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Marine Fighter Squadron 123 "Flying Eight Balls" VMF-123
United States Marine Corps (USMC)

Background
On September 7, 1942 activated as a fighter squadron at NAS San Diego operating the F4F Wildcat with a cadre of experienced pilots from VMF-121. Nicknamed the “Flying Eight Balls”.

Wartime History
On January 8, 1943 departed for the Pacific as the last USMC squadron to arrive in th Solomons and operated from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. VMF-123 was the last squadron to transition to the F4U Corsair. During August 1943 moved to Munda Airfield and flew their first mission on August 14, 1943. until September, half went to the Russell Islands. Until November 1943 the squadron flew combat missions in the Solomons then returned to the United States on December 14, 1943.

During 1944 the squadron underwent rest and refit until December 31, 1944, when VMF-123 and VMF-112 were assigned to USS Bennington (CV-20) for their third combat tour flying combat missions over Iwo Jima, Japan and Okinawa until June 16, 1945, suffering seven KIA and five MIA pilots.

At Marine Corps Air Station El Centro, the squadron paired with VMTB-623 and trained for the expected invasion of Japan and were scheduled to deploy aboard the USS Saidor (CVE-117) when the war ended. VMF-123 was deactivated on September 10, 1945.

Postwar
During the late 1940s, the squadron was reactivated as part of the Marine Forces Reserve at Naval Air Station Los Alamitos. During the Korean War, VMF-123 was placed on active duty on July 23, 1950, and served as a training squadron for replacement Corsair pilots. Following the war, they transitioned to jet aircraft and were deactivated in the late 1950s.

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