GENERAL MARION CARL, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
His life was spent serving his country. His life was taken - in his own home - by one of his countrymen.
Final thoughts on Marion Carl: I heard that about 500 people showed up in OR for the service. Joe Foss and Ken Walsh delivered remarks. There was a Marine band which played soft music throughout the service. He was buried at Arlington yesterday after a service in the Ft. Myers Chapel. John Glenn was there along with a host of his old flying buds. The bio part of the info I received noted that he came out of WW II with two Navy Crosses, both awarded for "attacking overwhelming odds." Bio also, which I had never heard, noted U-2 flights over Red China. I think they got that one screwed up. They are talking about F2H2Ps I believe. Jesse Fanus, 19, the murderer, was preparing for his first courtroom appearance in Los Angeles as the missing man formation of FA-18s passed over the graveside service. He ended up with $400.00 in cash and Edna Carl's automobile.
Click here to go to a site dedicated to Gen. Carl
As reported, Gen. Carl was one of Naval Aviation's finest aviators. Someone, who if a sloppy reporter would catalog it correctly, was recognized with three Navy Crosses, four Legion of Merit awards, five Distinguished Flying Crosses and at least fourteen Air Medals. Pity that in the 60's those of us in the junior ranks weren't yet privy to the full range of printed history that is now available on fellow officers like the General. Why?
Because as I encountered Gen. Carl it was brief. Yes it was as a fellow pilot but all I really knew about the man was that our Skipper held him in extreme regard and thus I really only knew that I was to interface with a General (awe inspiring enough) and someone my personal command structure was intending to pay homage to.
The little story: 1963. General Carl was stationed in Washington. VMF-333 flying F8U-2's was in Beaufort, S.C. General Carl wanted to fly the Crusader again and on a cross-country. Whether it was a personal call to him or through the chain of command, I don't know but squadron Commanding Officer, LtCol Lyle B. "Doc" Matthews got the call and put on the dog. DN-1, the skipper's bird, was renumbered to the non-traditional Corps number of DN-00 and Gen. Marion Carl was painted on the left rail of the canopy bow. A lieutenant (who shall go nameless) was selected as wingman for the General and with due regard to the (awesome) responsibility, put together all the planning materials one could imagine for a flight from Beaufort through Dallas to El Toro. The lieutenant did the weather trick, filed the flight plan and stood by to brief the arriving General.
The General arrived. Flight gear was provided. A quick brief ensued. Out to the aircraft. Preflight, mountup, start, taxi and launch. With much of the squadron cautiously observing. At this point one should recall that Marion Carl really, really knew how to fly. Especially by himself. All those kills were one on one. All those test flights were one man in the cockpit. And, there is no telling how long it had been since, at the time of this flight, he had been in the Crusader cockpit.
About ten miles west of Beaufort, Carl calls for a lead change, slides down, back, under and around the Lieutenant's aircraft, and comes up on the radio. "You've got a serious hydraulic leak. Return to base."
The Lieutenant dutifully does as directed. Lands, taxis back to the line, shuts down and climbs out to inspect a virgin airplane. No hydraulic leaks.
To this day, I've got no idea where Marion Carl went with that Crusader. He came back with a good airplane on the planned return date. He had a smile on his face. As the years passed and I grew well past Lieutenant-hood and all of our mutually available history became better written, more available and fully understood, I came to know all that Marion Carl did as a man, for the Corps, for Naval Aviation and for our Country.
I more fully appreciated that he fully deserved that solo cross-country - any way he wanted it! Today I hope that he's watching us, wishing us well, encouraging us in his own way to use his history as some quidance as to how we might do well and I hope that he fondly remembers solo launches beyond the surly bounds while he was amongst us.
