Jim Tucker of No.293 Squadron

Jim Tucker of No.293 Squadron

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Jim Tucker of No.293 Squadron

Here we see Jim Tucker, who served with No.293 Squadron in Italy during the Second World War.

This picture comes from the collection of Jim Tucker, who served with No.293 Squadron. Many thanks to his son-in-law Roger Bruton for sending us these pictures.

PTO/CBI Pilots of WWII

By Stephen Sherman, June, 1999. Updated December 14, 2016.

T he fighter pilots of the Fifth Air Force, under General Kenney, flew and fought their way up the islands of the Southwest Pacific - New Guinea and the Philippines. In the early days, many flew P-39s or P-40s, and took a real beating from the Japanese Zeros. But during 1943, some fighter groups transitioned to the superior P-38. With its twin engines, long range and heavy firepower, the Lightning was ideally suited to the long distances of the Pacific, and with appropriate "boom and zoom" tactics, the Zero couldn't touch it.

In April of 1943, flying P-38s, Major John Mitchell led the famous mission to intercept and shoot down Admiral Yamamoto over Bougainville. (Neel Kearby's 348th FG was unique in the successes it achieved while flying the P-47. In the CBI, General Chennault's fliers flew the P-40 Warhawk.)

Here are some of the stories of the high scoring aces of the 475th, 8th, 49th, and other Fighter Groups - Dick Bong, Tommy McGuire, Charles MacDonald, Gerry Johnson, Robert L. Scott, and others.

Name Kills Medals Unit Plane
Richard I. Bong 40.0 MH 49FG P-38
Thomas McGuire 38.0 MH 475FG P-38
Charles MacDonald 27.0 DSC 475FG P-38
Gerald R. Johnson 22.0 DSC 49FG P-38
Neel Kearby 22.0 MH 348FG P-47
Jay T. Robbins 22.0 DSC 8FG P-38
Robert Westbrook 20.0 - 18FG P-38
Thomas J. Lynch 20.0 DSC 35FG P-38
David Lee "Tex" Hill 18.25 SS AVG/23FG P-40, P-51
Chuck Older 18.0 DFC AVG/23FG P-40, P-51
John C. Herbst 18.0 - 23FG/CBI P-51
William D. Dunham 16.0 - 348FG P-47
Bill Harris 16.0 - 18FG P-38
George S. Welch 16.0 DSC 8FG -
Edward "Porky" Cragg 15.0 - 8FG P-38
Cyril F. Homer 15.0 - 8FG P-38
John D. Landers 14.5 - see below
Landers scored 6 in the PTO flying P-40s,
and 8.5 in the ETO flying P-51s
Robert M. DeHaven 14.0 SS 49FG P-40
Edward O. McComas 14.0 - 118RCN/CBI -
Daniel T. Roberts Jr. 14.0 DSC 475FG P-38
John F. Hampshire 13.0 - 23FG/CBI P-40
Bruce K. Holloway 13.0 - 23FG/CBI P-40
Cotesworth B. Head Jr. 12.0 - 18FG P-38
Kenneth G. Ladd 12.0 - 8FG P-38
James A. Watkins 12.0 - 49FG P-38
Richard L. West 12.0 - 8FG P-40
Francis J. Lent 11.0 SS 475FG P-38
John S. Loisel 11.0 SS 475FG P-38
John W. Mitchell 11.0 - 18FG P-38
Murray "Jim" Shubin 11.0 DSC 347FG P-38
Boyd "Buzz" Wagner 8.0 DSC 1FG P-40
Robert L. Scott n.a. DSC 23AF P-40
Tom Lanphier 4.5 NC 347FG P-38
Rex Barber 5.0 NC 347FG P-38
Paul Tibbets - DSC 509CG B-29
The Flying Tigers
35th Fighter Squadron


On their last evening of summer vacation in 1962, high school graduates and friends Curt Henderson and Steve Bolander meet two other friends, John Milner, the drag-racing king, and Terry "The Toad" Fields, in the parking lot of Mel's Drive-In in Modesto, California. Curt and Steve are to travel "Back East" the following morning to start college. Curt has second thoughts about leaving Modesto. Steve gives Terry his car to care for until he returns. Laurie, Steve's girlfriend and Curt's sister, arrives. Steve suggests to Laurie that they see other people while he is away to "strengthen" their relationship. Though not openly upset, she is, affecting their interactions through the night.

