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Histories for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 (VMFA-232)

Red Devil History
Over half a century ago, VMFA-232 began building it's history and traditions. On the morning of 1 September 1925, 2nd Lt Clayton 0. Jerome took to the air in a single engine bi-winged "Jenny". The insignia depicted on the side of the "Jenny" is the same devil we portray today. The squadron, VF-3M was known as the Red Devils. After it's commissioning in 1925, the Red Devils left the U.S. for the Orient. 1927 found the Red Devils dominating the skies over Shanghai as the Civil War raged in China, winning their first unit decorations. As the years passed the designations changed and the planes varied. 1928 found the Red Devils designated VF-6M, 1930 VF-10 flying F6C's and 1933 redesignated VB-4M. In 1941, the Red Devils became VMAB-232 and the first to fight. The Japanese that found Hawaii on December 7th, also found the Red Devils. After the loss of 19 planes the Red Devils picked up rifles and helped defend the island of Wake. All were killed or captured. Back in the skies in the Douglas SBD-3 the Red Devils started back on the road from Hawaii that would lead to the defeat of the Japanese empire. The Red Devils were the first Marine dive bomber squadron to fly against the Japanese at Guadalcanal. In VMTD-232, with TFB*s, the Red Devils participated in operations in the Eastern Solomons, Wake, Cape Esperance, Vella Levella, Bougainville, and Okinawa. With WW II over the Red Devils became a reserve squadron to be called back to active duty in 1950. 1954 found the Red Devils in Hawaii flying the F-J ?Furry", and the F-8B "Crusader" in 1959, As the sole defenders of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, VMF (AW) 232 prepared to go to war in 1965. November of 1966, saw the Red Devils dominating the skies of Vietnam. We stayed on the line for 290 days, flying 5,500 combat sorties and dropping 12 million rounds of ordnance. On 19 September 1967, VMPA-232 painted the Devil on the side of theF-4J Phantom II. In March of 1969, the Red Devils returned to Vietnam for their second combat tour. The Red Devils, for the first time in history, were found to be "last" on 1 September 1973. VMFA-232 was the last Marine combat squadron to leave the Indochina War. Returning to Iwakuni Japan to stand as a force in readiness. 1977 found the Red Devils returning to Hawaii to become a part of the First Marine Brigade, only to rotate back to Iwakuni for six months in 1978. From the canvas-skinned "Jenny" to the modem-day "Phantom II", from leather helmets and scarfs to twice the speed of sound, through war and peace the Red Devils are FIRST TO FIGHT.

Posted by Jason Mcmanus
May 07 2002 03:03:57:000PM

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