31 March 2010
MEMO TO: MY FELLOW LEATHERNECKS AND VMB-613 FRIENDS
Well, the month of March has been rather quiet. I have not received much correspondence from VMB-613 members and have only spoken to a few of the guys. Nonetheless, new and exciting news continues to trickle in. I hope that everyone is doing well and will and will enjoy the contents of this newsletter.
SPRING CLEANING: I received a small package this past month from ordnanceman, Herb Schwartz. In the package was a note in which Herb reported that both he and Annette are doing well. Included with Herb’s note was the dog tag of aerial photographer, Dave Snider. Herb informed me that he acquired the dog tag in 1945 and had intended to return it to Dave Snider’s widow upon his return to the United States after the war; however, he was never able to do so. He rediscovered this treasure while doing some spring cleaning and sent it to me to forward to Dave’s daughter, Davey Ellen Bayer. I have contacted Davey Ellen and she was thrilled at to hear of Herb’s recent discovery and is looking forward to receiving her Dad’s dog tag—especially after so many years. Davey Ellen will be receiving the dog tag in April, following her return from Israel. Right now she and her husband are visiting their grandchildren and will be presenting each of them with a VMB-613 ball cap. Seen below, from left to right are Dave Snider, Davey Ellen Bayer (who looks just like her father, including the smile), Dave’s dog tag, and Herb Schwartz. Many thanks to Herb for remaining true to the motto of our beloved Corps: Semper Fidelis.
FROM THE CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN OF MEMBERS: I’m pleased to report that many children and grandchildren of squadron members continue to follow our news on a monthly basis. Right now, I e-mail our newsletter to over 90 of them and their interest in preserving our history is amazing. We wish to thank each and every one of them for their continued interest and extend our special appreciation to those who have generously donated to the VMB-613 Association this year, especially: Edd Meadows, son of navigator, Ed Meadows; Davey Ellen Bayer, daughter of aerial photographer, Dave Snider; Charles Boyer, nephew of navigator William Barber, and; Robert Klinke, son of radio-gunner Alvin Klinke.
FACEBOOK: Last month I reported that I set up a webpage for the Marine Bombing Squadron Six-Thirteen Association on Facebook—a free social networking website that receives millions of visitors each day. I’m pleased to report that we have picked up 21 new members on our Facebook group including: Kim Haddix, granddaughter of mechanic-turret gunner Frank Haddix; Larry Clare, son-in-law of pilot Thomas Stone; Robert Klinke, son of radio-gunner Alvin Klinke; Janet DeMint, daughter of radio-gunner Francis DeMint; Will Semple, son of mechanic-turret gunner William Semple; Dave Fish, son of VMB-611 pilot Doit Fish; Dan Farnham, Kwajalein resident and VMB-613 friend; Ron Broadaway, Newport resident and VMB-613 friend; Alan Carey, author and VMB-613 friend, and; Rob Morris, author and VMB-613 friend. For those wishing to visit our page or join our group, you may do so at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=294668159929&ref=mf
NOTES FROM MEMBERS AND VMB-613 FRIENDS: Mary Jane Lewis, wife of radio gunner James Lewis sent me a copy the newsletter that she publishes for the wives of VMB-613 members. In her newsletter, she reported hearing from Buzz Packard, wife of radio operator Jim Packard. Buzz indicated that Jim fell this past September, but is recovering nicely and improving each day. Mary Jane also reported that she received a note from radio-gunner Tracie Bell. Tracie recently moved to an assisted living complex to be with his wife, Margaret. Tracie’s new address and phone number are:
Tracie R. Bell
9901 Penn Avenue, South
Bloomington, MN 55431
From Swansboro, North Carolina, I received a note from Jane Cotton, wife of pilot James Cotton. As I mentioned last month, Jane wrote to pilot Lou Amber to say hello. Well, Lou received her note and gave Jane a call. Jane and Lou chatted about the good old days and caught each other up on their recent family news. Jane reported that Lou sounded really good and that he remains active playing golf.
I received a call and a note from Birmingham, Alabama from aircraft mechanic, Clifford Dotson. Cliff asked me if I recalled an incident at Boca Chica in which one of the squadron’s PBJs made a perfect belly landing one morning. After consulting my records, I confirmed that his memory was accurate and that this particular incident occurred on 6 March 1944. Cliff recalled that he was amazed that the only damage to the aircraft was two bent propellers and some abrasion to the bottom surface where the fuselage had made contact with the compacted-coral runway surface. Cliff added that the damage was quickly repaired by covering the abraded area with fabric and replacing the propellers, following which the aircraft was flown to Cherry Point for permanent repair. Cliff’s recollection was confirmed a few nights later when I received a phone call from Foster “Hoss” Cummings. Foster was aboard that aircraft during that incident and he added that he and Bernie Dowd got out of the aircraft very fast as they were concerned over the possibility of a fire or explosion. In retrospect, their haste was unnecessary, but understandable.
