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VMB-611 Squadron Insignia

Marine Bombing Squadron Six-Eleven

 

Naval Aviator's Wings

Unit Awards

Summary: VMB 611 was commissioned on October 1, 1943 at Cherry Point, North Carolina.  In late December 1943, the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Sarles, moved the entire squadron from Cherry Point to Page Field, Parris Island, South Carolina, where they trained for seven months.  On August 5th, the squadron began its journey overseas in two parts.  The Starboard Wing of the flight echelon flew their Mitchell B-25s (Navy designation PBJ) to San Diego, California.  On August 24, 1944 the planes and the Starboard Wing of the flight echelon sailed to Hawaii onboard the aircraft carrier, USS Manila Bay.  Once there, they transferred from Pearl Harbor to the Marine Air Station at Ewa on Oahu.  After seven weeks, the Starboard Wing of the flight echelon flew the planes to their first advanced combat base, the small island of Emirau in the southwest Pacific.  Here, the squadron became part of Marine Air Group 61 and joined four other PBJ squadrons (VMB 413, 423, 433, and 443), assigned to bomb and heckle two large by-passed Japanese bases at Rabaul, New Britain, and Kavieng, New Ireland.  The flight echelon arrived at Emirau on October 27, 1944, without their ground echelon.

The ground echelon, along with the Port Wing of the flight echelon, departed from the Marine base at Miramar, California, boarding the SS Zoella Lykes at Port Hueneme, California.  They sailed to Hawaii on September 26, 1944, arriving there the first week of October, docking at Iroquois Point and expecting to participate in the planned invasion of Yap. However, orders were changed and the Yap invasion was canceled.  The captain of the Zoella Lykes was unhappy.  Because of this, he joined a convoy leaving Hawaii October 10, 1944, taking the entire ground echelon and the Port Wing of the flight echelon of the squadron with him and became lost in the Pacific.  Lieutenant Colonel Sarles did not locate the Zoella Lykes until December when they were anchored at Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands.  He immediately arranged to fly the squadron's planes from Emirau to Ulithi, pick up the Port Wing of the flight echelon, and bring them to Emirau.  There was no room on Emirau for the ground echelon.  For the first few weeks of November on Emirau, all members of each flight crew were expected to perform the maintenance of their PBJs.  Soon Lieutenant Colonel Sarles was able to obtain maintenance assistance from VMB 413 and 423.  A number of combat missions were completed from Emirau.

In March 1945, the squadron was transferred from MAG 61 to MAG 32, MAGSZAM (Marine Air Groups Zamboanga) assigned to Moret Field, Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippine Islands.  Here the squadron finally re-joined its ground echelon after 8 months.  The ground crew had remained on the Zoella Lykes and meandered through the Philippines until February 24, 1945.  LSTs finally landed them at Zamboanga on March 17th with the flight crews arriving March 30th.  MAGSZAM consisted of Marine Air Groups of SBD dive-bombers, F4U fighters, and VMB 611ís PBJ medium bombers.  At Zamboanga, MAGSZAM was assigned the total air support for the Eighth U.S. Army, who was ordered to invade and take the Japanese bases in Mindanao and Borneo.  This is the only time the Army was supported exclusively by the Marine Air Corps.  From April 1945 until August 1945, VMB 611 alone made over 500 sorties against the enemy.  After the Japanese were subdued in Mindanao by August 1945, the squadron began closing down combat operations.

However, VMB 611 had one additional assignment. They were ordered to provide navigational escort to China, during October of 1945, for a group of SBDs and F4Us.  These groups were sent to China in support of the Sixth Marine Division. The SBDs and F4Us did not have navigators so the PBJs led them to China.  This was deemed necessary to prevent the Russians from coming down to occupy after the Japanese surrendered.  VMB 611ís PBJs returned in late October as Moret Field was being shut down.  The squadron left Zamboanga for the last time for their departure stateside and was decommissioned on November 30, 1945 following their return to the United States.

Commanding Officers:

Captain Prescott D. Fagan

1 Oct - 15 Nov 1943

Lieutenant Colonel George A. Sarles

16 Nov 1943 - 30 May 1945

Major Robert R. Davis

1 Jun - 19 Jun 1945

Major David Horne

20 Jun - 30 Nov 1945

AwardsNavy Unit Commendation; American Campaign; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign w/3 bronze stars, World War II Victory, and; Philippine Liberation w/1 bronze star.

Aircraft Operated Overseas:  PBJ-1D, and; PBJ-1J.

Aircraft Losses:  2 Operational; 6 Combat.

Casualties:

First Lieutenant William A. Grant

14 February 1944

Second Lieutenant Howard B. Harten

14 February 1944

Corporal Charles W. Aubert

14 February 1944

Corporal Robert E. Beisheim

14 February 1944

Private First Class Louis A. Weiskittel

14 February 1944

First Lieutenant Charles H. Lawrence

17 January 1945

Second Lieutenant Richard C. Nelson

17 January 1945

Sergeant Jesse C. Duncan

17 January 1945

Sergeant Edward H. Jackson

17 January 1945

Sergeant Harvey B. Proper

17 January 1945

Private First Class Barney B. Allen

17 April 1945

First Lieutenant Robert B. Mason

2 May 1945

First Lieutenant Paul A. Frank

2 May 1945

Technical Sergeant Ernest Z. Nevidjon

2 May 1945

Staff Sergeant Harold G. Johnson

2 May 1945

Staff Sergeant Edilberto Yanulevicus

2 May 1945

Sergeant Harlan L. Bushby

2 May 1945

Sergeant Edward J. Byrne

2 May 1945

Sergeant Richard N. McKnight

2 May 1945

Lieutenant Colonel George A. Sarles

30 May 1945

First Lieutenant Charles A. Jones. Jr.

30 May 1945

Technical Sergeant Floyd M. Sigler

30 May 1945

Corporal George T. Cawley

30 May 1945

First Lieutenant Doit L. Fish

30 May 1945

First Lieutenant Donald C. Sculati

30 May 1945

Staff Sergeant Richard C. Vorel

30 May 1945

Sergeant Robert L. Harrison

30 May 1945

Corporal Walter G. Charboneau

30 May 1945

Corporal Chester D. Luberda

30 May 1945

Corporal John D. Rood

30 May 1945

Captain Sigurd J. Simonson

30 May 1945

First Lieutenant Robert A. Griffith

19 June 1945

Staff Sergeant Clyde W. Sams Jr.

19 June 1945

Corporal Arthur D. Benz

19 June 1945

Staff Sergeant Stanley I. Aliskowitch

19 June 1945

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