From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 2

September 27th, 2015 by xformed

Subtitle: Gear issue

Click for the large image

I do not have any indication of the date of the picture, but judging from the flight gear (the headgear in particular), it would be pre-Korean War era, since hard style helmets were in place during those times based on my research. The plane is a Corsair airframe of some sort, of which his logs showed, across the many hours, both the F4U and FG-1 models, which would appear the same in this view.

From his DD 214: Born in Brooklyn, NY on 2February 28th, 1923, George also was claiming residence when he was commissioned in the Marines on June 1st, 1944, showing that as his home of record. I don’t have a record of his date of actual entry into service, but he must have been in an aviation cadet program of some sort, as you will see in his logbook as we explore his history. Other service noted was 1 year, 5 months, 23 days for his total service time. That would put him enlisting for his service on December 9th, 1942. He was 19 years old when he raised his right hand and took his oath of office for military service.

Opening the logbook, the first page is the record of equipment issued:

Click for a larger image

Note in the picture of the equipment issued, the rank of “A/Co” seems to be scribbled through and “2ndLT” written next to it. Equipment appears to be mostly issued ar Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX on June 2nd, 1943 under the signature stamp of CAPT J.M. Easter (SC). That date aligns with the next important event in the retelling of the history of Dode.

A connected bit of history from the NAS Corpus Christi wikipedia page is George was on the base at the same time President George H.W. Bush was graduating from his fight training in June 1943.

Next stop: First flight!

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From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 1

September 24th, 2015 by xformed

This will be a series, combining hard copy personal historical documents, web based research and finally, the years of story telling I was so blessed to have been the recipient. Col Dodendhoff had had a full career of history making events, seemingly small at the time, and when they happened, seen by him as just another day at “work,” but in retrospect, when the larger record of the surrounding events and circumstances can be linked together, some remarkable stories appear.

First off: The previous post has the memorial service for Col Dodenhoff, where he was honored by his family, friends and neighbors.

For the last few years, when “Dode” couldn’t drive any longer, a few of us took turns being duty driver of the staff car to get him to our bi-monthly Saturday morning breakfast meetings. In the last year, I did it a bit more frequently than the others, and many days, upon return to his residence, I’d spend some time keeping his computer system running smoothly and helping him get the pictures of the association monthly art displays downloaded from his camera to be printed for the historical record of the activities of his building complex.

The book shelf above the computer and monitor held several models, mostly factory type carved wooden ones, which represented a small portion of his flying career. I asked for more detail, and in addition to the trips to and from breakfast, I received even more data points.

His wife, Priscilla, has graciously given me his models, his log books, snap shots taken while on cruise, some military and civilian newspapers and a coveted trophy he won in a bombing competition in 1955.

In a serial manner, I will try to summarize the Col’s 29 years in the service of our nation as a Marine Aviator, pulling together what I can document, find and recall to provide some context of his place in history as a Marine, and as an aviator.

In any case where I place a picture within the post entry so it fits the page restrictions, I will post the full sized version that can be seen via a link with the picture. Logbooks being logbooks, they are hand written, so a good quality picture is the best way to see what it says and OCR is out of the question.

With that intro, look forward to checking back regularly to see the additional posts in the series, and I will publish the recountings in the timeline sequence in which that actually occurred. Please, if you have supporting information, post it in the comments to connect any other dots with documenting!

Click the picture for the full sized image

Click the picture for the full sized image

What’s inside? Return for the full accounting of the real life adventures of Col Dode.

Category: Aviation, Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military, Military History | Comments Off on From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 1

Fair Winds and Following Seas: COL George Dodenhoff, USMC, Ret

September 18th, 2015 by xformed


“Dode” was a WWII veteran, joining the Marines in 1942. His first combat was on Okinawa with VMF-311, the Hell’s Belles, flying CAS missions in the F4U-8. Of note, VMF-311 were the first to use the F4U in the close air support role. His career later had him assigned to the famed VMF-214 in Korea, flying CAS for the Chosin Reservoir battle. He continued on to complete a 29 year career, comprised of a cross training assignment with the USAF flying the F-86 and serving in the Congo, Vietnam, and other duties that included a tour at the Naval War College. He passed away August 6th, 2015.

