During World War II, VMF-222 was nicknamed "Flying Deuces" and operated the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair and during late 1943 the Goodyear FG Corsair in the South Pacific (SOPAC).
During September 1943, VMF-222 operated from Munda Airfield on New Georgia Island.
On September 13, 1943 F4U Corsair 17435 piloted by Captain William Deen "Willie" Moore participated in a mission over Rabaul and failed to return. He remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
On December 15, 1943 the squadron flew a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) "Cherry Blossom Patrol" over Empress Augusta Bay. Afterwards, F4U Corsair 17884 piloted by Robert Wilson landed at Torokina Airfield this aircraft suffered a brake failure and flipped upside down, pilot rescued from the cockpit submerged in rain water. Afterwards, this aircraft was recovered, stripped for parts and abandoned in a boneyard area.
Next, the squadron moved to Torokina Airfield on Bougainvile and continued flying combat missions against Japanese targets, primarily Rabaul.
On February 24, 1944 FG-1A Corsair 13212 piloted by 1st Lt. Jesse M. Leach, Jr. participated in a mission over Rabaul and due to an engine failure ditched near Duke of York Islands. was observed in his life raft but was never seen again when a PBY Catalina rescue mission arrived.
On March 7, 1944 FG-1A Corsair 13262 piloted by Lt. Beacon participated in a mission over Rabaul. This aircraft was lost, Beacon was rescued and returned to duty.
During 1944, VMF-222 began operating from Green Island Airfield (Nissan).
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 May 22, 1944 he flew his first combat mission with VMF-222 on a strafing mission over islands near Rabaul.
On June 10, 1944 Lindbergh departed war zone for Espiritu Santo.
On October 19, 1944 FG-1A Corsair 14039 pilot 1st Lt. Alfred Baxter Vaughn participated in a mission over Rabaul and crashed north of Four Ways (Four Corners). He remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
On November 7, 1944 FG-1A Corsair 14015 pilot Robert V. Barnett participated in a mission over Rabaul and suffered a hydraulic line break but was able to base but was forced to bail out and was rescued and returned to duty.
On November 12, 1944 FG-1A Corsair 14026 pilot 2nd Lt. Archie Clifford Peru participated in a mission over Rabaul and crashed near Four Ways (Four Corners). He remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
On December 5, 1944 lost is FG-1A Corsair 14417 pilot 1st Lt. Moszek "Mike" Zanger on a mission over Rabaul when he suffered an aerial collision. He was reported as Missing In Action (MIA). In fact, he bailed out and was captured by the Japanese and detained as a Prisoner Of War (POW) at Tobera Airfield until he died or was executed in July 1945.
Marine Fighting Squadron 222 (VMF-222) War Diary
USMC Aviators (2012) by Gregory Pons Chapter 3 VMF-222
The Forty Nineteens - VMF-222 Roster
Thanks to Nick Zeigler for additional information
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