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VMF-124 Whistling Death
VMF-124 Whistling Death
VMF-124 - Date Unknown
Provided by John Gabbard
VMA-124 Bantam Bombers
Courtesy J. Baldwin Jr.
Courtesy J. Baldwin Jr.
Provided by Jimmy R. Little
VMA-124 Whistling Death A-4M
No info yet
Jimmy R. Little
Joe Baldwin Jr.
David Hallin, Colonel, USMCR (Ret.)
No info yet
7 Sep. 1942 ------ Camp Kearney, CA
11 Feb. 1943 ----- Quadalanal
?? Jun. 1943 ----- Espritu Santo
?? Aug. 1943 ----- Munda
?? Jul. 1943 ----- Quadalanal
07 Sep. 1943 ----- Espritu Santo
12 Oct. 1943 ----- Mojava, CA
25 Sep. 1944 ----- Ewa
?? May 1943 ------ Mojava, CA
1945 ------------- NAS Memphis, TN
???? ------------- North American SNJ (AT-6)
???? ------------- Grumman F4F "Wildcat"
26 Oct 1942 ------ Vought/Goodyear F4U-1 F4U-4 "Corsair"
???? ------------- Grumman F6F "Hellcat"
???? ------------- Grumman F8F - "Bearcat"
???? ------------- Beachcraft SNB (C-45)
???? ------------- Grumman F9F "Cougar"
???? ------------- Lockheed Y-33 (T-2V) "Seafire"
???? ------------- North American T-28 "Trojan"
???? ------------- North American FJ-4 (AF-1E) "Fury"
19?? ------------- F4U Corsair
1979 ------------- A-4E with Memphis markings sighted.
15 May 1999 ------ Douglas A-4M Skyhawk
???? ------------- McDonnell/Douglas F/A-18 "Hornet"
