On Sept 7, 1943,VMF-214 officially began it's first
combat tour at Munda, on the island of New Georgia (shown above).
Munda was an inhospitable place- hot, humid, barren from shelling, and for a
time, smelled of the aftermath of battle from the Marine assault in August.
It was from this island airstrip that Marine Squadron VMF-214 launched many
successful missions during their first two tours. VMF-214 flew the
beautiful F4U-1, and later, F4U-1A Corsairs against their very capable
Japanese opponents, often flying two or three missions a day. VMF-214 was
known as the "Black Sheep" squadron and their commander was the legendary
Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington. The Black Sheep became the top guns in the
Pacific, racking up an impressive score in a relatively short time. The
Black Sheep's second tour on Munda ended on Oct 18, 1943. After a short
period of R & R , they resumed combat operations at Vella Lavella in
mid-November,1943. Today, the airstrip at Munda is still in service, though
the area is now covered with trees and lush vegetation. Likewise, the tents
and warplanes have been replaced by the small homes and the fishing boats of
the natives living there.
Black Sheep at Munda
L/E of 400 prints
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