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 A failure of their Commanding General (BGen Lewie G. Merritt) to authorize an escort plane and an outdated weather forecast led them to fly directly into a major storm.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
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
... Moreer December 7, 1941. Hide
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
... Moreiciently to justify the award of the Presidential Unit Citation). It may also be awarded to a unit that distinguishes itself by extremely meritorious service not involving combat (but in support of military operations), which renders that unit outstanding when compared to other units performing similar service. Hide
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 from early April until mid-June 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were approaching Japan, and planned to use Okinawa, a large island only 340 mi (550 km) away from mainland Japan, as a base for air operations on the planned invasion of Japanese mainland (coded Operation Downfall). Four divisions of the U.S. 10th Army (the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th) and two Marine Divisions (the 1st and 6th) fought on the island. Their invasion was supported by naval, amphibious, and tactical air forces.
The battle has been referred to as the "typhoon of steel" in English, and tetsu no ame ("rain of steel") or ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of kamikaze attacks from the Japanese defenders, and to the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle resulted in the highest number of casualties in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Based on Okinawan government sources, mainland Japan lost 77,166 soldiers, who were either killed or committed suicide, and the Allies suffered 14,009 deaths (with an estimated total of more than 65,000 casualties of all kinds). Simultaneously, 42,000–150,000 local civilians were killed or committed suicide, a significant proportion of the local population. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki together with the Soviet invasion of Manchuria caused Japan to surrender less than two months after the end of the fighting on Okinawa. Hide
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
... Moreouglas MacArthur, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita from 17 October 1944 - 1 July 1945. The operation code named King Two launched the Philippines campaign of 1944–45 for the recapture and liberation of the entire Philippine Archipelago and to end almost three years of Japanese occupation. Hide
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
... Moreajalein, Eniwetok, and Majuro atolls. Admiral Nimitz, Commander of the U. S. Pacific Fleet, chose two islands in Kwajalein Atoll, Roi-Namur Island and Kwajalein Island, as primary targets in the U. S. invasion of the Marshall Islands. Kwajalein Atoll contained communication and weather observation units and two Japanese airstrips on Roi-Namur and Kwajalein Islands, a seaplane base situated at Ebeye Island, a submarine base at Roi-Namur Island, and other Japanese installations scattered on various islands throughout Kwajalein atoll. Kwajalein atoll, particularly Roi-Namur and Kwajalein Islands, were subjected to heavy bombardment. This attack also sank a large number of Japanese ships in Kwajalein Lagoon. Bitter fighting between Japanese forces and the U. S. 4th Marine Division on Roi-Namur, and the U. S. 7th Infantry Division on Kwajalein, resulted in a U. S. victory on 4 February 1944. The attack of the Japanese in the Marshall Islands was the first US attack, and capture, of Japanese territory, since the land was held by Japan before the start of World War II. The capture of Kwajalein Atoll during Operation Flintlock provided American forces with a base of operations that assured the recapture of the Philippines and eventually the fall of Japan. Hide
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
... Moreway, in which a great Japanese fleet was defeated. But another year and a half elapsed before American forces began an offensive against Japanese positions in the Central Pacific. It was then, on 20 November 1943, that landings were made in the Gilberts, on Makin and Tarawa, with the Marines at the latter place becoming engaged in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Hide