April 26, 2012

Pappy’s sword reunites with Black Sheep

Cpl. Aaron Diamant
Desert Warrior Staff
Photo by  Cpl. Aaron Diamant
Right: Stefan Rohal, National Museum of the Marine Corps registrar, carefully places Col. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington’s sword into a display case in the Marine Attack Squadron 214 hangar, April 23. Rohal hand-carried the sword in a heavily padded case from Quantico, Va to Yuma after it had been restored by the museum.

Marine Attack Squadron 214’s first commanding officer was a bit of a celebrity in his day.

The valiant Gregory “Pappy” Boyington was famous for his leadership style and more importantly his squadron’s winning record in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

Following his military career, Boyington had a rough life, returning to heavy drinking, which plagued him in the years after the war. He freely admitted that during the two years he spent as a prisoner of war his health improved, due to the enforced sobriety.

Much of his military memorabilia went into the wind so to speak, much of it never entering the hands of his family.

One day, a Boyington family friend found a Marine Corps officer’s mameluke sword at a garage sale. Upon removing the saber from the scabbard, she saw “G. Boyington” engraved on the blade.

She purchased the sword and gave it to Gregory Boyington, Jr., the son of the now deceased famous aviator, who after a few years donated it to the squadron, believing the Black Sheep hangar was the sword’s rightful home.

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