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DEC, 1944 from John Gabbard
Drawn by Bud Southworth
First patch from December 1, 1944 National Geographic Society magazine
"IN HOC SIGNO VINCES" is a Latin phrase meaning "in this sign you shall conquer."
Mark A. Magruder, son of Col. Magruder
Ed "Mofak" Cathcart
J. Bruce Hess
Anna Doswell Easton, daughter of Lt.Col. James Temple Doswell II USMC (ret.)
Black Mac's Killers (Call Sign "Scrappers")
01 OCT 1943:- - Marine Night Fighter Squadron 533 (VMF(N)-533) established at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.
MAY 1953: - - - Marine Night Fighter Squadron 533 was redesignated Marine Fighter Squadron 533 (VMF-533).
1959: - - - - - Re-designated Marine Attack Squadron VMA-533.
DEC 1965: - - - Re-designated Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 533 (VMA(AW)-533).
SEP 1992: - - - VMA(AW)-533 was re-designated Marine All Weather Strike Fighter Squadron 533 (VMFA(AW)-533).
01 OCT 1944: Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.
07 DEC 1992: MCAS Beaufort
1960-64: Tail Code = ED
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
01 OCT 1943: - - - Grumman F6F-3N Hellcat
DEC 1945:- - - - - Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat
MAY 1953:- - - - - McDonnald F2H-4 Banshee
MAY 1957:- - - - - Grumman F9F-8 Cougar
19 AUG 1959: - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
30 June 1959:- - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
01 July 1965: - - - Grumman A-6A Intruder
* November 30, 1962
The A4D-2 designation changed to A-4B
The A4D-2N designation changed to A-4C
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
10 MAY 1945 to OCT 1945: - - - MAG-31 - Grumman F6F-3N Hellcats - Yontan Airfield, Okinawa
OCT 1945 to JAN 1947:- - - - - MAG-24 - Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat - Peiping, China
195x:- - - - - - - - - - - - - USS Bennington
195x:- - - - - - - - - - - - - USS Franklin D. Roosevelt
195x:- - - - - - - - - - - - - USS Saratoga
APR 1967 to October 5, 1969: - MAW-1 - - Grumman A-6A Intruder - - Chu Lai, Vietnam
01 OCT 1943 to 07 JUL 1945: Lt.Col. Marion M. Magruder
08 JUL 1945 to 16 AUG 1945: Major Samuel B. Folsom, Jr.
17 AUG 1945 to 26 MAY 1946: Major Robert P. Keller
27 MAY 1946 to 04 SEP 1946: Major Jack C. Scott
05 sEP 1946 to 10 MAY 1948: Lt.Col. Alfred N. Gordon
11 MAY 1948 to 03 MAY 1949: Major Robert F. Flaherty
04 MAY 1949 to 04 JUL 1950: Major Boyd C. McElhany, Jr.
05 JUL 1950 to 25 JUN 1951: Lt.Col. John R. Bohnet
26 JUN 1951 to 02 JAN 1952: Lt.Col. Harold G. Schlendering
08 JAN 1952 to 11 FEB 1952: Major Gordon E. Gray
12 FEB 1952 to 02 APR 1953: Major Richard W. Batdorff
03 APR 1953 to 01 DEC 1953: Lt.Col. William J. Sims
02 DEC 1953 to 15 JAN 1954: Major Marshall C. Gregory
17 JAN 1954 to 31 DEC 1954: Major John E. Hays
01 JAN 1955 to 13 DEC 1955: Lt.Col. Donald T. Rohrabacker
14 DEC 1955 to 08 JUN 1956: Lt.Col. Henry A. McCartney
09 JUN 1956 to 02 FEB 1957: Lt.Col. Honore G. Dalton
03 FEB 1957 to 01 AUG 1957: Major Marion C. Dalby
02 AUG 1957 to 17 JUN 1958: Lt.Col. Charles M. Kunz
18 JUN 1958 to 01 JUL 1958: Major Walter E. Ottmer
02 JUL 1958 to 01 AUG 1959: Lt.Col. Clyde H. Davis, Jr.
1959: - - - - - - - - - - - Major E. B. Sumerlin Jr.
