USMC Fighter Squadron VMF-214

  • World War II
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

The legendary USMC Fighter Squadron, VMF-214, was a combat Group deployed to The South Pacific Theater of War, during World War II. Under command of the flamboyant and at times, controversial Leader - Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, the aptly named "Black Sheep" Squadron raked up an impressive tally of Japanese "kills". 


Originally founded on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii in 1942, The Group participated in the garden won Battle of Guadalcanal (1943), serving as close ground support. Disbanded, they were soon reformed by Boyington - who pressed Marine Command for a forward based combat Squadron to continue harassing Japanese interests. With just 27 Volunteers, most of whom had little to no combat flight experience (hence their nickname of being "unwanted") - Boyington secured Vought-Corsair F-4 Fighters as their primary aircraft.


Within the first 2 weeks of combat deployment, The 214 few some 600 engagements. They shot down 28 enemies with another 11 unconfirmed. The "Black Sheep" maintained pressure against Japanese positions in Bouganville and The Solomon Islands. The Squadron was noted for it's trademark wearing of Major League Baseball Team Caps into combat. When word reached The US that The Squadron was running low, EVERY Team sent crate after crate of new Caps. In return, first everyear Enemy plane shot down, the Pilot wearing the particular Team Hat, would send his "Sponsor" a "Kill Sticker" (small adhesive Japanese War Flag, placed on the fusilage of the Pilot's plane).


The Group's Leader, Gregor Boyington was "larger than life". Noted as being outspoken (regardless of Rank), he became the reigning Flying Ace of The Marine Corps. with 28 confirmed kills. His exploits included his famous "temper" and a Japanese Air Field in The Solomon Islands. Flying in a circular pattern over The Base, Boyington "taunted" The Japanese to send up Fighters "to get him". Every time an enemy Pilot ran to am aircraft, Boyington destroyed it on the ground!


His last exploit earned him The Medal of Honor (The Nations highest Award). After engaging several Japanese Fighters (and destroying them), a third got him. He crashed into The South Pacific and given up for dead. His Medal was awarded posthumously. However, Boyington wasn't dead! Captured by The Japanese Navy, he was sent to a Prisoner of War Camp  (1944).


The Squadron was redeployed aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS "Franklin". During a Japanese attack, some 800 men were killed, including 32 VMF-214 men. Boyington was liberated in 1945. In later years, he wrote his Auto-biography (which would go on to be made into a popular 1970s Television  Show). He died in 1988 at 75. The fame of The "Black Sheep" followed into the Modern  Marine Corps. It still exists, using AV-8B Harrier Fighters (and currently in overseas deployment).