Unit Details

Air Squadron
Air Units
1943 - 1947


VMF-422 was commissioned on January 1, 1943 at Naval Air Station San Diego and initially flew the Grumman F4F Wildcat. Later that month it moved to Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara as the squadron continued to train its pilots. In August, they boarded the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) for transport to Pearl Harbor with follow on movement to Midway Island. The squadron transitioned to the Vought F4U Corsair on December 15, 1943.

On January 25, 1944, 23 of the squadron's 24 aircraft left Tarawa Atoll headed for Funafiti, a flight of 469 miles. A failure of their Commanding General (BGen Lewie G. Merritt) to authorize an escort plane and an outdated weather forecast led them to fly directly into a major storm. Additionally, General Merritt's staff failed to inform Funafiti and the intermediate Nanumea Atoll that a group of friendly aircraft were on their way-thus the incoming planes had no radio signals to guide them on their way. 10 of the aircraft were lost at various times during the flight and the remaining 13 were forced to crash land in the ocean. The survivors spent 3 days at sea in life rafts before being spotted by a Navy PBY Catalina from Navy Patrol Squadron 59. After taking on the survivors, the patrol boat was too heavy to take off and had to radio for help. Later that evening they were met by the destroyer USS Hobby (DD-610) who ushered the men to safety. In all the squadron lost 22 aircraft and had 6 pilots killed. The 2012 documentary film "The Flintlock Disaster" recounts the events and losses during that flight.

VMF-422 was quickly reconstituted after the disaster and by mid-1944 they were flying interdiction missions against Japanese shipping in the Marshall Islands.

The Buccaneers operated from Okinawa between May and September 1945, contributing to the defense of U.S. forces in the Ryukyu campaign. In that time the squadron was credited with 15 Japanese planes shot down.

Following the war, the squadron returned to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in November 1945. They later moved to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point but were deactivated April 7, 1947

18 Members Who Served in This Unit

  • Aycrigg, William Anderson, 1stLt, (1943-1944)
  • Drake, Stafford William, 1stLt, (1942-1943)
  • Lassiter, Charles Polk, 1stLt, (1942-1944)
  • Lauesen, Christian Friis, 1stLt, (1942-1944)
  • MacLaughlin, John Sirius, LtCol, (1938-1944)
  • Mors, Robert, 2ndLt, (1943-1946)
  • Rogers, John Francis, Maj, (1941-1944)
  • Skillicorn, Donald Keith, 1stLt, (1942-1944)
  • Thompson, Earl Chrisman, 1stLt, (1942-1944)

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Unit History
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Navy Presidential Unit Citation
The Presidential Unit Citation may be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and cobelligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or aft ... More
Navy Unit Commendation
The Navy Unit Commendation may be awarded by the Secretary of the Navy to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps that distinguishes itself by outstanding heroism in action against an enemy (but not suff ... More
Phillipine Campaign- Mag-22
Battle for Okinawa
The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg. was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted ... More
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1945 - 1945
Leyte Campaign (1944-45)
The Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the amphibious invasion of the Gulf of Leyte in the Philippines by American and Filipino guerrilla forces under the command of General D ... More
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1944 - 1945
Operation Flintlock
Operation Flintlock was the campaign against the Japanese in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific theatre of World War II, from 31 January to 4 February 1944. The operation involved the invasions of Kw ... More
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1944 - 1944
Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)
The war in the Central Pacific (7 December 1941 to 6 December 1943) began with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Six months later an AAF task force took part in the Battle of Mid ... More
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1941 - 1943
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