Memo To: The Marine Patriots
Many thanks to all the members who sent in the write ups on
the 60th Anniversary of the Iwo Jima Invasion.
Although similar in content the individual presentations
were a little different so that all events of the actual
landings were covered and the memories of the Marines who
landed were really refreshed when they arrived at Iwo for
the Anniversary Celebration.
Cliff Willis called and says hello and regards to all.
We reminisced about things at Kwaj such as the B-29's coming
through and commandeering the flight lines for overnight
parking. Cliff was attached to the 4th MAW
Headquarters at Majuro prior to joining us. They asked
for volunteers for guard duty in the month of August which
he passed on but instead opted for Mess Duty for August,
September and October 1944 which resulted in his being
transferred to Kwajalein and the 4th MAW
Headquarters (Forward Echelon).
After that he operated the Movie and ran the Island
newspaper delivery service and took care of the Recreational
Hall. Short hours 6:00 AM to midnight. While operating
the projector one night he moved his hand over some wires
and received a severe electrical shock. In talking to
the General the following AM he mentioned the problem and in
no time at all he had a brand new, never been used,
projector to use.
He was then transferred to VMB 613 in May 1945 where he had
a multitude of assignments from the front office.
In looking through his pictures he came across two that
showed most of the tents and huts that quartered some of the
Headquarters operations of the 4th MAW and sent
them onto us. They are enclosures to this newsletter
with foot note identifiers.
Mike and Alice Jacus sends their best regards to all.
They have been busy helping their daughter through
some medical routines which has been time consuming.
The results to date have continued to be positive so
hopefully she will be up and about soon.
Mike was one of the members who sent along a newspaper
article on Remembering Iwo Jima and it contained a lot of
information about the islands underground hollowed out
systems which contained pillboxes, anti-tank guns and
concealed artillery. These were some of the defenses
that caused extensive damage to the Marines in their
Don McCune sends his regards to all. Every thing is
going on well in PA, they just have to remember to dodge the
rain and snow that continues to swoop through their area.
Jim Brotherton says good luck and best wishes to all members
He read with great interest the write up about the Ponape
raid particularly since he was in the group of six planes
that took part in the raid.
He said that his good wife, four children and eight
grandchildren continue to be well and happy.
Foster Cummings sends his regards to all. He heard
from Bob Polakowski who called him after his return from
Florida. He and Helene had a great time relaxing in
the sun. No hurricanes in their vicinity to given any
one a scare this year.
Foster and Doris got together with John and Doris
Siergiewicz for an evening dinner night. Health wise
all is great with both families.
Lester Robinson sends his regards to all. Things are
going along well for him. He is waiting for baseball
season to start up.
D.C. Clay says hello and regards to all. He has been
able to get some golf in spite of the rain.
Occasionally the course would not be playable due to the
heavy rain storms in their area. All remains well with
Gene Miller called and said hello to all. He and
Carmina have purchased and moved into a new home and their
address is at the end of the letter. They had been
living in a Senior Citizen Complex and made a decision to
leave it for their own home where they could maintain almost
the same routine. Carmina has had some surgery and is
doing well. She will be able to move about in the new home
without too much difficulty. Their daughter and son in
law will also be close by for assistance.
Heard from Bob Polakowski who reported that he and Helene
had returned to Wisconsin from sunny Florida and that all
was well with them. They both send their best to all.
They had six weeks in very busy Florida and had the
opportunity to get together with Allan and Jane Protheroe.
He affirmed that their condo has been
since last years hurricane and that a few minor things still
had to be taken care.
He tried to get together with Alex Ohlson but he was out on
the golf course and they couldn’t
close the loop. (Flight control expression)
R.L. Marx called him and said that they were in a hurry to
get home from Arizona so they bypassed Santa Fe but got
caught in the Colorado snow storm in the Denver area.
His new car didn’t
have front end drive so they had control problems. His
first stop when he got home was to get an improved model.
When Bob had a little time to sit down in Wisconsin he came
across some reading material that Foster Cummings had sent
him and it was fascinating reading. All Marine Corps
reading of course.
In the trailer court where they stayed in Florida Bob said
that there were over 100 Marines, all from the current
hostilities. It was fascinating to listen to their
stories Bob reported. Bob got the opportunity to play
some golf while he was there and one Marine he played with
had lost two legs in Iraq. He has managed to pull
himself together and play the golf course as though he had
no physical problems.
Stan Richardson says hello to all. He and Peach report
that things are good there in Florida. They had family
in from Maryland for a visit and they enjoyed the company.
brother passed away and they made an emergency trip to MD to
attend services. Stan said that the weather wasn’t
very kind to them and they were glad to get back to MD.
