MAG-11, HMS-11, MALS-11
Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
Major Frederick Earl Lewis
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major Frederick Earl Lewis (MCSN: 0-81635), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron ELEVEN, Marine Aircraft Group ELEVEN, FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 27 December 1969, Major Lewis launched as Pilot of an A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned the mission of conducting reconnaissance over enemy-controlled territory and, as he maneuvered low over suspected hostile positions, his aircraft was extensively damaged by a heavy volume of anti-aircraft fire. With his aircraft's vital systems inoperable, he was unable to control the spiraling aircraft and, quickly apprising the copilot of the critical situation, activated the ejection mechanism. As the copilot left the aircraft, he suffered a dislocated knee and, upon reaching the ground, was barely able to drag himself to a covered location in the tall elephant grass. Coming down one hundred meters from his copilot, Major Lewis quickly concealed himself in the grass and, utilizing his survival radio, transmitted both his and his copilot's positions and a request for assistance. When supporting aircraft arrived overhead, he skillfully guided them toward the anti-aircraft guns which he could hear firing in the vicinity. Subsequently, it became apparent that extraction would be impossible that night and he was advised to escape from the hazardous area by a safe route to the west. Unwilling to leave his helpless companion behind, Major Lewis sought sanctuary in an abandoned gun emplacement and, throughout the night, maintained complete silence as enemy soldiers deployed through the area, seeking to harass him into revealing his position. At first light, supporting aircraft again appeared overhead and advised him of the location of his copilot. Although fully aware of the possibility of detection and capture, Major Lewis nevertheless fearlessly crawled across the hazardous terrain to the side of his stricken comrade and, after rendering first aid again utilized his radio to pinpoint the hostile gun positions for the supporting aircraft. On one occasion, he boldly moved from his covered position to retrieve the copilot's parachute which he had used to mark their location. Throughout the day, he continued skillfully to transmit guidance and directions to pilots which enabled them to silence a sufficient number of anti-aircraft guns to permit a safe extraction. His heroic and determined actions were an inspiration to all who served with him and were instrumental in saving the life of a fellow Marine. By his courage, valiant initiative, and selfless devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Major Lewis upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Plaque image from Joseph C. Baldwin Jr., son of Marine Aviator LCol. J.C. Baldwin.
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Harry S. Gann.
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1963 to 1965: NAF Atsugi, Japan
1965 to 1971: Da Nang Republic of Vietnam
1971 to 1999: MCAS El Toro, Santa Ana CA.
1999 to : MCAS Miramar, San Diego CA.
In April 1965, MAG 11 deployed to Da Nang, Vietnam in support of counter-insurgency operations. Within 69 hours, after its departure from Japan, group element launched the first attack against communist (Viet Cong) forces.
19??- - - - - - - - CF - - - - - Unknown
1965 - 1973 - - - - TM - - - - - Unknown
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
July 1966- - - - - - - - - - - - Grumman TF-9J Cougar
3 May 1967 - 30 September 1989 - Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
Departure and Return Dates: - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - Area of Operations:
APR 1965 to MAY 1971 MAG-11, H&MS-11, MALS-11 ran Da Nang, DMZ and southern North Vietnam air operations.
? to 9 APR 1966 - Lt.Col. W.H. Bortz, Jr.
9 APR 1966 - - - -Maj. D.A. Mickle
10 Jun 1966 - - - Lt.Col. F.C. Opeka
DEC 1966 - - - - -Lt.Col. R.A. Cameron
? to APR 1970 - - Lt.Col. Dick Hebert
MAR 1970- - - - - Lt.Col. Ward (designated to take command but KIA)
APR 1970- - - - - Lt.Col. Speed Shea
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March 1965: First Marine Division mud Marines waded ashore at Da Nang to protect the allied airfield from the Viet Cong. The mud Marines were soon in the midst of heavy combat and were requesting air support of their own. The Marine landing coincided with a need for a new air base on the coast in order to reduce flight time to targets in Quang Tin province and adjacent districts.
