"The Old Breed" by Randy Green Aces of VMF-323 The "Death Rattlers" over Okinawa April 1945.
Though virtually unknown, the most successful Marine fighting squadron of 1945 was VMF-323, the "Death Rattlers". First commissioned at Cherry Point, North Carolina in August of 1943 under the command of 23-year-old Major George Axtell, the squadron would achieve fame over the kamikaze-laden skies of Okinawa in 1945. In just two months' time, the squadron would become the highest-scoring unit of any service. They would shoot down over 124 Japanese planes and spawn 12 aces, more than any other Marine squadron on a single tour. They would also down over 24 Japanese aircraft twice during their tour, the most for a Marine squadron in any single action.
VMF-323's training, hard work, and dedication led to their combat successes over Okinawa and inspired future generations of Marines. Their code and valor forged their legacy forever as "The Old Breed."
November 13th, 2015
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