Things you remember.
Fifty years ago I was a Marine Sergeant assigned to MAG-15 and a resident of MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. A bit of history of the unit: Marine Aircraft Group 15 (MAG-15) was a United States Marine Corps aviation group established during World War II. MAG-15, a transport and photo-reconnaissance training group, was commissioned on 1 March 1942, headquartered at Camp Kearny, San Diego. In addition to radio and photographic training, the Group also conducted a navigation school. Additional roles included West Coast aircraft acceptance and transport service for the Marine Corps.
Marine Aircraft Group 15 was commissioned on 1 March 1942 at Camp Kearny, San Diego, California. For the next two years the group remained there as the transportation, observation and photo reconnaissance training group. They trained pilots and crews to serve in the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command (SCAT). From its commission in 1942 until 1944, MAG-15 trained and dispatched the following unit for overseas deployment: VMD-154 and VMD-254; VMO-151 and VMO-155; and VMJ-152, VMJ-153, VMJ-353, VMJ-952, and VMJ-953.
MAG-15 shipped out from Camp Kearny to the South Pacific on 2 March 1944. They arrived in Apamama on 1 April and operated from there as part of the Transport Air Group until October 1944. In October they were ordered to establish the Air Transport Group (ATG) in order to provide transportation services to units in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. ATG was redesignated the Troop Carrier Group (TCG) in November 1944. MAG-15 then became part of Task Unit 96.1 which was disbanded shortly thereafter on 25 March 1945 as its responsibilities were assumed by the
Headquarters Squadron 15 was sent to Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Hawaii in April 1945 and was quickly joined by VMR-953 and VMR-352. They stayed there through the end of the war becoming part of the TAG again and controlling the transportation units for the Marines throughout the Pacific.
In January 1947 the group became dual role when they also had fighter squadrons attach and in May 1947 they became all fighter squadrons. In March 1949 they returned to the United States and were based at Marine Corps Air Station Edenton, North Carolina.
MAG-15 moved to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in July 1966 and included VMCJ-1, VMA(AW)-533, VMFA-334 and VMFA-232.
On 31 December 1988, MAG-15 stood down after 46 years of service.
50 Years Ago Today
February 7, 1968
Shortly after midnight, the Battle of Khe Sanh and the Vietnam War took a new turn as the North Vietnamese Army attacked with tanks and other armored vehicles for the first time.The 304th Division of the North Vietnamese Army overran the U.S. Army Special Forces camp at Lang Vei with 11 Soviet PT-76 tanks. In all, 316 defenders of the camp would be killed; all but seven of them were Montagnards fighting for South Vietnam and members of the Royal Laotian Army.
“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it” became one of the most famous quotes arising out of the Vietnam War, as a news story by Associated Press war correspondent Peter Arnett was published worldwide about the death and destruction caused by American forces during the retaking of the South Vietnamese coastal city of Ben Tre. At least 1,000 civilians had died and 45 percent of Ben Tre’s buildings were destroyed in the bombardment by American airplanes and shelling by U.S Navy ships, a measure taken as a last resort after 2,500 Viet Cong had taken control of the city. The quote (often restated as “We had to destroy the village in order to save it”) was attributed by Arnett to “a U.S. major”; later in the story, Arnett referred to his interview with U.S. Air Force Major Chester L. Brown, who had directed the bombing. The phrase, however, was actually coined by the reporter; Arnett asked the question, “So you had to destroy the village in order to save it?” and then attributed the words to Major Brown.
There is an in-depth story told on Historynet.com. should you wish to learn more about Khe Sanh. Check it out @: Battle of Khe Sanh: Recounting the Battle’s Casualties
Where in the world is Jeff Berthiaume?
He is in Ho Chi Min City of course, and things have changed drastically in fifty years. Fifty years ago this was Saigon, the capital of South Viet Nam and deeply involved along with the United States and it’s allies in a war with North Viet Nam. Today, so much has changed.
Jeff made the below post today on Facebook.
Credits: http://www.seaforces.org/usmcair/MAG/Marine-Aircraft-Group-15.htm, http://pinterest.com/, Wiki, Google Images, thekitchen.com, Historynet.com & Facebook
Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to check on the elderly.