Carmine Nasta sends his greetings to all. He has been
feeling great except for an occasion wherein he came up with
a severe back problem. To alleviate the problem he had
to be extra careful what pain killers he used because of
recently discovered problems within the pharmaceutical
industry with all their pain killers.
After reading Carl Ellison’s
name in the last newsletter he called him but didn’t
get a chance to talk to him, he was out playing golf.
Since Carl was also a baseball player that brought back a
lot of memories to Carmine about other 613 baseball players,
such as Les Robinson and then some major league players who
went on to become Managers.
He has been in touch with Ike Stern and enjoyed several
discussions with him regarding members of the squadron.
His attempts to reach Frank Noland weren’t
successful so he will try again and hope he has better luck.
He maintains contact with Walt Gravello, Gene Hansen and
Walt Mathesen and will be in touch with them soon.
Bob Grice sends his best regards to all members. He is
now back in Ludington after a sojourn to Florida for a few
Norb Gibbs was scheduled to go to his grandson’s
school to talk to the students about World War II. On
his agenda was to show the students our webpage so that they
could learn about VMB-613 and see if they were clever enough
to find him. Brilliant idea.
Jim and Mary Jane Lewis send their best to all. They
returned from their Texas trip and are still talking to one
another and still walking around. This means that they
are able to sit up and take nourishment.
Their take off time to go Texas was all planned out in
advance but a few things interfered such as being too slow
in packing. They finally got off went to the city for
an oil change for the car and then the car decided to act up
and that had to be taken care of also.
Finally they were on the way again when they hit a lot of
flashing lights, white, blue and red, police ambulances and
Police redirecting traffic. To get out of the bumper
to bumper traffic they tried a short cut, got lost but
finally made it back onto the road to Texas and arrived at
Great weather in Texas and they were able to do a lot of
traveling with friends in the immediate area and over the
border into Mexico. The souvenirs, and fruit for sale
in Mexico were outstanding as were the restaurants.
They finally left for the cruel cold MN weather and were
able to watch the swans swim in their unfrozen lake.
They did some local celebrating which included going to a
Casino where Mary Jane broke even.
Willis Roose sends his regards to all. They had just
returned from Phoenix/Scottsdale and found the latest missal
waiting for them. He was happy to hear that we had
heard from the
Jim DePasque. He remembers Jim and his singing at Kwaj
when the USO Bands would make their visit. He always
managed to get on stage and do a number or two with them.
He was also glad to hear that Doc Scott had written to us.
He remembered that Doc had designed a sail and had it built
complete with parachute silks for sails.
Although he couldn’t
place all the names in the newsletter he did remember Chuck
Cannato particular because he hated the immunization shots.
Cliff Dotson reports that they have moved into their new
Everything went as smoothly as possible considering that
they had lived at their former home for a little over 43
years. Although they didn’t
downsize they did spend some time in getting rid of a lot of
accumulated items for a period of a little over a month
prior to the move. He helped the movers by packing
over eighty boxes of books and house hold items which was in
addition to the twenty or so boxes the packed.
Their life style isn’t
completely back to normal yet but Patsy is back to playing
bridge and involvement with her various church and club
activities. Cliff himself is back to playing early morning
tennis on week days, wether permitting, and working on a
couple of jobs.
They survived Cliff says and are very pleased with their new
living environment. They both thought it was time to
pass on their old home to the younger generation. Best
regards to all from both of them.
Harlan Jason sends his best to all. Things are
continuing well with him which means he is still here and he
has laid off any and all hard work.
He enjoyed seeing the picture of Miss-Carriage (MB11) in the
Newsletter and said that Charlie Barci was the Crew Chief,
Harlan Jason was 2nd Mech and Tom Honan was 1st
Another memory of the plane was that the Squadron Emblem was
on the front wheel plate. He managed to get that wheel
plate and brought it home where it resided for years.
After he left home his mother cleaned out the house and
threw out all the junk. Included in the junk was the
front wheel plate with the Squadron Emblem.
remember who the artist could have been, perhaps a member of
the Camp Maintenance Section was a talented artist and
volunteered his services under a cloak and dagger routine
just to help get the emblem out for All Hands to see.
He also remembered that the aircraft mechanics went through
a last minute change of carburetors at North Island.
It took a crew of about twenty five mechanics (estimate) to
get the job done. There was a tool shortage but they
did manage to borrow (and return) a lot tools to complete
No food was on the flight line but the assigned mechanics
made arrangements with some North Island sailors who were
able to get them into the Navy Mess Halls for their vitals.
