Marine Fighting Squadron 511



1. January 1944 VMF-511 Established at MCAS New Bern NC
10. March 1946 VMF-511 Disestablished at MCAS El Toro CA
15. April 1958 VMF-511 Reestablished as a Reserve Sqn at NAS Willow Grove PA
31. August 1972 VMF-511 Disestablished at NAS Willow Grove PA


1958 - 1970 7W
1970 - 1971 5W
1971 - 1972 MK



1944 - 1946



1944 - 1946



1958 - 1962



1962- 1965



1965 - 1970
F-8A / F-8B



1970 - 1971



1971 - 1972
VMF-511 Deployments 
17. April  1945 - 11. December 1945 CVE-106 USS Block Island MVEG-1 F4U-1D, F6F-5P -
VMF-511 Commanding Officers 
Capt Howard L. Seiss 1. Jan. 1944 3. Jan. 1944
Major Ceeil B. Brewer 3. Jan. 1944 10. Jan. 1944
Major Robert C. Maze (KIA) 10. Jan. 1944 27. May 1945
Capt James L. Seerest 27. May 1945 2. Sep. 1945
? 2. Sep. 1945 10. Mar. 1946


Marine Fighting Squadron 511 was commissioned on 1. January 1944, at MCAAS Field Oak Grove, North Carolina. The squadron was a part of MAG-51 and its original mission was to take part in Operation Crossbow (Project Danny), an ill-conceived plan to have Marine squadrons aboard escort carriers hunt down V-1 flying bomb launch sites in eastern France. After that operation was canceled, the new mission for MAG-51 and VMF-511 was to train for deployment aboard Navy carriers in the Pacific. The squadron moved to MCAS Mojave, California, on 10. September 1944, and began carrier qualification training. It was equipped with a mixed bag of eight F6F-5N Hellcat night fighters, two F6F-5P photo reconnaissance Hellcats and eight F4U-1D Corsairs. This mix of aircraft gave the squadron both a night fighting capability and photo reconnaissance capability on top of its ability to provide close air support. On 28October 1944, the squadron was re-designated VMF(CVS)-511 to reflect its special training and participation in the escort carrier program. Upon completion of this training it was assigned to Marine Carrier Air Group 1 where it was partnered with VMTB-233 on CVE-106 USS Block Island. The squadron left the West Coast on 20. March 1945.

On 10. May 1945, the squadron saw its first combat during the Battle of Okinawa when it attacked Japanese mortar positions. For the next month it provided close air support for Marines and soldiers on the ground during the battle. The squadron was also a part of the effort to reduce Shuri Castle and interdict small water craft. During this time the squadron lost its commanding officer, Major Robert Maze, when his F4U Corsair was hit by flak from Ishigaki Island and crashed into the East China Sea. In mid-June, the USS Block Island was relieved from duty off the coast of Okinawa and ordered to Leyte in the Philippines. From there, it supported the early stages of the Australian 7th Division's invasion of Balikpapan. VMF-511 returned to Leyte on 4. July 1945, and did not see combat for the rest of the war. Still aboard the USS Block Island when WWII ended, VMF(CVS)-511's final missions were flown in support of the Japanese surrender of Formosa.

Following the surrender of Japan, the squadron returned to MCAS Santa Barbara, California and was eventually decommissioned at MCAS El Toro, California on 10. March 1946.

On 15. April 1958, the Marine Corps reactivated the squadron as the Marine Air Reserve Training Detachment Willow
Grove at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. At first, the squadron shared its F-8 Crusader aircraft with Naval Air Reserve squadrons VF-931 and VF-932. In 1970, the reserves were reorganized and VMF-511 became an independent squadron with its own aircraft. The squadron was finally deactivated on 31. August 1972, as part of the post-Vietnam draw down of forces.



last update 7. March 2022

written  19. April 2009


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