Greg Pappy Boyington

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington a legendary warrior , lover , drinker and World War II hero. The life of Boyington is one that goes beyond anything you might expect even in the most imaginative fiction stories of the World War II aviation aces. In 1936 Boyington entered the US Marine Corps as an aviation cadet. Trouble with debts and his stubbornly unconventional behaviour was the reason why he was "encouraged" to resign from the USMC before the Corps would kick him out .

Boyington a World War II Congressional Medal of Honour Recipient. Served during World War II as a Major in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as commander of Marine Fighter Squadron 214. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery in Central Solomons area from September 12, 1943 to January 3, 1944. His citation reads ?For extraordinary heroism and valiant devotion to duty as commanding officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Central Solomons area. Consistently outnumbered throughout successive hazardous flights over heavily defended hostile territory, Maj. Boyington struck at the enemy with daring and courageous persistence, leading his squadron into combat with devastating results to Japanese shipping, shore installations, and aerial forces. Resolute in his efforts to inflict crippling damage on the enemy, Maj. Boyington led a formation of 24 fighters over Kahili on 17 October and, persistently circling the airdrome where 60 hostile aircraft were grounded, boldly challenged the Japanese to send up planes. Under his brilliant command, our fighters shot down 20 enemy craft in the ensuing action without the loss of a single ship.

A superb airman and determined fighter against overwhelming odds, Maj. Boyington personally destroyed 26 of the many Japanese planes shot down by his squadron and, by his forceful leadership, developed the combat readiness in his command which was a distinctive factor in the Allied aerial achievements in this vitally strategic area?. Major Boyington was also awarded the United States Navy's second highest honour, the Navy Cross. He had served in the Marine Corps previous to World War II, but resigned in to join General Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers in China, with whom he shot down 6 Japanese aircraft. He re-enlisted in the Marine Corps after Pearl Harbour, (going through some difficulty in doing so, due to his reputation as a undisciplined brawler), and was assigned a squadron of Marine Pilots who would become known as the ?Black Sheep? due to the fact they were scrapped together by Major Boyington, and didn't go through the formal unit training and assignments in the United States. Major Boyington, being much older than his men, gained the sobriquet ?Pappy?, partially for his age, partially for the way he looked after his men. His "Black Sheep" became one of the top fighter units in US Service, having shot down a confirmed 97 Japanese aircraft, 35 probable ones, damaged 50, and destroyed 21 on the ground. He himself scored 22 kills (his official CMOH citation is in error in that regard).

In January 1944 he was shot down over the island of Rabaul and was captured by a Japanese submarine. He spent the remaining balance of the War as a prisoner, never having reported as captured by the Japanese Military authorities. His Medal of Honour was issued to him by the US Navy with the belief it was posthumous. During his 20 months of as a prisoner, he was tortured like many Americans in Japanese hands. In 1947 he was medically retired with the rank of Colonel, USMC. In the 1970?s, after years of personal and medical problems stemming from his war experiences, he sold his story to NBC, which turned into the weekly Television Series ?The Black Sheep Squadron?, an extremely highly fictionalized account of Boyington's and Marine Squadron 214?s exploits. The series, while initially popular with the public, was heavy criticized from Squadron veterans for the mythical way they and the war they conducted were portrayed.

On January 11th 1988 Boyington lost his final battle against cancer , he lies buried at Arlington National Cemetery . Although much of what is told about this legendary fighter-pilot is exaggerated still the man was a fighter-pilot of exceptional skill and he lived his life like few men ever did. And even though he had to fight a lot of misfortune and had to deal with many setbacks in the end he managed to come back at the surface , loyal to his reputation as a warrior.

This Corsair was said to be his but it was well known that this one had only been used for publicity-shots. Boyington allways chose to fly the oldest Corsair in the row.

Preparing a mission