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Marine Bombing Squadron (VMB-613) Photographs

Highlights
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    Ordnance

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    Under the supervision of Technical Sergeant Oscar L. Robinson, VMB-613 armorers install hydrostatic and contact fuzes onto a depth bomb prior to loading it onto an aircraft. The engine of the aircraft can be seen in the background of the photograph.

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    Members of VMB-613's line crew work on one of the squadron's aircraft. The aircraft's name, "8-Ball", is just visible above the opening of the 75mm cannon.

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    (L-R) Staff Sergeant Herbert R. Folk, Staff Sergeant Kenneth A. Hull, Sergeant Thomas B. Yaeger, First Lieutenant Robert S. Ligon, Second Lieutenant Crawford B. Malone, Technical Sergeant James L. Woods, and Staff Sergeant Norman A. Crotty.

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    A convoy near Eniwetok sailing with three VMB-613 crews watching. The patrol of the shipping lanes began on April 3, 1945 and continued through the end of the war.

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    Taken on the flight line, five Marines work to connect a tow-bar from a PBJ-1H to a tractor.

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    Approaching their airstrip on Majuro, a flight of Marine F4U Corsairs returns following a strike on one of the bypassed Japanese held islands.

This digital collection documents the daily life of members of Marine Bombing Squadron 613 (VMB-613) in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Subjects include not only crews with their planes, but also leisure activities, departments posing for photos together, and several views of the home base. In all, the collection contains 141 black and white photographs.

Marine Corps photographer and former Houstonian Clell Thorpe took the squadron’s pictures on a Pacific atoll in the Marshall Islands; the exact location was not identified due to wartime security measures, but it was probably Kwajalein Island. Thorpe served as a Marine Corps photographer documenting the activities of Marines in the South Pacific during World War II.

While a handful of aerial shots capture VMB-613 planes patrolling the skies over a convoy of warships, most of the photos provide a glimpse into the Marines’ everyday lives away from combat. Basketball, ping pong, volleyball, and baseball are just a few of the recreational activities displayed. In addition to finding images of the barracks, the officers’ club, and the mess hall, viewers might be surprised to see that the base was like its own mini-town, complete with a dentist, bakery, barber shop, carpenter shop, library, post office, and even a police shed that doubled as a laundry service. Two photos show classic horror movie star Boris Karloff, on hand to perform with one of the many USO tours.

The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections in the Clell Thorpe World War II Photographs.

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