Thank you very much to Sharon Moore Colquhoun for allowing me to use the photo of Tyrone Power on the banner. Sharon's dad and Tyrone Power served in the same squadron together, for a time. She told me that the photo was sent to her "by one of the long list of former Marines I 've heard from over the years." She commented that "Tyrone Power was a Marine 'fly boy' and a part of the USMC Squadron VMR352 at one point. He wasn't one of the original members of the squadron when it was founded (as my dad was). I don't know when he joined up. I do remember my father telling me that when they landed in California, Tyrone's wife, Annabella, would always be waiting for him at the gate. It was a real treat for the guys to see a movie star! One of the Marines who wrote to me after an article I wrote was published said that Tyrone always wanted to be treated as just one of the guys - which, of course, he wasn't!"
While preparing to film 1939's movie, Jesse James, Tyrone
Power's director and friend, Henry King, offered him the chance to
accompany him in his private plane to the location shoot in Missouri.
Tyrone accepted the offer with enthusiasm. Enroute, Tyrone was fascinated
with the instrument panel on the plane, and King allowed him to take the
controls for a time. Upon return to Hollywood, Tyrone began taking flying
lessons, and, soon he became a licensed pilot. Little did he realize that,
a few years later, the pilot’s training would be used for other than his
own personal matters. Americans were unaware that a second world war was
just around the corner. As history unfolded, the flying lessons that he’d
taken would give him an edge in his desire to become a pilot for the U.S.
In the June 2001 newsletter of Marine
Air Transporter, Jerry Taylor, USMC retired flight instructor, recalls
memories of WWII. He speaks of training Tyrone Power as a pilot, saying,
“He was an excellent student, never forgot a procedure I showed him or
anything I told him.” Others who served with him have commented that he
was well-respected by those with whom he served.
Jim Powell served as a navigator alongside Tyrone
Power and, years later, he would serve as pallbearer at his Hollywood
funeral. In an interview in 2002 or 2003, with Stuart Kellogg, of the VV
Daily Press, Mr. Powell reflected back on some of his war experiences with
Tyrone Power. He commented, “ Tyrone Power was a quiet guy who kept to
himself,” Powell says, “but he treated the rest of us well. The Marines
could not have had a better pilot. “ He told one little incident that
illustrated his comment. He and Power had an assignment to escort Army
P-51s, which were flying from Saipan to Tokyo to fire at close range any
“targets of opportunity“ in Tokyo. Powell explained, “The sky would be
black with P-51s. We flew at 50 feet above the water.“ He went on to say
that on one such trip back to Iwo Jima, the island was under heavy assault
and they were low on fuel, and, thus, they were told to ditch the plane.
“There was a pea soup fog, but the ocean was like glass. Tyrone Power made
a perfect landing. Within 15 minutes, just as the plane sank, the Coast
Guard picked us up. Tyrone Power broke his leg getting out of the plane.”
From the Archives of the University of Colorado at Coutler Libraries, comes this comes this anecdote:
Letter to wife, 1945: