Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
This Skyhawk Association website page is posthumously dedicated to:
VMF-121 - 194?
Provided by John Gabbard
VMF-121 - 1951
Provided by John Gabbard
VMF-121 - 1951
Provided by John Gabbard
Drawn by Bud Southworth
Courtesy of John Resnowski
Provided by Lee-Jackson Militaria
Courtesy of William "Gunny" Ravgiala
Provided by John Gabbard
Drawn by Bud Southworth
The nuc theme was part of the original competition for the Squadron patch but never made the cut. 121 was the first Squadron, 58-59 to qual with the nuc delivery system and that was an interesting tour prior to the move to conventional weapons.
John Resnowski patch, Green Knights - 1960s
Bill "Jigger" Egen
W. L. "Moose" Tranor, Colonel, USMC (Ret.)
Gunny Rav USMC (Ret.) [William D. Ravgiala, Jr.]
James A. Coker
Green Knights - VK
24 JUN 1941 - VMF-121 Established
1969- - - - - Re-designated VMA(AW)-121
08 DEC 1989 - Re-designated VMFA(AW)-121
After WWII: - - - NAS Glenview, IL.
1951: - - - - - - MCAS El Toro, CA.
1957: - - - - - - MCAS El Toro, CA.
1969: - - - - - - MCAS Cherry Point, NC.
AUG 1994: - - - - MCAS Miramar, CA.
SEP 2012: - - - - MCAS Yuma, AZ
1941: - - - - - - F4F Wildcats
194x: - - - - - - F4U Corsairs
194x: - - - - - - F8F Bearcats
194x: - - - - - - AD Skyraiders
1957: - - - - - - F9F-8B Couger
10 October 1958 - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
12 April 1961 - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
05 April 1965- - - Douglas A4D-5 (A-4E) Skyhawk *
1969: - - - - - - A-6A Intruder
1989: - - - - - - F/A-18D Hornet
2012: - - - - - - F-35B
* November 30, 1962
The A4D-2 designation changed to A-4B
The A4D-2N designation changed to A-4C
The A4D-5 designation changed to A-4E
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
1941 - - - - - - - - - - - - 4x: - - Western Pacific
01 DEC 1966 to 03 JUN 1967 - - - - - Assigned to MAG-12, Chu Lai, Vietnam
04 JUN 1967 to 04 SEP 1967 - - - - - Redeployed to Iwakuni Japan
05 SEP 1967 to 31 JAN 1969 - - - - - Assigned to MAG-12, Chu Lai, Vietnam
1941-4x - - - - - - - Western Pacific WWII
1951 to 1957: - - - - Pyongtaek, ROK
1958: - - - - - - - - NAS Cecil Field
1959 to 1960: - - - - WestPac
1960 to 1961: - - - - WestPac
DEC 1966 to JUN 1967 - Chu Lai, Vietnam
JUN 1967 to SEP 1967 - MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
SEP 1967 to JAN 1969 - Chu Lai, Vietnam
199x: - - - - - - - - Desert Storm
24 JUN 1941: - - Major S.S. JACK
01 MAR 1942: - - Captain L.K. DAVIS
17 DEC 1942: - - 1st Lt. W.F. WILSON
13 MAR 1943: - - Major D.K. YOST
27 MAR 1943: - - Major J.N. RENNER
15 MAY 1943: - - Captain R.E. BRUCE
24 AUG 1943: - - 1st Lt. H.O. DEFRIES
25 OCT 1943: - - Captain O.B. NELSON
02 DEC 1943: - - Major W.J. MEYER
26 MAY 1945: - - Major C.B. WELSH
13 JUN 1945: - - Major R. TUCKER
