The first F-35B of VMFAT-501 arrived at MCAS Beaufort last week. The story below is from DVIDS and the video is from the Island Packett and Beaufort Gazette YouTube channel.
Story by Cpl. John Wilkes
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. – Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, July 11, and with it, the future of Marine Corps aviation.
“July 11, 2014, marks the homecoming of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 to the Lowcountry, after spending a couple years located at Eglin Air Force Base,” said Col. Peter Buck, the commanding officer of MCAS Beaufort.
“We have a strong relationship with Beaufort and the surrounding communities that has existed for over 71 years,” said Buck. “From our roots of training for anti-submarine patrols during World War II to now as we welcome this squadron that’s responsible for flying the nation’s fifth-generation, dominant aircraft, we’re fortunate to have the support of what we consider to be one of the most military-friendly communities in the nation.”
The beginnings of VMFAT-501 can be traced back to 1944, when it was activated as Marine Fighting Squadron 451, also known as the Blue Devils. During this time the squadron was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Mojave, Calif. The squadron saw action during World War II and was later deactivated.
In 1946, the Fightin’ Phillies, as they were known then, were reactivated as a reserve unit at Naval Air Station Willow Grove, Pa., and flew the F6F Hellcat. When the Korean War began, the unit was called to active duty and flew the F9F Panther. VMF-451 was relocated to MCAS El Toro, and remained there until Feb. 1, 1963, when they relocated to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.
While aboard MCAS Beaufort, the Warlords deployed multiple times in support of various operations around the world. During this time, the Warlords set a safety record of 29,000 accident-free hours in the F4 Phantom. In 1987, the squadron upgraded to the F/A-18 Hornet, a variant of which is flown today.
In 1990, VMFA-451 deployed to Bahrain in support of Operation Desert Shield. In 1991, the Warlords became the first Marine squadron to attack Iraqi forces in Operation Desert Storm. They ended the operation with over 700 combat sorties and 1,400 combat hours.
VMFA-451 spent the remaining years leading up to deactivation at MCAS Beaufort participating in various exercises around the world. They returned from a deployment to the Western Pacific in July 1996 winding down a 57-year history as they deactivated on Jan. 31, 1997.
The squadron was reactivated in April 2010 and designated as a training squadron. After four years of training with the F-35B Lightning II, the squadron returned to MCAS Beaufort.
The Marine Corps’ F-35B variant replaces and performs the roles of three legacy aircraft, the F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier II and EA-6B Prowler.
“It’s much more important that we welcome the people that make that airplane fly back to Beaufort,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Hedelund, commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “It’s not about the incredible airplane, it’s about the incredible people that make that airplane fly and [VMFAT-501] throughout their history, and certainly most recently, truly are incredible people.”
The integration of the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter into the Marine Corps’ arsenal provides the dominant, multi-role, fifth-generation capabilities needed across the full spectrum of combat operations to deter potential adversaries and enable future naval aviation power projection.
Yesterday I had to go to Atlanta for some work related training. Since I didn’t have to drive, I took along the BCD436HP and did some monitoring along the way. I rarely get to the Atlanta area (mostly by choice!) so it was a good opportunity to do some monitoring in a big metropolitan area. Below are my logs from around Forsyth up into the downtown Atlanta area. I focused on public safety monitoring, mostly Fire Departments, and as always, no law enforcement information is included.
