Tag Archives: VMF-514

The Art of War, 80 Years Ago

These insignias from the Claude A. Larkin Collection (COLL/791) at the Archives Branch, Marine Corps History Division, are all for circa 1943-44 USMC tactical aviation units. They are primarily for multi-engine bombing (VMB), single-engine scout bombing (VMSB), and fighter (VMF) squadrons. The artwork, as most are a product of the Walt Disney Studios, is often top notch and it really shines through on the Corsair-themed fighter squadrons.

Formed at Cherry Point on 1 August 1943 as Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 333 (VMSB-333), the logically named “Trip Trey” began their career flying SBD Dauntless dive-bombers from Midway on anti-shipping patrols. They stayed in business through the Korean War, Vietnam, and Desert Storm, only disbanding in 1992.

VMB-613 flew North American PBJ-1s; the navalized equivalent of the Army’s famous B-25 twin-engine Mitchell bomber.

This one is for Marine Photographic Squadron 354 (VMD-354) who flew photo Hellcats (F6F-3Ps) in the Pacific in the final months of WWII.

Marine Night Fighter Squadron 534 (VMF(N)-534) flew the distinctive F6F-3N night fighter before receiving the sleek and powerful new F7F-3N immediately post-war before casing its colors for good in 1947.

My favorite: The Whistling Death of VMF-514.

Commissioned 20 February 1944 at MCAS, Cherry Point, VMF-514 started off flying F4U- 1 and FG-1 Corsairs, then upgraded before the end of the war to F6F-3, F6F-3P, and F6F-5 Hellcats. Interestingly, it was originally intended to ship it to Europe to chase down German V-1 launch sites from escort carriers in the North Sea as part of Project Danny, but Marshall upended all that and instead the unit was sent to the Pacific aboard the jeep carrier USS Salerno Bay (CVE-110) but ultimately saw no combat. It was deactivated on December 9, 1945, and has never been re-established.