Swashbucklers and Black Sheep: A Pictorial History of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War II

Swashbucklers and Black Sheep: A Pictorial History of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War II

Bruce Gamble

Language: English

Pages: 216

ISBN: 0760342504

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“A stunning portrait of incredibly courageous men and their awesome flying machines.”
—Alex Kershaw, author of The Few

Marine Fighting Squadron (VMF) 214 is the world’s most famous fighter squadron. Its second wartime squadron commander was the legendary Greg “Pappy” Boyington. Boyington and the squadron were the loose inspiration for the late-seventies NBC television series Baa Baa Black Sheep, which was later syndicated under the name Black Sheep Squadron.
Swashbucklers and Black Sheep is a comprehensive illustrated history of the squadron from its formation and first two combat tours on Guadalcanal as the Swashbucklers, which included their transition to the iconic gull-winged Corsair, to the arrival of their second commander, Pappy Boyington, after which they became the Black Sheep. The squadron’s combat over Bougainville and Rabaul and the story of Boyington being shot down are covered, as are the squadron’s exploits in the latter part of the war (while Boyington was a POW), which culminated in the heavy losses suffered aboard the carrier USS Franklin. The squadron’s service in Korea, Vietnam, and the Global War on Terror complete the storied history of VMF 214.
In addition to a rich collection of historical photography, Swashbucklers and Black Sheep features combat aviation artwork from four of America’s top aviation artists: John Shaw, Jim Laurier, Craig Kodera, and Bob Rasmussen.















between land-based units. As the Allies advanced island by island up the Solomons, each new acquisition enabled the construction or refurbishment of an airfield—primarily to support fighters. USMC Corsair squadrons excelled at this type of transient warfare. In the span of two days, the squadron had lost three aircraft and two pilots. The upheaval of losing Pace, a well-respected Annapolis graduate, had both an immediate and a long-lasting impact. He was buried the next afternoon with full

Groover, Robert Alexander, Burney Tucker, and Robert McClurg. Frank Walton Savvy with the press, Walton was responsible for much of the squadron’s early publicity. On September 11, media personnel staged several photo ops with still and motion picture cameras. Some of the results are well known; however, this photo of Bob Bragdon on the wing of a Corsair ended up in a private collection. Jim Hill Walton’s influence was immediately apparent. Within days of his arrival, the squadron was the

Solomons, he lowered it one notch. During the fighter sweep, his skull was creased by single 7.7mm bullet—one that would have killed him had the seat been fully raised. Frank Walton The Douglas R4D (the military version of the DC-3) was the workhorse of the South Pacific Command Air Transport Command, or SCAT. Slow but dependable, the twin-engine transports ferried the Black Sheep to far-off Australia for R&R between combat tours. Frank Walton Returning to the Russells on October 21, the Black

Linder should have received at least partial credit, but his effort was never recognized. In the meantime, he fulfilled the remainder of his mission to attack Kobe as part of the main strike. Santa Fe’s captain skillfully maneuvered the cruiser alongside, close enough to stretch a ladder across to evacuate wounded. In the foreground, a burn victim, head and hands swathed in bandages, is transferred to the cruiser by trolley line. Franklin’s forward elevator, upper left, was blown from the flight

the beach, the Marines continued farther south for an unforgettable week of R&R in Sydney, Australia. By early June they were back on Efate, where they idled away another ten days while awaiting orders to transition into F4U Corsair fighters. During that span, the squadron was affected by several personnel changes, including the transfer of Major Britt and Doc Kraft to the staff of MAG-21. On June 15, a full month after leaving the combat zone, VMF-214 moved back up the line to Turtle Bay

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