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VMA-322 Fighting Gamecocks

VMA-322 Fighting Gamecocks
and VMF-322 Cannon Balls



Point of Contact - Squadron Duty Officer (SDO)

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VMF-322 - Fighting Cocks - 1946(?)
Provided by John Gbbard

Patch from Daniel Ventre

Patch
  • VMA-322 used the Fighting Gamecock patch from May 1958 to June 27, 1992.

Handle
  • July 1943 - - May 1958 Cannon Balls
  • 15 May 1958 - June 1992 Fighting Gamecocks
  • May 1958- - - June 1992 Radio Callsign - Motly - QR Tail Code

Heritage
  • July 1, 1943 - First established as Marine Fighter Squadron 322(VMF-322).
  • November 30, 1949 - Marine Fighter Squadron 322 (VMF-322) was disestablished.
  • July 6, 1951 - Next established as Marine Fighter Squadron 322 (VMF-322).
  • May 1958 - - - Redesignated as VMA-322.
  • June 27, 1992 - VMA-322 was disestablished.

Home Ports
  • Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
  • 7/1/43- - - - - - Established at Cherry Point
  • 1943 - 1/44 - - - Parris Island, South Carolina
  • 1/44 - 10/44- - - Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Oahu, Hawaii
  • 10/44 - 4/3/45- - Espiritu Santo Island
  • 4/3/45 - 7/45 - - Kadena, Okinawa
  • 7/45 - 11/45- - - Awase, Okinawa
  • 11/45 - 7/47- - - Midway Island
  • 7/47 - 4/49 - - - Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Oahu, Hawaii
  • 4/49 - 11/30/49 - Naval Auxiluary Air Station Edenton, North Carolina
  • 7/6/51 - 1/54 - - Naval Air Station Squantum, Massachusetts
  • 1/54 - 6/27/92- - Naval Air Station South Weymouth, Massachusetts

Air Wings
  • Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
  • Unknown

Deployments
    Departure and Return Dates: - Air Wing - Carrier -Aircraft - Area of Operations:
  • 10/44 - 4/3/45 - Espiritu Santo Island
  • 4/3/45 - 7/45- - Kadena, Okinawa
  • 7/45 - 11/45 - - Awase, Okinawa
  • 11/45 - 7/47 - - Midway Island
  • May, 1962- - - - Udorn Thailand


Aircraft
Commanding Officers
    Date Assumed Command: - Commanding Officer
  • ????: Col. Daniel Ventre
  • During May, 1962: Col. Harvey Patton

Events
  • July 1, 1943:
    Marine Attack Squadron 322 is activated as Marine Fighter Squadron 322. At that time, the Squadron was referred to as "the Cannon Ball Squadron."

  • Fall 1943:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 was transferred to Parris Island, South Carolina where it began training in the F4U-1D Corsair.

  • January 1944:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 deployed to Marine Corps Air Stations EWA Oahu, Hawaii, where it underwent extensive combat flight training.

  • October 1944:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 then moved to Espiritu Santo Island located in the South Pacific. VMF-322 was then attached to MAG-33 and received the Squadron's first combat orders of the Second World War, to support the amphibious invasion of the island of Okinawa.

  • April 3, 1945:
    On the morning of April 3, the Squadron's lead support element was struck by a Japanese Kamikaze aircraft while attempting to come ashore in a LST. Over one hundred fifty VMF-322 Marines were killed instantly in the attack.

  • April 9, 1944:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 continued on, in true fighting spirit and flew their F4U-1D Corsairs into Kadena airfield and continued their fighter and attack missions in support of the battles on Okinawa and Iheya Shima.

  • June 12, 1945:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 conducted the first attack mission by a Marine squadron against the Japanese mainland when they bombed and strafed Kanoya Airfield on Kyushu.

  • July 1945:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 the Squadron moved from Kadena to Awase Airfield where they operated until the end of the war. In addition to the numerous close air support and other attack missions conducted, VMF-322 was also credited with 20 kills at the time of the Japanese surrender.