(1967): Tropical weather in Vietnam provided much low cloud and rain to cover the Viet Cong. The Marines used ground controlled precision radar to allow bombing through clouds and at night. The pilot would put the aircraft on autopilot and couple to the ground precision radar controller when headed toward the target. The computerized system initiated directional changes and released ordnance at the correct altitude and time via radio signals received by the aircrafts's computer.
January 1968: The North Vietnamese Tet Offensive began in January 1968, a focal point of the North Vietnamese attack was the Marine outpost at Khe Sanh. Having been isolated by the loss of the A Shau Valley area in 1966, the 26th Marines stationed there were hardly surprised when the attack began.
11 APR 1968: Col. L.T. Frey & Maj. D.F. Newon ejected (BuNo 153511) and rescued by a USMC helicopter. Lost to small arms fire on their second pass while attacking an enemy village seven miles S of Danang.
1 OCT 1968: Capt. James A. "Spot" Spaith (USMC) and 1st Lt. U.S. "Sam" Grant (USMC) safely ejected (BuNo 153523) and were rescued by the USS Towers, DDG-9, after their Skyhawk was hit by ground fire during artillery spotting mission for the USS New Jersey, the 902nd air loss of the war over the north. The Times, San Mateo, CA, Wednesday, October 2, 1968. Damaged by ground fire three miles SW of Thon Cam Son in the DMZ buffer zone and they ejected about eight miles off the coast.
13 DEC 1968: LCol. R.N. Smith and Maj. J.T. Smith both ejected successfully (BuNo.153501) and were rescued. Aircraft lost after night TPQ mission - suffered generator failure followed by loss of canopy.
09 APR 1969: Maj. Robert S. Meicznikowski and Capt. James C. Buffington ejected (BuNo.154299) and were rescued six hours later by two USAF HH-53 helicopters. Lost to AAA on their second pass while attacking a storage area 15 miles south of A Shau Valley.
Search & Rescue (SAR) Report on the rescue of Captain Bob Miecznikowski.
27 DEC 1969: Maj. Richard E. Lewis and 1st Lt. Paul E. Phillips ejected (BuNo154621) and were rescued by a helicopter near Ban Kate in southern Laos after their FAC Skyhawk was hit by 23mm ground fire during a Steel Tiger mission.
February 1970: MAG-12 departed Chu Lai Vietnam relocating in Japan. The VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers and VMA-311 Tomcats accompanied MAG-12 to Japan. The VMA-223 Bulldogs returned to CONUS.
The VMA-311 Tomcats moved to Da Nang and the operational control of MAG-11. The Tomcats continuing to support the ongoing war in Laos and Cambodia. One of the earliest arrivals in the war zone, VMA-311 had by May 7, 1971, flown 47,663 sorties.
March 19, 1970 (H&MS-11) Lt.Co. Ward was flying front seat of a H&MS Playboy TA-4F BuNo 154622 when he was struck by a single bullet and killed. Lt.Col. Ward was designated to take command of H&MS-11 from Lt.Col. Dick Hebert, but was killed before that happened. Lt.Col. Speed Shea took command in April in his place. After Lt.Col. Ward was hit, the TA-4 was flown back to base by the back seat pilot, 1st Lt. P.J. Lowery.
11 Jul 1970: Capt. R.T. Rasmussen & 1st Lt. W.W. Mills ejected (BuNo 154646) about a mile from the target and were rescued six hours later by a USAF SAR helicopter. Lost to small arms fire while marking a target in the A Shau Valley.
31 JUL 1970: Distinguished Flying Cross (second award) to Major Frederick Earl Lewis. Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Major Frederick Earl Lewis (MCSN: 0-81635), United States Marine Corps, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as a Pilot with Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron ELEVEN, Marine Aircraft Group ELEVEN, FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 31 July 1970, Major Lewis launched as Aircraft Commander of a TA-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to interdict hostile firing emplacements which had been discovered deep in enemy-controlled territory. Arriving over the designated area, he established contact with the Tactical Air Controller (Airborne) on station and was given a target brief on the weapons emplacements which had been precisely located. Undaunted by the extremely heavy volume of hostile fire directed at his aircraft and the adverse weather over the rugged terrain, Major Lewis resourcefully utilized the rain showers in the area to mask his approach as he boldly maneuvered his Skyhawk on repeated rocket and strafing runs and delivered all of his ordnance upon the target with pinpoint accuracy. As a result of the devastating attacks, all the enemy firing positions were destroyed. Major Lewis' courage, superior airmanship, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger were instrumental in accomplishing the hazardous mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
September 3, 1970: Marine Base Chu Lai was transfered to the United States Army; the last Marine (VMA-311 Tomcat) sorties were flown from Chu Lai on September 11, 1970.