Curt, Steve, and Laurie attend the back-to-high-school sock hop. En route, Curt sees a beautiful blonde woman driving a white Ford Thunderbird. She mouths the words "I love you" to Curt before turning. Curt becomes desperate to find her one of his friends tells him "The Blonde" is the wife of a local jeweler, but Curt does not believe it. After leaving the hop, Curt is coerced by a group of greasers ("The Pharaohs") into hooking a chain to a police car and ripping out its back axle. The Pharaohs tell Curt that "The Blonde" is a prostitute, which he does not believe.

Curt drives to the radio station to ask disc jockey "Wolfman Jack" to read a message for her on the air. Curt encounters an employee who tells him the Wolfman does not work there and that the shows are pretaped for replay. The employee accepts the message and promises to try to have the Wolfman air it. As he is leaving, Curt sees the employee talking into the microphone and, hearing the voice, realizes it is the Wolfman, who reads the message, asking "The Blonde" to meet Curt or call him on the pay phone at Mel's. Curt is awakened by the phone the next morning. "The Blonde" does not reveal her identity but tells Curt maybe they will meet that night. Curt replies that they probably will not because he is leaving town.

Terry and John cruise the strip. Terry picks up flirtatious and rebellious Debbie. John inadvertently picks up Carol, an annoying, precocious 12-year-old who manipulates him into driving her around all night. Bob Falfa is searching out John to challenge him to a race. Steve and Laurie continue to argue and make up through the evening. They finally split and as the story lines intertwine, Bob Falfa picks up Laurie. Bob finds John and goads him into racing. Many follow them to "Paradise Road" to watch. As John takes the lead, Bob's tire blows out, causing him to lose control. His car swerves into a ditch, rolls over, and catches fire. Steve and John leap out of their cars and rush to the wreck while Bob and Laurie crawl out and stagger away just before it explodes. Laurie grips Steve tightly and begs him not to leave her. He assures her that he will stay.

At the airfield, Curt says goodbye to his parents, Laurie, Steve, John, and Terry. As the plane takes off, Curt gazes out the window and sees the white Thunderbird driving in parallel to his plane. An on-screen epilogue reveals that John was killed by a drunk driver in 1964, Terry was reported missing in action near An Lộc in 1965, Steve is an insurance agent in Modesto and Curt is a writer in Canada.

    as Curt Henderson as Steve Bolander as John Milner as Terry "The Toad" Fields as Laurie Henderson as Debbie Dunham as Carol Morrison as Disc Jockey as Joe Young as Carlos as Bob Falfa as Bobbie Tucker as Mr. Wolfe as Peg as Mr. Gordon as Judy as Jane as Vic as Falfa's Girl as "The Blonde" in the T-Bird

Inspiration Edit

During the production of THX 1138 (1971), producer Francis Ford Coppola challenged co-writer/director George Lucas to write a script that would appeal to mainstream audiences. [4] Lucas embraced the idea, using his early 1960s teenage experiences cruising in Modesto, California. "Cruising was gone, and I felt compelled to document the whole experience and what my generation used as a way of meeting girls," Lucas explained. [4] As he developed the story in his mind, Lucas included his fascination with Wolfman Jack. Lucas had considered doing a documentary about the Wolfman when he attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts, but he ultimately dropped the idea. [5]

