Megee, Vernon, Gen

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Primary Unit
1957-1959, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPAC)
Service Years
1919 - 1959



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This Military Service Page was created/owned by Greg McCourt-Historian to remember Marine Gen Vernon Megee.

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Home Town
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Last Address

Date of Passing
Jan 14, 1992
Location of Interment
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Last Known Activity
Vernon E. Megee, a pioneer in combat aviation for the Marine Corps and the only person in that service to rise from private to the service's highest rank, four-star general, died Tuesday at the St. Francis Gardens nursing home in Albuquerque, N.M.

General Megee, who was 91 years old, was a resident of Albuquerque the past three years and previously lived in Austin, Tex. He died of pneumonia after a long illness, his family said.

General Megee helped develop the Marine tactic of supporting ground troops with air strikes against nearby positions, using rockets, napalm and strafing, with pilots directed by radio messages from land controllers. In World War II, he was the first commander of a Marine Landing Force Air Support Control Unit. 'Scrape Your Bellies'

Carrying out his strategy of close air support as an air commander at Iwo Jima in 1945, he instructed Marine pilots to "go in and scrape your bellies on the beach." He also commanded the air support units at Okinawa.

In his 40 years with the Marines, General Megee also fought against Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua in 1930, when a plane he piloted sustained dozens of hits, and in the Korean War, when he was commander of the First Marine Aircraft Wing. He won the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and several other medals.

Among his assignments, he was the first aviator to serve as assistant commandant and chief of staff of the corps at the Washington headquarters and served on the staff of the War College. He was also director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, chief of staff of the Fleet Marine Force in the Atlantic and assistant director of aviation at the Washington headquarters.

He reached his four-star rank toward the end of his career and retired in 1959 as commanding general of the Fleet Marine Force in the Pacific. An Enlistee in 1919

Born in Tulsa, Okla., General Megee grew up in Chandler, Okla., and attended Oklahoma A.&M. College. He finished his degree more 30 years later.

He enlisted in the Marines in 1919, then went through officers' training at Quantico, Va., and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1922. His early assignments took him to Haiti and China. Because Marine aviation was in its infancy, he trained at Navy aviation schools in San Diego , and Pensacola, Fla., and an Army Air Corps School in Montgomery, Ala.

After retiring from the military in 1959, General Magee earned a master's degree from the University of Texas in Austin with a thesis on the Marines' intervention in Nicaragua. Then he served about a decade as the first superintendent and president of the trustees of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Tex., a preparatory school with unofficial ties to the Marines, which opened in in 1963.

Other Comments:
Also awarded Peruvian Aviation Cross, 1st Class. I cannot find any information or photos on this award.
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 Unit Assignments
Marine BarracksOfficer Candidate School (Cadre)1st Marine Brigade, III MEF10th Marine Regiment
2nd Marine DivisionNaval Aviation Schools Command (NASC), Pensacola, FLUSMC (United States Marine Corps)Aviation Units
3rd MAWMarine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC)National War CollegeFleet Marine Force Atlantic (FMFLANT)
Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC)US NavyMCAS Cherry Point, NCFleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPAC)
1st MAWH&S Bn Henderson Hall (HQMC)
  1919-1921, Marine Barracks Parris Island, SC
  1921-1922, Officer Candidate School (Cadre)
  1923-1924, 1st Marine Brigade, III MEF
  1925-1927, 10th Marine Regiment
  1929-1931, 2nd Marine Division
  1931-1932, Naval Aviation Schools Command (NASC), Pensacola, FL
  1936-1937, USAF Air War College Maxwell AFB AL
  1939-1940, MAG-21
  1940-1943, Aviation Units
  1943-1943, 3rd MAW
  1945-1946, Amphibious Warfare Presentation Team, Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC)
  1946-1946, National War College
  1946-1949, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic (FMFLANT)
  1949-1950, Aviation Dept (HQMC)
  1950-1951, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Navy
  1951-1952, MCAS Cherry Point, NC
  1952-1953, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPAC)
  1953-1954, 1st MAW
  1954-1955, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPAC)
  1955-1956, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic (FMFLANT)
  1956-1957, Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, H&S Bn Henderson Hall (HQMC)
  1957-1959, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPAC)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1920-1920 US Occupation of Haiti
  1926-1933 US Second Occupation of Nicaragua
  1944-1944 Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Peleliu
  1945-1945 Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Iwo Jima
  1945-1945 Ryukyus Campaign (1945)/Battle for Okinawa
  1950-1953 Korean War
 Colleges Attended
Oklahoma State UniversityUniversity of Texas at Austin
  1917-1919, Oklahoma State University
  1959-1963, University of Texas at Austin
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