Sep 3, 2010

Maj Greg "Pappy" Boyington - "Pappy Boyington Field".


Pappy Boyington - USMC Ace in WW2

On September 12, 1943, the VMF-214 Black Sheep Squadron began their combat tour in the Solomon Islands. The CO, Maj Gregory "Pappy" Boyington alreadfy had combat experience in China as he flew against the Japanese as a member of Gen Claire Chennault's famed "Flying Tigers." He continued his success flying from Guadalcanal.

On September 16, 1943, Pappy shot down 5 Japanese aircraft in one day (4 Haps, 1 Zeke) over Ballalle before he was shot down. He was credited with a victory count of six from his time with the Flying Tigers, so these five victories in one day brought his running count to 11 enemy aircraft. After a day afloat, he was rescued by a Japanese submarine, and sent to Japan as a POW. Boyington was initially classified as KIA, and awarded a Medal of Honor.

In September 12, 1945, Boyington 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.

In 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, but 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

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.

September brings many interesting dates in WWII History, and as commemoration in the town of Pappy's birth, there will be 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 American Volunteer Group (AVG), so a special collection of books about the China/Burma/India experience will be showcased. This is an excellent opportunity to present WWII information and artifacts to a new generation.

2 comments:

JihadGene said...

Thanks for the history lessons of our heroes! I knew of Pappy because of the TV show but did not know he had been a POW.

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