VMF-212 (Marine Fighter Squadron 212)

15 Sept. 1950



Korean War USMC Fighter Bomber Patch DEVIL CATS. Sold on ebay 5.28.10 for $152.

VMF-212, nicknamed the Heavy Haulers at the time, was one of the first squadrons sent to Far East at the outbreak of the war. They remained in Japan until Marines were able to capture Kimpo Airfield after the Battle of Inchon. The squadron finally touched down in Korea on September 18, 1950 and were flying their first strikes by the 20th of September. The squadron was later moved to Yonpo Airfield in North Korea as the United Nations' forces continued their advance in the early winter of 1950. After the Chinese counterattack in late November 1950, VMF-212 aircraft flew almost continuous close air support missions supporting the 1st Marine Division as they fought they way out of encirclement during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. After the fighting at Chosin, the squadron was ordered to operate from the USS Bataan (CVL-29) where they remained until March 5, 1951.

VMA-212 moved to being land based, first just south of Wonson Harbor, where it was too close to enemy fire for landings and take offs. It then moved to K-6 at Pyongteak as a part of MAG-12, which also included VMA-323 flying F4U Corsairs and VMA-121 flying AD Skyraiders. VMA-212's F4U Corsairs were replaced by upgraded AU-1 Corsairs in 1952. The AU-1 Corsair had armor plate around the cockpit and the oil coolers that were moved up to behind the engine. The squadron dropped more ordinance during the Korean War than any other Marine Corps squadron. The AU-1 Corsair had an additional center bomb rack which carried a 2000 lb. bomb until the rough Marston Matting, which was laid over the old pock marked Japanese landing strip at K-6, caused the center bomb rack to break off. The AU-1 Corsair could carry a 2000 lb bomb on its center rack, two 1000 lb. bombs on the wing root bomb racks and 100 or 260 lb. bombs on its wing racks. It struggled up to enemy territory at approximately 140 knots. After releasing its bombs the AU-l again became a fast fighter in close support of the front lines and a fighter capable of up to 600 knots in a dive. Colonel Robert Galer, a Marine Corps Ace from World War II, was the Commanding Officer of MAG-12 in 1952, when he was shot down behind enemy lines and protected by VMA-212 pilots until rescued by a Marine Corps helicopter. VMA-212 remained in Korea until the end of the war in July 1953. From April 1951 to May 1953 VMA-212 lost ten pilots



USMC VMA-212 DEVIL CATS PATCH. Sold on ebay May 04, 2011 for $89.

When the Korean War broke out, VMF-214 was enroute to Hawaii onboard the USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116) hosting midshipmen from the Naval Academy. The squadron's commanding officer, Major Robert P. Keller, was summoned to headquarters in Hawaii where he met with then Colonel Victor Krulak. Krulak bluntly asked, "Major, are you ready to go to war?"

VMF-214 F4U-4Bs on the USS Sicily in late 1950Flying eight F4U-4B Corsairs on August 3, 1950, VMF-214 became the first Marine squadron to see action in Korea, when they launched from the USS Sicily (CVE-118) and executed a raid against enemy installations near Inchon. After the F4Us delivered their incendiary bombs and rockets, they followed up with a series of strafing runs. Flying from the USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116) and the USS Boxer (CV-21), the Black Sheep completed two combat tours in Korea. They participated in key battles, including the Inchon landing and the withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir. In these and others battles, they provided nearly continual air cover, interdicting supply and communication lines, and inflicting heavy damage on numerous ground emplacements, and enemy armor.

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