Adding in semiautobiographical connotations, Lucas set the story in his hometown of 1962 Modesto. [4] The characters Curt Henderson, John Milner, and Terry "The Toad" Fields also represent different stages from his younger life. Curt is modeled after Lucas's personality during USC, while Milner is based on Lucas's teenaged street-racing and junior-college years, and hot rod enthusiasts he had known from the Kustom Kulture in Modesto. Toad represents Lucas's nerd years as a freshman in high school, specifically his "bad luck" with dating. [6] The filmmaker was also inspired by Federico Fellini's I Vitelloni (1953). [7]

After the financial failure of THX 1138, Lucas wanted the film to act as a release for a world-weary audience: [8]

[THX] was about real things that were going on and the problems we're faced with. I realized after making THX that those problems are so real that most of us have to face those things every day, so we're in a constant state of frustration. That just makes us more depressed than we were before. So I made a film where, essentially, we can get rid of some of those frustrations, the feeling that everything seems futile. [8]

United Artists Edit

After Warner Bros. abandoned Lucas's early version of Apocalypse Now (during the post-production of THX 1138), the filmmaker decided to continue developing Another Quiet Night in Modesto, eventually changing its title to American Graffiti. [5] To co-write a 15-page film treatment, Lucas hired Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who also added semiautobiographical material to the story. [9] Lucas and his colleague Gary Kurtz began pitching the American Graffiti treatment to various Hollywood studios and production companies in an attempt to secure the financing needed to expand it into a screenplay, [4] but they were unsuccessful. The potential financiers were concerned that music licensing costs would cause the film to go way over budget. Along with Easy Rider (1969), American Graffiti was one of the first films to eschew a traditional film score and successfully rely instead on synchronizing a series of popular hit songs with individual scenes. [10]

THX 1138 was released in March 1971, [4] and Lucas was offered opportunities to direct Lady Ice, Tommy, or Hair. He turned down those offers, determined to pursue his own projects despite his urgent desire to find another film to direct. [11] [12] During this time, Lucas conceived the idea for a space opera (as yet untitled) which later became the basis for his Star Wars franchise. At the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, THX was chosen for the Directors' Fortnight competition. There, Lucas met David Picker, then president of United Artists, who was intrigued by American Graffiti and Lucas' space opera. Picker decided to give Lucas $10,000 to develop Graffiti as a screenplay. [11]

Lucas planned to spend another five weeks in Europe and hoped that Huyck and Katz would agree to finish the screenplay by the time he returned, but they were about to start on their own film, Messiah of Evil, [9] so Lucas hired Richard Walter, a colleague from the USC School of Cinematic Arts for the job. Walter was flattered, but initially tried to sell Lucas on a different screenplay called Barry and the Persuasions, a story of East Coast teenagers in the late 1950s. Lucas held firm—his was a story about West Coast teenagers in the early 1960s. Walter was paid the $10,000, and he began to expand the Lucas/Huyck/Katz treatment into a screenplay. [11]

Lucas was dismayed when he returned to America in June 1971 and read Walter's script, which was written in the style and tone of an exploitation film, similar to 1967's Hot Rods to Hell. "It was overtly sexual and very fantasy-like, with playing chicken and things that kids didn't really do," Lucas explained. "I wanted something that was more like the way I grew up." [13] Walter's script also had Steve and Laurie going to Nevada to get married without their parents' permission. [7] Walter rewrote the screenplay, but Lucas nevertheless fired him due to their creative differences. [11]

After paying Walter, Lucas had exhausted his development fund from United Artists. He began writing a script, completing his first draft in just three weeks. Drawing upon his large collection of vintage records, Lucas wrote each scene with a particular song in mind as its musical backdrop. [11] The cost of licensing the 75 songs Lucas wanted was one factor in United Artists' ultimate decision to reject the script the studio also felt it was too experimental—"a musical montage with no characters". United Artists also passed on Star Wars, which Lucas shelved for the time being. [12]