MAG-42 Det B Memphis
10 August 1989 --- Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk
21 June 1989 ----- A-4M Douglas Skyhawk
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
Date Tail code Air Wing
19??: QP VMA-124
08/22/43 - 09/07/43: - CVG-5 - - CV 10 - TBF-1 -- Pacific
Dates of Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
07 Sep 1942 - 13 May 1943 -- Maj William B. Gise
07 Sep 1942 - 13 May 1943 -- Capt Cecil B. Brewer
14 Jul 1943 - 23 Mar 1945 -- LtCol William A. Millington
24 Jul 1945 - 31 Jan 1946 -- Maj James M. Johnson
01 Feb 1946 - 17 Nov 1947 -- LtCol Horace A Pehl
18 Nov 1947 - 23 Jan 1948 -- Maj William H. Grozier, Jr.
31 Jan 1948 - 23 Jan 1952 -- LtCol Horace A Pehl
24 Jan 1952 - 22 Apr 1952 -- Maj Max H. Harper
23 Apr 1952 - 18 May 1953 -- LtCol Everett E. Munn
19 May 1953 - 01 Feb 1956 -- LtCol James W. Long
02 Feb 1956 - 23 May 1958 -- LtCol James H. Clouse
24 May 1958 - 15 Jul 1960 -- Maj Max L. Dean
16 Jul 1960 - 31 Dec 1963 -- Maj Wilzie E. Cooley
01 Jan 1964 - 27 Aug 1965 -- LtCol Hugh D. McQuillan
28 Aug 1965 - 07 Dec 1965 -- LtCol Hugh E. Hollon, Jr.
00 Dec 1965 - 05 Nov 1966 -- Maj Wilzie E. Cooley
06 Nov 1966 - 31 Oct 1967 -- LtCol Hugh E. Hollon, Jr.
01 Nov 1967 - 31 Oct 1969 -- Maj John T. Downer
01 Nov 1969 - 01 Mar 1971 -- Maj Robert T. Abernathy, III
01 Mar 1971 - 05 Nov 1972 -- LtCol John R. Niemann
06 Nov 1972 - 04 Dec 1974 -- Maj Mitchell C. Drury
05 Dec 1974 - 31 Dec 1976 -- LtCol Harold W. Robbins
01 Jan 1977 - 15 Jan 1978 - Lt.Col. Joseph Baldwin
16 Jan 1978 - 08 Sep 1979 -- LtCol Bobby G. Downing
09 Sep 1979 - 10 Oct 1981 -- LtCol Joseph W. Massenburg
11 Oct 1981 - 09 Mar 1984 -- LtCol Robert G. Kissling
10 Mar 1984 - 30 Nov 1984 -- LtCol David A. Marshall
01 Dec 1984 - 27 Jun 1987 -- LtCol David A. Hallin
27 Jun 1987 - 23 Sep 1988 -- LtCol Wayne F. Marshall
23 Sep 1988 - 19 Aug 1989 -- LtCol Jackie C. Johnson
19 Aug 1989 - 17 Aug 1991 -- LtCol Richard F. Travis
17 Aug 1991 - ??????????? -- LtCol Thomas C. Wagner, II
Award - - - - - - - - - Inclusive Dates:
Medal of Honor - 1stLt Kenneth Walsh - VMF-124 Fighting Ace
Presidential Unit Citation - WWII - USS Essex - 1945
American Campaign Streamer with one silver and one bronze star
WWII Victory Streamer
National Defense Service Streamer with one bronze star
Philippine Liberation Streamer
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Streamer
Meritorious Unit Citation 1980 - 1982
The "Herman Ridder" Trophy 1969 & 1982
Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award 1980 & 1982
Marine Air Reserve Trophy 1980
The "Pete Ross" Safety Award
USMC Aviation Unit Safety Award 20,000 Mishap free flight Hours 1989
7 September, 1942: Marine Fighter Squadron 124 was formed at Camp Kearney, CA.
26 October, 1942: With the delivery of the F4U Corsairs, VMF-124 became the first Marine fighter squadron equipped with the Corsair to use them in combat.
8 January, 1943: The main body of VMF-124 departed San Diego, CA.
11 February, 1943: After staging through Noumea and Efate, the squadron raced to Quadalcanal.
June 1943: Te squadron transferred to Espititu Santo where the were joined by new CO Major William A. Millington, USMC.
Late July, 1943: The squadron returned to Quadalcanal for another tour.
August, 1943: The squadron provided Combat Air Patrol from Munda to cover the landing at Volla Lavalle. It was the first squadron to operate from this field. It was also during this period that 1stLt Kenneth Walsh shot down his 17th Japanese aircraft and was awarded the Medal of Honor.
VMF-124 was the original F4U Corsair squadron and was the first to operate the F4U against the Japanese at Guadalcanal.
7 September, 1943: The squadron returned to Espritu Santo and two weeks later flight and ground exelons sailed for the United States, arriving on 12 October at Mojave, CA for reforming.
18 September, 1944: VMF-124 departed San Diego, CA, arrivinf at Ewa a week later. During October and November the squadron participated daily in close-support missions with the Marine divisions in the area.
28 December, 1944: VMF-124 went aboardd USS Essex for duty. VMA-124, the first F4U squadron to operate from a carrier in WW-II, along with VMF-213, were the first Marine squadrons to go into combat from an Essex-type carrier. As part of the air group they supported the Lingayen Operation by pre-invasion strikes on Luzon and strikes on Indo-China during and after the Lingayen landings.
3 January 1945: Major Millington led the first carrier-based Marine fighter squadron into action over airfields in South-central Formosa.
20 January, 1945: While on Combat Air Patrol in the Saigon Islands and South Formosa areas, VMF-124 pilots shot down five Japanese bombers with no loses to the squadron.
February, 1945: The squadron participated in the landing on Iwo Jima. From H minus 45 to H minus 35, the planes dropped napalm, fired rockets, and strafed. They shot down five enemy aircraft, to bring the total for the war to 78 destroyed in the air.
The CO, William Millington, became the first Marine to be a Carrier Air Group Commander after the assigned CAG was killed.