08 SEP 1970: 1st Lt. Higgins ejected (BuNo 154302) successfully and was rescued. Fuel system malfunction on test flight from Da Nang and the engine flamed out.
May 1972: VMA-311 Tomcats arrived at Da Nang, Vietnam.
May 1, 1972: VMA-311 flew sorties into Cambodian border regions.
August 29, 1972: First Lieutenant Charles G. Reed flew VMA-311's 50,000th sortie. The Tomcats went on to fly a total of 54,625 sorties by the war's end.
May 1972: VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers arrived Da Nang, Vietnam.
January 28, 1973: VMA-311 Da Nang's ground personnel refuel the last Tomcat Skyhawks, hung the last bombs (painted red, white and blue and daubed with slogans for the occasion) on the Tomcat Skyhawks and strap in the last duty Tomcat pilots.
February 1973: MAG-11 departed Da Nang, Vietnam. The VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers and VMA-311 Tomcats relocated to Japan.
September 1973: H&MS-11 Outlaws turned in their Douglas TA-4F Skyhawks.
Circa 1968: H&MS-11 TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo 154325, TM-4, swings over the North Vietnamese serving as the ‘eyes’ of the battleship USS New Jersey, circa 1968. Piloting the Leatherneck aircraft is Maj. John L. Clark, Jr. (Glendale, CA) with 1st Lieutenant Pasquale J. Morocco (Lowellville, OH) serving as tactical observer. The Marines called in fire from the battlewagon’s 16 inch rifles which were directed against an enemy position north of the Demilitarized Zone.
BuNo 154339: "Went To DaNang Feb 69 To Fly As a TACA (Tactical Air Coordinator Airborne) or (Fast Fac) as we were known since we flew jets as opposed to some of the AF guys in O-2s. Mostly flew the Ho Chi Minh Trail over in Laos. A little in NVN. A couple times into Cambodia." From Col. R. Clapp USMC (Ret).
1969: TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 153508. H&MS-11 TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 153508, side number TM 6 approaching a landing at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan, August 2, 1969. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
1969: TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154302. H&MS-11 Outlaw TA-4F BuNo. 154302, side number TM 8 is having a bad day, August 5, 1969, near Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. After takeoff from Atsugi TM-8 had some "problems" and dumped his fuel to obtain landing weight. After orbiting the field several times the TA-4F landed safely. Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa.
1969: TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154621. H&MS-11 TA-4F BuNo. 154621, side number TM 5 at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan on August 22, 1969. Please notice the squatting Vietcong painted in front of the engine inlet.
JAN69: H&MS-11 Skyhawk BuNo 154299, TM-3, parked on the ramp and undergoing maintenance at O&R (aka PAR) Atsugi.
MAY70: Playboys Skyhawk BuNo 153489, TM-7, parked on the flight-line with s ZUNI 5" FFAR pod on the outboard wing pylon.
1970: TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154339. Outlaw TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154339, side number TM 10 approaching a landing at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan, August 29, 1970. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
1988: TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154630. OA-4M BuNo. 154630, side number Tango Mike 02, of H&MS-11 "Outlaws", Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California. Seen at London Airport, London, Ontario, Canada, on the occasion of the London International Airshow, June 5,1988. Painted in Tactical Paint Scheme "low viz" grays. Photograph from Frank Mirande.
1988: BuNo 154630 on the ramp.
05JUN88: BuNo 154630, TM-02, parked on the ramp. Photo by D. Brown via S. Van Aken.
JUN88: BuNo 154630, tail code MT-02. Photo by D.F. Brown, G. Verver collection.
JUN89: H&MS-11 OA-4M BuNo 153531, TM-05, JUN 1989. Photographer unknown, from Gary Verver Collection.
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A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to MAG-11 and H&MS-11: