June 5, 2013 - Along with an awesome collection of World War II aircraft, the Texas Flying Legends Museum will bring a number of WWII veterans to AirVenture in a C-53 transport. Here is the third in our series of profiles of those veterans, F4F Wildcat and F4U Corsair pilot Col. Joe McPhail.
Col. Joe McPhail earned his private pilot certificate in the summer of 1941 and joined the Marines on October 18. He went on active duty on December 4 - just three days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. McPhail was assigned to Marine Fighter Squadron VMF 441 flying patrol missions in the Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat in the Central Pacific Theater.
After returning to the states, he gave fighter instruction in the F4U Corsair. He was assigned to the most successful Marine fighting squadron of 1945, VMF-323, aka the "Death Rattlers." In just a few weeks they were credited with shooting down 124.5 Japanese planes and counted a dozen ace pilots.
At the outbreak of the Korean conflict, McPhail was assigned to VMFA-214 "Black Sheep" Squadron and was given short notice to get ready. The Fighting 214th was the first Marine Squadron to see action in Korea. Col. McPhail is credited with 240 combat missions and two air-to-air victories. He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 11 air medals.