MARINE BOMBING SQUADRON SIX-THIRTEEN ASSOCIATION
45 Verano Loop
Santa Fe, NM 87508-3151
7 March 2005
Memo To: All The Happy Irishman
60th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LOSS OF OUR AIRCRAFT: AIRFIELD NO. 2, PONAPE
The United States Embassy in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the FSM government, and local veterans have joined to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the loss in combat of a U.S. Marine Corps bomber.
On February 6, 1945, a flight of six PBJ-1 bombers from the U.S. Marine Bombing Squadron (VMB) 613 struck the newly completed Japanese airfield at Palikir on the island of Pohnpei in the Caroline Islands.
Although the target suffered heavy damage, one aircraft was shot down with the loss of all on board. At 1115 am on February 6, 2005, the same time that Japanese anti-aircraft brought down the aircraft, the names of the crew members who made the supreme sacrifice during the raid were read, taps was sounded, and Ambassador Suzanne Hale and Speaker of the FSM Congress Peter Christian placed a wreath on the aircraft's engine and propeller, which still rest at the crash site.
Over thirty people attended the ceremony, held in a jungle clearing on a hillside above the old airfield site at Palikir in northern Pohnpei. The FSM Government was also represented by Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Jane Chigiyal. Additional participants included World War II veteran Harvey Segal, now a professor at the College of Micronesia, and Marine Corps veterans present included Anthony Mix.
VMB-613 was the only Marine Corps squadron to fly the PBJ-1H in combat. This aircraft was notable for carrying a .75 mm cannon in addition to bombs and machine guns. The six aircraft involved in the raid flew from the squadron's forward operating base on Eniwetok Atoll. Defying bad weather and intense anti-aircraft fire, the flight cratered the runway and demolished a large building adjacent to the field with a .75 mm round.
However, the last aircraft in the formation, piloted by Lt. William J. Love, was hit as it leveled out for its bombing run. The plane's right wing collapsed and the bomber crashed and exploded. The crew's remains were recovered after the war and returned to the U.S. for burial. The navigator on another aircraft in the formation was also killed during the attack. The abandoned Japanese air base was transformed into the site of the FSM national capital during the late 1980's.
The Press Release of the above commemoration will be made and will appear in the following publications or websites: Marine Corps Times; Leatherneck Magazine; Leatherneck.com; PacificWrecks.com; Kwajalein Hour Glass; TogetherWeServed.com; Yokwe.net (Marshall Islands Website), and Wiehes.coml (Kwajalein Community Website).
Dick Williams, an aircraft archeologist, sent me a message and said that we should know that the boys were remembered with respectful, dignified and kind words concluding with a tearful rendering of Taps. He always has felt satisfied after he learned the entire crew had been repatriated and laid to rest in their home soil. Mission accomplished.
NOTES FROM MEMBERS
Herb and Sue Haroldson send their best to all. They have moved and their new address is listed at the end of the letter under the Roster Addendum. All remains well with them but Sue is having eye problems.
John and Dotti Roberson send their regards to all 613'ers. John is doing very well they report and is keeping very busy in the wood shop.
George Comer says hello to everyone. My comment in the last letter about no picture of Dave Snider brought some memories back to him. He sent me some pictures in the past and he is of the opinion that Dave's picture is in one of them. I am going through stacks of files, boxes and albums looking for the pictures. Hopefully I will be able to locate a picture.
The hurricane damage in his area was severe. Considering that he is in agriculture the losses from such an event can still be a severe economic problem. He suffered damage to his trees and vines and fruit crops that were about ready for harvest. He had a massive old oak tree that one could envision as being a large hall when one stood under it. The winds took it apart and it really has to be manicured.
His hunting lodge which he uses as his office building was refused insurance by the insurers because it wasn't built to spec. That building withstood the force of the storm and similar buildings in the area which were built to spec are nothing but firewood now.
