Pappy Boyington - Miscellaneous, Career and Personal Life

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Pappy Boyington's Personal Details

Pappy Boyington was an American combat pilot who was active during World War II

InformationDetail
BirthdayDecember 4, 1912
Died onJanuary 11, 1988
NationalityAmerican
FamousUniversity Of Washington, Miscellaneous, Pilots
City/StateIdaho
Nick namesPappy, Gramps
SpousesJosephine Wilson Moseman (m. 1978), Delores (m. 1959), Frances Baker (m. 1946), Helen Clark (m. 1934; div. 1941)
Known asGregory Boyington
Childrens Gloria Boyington (daughter), Gregory Boyington, Janet Boyington (daughter), Jr (son)
Universities
  • University Of Washington
  • University of Washington
  • Lincoln High School
Notable Alumnis
  • University Of Washington
Birth PlaceCoeur d'Alene, Idaho
GenderMale
FatherCharles Boyington
MotherGrace Hallenbeck
Sun SignSagittarius
Born inCoeur d'Alene, Idaho
Famous asPilot
Died at Age75

// Famous Alumni of University Of Washington

Pappy Boyington's photo

Who is Pappy Boyington?

Gregory “Pappy” Boyington was an American combat pilot who was active during the World War II. A United States Marine Corps fighter ace, he was awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. An Idaho native, he grew up with the dream of flying. Boyington enlisted for military training while he was still in college and in 1934, was designated as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Reserve. He later served with 630th Coast Artillery before joining the US Marines. Over the course of the next six years, Boyington was given flight training, receiving his Naval Cadet designation in 1937, following which he was assigned to naval bases all over America. After the World War II broke out, Boyington left the Marine Corps and was recruited by the legendary ‘Flying Tigers’ for combat in China, Burma, and Japan in late 1941 and early 1942. He rejoined the Marines in 1942, following America’s declaration of war against the Axis powers, and began flying an F4U Corsair in 1943. A few months later, he was promoted to the commander of marine fighter squadron VMF-214. His plane was shot down in January 1944 and he subsequently became a prisoner of war. When Japan surrendered in 1945, he was released. He returned home and led a tumultuous life until his death in 1988. A TV series, based on his autobiography ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, aired from 1976 to 1978.

// Famous Pilots

Childhood & Early Life

Pappy Boyington was born on December 4, 1912 in Coeur d'Alene, a city in northwest Idaho, US, to Charles and Grace Boyington. When he was three years old, their family relocated to a logging town named St. Maries, where he would spend the next 12 years before moving to Tacoma, Washington. He attended Lincoln High School, Washington, where he excelled in sports, especially wrestling.

As a six-years-old boy in St. Maries, he got the opportunity to fly with Clyde “Upside-Down” Pangborn. This was his first time on a plane. He graduated from high school in 1930 and enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle. While there, he became a member of the Army ROTC and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He also joined the swimming team as well as continued wrestling in the university, even holding the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiate middleweight wrestling title for a while.

During the summer holidays, he worked part-time at a mining camp and a logging camp in Washington. He was also employed briefly by the Coeur d'Alene Fire Protective Association for road construction. In 1934, he received a B.S. degree in aeronautical engineering.

He met his first wife, Helen Clark, at the university. They married soon after his graduation. The couple moved to Seattle where Boyington found work as a draftsman and engineer. He actively pursued a career in aviation in spring 1935 and sought flight training under the Aviation Cadet Act.

He soon found out that that the course would exclude all married men. He had grown up as “Gregory Hallenbeck,” believing that his stepfather Ellsworth J. Hallenbeck was his real father. It turned out that his parents had divorced shortly after his birth. He then realized that there was no record of a “Gregory Boyington” ever getting married. So he seized the opportunity and changed his name to “Gregory Boyington” and joined the military.

Career in the Military

While he was still in college, Boyington had joined the military as part of Army ROTC, later rising to the rank of cadet captain. After completing his training, he began serving as a second lieutenant in the US Army Coast Artillery Reserve in June 1934. He was then designated to perform two months of active duty with the 630th Coast Artillery at Fort Worden, Washington.

Boyington was commissioned in the US Marine Corps on June 13, 1935. He was rendered inactive a month later. However, on February 18, 1936, he was made an aviation cadet in the Marine Corps Reserve and was sent to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. On March 11, 1937, he received the official designation of a Naval Aviator.

