War stories amaze and humble us. Lives lost for our country and for the sake of freedom leave an empty spot that future generations fill with stories, so that the memory and honor of those who sacrified so much for us will not be forgotten. Little was shared with me about the life of Jack Petit, but what I came to understand was that he was just a very nice young man whose family wished he had come home. What I also have learned, is that he had some very fine friends when he was in VMF 214 and VMF 215. A very special thanks to O.K. Williams for sharing the story of Petit's last journey with me, and to Mac McCall for stories of earlier tours.
VMF214 - SWASHBUCKLERS
Taken in the Russell Islands; Major Pace, Bob Hanson, McClurg and one other must have been flying
Standing Top Row: Petit, McCall, Sigel, Scarborough, Knipping, Fidler, Rankin
Second Row from Top: Cavanaugh, Synar, Hatch, Miller, Burnett, Bookman, Eisele, Carpenter
Third Row Down: Hernan, Hazelwood, Moak, Bernard, Williams, Jensen, Dunbar
Sitting: Taylor, Tomlinson, Deetz, Hunter, Curran, O'Dell
VMF 214 based on Fighter One, Guadalcanal, April 1943. It was our first tour of combat lasting nine weeks. After this tour Majors Britt and Ellis were transferred to headquarters. Major Bill Pace took over as we moved to Russell Islands. We were there two weeks when Pace was killed and we moved up to Munda on New Georgia for five weeks. That was our 2nd tour. Boyington was given the number 214 and what was left of us were split into 215 and 221, replacing losses in those squadrons. - O.K. Williams
Below are links to some personal war stories involving Jack Petit as depicted in the book The Black Sheep, by Bruce Gamble, 1998. To find Petit's listing with the American Battle Monuments Commission, select the first link on the right below, "Jack Petit's listing - American Battle Monuments Commission", then select WWII at the top. In the search box, put in Petit and a link to his page will appear.
|Petit's Personal Story - as told by McCall and Williams||Jack Petit's listing - American Battle Monuments Commission|
|First Blood - story from Gamble book||Decoration of Marine Flyers in the South Pacific|
|The Chincoteague - story from Gamble book||Life for VMF 214 in the Solomons during WWII|
|Birth of the Swashbucklers - story from Gamble book||Stories about the"Black Sheep" and "Swashbucklers"|
|Lost over the Shortlands - story from Gamble book||VMF-214 Roster of Essential Pilots and Ground Officers|
|60th Anniversary and Memorial of the Solomons||The Corsair|