Memo To: All The Happy Irishman
60th ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL CEREMONY HELD AT SITE OF
MARINE CORPS BOMBER CRASH
The United States Embassy in the Federated States of Micronesia
(FSM), the FSM government, and local veterans have joined to
commemorate the 60th anniversary of the loss in
combat of a U.S. Marine Corps bomber.
On February 6, 1945, a flight of six PBJ-1 bombers from the U.S.
Marine Bombing Squadron (VMB) 613 struck the newly completed
Japanese airfield at Palikir on the island of Pohnpei in the
Although the target suffered heavy damage, one aircraft was shot
down with the loss of all on board. At 1115 am on February
6, 2005, the same time that Japanese anti-aircraft brought down
the aircraft, the names of the crew members who made the supreme
sacrifice during the raid were read, taps was sounded, and
Ambassador Suzanne Hale and Speaker of the FSM Congress Peter
Christian placed a wreath on the aircraft’s engine and
propeller, which still rest at the crash site.
Over thirty people attended the ceremony, held in a jungle
clearing on a hillside above the old airfield site at Palikir in
northern Pohnpei. The FSM Government was also represented
by Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Jane
Chigiyal. Additional participants included World War II
veteran Harvey Segal, now a professor at the College of
Micronesia, and Marine Corps veterans present included Anthony
VMB-613 was the only Marine Corps squadron to fly the PBJ-1H in
combat. This aircraft was notable for carrying a .75 mm
cannon in addition to bombs and machine guns. The six
aircraft involved in the raid flew from the squadron’s forward
operating base on Eniwetok Atoll. Defying bad weather and
intense anti-aircraft fire, the flight cratered the runway and
demolished a large building adjacent to the field with a .75 mm
However, the last aircraft in the formation, piloted by Lt.
William J. Love, was hit as it leveled out for its bombing run.
The plane’s right wing collapsed and the bomber crashed and
exploded. The crew’s remains were recovered after the war
and returned to the U.S. for burial. The navigator on
another aircraft in the formation was also killed during the
attack. The abandoned Japanese air base was transformed into the
site of the FSM national capital during the late 1980's.
The Press Release of the above commemoration will be made and
will appear in the following publications or websites:
Marine Corps Times; Leatherneck Magazine;
Leatherneck.com; PacificWrecks.com; Kwajalein Hour Glass;
TogetherWeServed.com; Yokwe.net (Marshall Islands Website), and
Wiehes.coml (Kwajalein Community Website).
Dick Williams, an aircraft archeologist, sent me a message and
said that we should know that the boys were remembered with
respectful, dignified and kind words concluding with a tearful
rendering of Taps. He always has felt satisfied after he
learned the entire crew had been repatriated and laid to rest in
their home soil. Mission accomplished.
Herb and Sue Haroldson send their best to all. They
have moved and their new address is listed at the end of the
letter under the Roster Addendum. All remains well
with them but Sue is having eye problems.
John and Dotti Roberson send their regards to all 613'ers.
John is doing very well they report and is keeping very busy
in the wood shop.
George Comer says hello to everyone. My comment in the
last letter about no picture of Dave Snider brought some
memories back to him. He sent me some pictures in the
past and he is of the opinion that Dave’s picture is in one
of them. I am going through stacks of files, boxes and
albums looking for the picture(s). Hopefully I will be
able to locate a picture.
The hurricane damage in his area was severe.
Considering that he is in agriculture the losses from such
an event can still be a severe economic problem. He
suffered damage to his trees and vines and fruit crops that
were about ready for harvest. He had a massive old oak
tree that one could envision as being a large hall when one
stood under it. The winds took it apart and it really
has to be manicured.
His hunting lodge which he uses as his office building was
refused insurance by the insurers because it wasn’t built to
spec. That building withstood the force of the storm
and similar buildings in the area which were built to spec
are nothing but firewood now.
The World War II Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is
accepting memorials for various Veterans activities.
George recommended that we give consideration for a memorial
for our lost crew members. I will check with some
Veterans organizations and see what they have on the
subject. If anyone in the unit is up on this subject
please let me know about it.
Heard from Frank Pokrop of the 4th MARDIV.
He sends his best regards to all members of 613. Frank
was at the Roi-Namur Kwajalein 50th Anniversary
proceedings and has kept in touch with us since then.
I sent him the write up on the Dick Sorenson events at Kwaj
which he appreciated. He hadn’t seen Dick since the
trip but had kept up with his doings and was aware of his
Weather wise Frank has been waiting for an expected snow
fall of 7-10 inches which if it happens will be more than
they have received for several years. So far this year
the winter weather has been fairly decent.
He sent me a Fourth Marine Division Association patch.
This patch was made by a friend of his and he knows that
this will remind us of him and the 4th MARDIV.
He went on to say that the 4th MARDIV has been
running an educational assistance program for members
children/grand children and it is still an ongoing event.
It has been very successful and they hope that it can
continue for several more years.
Frank gets the urge to go back for another trip to Roi-Namur
but he says that he is getting older and lazier and would
not enjoy the air trip.
Bob and Bette Dorn send their best to all 613'ers. All
is going well with them. Bob manages to get into the
golf game at least twice a week but not much more than that.
They are living in a Senior Center which he says is great.
The staff does everything for them and they have gotten
spoiled. The atmosphere in the Center us really great
Norb Gibbs and Betty send their best to all 613er’s.
