VMF-124 was formed September 7, 1942 at Camp Kearney. In late October they got some of the first F4U Vought Corsair fighters to roll off the assembly line, making them first squadron to receive the new plane.
First Tour of Duty
The squadron left San Diego on January 8, 1943 aboard USS Lurline bound for the South Pacific under the command of Major William Gise.
On February 12, 1943 arrived on Guadalcanal. That afternoon, the squadron flew their first combat mission, logging 9 hours in the air escorting a PBY Catalina on a 230 mile mission to pick up two downed pilots in Sandfly Bay off Vella Lavella.
On February 14, 1943 when twelve Corsairs of VMF-124 were assigned to escort for fifteen 13th Air Force B-24 bombers on a bombing mission against airfields on Bougainville.
On May 13, 1943 fifteen F4U Corsairs led by Major William Gise took off from Fighter 1 on Guadalcanal at 12:10pm piloted by Major William Gise leading a scramble to intercept incoming Japanese aircraft. Over the Russell Islands, engaged in a dog fight with A6M2 Zeros from 204 Kokutai. Lost was F4U 02178 piloted by Major William Gise.
On May 14, 1943 Captain Brewer became the squadron's Commanding Officer (C.O.) and Captain Quilty Executive Officer (E.O.).
On August 30, 1943 F4U Corsairs took off from Barakoma Airfield on a mission to escort B-24 Liberators over Kahilli Airfield on southern Bougainville.
Lost was F4U 02516 piloted by 1st Lt James L. Fowler.
Kenneth A. Walsh earned the Medal of Honor for two actions: August 15, 1943 and August 30, 1943. He was the first F4U Corsair pilot to earn the medal.
VMF-124 participating in the Russells, New Georgia, and Vella Lavella operations. The squadron departed the Solomons on September 7, 1943 and returned to the United States for reorganization and training.
Second Tour of Duty
On September 18, 1944 Departed the United States aboard USS Ticonderoga CV-14 arriving at Pearl Harbor on September 24, 1944.
On December 28, 1944, Marine fighter squadrons VMF-124 and VMF-213 were assigned to Air Group 4, replacing Bombing Squadron 4 (VB-4). The assignment of VMF-124 and VMF-213 to the USS Essex made was the first use of Marine squadrons to augment carrier air groups during World War II.
After assignment to the Essex, VMF-124 and VMF-213 participated in actions against Lingayen, Luzon, Formosa, Tokyo, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
There were 54 pilots, 4 ground officers, and 120 enlisted men in the 2 squadrons when they came aboard the Essex. Lt Col William A. Millington was in command of VMF-124 and Major David E. Marshall commanded VMF-213.
One Man's Journey by Robert M. Berg
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