The Bengals of Majuro

Here we see a F4U-1 Corsair #252 (possibly that of 1/Lt. William ‘Bill” Boshart) of the “Fighting Bengals ” of VMF 224, Marine Corps 4th Marines Aircraft Wing, Majuro Airstrip, Marshall Islands, in 1944.

Two things: A) that guy’s cap has to be held on by staples– have you ever stood next to a 2,000 hp 18-cylinder Pratt & Whitney and felt the airblast? B) Note the well-worn .50 cal blisters (U.S. Navy photo colorized by Paul Reynolds.)

The 100th Naval Construction Battalion (Seabee) moved into Majuro only days after the primitive strip was captured from the Japanese in February 1944 and soon created a very nice (for the Pacific War) coral-surfaced 5,800-foot runway that covered most of the island itself linked to aprons on two close atolls connected by newly-built causeways.

4th Airwing’s Marine Air Group 13 (MAG-13) relocated to Majuro Atoll in mid-March 1944 and included VF-39 operating the F6F Hellcat, VMF-155 and VMF-224 operating F4Us and VMSB-231 operating SBDs.

1944 photo of bomb-laden Marine F4U Corsairs of VMF-224 taxiing out for an airstrike from Majuro Airfield

The base proved popular for about a year, with MAG-13 (including our Corsairs of the Bengals) heading to Yomitan airfield in Okinawa for that campaign.

While the 100th NCB was disestablished after the war and Majuro was abandoned by the Navy in 1947 (and altogether by the Marshall Islands government in 1972), VMF 224 has maintained a long history and is still flying high as VMFA(AW)-224, pushing F/A-18Ds with MAG-31.

Illuminated by the setting sun after landing at Al Asad, Iraq, a ‘tiger-striped’ U.S. Marine Corps McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D Hornet from with Marine all-weather fighter-bomber Squadron VMFA(AW)-224 Fighting Bengals rests in the new hangar area prepared for the squadron by 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Marines, on 15 January 2005. Cpl. Paul Leicht, USMC – U.S. Marine Corps photo 200511961450

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

One response to “The Bengals of Majuro”

  1. Alexander Magoun says :


    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsApparently Majuro Atoll is alive if not well and features a 7,900-foot runway “on the road from the capital, Majuro, to Laura. It was constructed by building a causeway across several small islands.” Wonder if it’s based on its WW2 predecessor: http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/majuro-atoll.html.

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