Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum’s “Lady Ace 09”

Photos and story by West Coast contributing editor :  Phil Myers

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On April 30, 2010 MCAS Miramar hosted a dedication of the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum’s newest addition, the “Lady Ace 09.”  Approximately 150 Marines, family and friends attended the 35th Anniversary of the evacuation of US Ambassador Martin from Saigon at the end of the Viet Nam War.

Current Commanding Officer of HMM 165, Lt. Colonel Oneto (known as “1-2”), found the current CH-45  was the aircraft Captain Berry had flown on that historic flight in 1975.  Sergeants Joseph Dickens, Andrew Kelly, Justin Boone and Jason Penrod restored the aircraft to “Lady Ace 09” at Lt. Colonel Oneto’s direction.  Due to their outstanding job in restoring “Lady Ace 09”, Sergeants Joseph Dickens, Andrew Kelly, Justin Boone and Jason Penrod were awarded achievement metals in a separate ceremony.

Those attending the dedication ceremony ,in addition to Lt. Col. Onetu and Col. Berry (ret),  were  some of HMM 165’s past Commanding Officers – Lt. Col. Guy Close, Lt. Col. Chris Papaj, and the second Commanding Officer of HMM 165 Lt. Col. Bill Duncan (see below outset).  Other members of HMM 165 in attendance were Sergeant Ron “Hotrod” Rodriguez. Sergeant Rodriguez served as a door gunner from 1965-1968.

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BILL Duncan – Outset

Lt. Col. Bill Duncan retired from the Marine Corps in 1966 with 24 years of service.  Lt. Col. Duncan started his Marine Corps career in 1942.  He was known as the “shortest” Marine Aviator on active duty.   During World War II he flew Corsairs and was the first Marine to become a Landing Signal Officer (LSO). Lt. Col. Duncan went on to fly Corsairs in the Korean War and was the second Commanding Officer of HMM 165 in 1966.

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Phil Myers

Phil Myers, a military aviation photojournalist with a passion for telling stories and documenting the history of military aviation. In addition to his website publications, Phil’s articles and photographs have been published in several magazines. Phil resides in Southern California.

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