I have been provided access to the items from his desk, where I spent a number of hours, working on his computer and listening to the stories of an old warrior and leader over about a decade. My intention is to put together as much material as is possible from his notes, log books and models and document my recollection of his career oral history I was able to hear.

For the first stop, with his wife, Priscilla’s permission, is to share the memorial service for Col Dodenhoff.

More to follow in a series I’ll post as “From the Desk of Col D.”

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2/25/2011 “WRAP Pack” CNA and Birthday Celebration

March 11th, 2011 by xformed

As is the manner of it is to gather every other Saturday AM, last time we met, we celebrated the birthday of two of our members (2 USMC (Ret) Colonels), as well a recognition of the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CNA).

If you have an excellent eye for history, there is some of them in the video…..

The creator of the document that became known to me as the “EDORM” (Engineering Department Regulation and Organizational Manual) is present,

along with the high time and most traps pilot in the Vought F7U Cutlass. A RA-5C NFO, several P2V/P-3 pilots, three “‘Shoes,” two Army types from the Vietnam Era, a A-1 pilot with VA-196, and a Navy Cross recipient are all around the table, as well as the two senior Marines, who both flew in WWII.

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The Warrior Song – Hard Corps

July 12th, 2010 by xformed

The USMC Version!

Crank those speakers up first, then click the play button!

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Memorial Day: Chip in for the Future of a Fallen Marine’s Daughter

May 28th, 2010 by xformed

So, how about helping out a new mom and daughter who lost their Husband/Father in Afghanistan?

If you’re close to the Tampa bay area, or in it, get down to Paddy Burke’s Irish Pub tomorrow (5/29/10) from 1800 til 2100 (6PM til 9PM for the rest of you) (100 4th St S. St Pete) and make a donation in memory of CPL Jonathon Proto, USMC.

His widow, who is still very much a Marine Wife and troop supporter has put together a fun time for those who also want to say thanks to one who has fallen in the line of duty. Put some of your hard earned money in Ariana’s trust fund for later on. Details here, at A Little Bit of Pink in a World of Camo.

Click for the large image!

And now, a follow up to the burial of CPL Porto. Take a few minutes and get a glimpse of his life and his family and friends at his burial in St Petersburg, FL 3/24/2010:

Porto Tribute Part II from DiamondFilms on Vimeo.

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Reconnect Marine Brothers in Arms: Find HM2 James Pell, USN

March 18th, 2010 by xformed

United States Marine Corps seal
Image via Wikipedia

Update 3/23/2010:  It was CPL Powers who saved HM3 Pell, not the other way around, as I first wrote in the post below.  In any case, please help get these two reconnected!

Update 3/25/2010:  Chasing referenced links, I found out CPL Powers, having taken the Combat Lifesavers Course, saved HM3 James Pell from certain death on the battle fiend, after being shot 11 times and falling off a roof from an article in Leatherneck Magazine.


This post was originally done on my Blogspot blog as “How to Bury a Hero,” and while many of the older posts were moved over in 2006, I hadn’t gotten to moving them all to this blog.  Back then, it was a manual moving process, and now…well…”import” in WP is much more advanced.

I need help:  I got an email request to act on the comment (all contained below) to reconnect HM2 Pell with one of the men he saved, LCPL James Powers, USMC.  I did email with James Pell back in the 2005/2006 time frame, then his email apparently changed.  Could everyone get the word out and try to track down HM2 Pell?

The info is below.  Use this as a “connector piece” or send James straight to James Powers.

Let’s put the power of the MilBlog community to work in getting these men back together.