24 March, 1945: VMF-124 received orders to return to the United States for retraining.
May, 1945: With the squadron at Mojave, CA, training for carrier duty was underway with emphasis on close air support of ground troops, when WWII hostilities ceased.
February, 1946: VMF-124 was reformed as a reserve squadron at the NAS Memphis, TN. LtCol. Hoarce A Pehl, USMR, was assigned as CO. The squadron was the first in post WWII to reach full complement in the Marine Air Reserve Training Command.
October, 1951: VMF-124 was alerted for the Korean emergency, and in January, 1952 the officers and men were transfered to MCAS Cherry Point, NC and were assigned to other Marine Aviation units there.
In the early sixties, VMA-124 received the North American FJ-4 "Fury" and deploye with them and the AF-1E Variant to MCAS Cherry Point. NC, MCAS Yuma, AZ, NAS New Orleans and took part in the North American Air Defense Command Exercises in Wisconsin. During this period, VMF-124 provided pilots and ground support personnel to form the nucleus of VMF-221 which was relocated to NAS Memphis from St. Louis, MO.
June 1964: VMF-124 participated in the Marine Reserve Air-Ground Exercise "Operation Copperhead" at Camp Lejune, NC.
Spring 1965: VMF-124 made the switch from AF-1Es to the A-4A "Skyhawk".
June 1965: VMF-124 was re-designated a Marine Attack squadron - VMA-124.
October 3, 1965: 1st Lt. Richard Elliot "Dick" Overman ejected from A-4B BuNo 144973 following a collision with A-4B BuNo 142898 flown by Maj. H.L. Jackson (who also ejected) 20 miles south of Henderson, TN on 3 October 1965. Two Marine Reservists parachuted safely Sunday when their planes collided about three mile NE of Henderson, TN. The planes crashed to earth in rural Chester County near Jack's Creek. The Capital Times, Monday, October 4, 1965.
January to March, 1966: VMA-124 provided personnel for MABS-41.
Summer, 1966: VMA-124 under the command of LtCol. Wilzie E. Cooley was the first Marine reserve squadron to fire a Shrike and a Sidewinder at MCAS Yuma, AZ.
November 5, 1966: LCol. Wilzie Eston Cooley, 44, VMA-124 CO, was killed Saturday when his Marine A-4B Skyhawk (BuNo 142699) crashed shortly after takeoff in a wooded area two miles south of Munford, TN and exploded. Cooley was part of a flight of three planes which had taken off from NAS Millington. Flying with him when he crashed were Capts. J.W. Massenburg and R.F. Leftwich. The Jackson Sun, Sunday, November 6, 1966. LCol. Wilzie Eston Cooley, 44, VMA-124 CO, was killed Saturday when his Marine A-4B Skyhawk crashed shortly after takeoff from NAS Millington in a wooded area south of Munford, TN and exploded. Cooley, an Athens, AL, business man, commanded 200 officers and men of VMA-124. Kingsport News, Monday, November 7, 1966.
VMA-124 was the first Marine Reserve Squadron to deploy with the Shrike missle flown out of MCAS Yuma and fired at targets at NAF China Lake, CA.
VMA-124 was the first Marine Reserve Squadron to qualify in air-to-air refueling from the US Air Force KA-10.
August 14, 1979: As a member of VMA-124, Major David A. Hallin ejected from an A4E (most likely BuNo 151087)on August 14, 1979 near NAS Memphis, TN due to an APC engine shutdown.
1980-1981: VMA-124 was the first Marine Reserve Squadron to receive three safety/performance awards, the Marine Air Reserve Trophy, the "Herman Ridder" Trophy, the CNO's Safety and due to this achievement were subsequently awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation.
VMA-124 was tasked with supporting most successfully many interesting operations and exercises: the following is a list of the more prominent ones:
1973: Under the command of Majr Mitch Drury, VMA-124, VMA-142, and supporting units deployed to NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.
1979: Under the command of LtCol. Bobby C Downing, VMA-124 participated in operation "Red Flag" exercise at Nellis AFB, NV.
