VMB-611 Insignia



My dad was MtSgt. Lonnie Grady Lamon. Although I knew he served in the Pacific, I did not know much more than that until I started some research from his log book, and came on this site. Thanks to the work done here, I know so much more about his time in the Marines. Turns out that on the mission where Lieutenant Colonel Sarles was lost, that my dad was on one of the two planes in the first wave. I believe the pilot was Horton.

I have some photos obviously from the time the unit was in the Pacific. I will dig them out and send them in.

David Lamon

Added: November 13, 2009
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Thank you for the nice website. I recently found out during genealogy research that my husband's father (John "Jack" P. Foster)was in the Marines and was shot down during the war. There is an article titled "Impossible Escape..." by S/Sgt David C. Stephenson, USMC that describes what happened and how they survived. It also included a photo of 4 of the crew members. It would be a great addition to your site. Just wondering if there is an more information anyone could share with me about John "Jack" Foster. Thank you.

Added: September 20, 2009
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My dad was John Hilmer. He was an ordnance man-loading bombs,rockets and guns. I have some pictures and ship newspapers I would like to contribute. It is a wonderful site. Keep up the good work.

Added: July 8, 2009
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My father was part of the VMB-611 Sgt Elwyn W. Kerber. Unfourtunatly this wonderful man passed away on June 24th 2009. He is now at the Western Reserve National Cemetary in Ohio, with so many others. It's such an honor for him to be with everyone else. In turn, my son was on a delayed entry for the Marines and swore in the day of my fathers funeral. What a wonderful last hurrah for my dad, the circle will continue. And now my son is at boot camp at Parris Island.

Added: June 30, 2009
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Your site is great a lot of information, but I have question. My Father William E. Zane has a Air Medal and Citation which reads in part: "For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Bomber Plane in Marine Bomber Squadron 611 during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Philippine Islands, from 11 June to 28 July 1945. Completing his fifth mission during this period, Lieutenant Zane inflicted extensive damage on enemy installations and contributed to the success of his squadron." My question, is this the same bomber squadron? and if it is do you have any information on this battle.

Thank you,
Robin Gray

Added: June 7, 2009
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I am the grandson of Thomas L Hamby, SR. My grandfather always called me Magoo. When I was first born I was bald and wrinkled. He looked at me and said, "he looks just like old man Mister Magoo!" That nickname has stuck with me for 43 years so far.

I am truly grateful for this website. I miss my grandfather and visiting this website has really meant alot to me.

I want to share a short story.

One afternoon (well before digital television and dvds) my grandfather and I were watching the movie "In Harm's Way" on television.

There is a scene about 2 hours into the movie where Kirk Douglas takes off in a PBJ. My grandfather looked at me and said, "Well, I'll be damned! That's my plane!"

I love my grandfather and have always known him to be an honest man...but this seemed a little hard to believe. The #8 was visible on the B25 but nothing else.

Years later - my grandfather had since passed away - "In Harm's Way" was on TCM (Turner Classic Movies). My wife Lori and I decided to watch it. I mentioned to Lori how my grandfather had claimed that the PBJ we see Kirk Douglas fly was the same plane he had flown in World War II. We both chuckled and continued watching the movie.

At precisely 2 hours and 10 minutes into the movie both of our jaws dropped to the floor!

VMB 611 was now easily visible on the #8 PBJ.

Seeing the VMB 611 on both sides of the tail section in that scene sent chills up and down my spine. My grandfather was right!

Thank you for listening to my short story.

Semper Fi!

David Hunt (Magoo)

Added: June 1, 2009
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My Grandfather was T. SGT John G. Holm Navigator/ Bombradier. I grew up with stories upon stories about the war, I loved those stories. Many years have gone by, and a few years back he passed away. Now I am trying to find out every little detail, before that becomes entirely impossible. I am trying to document as much as possible, so if anyone has anything they could add please drop me a letter @ Ezdelaft@gmail.com

Added: April 7, 2009
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Mary, my father was trained by your father at Zamboanga. I am so happy to find your note about your father. For over a year, after learning about the significance of James Murphy in my fathers work in the Marine Corps, I have been proud and thankful my father knew your father, and wondered how to get in touch with any of his relatives.