I received an e-mail from Cal and Joyce Russell. Cal, or course, served as a mechanic-turret gunner. Cal reported that he recently got a computer and he wanted to let everyone know that he can now be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
From my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio I received a call from Josephine Prock, wife of ordnanceman, Marty Prock. Josephine is doing fine and wanted to call to order a few VMB-613 ball caps. During the course of our conversation Josephine gave me the e-mail address for her daughter, Martine. I contacted Martine and exchanged a number of e-mails with her. In one of her e-mails, Martine mentioned that she recalled her father refusing to take her mother on a cruise for one of their anniversaries. I laughed when I read that, as Marty’s first experience with a cruise was aboard the George W. Julian when VMB-613 went overseas. For those who were there with Marty in 1944, I’m sure you can clearly understand his refusal to get on a ship after that ordeal. Shortly after departing San Diego, the George W. Julian encountered a typhoon and the ship was mercilessly tossed about making most aboard sick. Whenever I ask about it, I’m told that boxes of citrus fruit that was secured to the deck broke open during the storm and oranges were rolling all over the place as the ship plowed through the towering waves. Below decks in the troop compartments everyone was violently ill, and adding to that misery was the fact that most were even too sick to clean up the vomit that began to accumulate below deck. I explained this to Martine and now she fully understands her father’s refusal to ever go aboard a ship again.
PHOTO FLASHBACK: The below photographs are provided for the enjoyment of those without Internet access and show various personnel, scenes, and locations.
The rail road depot in Newport, Arkansas has been restored to it former glory. VMB-613's ground echelon departed Newport from this facility on October 21, 1944 bound for the Central Pacific.
VMB-613’s ground echelon was transported from San Diego to Hawaii on a Liberty Ship, the U.S. Army Transport (USAT) George W. Julian. The trip to Pearl Harbor took 12 days, with the ground echelon arriving on Sunday, December 3, 1944.
|A flight of eight F4U Corsairs returns to Majuro following a strike on one of the bypassed Japanese held islands.||VMB-613's line crew at work on one of the squadron's aircraft. The aircraft's name, "8-Ball", is just visible above the opening of the 75mm cannon.|
Enlisted Men - Marine Corps Air Field Newport, Arkansas - October 1944
OLD ASSOCIATION BUSINESS:
1. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this newsletter through correspondence and telephone conversations. Your efforts are appreciated and make the newsletter more informative and interesting to all of our members.
2. Now is your chance to order some VMB-613 memorabilia items. These items also make great gifts for children and grandchildren of members, and are an excellent way to proudly display our squadron heritage. To the right are four items I currently have in stock. All prices include shipping. At the top is our license plate frame, priced at $5. It is constructed from red plastic and has gold lettering proclaiming “U.S. Marine Corps” and “VMB 613 WWII.” The popular VMB-613 ball cap is shown next and is priced at $12. On the bottom left is the VMB-613 pin which is one-inch in diameter and mounts with a clutch-back fastener. This pin can be ordered in either a pewter finish (shown) or a gold-plated finish with a hand-painted VMB-613 insignia and is priced at $5.50. Last is an official squadron patch. This felt and embroidered patch is six-inches in diameter and is an exact reproduction of VMB-613’s insignia that was used on Kwajalein. They are an excellent value at $7 each.
3. Remember, donations made to the VMB-613 Association are tax-deductible for individual federal income tax returns to the extent permitted by law. Our appreciation is, as always, extended to those who have contributed in this manner, as each gift helps to preserve our proud Marine Corps aviation heritage.
NEW ASSOCIATION BUSINESS:
1. Thanks once again to those who paid their annual dues to maintain their membership. Members who have paid their dues during February will find a laminated membership card enclosed with this newsletter. As membership dues are paid for 2010, I will include laminated membership cards in future editions of the newsletter. Checks for membership dues in the amount of $20 should be made out to the “VMB-613 Association” and forwarded to me.
2. Members wishing to contact me via telephone are asked to call anytime on the weekends, or after 6PM (Eastern), Monday through Friday as I’m at work earlier each workday. My contact information is provided at the header of this newsletter and I may also be reached anytime by e-mail at: email@example.com
Robert J. Yanacek
M/Sgt, USMCR (Ret)