01 AUG 1945: - - 1st Lt. R.M. LOUGHERY
01 JUL 1946: - - Major R.S. INGRAM
20 JAN 1948: - - Major R.L. BRYSON
20 APR 1951: - - Lt.Col. A.N. GORDON
19 NOV 1951: - - Major F.P. BARKER
01 DEC 1951: - - Lt. Col. P.B. MAY
15 MAR 1952: - - Lt. Col. W.A. HOUSTON
20 JUN 1952: - - Lt. Col. P.L. CRAWFORD
11 SEP 1952: - - Lt. Col. W.M. CARGILL
07 DEC 1952: - - Lt. Col. R.M. GURZENGA
01 MAR 1953: - - Lt. Col. J.E. HUGHES
21 APR 1953: - - Major R.L. BRAUN
16 JUN 1953: - - Lt. Col. H.B. PENNE
01 JAN 1954: - - Lt. Col. M.E. FLATER
31 MAR 1954: - - Lt. Col. V.H. HUDGINS
04 JUL 1954: - - Major E.K. GRISWOLD
23 JUL 1954: - - Lt. Col. L.E. BONISKE
13 JUN 1955: - - Lt. Col. W.H. RANKIN
01 MAY 1956: - - Lt. Col. E.J. DOYLE
01 SEP 1956: - - Major P.C. DELONG
23 SEP 1956: - - Lt. Col. E.J. DOYLE
02 OCT 1956: - - Major P.C. DELONG
12 OCT 1956: - - Major L.F. CHILDERS
02 DEC 1956: - - Major R.C. DELONG
22 APR 1957: - - Lt. Col. E.W KELLY
11 JUL 1957: - - Major W.D. WILCOX
16 NOV 1957: - - Lt. Col. W.G. JOHNSON
23 SEP 1958: - - Major J.E. DAVIS
10 OCT 1958: - - Lt. Col. T.J. SAXON JR
28 MAY 1960: - - Lt. Col. W.L. TRAYNOR
05 APR 1961: - - Lt. Col. R.E. NELSON
10 APR 1961: - - Lt. Col. R.F. SHIELDS
17 APR 1962: - - Lt. Col. L.M. MCKLESON
19 APR 1963: - - Lt. Col. W.E. SPARLING
00 MAR 1965: - - Lt. Col. H.G. ROBINSON
13 MAY 1966: - - Lt. Col. D.R. STIVER
17 MAR 1967: - - Major F.G. DAWSON (acting)
31 MAR 1967: - - Lt. Col. J.H. MCGEE
25 SEP 1967: - - Lt. Col. R.J. KERN
11 MAR 1968: - - Lt. Col. W.D. SHIPPEN
16 OCT 1968: - - Lt. Col. D.A. LERPS
14 FEB 1969: - - Lt. Col. E.E. JACOBSON JR.
03 JUN 1970: - - Lt. Col. T.P BAKER
11 JUN 1971: - - Lt. Col. E.A. BIRZER
14 JUN 1972: - - Lt. Col. M.T. FOUNTAIN JR.
13 JUN 1973: - - Major G.A. DAVIS
25 JUL 1974: - - Lt. Col. B.G. RUTLEDGE
05 AUG 1975: - - Lt. Col. E.P. CARROLL
18 NOV 1976: - - Lt. Col. J.P. FAULKNER
12 JUN 1978: - - Major W.T. ADAMS
31 AUG 1979: - - Lt. Col. N.E. EBLERT
25 NOV 1980: - - Lt. Col. J.M. WAGNER
15 APR 1982: - - Lt. Col. J.W. RIPPY
21 JUN 1983: - - Lt. Col. S.M. DAY
26 OCT 1984: - - Lt. Col. W.R. MCPHERSON
29 JUL 1986: - - Lt. Col. N.J. WESTON
01 APR 1988: - - Lt. Col. P.G. JACOBS
08 DEC 1989: - - Lt. Col. G.E. ADCOCK
24 SEP 1990: - - Lt. Col. S.F. MUGG
24 JAN 1992: - - Lt. Col. M.R. HUMBERD
01 JUL 1993: - - Lt. Col. D.J. BORJE
16 NOV 1994: - - Lt. Col. P.R. MORIARTY
29 MAR 1996: - - Lt. Col. W.C. MACAK
19 SEP 1997: - - Lt. Col. R.A. SIEGEL
19 MAY 1999: - - Lt. Col. M.L. SAWYERS
20 APR 2001: - - Lt. Col. D.C. MYERS
11 OCT 2002: - - Lt. Col. M. SHIHADEH
25 JUN 2004: - - Lt. Col. F.A. RICHIE
27 JAN 2006: - - Lt. Col. J.A. CRAF
07 DEC 2007: - - Lt. Col. M.T. PALMER
02 NOV 2010: - - Lt. Col. M. R. WATERMAN
28 SEP 2012: - - Lt. Col. J. B. SCOTT
?? SEP 2013: - - Lt, Col. S.E. GILLETTE
CNO Safety Award
Commandant's Efficiency Trophy
No further info.