Nick Bozic says hello and regards to all. He is coming
along real well after his second hip operation this time on
his right hip. He now walks with a cane or walker
depending on what he is planning to do. His knees are
still a problem and hopefully they will get back into some
sort of good shape. He manages to get out into the
outside world to have lunch with his daughter and also to
make it to the grocery store for shopping. This
activity renews his attitude that things will improve.
Mike Pasachnik sends his best to all. He isn’t
feeling too bad but is still confined to the wheel chair
which has limited him from taking part in his favorite
sports of fishing, hunting and walking. He mentioned
the PBJ that had an accident in the DC area and said that he
was on the plane (which was a VMB 413 aircraft) and had to
be hospitalized for a few weeks. After his release
from the hospital he joined 613. He can also remember
going out on proficiency firing tests. His position
was in the nose of the aircraft so they had to be flying in
the C or D model PBJ.
He remembers that his plane in 613 was MB 13 but he couldn’t
remember the name of it.
The current weather in his area is becoming something he
enjoys, warm almost like summer.
Randy Clow sends his regards to all. He reported that
things are great here in northern California with a
wet winter, but thankfully they didn’t
have any wild storms, tornadoes or hurricanes, and no mud
slides or earthquakes. They consider themselves lucky to be
relatively free of health problems, and things are looking
He went to the VA to check up on his hearing loss and they
rewarded him with a 10% disability for riding around in the
aft end of a PBJ with waist windows knocked out.
He has been in touch with Red Nelson and he is doing OK even
though he is still being bothered with his eye problems.
He also had some minor surgery to clear up a blockage on his
Chico Duarte called to say hello and regards to all.
Everything is continuing well with them and they manage to
keep busy. He is going to have his daughter pull up
the webpage so that he can see what memories he has been
Bob Chrisman says hello and regards to all. Things
remain great in Arizona and he gladly lets their rain go
onto New Mexico and other eastern states.
Jim Garls says hello to all. They have been enjoying
some beautiful spring weather which is great except the
grass has started to spring up which means he has to
pre-flight his riding mower and get ready for the
harvesting. Then plan how to do the trimming along the
fence and house with a regular mower.
Heard from Jack Schwartfager who reports that all is going
well with him and he is doing great. He continues to
maintain an athletic schedule which allows him to play golf
two to three times a week and occasionally gets in a fourth
They have a swimming pool at the club house which he also
utilizes on a daily basis for jogging in the water for 30
minutes and than doing a few laps the length of the pool.
Had a great conversation with Al Varner who sends his
regards to all. We revisited Kwaj and I gave him the
WEB Site address so that he could take it all in again, both
in B&W and some color.
He said that all is going well with him, he did have a hip
replacement a year or so ago and to date he is able to walk
better than he had in years.
Ike Stern has been reviewing pictures of aircraft mechanics
to complete input for the webpage endeavoring to
identify the personnel shown. For completeness he sent the
pictures onto Carmine Nasta and hopefully Carmine will be
able to identify the remaining unknowns or get back to Ike
and discuss the situation.
He reported that he located a large picture of a graduating
class of aviation mechanics from the school in Memphis and
that some of them, like himself, ended up in VMB 613.
He also had a picture of Chief
fishing Edenton with a bottle for bait. He was going
to send these onto the Web Master to see if they could be
Ike recalled that on the way out to sea from San Diego one
of our Cooks got sea sick and stayed that way for three days
plus. He finally started to recover by the time we got
to unloading the lumber at one of our stops. He was
heard to make the statement that he would go AWOL rather
than be on a ship back to the states.
Had a chance to talk to Elwood Sechrist an early member of
VMB 613. He was an Ordnance Gunner and was transferred
to VMB 423 sometime after Boca Chica. He remembers the
H model being delivered to us prior to his transfer.
Over the years he was able to keep up with some 613 news by
meeting with LeRoy Mays who used to live about three miles
from him. He sends his best to all members.
Trig Haroldson (son of Herb and Sue Haroldson) sent along a
message saying that he enjoyed visiting the
VMB 613 Web Site. His father and mother told him and
his siblings many stories of their time at Kwajalein.
Keep up the good work he said.
We are still hoping that a member or two will be able to
find a picture of Dave Snider and William Farley to complete
our webpage inputs.
In addition hopefully flight crew members and plane
mechanics will be able to give us the name of their plane
and the MB number. To date we know of the following
identification some of which is incomplete:
When you come up with the information please forward it to me.
Also received word that Martha Thomas is now living in a nursing
home due to physical ailments. Her health is fair but it
was felt that she would be in an environment more suitable to