Photo Recon Became Fighter Duty

Marine Observation Squadron 251 in World War II

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About the Book

Trained as a photo reconnaissance unit, Marine Observation Squadron 251 ended up serving as a fighter squadron for the duration of World War II, shooting down 32 Japanese aircraft. The squadron earned several awards for outstanding performance, including the Presidential Unit Citation. This book is the first to cover the World War II history of VMFA-251, one of the Marine Corps’ longest-serving squadrons. The author traces their operations from the unit’s activation on December 1, 1941, through Guadalcanal, the reduction of Rabaul and their missions over the Philippines in 1945.

About the Author(s)

USMC veteran, Steven K. Dixon is the web administrator for Sim-Tech Manufacturing in Fayetteville, Georgia. He has written several articles for Modern War and World at War magazines and has designed several war games published through Legion Wargames. He lives in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

Steven K. Dixon
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: 55 photos, 10 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9798-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2497-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
One. The Beginning 5
Two. New Caledonia 14
Three. Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal 32
Four. Home and Transition 68
Five. Espiritu Santo, Green Island and Bougainville 79
Six. Guiuan Field, Samar, Philippine Islands, and Deactivation 156
Epilogue 201
Appendices:
1. Commanding Officers 203
2. Assignments, 1941–1945 203
3. Casualties, 1 December 1941–1 June 1945 204
4. Roster of Personnel, August 1942 206
5. Roster of Personnel, March 1945 212
6. Number of Japanese Planes Shot Down per 251 Pilot 219
7. Aircraft Markings 221
8. World War II Squadron Awards 221
9. Citations for Recommended Awards 222
Chapter Notes 224
Bibliography 232
Index 235