Universal Pictures Edit

Lucas spent the rest of 1971 and early 1972 trying to raise financing for the American Graffiti script. [12] During this time, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Columbia Pictures all turned down the opportunity to co-finance and distribute the film. [14] Lucas, Huyck and Katz rewrote the second draft together, which, in addition to Modesto, was also set in Mill Valley and Los Angeles. Lucas also intended to end American Graffiti showing a title card detailing the fate of the characters, including the death of Milner and the disappearance of Toad in Vietnam. Huyck and Katz found the ending depressing and were incredulous that Lucas planned to include only the male characters. Lucas argued that mentioning the girls meant adding another title card, which he felt would prolong the ending. Because of this, Pauline Kael later accused Lucas of chauvinism. [14]

Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz took the script to American International Pictures, who expressed interest, but ultimately believed American Graffiti was not violent or sexual enough for the studio's standards. [15] Lucas and Kurtz eventually found favor at Universal Pictures, who allowed Lucas total artistic control and the right of final cut privilege on the condition that he make American Graffiti on a strict low budget. [12] This forced Lucas to drop the opening scene in which the Blonde Angel, Curt's image of the perfect woman, drives through an empty drive-in cinema in her Ford Thunderbird, her transparency revealing she does not exist. [16]

Universal initially projected a $600,000 budget but added an additional $175,000 once producer Francis Ford Coppola signed on. This would allow the studio to advertise American Graffiti as "from the man who gave you The Godfather (1972)". The proposition also gave Universal first-look deals on Lucas' next two planned projects, Star Wars and Radioland Murders. [15] As he continued to work on the script, Lucas encountered difficulties on the Steve and Laurie storyline. Lucas, Katz, and Huyck worked on the third draft together, specifically on the scenes featuring Steve and Laurie. [17]

Production proceeded with virtually no input or interference from Universal since American Graffiti was a low-budget film, and executive Ned Tanen had only modest expectations of its commercial success. However, Universal did object to the film's title, not knowing what "American Graffiti" meant [17] Lucas was dismayed when some executives assumed he was making an Italian movie about feet. [14] The studio, therefore, submitted a long list of over 60 alternative titles, with their favorite being Another Slow Night in Modesto [17] and Coppola's Rock Around the Block. [14] They pushed hard to get Lucas to adopt any of the titles, but he was displeased with all the alternatives and persuaded Tanen to keep American Graffiti. [17]

Casting Edit

The film's lengthy casting process was overseen by Fred Roos, who worked with producer Francis Ford Coppola on The Godfather. [9] Because American Graffiti's main cast was for younger actors, the casting call and notices went through numerous high-school drama groups and community theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area. [6] Among the actors was Mark Hamill, the future Luke Skywalker in Lucas' Star Wars trilogy. [16]

Over 100 unknown actors auditioned for Curt Henderson before Richard Dreyfuss was cast George Lucas was impressed with Dreyfuss' thoughtful analysis of the role, [6] and as a result, offered the actor his choice of Curt or Terry "The Toad" Fields. [16] Roos, a former casting director on The Andy Griffith Show, suggested Ron Howard for Steve Bolander Howard accepted the role to break out of the mold of his career as a child actor. [6] Howard would later appear in the very similar role of Richie Cunningham on the Happy Days sitcom. [18] Bob Balaban turned down Terry out of fear of becoming typecast, a decision he later regretted. Charles Martin Smith, who, in his first year as a professional actor, had already appeared in two feature films, including 20th Century Fox's The Culpepper Cattle Co. and four TV episodes, was eventually cast in the role. [19]

Although Cindy Williams was cast as Laurie Henderson and enjoyed working with both Lucas and Howard, [20] the actress hoped she would get the part of Debbie Dunham, which ended up going to Candy Clark. [9] Mackenzie Phillips, who portrays Carol, was only 12, and under California law, producer Gary Kurtz had to become her legal guardian for the duration of filming. [16] For Bob Falfa, Roos cast Harrison Ford, who was then concentrating on a carpentry career. Ford agreed to take the role on the condition that he would not have to cut his hair. The character has a flattop in the script, but a compromise was eventually reached whereby Ford wore a Stetson to cover his hair. Producer Coppola encouraged Lucas to cast Wolfman Jack as himself in a cameo appearance. "George Lucas and I went through thousands of Wolfman Jack phone calls that were taped with the public," Jack reflected. "The telephone calls [heard on the broadcasts] in the motion picture and on the soundtrack were actual calls with real people." [17]