WWII: Green Knights participated in combat operations as charter members of the "Cactus Air Force" in the Battle of Guadalcanal. The squadron flew from bases at Espirito Santo Island, Turtle Bay, Bougainville, and Emirau. The Squadron produced 14 Fighter Aces including Major Joseph J. Foss (Medal of Honor).
After WWII: Upon moving to NAS Glenview, IL, the unit was changed to VMA-121.
1958: First Marine squadron to be fully qualified in special weapons delivery.
First Marine squadron to win both the CNO Safety Award and the Commandant's Efficiency Trophy.
1959: (Possibly 30 April - A4D-2 BuNo 142856 & 142927)
I joined VMA 121 about Nov. of 1958 at El Toro . We were there for about (1) year and rotated to Iwakuni. We rotated back to the US from the Coral Sea about April of 61.
My name is James A. Coker PFC in VMA-121 from October 1958 'til we returned from the far east in early 1961. I was then assigned to MCAS Buford, SC in VMA-131 before I was discharged in November 1961.
Yes, we had two crashes actually. Lt Fisher landed too fast and ran off the end of the runway and dumped it in a ditch. The second, and the one you want was Fisher again and Capt. Kiley (not sure of the spelling). Kiley was working with Fisher trying to get him over the 1st crash so took him on a cross-country up to Ogden, Utah and back. When they got back to El Toro it was dark, the wx had set in and it was about 100 ft ceiling with tops above 10,000. Kiley's mistake was that instead of taking the lead and making the approach, he let Fisher lead while he flew wing. As they neared the ground Fisher did not keep his wings level and he started to drift off of glide slope. Kiley of course was just flying wing and not really checking his instruments. By the time he did it was too late and they hit the ground in a right wing low blow and blew up... They landed on the golf course there at El Toro. R.D. Rudy.
30 April 1959: Capt. Edward J. Kiely & 2nd Lt. Richard F. Fisher perished attempting an instrument landing (A4D-2 BuNo 142856 & 142927)
Deployed WestPac 1959 - 1960:
1960/1961: Embarked on Ticonderoga, Ranger, and Coral Sea.
October 20, 1960 & January 11, 1961: We lost two on the Coral Sea. Pete Maitland got a cold cat into the water during the carrier quals of VMA 324. He was on a maint hop with 9400 # of fuel, The ship was launching 324 with no more than 7300#. They launched him at the lower weight and put him in the drink.
1960: Two VMA-121 pilots were lost off the USS Coral Sea during training. Capt. Maitland was lost to a bad cat shot and Lt. Elder who never returned to the ship same time period. I received the information via snail mail in the form of emails thru the director of the Marine Corps University and others. I was a plane captain and on deck when Capt. Maitland was lost. Gunny Rav USMC (Ret.)
