This page is dedicated to four Marine officers from VMFA-115
who perished on 10/26/65 in Vietnam.
I remember the night, 26 Oct 1965, that McHale’s and Tebow's F-4 Phantoms crashed into Marble Mountain at Da Nang.
Most of the squadron was watching a movie at the outdoor facility at our compound which we affectionately called "Dogpatch".
I can remember the explosions as the two aircraft hit the top of Marble Mountain, we thought we were under attack from the VC.
As I remember it, Tebow had one of his engines shot out by ground fire and cut his approach short which took him over Marble Mountain instead of around the mountain for his base leg and final approach. The two planes were flying in close formation and both hit the mountain at the same time. Lt. McHale was only 21 but he seemed so much older in combat, I remember I had just turned 20 myself.
Tebow was a mustang, having come up thru the ranks. I can remember before VMFA-115 was deployed to Vietnam, we all served together at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. I recall that on our deployment to Boca Chica, Florida, in the Keys that we were on "hot pad" duty, which was flying missions between Florida and Cuba. Tebow encountered a MiG flying in close proximity to the 12 mile limit and wanted so bad to engage the MiG in an air-to-air exchange. Permission was denied which so upset Bill Tebow that he flew over downtown Miami so low that windows were shattered. He was grounded after that incident and was later re-instated because we were deployed to Vietnam, and a man of his stature and experience would be needed for what was to come in Vietnam. I can still see McHale and Tebow walking out to their F-4's on numerous occasions. I wish they hadn't walked out to those planes on 26 Oct 1965.
William J. Davis, USMC, VMFA-115
* * Marines * *
I like the fact that if you are a self-declared enemy of America, running into a Marine outfit in combat is your worst nightmare...and that your health record is either about to get a lot thicker, or be closed out entirely.
I like the fact that most civilians don't have a clue what makes us tick and that's not a bad thing. Because if they did, it would probably scare the Hell out of them.
I like the fact that Marines do not consider it a coincidence that there are 24 hours in a day and 24 beers in a case, because Marines know there is a reason for everything that happens.
I like our motto, SEMPER FIDELIS, and the fact that we don't shed it when the going gets tough, the battlefield gets deadly or when we hang up our uniform for the last time.
I like the fact that the people of America hold Marines in the highest esteem and that they know that they can count on us to locate, close with, and destroy those who would harm them.
I also like the fact that our Commandant informed that member of congress that she was absolutely correct and that he passed on his thanks for the compliment.
I like the fact that Marine leaders - of every rank - know that issuing every man and woman a black beret - or polka-dotted boxer shorts for that matter - does absolutely nothing to promote morale, fighting spirit or combat effectiveness.
Died August 6, 2011 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, La., enlisted in September 1996.
Kelsall and Chief Petty Officer Robert James Reeves, also killed in the crash, were childhood friends in Shreveport, where they played soccer together and graduated from Caddo Magnet High School, Kelsall’s father, John, told The Times of Shreveport and KLSA-TV.
Both joined the military after graduation.
Kelsall, 33, was one of the first members of SEAL Team 7, his father said. The Navy said Kelsall reported to his East Coast-based SEAL team in May 2008.
He trained in San Diego and met his wife of three years, Victoria, when he was attending the University of Texas out of Basic Underwater Demolition training, his father said.
Kelsall’s decorations include the Legion of Merit; two Bronze Stars with Combat ‘V’ device for valor; Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat ‘V’ device for valor; three Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals; Joint Service Achievement Medal; Presidential Unit Citation; Combat Action Ribbon; Navy Unit Commendation; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon; Rifle Marksmanship Medal and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.