VMFA-513 Flying Nightmares Patch – Plastic Backing
4.5 inch patch
In the beginning . . .
Marine Attack Squadron 513 was first commissioned as VMF-513 on 15 February 1944 at Marine Corps Auxiliary Field Oak Grove, North Carolina, flying the Grumman F6F “Hellcat.” The squadron was transferred to Marine Corps Auxiliary Field Walnut Range, Arkansas, in September 1944. In December of the same year, the squadron moved to Mojave, California, where it was redesignated VMF(CVS)-513. On 15 June 1945, VMF(CVS)-513 departed San Diego, California, aboard the USS VELLA GULF and participated in carrier operations in the Pacific, making stops in Ewa, Enewetak, Saipan, and Guam. In addition, they provided close air support for the 3d Marine Division during the battle for Okinawa, Japan.
Between WW-II and the Korean Conflict, VMF-513 operated from MCAS El Toro, California. Transitioning to the F4U-5N, the squadron was redesignated VMF(N)-513 (Night Fighters). In August 1950, the squadron deployed to Japan under operational control of the U.S. 5th Air Force.
Commanding Officer’s Note:
The squadron nickname “Flying Nightmares” was coined by the VMF(N)-513 Commanding Officer, LtCol James R. Anderson, USMC, in March 1951. At this time the squadron, with its 15 F7F “Tigercats” and 15 F4U-5N “Corsairs,” were flying out of Pusan West and providing the sole night fighter air defense and interdiction support to all UN forces engaged with the numerically superior CHICOM enemy. In this month alone, the squadron flew 2,086 hours in 604 night combat sorties, inflicting severe damage on the CHICOM’S tactical and logistical units. Colonel Anderson thought that “Flying Nightmares” most appropriately described his outfit –certainly from the CHICOM’s perspective– and it quickly became a legend in both Korea and in the annals of Marine Corps Aviation. The oil painting below is on display at the MCAS Yuma Officer’s Club.
During the summer of 1952, VMF(N)-513 received the F-3D “Skynight,” the squadron’s first jet aircraft. With the new jet fighter, VMF(N)-513 made aviation history with the first radar kill on an enemy jet aircraft at night and was credited with 10 confirmed night kills during the Korean Conflict.
The strip alert planes of Marine All Weather Fighter Squadron 513 were frequently launched in rotten weather to help someone aloft who had become lost or disoriented. We took our “all weather” designation very, very, seriously. At our daily 1600 briefing we sang various ribald chanteys and recited bits of poetic doggerell. We also were not above a little horseplay from time to time.
Once, when our Army meteorologist issued a forecast calling for ceiling and visibility to be unlimited (and we all ended up desperately low on fuel seeking alternate runways as home plate –K-6– went below minimums), we held an award ceremony and dressed him in sackcloth and ashes. He was then awarded a hand-made medal (a “C” ration can lid and skivvie cloth) named the “Royal Order of the Adiobatic Lapse Rate–with the distinguished Dingleberry Cluster.”