The World War II Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is accepting memorials for various Veterans activities. George recommended that we give consideration for a memorial for our lost crew members. I will check with some Veterans organizations and see what they have on the subject. If anyone in the unit is up on this subject please let me know about it.
Heard from Frank Pokrop of the 4th MARDIV. He sends his best regards to all members of 613. Frank was at the Roi-Namur Kwajalein 50th Anniversary proceedings and has kept in touch with us since then.
I sent him the write up on the Dick Sorenson events at Kwaj which he appreciated. He hadn't seen Dick since the trip but had kept up with his doings and was aware of his health problems.
Weather wise Frank has been waiting for an expected snow fall of 7-10 inches which if it happens will be more than they have received for several years. So far this year the winter weather has been fairly decent.
He sent me a Fourth Marine Division Association patch. This patch was made by a friend of his and he knows that this will remind us of him and the 4th MARDIV. He went on to say that the 4th MARDIV has been running an educational assistance program for members children/grand children and it is still an ongoing event. It has been very successful and they hope that it can continue for several more years.
Frank gets the urge to go back for another trip to Roi-Namur but he says that he is getting older and lazier and would not enjoy the air trip.
Bob and Bette Dorn send their best to all 613'ers. All is going well with them. Bob manages to get into the golf game at least twice a week but not much more than that.
They are living in a Senior Center which he says is great. The staff does everything for them and they have gotten spoiled. The atmosphere in the Center us really great they say.
Norb Gibbs and Betty send their best to all 613er's. They are both doing very well and only have a few aches and pains which is normal for their young age. He is still working part time at 40 hours a week and enjoys every bit of it.
He was very busy during the month of December working in his work shop evenings making "Corn Hole" games for Christmas presents. This game has taken over outdoor fun in the western part of Cincinnati. His nephews and grandchildren are introducing it to friends in Kentucky and Florida where the "kids" are going nuts over it.
It is a take off from horseshoes wherein each player endeavors to throw bags of cracked corn into a hole on the board and keeps track of points earned. Most sets are sold for $100.00 and every now and then the youngsters remember to reimburse him for the lumber. I will attach pictures of the basic board layout to this news letter. If it doesn't make it this month it will next month for sure.
Norb's son had his computer up and running one night when he was visiting and his son called him over to look at the screen. His son had punched the name Norb Gibbs into the computer and up came the VMB-613 Web Page. Although he didn't have the time to review everything what he did see really brought back memories to him. He anticipates watching more when he goes over again for another visit.
He had the opportunity to look at Doc Scott's video of Kwajalein which he enjoyed very much. This also brought back more memories of Kwaj.
John Aymen sends his best to all. He has been undergoing chemo therapy for the past few weeks three days a week and hopes that it will do the trick and get rid of his cancer problem.
He and Wanda have found a condo and will be moving into it shortly. Although it is smaller than their present home it does have the amenities that they desire and is ready to move in.
Robert Yanacek scanned the original picture of the PBJ model photo that appeared in the last news letter and sent it to the man who built it. He received an answer and the model builder acknowledged his gratitude to Lt Barber for sending him photos of a PBJ-1H so that he was able to use them to make a great model.
Harlan Jason says hello to all. He is still hanging in there, can't walk too well and for assistance he uses a walker. He feels pretty good physically and continues to eat well.
Although he doesn't have a computer his son has been looking at the 613 Web Site on his computer and reporting things back to him. Every now and then he will bring over a picture that he feels Jason would like to look at. Jason and his son are really impressed with the material being shown. Brings back a lot of memories Jason said.
Received a message that Brooke Ligon attended the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies. She had a great time at a great event. Hopefully we will receive more information on the events that she was able to take in.
Carmine Nasta sends his best to all 613'ers. He has been going through a health ordeal with the dentist and doctors. The doctors are endeavoring to improve the circulation in his legs and insist that he use a cane when walking. Then another doctor wants to check his eyes and possibly recommend glasses to improve his vision. With the terrible traffic situation in his area of Staten Island he wants to make sure that he can observe everything in the road. He is going to get in touch with Walt Matheson and some other VMB 613'ers so that he doesn't forget who they are.
