and Yap were kept out of commission by repeated attacks of Marine fighters and torpedo bombers. By the end of October, Garrison Air Force, Western Carolines, had complete control of the air. The capture of Ulithi and adjacent islands provided Marine aviation with additional airfields. As a result, by the end of 1944, 11 squadrons were operating from fields on Peleliu,

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Angaur, and Ulithi. As early as 17 November, Army bombers based on Angaur and attached to General Moore's task group were able to bomb enemy-held objectives on Luzon.

The only instance of direct air support for ground troops during the Peleliu operation occurred on 28 September, when the Corsairs of VMF-114 supported the landing of 3/5 on Ngesebus, an island adjacent to Peleliu. This isolated instance of direct air support was only a forerunner of what Marine aviation was to accomplish several months later in the Philippines. Nevertheless, even on this occasion, spectators to the operation, including Generals Smith, Geiger, Rupertus, and Moore, were highly impressed with the results obtained. The commander of the 1st Marine Division, General Rupertus, complimented the squadron commander, Major Robert F. Stout, on the performance of his pilots. Major Stout was destined not to survive the war; he was killed by enemy antiaircraft fire over Koror on Babelthuap Island on 4 March 1945, one of 16 pilots and 2 crewmen to lose their lives in bombing the remaining enemy-held islands in the Palaus and on Yap.

Following the capture of Ulithi on 21 September 1944, MBDAG-45, commanded by Colonel Frank M. June, was charged with the responsibility of providing air defense for the biggest anchorage in the western Pacific. The air group, subsequently redesignated as MAG-45, landed on Falalop Island on 8 October. The 51st Naval Construction Battalion, assisted by the group, completed a 3,500-foot airstrip within three weeks. on 22 October, the ground echelons of VMF-312 and VMTB-232 arrived at Ulithi from Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides and joined the air group at Falalop. Two days later, VMF-312 was administratively attached to Commanding General, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Operational control remained with the commanding officer of MAG-45 until the ground echelon departed from Ulithi on 19 November.

On 29 October, the flight echelon of VMF(N)-542, led by Major William C. Kellum, reached Falalop and began flying local combat air patrol around the clock on the following day. The second day of November witnessed the arrival of the flight echelon of VMTB-232, led by Major Menard Doswell III, from Peleliu. On the 4th, a division of six Avengers of this squadron carried out a reconnaissance of Yap Island. By 14 November VMTB-232 had begun a regular antisubmarine patrol, with two-plane sections flying two-hour flights around the atoll from dawn to dusk. Two days later, the Avengers launched the first of many strikes against the Japanese airstrip on Yap.

Even though the enemy field on Yap had been heavily pounded from the sea and air long before the arrival of Marine aviation on Ulithi in early October 1944, it remained a constant threat to Allied bases and shipping in the Western Carolines. Well entrenched enemy ground troops on Yap made it necessary to neutralize the enemy strongpoint from the air, for there was always the danger that the strip might be hastily repaired and used as staging point for a surprise air assault on the Ulithi base and anchorage, There was a further

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possibility that the enemy might use Yap as a refueling station for submarines. Even though Marine pilots did not expect aerial opposition over Yap, they did encounter antiaircraft fire of sufficient intensity to cause them to maintain a minimum altitude of 6,000 feet.

Proof that the enemy was aware of the presence of American shipping at Ulithi anchorage was furnished on the morning of 20 November, when enemy submarines, the I-36 and I-47, released five midget subs. One of these torpedoed the USS Mississinewa, a fleet oiler loaded with more than 400,000 gallons of aviation gas. The ship sank at her berth in the lagoon with a loss of 50 officers and men.19 Immediate countermeasures taken by hunter-killer teams under the atoll commander, Commodore Oliver O. Kessing, resulted in the destruction of all five midgets, two of which fell victim to Marine Corps aircraft. Nevertheless, both the I-36 and the I-47 were able to make good their escape.

