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Mar-17-2010 02:42printcommentsVideo

MCAS El Toro and the Untimely Death of Marine Fighter Pilot James Sabow

Somebody should produce a full length movie about this epic American tragedy.

Colonel James Sabow flew more than 220 missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, before becoming the third ranking officer at MCAS El Toro
Colonel James Sabow flew more than 220 missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, before becoming the third ranking officer at MCAS El Toro. He was murdered for threatening to drop a dime on an illegal government weapons for drugs trading program that funded the Contras.

(IRVINE, Calif.) - In early 1991, something happened at the El Toro Marine air base that was so bad, so shameful, that it will not go away. It's the highly controversial death of Marine Colonel James Sabow. A fighter pilot, a hero of the Vietnam War, a man considered by those who knew him, to be 'general material'.

First and foremost, Jim Sabow was the last man who would have ever contemplated suicide. He made it through 220 missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and had risen far in rank. The only officers who ever criticized him were almost certainly the same ones involved in his demise.

By any logical account based on a large amount of evidence from multiple sources, Colonel James Sabow was murdered because he was going to bring the roof down on a number of senior Marines at El Toro, for their involvement in the continual running of drugs to aid terrorist groups in Nicaragua known as the Contras.

Today the old El Toro Marine Air Station is a closed down, deserted ghost town; a toxic EPA Superfund site that poisoned and contaminated the Marines who worked here.

The flightline was the center of west coast Marine air operations, and the place where Col. Sabow and other pilots took off and landed in their fighter jets.

For the full report, please visit this link

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Michael January 25, 2011 12:30 pm (Pacific time)

I was 5 years old when Col. Sabow died. I lived on El Torro at the time, and my father was an F18 pilot with the black knights. I was in the yard across the street from Col. Sabows house when he died. Earlier that morning Col. Sabow had stopped by the yard and talked to myself and my other friends that were out playing. He seemed normal and in good spirits, not the demeanor of a man who was overwhelmed and was prepared to take his own life in a few moments. Until last year when I googled some info on el toro i had never heard any speculation of murder, but after reading all the information and remembering how he was that morning I am certain that he met with foul play. My heart still goes out to Sally and the rest of his family.

Tim King: I really appreciate your dropping by, we are actively working on this story at all times and if you ever want to contribute your thoughts please write to me at

Mike Warden December 25, 2010 9:47 am (Pacific time)

I showed a similar article to my father regarding Col. Sabow. My faher is a former marine (Korean War era) and was stationed at EL Toro during the 50's. He was shocked to say the least. I myself am a former marine(76-84) as is my nephew (Fallujah). We're al stunned, to say the least. This just stinks!

Editor: I could not agree more.  Semper fi,thanks for writing.  

Kendavis December 21, 2010 10:10 pm (Pacific time)

Marine Fighter Pilot James Sabow may have been murdered but there is no proof that it was a government conspiracy. He could have easily been killed by drug dealers!!!
Where is the proof???

Tim King: Are you able to read the story?  What on earth would you possibly mean? I caught your email and have zero patience for your disrespect.  This is a site by Marines and for Marines, so keep your tone in order or get lost.  

Lew Boyko December 9, 2010 7:48 am (Pacific time)

Keep digging, the truth is there and you will find it.

Mike July 30, 2010 4:10 am (Pacific time)

Bob, we may not put actually anyone in jail, but we may clearly signal those who gave the orders. The motivations and outcomes. But they are powerful names which will resort to any means to keep in the shadow. Do we have what it takes to end this practices?

Hope we have.

Don March 21, 2010 9:03 pm (Pacific time)

I twice worked at El Toro MCAS in the 1960's and now the base is closed with "Tons" of TCE, Radium and other contaminations. The government has not to my knowledge notified even one civillian employee of this; and I've 19 major health issues in my life that could be caused by these contaminants. More cover-up is taking place about doings at El Toro MCAS. Please feel free to email me if you too are a civillian employee that has had illnesses possibly from these poisons.

Kelly March 19, 2010 6:08 pm (Pacific time)

It makes you wonder just what really goes on

Bob Sawyer March 18, 2010 4:48 am (Pacific time)

the truth should be known , but as time has passed and many are dead already it may never be known fmr.sgt marine

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