154.355 (PL 141.3) – Butts Co Dispatch
453.400 (PL 107.2) – Clayton Co FD Ch. 1
453.300 (PL 107.2) – Clayton Co FD Ch. 2
460.625 (PL 107.2) – Clayton Co FD Ch. 7
151.2575 (PL 107.2) – Riverdale FD Dispatch (Clayton Co)
154.070 (PL 107.2) – Morrow FD Dispatch (Clayton Co)
853.300 (NAC 581) – Forest Park Public Safety
154.220 (PL 88.5) – Monroe Co Emergency Services Dispatch
Henry County EDACS TRS
TG 04-021 – Henry Co FD Dispatch
Fulton County TRS
TG 41680 – Roswell FD Dispatch
TG 43408 – Alpharetta FD Dispatch
TG 43984 – unknown
TG 47088 – NPS Hooch (Chattahoochee National Recreation Area)
TG 47152 – Fulton Co FD Disaptch
TG 47248 – ChatComm911 Fire Tac 2
TG 49104 – ChatComm911 Fire Dispatch
TG 64656 – unknown
Atlanta Public Safety P25 TRS
TG 19361 – Hapeville FD Dispatch
TG 19377 – East Point FD Dispatch
TG 19406 – College Park FD Dispatch
TG 19614 – Hartsfield Jackson, Atlanta FD Dispatch
TG 19632 – Atlanta FD Tac 2
TG 19654 – Atlanta FD Med 1
TG 19657 – Atlanta FD Dispatch
TG 19680 – Atlanta FD Unknown Responses
TG 19713 – Ambassador
TG 19803 – OTG5 – Events
TG 19807 – OTG1 – EVents
Cobb County P25 TRS
TG 30201 – Cobb Co FD Dispatch
TG 30211 – Cobb Co FD Support
TG 30216 – Cobb Co FD Private
TG 35019 – unknown
DeKalb County P25 TRS
TG 6121 – DeKalb Co FD 1 Dispatch
TG 6122 – DeKalb Co FD 2 Ops
TG 6126 – DeKalb Co FD Tac 1
TG 6134 – DeKalb Co FD Tac 9
Motor Sport history books are few and far between and IndyCar history books are even more rare. I feel lucky to have read two very good ones in the last month. The first was one I reviewed a few weeks ago: Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500 by Art Garner. The second, and the subject of this review is Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Race Car That Shocked the World at the 1994 Indy 500 by Jade Gurss. Both books involve Indianpolis 500s in seasons that changed IndyCar. Specifically, Beast is about Roger Penske, Mario Ilien, and Paul Morgan’s pushrod engine project for the 1994 Indianapolis 500. I remember watching that race; twenty years later it’s incredible to read the story behind it that all but a few knew at the time!
Gurss has done a good job of balancing the story and the technology. Sure there could have been more technical information but if he had gone too far to the technical side I think the book would have a more limited appeal and wouldn’t engage as many readers. As a fan of the technical side of racing, I’m satisfied with amount of technical content. The differences between pushrod and overhead cam engines are described and technical drawings are included to illustrate the complexity of what Ilmor and Penske were trying to do. There is also good narrative on the process of not just building but testing and developing an engine, too. The reader come away with an understanding of how racing engines don’t just come to be overnight. I enjoyed the description of the process and the testing but it was also good to read about the personalities of the major players and the men behind the scenes; unlike today’s social media world, we didn’t have Twitter and other outlets in the mid 90′s to hear from them and get insights into what makes them tick – but we certainly have through this book. Paul Morgan is certainly a man I would like to have met.
You can’t broach the subject of American open wheel racing in 1994 without getting into the origins of the CART/IRL split that was beginning to occur. This is the one part of the book where readers may have a problem with Beast, but I think Gurss has handled it well. He definitely points the finger at Tony George (and not without good cause) but he also makes it clear that there was plenty of blame to go around. This is a subject that deserves and would fill a book on its own but he treated it well and in my opinion fairly. Going any more in depth on the topic would have taken away from the main subject of the book.
I have no problem giving Beast five out of five stars. It is an excellent read; once you start it’s a hard book to put down. Race fans will love it because it tells the story of an epic effort from inception to development to the race. Non race fans would likely enjoy it because it’s just a great story of accomplishment on its own. I highly recommend this book – go out and grab a copy today, you won’t be disappointed!
Many books have written about the D-Day Invasion of 6 June 1944. Most of them concentrate on the landings and the air drops behind the lines. Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings by Craig Symonds is not one of those books. If you’re looking for another account of what happened on the Normandy beaches and the countryside beyond on D-Day, this is not the book for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a book about how D-Day came to be and what it took to get those troops on the beaches and keep them there then this is the book for you.
“This book is a study of how the British and Americans managed to overcome divergent strategic views, Russian impatience, German U-boats, insufficient shipping, training disasters, and a thousand other obstacles to bring the Allied armies to Normandy and keep them there.”
