By William Wolf
Dying Rattlers: Marine Squadron VMF-323 over Okinawa
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Additional info for Death Rattlers: Marine Squadron VMF-323 over Okinawa
James Barrett: "We left Emirau for Espiritu Santo via Guadalcanal in fighter-escorted C-46s. We each had a full pack, rifle, full sea bag, and 100 pound tool box. The pilot had some doubts about whether we were overloaded for taking off from that airstrip. He decided we weren't overweight, but we just barely cleared the end of the runway before we lifted off. On the way from Emirau to Espiritu a group of ordnance men in a C-46 were to scheduled to stop at Bougainville. As the transport was about to land it was discovered that the landing gear reservoir had been depleted and the gear would not drop.
He returned to the States in February 1944 to become an instructor in a fighter training unit at both Jacksonville, Florida, and EI Toro, California. 1Lt. James Feliton had flown F4F Wildcats earlier with Joe Foss' VMF-121 off Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, arriving on 10 October 1942 and staying until the island was secured in late January 1943. As a Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP), S/Sgt. Feliton shot down a Zero on 19 October 1942, but was shot down himself. Friendly Solomon natives brought him back to Henderson on the 22nd.
First Row: Hots Terrill, Seab Allen, Red Dillard, and George Graham. V. Gallatin, Big Bub Brandon, Lightning Fountain, and Big Bub Woods. Courtesy of Henry Brandon. Under athletic director, Hank Brandon, sports were a large part of everyday life at Espiritu Santo. Brandon, a college basketball player, starred in the intramural games. Courtesy of Henry Brandon. Espiritu Santo - Jungle Humdrum 55 On one of their R & R outings, a motor boat was somehow commandeered and a combination water ski/surfboard was improvised.