Filming Edit

Although American Graffiti is set in 1962 Modesto, Lucas believed the city had changed too much in ten years and initially chose San Rafael as the primary shooting location. [16] Filming began on June 26, 1972. However, Lucas soon became frustrated at the time it was taking to fix camera mounts to the cars. [21] A key member of the production had also been arrested for growing marijuana, [14] and in addition to already running behind the shooting schedule, the San Rafael City Council immediately became concerned about the disruption that filming caused for local businesses, so withdrew permission to shoot beyond a second day. [21]

Petaluma, a similarly small town about 20 miles (32 km) north of San Rafael, was more cooperative, and American Graffiti moved there without the loss of a single day of shooting. Lucas convinced the San Rafael City Council to allow two further nights of filming for general cruising shots, which he used to evoke as much of the intended location as possible in the finished film. Shooting in Petaluma began June 28 and proceeded at a quick pace. [21] Lucas mimicked the filmmaking style of B-movie producer Sam Katzman (Rock Around the Clock and Your Cheatin' Heart) in attempting to save money and authenticated low-budget filming methods. [16]

In addition to Petaluma, other locations included Mel's Drive-In in San Francisco, Sonoma, Richmond, Novato, and the Buchanan Field Airport in Concord. [22] The freshman hop dance was filmed in the Gus Gymnasium, previously known as the Boys Gym, at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. [23]

More problems ensued during filming Paul Le Mat was sent to the hospital after an allergic reaction to walnuts. Le Mat, Harrison Ford, and Bo Hopkins were claimed to be drunk most nights and every weekend, and had conducted climbing competitions to the top of the local Holiday Inn sign. [24] One actor set fire to Lucas' motel room. Another night, Le Mat threw Richard Dreyfuss into a swimming pool, gashing Dreyfuss' forehead on the day before he was due to have his close-ups filmed. Dreyfuss also complained over the wardrobe that Lucas had chosen for the character. Ford was kicked out of his motel room at the Holiday Inn. [24] In addition, two camera operators were nearly killed when filming the climactic race scene on Frates Road outside Petaluma. [25] Principal photography ended August 4, 1972. [22]

The final scenes in the film, shot at Buchanan Field, feature a Douglas DC-7C airliner of Magic Carpet Airlines, which had previously been leased from owner Club America Incorporated by the rock band Grand Funk Railroad from March 1971 to June 1971. [23] [26] [27]

Cinematography Edit

Lucas considered covering duties as the sole cinematographer, but dropped the idea. [16] Instead, he elected to shoot American Graffiti using two cinematographers (as he had done in THX 1138) and no formal director of photography. Two cameras were used simultaneously in scenes involving conversations between actors in different cars, which resulted in significant production time savings. [21] After CinemaScope proved to be too expensive, [16] Lucas decided American Graffiti should have a documentary-like feel, so he shot the film using Techniscope cameras. He believed that Techniscope, an inexpensive way of shooting on 35 mm film and using only half of the film's frame, would give a perfect widescreen format resembling 16 mm. Adding to the documentary feel was Lucas's openness for the cast to improvise scenes. He also used goofs for the final cut, notably Charles Martin Smith's arriving on his scooter to meet Steve outside Mel's Drive-In. [28] Jan D'Alquen and Ron Eveslage were hired as the cinematographers, but filming with Techniscope cameras brought lighting problems. As a result, Lucas commissioned help from friend Haskell Wexler, who was credited as the "visual consultant". [21]