While the story of Overlord is an often told and interesting story, you can’t really grasp the challenge of it without studying Neptune. You have to get an understanding of how the Allies went from America joining the war to amassing over six thousand vessels and one million men to begin the liberation of Western Europe in just two and a half years. There were so many challenges to overcome. Many of them were logistical. Where were all of the ships and men coming from? How would they get there? Where would they stage from? Once they get there how do you house and feed them all. Some of them were operational. When would they land? Where would they be landed? Who would lead them? How and where would they be trained? Yet others were diplomatic. The Americans and the British had differing views on how and when. They also had inherently different solutions to the problems at hand. They also had to placate the Russians, who desperately needed a second front to be opened up. Of course, the enemy also had their cards to play. Symonds ties all of these threads together to tell the story of how the Allies got from America’s declaration of war at the end of 1941 to the beaches of Normandy in Summer 1944. You might have to be southern to understand this, but I liked Symonds’ use of the Tar Baby from the Br’er Rabbit tales as an analogy for the North African and Italian campaigns. I hope it’s one that people will read and think about instead of immediately taking offense to it (as some of Joel Chandler Harris’ work is prone to do).
“In the end, what saved the day was the ability of the men both afloat and ashore to adapt and adjust.”
Symonds covers the strategy, the equipment, how it was done, why it was done, and describes the confusion and struggle of Omaha Beach – all of which are important parts of the story – but what I like so much about Neptune is that he concentrates on the personalities involved. He develops the personalities of the major figures such as Roosevelt, Churchill, King, Marshall, Brooke, Eisenhower, Ramsay, and other Admirals and Generals and shows how Neptune developed out of the interaction of those personalities. Neptune is just as much a story about how the Allies developed and maintained a working relationship in spite of differing strategies, national personalities, and experience levels as it is a book about Operation Neptune. Neptune, much less Overlord wouldn’t have been possible without the Allies working as a team.
Symonds doesn’t just concentrate on the leadership however, he also credits the men on the pointed end of the spear with the success of the D-Day invasion. He tells the story of Neptune from the Executive level to the Command and Staff level all the way down to the perspective of the landing craft sailor. He tells the story of how when the intricately detailed plan fell apart it was the sailors’ and soldiers’ training, instinct, and ability to improvise that carried the day. One of the things you come away from reading Neptune with is an understanding that although material, planning, and strategy are important – the human factor is the most important factor. No matter how good your equipment is, no matter how detailed your planning is, no matter what your strategy is, if you don’t have the skill and drive to implement it and you aren’t flexible enough to adapt when the plan falls apart you aren’t going to win.
“In the end, it was less the detailed invasion plan, labored over for so many months, that provided the margin of success than it was the desperate ferocity of the men themselves. If the plan had failed, the men had triumphed; if they had not quite established a foothold, they had at least secured a foothold.”
Neptune is an excellent history of the invasion of Western Europe. It is well researched, using secondary and primary sources which he documents well throughout the book. It is detailed without being dull; it’s a compelling book that the casual history reader would appreciate just as much as a World War II anorak. The maps and charts are good (see, two Kindle books in a row – it CAN be done!). If you are going to study the liberation of Western Europe from the Third Reich, this is a must read book.
WW2COS, the amateur radio station aboard the B-17 “City of Savannah” at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler will be active today, 5 June 2014, as part of the museum’s Independence Day activities. It will probably be active from approximately 1300 UTC to 2100 UTC (0900-1700 local), the hours the museum is open. Usually the station is only active on one band from a station set up inside the bomber at the radio operator’s position but for this operation, plans are to also operate a second station outside the bomber so that there will be two bands active at a time. Look for WW2COS in the general portion of the HF bands.
Unfortunately I won’t be there today because I have to go back to work tonight, so I won’t be able to provide frequency information over social media. This is definitely an operation that I’ll miss being part of. It’s been awhile since the “City of Savannah” has been on the air, so if you are an amateur radio operator interested in military history or military aviation, this is definitely a station to put in your logbook. Start tuning around the bands shortly after 13oo UTC and they should pop up. K4GTM usually runs video from the events on his blog, so you may be able to get operating info from it as well as see one of the stations in operation online.
If you’re a ham in the area and want to drop by to check out the station or operate, the museum is located just off of US 80 near I-95 in Pooler, GA. The B-17 is inside the museum so high heat and humidity won’t be an issue. I can speak from experience that operating from the “City of Savannah” is a unique and enlightening experience.