In general, tactical operations of MAG-45 from 30 October 1944 through the end of the year consisted of routine strikes and reconnaissance of Yap, Sorol, and Fais, and regular dawn to dusk antisubmarine patrols, all executed by Avengers of VMTB-232. VMF(N)-542 flew the regular combat air patrols, using the Falalop strip and its facilities, but depending on its own maintenance crews for service. On such missions, naval aviators were briefed by the Marine group operations and intelligence officers.

IWO JIMA20

As Marine aviation began to expand its operations to the Western Carolines, a development important to the future of Marine air was taking place far from the Pacific scene of action. After prolonged discussions and long delays, Marine Carrier Groups, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific was finally established on 21 October 1944 as a tactical command.21

Training of Marine pilots for carrier qualification had already started during the summer of 1944. Even though about 15 percent of the aviators assigned to Marine Carrier Groups, FMFPac, had seen combat action, few had ever landed on a carrier. On 3 February 1945 the first carrier, the Block Island, was assigned to MASG-48. Three other carriers were furnished at one-month intervals. It was hoped that by late 1945, when the invasion of Japan itself was to get under way, eight carriers would be available to the Marines.22

The invasion of Iwo Jima, Operation DETACHMENT, came too early to enable

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Marine aviation to furnish close air support from its escort carriers. Each one of the 11 escort carriers taking part in the operation was manned by Navy pilots. Nevertheless, Marine aviators were to be given at least a limited opportunity to strike a blow both directly and indirectly in support of the Iwo Jima operation, one against the island itself, the other in the diversionary attack against the Japanese mainland.

While the program to put Marines on carriers was being slowly implemented stateside, a crisis arose in the field that was to hasten this development in an entirely unforeseen fashion. The appearance of Japanese suicide planes during the Leyte campaign in the autumn of 1944 had created an instant need for additional fighters based on the big carriers of the Third Fleet. The employment of Marine fighters and pilots was decided upon as an immediate expedient; by the end of 1944 the first of the Marine fighter squadrons were to fly from the decks of five of the big carriers in major operations involving a fast carrier task force.23

On 28 December 1944, VMF-124, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William A. Millington, and VMF-213 under Major Donald P. Frame, went aboard the USS Essex at Ulithi. After a series of air strikes against Formosa and Luzon from 3-9 January 1945, Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet moved into the South China Sea, from where air strikes were launched against Indochina, Hong Kong, and Formosa. Effective 27 January, having returned to Ulithi, the Third Fleet was redesignated the Fifth Fleet and Admiral Spruance took over the tactical command from Admiral Halsey.

On 10 February, TF 58 sortied from Ulithi bound for Tokyo, 1,500 miles to the north. Three additional large carriers, each with two Marine fighter squadrons on board, joined the Fifth Fleet, so that in the end Admiral Spruance disposed over eight Marine fighter squadrons on four large carriers. The air attack on Tokyo was to precede the invasion of Iwo Jima by troops of the V Amphibious Corps by three days. Following their attacks against the Japanese capital, the Marine squadrons of TF 58 were to furnish air support at Iwo Jima on D-Day, which was set for 19 February.

Following the air strikes against Japan, which were carried out under unfavorable weather conditions, TF 58 was approximately 100 miles from Iwo Jima on D-Day, and prelanding strikes were launched against the landing beaches and adjacent areas. The initial sweep against the Iwo defenses was executed by a flight of 24 Marine Corsairs and an equal number of Navy Hellcats. Under the command of Colonel Millington of VMF-124, this flight attacked the flanks and high ground along the landing beaches with napalm, rockets, and machine gun fire. Five minutes before the first Marines hit the shore, the flight attacked the landing beach in low-level attacks. The contribution of Marine aviation in direct support of

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the Iwo landings was relatively small in numbers, for on D-Day a total of more than 600 aircraft, including those of the Navy and Army Air Forces, were engaged in reducing enemy defenses and supporting the assault. Carrier-based Marine aviation continued to fly in close support of the assault troops until 22 February, when Corsairs from the Wasp flew a ground support mission as part of a 23-plane flight. After that date, air support for the embattled Marines on the island was turned over to Navy escort carrier planes and Army P-51s, who did the best job under the circumstances.