  • November 1945:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 moved to Midway Island where they were attached to MAG-44 and received new F4U-4 Corsairs. The Squadron remained on Midway until July 1947.

  • July 1947:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 moved back to Marine Corps Air Stations EWA Oahu, Hawaii to become part of MAG-15.

  • April 1949:
    VMF-322 finally returned to the United States aboard the USS Princeton (CV-37) and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Stations Edenton, North Carolina.

  • November 30, 1949:
    The Squadron was disestablished.

  • July 6, 1951:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 was established at the Naval Air Station Squantum, Massachusetts, just outside of the city of Boston. The Squadron was attached to the Marine Air Reserves and continued to fly the F4U-4 Corsair. Many of the new Reserve Pilots joining VMF-322 were just returning from service in Korea.

  • December 1953:
    The United States Navy reactivated Naval Air Station South Weymouth, Massachusetts.

  • January 1954:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 moved to Naval Air Station South Weymouth, Massachusetts.

  • March of 1955:
    Marine Fighter Squadron 322 retired the last of their F4U Corsairs and received the new F9F-6 Grumman Cougar. The Squadron had the distinction of being the first unit in New England flying jet aircraft.

  • May 1958:
    VMF-322 was redesignated Marine Attack Squadron 322 (VMA-322), recognizing the primary mission of close air support. At this time, a new Squadron Emblem was designed and the unit begin its heritage as "The Fighting Gamecocks."

  • November 1959:
    Marine Attack Squadron 322 transitioned to the North American FJ-3 Fury.

  • May 1962: Short (1.5 months) deployment to Udorn, Thailand.
  • September 1962:
    Marine Attack Squadron 322 transitioned to the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk. During the years that followed, VMA-322 flew four versions of the legendary Skyhawk: the A-4C, A-4E, TA-4J and the A-4M.

  • December 7, 1975:
    An unidentified pilot ejected safely from his A-4E BuNo 150135 crashed in a wooded area near Colebrook, NH, after an unrecoverable spin.
    Des Moines, IA Des Moines Register article

  • July 31, 1983:
    Maj. Tom Turner ejected shortly after his A-4M BuNo 154183 hit the runway and burst into flames while making a refueling stop at El Paso (Texas) International Airport on. Turner's plane was one of four A-4Ms enroute from South Weymouth, MA, to Yuma, AZ.
    Santa Fe, NM Santa Fe New Mexican, Mon., Aug. 1, 1983.

  • November 25, 1986:
    Unidentified USMC pilot and co-pilot ejected safely from their TA-4J BuNo 155079 after it exploded, burst into flames and trailed wreckage for about 2,000 feet upon landing at NAS South Weymouth.
    US Armed Services European Stars and Stripes, Thursday, November 27, 1986.

  • VMA-322 absorbed VMA-217, also based at South Weymouth.

  • July 14, 1991:
    An unidentified pilot ejected safely before his TA-4F BuNo 154622 plunged into Cape Cod Bay five miles off the mouth of the Cape Cod canal.
    Bucks County, PA The Intelligencer article

  • June 27, 1992:
    Disestablished.

  • Marine Fighter Squadron 322 & Marine Attack Squadron 322:
    • Since establishment in 1943, the Squadron has engaged in war, conducted numerous tactical training exercises and participated in many deployments throughout the United States, Canada and with Allies abroad.

    • Marine Squadron 322 has always been comprised of extremely dedicated Marine Reservists who have prided themselves on true professionalism. In its last 10 Years, VMA-322 was number one in terms of combat readiness and aircraft availability. This legacy of excellence, as well as the Camaraderie steeped in tradition, will live forever in the memories of all those Marines who have proudly served with Marine Attack Squadron 322. Semper Fidelis!

Awards
  • Award - - - - - - - - - Inclusive Dates:
  • Presidentail Unit Citation Streamer WW-II
  • Asiatic - Pacific Campaign Streamer with Bronze Star WW-II
  • World War II Victory Streamer
  • Pete Ross Safety Trophy - 1964
  • Pete Ross Safety Trophy - 1987

Unit Photos


MAY 1971: A-4C 148571, flown by VMA-322 based at NAS South Weymouth, MA; landing at NAS Willow Grove, PA. BuNo 148571 is listed as a NAS MARTD a/c at South Weymouth.
Photo by Ron Picciani.