Editing Edit

Lucas had wanted his wife, Marcia, to edit American Graffiti, but Universal executive Ned Tanen insisted on hiring Verna Fields, who had just finished editing Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express. [29] Fields worked on the first rough cut of the film before she left to resume work on What's Up, Doc? After Fields' departure, Lucas struggled with editing the film's story structure. He had originally written the script so that the four (Curt, Steve, John, and Toad) storylines were always presented in the same sequence (an "ABCD" plot structure). The first cut of American Graffiti was three and a half hours long, and to whittle the film down to a more manageable two hours, many scenes had to be cut, shortened, or combined. As a result, the film's structure became increasingly loose and no longer adhered to Lucas's original "ABCD" presentation. [28] Lucas completed his final cut of American Graffiti, which ran 112 minutes, in December 1972. [30] Walter Murch assisted Lucas in post-production for audio mixing and sound design purposes. [28] Murch suggested making Wolfman Jack's radio show the "backbone" of the film. "The Wolfman was an ethereal presence in the lives of young people," said producer Gary Kurtz, "and it was that quality we wanted and obtained in the picture." [31]

The choice of music was crucial to the mood of each scene—it is diegetic music that the characters themselves can hear and therefore becomes an integral part of the action. [32] George Lucas had to be realistic about the complexities of copyright clearances, though, and suggested a number of alternative tracks. Universal wanted Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz to hire an orchestra for sound-alikes. The studio eventually proposed a flat deal that offered every music publisher the same amount of money. This was acceptable to most of the companies representing Lucas' first choices, but not to RCA—with the consequence that Elvis Presley is conspicuously absent from the soundtrack. [12] Clearing the music licensing rights had cost approximately $90,000, [31] and as a result, no money was left for a traditional film score. "I used the absence of music, and sound effects, to create the drama," Lucas later explained. [30]

A soundtrack album for the film, 41 Original Hits from the Soundtrack of American Graffiti, was issued by MCA Records. The album contains all the songs used in the film (with the exception of "Gee" by the Crows, which was subsequently included on a second soundtrack album), presented in the order in which they appeared in the film.

Release Edit

Despite unanimous praise at a January 1973 test screening attended by Universal executive Ned Tanen, the studio told Lucas they wanted to re-edit his original cut of American Graffiti. [30] Producer Coppola sided with Lucas against Tanen and Universal, offering to "buy the film" from the studio and reimburse it for the $775,000 (equivalent to $4.8 million in 2020) [33] it had cost to make it. [22] 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures made similar offers to the studio. [5] Universal refused these offers and told Lucas they planned to have William Hornbeck re-edit the film. [34]

When Coppola's The Godfather won the Academy Award for Best Picture in March 1973, Universal relented and agreed to cut only three scenes (about four minutes) from Lucas' cut—an encounter between Toad and a fast-talking car salesman, an argument between Steve and his former teacher Mr. Kroot at the sock hop, and an effort by Bob Falfa to serenade Laurie with "Some Enchanted Evening"—but decided that the film was fit for release only as a television movie. [22]

However, various studio employees who had seen the film began talking it up, and its reputation grew through word of mouth. [22] The studio dropped the TV movie idea and began arranging for a limited release in selected theaters in Los Angeles and New York. [10] Universal presidents Sidney Sheinberg and Lew Wasserman heard about the praise the film had been garnering in LA and New York, and the marketing department amped up its promotion strategy for it, [10] investing an additional $500,000 (equivalent to $2.9 million in 2020) [33] in marketing and promotion. [5] The film was released in the United States on August 11, 1973 [1] to sleeper hit reception. [35] The film had cost only $1.27 million (equivalent to $7.9 million in 2020) [33] to produce and market, but yielded worldwide box office gross revenues of more than $55 million (equivalent to $321 million in 2020). [33] [36] It had only modest success outside the United States, but became a cult film in France. [34]

