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Military Shows

Title:

Black Sheep Squadron

Black Sheep Squadron

Network:

NBC

On-Air:

1976-1978

Genre:

Drama/Adventure

Length:

60 Minutes

Service:

Marines

During WII, a group of rowdy misfits belonging to the Marine Corps aviation fighter squadron VMF-214 (49 pilots, one flight officer and one intelligence officer) were known as "The Black Sheep."

Based in the Solomon Islands on Vella La Cava island, the Black Sheep Squadron 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 was supervised by Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. He flew a blue F-4-U Corsair aircraft called the "Whistling Death."

During combat Pappy occasionally exchanged quips with Captain Harachi, a Japanese pilot.

Members of the Black Sheep Squadron included:

  • Captain James "Jim"  W. Gutterman
  • Lieutenant Thomas Joseph "T J" Wiley
  • Lieutenant Jerome "Jerry" Bragg
  • Lieutenant/Captain Lawrence "Larry" T. Casey
  • Lieutenant Robert "Bob" Anderson

  • Lieutenant Donald "Don" French
  • Lieutenant Robert "Bob" A. Boyle
  • Lieutenant Jeb Pruitt
  • Master Sergeant Andrew "Andy" Micklin
  • Sergeant John David "Hutch" Hutchinson (Hutch, a mechanic, was killed during a Japanese strafing run of the squadron's base.)

"Pappy" Boyington reported his mission progress to Colonel Lard, his commanding officer (an appropriate name for a fat head) and General Moore, a regional commander. Boyington earned the nickname "Pappy" because he was in his mid 30s and the "old man" in a group of much younger pilots.

Other residents on Vella La Cava were a group of four nurses temporarily assigned to Boyington's command. The nurses (Samantha, Nancy, Ellie and Susan) were nicknamed "Pappy's Lambs." Boyington's Bull Terrier dog ("Meatball") was the squadron's mascot.


Opening Credits

 

"In World War II Marine Corps Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington commanded a squadron of fighter pilots. They were a collection of misfits and screwballs who became the terrors of the South Pacific. They were known as...the Black Sheep."


TRIVIA NOTE:  The series was loosely based on the 1958 memoir of Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington entitled  "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (which was the original title of the series until changed to Black Sheep Squadron in February 1978).

According to a TV Guide interview (04/23/77)  Frank E. Walton, the intelligence officer who kept records for the real squadron reported that 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".

In reality, 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).

The Black Sheep Squadron were actually based on Vella La Vella (changed to Vella La Cava for the show); and Esprito Marcos was really called Esprito Santo.

Cast of 'Black Sheep Squadron
Cover Photo from Epi-log Magazine (Dec 1991)


BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP/NBC/1976-78

 
Robert Conrad as Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington
Simon Oakland as Brig./Major General Thomas W. Moore
Dana Elcar as Colonel Thomas A. Lard
James Whitmore Jr. as Captain James (Jim) W. Gutterman
Dirk Blocker as Lieutenant Jerome (Jerry) Bragg
W.K. Stratton as Lieutenant/Captain) Lawrence (Larry) T. Casey
Robert Ginty as Lieutenant Thomas Joseph (T.J.) Wylie
Joey Aresco as Sergeant John David (Hutch) Hutchinson
John Larroquette as Lieutenant Robert (Bob) Anderson
Larry Manetti as Lieutenant Robert (Bob) A. Boyle
Jeff MacKay as Lieutenant Donald (Don) French
Red West as Master Sergeant Andrew (Andy) Micklin
Jeb Adams as Lieutenant Jeb Pruitt
Denise DuBarry as Samantha Moore (aka, Samantha Greene)
Nancy Conrad as  Lieutenant Nurse Nancy Gilmore
Brianne Leary as Lieutenant Nurse Susan Ames
Kathy McCullem as Lieutenant Nurse Ellie Kovaks
Katherine Cannon as Lt. Cmdr. Dottie Dixon
Steve Richmond as Cpl. Stanley "Stan" Richards
Byron Chung as Captain Harachi
 

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