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Flying Leathernecks visit Chino Airport
Posted March 5, 2008

Military aviation was the main topic at an event held at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino on Saturday.

The day was dedicated to the famous Vought F4U-1 Corsair, a Navy and Marine Corps fighter plane used in World War II.

As each year passes, World War II becomes more a part of the distant past in American history. Those running the Planes of Fame Museum are trying to change that by hosting programs like the one Saturday with opportunities to learn from veterans.

“They are getting fewer and fewer,” Edward Maloney, museum founder said. “We are lucky to have them here.”

With programs to honor and celebrate those who fought and the planes they flew, the museum is helping to keep the memory alive.

“I saw a picture of the Corsair and I said ‘that looks like it’s for me,’” Mitchell Flint, a former navy pilot in World War II, said.

Flint joined the Navy soon after he turned 18 and he trained at Corpus Christi in Texas.

He told of a harrowing experience he had with the Japanese.

“I was sent out to look for downed aviators,” he said. “We were at 500 feet when surprisingly I saw under me another plane going the other way.”

“It’s the enemy,” Flint said.

Mitchell was able to get behind the Japanese plane.

“They were just as fast as we were, which was scary,” Flint said.

At the front of the audience, two long tables were set up on either side of a lectern and a panel of veterans spoke to the audience.

Frank Mormillo, a photojournalist opened the program, talking about the Leathernecks and the Corsair. He also spoke about his time spent as a photojournalist.

“The Marines were my favorite service to cover,” Mormillo said.

The Marines were part of the main discussion and it was explained that the term leathernecks comes from the stiff leather collar formerly part of the Marine uniform.

Jack Broering, a Marine Corps veteran, spent time flying other planes and also flew the Corsair.

“The Corsair is a different airplane altogether,” he said.

Tom Scudder drove from Nevada to see the Corsair.

“I come to everything here,” he said. Scudder said he visits often and every time he donates money to the restoration of the B-17, a plane at the museum, each visit he makes.

Maloney said the Corsair at the museum is rare, being one of the first built in Stratford Conn.

Mark Foster, museum director, flew the Corsair after the talks in the hangar.

“It’s one of the best Navy fighters of World War II,” Foster said. “It’s a joy to fly.”

Everyone gathered outside the hangar to watch Foster taxi to the runway and waited to see him fly over in the Corsair.

“It was really cool,” Rose Brisson of Long Beach said. Brisson and her son, Ryan came as a part of Boy Scout Troop 212.

“I have never seen anything like this,” Brisson said. “We are going to bring the whole pack.”

Similar events are held monthly at the museum. The event Saturday was held in a hangar, a part of the museum and was packed with museum members, and others who came to listen to the speakers and later see the Corsair fly.

More information about the Planes of Fame Museum can be found at The museum will be hosting the 2008 Planes of Fame Air show at Chino Airport May 17-18.

Susan Acker can be reached at