His first transfer as Naval Aviator was to Quantico, Virginia, for duty with Aircraft One, Fleet Marine Force. He received discharge paper from the Marine Corps Reserve on July 1, 1937, and was appointed as a second lieutenant in the regular Marine Corps a day later. Subsequently, he studied at The Basic School in Philadelphia between July 1938 and January 1939.

After the course ended, he served with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Group at the San Diego Naval Air Station as well as took part in naval exercises off the aircraft carriers USS Lexington and USS Yorktown. Boyington was also appointed as an instructor at Pensacola in December 1940 before resigning from the Marine Corps on August 26, 1941.

In mid-1941, Boyington was employed by the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO), a company hired to form an air unit to defend China and the Burma Road. This came to be known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG) or the Flying Tigers (in Burma). This was the first time that Boyington was assigned as a flight leader. While he shared an almost antagonistic relationship with the commander of the outfit, Claire Chennault., he nonetheless officially destroyed two Japanese aircraft in the air and 1.5 on the ground (six, according to his autobiography).

He left the Tigers in April 1942, months before the expiration of his contract with the outfit. He came back to the US and enlisted in the Marine Corps on September 29, 1942. Initially, he flew with the Marine Aircraft Group 11 of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in South Pacific. In the subsequent months, he rose through the ranks to become the Commanding Officer (CO) of Marine Fighter Squadron 214, popularly known as the "Black Sheep Squadron”.

He was nicknamed “Gramps” by his subordinates as he was at least a decade older than the men who served under him. The nickname later evolved into “Pappy”, after a new variation of "The Whiffenpoof Song", which was penned by Paul "Moon" Mullen, one of the Black Sheep. This later became popular among war correspondents.

His greatest accomplishments as a fighter pilot occurred during his tenure with the Vought F4U Corsair in VMF-214. He brought down several enemy aircraft in the Russell Islands-New Georgia and Bougainville-New Britain-New Ireland areas. On October 17, 1943, he led the Black Sheep in a raid on Kahili airdrome at the southern tip of Bougainville, where the unit circled an enemy airfield, coaxing them to retaliate. In the ensuing battle, Boyington and his fighters engaged a unit of 60 enemy aircraft. They brought down 20 and returned to the base without losing a single plane.

Boyington and his men stated that they would destroy a Japanese Zero aircraft for every baseball cap they would receive from major league players in the World Series. They were sent 20 caps, although they brought down quite more than that number of enemy aircraft. Boyington himself recorded 26 enemy planes destroyed, tying with the legendary World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker. However, he claimed that his tally was 28, including the ones he destroyed during his time with the Tigers.

It was on that mission which took place on January 3, 1944 that Boyington and his men engaged the enemy over Rabaul and he was eventually shot down. Designated as the tactical commander of the entire flight, he found himself right in the middle of the general melee of dogfighters. His wingman, Captain George Ashmun, was killed that day.

There are a lot of speculations about who had finally brought down Boyington. The most significant claim was made by Masajiro "Mike" Kawato, who was present that day over Rabaul as an enemy pilot. However, it has since been disproved.

After he went missing, the American military launched a search operation, but by then he had been picked up by a Japanese submarine. He would spend the next 20 months as a prisoner of war. Boyington was kept at Rabaul and Truk prison camps and was first transported to Ōfuna and finally to Ōmori Prison Camp near Tokyo.

Following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered. Boyington was freed from captivity on August 29, 1945 and came back to the US on 12 September. He was welcomed home by 21 former squadron members from VMF-214.

After he was awarded the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross, Boyington went on a Victory Bond Tour. He eventually retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of colonel on August 1, 1947.

Awards & Achievements

Pappy Boyington was originally awarded America’s highest military honor — the Medal of Honor — by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in March 1944 and it was kept in the capital until Boyington could receive it. However, Roosevelt passed away in April 1945. He eventually received the Medal of Honor on 5 October, Nimitz Day, at the White House from President Harry S. Truman.

On 4 October 1945, he was awarded the Navy Cross by the Commandant of the Marine Corps for the Rabaul raid.

He also received a Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal, Presidential Unit Citation w/ 3⁄16" bronze star, American Defense Service Medal w/ 3⁄16" bronze star, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 3⁄16" silver star, American Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal.