Fighting Gamecock A-4M Skyhawk
A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 159490, side number Quebec Romeo 59, of VMA-322 "Fighting Gamecocks", based at Naval Air Station South Weymouth. Viewed during a visit to the Naval Air Station Atlanta transit-line on February 6, 1989. Tactical Paint Scheme with dull markings.
Photograph from Frank J. Mirande

Fighting Gamecock A-4M
A VMA-322 A-4M taxies back from a mission.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

Fighting Gamecocks
Three VMA-322 guys debrief on the ramp in front of A-4M BuNo. 158171.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

Guido and Friend
Guido (left) and buddy congratulate each other after cheating death, again. Meanwhile a mud-Marine readies the Skyhawk for another mission.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

Fighting Gamecocks
Five VMA-322 guys debrief on the ramp in front of an A-4M.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

Lt.Col. Daniel Ventre
Dan straps on an A-4M.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

Three Fighting Gamecocks
Flying high over the green fields of New England.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

Fighting Gamecock A-4M
The face of armed and dangerous.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

A Toast
A little bubbly to celebrate the joy of flying.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

BuNo.150105 may be a VMA-322 Bird? Wynn Foster (Captain Hook).

MAR 1974: BuNo 150105, QR-60, parked on the ramp.
Rob Mignard

MAR 1975: Skyhawk BuNo 150135, QR-00, parked on the ramp.
Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy

July 1976 BuNo 151059, QR-59, parked on the ramp.
Gary Verver Collection

Date unknown:
VMA-322 160045
location unknown by Werner Münzenmaier.
Copyright W. Munzenmaier.

14 OCT 1976:
VMA-322 150058 on the ramp,
location & photographer unknown.

19 NOV 1977: VMA-322 A-4E BuNo 151095 parked on the ramp.
Gary Verver Collection

31 MAY 1979:
VMA-322 150132 on the ramp, location & photographer unknown.
VMA-322 151095 on the ramp, location & photographer unknown.

VMA-322 BuNo 151095 dumping fuel prior to landing. Col. Dan Ventre pilot. Taken from the back seat of TA4-J piloted by Col. Bob Kudwa.

Circa 1980: VMA-322 A-4E's lined up being readied for launch.
Ten A-4E's fly over NAS South Weymouth.

Brent Genovese

1980s 159486, QR-65.
U.S. Navy photo

FEB 1980: BuNo 149985, QR-50, parked on the ramp. BuNo 154971, MB-11, at far right.
Rob Mignard

APR 1980: BuNo 149655, QR-51, parked on the ramp.
Rob Mignard

APR 1980: BuNo 151125, QR-59, parked on the ramp.
Rob MignardBR>
July 1980 BuNo 152072, QR-52, parked on the ramp.
Gary Verver Collection

Feb 1981 BuNo 152072, QR-52, on the flight line.
Gary Verver Collection

Apr 1982 BuNo 150073, QR-54, parked on the flight line with a centerline tank.
Photo by Ted Paslowski, G. Verver collection

Jun 1982 BuNo 149972, QR-55, with a centerline buddy tank and pilot ready to taxi.
Gary Verver Collection

Dec 1982 158482, QR-01, parked on the ramp.
Photo by R.E. Kling, G. Verver collection

18 Dec 1982 BuNo 151125, tail code QR, parked on the flight line.
Photo by Ted Paskowski, G. Verver collection

Between 01 MAY 83 and 20 OCT 1983:
BuNo 159483, flying with VMA-322. This aircraft later was transferred to Argentina and serves there as C-933.
Photographer unknown, provided by Texomajack

Date unknown:
VMA-322 BuNo 149666,
photographer is unknown.

