Marine Fighting Squadron 212 (VMF-212) was commissioned on March 1, 1942 at Ewa Field on Oahu under the command of Major Harold W. Bauer operating the F4F Wildcat and deployed to the South Pacific (SOPAC).
By March 29, 1942 the forward echelon arrived at Port Vila Airfield (Bauer Field) on Efaté Island while it was still under construction. On May 11, 1942 flight echelon arrived at Tontouta Airfield to await the completion of the Port Vila Airfield (Bauer Field). During June 1942 until July 1942 operated between New Hebrides and New Caledonia before the entire squadron assembled at Port Vila Airfield (Bauer Field).
During August 1942, eight pilots were loaned to Marine Fighting Squadron 223 "Bulldogs" (VMF-223) operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. On August 24, 1942 lost was F4F Wildcat 02084 (MIA) piloted by 2nd Lt. Lawrence C. Taylor.
In September 1942, VMF-212 transferred to Henderson Field and began flying combat missions as an entire squadron.
On November 11, 1942 lost was F4F Wildcat 5200. On November 14, 1942 lost was F4F Wildcat 03454 (MIA) piloted by Lt. Col Harold W. Bauer.
For his role flying combat missions between November 10-14, 1942 Bauer earned the Medal of Honor, posthumously and was credited with eleven aerial victories. After Bauer's loss, Major Frederick R. Payne, Jr. became C. O. of the squadron.
During November 1943, the squadron returned to the United States arriving November 22, 1942 and was based on the west coast. VMF-212 transitioned to the F4U Corsair. In June 1943 operated from Midway Airfield then moved to Espiritu Santo. On June 1, 1943 lost on a training flight was F4U Corsair 02499 pilot 2nd Lt. Chester E. Longshore (KIA).
In August 1943 VMF-212 returned to the Solomon Islands operating from Munda Airfield on New Georgia. Next, moved to Barakoma Airfield on Vella Lavella Island between October 20, 1943 to November 27, 1943. In November 1943 the ground echelon departed Espiritu Santo for the Russell Islands then on December 9, 1943 arrived at Torokina Airfield on Bougainville.
On January 11, 1944 lost was F4U Corsair 17430 pilot 1st Lt Charles L. Larson (MIA) lost after take off.
On January 20, 1944 the squadron moved to Piva South Airfield (Piva Yoke) flying combat missions.
On January 23, 1944 lost on a mission was F4U Corsair 49891 pilot Major Donald W. Boyle (POW, survived).
On February 11, 1944 lost was F4U Corsair 55908 piloted by 1st Lt. Allan S. Harrison, III (MIA).
During March 1944 the squadron moved to Green Island Airfield (Nissan) and continued flying combat missions over Bougainville and Rabaul.
On March 9, 1944 lost on a training flight due to a midair collision was F4U Corsair 02618 pilot 2nd Lt. Ralph L. Roush (KIA).
On February 11, 1944 lost was F4U Corsair 55908 pilot 1st Lt.
Allan S. Harrison, III (MIA) on a mission over Rabaul.
Between May 20, 1944 until June 9, 1944 civilian aviator Charles A. Lindbergh flew with Marine pilots on Green Island Airfield (Nissan) and Emirau Airfield as an "observer" on combat missions with VMF-115, VMF-212, VMF-218 and VMF-222. On June 10, 1944 Lindbergh departed war zone for Espiritu Santo.
On December 3, 1944 lost was FG-1A Corsair 14508 pilot 1st Lt. Boysen (MIA).
The squadron continued flying combat missions until the end of the month then moved to the Philippines.
On January 8, 1945 began operating from Guiuan Airfield (Samar) on Samar Island off Leyte flying combat missions in the central Philippines and close air support missions for the U. S. Army.
By June 7, 1945 the flight echelon moved to Kadena Airfield on Okinawa flying combat missions under Marine Air Group 14 (MAG-14) until the end of the Pacific War.
On July 21, 1945 twelve Corsairs took off on a mission against targets of opportunity on Iriomote Jima and Sonai. Lost was F4U Corsair 81095 piloted by 2nd Lt. John F. McGrath (MIA).
Commanding Officers (C.O.)
Major Harold W. Bauer - March 1, 1942 - November 14, 1942 (MIA / KIA)
Major Frederick R. Payne, Jr. - November 14, 1942 - February 5, 1943
Captain Robert F. Stout - February 6, 1943 - April 2, 1943
Major Richard D. Hughes - April 2, 1943 - May 31, 1943
Major Stewart B. O'Neill, Jr. - June 1, 1943 - December 31, 1943
Major Hugh M. Elwood - January 1, 1944 - April 23, 1944
Major Wilbur A. Free - April 24, 1944 - May 8, 1944
Major Boyd C. McElhany, Jr. - May 9, 1944 - November 18, 1944
Major Quinton R. Johns - November 18, 1944 - April 27, 1945
Major John P. McMahon - April 27, 1945 until the end of the Pacific War
History of Marine Corps in World War II pages 460-461 (VMF-212 squadron summary)
NARA "War Diary - USMC Marine Fighting Squadron 212 - July 1-31, 1945" page 17 (July 21, 1945 mission)
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