Marine Bombing Squadron Six-Thirteen
October 1, 1943 - November 21, 1945
VMB-613 Insignia

DEPLOYMENT TO THE PACIFIC

The air echelon prepared a flight plan that called for the trip to be made using the southern route,  from Ewa to Palmyra, Canton, Funafuti, Tarawa, Majuro, and finally, Kwajalein.  This would provide the squadron's navigators with much needed experience in over-water navigation.  The flight was to be made in three sections, the first being led by Major Nevils, the second by Major Danser, and the third by Captain O'Reilly.

On December 10th the movement began with the USAT Julian departing with the squadron's ground echelon for Kwajalein.  This same day, Major Nevis' section departed MCAS Ewa with four aircraft, followed by Major Danser's six-plane section the following day.  Captain O'Reilly's section, composed of the remaining five aircraft, departed on December 14th.  By December 19, 1944, all 15 aircraft had arrived on Kwajalein without serious incident.

On Kwajalein, the squadron was assigned to an area that consisted of 15 wooden building, previously used by an Army Bomber Group.  Unfortunately, when this group departed they had completely stripped the buildings of virtually everything including electrical wiring, light bulbs, plumbing and fixtures.  Although two heads had been left, these had been closed by the island's doctors.  The air echelon, left with little choice, slept on the floors of these buildings, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ground echelon with all the necessary gear and equipment to make the buildings livable.  One of the heads was temporarily re-opened for their use until new ones could be constructed, and they were able to secure permission to eat at the Marine Air Group 15 (MAG-15) mess hall until the arrival of the ground echelon. 

On December 23, 1944, the ground echelon arrived at Kwajalein and disembarked from the transport.  Work on the squadron area began the following day.  The priority was to establish the squadron's mess hall since the arrangement to use MAG-15's mess hall was a temporary one.  By December 27th, the squadron's mess hall was completed and functional.  The following day, work on the squadron's offices was completed and preparations began for flight operations.  Work on the remaining area continued until all the men had settled-in and the squadron's area was in order.

On December 29, 1944 Lieutenant Colonel Nevils, having just been promoted, received Secret Operations Plan Order 2-44 from Commander, Task Force 96.  This order appointed him commander of the Kwajalein Air Group.  As the year ended Lieutenant Colonel Nevils reported that VMB-613 had 72 officers, 467 enlisted men onboard.  Marine Bombing Squadron Six-Thirteen was now ready to commence operations.

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Last Stateside Liberty Thumbnail Image    

Last Stateside Liberty

USS Tulagi

Aboard the USS Tulagi

     

USAT George W. Julian

Route of Air Echelon

Meal Card

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