In 1994, he was posthumously inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor.

Personal Life

Pappy Boyington had three children with Helen, two daughters Janet and Gloria, and a son, Gregory Jr. He divorced her in 1941 when he returned from his tenure with the Tigers, accusing her of neglecting the children.

His second wife was Los Angeles-native Frances Baker, whom he married on January 8, 1946. After their divorce, he married Delores Tatum on October 28, 1959. They adopted a child together. His fourth marriage, to Josephine Wilson Moseman of Fresno, took place in 1978.

A lifelong smoker, Boyington had been suffering from cancer since the 1960s. On January 11, 1988, he died in his sleep in Fresno, California. He was 75 years old. Boyington was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on January 15 with all the honors accorded to a Medal of Honor recipient.

The name of the Coeur d'Alene airport in Idaho was changed to Coeur d'Alene Airport–Pappy Boyington Field in his honour in August 2007. A month later, it was dedicated to him.

In 1958, he published his autobiography titled ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ via G. P. Putnam's Sons publications. The TV series of the same name aired on NBC from September 23, 1976 to April 6, 1978, with American actor Robert Conrad portraying Boyington.

Trivia

Following his retirement from the Marines, he was involved in the professional wrestling circuit for a brief period, participating in events both as a referee and wrestler.

During a visit to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility, Boyington climbed into the cockpit of a newly-restored F4U Corsair and tried to start the engine “for old time’s sake”. He later signed his name on the plane with a magic marker. The Corsair is still on display at the NASM Dulles Annex.

// Famous Miscellaneous

Pappy Boyington awards

YearNameAward

Other

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Navy Cross

Pappy Boyington biography timelines

  • // 4th Dec 1912
    Pappy Boyington was born on December 4, 1912 in Coeur d'Alene, a city in northwest Idaho, US, to Charles and Grace Boyington. When he was three years old, their family relocated to a logging town named St. Maries, where he would spend the next 12 years before moving to Tacoma, Washington. He attended Lincoln High School, Washington, where he excelled in sports, especially wrestling.
  • // 1930
    As a six-years-old boy in St. Maries, he got the opportunity to fly with Clyde “Upside-Down” Pangborn. This was his first time on a plane. He graduated from high school in 1930 and enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle. While there, he became a member of the Army ROTC and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He also joined the swimming team as well as continued wrestling in the university, even holding the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiate middleweight wrestling title for a while.
  • // 1934
    During the summer holidays, he worked part-time at a mining camp and a logging camp in Washington. He was also employed briefly by the Coeur d'Alene Fire Protective Association for road construction. In 1934, he received a B.S. degree in aeronautical engineering.
  • // Jun 1934
    While he was still in college, Boyington had joined the military as part of Army ROTC, later rising to the rank of cadet captain. After completing his training, he began serving as a second lieutenant in the US Army Coast Artillery Reserve in June 1934. He was then designated to perform two months of active duty with the 630th Coast Artillery at Fort Worden, Washington.
  • // 1935
    He met his first wife, Helen Clark, at the university. They married soon after his graduation. The couple moved to Seattle where Boyington found work as a draftsman and engineer. He actively pursued a career in aviation in spring 1935 and sought flight training under the Aviation Cadet Act.
  • // Dec 1940 To 26th Aug 1941
    After the course ended, he served with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Group at the San Diego Naval Air Station as well as took part in naval exercises off the aircraft carriers USS Lexington and USS Yorktown. Boyington was also appointed as an instructor at Pensacola in December 1940 before resigning from the Marine Corps on August 26, 1941.
  • // 1941
    In mid-1941, Boyington was employed by the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO), a company hired to form an air unit to defend China and the Burma Road. This came to be known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG) or the Flying Tigers (in Burma). This was the first time that Boyington was assigned as a flight leader. While he shared an almost antagonistic relationship with the commander of the outfit, Claire Chennault., he nonetheless officially destroyed two Japanese aircraft in the air and 1.5 on the ground (six, according to his autobiography).
  • // 1941
    Pappy Boyington had three children with Helen, two daughters Janet and Gloria, and a son, Gregory Jr. He divorced her in 1941 when he returned from his tenure with the Tigers, accusing her of neglecting the children.
  • // 29th Sep 1942
    He left the Tigers in April 1942, months before the expiration of his contract with the outfit. He came back to the US and enlisted in the Marine Corps on September 29, 1942. Initially, he flew with the Marine Aircraft Group 11 of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in South Pacific. In the subsequent months, he rose through the ranks to become the Commanding Officer (CO) of Marine Fighter Squadron 214, popularly known as the "Black Sheep Squadron”.
  • // 17th Oct 1943
    His greatest accomplishments as a fighter pilot occurred during his tenure with the Vought F4U Corsair in VMF-214. He brought down several enemy aircraft in the Russell Islands-New Georgia and Bougainville-New Britain-New Ireland areas. On October 17, 1943, he led the Black Sheep in a raid on Kahili airdrome at the southern tip of Bougainville, where the unit circled an enemy airfield, coaxing them to retaliate. In the ensuing battle, Boyington and his fighters engaged a unit of 60 enemy aircraft. They brought down 20 and returned to the base without losing a single plane.
  • // 3rd Jan 1944
    It was on that mission which took place on January 3, 1944 that Boyington and his men engaged the enemy over Rabaul and he was eventually shot down. Designated as the tactical commander of the entire flight, he found himself right in the middle of the general melee of dogfighters. His wingman, Captain George Ashmun, was killed that day.
  • // Mar 1944 To Apr 1945
    Pappy Boyington was originally awarded America’s highest military honor — the Medal of Honor — by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in March 1944 and it was kept in the capital until Boyington could receive it. However, Roosevelt passed away in April 1945. He eventually received the Medal of Honor on 5 October, Nimitz Day, at the White House from President Harry S. Truman.
  • // 29th Aug 1945
    Following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered. Boyington was freed from captivity on August 29, 1945 and came back to the US on 12 September. He was welcomed home by 21 former squadron members from VMF-214.
  • // 4th Oct 1945
    On 4 October 1945, he was awarded the Navy Cross by the Commandant of the Marine Corps for the Rabaul raid.
  • // 1st Aug 1947
    After he was awarded the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross, Boyington went on a Victory Bond Tour. He eventually retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of colonel on August 1, 1947.
  • // 11th Jan 1988
    A lifelong smoker, Boyington had been suffering from cancer since the 1960s. On January 11, 1988, he died in his sleep in Fresno, California. He was 75 years old. Boyington was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on January 15 with all the honors accorded to a Medal of Honor recipient.
  • // 1994
    In 1994, he was posthumously inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor.
  • // Aug 2007
    The name of the Coeur d'Alene airport in Idaho was changed to Coeur d'Alene Airport–Pappy Boyington Field in his honour in August 2007. A month later, it was dedicated to him.

