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Unit History


Marine Attack Squadron 131 (VMA-131) "Diamondbacks"
 

Role: Attack.                                         Tail Code: QG

The squadron was formed as the 1st Air Squadron in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in March 1919. They were redesignated VO-4M on May 29, 1922 and returned to MCAS Quantico in 1924. The squadron was again redesignated as VO-7M on July 1, 1927. Ten years later on July 1, 1937 the squadron again changed names, this time to Marine Scouting Squadron 1 (VMS-1). Exactly four years later saw a fifth name change to Marine Scout-Bomber Squadron 131 (VMSB-131).

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor the squadron was ordered to San Diego, California. After months of training, the squadron left San Francisco on September 6, 1942 onboard the USS Mount Vernon heading for MCAS Ewa, Hawaii. In November 1942, the squadron was reorganized as the first Marine torpedo bombing squadron and sent to Henderson Field and Espiritu Santo to become part of the Cactus Air Force during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

During the fighting crews and pilots rotated between these two bases. The squadron was relieved on February 18, 1943 but rejoined the fighting in April 1943. They returned to MCAS El Toro in June 1943 and were redesignated Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 131 (VMTB-131).

After a year of rest, refitting, and training, VMTB-131 again deployed to the Pacific Theater on March 29, 1944 this time onboard the USS Petrof Bay. They finally arrived in Guam in August 1944 and flew anti-submarine patrols for the next eight months. On April 27, 1945 the squadron was attached to Marine Aircraft Group 22 (MAG-22) and departed for Okinawa. During the Battle of Okinawa they were based out of Ie Shima, an island just to the northwest of Okinawa, and continued to fly anti-submarine patrols and also provided close air support for American ground forces. On July 25, 1945 they were transferred under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 14 (MAG-14) and went ashore to be based out of Okinawa where they remained until the end of the war. The squadron returned to the west coast and were deativated on November 16, 1945.

Following World War II, the squadron became part of the Marine Air Reserve and was based out of NAS New York, Floyd Bennett Field, NY from 1958 until 1972, first as VMF-131 and from 1963 as VMA-131 and NAS JRB Willow Grove from 1972 until its deactivation in 1998.


Air Bases:
Base Duration

Santo Domingo/Dominican Republic

1919 - 1924

MCAS Quantico/Triangle/VA

1924 - 1942

San Diego/CA

1942 - 1942

MCAS Ewa/HI

1942 - 1942

Henderson Field/Guadalcanal

1942 - 1943

MCAS El Toro/CA

1943 - 1944

Guam

1944 - 1945

Ie Shima/Okinawa

1945 - 1945

Okinawa

1945 - 1945

NAS New York/Floyd Bennett Field/NY

1958 - 1972

NAS JRB Willow Grove/PA

1972 - 1998

Aircraft Used:
Type Qty Service Example Serials
n/a n/a 1919 - n/a n/a
Vought O3U-6 Corsair 10 1930 - n/a n/a
Great Lakes BG-1 10 1935 - 1940 n/a
Vought SB2U Vindicator 18 1940 - 1943 n/a
General Motors TBM Avenger n/a 1943 - 1945 n/a
n/a n/a 1958 - 1963 n/a
Douglas A-4B Skyhawk n/a 196? - n/a n/a
Douglas A-4C Skyhawk n/a 196? - n/a n/a
Douglas A-4E Skyhawk n/a 1975 - n/a n/a
Douglas A-4F Skyhawk n/a n/a - 1988 n/a
Douglas A-4M Skyhawk n/a 1988 - 1998 n/a

 

 

Unit Insignia:

 

VMSB-131

VMA-131

References:

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First Created: 3 August 2008 - Last Revised: 3 August 2008
Copyright © 2008 Erich Klaus.     e-mail: erich.klaus@a1.net