1959-1960:- - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. Jack Beterling
1960-1961:- - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. Willard Lempke
1961-1962:- - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. Franklin Pippin
1962: - - - - - - - - - - - Major Lee Gaug
1962-1963:- - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. T.C. Hurst
1963-1964:- - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. John Doering
1964-1965:- - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. J. Temple Doswell
1965: - - - - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. Emmons S. Maloney
1971: - - - - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. Ed "Mofak" Cathcart
1973: - - - - - - - - - - - Lt.Col. Andy Martin
1945: Presidential Unit Citation
1967-69: Commandant's Aviation Efficiency Trophy
1980: Attack Squadron of the Year by MC Aviation Association
1980: CNO Safety Award
1981: CNO Safety Award
1984: Association of Naval Aviation Outstanding Achievement Award for Tactical Aviation
Meritorious Unit Commendations with CVW-3
1989: CNO Safety Award
01 OCT 1943: Marine Night Fighter Squadron Five-Three-Three (VMF(N)-533) was established at Cherry Point, North Carolina and was assigned the Grumman F6F-3N Hellcat. Lt. Colonel Marion M. Magruder Commanding Officer.
16 APR 1944: FMF[N]-533 embarked from the West coast on United States Ship Long Island.
06 MAY 1944: "Black Mac's Killers" arrived at Eniwetok and reported to Marine Air Group 22. Since MAG-22 was stationed at Engebi, this meant that VMF(N)-533 would operate entirely independent of MAG-22, except for administrative purposes.
07 MAY 1945: On 3 days notice, VMF(N) 533 was ordered to deploy to Okinawa with a skeleton crew and a small amount of spare parts. They flew aboard five R5C transports from VMFR-252, along with the Squadron's 15 Hellcats, into the combat area. The 2500 mile journey, with two stops, was the longest over water flight by single engine fighters in WWII. The remainder of the Squadron personnel and equipment followed by sea on LCT's, and did not arrive in-theatre for several more weeks. They landed on Is Shima and prepared a permanent Squadron Headquarters for 533 at Charlie Field, Ie Shima which was operational on June 15, 1945. VMF(N) 533 then transferred combat operations from Yontan Field to Charlie Field for the remainder of the conflict.
10 MAY 1945: Black Mac's Killers arrive at Yontan Field, Okinawa and within 48 hours were operational, flying two 6 fighter Night Combat Air Patrols for every night of the remainder of the conflict. Under the most severe weather conditions, and with this skeleton crew, they met all patrol requirements, even sending up replacement fighters for other Night Fighter Squadrons that failed to meet their requirements. On one night they sent up a total of 17 fighters for action. This is remarkable as they only had 15 Hellcats total. They were under the operational control of MAG 31 although still under administrative control of MAG 22.
The Okinawa Campaign: Captain Robert Baird of VMF(N) 533 is the only US Night Fighter Ace of World War II, with 6 Night Kills. 1st Lt's. Dellamano, Hemstad and Wellwood had 3 each and Le Faivre and Smurr had 2 each. Eighteen 'Black Mac's Killers' had at least 1 Kill, including 'Black Mac' the CO. Among the many commendations and citations earned by the squadron, VMF(N) 533 was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for this action.
By war's end: In spite of the fact that VMF(N) 533 arrived forty days after the Okinawa Campaign began, and the weather was horrendous throughout, 'Black Mac's Killers' shot down 35 enemy aircraft--all radar intercepts, which is almost as many aircraft destroyed by the other 2 Marine and 1 Army night fighter squadrons combined! Not only was VMF(N) 533 the top scoring Night Fighter Squadron of the Pacific Theater in World War II, 533 had the best safety record and the highest combat ready rate for any operational squadron in the Pacific. In 15 month overseas deployment the Squadron logged nearly 11,000 flight hours with only two losses, both due to 'friendly' fire. 1st Lt. Wilhide was shot down by US forces, and 1st Lt. Kelley was killed by a stray US .50 cal bullet while manning a search light at the control tower at Yontan Filed during the 'Giretsu' suicide raid mounted by the Japanese on the night of May 24, 1945.
05-16-45: Francis, Probable by 1st Lt. Alfred Branham near Okinawa.
05-18-45: Betty by 1st Lt. Robert E. Wellwood near Pt. Bolo.
05-24-45: Betty by 1st Lt. James E. Smurr near Pt. Mike>
05-27-45: Jake by 1st Lt. James E. Smurr near Pt. Mike.
