Cupp, James, Col

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 Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
7598-Basic Fixed-Wing Pilot
Last MOSGroup
Pilots/Naval Flight Officers
Primary Unit
1963-1968, 9910, Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC)
Service Years
1942 - 1968
Official/Unofficial USMC Certificates
Cold War Certificate
Golden Dragon Certificate
Shellback Certificate
Officer Collar Insignia



 Last Photo 
 Personal Details 

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Michael Frederick (Fred) to remember Marine Col James Cupp.

If you knew or served with this Marine and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address

Date of Passing
Not Specified
Location of Interment
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Wall/Plot Coordinates
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 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
"With the Betty gone, the full impact of my situation hit home. I still had a Zero behind me, and he was filling my tail with arrows. ... Home was over 200 miles behind me and turning would give the Zero even more of an advantage... I still had a good engine running, so I just stayed in a gradual turn. ... He gained on me at the end of the turn, but our speed was about equal. He finally pulled off in a chandelle. He'd done his best."

- Capt. Jim Cupp, describing an action at Vella Gulf on July 15, 1943

Jim Cupp was decorated during the Chosin Reservoir campaign while serving with the 1st Marine Division. His work calling in air support greatly assisted the men on the ground and their defense against repeated assault from seven Chinese divisions.
Other Comments:
In March of 1943, VMF-213 arrived in the Solomons, equipped with Wildcats, but re-equipped with Corsairs before entering combat. With 13 kills, Captain Cupp was one of the highest scoring aces of this outfit.

His squadron suffered some early confusion, in the switch-over to Corsairs but they started to operate from Henderson Field on April 1. Their first job was to learn the geography of the Solomons: the islands, The Slot, the location of enemy troop concentrations, the airstrips, etc. Typical missions involved escorting bombers up to Bougainville, a Japanese stronghold in mid-1943. Their CO, Major Britt, drilled them for months on the importance of sticking together in combat. Sometimes Cupp had to work at this because his plane (its engine overdue for an overhaul) had a disconcerting tendency to flood its carburetor and cut out, usually when right over their objective.

VMF-213 took six weeks of R&R in Australia from mid-May through late June.

June 30, a typical day of that period, saw VMF-213 fly an intercept mission to Rendova in the morning and went out again in the afternoon to cover shipping in the same area. They flew for three and a half hours, but could not locate any enemy planes. Others in the squadron (Maj. Weissenberger and Lt. Wilbur Thomas) were more successful, and shot down a number of Zeros.

On an escort mission to Kahili on July 17, he tangled with some Zeros, and finding himself alone, he fell in with a group of returning bombers for protection. He caught up with them while they were playing cat-and-mouse in the clouds with two Zeros. Cupp took advantage of the situation and flamed one of the Zeros.

While on patrol over Vella Lavella on September 17, Cupp and his section intercepted a large group of Vals and Zeros. They took out a few Zeros before attacking thXevalXs. The dive bombers were old and so slow that it was difficult for the Corsairs to get in a good burst before passing over them. It was a "pathetic" battle, as the Marines disintegrated thXevalXs about as fast as they could line them up. They had brought down several when they were jumped by four Zeros. Cupp was hit by a 20mm shell, and he considered ditching, but happily discovered that his Corsair responded well when he shoved the throttle forward, and he ran for home.

The next day, he took off on dawn patrol, to catch "Washing Machine Charlie," the regular Japanese nighttime nuisance bomber. Taking off at 0500, he spotted a Japanese Betty in the distance. After a long chase, he caught up, and approached the plane from his supposedly unprotected belly. To Cupp's astonishment, the bomb bay doors opened up, to reveal a cannon, which instantly hit him three times. His Corsair caught on fire; Cupp was badly burned, and forced to bail out. He was picked up by Americans, and spent the next 18 months in the hospital, undergoing 14 operations.
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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
USMC (United States Marine Corps)VMF-213Naval Hospital Long BeachMARTD NAS Glenview, IL
VMO-61st MAWVMF-211MCB Quantico, VA
1st Marine Division, I MEF3rd MAWMCAS El Toro, CAUS European Command (EUCOM)
MACS-1 EW/C, MACG-38Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC)
  1941-1942, 7599, NAP (Enlisted Flight Training) Course
  1942-1942, 7598, Defense Photography School, Pensacola FL
  1942-1943, 7598, VMF-213
  1943-1945, 7598, Naval Hospital Long Beach
  1946-1946, 7598, MARTD NAS Glenview, IL
  1946-1946, 7598, VMO-6
  1946-1947, 7598, 1st MAW
  1947-1948, 7598, VMF-211
  1948-1949, 7598, MCB Quantico, VA
  1949-1950, 7502, 1st Marine Division, I MEF
  1951-1952, 7598, MTG-10, 3rd MAW
  1951-1952, 7598, IMA Det MCAS El Toro, MCAS El Toro, CA
  1952-1954, 9674, US European Command (EUCOM)
  1954-1958, 9907, College of Continuing Education (Staff) Quantico, VA
  1958-1959, 7598, MACS-1 EW/C, MACG-38
  1959-1961, 7598, MACS-1 EW/C, MACG-38
  1961-1963, 9907, 3rd MAW
  1963-1968, 9910, Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1943-1943 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Russel Islands Landings
  1943-1943 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/New Georgia Group Operation
  1943-1944 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Bougainville
  1950-1953 Korean War
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Defensive (1950)/Battle of the Pusan Permineter
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Defensive (1950)
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Defensive (1950)
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Defensive (1950)
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Offensive (1950)/Inchon Landing/Operation Chromite
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Offensive (1950)/Inchon Landing/Operation Chromite
  1950-1950 Korean War/CCF Intervention (1950-51)/Battle of the Chosin Reservoir (Battle of Changjin)
  1950-1950 Korean War/CCF Intervention (1950-51)/Evacuation of Hungnam
 Colleges Attended
University of Iowa
  1939-1941, University of Iowa
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