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Sep-01-2010 19:26printcomments

Observing Anniversary of Pappy Boyington's VMF-214 Black Sheep Squadron

The original VMF-214 Squadron was commissioned at the Marine Corps Air Station Ewa - Hawaii in 1942. The "Swashbucklers" as they were called, joined the war in the Solomon Islands.

Major Greg 'Pappy' Boyington and members of the U.S. Marine Corps' VMF-214 Black Sheep Squadron.
Major Greg 'Pappy' Boyington and members of the U.S. Marine Corps' VMF-214 Black Sheep Squadron.

(COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho) - On September 12, 1943, the U.S. Marine Corps' VMF-214 Black Sheep Squadron under the command of Major Greg 'Pappy' Boyington, began their combat tour in the Solomon Islands.

September brings many interesting dates in WWII History, including a commemoration of this anniversary date in the town of Pappy's birth, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, This includes a special display of memorabilia in the Coeur d'Alene Public Library during this month.

The display will include an artists painting of the proposed Bronze Statue of Pappy Boyington, as well as working pieces of the statue clay model.

Before Boyington was a Black Sheep, he was also a member of the infamous American Volunteer Group (AVG), so a special collection of books about the China/Burma/India experience will be showcased.

Kevin Gonzalez with Pappy Boyington Field, says this is an excellent opportunity to present WWII information and artifacts to a new generation.

Gonzalez says on September 12, 1943 - Pappy and the Black Sheep began their combat tour, and the squadron achievements in WWII would lead to the award of the Presidential Unit Citation.

'Pappy' Boyington was a pilot with the AVG Flying Tigers in China prior to WWII

The original VMF-214 Squadron was commissioned at the Marine Corps Air Station Ewa - Hawaii in 1942. The "Swashbucklers" as they were called, joined the war in the Solomon Islands.

After the death of their Commanding Officer, and while the pilots were on R&R, an unusual set of circumstances occurred that affected the continuation of the squadron.

Major Boyington was given command of the VMF-214, and from a pool of unassigned pilots he put his new squadron together. They were a mix of combat-experienced pilots and new replacement pilots just arrived from stateside. The squadron was armed with a powerful fighter plane, the F4U Corsair.

Pappy's combat experience with the Flying Tigers in China, and his aggressive nature, made him an ideal squadron leader in the air...but his notoriety on the ground was another matter. The squadron's first choice for a name was "Boyington's Bastards", but it didn't meet with approval from the Group HQ public relations...so they became the Black Sheep.

More History

In September 12, 1945, Pappy was reunited with his Black Sheep after being held as a prisoner by the Japanese for 20 months.

A reunion party was held at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, and many of the Black Sheep were there to welcome Pappy home.

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Documentary trailer Pappy Boyington Field from Kevin on Vimeo.

On September 21, 1976, the "Baa Baa Black Sheep" television series premiered on NBC. The show starred Robert Conrad as Major Greg Boyington, and featured a squadron of restored F4U Corsair.

Pappy was involved in the casting decision for Robert Conrad, and he served as a technical advisor on set. It was a top rated show, but was canceled after the first season, though viewer backlash forced the network to bring the series back, and the second season was called "Black Sheep Squadron". Today you can find the first season on DVD at Amazon.com.

Three Years Ago

In September 22, 2007, there was an official airfield naming ceremony for the "Coeur d'Alene Airport/Pappy Boyington Field".

Hundreds of people in he community attnded to welcome two USMC AV-8B Harriers for a fly-over and landing to honor Pappy.

If you'd like a DVD of Pappy Boyington Field, just visit the website.

Special thanks to: Kevin Gonzalez, Producer of Pappy Boyington Field.


Previous Salem-News.com articles about 'Pappy' Boyington:

Mar-07-2010: 'Pappy Boyington Field' Documentary Film Examines Historic Marine Aviator - Salem-News.com

Jan-11-2010: Baa Baa Black Sheep - Robert O'Dowd Salem-News.com




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bettyapratt@gmail.com January 11, 2013 8:19 pm (Pacific time)

I just finished the autographed book Baa Baa Black Sheep by Pappy himself for the 3rd time. It's like reading the first time as I get so engrossed. I have the hardback book/book sleeve in tack and also approx. 5-7 photos at the airfield, that I'm willing to part with if anyone is interested. I took it to the antique show in Sea. WA this last Aug. and the lady said the photos are also worth something. Do you know of anyone who might be interested? Please contact my e-mail.


John Hartung September 2, 2010 6:02 am (Pacific time)

From one BLACK SHEEP. Thank You for the story of US! VMF-214 F-4 Iwakuni, Japan. One more thing! Baa Baa Black Sheep!! I will always be one and very proud of IT!! John www.lifeaftercamplejeune.com

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