They are both doing very well and only have a few aches and
pains which is normal for their young age. He is still
working part time at 40 hours a week and enjoys every bit of
He was very busy during the month of December working in his
work shop evenings making “Corn Hole” games for Christmas
presents. This game has taken over outdoor fun in the
western part of Cincinnati. His nephews and
grandchildren are introducing it to friends in Kentucky and
Florida where the “kids” are going nuts over it.
It is a take off from horseshoes wherein each player
endeavors to throw a bag(s) of cracked corn into a hole on
the board and keeps track of points earned. Most sets
are sold for $100.00 and every now and then the youngsters
remember to reimburse him for the lumber. I will
attach pictures of the basic board layout to this news
letter. If it doesn’t make it this month it will next
month for sure.
Norb’s son had his computer up and running one night when he
was visiting and his son called him over to look at the
screen. His son had punched the name Norb Gibbs into
the computer and up came the VMB-613 Web Page.
Although he didn’t have the time to review everything what
he did see really brought back memories to him. He
anticipates watching more when he goes over again for
He had the opportunity to look at Doc Scott’s video of
Kwajalein which he enjoyed very much. This also
brought back more memories of Kwaj.
John Aymen sends his best to all. He has been
undergoing chemo therapy for the past few weeks three days a
week and hopes that it will do the trick and get rid of his
He and Wanda have found a condo and will be moving into it
shortly. Although it is smaller than their present
home it does have the amenities that they desire and is
ready to move in.
Robert Yanacek scanned the original picture of the PBJ model
photo that appeared in the last news letter and sent it to
the man who built it. He received an answer and the
model builder acknowledged his gratitude to Lt Barber for
sending him photos of a PBJ-1H so that he was able to use
them to make a great model.
Harlan Jason says hello to all. He is still hanging in
there, can’t walk too well and for assistance he uses a
walker. He feels pretty good physically and continues
to eat well.
Although he doesn’t have a computer his son has been looking
at the 613 Web Site on his computer and reporting things
back to him. Every now and then he will bring over a
picture that he feels Jason would like to look at.
Jason and his son are really impressed with the material
being shown. Brings back a lot of memories Jason said.
Received a message that Brooke Ligon attended the
Presidential Inauguration ceremonies. She had a great
time at a great event. Hopefully we will receive more
information on the events that she was able to take in.
Carmine Nasta sends his best to all 613'ers. He has
been going through a health ordeal with the dentist and
doctors. The doctors are endeavoring to improve the
circulation in his legs and insist that he use a cane when
walking. Then another doctor wants to check his eyes
and possibly recommend glasses to improve his vision.
With the terrible traffic situation in his area of Staten
Island he wants to make sure that he can observe everything
in the road. He is going to get in touch with Walt
Matheson and some other VMB 613'ers so that he doesn’t
forget who they are.
Foster Cummings sends his best regards to all. All
continues well with them, the unusual weather is something
else and he hopes that it will dissipate soon and return to
normal. He received a call from RL Marx who reported
that he and Alice made their sojourn to Arizona and are now
starting to enjoy some good warm winter weather.
Tracy Bell says hello to all VMB 613'ers. The Bell’s
have moved just around the corner of their complex to a more
comfortable quarters. Tracy is having problems moving
about and has to use a cane or piece of walking equipment to
steady himself due to a problem with his leg.
Joe Yakawich says hello to all and the best of health.
They are having their usual winter weather which is cold
weather. Lately they have been getting some chilly
winds along with the cold weather which freezes up the lake
and river fishing spots. Now it takes two to go
fishing one, to run the ice saw and the other to bait and
drop the lines. They have been able to bring back
anywhere from one to three fish on these fishing
He still makes his PBJ1H model airplanes for the
grandchildren and has switched from his western style
paintings to comical drawings. His grandchildren like
them almost as much as his western paintings.
His son the LtCol US Army is still stationed at Ft
Leavenworth but isn’t there too often. He has been
traveling all over the world to various U.S. Army posts
checking up on their advanced training concepts. He
just got back from Germany and is now busy writing reports
on his trips.
Bob Chrisman has relocated to quarters which are more
conducive to his life style. The new address is at the
end of the newsletter. Bob says regards to all.
Bob Longenberger says that he is still alive. The
newsletter and pictures sure bring back memories of long,
long ago, some good and bad he reported.
One evening I picked up some papers and saw the name Frank
Acker peaking out of the stack. Since there was a
telephone number with the name I called and it was our Frank
Acker. He was very much surprised and happy to hear
from a 613'er. All is well with him and he sends his
best to all. Since he doesn’t have a computer I
suggested that he go to the library and go on line and pull
up the Web page. He said that he would do that the
very next day.
John Butler sent along a few words wishing us the best.
He and Carol will be going to New Orleans for follow up
doctors appointments for Carol. Her sister, Jane, and
her husband will also be there for a medical convention.
This will give them an opportunity to spend some time
together and see the city. Nicole, Matt’s
granddaughter will be finishing her college work in May and
then plans to spend one semester as an intern at a high
school in Indianapolis.
John also sent along a short write up that Helicopter pilots
are just better than fixed wing pilots.
MARINE BOMBING SQUADRON SIX-THIRTEEN ASSOCIATION
31 December 2004
Advance to President
Submitted by J.D. Garls - Treasurer