Original post replicated here:

How to Bury a Hero

I’ve not been posting too much the last few days, for I was “teaching history” to those who want to equate the “WHERE are the WMDs?!?!?!?” discussion to the moral equivalent of “hate” crimes against the transgendered. It really wore me out. I was a little discouraged, realizing the emotional toll that occurred trying to have an actual discussion with a bunch of animated Democratic talking points. In a few moments of surfing this afternoon, I found the following comments just a few minutes ago. I was chasing links to read about a young Marine, LCpl Antoine Smith. He was killed by hostile fire at Fallujah. I chased the links to Pull on Superman’s Cape and under this post, titled The Heros of India Company, I found the words of a junior enlisted Navy Corpsman who had been at the side of LCpl Smith when he was killed. He recalled that moment like this:

“Forgive my spelling. I was next to Lcpl Smith as he took his last breath. As a US Navy Corpsman I am there to help trasition heroes into the next life. I was flipping through the TV Sunday night and came across “Heroes of India Company”. I wasn’t aware that this documentary existed. I paused and watched as I relived the fight. I was with 3/5 untill I was shot Nov 15, 2004. I am the Sniper platoon Cormpsman. After Smith went down and the bombs were dropped we pushed on. We engaged in a fierce fight with five insurgents across the street. It was roof top to roof top. Then out of no were the house next to us opened up and pinned us down. My Sniper partner and myself stormed the third story roof killing two insurgents. Once ontop of the third story the Marines started moving across to the second deck. First over was Shane. No sooner had he crossed over the wall I heard him scream for help. I looked over the edge and saw him holding his head, still screaming. I did what any true Marine loving Corpsman would do, I went after him to pull him out of the line of fire and treat his wound. I never made it to Shane though. I hung my feet over the third deck to jump to the second were Shane was no lying motionless. As I started to slide off It felt like a sledge hammer smashed into my right thigh, and it went limp. No sooner the same feeling in my right calf. It hit me, I’m being shot! I looked for a way to get out of the insurgents path and chose to jump off the side of the building. Before I could make the move My left leg went limp as more AK-47 rounds went through the upper thigh, calf and foot. As I was falling the insurgents rounds found target again, two round to the lower right abdomin and two round to the upper groin. I fell two stories and dislocated my right shoulder. Because of the medical training I gave my Snipers every day, Lcpl James Powers saved my life. He prompty stopped the massive bleeding from my legs. From the beginning to the end I was with both Smith and Shane. Everything medicaly possiable was done to preserve life. I am now training others that are heading to combat, awaiting my Marine Corps family to return from Fallujah this month. EMCEE: James, I cannot express in words just how much brave Marines like you mean to me. Everything I can think of just fails to say to you what I feel. Let me just say: Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. On behalf of the American people I thank you. On behalf of the brave men and women that you serve I thank you. Your courage and valor inspire me. I thank God for patriots like you sir. God Bless You! Posted by: HM3 Pell, James at March 1, 2005 09:36 AM”

That was powerful to read the after action report of a comrade in arms. A few comments down, here was something that speaks with even great power about the bond that combat forges between warriors by the same young man. This was not said by a Marine General, or a Pentagon Press Briefer, but by one who has been “there:”

“How to bury a hero. Andrew Keeler was one of the best SS [Scout Sniper] I ever knew. He was dedicated to his country and his brother in arms. He died outside of of the capital in early April. Killed while participating in convoy operations. We, his military brothers, flew to the funeral to be the his honor guard. Once at the cemetary the uligy was read and flowers placed on the casket. The five of us wated until all the public had left the site and we, the people that knew more about Andrew than his own family, opened his casket and pinned on the medals he earned in combat. We closed the casket and together lowered it into the ground. Before we landed for the funeral we all agreed that no minumum wage cemtary worker was going to touch this heros coffin, or the dirt that was to cover it. So the five of us picked up our shovels and burried Andrew shovel by shovel. We tamped the dirt and relaid the sod, then stood over the sight silently for a few minutes to honor Andrews life. Then we got smashed on the plane ride home. This is how I wanna go when the time comes… Posted by: HM3 Pell James at April 12, 2005 01:59 PM’