05-28-45: Betty by 1st Lt. Forris M. Hollowell near Drake Field.
06-09-45: Tony by 1st Lt. Jay A. Stokes near Pt. Tare.
06-16-45: Betty by Capt. Robert Baird near Pt. Mike.
06-19-45: Betty by 1st. Lt. William T. Treynor near Pt. Baker.
06-22-45: Francis by Capt. Robert Baird NW of Pt. Mike.
06-24-45: Sally by 1st Lt. Robert S. Hemstad near Ie Shima.
06-26-45: Jake by 1st Lt. Johnny W. Peacock near Pt. Bolo. Rufe by 1st Lt. Raylan C. Parkhill near Pt. Bolo.
06-30-45: Jake by 1st Lt. Charles S. Stitt, Jr. near Pt. Bolo.
07-14-45: Betty by Capt. Robert Baird near Pt. Bolo.
07-18-45: Jill by 1st Lt. John R. Mahoney near Pt. Bolo. Jill by Capt. George Hanna NW of Ie Shima.
07-19-45: Zeke by 1st Lt. Karl B. Witte near Pt. Tare.
07-30-45: Betty by 2nd Lt. Irving B. Hardy W of Zamba Misaki.
Total for 'Black Mac's Killers' VMF(N) 533; 35 kills, 1 probable - all radar intercepts.
OCT 1945 to JAN 1947: The Nighthawks were stationed with MAG-24 in Peiping, China flying the F7F-3N Tigercat.
1949 through 1952: During the Korean conflict the squadron-trained aircrews for the night fighter squadrons in Korea.
May 1953: Marine Night Fighter Squadron Five-Three-Three was re-designated Marine Fighter Squadron 533 (VMF-533). The Nighthawks were assigned the radar equipped McDonnell F2H-4 Banshee.
June 1953: VMF-533 carrier qualified aboard the USS Lake Champlain. Following carrier qualifications, a detachment from the squadron went aboard the USS Bennington for a short cruise.
September 1956: VMF-533 carrier qualified aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt and remained on board throughout October when it cross-decked to USS Saratoga.
May 1957: The Nighthawks were equipped with the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar in which they made two Mediterranean Cruises.
August 19, 1959: The Nighthawks were re-equipped with the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk. Commanding Officer Major E. B. Sumerlin Jr., flew the first Skyhawk acceptance flight this day.
06 May 1960: J.K. Rollins received minor injuries when A4D-2 BuNo 145051, ED-16, hit a buzzard on the right corner of the windshield damaging the instrument panel and radio. The pilot could not contact anyone and decided to go back and attempt to land. Without instruments, NORDO and with a windy cockpit the touchdown was too fast and only half the runway remained. The tail hook was down and made a straight furrow in the sod at the end of the runway until the end of the land over the bluff at the coastline. He was still going fast enough to plop into the coral in the water about 100 yards out and avoid tumbling down the 100-foot-high bluff. He was soon rescued, with a few scratches and bruises, by helicopter. The Cherry Picker backed out into the coral and water to retrieve the totaled plane. I helped man stabilizing ropes to keep the plane from swinging as we walked along slowly up a switch back road to level land. From Gary Gauer (www.gauer001.net/USMC.html) Pic 1, Pic 2.