24 July 1983 BuNo 158413, QR-55, parked on the flight line.
Ted Paskowski, G. Verver collection

24 July 1983 right rear view of Gamecocks Skyhawk BuNo 158413, QR-55, parked on the flight line.
Ted Paskowski, G. Verver collection

29 Jan 1984 Gamecocks Skyhawk BuNo 158482, QR-01, parked on the flight line next to a CVWR-20 Intruder.
Gary Verver Collection

11 Feb 1984 BuNo 159484, QR-58, parked on the ramp.
Ted Paskowski, G. Verver collection.

11 Feb 1984 BuNo 159484, QR-58, left side view parked on the ramp.
Ted Paskowski, G. Verver collection.

11 Feb 1984 159490, QR-59, parked on the ramp.
Ted Paskowski, G. Verver collection.

03 March 1984 right side view of Fighting Gamecocks Skyhawk BuNo 158161, QR-50, parked on the ramp.
Ted Paskowski, G. Verver collection.

03 March 1984 BuNo 160042, QR-61, parked on the ramp.
Ted Paskowski, G. Verver collection.

03 Mar 1984 Gamecocks Skyhawk BuNo 158482, QR-01, parked on the flight line.
Photo by T. Paskowski, G. Verver collection.

Oct 1984 BuNo 159483, QR-64, parked on the ramp.
Gary Verver Collection

03 Aug 1985 BuNo 158174, QR-.
Photo by R.E. Rys, G. Verver collection

VMA-322 TA-4J BuNo 158482, QR-01, dated 10 May 1986.
Photo by R. Rys, G. Verver collection.

Oct 1986 BuNo 158161, QR-50.
Photo by R.E. Kling, G. Verver collection

19 OCT 1986:
VMA-322 (MAG-49 Det-A) TA-4J BuNo 155079, QR-00.

Photo by R.E. Rys, from Gary Verver Collection.

VMA-322 A-4M BuNo 158174, QR-52, undated.
From W. Munzenmaier.

09 April 1988 Skyhawk BuNo 159475, QR-57, parked on the ramp.
Gary Verver Collection

09 April 1988 BuNo 159475, QR-57, right side view parked on the ramp.
Gary Verver Collection

FEB 1990:
right side view of VMA-322 Fighting Gamecocks A-4M BuNo 159475
, QR-57, on the ramp with a centerline tank and painted in a lo-vis grey scheme.
photo from W. Munzenmaier.

31 May 1991 right side view of Gamecocks Skyhawk BuNo 158413, QR-55, parked on a taxiway.
T. Panopalis G. Verver collection.

01 June 1991 right front view of Gamecocks Skyhawk BuNo 158174, QR-52, parked on the flight line.
Gary Verver Collection

01 June 1991 right side close-up tail section view of Gamecocks Skyhawk BuNo 158174, QR-52, parked on the flight line.
Gary Verver Collection

01 June 1991 BuNo 158174, QR-52, parked on the flight line.
Gary Verver Collection

01 June 1991 BuNo 158174, QR-52, parked on the flight line.
Gary Verver Collection

01 June 1991 BuNo 158174, QR-52, parked on the flight line.
Gary Verver Collection

It's Over
VMA-322 is disestablished in 1992.
Photograph from Daniel Ventre.

A-4B Scooter BuNo.142777 parked at the Federal Aviation Authority Facility in Nashua NH.
Port side shot of Cockpit. Note the name.
Starboard site of Cockpit.
Full shot of the bird, Starboard site.
Photographs provided thru Daniel Ventre from an Airtraffic Controller at the facility.

BuNo 158171, QR-51, parked on the ramp.
Gary Verver Collection

BuNo 152080, QR-57, parked on the ramp with a pair of drop tanks.
Gary Verver Collection


Off-Duty Info


Pictures from the MCAA Boston Squadron's Annual Lobster Bake held in September, 2002. "Thank you" to Buckhout for the prints. The MCAA Boston Squadron is a great group of those who live in the area (or can get there).
From VMA-322 SDO John Margie who scanned the prints, and provided them to the Association.















Sources:
  • Mr. Daniel Ventre
  • Mr. Frank J. Mirande
  • Lanny Bauer MSgt. USMC Retired
  • John Gabbard


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