October 17, 1960: Capt. Pete Maitland was lost due to a bad cat shot in A4D-2 BuNo 145044. The best info I have is that he was loaded with 9400lb of fuel and got a stroke set at 7300lb. Bill Egen
October 20, 1960: FITCHBURG (MASS.) SENTINEL, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1960
January 11, 1961: While on a flight off USS Coral Sea, 1st Lt. Luis E. Elder reported mechanical trouble, ejected from A4D-2 BuNo 142924 180 miles south of Tokyo, Japan and was never found
July 19, 1962: 1stLt James Sauer in A-4C BuNo 148560 (VK-13) ran off the end of the runway and into the perimeter fence. He walked away and was embarrassed by the incident. Jim had to run from fire trucks dragging pieces of wire and fence at MCAS El Toro. The assumption was that the power handle was not fully retarded and the thrust was too much for the brakes.
November 1, 1962: Maj. William W. Bryant was the instructor pilot chasing Garrett McClanahan on a FAM flight on a VMA-121 deployment to MCAS Yuma. During the flight MAJ Bryant reported an engine fire and made a controlled ejection from A4D-2N BuNo 148561. The locals picked up MAJ Bryant who was fine and returned to duty. The A4-C glided into the All American irrigation canal north of Yuma and needed to be hoisted out of the water.
Novebmer 27, 1962: Capt John MacDonald Moore, TAD to Cecil Field during the Cuban Missile Crisis, perished in a night crash of A4D-2N BuNo 147713 near Palatka, FL.
December 7, 1963: Maj. Thomas S Oden perished in A4D-2N BuNo 147813 35 miles south-southwest of Gila Bend, AZ
1964-65: VMA-121 in Japan, VK-23 in-flight. Lynne Morrell
April 27, 1966: Capt. W. A. Wilson ejected successfully when his A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151094, deployed to MCAS Yuma from El Toro, CA, crashed and burned in the desert 21 miles NE of El Centro, CA.
Nov. 1966 - Jan. 1969: Bill "Jigger" Egen.
July of 1966: Replaced VMA-211 at Chu Lai, Vietnam per Sgt. Tom Pulliam. After six months of combat operations, the Squadron rotated back to Iwakuni, Japan and Naha Air Base, Okinawa before returning to Chu-Lai for another combat tour in 1968.
1967?: "I actually met Joe Foss back in DC many years ago. When I was just a wee lad I was given an old canvas bag (gas mask) that many years later I found out was from Joe Foss. He remembered giving the bag as a gift and we got a laugh out of it. It served in Vietnam with me and many other sojurns around the World. I still have that bag today and it still serves as my camera bag altough it’s a little worse for the wear… s/f -Dale Creek"
3 May 1967: A-4E BuNo 152055 was lost in a combat mid-flight refueling accident - Sieglinger survived."
1968 Chu Lai, Vietnam Statistics: Sorties flown = 18,690; Hours flown = 21,862.5; Ordanance delivered = 24,277 tons; * data does not include 1-15 OCT 68.
March 30, 1968: As a direct result of his courage: UNGAR, THOMAS D.
25 NOV 1966: Lost in combat was Capt C.N. Williams in A-4E BuNo 151123, while flying with VMA-223 as part of VMA-121 advanced party.
06 JAN 1967: Capt. Adams, flying A-4E BuNO 150036 was shot down. Capt. Adams was recovered.
14 JAN 1967: Capt. Frye, flying A-4E BuNO 150106 was shot down. Capt. Frye was recovered.
27 FEB 1967: Lost in combat was Capt H.J. Alwan, while flying A-4E BuNo 152051.
11 MAY 1967: Capt. G.R. Romano flying A-4E 150011 was Wounded In Action and recovered.
30 MAY 1967: Lost in combat was 1stLt. Michael Walter Thoennes, while flying A-4E BuNo 150032.
28 AUG 1967: Lost in combat was Maj. C.F. Wallace, in A-4E BuNo 150038 flying with VMA-211 as part of VMA-121 advanced party.
05 MAY 1968: 1st Lt. Aiton flying A-4E BuNo 151105 was shot down. Aiton was recovered.
09 MAY 1968: Maj. Tyrell flying A-4E BuNo 152092 was shot down. Maj. Tyrell was recovered.
09 JUN 1968: Lost in combat was 1stLt. Walter Schmidt, flying A-4E BuNo 151080.
22 JUN 1968: Maj. Ingraham was Wounded In Action, was able to land at Da nang.
27 JUL 1968: Lost in combat was Maj. Don Campbell, flying A-4E BuNo 151143.
26 SEP 1968: Lost in combat was Capt. Dale Luster, flying A-4E BuNo 150094 (2nd tour, 372 missions).
01 OCT 1968: 1st Lt. Bob Coop flying A-4E BuNo 151159 was involved in an aborted takeoff at Chu Lai. Aircraft was lost, but Coop escaped the burning a/c.
Squadron logo sign made by Ron Hamric. Provided by Ron Hamric.
1961: BuNo.148497 somewhere over Southern California in 1961 Photo by Maintenance Officer Capt. Peterson during a 2 ship flight. Provided by Ron Hamric.
26JUN61: MCAS El Toro on 6-26-61, flight of four VMA-121 A4D-2N (A-4C). BuNo.148474 is closest, 148475 top of 74, 1484x2 is leading and 14843x is trailing. Provided by Ron Hamric.
1961-62: Squadron Photo at NAS Fallon, Nevada.
1961-62: Squadron Photo at MCAS Yuma, Arizona. 1961-62 time period, photo from Ron Hamric.
1962: USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and CVG-15 (NL) aircraft sail under the Golden Gate bridge 1961-1962. The Air Group squadrons/aircraft were VF-151 Vigilantes (F3H-2 Demon), VA-152 Fighting Aces (AD-6 Skyraider), VA-153 Blue Tail Flies (A4D-2 Skyhawk), VF-154 Black Knights (F8U-1E Crusader), VA-155 Silver Foxes (A4D-2 Skyhawk), VMA-324 Devildogs (A4D-2 Skyhawk), VMA-121 Green Knights (A4D-2 Skyhawk), VAH-2 (A3D-2 Skywarrior), VFP-61 Det. D (F8U-1P Crusader), VAW-13 Zappers Det. D (WF-2 Tracer), HU-1 Pacific Fleet Angels Det. D (HUP-2 Retriever).
1963-65: 1963-1965 Cruise book. Dr. Lynn "MO" Morrell.
Circa 1964: Circa 1964: BuNo 147752 VK-12 on the ramp with VK-11. William D. Ravgiala, Jr.
Japan: VK-23 BuNo.145088 Somewhere in Japan. "Was going through some old slides from '121 in 1964-5 in Iwakuni. I gave my Minolta to one of our pilots and asked if he would take some pics for me. Many of these pics were in the yearbook --- this one is my favorite." MO - Paraloft. Provided by Dr. Lynn Morrell.
El Toro: VMA-121 Flight Line at MCAS EL Toro. BuNo.147819 and other A4D-2N Scooters. Provided by Ron Hamric.
23SEP68: A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 152099. A-4E BuNo. 152099, side number VK 18, of VMA-121 landing at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan on September 23, 1968. United States Ship America departed Yokosuka for the Tonkin Gulf combat station. This Skyhawk landed after America's planes took off from Atsugi to return to the America. Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa.
Cubi Point: VMA-121 at Cubi Point. Bill Ravgiala in Subic Bay - back row second from top left. Provided by W.D. (Bill) Ravgiala, Jr. GYSgt. USMC (Ret.)
1966-67: 1966-67 Cruise book. Jay Halstead.
1968: RVN 1968, Hot Pad load awaits take-off at Chu Lai. We Flew many of these exact loads during the siege at Khe Sanh.
Circa late 1980s: Bill Ravgiala in the late 80s as UH-1E Gunner. Bill Ravgiala served with VMA-121 1958-62 with service aboard the Ticonderoga, Ranger and Coral Sea. VMA-121 participated in the US Navy Marine Team Flying Brothers 1960. Provided by W.D. (Bill) Ravgiala, Jr. GYSgt. USMC (Ret.)
1959: Plane Captain Ravgiala, VMA-121, onboard the USNS Breton on their way to Iwakuni late 1959.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VMA-121.