// Famous American

Pappy Boyington's FAQ

  • What is Pappy Boyington birthday?

    Pappy Boyington was born at 1912-12-04

  • When was Pappy Boyington died?

    Pappy Boyington was died at 1988-01-11

  • Where was Pappy Boyington died?

    Pappy Boyington was died in Fresno, California

  • Which age was Pappy Boyington died?

    Pappy Boyington was died at age 75

  • Where is Pappy Boyington's birth place?

    Pappy Boyington was born in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

  • What is Pappy Boyington nationalities?

    Pappy Boyington's nationalities is American

  • What is Pappy Boyington nick names?

    Pappy Boyington's nickNames is Pappy, Gramps

  • Who is Pappy Boyington spouses?

    Pappy Boyington's spouses is Josephine Wilson Moseman (m. 1978), Delores (m. 1959), Frances Baker (m. 1946), Helen Clark (m. 1934; div. 1941)

  • Who is Pappy Boyington childrens?

    Pappy Boyington's childrens is Gloria Boyington (daughter), Gregory Boyington, Janet Boyington (daughter), Jr (son)

  • What was Pappy Boyington universities?

    Pappy Boyington studied at University Of Washington, University of Washington, Lincoln High School

  • What was Pappy Boyington notable alumnis?

    Pappy Boyington's notable alumnis is University Of Washington

  • Who is Pappy Boyington's father?

    Pappy Boyington's father is Charles Boyington

  • Who is Pappy Boyington's mother?

    Pappy Boyington's mother is Grace Hallenbeck

  • What is Pappy Boyington's sun sign?

    Pappy Boyington is Sagittarius

  • How famous is Pappy Boyington?

    Pappy Boyington is famouse as Pilot