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

DISPOSAL OF AIRCRAFT

Following V-J (Victory-Over-Japan) Day, the Marine Corps faced the need for a rapid demobilization.  With their job finished, the men who had fought the war were anxious to return home as quickly as possible so they could “get on with their lives.”  The American public was equally anxious to bring the men back home.

In light of that need, it was decided to scrap all of VMB-613's aircraft rather than to transport them back to the United States.  As a result, four of VMB-613s aircraft were stripped of equipment, partially broken up and dumped into the ocean at Kwajalein.  The remaining 11 aircraft were flown to Roi Island during October, 1945 and transferred to Carrier Aircraft Service Unit (Forward) Twenty (CASU-F-20).  There, the wheels of the aircraft were pulled and they were pushed into the dump by a bulldozer to await their final fate.  Shortly thereafter, these aircraft were taken into Kwajalein Lagoon near Mellu Island and unceremoniously dumped overboard. 

For over 55 years the aircraft rested undisturbed on the bottom of the lagoon.  Then, in 2000, a team of divers with Oceanic Research Group, Inc. was granted special permission by the governments of the United States and the Marshall Islands to search the waters and film a documentary about the battle for Kwajalein Atoll.  During the course of their filming, divers located and photographed one of the squadron's PBJ-1Hs.  Two years later, another group of divers located three “fairly intact” PBJ-1Hs, identifying them as VMB-613's aircraft by the radomes located on the starboard wingtip.  Subsequent dives by the latter group located the remaining aircraft, confirming that all 11 of VMB-613's aircraft lie on the bottom of Kwajalein Lagoon.  No other B-25 or PBJ-1 squadron can account for so many of their actual aircraft still being in existence!

CLICK ON THUMBNAIL IMAGES TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGES IN A NEW WINDOW

VMB-613 Aircraft Awaiting Disposal Thumbnail Image    

PBJ-1H Awaits Disposal

VMB-613's PBJ-1H

Another View of the PBJ-1H

     

Divers Examine One of VMB-613's Aircraft in Kwajalein Lagoon

     

Tail of PBJ-1H

Cockpit Area

General View

     

Second VMB-613 Aircraft

Diver Explores the Second PBJ

Third PBJ Lies Upside Down

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