My father, M/T Sgt Francis Eugene Thompson transferred to VMB 611 on May 25, 1945 as a radio-gunner. He had "washed out" of enlisted pilot school, but did have some basic navigation training. Within a few days, after the terrible additional squadron losses of Lt. Col Sarles, Lt. Doit Fish and most of their aircrews, my father was taken under wing by James Murphy (and possibly others?) and right there in Zamboanga taught the basics of Navigation in the first weeks of June, 1945. Mary, your father accompanied and instructed my father on several flights. Dad quickly became by their kindness and diligence, and by the seat of his pants a Navigator Bombardier for the remaining time the unit was active.

My father thought highly of James Murphy and others he worked with. It was their training that made it possible for him after the war to earn Navigator wings, and then fly as a Marine Navigator during the Korean war. During part of that time, in about 1952, in Japan my father "roomed" with James Murphy and they flew probably in the same transport squadron (I have a photograph to share of your father, Mary!).

My father passed on 20 years ago, and very little was passed down to myself or my sister. But in the last year, starting with finding Dave Fishs' moving tribute to his father on the web, and from a photograph inscribed VMB-611, and "our crew at Zamboanga", I have learned so much. I've learned about the members and work of this squadron from Dave, from Ray Perrys wonderful book, and most wonderfully from letters and conversations with a number of living squadron members too. I feel I have just scratched the surface but now have a very clear sense of the magnitude and importance of the work and sacrifices of all these men.

This web site and this Squadron Log Book are so very important. Especially for those of us children and grandchildren of VMB611 veterans. Most of us grew up with little or no discussion of these events or of these men. Those of us whose fathers passed years ago or before we were born have often not even known about reunions until it has become almost too late. Some of us intend to remind others for the rest of our lives of the sacrifices so many of you squadron members made more than sixty years ago so that we and all future generations could live free. Meeting and sharing with other children of the squadron can only increase our appreciation of what you -our parents- have done for us. And veterans, I hope every living member of VMB611 will check into this ready room, and contribute.

My everlasting thanks to Dave Fish and all who have contributed to the creation of this wonderful, important living history site.

Added: April 3, 2009
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To All who've taken time to set up this site in honor of the men of VMB-611, I Thank You for your kindness, dedication & respect to all these men!

My father was James A Murphy, a navigator/bombardier/nose gunner with VMB-611. I too, as Debra Yancey was born at Cherry Point, NC, 1 of 5 children. Dad began with the Army Air Corps in 1941 and after 1 year switched over to the Marine Corps, retiring in 1971. Sadly, we lost dad to cancer in 1979 at age, 58. Dad's entire time was served as a navigator in the Corps. He too, was a quiet man & spoke little of his service duties. He loved his country, and served it with dignity & honor.

This site has given me insight into what they did & the dangers they faced for us. May God Bless Them All for their unselfish sacrifices. For without these men, as well as all other servicemen, our Freedom would not exist. My gratitude to these men and all of our soldiers, past & present, will never fade, nor be forgotten. You're in my prayers now & always. Semper Fi. Thank You Robert Yanacek & David Fish!

In Loving Memory of James A Murphy - Your daughter, Mary

Added: March 27, 2009
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Thank You for bringing to life the service of my Father(CPL.Thomas J. Birney). The stories now come to a reality of what brave men and women like my Father and now my Nephew,Lance Cpl.Ryan J. Birney are doing and have done for this great country of ours.May all that have fallen in battle be given a special place in Heaven.

Added: March 8, 2009
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Squadron Log Book provided courtesy of PHP Junkyard