View Full Version : Those Amazing Marines and Their Flying Machines!

07-12-06, 10:50 AM
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Those Amazing Marines and Their Flying Machines!
Seventy-Nine Years Ago in Nicaragua

Today’s Marine air-ground cooperation and close air support is absolutely the finest in the world. Major Ross E. "Rusty" Rowell, a Marine pilot, made his own special contribution to these Marine pioneered functions in the 1920’s when he developed dive bombing and then taught the technique to his pilots in Nicaragua.

On 17 July, 1927 Rowell’s technique came in a little more than handy. Two days earlier the guerilla leader Augusto Sandino had attacked a small Marine outpost near Ocotal. With the tiny outpost surrounded by 600 guerillas, the sixty-two Marines and forty-eight National Guardsmen had only two choices, defend themselves with what little resources that were available and wait for help, or make their way through 125 miles of jungle to the nearest friendly outpost. Major Rowell loaded his five D.H.4’s with bombs and all the machine gun ammo they could carry and unloaded on the unsuspecting guerillas. Sandino’s men had seen the planes, but had never heard of such an air assault so did not take cover.

In early January 1928 Major Rowell was tasked to evacuate the wounded in Quilali, Nicaragua. The only problem was that there was no place to land and so the Major’s men dropped engineer’s tools to the besieged Marines on the ground and in a few days, and while under enemy fire, they turned the main street into a short landing strip. First Lieutenant Christian F. Schilt volunteered to take a jury-rigged Vought O2U-1 that had no brakes, and make a test landing on the strip. As the plane touched down Marines on the ground caught it by the wings and wrestled it to a halt. Within three days Rowell’s men had delivered 1,400 pounds of emergency medical supplies and evacuated eighteen casualties who would not have lived otherwise.

The information in this post came from The Illustrated Directory of the United States Marine Corps by Chester G. Hearn


07-26-06, 12:00 AM
Who would have ever thought that the actual first dive bombers were in that battle of OCOTAL in Nicaragua? The Germans took special interest too, and their later version of the BLITZKRIEG was taken from those Banana War days that the Marine Corps fought so well in. They actually put their use in the FRANCO Civil War Spain in the 1930's by flying mercernary missions in support of Franco.

07-26-06, 12:39 AM