Marine aviation contributed to operations on Iwo Jima in other ways. First to become engaged in the aerial assault against the island were the Mitchell medium bombers (PBJs) of VMB-612 commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Jack R. Cram. From early December 1944 until the end of January 1945, this squadron, based in the Marianas, flew night sorties against enemy shipping in the Volcano and Benin Islands and seriously disrupted the flow of enemy supplies to these islands. Once the Marines had landed on Iwo, artillery spotter aircraft of VMO-4, commanded by Lieutenant Thomas Rozga, and VMO-5, headed by Lieutenant Roy G. Miller, lent valuable support to ground operations. For the Marines, whether on the ground or in the air, Iwo was to be an extremely difficult operation; the spotter aircraft were to share the dangers and tribulations of the campaign along with the remainder of the assault force.

The difficulties of the observation squadrons had begun in December 1944. The Commanding General, V Amphibious Corps, directed the pilots of VMO-4 in Hawaii to test a special piece of equipment, dubbed "Brodie gear," which had been designed by the U.S. Army to launch the small observation aircraft from an LST. The device, which resembled a giant slingshot, consisted of two projecting beams, a cable, arresting gear, and a loop. Hooks were fitted on the planes, and on 21 December 1944 tests were begun using LST-776 as a base. Initial tests were unsatisfactory and resulted in the loss of several spotter aircraft.

The experimentation did not end here, however. With added experience it became evident that launching the small spotter aircraft from an LST in this fashion was possible, though three planes fell overboard and sank before the feasibility of such launchings was established. For more than a week following the invasion of Iwo Jima, LST-776 with Brodie gear and observation planes on board remained offshore. By 26 February, when the first strip on Iwo had been secured, two spotter aircraft of VMO-4 on board the aircraft carrier Wake Island took off and reached the new field while it was still under mortar and artillery fire. A plane of VMO-5 reached the strip on the following day. By the last day of February, all of the planes that had made the voyage on aircraft carriers were ashore

. When the first of the observation planes on board LST-776 was finally launched with the help of the Brodie gear on 27 February, it fell into the water. Another attempt made on 1 March was at least partially successful. Of the four planes of VMO-4 launched that day, two received a dunking; the

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remainder made it to Maple Field No. 1 on Iwo Jima.24

Pilots and planes of the two observation squadrons eked out a hazardous existence even after their arrival on the island. While stationary on the airstrip, the small aircraft were frequently hit by enemy fire. VMO-4 spotted for the 3d and 4th Marine Divisions; VMO-5 supported the 3d and 5th Marine Divisions. When VMO-4 completed its mission on Iwo after 19 days, the pilots had flown more than 200 missions. Of the squadron's seven planes, six had been so badly damaged that they had to be scrapped. VMO-5 pilots flew 379 missions in support of the divisions on the ground; their spotter aircraft incurred heavy damage similar to those of VMO-4. One pilot was shot down behind the enemy lines and lost.

The story of Marine aviation in the Central Pacific would be incomplete without mention of the Marines that were members of the Transport Air Group, an organization responsible for hauling passengers and equipment all over the Pacific area.

VMR-952 was organized on 15 June 1943 under MAG-15. At the time of the squadron's activation, it was commanded by Major Harry F. Baker, who in early July was replaced by Major Malcolm S. Mackay. One of the first problems facing the newly commissioned squadron was the replacement of its time-honored R4D Douglas Skytrain transports with the little heard of and lesser known R5C, the Curtiss "Commando," the largest twin-engined plane then in production. The squadron history described the early weeks of the unit's existence at an airfield in California as follows:

An area was pointed out along the taxiway at Camp Kearney Field; tents were erected, a field telephone was installed, and the three "commandos" then belonging to the Marine Corps were rolled onto the check line.