September 20, 1960: 1st Lt. Robert H. Melville (USMC) was on a routine bombing flight from Cherry Point in A4D-2N BuNo 147705 when its stick locked and the plane went into a tight spiral at a speed of 500 knots at 17,000 feet altitude. He ejected and parachuted into Pamlico Sound and was rescued by a fishing party. 2nd Lt. Robert H. Melville, VMA-533, was fished out of Pamlico Sound on Tuesday morning after he ejected from his uncontrollable A4D Skyhawk. A native of Whiteville, NC, Lt Melville said that his controls jammed after his aircraft entered a high speed bombing run. He ejected at 15,000 feet. Parachuting to the water uninjured, Lt. Melville inflated his rubber life raft and was afloat when a fishing boat from Hobucken picked him up. A few minutes later he was hoisted aboard a hovering Marine helicopter and returned to the Air Station. After being examined by a Navy Dr. at the Station hospital, Lt. Melville quickly visited another patient . . . his wife, Marie, who is expecting their first child. The Windsock, MCAS Cherry Point, 23 September 1960, The first successful emergency pilot ejection from a disabled aircraft has been credited to RAPEC according to officials at NOTS China Lake. 2nd Lt. R.H. Melville, VA-533, MCAS Cherry Point bailed out from an A4D-2N. He reported his safe ejection and rescue to scientists and engineers at China Lake who developed RAPEC. The 23 year old pilot, on a routine bombing run over Pamlico Sound, NC, made an inverted maneuver when his controls jammed at 24,000 feet. With the plane in a spiraling dive he fought the stick for about six seconds before ejecting. Approximately 10 seconds later, he saw the plane crash into the sea. Fishermen pulled Melville out of the ocean not far from his wrecked plane. Naval Aviation News, December 1960. Naval Aviation News, December 1960, Another pilot's life was saved last September with the NOTS developed RAPEC. Marine pilot Robert H. Melville was on a routine bombing flight from Cherry Point in his RAPEC equipped A4D-2N when its stick locked and the plane went into a tight spiral at a speed of 500 knots at 17,000 feet altitude and he ejected. RAPEC functioned perfectly. He parachuted into Pamlico Sound and was rescued a few minutes later by a fishing party. Although many contributed to the RAPEC's development, the key personnel of the Propulsion Development Dept. who brought about its successful completion were: Norman Rumpp, James Metcalf, Cecil A. Glass, Don Perrin, and Dick Zabelka. . . . First Hand Report . . . Many times NOTS engineers and scientists do not have the opportunity to get a first hand report from users of their products, but in the case of Marine pilot Melville, he came to NOTS one month later after his close call and gave the RAPEC team a detailed report on his ejection. At that time Melville said, ''The acceleration force was real easy. I hope I never have to, but I wouldn't hesitate to do it again." Rocketeer, China Lake, CA, Friday, April 21, 1961. Aircraft History, A4D-2N BuNo 147705: Acceptance El Segundo, 31 March 1960; VMA-225 Guantanamo Bay, 02 August 1960; VMA-225 Cherry Point, 02 September 1960; VMA-225 Cherry Point, SOC 1AA1 20 September 1960, 39 total flight hours. USN History card. AAR summary and letter from R.H. "Sam" Melville, Jr.: page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4.
DEC 1961: Deployed to NAS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.
JAN 1962: Two VMA-533 pilots set an endurance record for the A4D-2 Skyhawk. The total time airborne was 8 hours and 25 minutes.
12 JUN to 16 AUG 1962: The Nighthawks deployed to Puerto Rico. VMA-533 became the first squadron to aerial refuel both going to and returning from Puerto Rico. While deployed in Puerto Rico, VMA-533 became the first tactical squadron to host a reserve squadron on summer training outside the continental United States.
June 12, 1963: USAF Capt. Donald A. Griffing ejected successfully when he lost control of his A-4B BuNo 145027 after fire broke out in the rear of the plane. Western Kansas Press, Thursday, June 13, 1963.
December 30, 1963: Lt. Calvin Upchur Smith Jr., was killed when his A-4B Skyhawk crashed in four miles east of Englehard in six feet of water in Pamlico Sound, NC. The Robesonian, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 1963.
November 1, 1964: Capt. W.A. Cason ejected safely after he ejected into the Atlantic 300 miles east of the Azores, after he was unable to re-fuel during trans-Atlantic crossing near the Italian ship SS Zoella Lykes. Lake Charles American Press, Sat., Nov. 21, 1964.
01 JUL 1965: The Nighthawks were re-equipped with the Grumman A-6A Intruder. Personnel were trained at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia; Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington and the Naval Air Station Sanford, Florida.
28 AUG 1965: Commanding Officer LtCol E. S. MALONEY, ferried the first Intruder from the Grumman factory at Peconic, New York to Cherry Point, North Carolina.
12 OCT 1965: The Nighthawks transferred their A-4 Skyhawk aircraft to VMA-225 and concentrated training on the A-6A. By November 2, 1965 the Nighthawks had received their twelfth Intruder for a full complement of aircraft.
APR 1967: Now VMA-533(AW), the Nighthawks deployed with the 1st Marine Air Wing to Chu Lai the Republic of Vietnam. The Nighthawks flew combat missions in the Grumman A-6A Intruder over North and South Vietnam.