Foster Cummings sends his best regards to all. All continues well with them, the unusual weather is something else and he hopes that it will dissipate soon and return to normal. He received a call from RL Marx who reported that he and Alice made their sojourn to Arizona and are now starting to enjoy some good warm winter weather.
Tracy Bell says hello to all VMB 613'ers. The Bell's have moved just around the corner of their complex to a more comfortable quarters. Tracy is having problems moving about and has to use a cane or piece of walking equipment to steady himself due to a problem with his leg.
Joe Yakawich says hello to all and the best of health. They are having their usual winter weather which is cold weather. Lately they have been getting some chilly winds along with the cold weather which freezes up the lake and river fishing spots. Now it takes two to go fishing one, to run the ice saw and the other to bait and drop the lines. They have been able to bring back anywhere from one to three fish on these fishing expeditions.
He still makes his PBJ1H model airplanes for the grandchildren and has switched from his western style paintings to comical drawings. His grandchildren like them almost as much as his western paintings.
His son the LtCol US Army is still stationed at Ft Leavenworth but isn't there too often. He has been traveling all over the world to various U.S. Army posts checking up on their advanced training concepts. He just got back from Germany and is now busy writing reports on his trips.
Bob Chrisman has relocated to quarters which are more conducive to his life style. The new address is at the end of the newsletter. Bob says regards to all.
Bob Longenberger says that he is still alive. The newsletter and pictures sure bring back memories of long, long ago, some good and bad he reported.
One evening I picked up some papers and saw the name Frank Acker peaking out of the stack. Since there was a telephone number with the name I called and it was our Frank Acker. He was very much surprised and happy to hear from a 613'er. All is well with him and he sends his best to all. Since he doesn't have a computer I suggested that he go to the library and go on line and pull up the Web page. He said that he would do that the very next day.
John Butler sent along a few words wishing us the best. He and Carol will be going to New Orleans for follow up doctors appointments for Carol. Her sister, Jane, and her husband will also be there for a medical convention. This will give them an opportunity to spend some time together and see the city. Nicole, Matt's granddaughter will be finishing her college work in May and then plans to spend one semester as an intern at a high school in Indianapolis.
John also sent along a short write up that Helicopter pilots are just better than fixed wing pilots.
MARINE BOMBING SQUADRON SIX-THIRTEEN ASSOCIATION
31 December 2004
William R. Whitefleet. Passed away June 11, 2004 Received e mail from his daughter in law who came across a newsletter with the e-mail addresses. Bill hadn't been feeling too well for quite a while and suddenly passed on.
Robert Yanacek informed Shermie the Webmaster of the Kwajalein Community Website about the ceremony held at Ponape. Shermie responded by thanking him for the publicity release and pictures. He has forwarded this info to the Vets that he corresponds with and said that he personally knows Peter Christian the gentleman who accompanied Ambassador Hale at the crash site and he has eaten in Peter's restaurant, the Cliff Rainbow at Ponape. He also knew Peter's father years ago. He hadn't seen Peter since the mid 90's and he was really happy to see him in a new picture.
Our webmaster, Robert Yanacek reported that Joseph Musuneggi (Camp Maintenance) has been logging into the Web Site. On his first venture he spent over an hour on site. Since then he or family members have been making multiple hits on the site. I am glad that the members or family members are taking advantage of the Web site and exploring it.
A person from New Jersey interested in the B-25s (and B-25's only) checked into our site and sent along an excellent report. He said that the site is full of great information and priceless photos. "I congratulate you on making this such an enjoyable visit."
