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Cast of BAA BAA BLACK SHEEPBlack Sheep Squadron  - During WWII members of the Marine Corps aviation fighter squadron VMF-214 stationed on the South Pacific Island of Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides distinguished themselves by flying 1766 individual missions (over 4200 hours in 84 days) which resulted in the shooting down of 48 Japanese "Zeros." This illustrious group of 51 men (49 pilots, one flight officer and one intelligence officer) was known as the "Black Sheep Squadron," headed by Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington whose memoirs Baa Baa Black Sheep (1958) provided the title for the military drama BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP/NBC/1976-78 starring Robert Conrad as Boyington.

Set on the island of Vella La Cava (actually Vella La Vella) the program depicted the men of the VMF-214 as a rowdy group of misfits who were in constant need of supervision. In reality, according to an eye witness Frank E. Walton, the intelligence officer who kept records for the squadron, the young men were not misfits as Boyington's memoirs suggested. "Not a single member of the squadron was facing disciplinary action of any kind. And, during the entire life of the squadron, not one of them was ever the subject of any kind of disciplinary action" (TV Guide 4/23/77).

The original VMF-214 squadron (formed/trained in the USA) lost its commander in combat. Its demoralized pilots were disbanded and sent to Australia. Later, when a sufficient number of pilots accumulated, a new VMF-214 unit was organized on September 7, 1943 calling themselves "Boyington's Bastards" (a name which a Marine Corps public relations man saw fit to change to "Black Sheep Squadron" to make it more acceptable to the newspapers). See also - "Whistling Death"


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