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Then and Now

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.

MAG 15 Patch

History:

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

Viet Nam conflict ribbon

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.[43]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.[44] 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.[45]

“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.[46] 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.[47]

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.

Took a cooking class in Ho Chi Min Vietnam thru a company called Grain. Our menu was the following; Pumpkin flower stuffed with prawn, Chicken Salad with cabbage and jelly fish. Steamed Sea Bass with Galangal, Turmeric, Lemon grass, and Banana Leaf, Coconut & Cream Caramel.
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jeff Nam cooking class

Chef Jeff, coming soon to “Chopped.”

 

        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.   elderly couple

 

Mug Shot from the land of the Rising Sun

Flag of Japan.svgNaval Ensign of Japan.svg

  The flag of Japan.

 

 

 

I was motivated to do another Mug Shot Blog from the recent meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Minister Shinzo Abe. 
During the years 1967- 1968 I was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan with the Marine Corps in support of the Viet Nam War.  I would spend my time working as an Aerographer at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. During this time my wife of two years and our daughter, seven months old at the time were back home in New Jersey. No internet, no cell phones, little communication. It’s not a far removed time from where I live now, communication wise. On many occasion we would travel to Hiroshima for a baseball game and sight-seeing ventures. Hiroshima had a team in the Japan Professional Baseball League.

hiroshima_montage2

One of the big issues I’m sure being talked about between the two world leaders is MCAS Futenma which is on the island of Okinawa. Everyone in the Marine Corps going to SE Asia in 1967 went through Okinawa and I was no exception. The island was not the property of Japan at the time.


The Mug Shot featured here was purchased in a small shop in Iwakuni back in 1967 and today sits on my desk and holds pens, pencils and Magic Markers. It serves a function and serves as a reminder to years long ago, fifty of them in fact.

Once back in the states I would separate from the Marine Corps and reunite with my family in what has been fifty one wonderful years featuring three children, nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and herself putting up with me day in and day out. I have been blessed.

As for herself, a young Nurse, single mother and a real trooper, she kept the home fires going. She worked in a hospital close to Fort Dix, NJ and most of the CNA’s were medics recently back from Viet Nam. Her praise of their dedication, professionalism and knowledge speaks well of our military men and women during those trying times. Many years later our eldest daughter, a young Navy Nurse Corps Ensign would be stationed at Fort Dix with a Mobile Field Hospital unit.

Five years later herself would endure once again with three children this time while I was off once again at the CT State Police Academy starting that career. God bless the strength and endurance of our women.

Tweeter in Charge

So, needless to say President Trump was back to Tweeting about this meeting.

trump-abe-golf

BY
Denis Slattery
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, February 11, 2017, 8:43 PM

President Trump hit the links and took a swing at some fairway diplomacy Saturday as he hosted his first foreign leader at one of his signature golf courses.

The President spent the morning golfing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla.

The pair, along with their wives, are spending the weekend at Trump’s winter estate Mar-a-Lago in nearby Palm Beach.

“Having a great time hosting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the United States!” Trump tweeted alongside a picture of the pair high-fiving on a green.

President Trump suggests rapid action on additional U.S. security

White House reporters tasked with covering the event were not allowed to tag along for the 18-hole conference and said the accommodations were not up to par.

The group was confined to a basement suite where windows were covered with black plastic bags so they couldn’t see out.

“The door and windows are covered with black plastic so we can’t see out,” the official White House pool report stated.

The Rooster says! 

“Wow, what are we becoming, Paranoia is in the air?  Is the president’s golf game that bad that no press can follow? ” I’d love to see a 44  vs 45 golf match on TV. I’ll bet ESPN would love to carry it.

Have a great rest of the day, and thanks for following.