American Valor Quarterly Issue 3 - Summer 2008 - Page 13

Baa Baa Black Sheep VMF-214 and the Marine Corps’ Most Famous Aviators of WWII An Excerpt from Veterans Chronicles Veterans Chronicles, the American Veterans Center’s weekly radio series, features the stories of America’s greatest military heroes, in their own words. The program is hosted by Gene Pell, former NBC Pentagon Correspondent and Moscow Bureau Chief, as well as Director for Voice of America and President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. or the “Whiffinpoof Song,” which is the Yale drinking song. And we dearly loved that song. We managed to sing it frequently and it was always the very last one Each week, Gene talks to distinguished service members from in our repertoire. World War II all the way through Operation Iraqi Freedom, allowing them to share their insights on the great and tragic Figuring the squadron moments in American military history. Veterans Chronicles airs should have a name, it nationwide on the Radio America network, downloaded via was suggested that the podcast, and heard online at www.americanveteranscenter.org. name be “Boyington’s Bastards” because the In this issue of American Valor Quarterly, we print the excerpt squadron was kind of from a recent episode focusing on the legendary Black Sheep formed in a bastardly Squadron of World War II. Led by “ace” pilot Gregory “Pappy” fashion. We had no Boyington, the squadron was formed in 1943 and was in action ground echelon. We Prior to commanding the Black Sheep, over a half-dozen South Pacific islands. In less than three months, had no airplanes. The Greg “Pappy” Boyington flew for another the Black Sheep pilots destroyed or damaged 273 Japanese aircraft, press people at the famed outfit of American pilots - the sank ships, destroyed ground facilities, and perhaps most time said if you do American Volunteer Group, best known as remarkably produced eight “ace” fighter pilots from only a single anything noteworthy the Flying Tigers. He would earn both the squadron. Retired Brigadier General Bruce Matheson served in we can’t hardly go back Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor for that squadron, and he recently sat down with Gene to talk of his and mention your his heroism in leading the Black Sheep. experiences and how they came to be known as the “Black Sheep.” name – in those days when you couldn’t use four letter words – so we had to do Brigadier General Bruce Matheson: The “Black Sheep” name better than Boyington’s Bastards. So somebody said why don’t came from our first combat tour. We had a squadron which was we make it the “Black Sheep”? We thought that was a pretty comprise