Lloyd "Mac" McDaniel sent us a copy of a PBJ1H a month or so ago that appeared on the cover of a book that detailed all Marine PBJ squadrons. The author mentioned that this picture was of a plane that was going on the Ponape strike. It was an outstanding picture of a PBJ but the author failed to read up on the local field modifications that were performed by VMB 613. Hence, it couldn't have been our plane on the books cover.
Since then Mac came across a picture of the "Love Bug" and sent it onto our webmaster. It is now in our webpage for all to see. The name "Love Bug" is painted in white lettering over the opening for the 75mm canon. Robert Yanacek reports that the picture is excellent and detailed, the best PBJ-1H he has ever seen.
Clearly visible is the absence of the upper turret and the package guns appear to have been removed. Also of historical importance is the fact that the aircraft number is CLEARLY MB-6 not MB-5. This corresponds with the VMB-613 War Diary.
The MB number discrepancy, ie, MB5 being on the ground at Ponape is undoubtedly the result of all aircraft numbers being repainted at Kwajalein. The numbers on the tail were painted over and in this instance the number 5 became number 6. After a few years in the jungle the repaint job on the number 6 was worn off by the elements and faded and the original number 5 was apparent.
The aircraft lost over Ponape was BuNo 35275, MB-6, the "Love Bug".
Lloyd "Mac" McDaniel also sent me a picture of the "Love Bug" which I appreciated receiving. "Mac" was wondering how many can come up with the name on the plane they flew in. Drop me a line when you remember the name.
DC Clay sent two photos of a PBJ-1H to us (dated February 5, 1945). DC is of the opinion that these are probably the last two photographs taken by Dave Snider. These pictures were taken following his crew's return from Ponape on a snooper flight.
This plane was also had the words Miss Carriage painted near the opening of the 75 mm canon.
Remember to check the webpage and see these new acquisitions.
Robert Yanacek reported that ever since he put Lloyd "Mac" McDaniel's photo of MB 6 and DC Clays picture of his PBJ on the Web Page model builders from around the world are checking into the website, over 1,800 through February 9, came to look and a lot sent letters of appreciation for the high caliber of the site.
Remember that our new fiscal year started in January 2005. If there isn't an (04) or higher two digit number appearing after your name on the mailing label on your envelope you should mail a check to us made out to VMB 613 in the amount of $20.00 for payment of dues.
Note: (04) denotes 2004, (05) denotes 2005. Many thanks to the members who have already sent in their dues checks.
THE LIMITED EDITION COLLECTORS ITEM, the squadron logo hat pin is still available for VMB 613 members and friends. This pin is an inch in diameter and comes in a pewter finish or gold plated with a hand painted finish. The colors are similar to the colored logo that was mailed out several months ago. Marine Corps Scarlet Red background, Gold Wings, Black Cannon and Maces. Plus it is made in America.
A new item is the license plate frame. It is a composition material (special plastic) with a red background and gold lettering. The top of the frame has U.S. MARINES and the bottom VMB 613 WWII. The cost is $5.00 INCLUDING PACKING AND SHIPPING.
USMC Heat Transfer Kit. Has 6 large insignias and 6 small insignias. Can use on caps, T shirts or any other cloth item. These kits are $3.95 each.
We still have the small VMB 613 number plate for the rear window at $5.00 each. These now can be ordered with either a WHITE or RED background.
The regular size VMB 613 license plate complete with mounting hardware is now available on special order for $20.00.
We have a limited number of Red VMB 613 caps, the cost is $10.00 each and are being sold on a first-order, first-serve basis.
These memorabilia items can be ordered from Charlie Knapp.
Please continue the notes or letters all of which help to make the monthly letter more interesting.
This is all for now. Stay healthy.
For security reasons, changes to the roster are not available on-line. Please contact Charlie Knapp for address information.
VMB 613 E-MAIL DIRECTORY LISTING
A directory of e-mail addresses for members is available on-line in a password protected area of the site. Please contact our webmaster to obtain your password.
Note: Please check your address on the listing and let me know of any required corrections. Some messages have been returned with a comment "unknown address."
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