25 OCT 1967: Major Kent C. Bateman was awarded the Navy Cross for action over the Republic of Vietnam.
05 OCT 1969: VMA(AW)-533 detached from 1st Marine Air Wing and joined Marine Air Group 15 at Iwakuni, Japan.
JUN 1972: VMA-533(AW) deployed to Nam Phong, Thailand for combat operations over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
AUG 1973: VMA-533(AW) transferred to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.
NOV 1975: The squadron returned to MCAS Cherry Point.
1976: VMA-533(AW) receives the A-6E Intruder.
APR 1980: VMA-533(AW) deploys to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.
AUG 1983: VMA-533(AW) deploys aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga for training.
02 APR 1984: VMA-533(AW) deploys aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga for MED Cruise.
JAN 1986 - MAR 1987: The squadron deployed aboard the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy.
AUG 1988 - JAN 1989: The squadron deployed aboard the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy.
FEB 1989: VMA-533(AW) returns to MCAS Cherry Point, NC as a member of MAG-14.
APR 1990: Deployment to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan as a part of MAG-12.
DEC 1990: VMA-533(AW) begins deployment to Operation Desert Shield via NAS Cubi Point, PI. Unit Intruders arrive in Bahrain on December 21, 1990.
24 MAR 1991: VMA-533(AW) returns to MCAS Cherry Point, NC.
SEP 1992: VMA-533(AW) is redesignated VMFA-533(AW) and assigned the two seat F/A-18D Hornet.
07 DEC 1992: VMFA-533(AW) finishes relocation to MCAS Beaufort
circa 1960: A4D-2 BuNo 145050, ED-15, Leeward Point Field, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, circa 1960. Photo from Gary Gauer who is sitting on the wing.
May 1960: A4D-2 BuNo 145051, ED-16, which was hit by a buzzard on the right corner of the windshield damaging the instrument panel and radio on 06 May 1960 and was SOC on 15 May 1960, Leeward Point Field, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, May 1960. Photos from Gary Gauer. Pic 1, Pic 2.
1960: Nighthawks A4D-2 Diamond formation: (cw from top) BuNo 145030, ED-6, BuNo 145047, ED-12, BuNo 145023, ED-3 & BuNo 145053, ED-18, around VAP-63 Skywarrior BuNo 144827, GB-10. Photo by Dick Pitman via Bruce Hasse.
1960: Nighthawks A4D-2 Diamond formation: (L-R) BuNo 145023, ED-3, BuNo 145053, ED-18, BuNo 145030, ED-6 & BuNo 145047, ED-12, refueling VAP-63 Skywarrior BuNo 144827, GB-10. Photo by Dick Pitman via Bruce Hasse.
15 December 1960: A4D-2 144983, 1st RAPEC ejection, LT Melville and his helmet is marked RAT. Official U.S. Navy photo. From Gary Verver Collection.
1960-62: A4D-2 BuNo 145033, ED-23, parked on the flight-line. courtesy of W. Mutza
15 Mar 1961: Night Hawks A4D-2 Skyhawks BuNo 145014, ED-1 and BuNo 145027, ED-4, refueling from the Marines newest tanker & largest prop aircraft, the Lockheed GV-1. Naval Aviation News Photo. The Windsock, MCAS Cherry Point, 23 September 1960
February 1962:NAN photo of a VMA-533 crew checking the prop on a buddy store.
1964: Nighthawks A-4B Skyhawks BuNo. 144981 ED-7 & BuNo. 144985 Ed-11 on the USS Lexington, CVA-16,, flight deck. Photograph by Ron Brick.
1964: A-4B BuNo 145081, ED-1, suffering from a virulent case of measles, caught when sequestered at VMGR-252's hangar during hurricane stand down in fall of 1964. Measles undoubtedly contracted due to large numbers of 252's KC-130's being emblazoned with Skyhawk insignia when on supply route to Rosy Roads in summer of 1964. Photo property of Temple Doswell, photographer unknown. Webmaster's Note: A-4C BuNo.145081 was lost in combat on March 20, 1966 while assigned to VA-144. Pilot LTJG Jerald Lee Pinneker was KIA.
No info yet.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VMA-533: