Paul Gailey, of Burnt Store Marina, Fla., was a crew chief in Marine Air Group 31, Squadron VMF-441, during the Battle of Okinawa, the last major island battle in the Pacific in World War II. As a sergeant, it was his job to keep his squadron of F4U Corsair fighters airborne. Read the rest of this entry »
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It was Jan. 22, 1945 and Americans forces were already making air strikes on Okinawa. The captain of the battleship USS South Dakota got word a carrier plane had crashed into the sea off the Pacific island.
Father Bill Magill of Venice, Fla. was a “Devil Dog.” He flew a Corsair, F-4U fighter, in the Pacific during World War II before he began working for the Lord.
The former Marine aviator and retired Episcopal priest was a member of Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-111. “Devil Dogs” is what they called themselves. He saw action in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in the Central Pacific from December 1943 until March 1945.
“Our job was to bomb and strafe everything and keep the Japanese‘s heads down,” said Magill, 85. “The first thing we did was shoot up their planes on the ground and then we would pound the heck out of them with bombs.”
By the time his tour was finished he logged 89 combat missions. The side of his Corsair was covered with yellow bombs, one for each mission.