October 21, 1981: Capt. David M. McKee (Reserve) flying out of Patrick AFB was killed when he crashed near the 100,000 acre Avon Park Bombing and Gunnery Range about 60 mile NW of Lake Okeechobee. The jet was flying with one other Skyhawk and a Patrick FAC. McKee's Skyhawk dropped its practice bombs on the targets marked by the FAC and as it began to pull out of its low-altitude bombing pattern it veered off to one side and crashed immediately. Florida Today, Thursday, 22 October 1981. Capt. David Michael “Gnat” McKee was killed on impact when his aircraft struck some trees while on a low angle bombing run, Avon Park Range, FL. 4th MAW MAG-42 A-4E BuNo 151990 was destroyed at Florida when aircraft struck trees during bombing run, 21 October 1981. Pilot fatal. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
1982: Under the command of LtCol. Robert G. Lissling, VMA-124 and VMA-134 participated in NATO exercises, operations "Bold Guard" and "Northern Wedding" and were deployed to the Royal Danish Air Force Base at Aalborg, Denmark which required very tedious in-flight refueling evolutions in crossing the north Atlantic.
1983: Under the command of LtCol. Robert G. Kissling, VMA-124 was involved in an exercise with RCAF unita at CFB Bagotsville, Quebec, Canada.
September 15, 1983: Maj. Wayne Marshall ejected safely after an engine failure on a low level training route about 120NM NE of NAS Memphis. From Vince Massimini. I [David Hallin, Colonel, USMCR (Ret.)] was on the accident investigation team and recall that some rags were found in the fuel tank which, we theorized, must have clogged the fuel intake in the tank resulting in fuel starvation. The rags had to have been there since the previous depot visit. We found no other probable cause that I recall. Aircraft Maintenance decided that VMA-124 would not assign the number 12 as a side number after that. Marshall was by himself on that flight and it was also decided that low level missions should always be a section. 4th MAW, MAG-42, Det B, Memphis was destroyed at Tennessee when aircraft crashed into ground following engine flameout. 15 September 1983. Pilot safely ejected. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
1984: Under the command of LtCol. Dvid Marshall, the squadron again participated in joint exercises with RAF unita at CFB Chatnam, New Brunswick, Canada.
1985: Under the command of LtCol. David A. Hallin, VMA-124 particiated in two operations with the Air Forca called "Border Star" at Canon AFB, NM and "Bold Eagle" at McDill AFB, FL. The squadron also provided air support for CAX 8-85, a joint air/ground combat exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) 29 Palms, CA. Though this exercise was conducted under the most austere conditions, a very high morale was maintained and the squadron was most successful in carrying out its mission.
1986: VMA-124 celebrated its 40th year of being stationed at NAS Memphis, TN.
1987: Under the command of LtCol. David A Hallin, VMA-124 participated in the joint air/ground exercise "Pinnicle Control" in Utah, with the fixed wing elements based at Mountain Home AFR, Idaho.
1988: LtCol. Wayne Marshall commanded VMA-124 thru a successful Commanding General's Inspection, several deployments and participated in an exercise at Davis-Mothn AFB, Tucson, AZ.
1989: Under the command of LtCol. Jackie Jackson, VMA-124 participated in an extensive training MCCREES at NAS Fallon, NV and provided support for several deployments.
1989-1991: LtCol. Richard Tavis commanded VMA-124 thru three deployments at Tyndall AFB, FL providing advisory support for Air Force ACM training. The squadron provided air support for CAX 8-90 at MCAGCC 29 Palms, CA and deployed tp Patrick AFB, FL to conduct air-to-ground training.
1991-1992: With LtCol. Craig Wagner II at the helm, the squadron deployed again to Tyndall AFB, FL and NAS Key West, FL providing training support for US Air Force F-15s andMarine F-18s. In January 1992, VMA-124 was the subject ofa MCREES at MCAS Yuma, AZ and was highly successful, receiving high marks from inspectors for their performance in the intensive, highly stressed exercise.VMA-124 continues the proud tradition that began in 1942 with VMF-124. Celebrating 50 years of service 18 September 1992, VMA-124, Marine Aircraft Group 41, Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, PMF, USMCR, continues as a talented, dedicated, professional body of Marines that have pride in their abilities, accomplishments and heritage, still a viable and vital part of Marine Aviation as they continue their march into the next half century.
