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Historical Timetable | Commanding Officers

June 2, 1942
Marine Scout Bomber Squadron 243 was commissioned at Santa Barbara, California, under the command of Captain James A. Booth, USMC.
January 18, 1942
The squadron left San Diego for Ewa, where the pilots and crews continued their routine training and familiarization hops. The squadron was, at this time, under the command of Major William H. Hudson, USMC.
March 12, 1943
The squadron split; one echelon was ordered to Johnston Island, headed by Major Hudson. The other to Palmyra under the command of Major Thomas J. Ahern, USMC. While stationed on these two outposts, the units conducted antisubmarine and reconnaissance patrols as well as gunnery and training flights.
March 29,1943
2nd Lt. George W. Johnson, USMCR, was killed while on a routine flight at Johnston Island.
March 31, 1943
2 nd Lt. August C. Baetzhold Jr., USMCR, and Cpl. Paul O’Brien, USMCR, were killed on a training flight at Ewa where the upper echelon was assigned to the 4 th MBDAW for local operations with the Hawaiian Sea Frontier
June 11, 1943
1st Lt. George O. McClain, USMCR, and Cpl. Wallace G. Wilson, USMC, were lost when their plane disappeared in rain and storms near Palmyra.
July, 1943
Lt. Col. Hudson was detached and Captain James L. Fritsche, USMCR, assumed temporary command.
July 28, 1943
Major Thomas J. Ahern, USMC, assumed command at Johnston Island and Major Harry W. Reed, USMC, headed the unit at Palmyra.
September, 1943
During the latter part of September, the Squadron Divisions on Johnston and Palmyra returned to Ewa, where they remained for one month.
October 26, 1943
The entire Squadron, sans aircraft, departed for the South Pacific.
November 20, 1943
The Squadron arrived at Munda after staging through Espiritu Sano and Efate. The ground echelon remained at Efate under the command of Captain Matthew D. Lanigan, USMCR. During the remainder of November and throughout December, the flight echelon participated in strikes on enemy strongholds in the Munda area. Bombing and strafing attacks were made on Ballale, Kahili, Kara, and other targets of opportunity until the Squadron rejoined the ground echelon at Bauer Field the last of December 1943.
January 1944
After a brief period of rest and recreation in Sydney, the pilots and crews returned to Efate where they operated until ordered to Piva bomber strip, Bougainville the middle of March.
March 19, 1944
Squadron to TAD with MAG-14 on Green Island.
March 25, 1944
2nd Lt. Jack Tennyson, USMCR, and SSgt. Lewis B. Hogg, USMCR, were lost on a strike on Kavieng. While operating at Green Island, the Squadron concentrated on Japanese shipping in the Kerania Bay area and strikes were made on supply areas at Pauluana Point. Rabaul was hit repeatedly as was Lakunai and the Talili Bay area.
April 18, 1944
Tobera Airfield was bombed but the attack cost the Squadron two Dauntlesses which crashed near the target and killed the pilots and two of the crew…Captain William B. Reardon, USMCR, 2 nd Lt. John A. Shreibak, USMC, SSgt. Richard C. Gould, USMC, and SSgt. Armondo D. Caprio, USMCR.
April 27, 1944
The flight echelon returned to Efate where they were in a noncombat status until the first part of June, 1944 when ordered to Emirau to join the ground echelon which had arrived there the same day. Strikes were made on targets on North New Ireland, New Britain and Rabaul. Routine patrols were conducted in the area and enemy shipping was attacked throughout the remainder of the year.
August 18, 1944
1 st Lt. Herbert L. Chaitin, USMCR, and PFC Joseph Latronico, USMCR were lost while on a strike in Vunakanau.
October 1, 1944
Major Joseph W. Kean, Jr., USMC, relieved Major Ahern as commanding officer.
December 25, 1944
Found the ground echelon aboard the JAMES B. FRANCIS in route to the Philippine Islands with Major James L. Fritsche, USMCR, designated Troop Commander aboard ship.
January 27, 1945
The flight echelon left Emirau in 24-SBDs and 2 R4Ds. After staging through Mokerang, Owl, Peleliu and Taclob airfields, they arrived at Mangaldan on January 31, 1944 to join the ground echelon which had arrived on the 22 nd. The Squadron became part of MAGs-DAGUPAN.Wawa, Antipolo, Bayanbayanan, Balatoc and other towns in the area were bombed repeatedly by the SBDs of the Squadron. They also supported guerrilla and Army advances in the vicinity.
February 18, 1945
1 st Lt. Peter Vanderburg, USMCR, was slightly injured when his plane was hit by AA, but he landed safely at Queson.
March 1945
The Squadron continued ground support missions and bombings of enemy installations and positions.
March 9, 1945
2 nd. Lt. Thomas M. Pepe, USMCR, and SSgt. Guy R. Loy, USMCR, were lost when they failed to return from bombing and strafing the enemy near Pantay, Rizal Province. (Their remains were recovered March 23, 1945 – KIA)
March 17, 1945
The ground echelon arrived at Moret Field, Zamboanga, and were joined there by the flight echelon on the 26 th. During the remainder of the month, and in April, the Squadron included among its missions close air support for the 41 st Army Division troops.
April 9, 1945
Squadron provided air support to the landing operations at Jolo Island.
May-June 1945
Strikes were made in close support of Army ground forces operating in the Davao and Central Mindanao sections.
July 11, 1945
One Dauntless failed to return from a mission near Sarangani Bay and 2 nd Lt. Robert E. Carter, USMCR, and T/Sgt. Chester Lawrence, USMC, were lost.
July 30, 1945
The Squadron was withdrawn from active flight operations and was instructed to prepare for transfer to MarFairWest.
September 21, 1945
Under the command of Captain Donald E. Coyle, USMCR, VMSB-243 arrived in San Diego at which time it was decommissioned.

Commanding Officers

Captain James A. Booth


2 Jun 1942 – 22 Nov 1942

Lt. Col. William M. Hudson


23 Nov 1942 – 22 Jul 1943

Captain James L. Fritsche


23 Jul 1943 – 27 Jul 1943

Major Henry W. Reed

USMC - Palymra Unit

28 Jul 1943 – 23 Sept. 1943

Major Thomas J. Ahern

USMC - Johnston Units

28 Jul 1943 – 12 Oct. 1944

Lt. Col. Joseph W. Kean, Jr.


13 Oct. 1944 – 9 Aug. 1945

Captain Elton D. Boone, Jr.


10 Aug 1944 – 12 Aug 1945

Captain Donald E. Coyne


15 Aug 1945 – 21 Sept 1945

Col. Thomas J. Ahern, USMC(Ret.) Circa 1998