As HM3 James Pell is now forever a part of the brotherhood of the USMC, despite his beginnings at a Navy Boot Camp, I’m sure his brethern will honor his wishes. I hope you find it in you to pass these words along to those who haven’t yet comprehended what the real meaning of friendship is. Please make sure the credit to Hospital Corpsman Third Class James Pell, USN of the Fleet Marine Force, is always included with this quote. To reconnect with my opening remarks, while the subject matter above is sad, knowing these young men have passed from our presense, I am overjoyed to see that there are those in the younger generation who truly “get it.” More amazing still that HM3 Pell shows wisdom beyond his years. I’m hopeful for the future of the US and the western world as a result. Email HM3 James Pell here Thanks to Mudville Gazette’s Open Posting!

posted by chaoticsynapticactivity | 6/14/2005 04:35:00 PM

9 Comments [ed:  some spam deleted]:

Anonymous Anonymous said…
I knew all of the guys mentioned here. You hit the nail right on the head when you talked about how we “get it”. I sure miss all of em.

3/27/2006 03:04:00 AM
Anonymous james powers said…
I am James Powers, the Lcp that was there with James Pell and Shane Keelion when they were both shot, I personally watched Shane get shot in the forehead, and James Pell’s legs shake violently as the bullets impacted. I went to boot camp with Shane, he was a great man. I havn’t spoken to James since I exited the USMC but if he is still a corpsman I believe he is one of the best if not the best the navy has to offer, an example for all of us. I’m mainly posting this in hopes to reconnect with him, but I feel I must contribute to this blog in order to be taken seriously by a reader. If anyone knows him personally or if you are reading this yourself James, try to contact me, facebook would be best since some of the same people, (snipers) that we worked with are my friends still. IE Moon, Ramsey. I don’t mind answering or replying if anyone has anything to say after this is posting.

That day is a day I coulnd’t forget even if I tried, I hope that this reaches you James.

3/16/2010 04:41:00 PM
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Today in History: Linebacker II Begins

December 18th, 2009 by xformed

When the enemy thinks they can stall peace talks, how do you respond?  With a diplomatic tools that “communicates” beyond the Paris meeting room.

On this day in 1972, Linebacker II, the largest air campaign since WWII began, with Air force and Navy planes filling the skies over North Vietnam.

For 11 days, the fury of America was unleashed over their capital and sea ports. On this day, 189 bombers (B-52D/Gs) and 39 support aircraft from the 7th Air force, and Navy and Marine Corps assets (EB-66/EA-6B/KC-135s/F-4/A-6/A-7/F-111/F-105), as well as SAR (Search and Rescue) aircraft took to the skies for a night attack. This mission targeted airfields and warehouses.

3 B-52s were shot down, and three more heavily damaged. One F-111 was also shot down, as the North Vietnamese put and estimated 220 SAMs in the air.

This afternoon, I attended an MOAA lunch and one of the men there reminded the MC to mention the history of today. It turns out that gentlemen had spent time in a B-17 over Schweinfurt, B-29s over Korea and B-52s over Vietnam. I suspect he was in the cockpit for this operation, but I did not have the opportunity to speak with him, as the room was full of living history.

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Happy Birthday, USMC!

November 10th, 2009 by xformed

I attended a cake cutting ceremony Saturday morning, with the local heroes. Over of the establishment funded the early in the day meal as his thank you to some old war horses, and some of the rest of us who wore a uniform who sit around and tell sea and war stories, and we all take them in stride. None the less, thre is some evidence here. And those who have eagle eyes, will know what they know, others: Enjoy the picture!

The Oldest marine was cutting the cake, began in 1942 and flew PBYs for the cause. The next one over, the youngest Devil Dog started in PBJs, and still has the first 75mm shell he fired from same…chromed, full of change.

The guy in the orange T flew something called Slicks for the Army…was only 4 hours short of the one year tour for combat hours…but he thinks these guys are heroes.

I’m a really lucky guy.

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