|Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 341|
|Active||February 1, 1943 - September 13, 1945|
|Type||Dive Bomber squadron|
Close air support
|Engagements||World War II
* Philippines campaign (1944–45)
Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 341 (VMTB-341) was a torpedo dive bomber squadron in the United States Marine Corps. The squadron, also known as the “Torrid Turtles”, fought in World War II with Marine Aircraft Group 24, most notably in the Philippines campaign (1944–45). They were deactivated shortly after the end of the war on September 13, 1945.
Marine Scout-Bomber Squadron 341 (VMSB-341) was commissioned on February 1, 1943 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. The squadron moved to Marine Corps Auxiliary Airfield Atlantic, North Carolina on May 31, 1943 but returned to MCAS Cherry Point on August 1.
The squadron departed for the South Pacific and its flight echelon arrived at Pago Pago on October 6, 1943. Beginning in December 1943, the squadron was part of Strike Command and operated out of airfields on Efate, Munda and Bougainville. During this time, they flew strikes against bypassed Japanese bases in the Solomon Islands including Rabaul. On June 24, 1944, the squadron moved to Emirau Island. They moved again to Green Island in July 1944.
On December 9, 1944, Marine Aircraft Group 24 was ordered to begin its deployment to the Philippines from the Solomon Islands. For the flight echelon, their move meant a long, over-water endurance flight. For the ground echelon, it meant a miserably long sea voyage. VMSB-341 undertook such a move. The ground element left its Solomons base on December 17, and its official history records the tortuous month on board ship that followed:
- "This was a cargo vessel with no troop accommodations. Shortly after boarding, Tokyo Rose informed the squadron that it would never make it to the Philippines. After several days squadron personnel had their doubts, too. Field ranges were set up on deck to feed the troops. Shower facilities consisted of a length of pipe with numerous holes drilled in it, secured to the rigging and connected to a fire hose pumping seawater. Head facilities were equally primitive."
When the VMSB-341 ground element arrived at Hollandia, New Guinea, it alternated between that anchorage and the one at Lae, New Guinea, until finally departing for the Philippines on January 8, 1945. The squadron arrived at Leyte on January 16 and continued the trip the following day, arriving at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, on January 21. Finally disembarking on the 22nd, VMSB-341 proceeded 12 miles inland and then helped establish the airfield at Mangaldan. The squadron provided close air support during the duration of the Philippines campaign (1944–45).
VMSB-341 was redesignated Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 341 (VMTB-341) on August 10, 1945. One month after the Japanese surrender, the squadron was deactivated a month at Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara, California on September 13, 1945
Notable Formal Members
- Jerry Coleman, then Second Baseman for the New York Yankees, flew with VMSB-341 during World War II.
- United States Marine Corps Aviation
- List of inactive United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons
- List of United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons
- Rottman(2002): 444.
- Sherrod(1952): 469.
- Millstein(1995): 78.
- High Iron Illustrations, http://www.highironillustrations.com/rogues/jerry_coleman.html
- Millstein, Jeff (1995). U. S. Marine Corps Aviation Unit Insignia 1941 - 1946. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Co. ISBN 1-56311-211-6.
- Rottman, Gordon L. (2002). U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle - Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939 - 1945. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-31331-906-5.
- Sherrod, Robert (1952). History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces Press.
- Chapin, John C. (1997). "Phase Two: Luzon Dive Bombers". . . . AND A FEW MARINES: Marines in the Liberation of the Philippines. Marine Corps Historical Center. Retrieved 2007-04-12.