VMA-124 was also the last A4 squadron in the Naval Service and it had the last A4 off the assembly line (BuNo 160264).
VMA-124 flying A-4M Skyhawks, reserve unit of MAG-42, 4th Marine Air Wing.
BuNo.160036 (A-4M) is stationed with "MAG-42 Detachment Memphis" on 17 April 1987.
May 15, 1989: Capt. Frank (Franco?) Harris from MAG 42, Det. B, at NAS Memphis, TN ejected and was uninjured when his USMC A-4 (BuNo 160251) crashed on Brewer Mountain about 20 miles NW of Heber Spring, AR Monday while on a local training flight. European Stars and Stripes, Wednesday, May 17, 1989. Ejected after loosing control of the aircraft due to a slat induced departure (asymmetric slat extension or stuck (out) slat). Rodney P. Panter. 4th MAW, MAG-42, Det. B, Memphis, A-4M BuNo 160251 was destroyed at Arkansas when pilot lost control during 1V1 ACM sortie and ejected. 15 May 1989. 0 fatalities. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
Webmaster note: Prior to 1970, reserve aircraft belonged to the local NARTU or Reserve Naval Air Station. Except for those squadrons on active duty, as in Korea, no reserve squadron "owned" their aircraft, as they were assigned to the NARTU/Station. In 1970, during that reorganization of the reserves into the "Reserve Force" concept, each new squadron was made independent of NARTU (later called NAR), and assigned either to CVWR-20 or CVWR-30. All squadrons were then made in the image of active duty units, with the reserve unit Commanding Officer owning the aircraft and reporting to the CAG.
1970s: BuNo 149977 in-flight. Joe Baldwind Jr.
1973: BuNo 145121, QP-100, parked on the ramp. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
1973: BuNo 150593, QP-101, parked on the line. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
19 MAY 1973: VMA-124 BuNo 145076 at Offutt AFB. At right is UASAF MAC C-141C Starlifter s/n 66-0177. P. Stevens photo, from Gary Verver.
JUN 1975: BuNo 145121, QP-100, parked on the ramp at NAS Memphis. Rob Mignard.
03 JUL 1977: Right rear view of VMA-124 Whistling Death A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 152098, QP-00, Tennessee Traveler, on the ramp, Richards-Gebour AFB, 03 July 1977. Name below the canopy is LTCOL BJ Palmer. Copyright R.W. Harrison.
1977-1979 VMA-124 Whistling Death A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151087, QP-12, "Tennessee Traveller" in-flight with a SHRIKE missile. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1979: VMA-124, BuNo 152098, on the ramp.
OCT79 VMA-124 Bantam Bombers Skyhawk BuNo 148602, QP-104, resting in the Arizona sunshine. Gary Verver Collection.
VMA-124 QP-8, BuNo 151193, on the ramp.
BuNo 150110, VMA-124 QP-6, on the ramp.
1980s: BuNo 151087, QP-10, on the flight line with a pair of drop tanks. Gary Verver Collection.
BuNo 151087, QP-10, on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
May 1980: BuNo.150007 Whistling Death Skyhawk, QP-3, in one of the better looking Lo-vis paint schemes. Gary Verver Collection.
15JUN80: BuNo 150076, QP-5, on the ramp with a centerline drop tank. Photo by C. Gerdes, G. Verver collection.
09OCT80: Right front view of VMA-124 Whistling Death A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151050, QP-7, on the flight line with some vertical stab. and nose damage, 09 October 1980. At right is VMA-124 A-4E BuNo 150110. Gary Verver Collection.