This was an occasion! Although a few of the squadron's new recruits could boast of a little experience with the " Commando" (they had flown and maintained the three first planes for the short time that they were attached to Marine Aircraft Group 15), the majority of the personnel from the pilots to the mechanics had never been in one. Their time in the R4D had been brief enough, but now this. Never had they been confronted with so large a portion of the unknown at one showing. Amazement soon gave way to curiosity and the quest for knowledge began anew.25

In February 1944, the squadron was transferred to Hawaii, where it became attached to Marine Air, Hawaiian Area, working directly under the supervision of that headquarters. The initial mission of the transport squadron was to keep open the lines of communication and supply between Hawaii and Midway, Johnson, and Palmyra Islands. Weekly and semi-weekly flights were made to each island with special additional flights when the need arose. VMR-952 transported personnel and equipment and escorted single engine aircraft to facilitate their movements. Pilots of the transport squadron carried out overwater flights which extended to New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific

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and included stops at Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal, as well as at Tarawa, Kwajalein, Majuro, and Eniwetok, in the Central Pacific.

In August 1944, the squadron moved to Emirau, in the Bismarck Archipelago, where it remained until Christmas Day, when it shifted to Guam. Following the capture of the Peleliu airfield in mid-September, transport aircraft of VMR-952 made frequent stops on Peleliu, bringing in urgently needed equipment and departing with wounded. On 4 October 1944, two of the big Curtiss transports, carrying 43 wounded, left Peleliu, inaugurating the first air evacuation of battle casualties from the island.26 On the following day, three more flights took out an additional 63 casualties.27 During the extended Peleliu campaign, the planes delivered large quantities of welcome fresh food to the island.

Three Marine transport squadrons and a similar Army Air Forces unit participated in the Iwo Jima operation. These four were VMR-253, -353, and 952, as well as the 9th Troop Carrier Squadron. The Army Air Forces squadron dropped supplies to Marine ground forces on Iwo on 28 February. On the following day, pilots of VMR-952 arrived with urgently needed mortar shells, spare parts for machine guns, blood plasma, and mail. On 3 March, the commanding officer of VMR-952, Lieutenant Colonel Mackay, flew from Guam to Saipan and then to Iwo Jima, where he piloted the first plane to land on the slightly more than 3,000 feet of runway. After the unloading of its 5,500 pounds of mortar ammunition, the aircraft returned to Guam. The next day, a crippled B-29 bomber, returning from a raid on Japan, was the first of many in like condition to make an emergency landing on the Iwo strip.

On each return flight from Iwo, the air transports evacuated casualties. Before the Iwo operation ended, VMR-952 had made 79 trips to the island and evacuated 625 wounded. The remaining air transport squadrons also contributed to the operation. VMR-353, for example, carried out 8 flights during the month of March 1945; and VMR-253 evacuated 100 casualties in 20 flights.

In a direct ratio to the growth of American air power in the Pacific theater was the decline of Japanese air strength. Aside from a growing shortage in raw materials and aviation fuels, there was a breakdown in planning and ah-craft production all along the line. As seen from the "enemy side of the hill," the technical and administrative factors that hampered production were explained as follows:

The urgent need of the combat air corps forced the Army and Navy to place in production several types of experimental aircraft which lacked the required test flights and design modifications. Airplanes were rushed from the experimental hangars to the production line, with the result that the planes were dispatched to the front lines before we could determine the missions which they could most effectively perform. Our engineers lacked the time necessary to prepare maintenance manuals and texts; thus the front-line mechanics, plagued with primitive working conditions, were forced to service airplanes about which they understood little. The confusion of the maintenance crews

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inevitably caused equipment malfunction and breakage on a prohibitive scale.28

Along with the decline of older equipment and failure of new and better models to replace aircraft that were becoming more and more obsolete as the American war effort swung into full action, there was a corresponding drop of morale in the ranks of Japanese pilots. This did not in any way lessen the enemy pilot's determination to do his duty to the death. Nevertheless, even the enemy was well aware of the human factor involved, though few, if any, positive steps were taken by the Japanese military leadership to ease the lot of their aviators. Enemy flyers, sizing up their adversaries, could see with their own eyes the great value that Americans placed on retaining experienced pilots and air crews. Japanese flying personnel, whose quality and quantity were both in a severe state of decline, avidly observed:

. . . after every mission the Americans sent out flying boats to the areas in which their planes had fought, searching for and rescuing air crews which had been shot down and stood a good chance of surviving aboard life rafts. Every lumbering flying boat, normally an easy catch for our fighter planes, went out on its search mission with nine to twelve escort fighters. Although their duties were extremely hazardous, the crews of these flying boats performed their missions gallantly, and there arose few occasions during the war when groups of men so consistently ex. posed themselves to multiple dangers. Our pilots could not fail to be impressed with these daring search missions and, despite the fact that enemy pilots manned the flying boats, our men regarded them as unusually courageous.29

In contrast with the all-out American attempts to salvage downed air crews was the attitude of the Japanese naval command, which held that the possible loss of a large flying boat could not be risked to effect the rescue of one air crew. A former Japanese naval aviator who participated in and survived action over Midway, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, and Santa Cruz, expressed the following thoughts on the subject of rescue and survival:

I pondered this situation more than once. For this apathy toward rescuing downed pilots was not merely the attitude of the high command . . . our own combat men, the flying mates of the same men who were shot down and adrift at sea, would not, even under orders, take any unnecessary chances to save their lives. Lest this attitude be misconstrued as indicating that our men lacked compassion for their friends, it should be added that they would not expect otherwise should they be the ones to be shot down. Any man who was shot down and managed to survive by inflating his life-raft realized that his chance for continued survival lay entirely within his own hands. Our pilots accepted their abandonment stoically. At any rate, the entire Japanese Navy failed to evince any great interest in rescue operations of this nature.30

Along with the men fighting on the ground, and the flying personnel of the other services, Marine pilots in the Central Pacific made their contribution to the overall war effort. The day of close air support that Marines were to deliver in the Philippines had not yet dawned when operations in the Central Pacific

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got under way. But the Marine air arm left its milestones across the vast reaches of the Central Pacific. Often relegated to arduous but monotonous duty, Marine pilots defied death and disease in areas that did not rate headlines and that are all but forgotten today. They braved the dangers of combat or, if captured, humiliation, torture, and oftentimes death, at the hands of a remorseless enemy. Many survived against all odds the ravages of an equally cruel sea. Others fell victim to flying accidents. All of them, together with those who survived, had an equal share in bringing the war across the Central Pacific to the enemy's doorstep, paving the way for final victory.

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Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (V-1) * Next Chapter (VI-1)


Footnotes

1. Unless otherwise noted, the material in this chapter is derived from: 2d MAW Hist, Jul41-Sept46; 4th MBDAW WarDs, Dec42-Nov44 and 4th MAW WarDs, Nov44-Mar46; MAG-11 WarDs, Oct42-Oct44 and MAG-11 Hist, Aug41-Dec49; MAG-21 WarDs and Hist, Feb43-Dec44, hereafter MAG-21 Hist; MAG-25 WarDs, Aug42-Jun46; MAG-45 OpRpt, 8Jan45; MBDAG-45 WarDs and Hist, Feb-Oct44; VMO-2 WarDs and Hist, Nov43-Jul46 hereafter VMO-2 Hist; VMO-4 WarDs, Mar44-Oct45 and Hist, 20Dec43-31Dec44, hereafter VMO-4 Hist; AWS-5 AR and WarDs, Mar-Jul44; VMF-114 WarDs, Jul43-Apr47; VMF-121 WarDs, Oct42-Dec44 and Hist, May41-Jul44; VMTB-131 WarDs, Dec41-Sep42 and Jan44-Nov45; VMF-216 WarDs, Jun43-Mar46; VMF-217 WarDs, Jul43-May46; VMF-225 WarDs, Jan43-Mar47; VMF-225 Hist, Jan43-Dec49; VMTB-232 WarDs, Jul43-Feb45; VMTB-242 WarDs, Jul43-Nov45; VMTB-242 Hist, Jul43-Jul45; VMF-252 WarDs, Apr42-Jan44; VMF-321 WarDs, Sep-43-Jan46; VMF(N)-532 WarDs, Dec43-Jul46 and VMF (N)-532 Hist, Apr43-May47; VMF(N)-541 Hist, Feb44-Dec49; VMB-612 WarDs, Aug-Dec44 and VMB-612 Supp and Hist, Oct43-Aug45; VMR-952 WarDs and Hist, Jul44-Jul46, hereafter VMR-952 Hist; Isely and Crowl,U.S. Marines and Amphibious War; King and Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King; Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II; Heinl, Soldiers of the Sea; Morison, Victory in the Pacific.

2. Additional sources for this section include: Major Carl W. Hoffman, Saipan--The Beginning of the End (Washington: HistDiv, HQMC, 1950), hereafter Hoffman, Saipan; Major Carl W. Hoffman, The Seizure of Tinian (Washington: HistDiv, HQMC, 1951), hereafter Hoffman, Tinian; Major Orlan R. Lodge, The Recapture of Guam (Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 1954), hereafter Lodge, Guam; USSBS, Pacific Campaigns.

3. Aircraft figures above cited in USSBS, Pacific Campaigns, p. 235.

4. For a detailed account of Marine ground operations on Saipan, see Shaw, Nalty, and Turnbladh, Central Pacific Drive, pp. 231-428.

5. Isely and Crowl, U.S. Marines and Amphibious War, p. 333.

6. VMO-2 Hist, op. cit., p. 8.

7. VMO-4 Hist, op. cit., pp. 11-12.

8. Col Frederick P. Henderson ltr to CMC, dtd 21Nov52. as cited in Shaw. Nalty, and Turnbladh, Central Pacific Drive, p. 525-n. 30

9. MAG-21 Hist, pp. 33-34.

10. 77th InfDiv Arty AAR, 21Jul-10Aug44, as cited in Shaw, Nalty, and Turnbladh, Central Pacific Drive, p. 525.

11. Ibid., pp. 37-38.

12. Ibid., p, 47.

13. The first B-29 arrived on Saipan on 12 October 1944 while final paving and other construction was still incomplete. Facilities were not substantially operative until April 1945. On Guam, the newly constructed airfields did not become operational for B-29s until late February 1945. On Tinian, the first two runways were completed in January 1945, the third in late February, and the fourth in early May. The first runway of West Field became operational on 22 March 1945, the second on 20 April. Craven and Cate, The Pacific, pp. 515-520.

14. Figures on personnel and materiel taken from MAG-21 Hist, p. 50.

15. Additional sources for this section include: 2d MAW WarD, Jan-Apr43; IIIAC Palaus Rpt; Hough, Assault on Peleliu; Smith, Approach, to the Philippines; Fane and Moore, The Naked Warriors.

16. USSBS, Pacific Campaigns, p. 220.

17. 2d MAW WarD, Jan-Apr43.

18. For the complete history of ground operations on Peleliu, see Part III of this volume.

19. Morison, Leyte, p. 51.

20. Additional sources for this section include: MajGen Holland M. Smith, ConfRpt, TF 56, "Air Operations in Support of the Capture of Iwo Jima," n.d., hereafter Smith, Iwo Jima Special Air OpsRpt; S.E. Smith, The United States Navy in Wold War II (New York: William Morrow & Company, 1966), hereafter Smith, U.S. Navy in World War II; Vice Admiral E.P. Forrestel, Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN--A Study in Command (Washington: GPO, 1966), hereafter Forrestel, Admiral Spruance; Okumiya, Horikoshi, and Caidin, Zero!; Leckie, Strong Men Armed.

21. Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, p. 329.

22. Ibid., p. 331,

23. For additional details on this subject matter, see Frank and Shaw, "Marines on Carriers," op. cit.

24. RAdm E.M. Eller, Navy HistDiv, ltr to Head, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 28Sep67, in Marine Aviation Comment File.

25. VMR-952 Hist, op. cit., p. 2.

26. VMR-952 WarD, Oct44.

27. Ibid.

28. Okumiya, Horikoshi, and Caidin, Zero!, p. 357.

29. Ibid., p. 311.

30. Ibid., p. 312.



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