I HAD A CHANCE TO DO SOME ACM OUT OF TONOPAH NEV IN 69 WITH THE AIR FORCE FIGHTER WEAPONS SCHOOL AND ONE OF THE NAVY'S TOP F8 CRUSADER SQUADRON'S VF111 SUNDOWNERS. WE HAD THE "H" (IN MY OPINION THE BEST OF THE CRUSADERS}THE ADVERSARIES TOOTER TEAGUE AND SOME GUY NAMED CARL WERE FLYING THE MIG 17 IN THE HAVE DRILL, HAVE DOUGHNUT PROGRAM--YES THE MIG 17 CAN OUT TURN THE SADER SO IT'S UP AND AWAY AND BACK DOWN TO BEAT THE LITTLE BUGGER. THE AIR FORCE LOST PHANTOM TRYING TO STAY WITH THEM. THE AIR FORCE CUT OUR LITTLE PROGRAM SHORT BECAUSE OF IT. I'M PROUD TO SAY I HAD A CHANCE TO FLY AGAINST GEN . CARL. A CREDIT TO THE U.S. AND NAVAL AVIATION.
There is a USMC Gen. (ret) that may know more about Marion Carl. He is John K. Davis and was the ass't Commandant of the Marines in the late 70's or early 80's. He and I were in the training command together in 60-63 as instructors in the FllF. He was a Maj. and I was a Lt. at the time. Was at Chase Field, VT-26. He told me a story about Gen Carl at that time--Gen Marion was on a cross-country in a T-33 (TV-2) back then. Somehow he decided or was told he did not have enough fuel to get where he was going, so he cruise climbed 'til he got as much alt. he could and then shut the engine down. After he decided he had the right amount of miles he needed, he re- started the engine and continued on and landed safely! This was told to me in l960, second hand and I am not sure I have all the facts correct.
Carl was something big in First Marine Air Wing at Danang in late '65 or early '66, 'though I no longer recall exactly what. I remember seeing him around Wing Ops -- tall skinny guy who seemed to be treated universally with awe -- but I was way too junior to actually meet him. I do remember that he was reputed to fly anything he wanted any time he wanted, and that he did fly a lot. Seemed like, for some reason, he enjoyed flying around in aircraft more than hanging around in a hot tent doing paperwork. So he did.
I have two recollections about Carl from that period. The first was, we were in a bombing pattern somewhere in ICorps prepping an LZ. I started to roll in, and much to my surprise found myself looking at the bottom of an F8 which was sailing right through our pattern, but a few hundred feet below us. He was rolled over away from me, presumably looking over his port side at the target area, but passing right through my intended path. I rolled out, said on the radio something like "Heads up, some asshole's flying right through our pattern", and when he had passed on beneath me, rolled back in. I did not see the rogue F8 again. When we got back to Danang, we were speculating about who could be roaming around loose in a single F8, and everyone seemed to agree on one person: General Carl. I remain thankful that he was apparently not on our tactical frequency!
Rem Stone VMF(AW)-312
My story of Marion Carl is not so dramatic but explains his charactor as a man of action.On exchange with the Marines in 64 at El Toro I got a call from the general's aide that he wanted one of our A4s to go to Wash. that weekend.As ops officer I was concerned whether he was checked out and Natops qualified.His aide did'nt know.While explaining this to the CO(LTCOL Gentry) we got a call from the line Sgt that an old man in a flight suit was trying to take one of our airplanes and wanted some one to start it for him.By the time we got there he was started and on his way. I checked with station ops and he did not file a flight plan.We went to happy hour and on Mon morn the airplane was safely back.
A young major working in Flight Ops and Readiness Section (AAP-4) was asked by Colonel Carl to pick him up at Detroit City Airport on date given in the venerable T-28. Seems the Colonel was off to hunt deer in the north of Michigan. I cranked up the bird and made Detroit City without hitting the gas storage tanks. Had just filled out a return flight plan when a Piper Apache taxis up the FBO and out pops the Colonel, bow and arrow and all. We loaded 250 lbs of cut of deer meat in the baggage compartment, stuck the bow where we could and I offered him the front seat. Nope, just put up the hood and I'll fly it back to Andrews. We got our clearance, took the active and Colonel Carl, under the hood had the stick. 1.8 later he gave it back to me over the inner marker at Andrews. The meat came out and he went home. I always wondered what the county coroner would have opined had he stumbled on the wreckage of a t-28 in the Smokies. Damndest mess of meat I ever saw....wonder who was flying.!!!!Marion was a good friend, sad to have him go out the way he did.
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