NOV80: Whistling Death Skyhawk BuNo 151193, QP-8, on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
Nov 1980: BuNo 152098, QP-12, on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
Nov 1980: BuNo 154297, QP-14, parked on the ramp with a pair of drop tanks. Gary Verver Collection.
Aug 1981: BuNo 160027, WE-22, parked on the ramp with a pair of drop tanks. Gary Verver Collection.
Aug 1984: BuNo 151050, QP-7, on the flight line. Photo by W. Hartman, Gary Verver Collection.
AUG 1984: VMA-124 Whistling Death TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 153671, QP-21, on the ramp in a lo-vis paint scheme, location unknown. Photo by Y. Richard.
Aug 1984: BuNo 152004, QP-11, parked on the flight. Gary Verver Collection.
Aug 1984 BuNo 149651, QP-1, parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
07 DEC 1985: VMA-124 A-4E BuNo 152004 taxing. Gary Verver Collection.
17 May 1986: left rearview of Bantam Bombers A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151050, QP-7, parked on the O'Hare airport, Chicago, IL. ramp. Photographer unknown.
17 May 1986: VMA-124 Whistling Death A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151050, QP-7, in a lo-vis grey paint scheme and VT-22 Golden Eagles TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 158085, #275, in its Diamond Anniversary paint scheme on the ramp at Chicago O'Hare. Photographer unknown.
17MAY86: Left front view of VMA-124 Bantam Bombers A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151050, QP-7, parked on the Chicago O'Hare ramp. Leonard Lundh.
1987: VMA-124 A-4E Skyhawk. "Whistling Death" A-4E BuNo. 150087, side number Quebec Papa-09, of VMA-124, from Naval Air Station Memphis, as viewed at a May 1987 Dobbins Air Force Base airshow static display. The "Whistling Death" were among the last tactical users of the "Echo" Skyhawk model, transitioning straight to the A-4M immediately after this photo was taken. Photo by Frank J. Mirande.
A-4M BuNo.158430 QP-00, on display at an open house. Wynn Foster (Captain Hook).
DEC88: Whistling Death Visits Atlanta. A-4M BuNo. 160251, side number Quebec Papa 04, of VMA-124 "Whistling Death" (Marine Reserve), from Naval Air Station Memphis, at Naval Air Station Atlanta in December, 1988. Aircraft is finished in Tactical Paint Scheme. Photo by Frank J. Mirande.
Whistling Death Skyhawks. Two VMA-124, A-4M Skyhawks on the flight line. Photo by Jimmy R. Little.
Whistling Death Change of Command. VMA-124 troops form for the Change of Command at Naval Air Station Memphis. Squadron A-4M Skyhawks in the background. Photo by Jimmy R. Little.
Pass in Review. The Marine Band leads the pass in review at the Change of Command at Naval Air Station Memphis. Squadron A-4M Skyhawks in the background. Photo by Jimmy R. Little.
VMA-124 A-4M and TA-4J on the Flightline Whistling Death A-4M & TA-4J Skyhawks. Photo by Jimmy R. Little.
01AUG89: BuNo 160249, QP-18 from Marine Attack Squadron 124 (Whistling Death) comes in for a landing at NAS Oceana. U.S. Navy photo DN-ST-89-11142, PH2 Trombecky.
BuNo 154297, QP-14, parked on the ramp with a pair of drop tanks. Gary Verver Collection.
27 May 1993: left front view of VMA-124 Whistling Death A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 158430, QP-00, on the ramp at NAS Memphis. Name below the canopy is LTCOL "Wags" Wagner. Photo by W. Munzenmaier.
27 MAY 1993:
SEP 1994: Left front view of VMA-124 Whistling Death A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 160264, QP-00, on the MCAS El Toro ramp, September 1994. Name below the canopy rail looks to be LTCOL Creston and on the nose gear door p/c SGT Weldon Croft. S.P. Albright.
SEP 1994: left side close-up view of Whistling Death insignia on Skyhawk BuNo 160264, QP-00, parked on the El Toro ramp. S.P. Albright.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VMA-124:
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to MAG-42 Det B Memphis: