VMFAT-501 Warlords (Full Color) Patch- With Hook and Loop
A 4 inch patch with hook & loop VMFAT-501 Warlords (Full Color).
Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501) is a training squadron in the United States Marine Corps, consisting of 28 F-35B Lightning II aircraft and serves as the Fleet Replacement Squadron. Known as the “Warlords,” the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and falls administratively under Marine Aircraft Group 31 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. The squadron has assumed the lineage of VMFA-451 which was originally known as the “Blue Devils” and saw action during World War II and Operation Desert Storm. They were decommissioned on January 31, 1997.
World War II
Marine Fighting Squadron 451 (VMF-451) was activated on 15 February 1944 at Marine Corps Air Station Mojave, California. The “Blue Devils” were one of 32 squadrons that trained at the base, and were collectively known as the “Mojave Marines”. Equipped with the Chance-Vought F4U-1D Corsair, they spent nearly a year training for carrier-based operations under the command of Major Henry A. Ellis Jr., who remained the Commanding Officer for 17 months.
The squadron moved on board USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) on 24 January 1945, along with VF-84 and VMF-221. This was the first fast-carrier deployment with three Corsair squadrons. As a new member of CVG-84, collectively known as the “Wolf Gang”, CV-17 sailed westward across the Pacific. They flew their first combat sorties on February 16, against targets near Tokyo. The “Blue Devils” scored their first kill during the initial combat mission, but also suffered their first casualty. Lieutenant Forrest P. Brown was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, and was last seen floating in the water. On 18 March, they focused their fury on Kyushu, destroying the Myazaki and Omura air fields and bagging another kill. On 3 April, the “Blue Devils” had a field day in knocking down 11 Japanese planes, and on 12 April, they brought down 16 kamikazes. Major Archie Donahue, the XO, shot down three Vals and two Zekes, thus becoming the first carrier-based Marine “ace-in-a-day” and adding to the nine previous kills that he scored with VMF-112 in 1943. 11 May was pivotal for VMF-451 and the other “Wolf Gang” members of Bunker Hill. It started on a positive note, as First Lieutenant J.S. Norris Jr. shot down a Zeke near Amami, bringing VMF-451’s score to 34 confirmed kills. At 1005 hours, Bunker Hill was struck by two kamikazes, each carrying a bomb that was released prior to impact. Bunker Hill immediately began to burn and the smoke attracted more kamikazes. However, none of the suicide planes were able to penetrate the flak, and Bunker Hill was spared any more hits. The flames were eventually extinguished and CV-17 limped back to Ulithi, then Pearl Harbor, and finally arrived for battle-damage repair at Puget Sound, Washington, on 3 June 1945. VMF-451 rejoined the ground echelon at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro to remain until the end of the war. They earned a Presidential Unit Citation for their efforts in the Japan, Bonins and Ryukyus campaigns, and were deactivated on 10 September 1945.