At least 32 USMC squardons are
believed to have trained at Mojave, some of which were formed here, others that were just
passing through. This listing is incomplete, and we invite all additions, corrections and
suggestions; contact Alan or Carol.
Attack Squadrons (VMA)
VMA-332 was commissioned in June 1943, at the newly
constructed Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. Originally
designated Marine Scout Bomber Squadron 332 (VMSB-332), the squadron flew Douglas SBD
DAUNTLESS dive bombers out of Cherry Point, Bogue Field, and MCAS Mojave before departing
for the Pacific, first at Ewa, Hawaii and then on to Midway. VMA-332 web site with more information.
Fighting Squadrons (VMF)
deployed to MCAF Mojave in the spring of 1957. They had recently received the new F4D
Skyray which was the first Marine Corps aircraft to be equipped with an afterburner. While
they were deployed they were required to install a great number of services changes to the
aircraft which took over 6 months. This earned them the nickname of "The Desert
Rats". (Info courtesy of Jim Janke)
Information is a
bit sketchy, but it appears that VMF-121 trained in Corsairs at Mojave sometime between
June, 1943 and September 1944.
VMF-124 was the
first Corsair-equipped squadron, arrived Guadalcanal on Feb. 12, 1943, and escorted a
rescue mission before lunch. They remained in the Solomons until September 1943, when they
were reorganized and trained at Mojave until September 1944.
famous Black Sheep Squadron trained at Mojave.
founded at MCAS Mojave on 1 January 1943, Captain Jack R. Amends as it's first Commanding
Officer. VMF-225 web site with more
time at Mojave on several different occasions. In July, 1953, commanded by Lt. Col William
M. Watkins, the squadron received 16 F9F-2 Panthers and began training with them, before
returning to El Toro in August.
again in February of 1955, under Maj. Richard Hey, Jr. for more training, staying until
the fall of that year.
In May, 1957
VMF-323 practiced air-to-air gunnery at MCAS Mojave with their FJ-4 Furys (Navy version of
the F-86 Sabre) prior to their deployment to Japan. VMF-323 web site with more information.
activated on 15 February 1944 at MCAS Mojave, California. The "Blue Devils" were
equipped with the Chance-Vought F4U-1D Corsair and spent nearly a year training for
carrier-based operations under the command of Major Henry A. Ellis Jr., who remained the
Commanding Officer for 17 months. They left for duty aboard the USS Bunker Hill on 24
January, 1945. VMF-451 web site with more
VMF-513 personnel six months prior to moving to Mojave
(photo from this web site.
Marine Attack Squadron 513 was
first commissioned as VMF-513 on 15 February 1944 at Marine Corps Auxiliary Field Oak
Grove, North Carolina, flying the Grumman F6F "Hellcat." The squadron was
transferred to Marine Corps Auxiliary Field Walnut Range, Arkansas, in September 1944. In
December of the same year, the squadron moved to Mojave, California, where it was
redesignated VMF(CVS)-513. On 15 June 1945, VMF(CVS)-513 departed San Diego, California,
aboard the USS VELLA GULF and participated in carrier operations in the Pacific, making
stops in Ewa, Enewetak, Saipan, and Guam. VMF-513 web site with more information.
VMF-513 web site.
Bombing and Torpedo Squadrons (VMB/VMTB)
VMTB-233 in 1944
Little is known
at the moment about when and how long the squadron was here, other than that we have a
photo of the squadron in the Photo Library.
originally commissioned as VMB-612 on 10 May 1944 at MCAS Cherry Point, and then moved to
MCAF Newport on 10 September to continue operational training; by the end of December
1944, the squadron was equipped with eight PBJ-1Hs and one PBJ-1J (the Navy version
of the B-25 Mitchell bomber). In February 1945, the squadron moved to MCAAS Mojave,
California where it was redesignated VMTB-622 on 15 May 1945 and re-equipped with Eastern
Aircraft TBM Avengers.
Composite Squadrons (VMCJ)
When VMCJ-3 was
formed at El Toro on 12 December 1955 its inventory of aircraft consisted of the F9F-5P
reconnaissance version of the Panther and the AD-5 electronic warfare version of the
Guardian. 1957 saw an update of the EW platform with the arrival of the F3D-2Q Sky Knight.
The new electronic warfare platform provided a basis for the use of EW aircraft on joint
missions with strike aircraft. Though based at El Toro, they trained at Mojave. VMCJ-3 squadron history web site.