Universal reissued Graffiti on May 26, 1978 with Dolby sound [37] [38] and earned an additional $63 million (equivalent to $250 million in 2020), [33] which brought the total revenue for the two releases to $118 million (equivalent to $468 million in 2020). [5] [33] The reissue included stereophonic sound [36] and the additional four minutes the studio had removed from Lucas' original cut. All home video releases also included these scenes. [22] Also, the date of John Milner's death was changed from June 1964 to December 1964 to fit the narrative structure of the upcoming sequel, More American Graffiti. At the end of its theatrical run, American Graffiti had one of the greatest profit-to-cost ratios of a motion picture ever. [5]

Producer Francis Ford Coppola regretted having not financed the film himself. Lucas recalled, "He would have made $30 million (equivalent to $175 million in 2020) [33] on the deal. He never got over it and he still kicks himself." [34] It was the 13th-highest-grossing film of all time in 1977 [35] and, adjusted for inflation, is currently the 43rd highest. [39] By the 1990s, American Graffiti had earned more than $200 million (equivalent to $396 million in 2020) [33] in box-office gross and home video sales. [5] In December 1997, Variety reported that the film had earned an additional $55.13 million in rental revenue (equivalent to $89 million in 2020). [33] [40]

Universal Studios first released the film on DVD in September 1998, [41] and once more as a double feature with More American Graffiti (1979) in January 2004. [42] Aside from the four minutes originally deleted from Lucas' original cut retained, the only major change in the DVD version is the main title sequence, particularly the sky background to Mel's Drive-In, which was redone by ILM. Universal released the film on Blu-ray with a new digitally remastered picture supervised by George Lucas on May 31, 2011. [43] [44]

Critical reception Edit

American Graffiti received widespread critical acclaim. Based on 52 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of the critics enjoyed the film with an average score of 8.51/10. The consensus reads: "One of the most influential of all teen films, American Graffiti is a funny, nostalgic, and bittersweet look at a group of recent high school grads' last days of innocence". [45] Metacritic calculated a score of 97 out of 100, indicating “Universal Acclaim”. Roger Ebert gave the film a full four stars and praised it for being "not only a great movie, but a brilliant work of historical fiction no sociological treatise could duplicate the movie's success in remembering exactly how it was to be alive at that cultural instant". [46] Gene Siskel awarded three-and-a-half stars out of four, writing that although the film suffered from an "overkill" of nostalgia, particularly with regards to a soundtrack so overstuffed that it amounted to "one of those golden-oldie TV blurbs," it was still "well-made, does achieve moments of genuine emotion, and does provide a sock (hop) full of memories." [47]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "American Graffiti is such a funny, accurate movie, so controlled and efficient in its narrative, that it stands to be overpraised to the point where seeing it will be an anticlimax." [48] A.D. Murphy from Variety felt American Graffiti was a vivid "recall of teenage attitudes and morals, told with outstanding empathy and compassion through an exceptionally talented cast of unknown actors". [49] Charles Champlin of The New York Times called it a "masterfully executed and profoundly affecting movie." [50] Jay Cocks of Time magazine wrote that American Graffiti "reveals a new and welcome depth of feeling. Few films have shown quite so well the eagerness, the sadness, the ambitions and small defeats of a generation of young Americans." [51] Pauline Kael of The New Yorker was less enthused, writing that the film "fails to be anything more than a warm, nice, draggy comedy, because there's nothing to back up the style. The images aren't as visually striking as they would be if only there were a mind behind them the movie has no resonance except from the jukebox sound and the eerie, nocturnal jukebox look." She also noted with disdain that the epilogue did not bother to mention the fates of any of the women characters. [52] Dave Kehr, writing in the Chicago Reader, called the film a brilliant work of popular art that redefined nostalgia as a marketable commodity, while establishing a new narrative style. [53]

Themes Edit

American Graffiti depicts multiple characters going through a coming of age, such as the decisions to attend college or reside in a small town. [9] The 1962 setting represents nearing an end of an era in American society and pop culture. The early 1960s musical backdrop also links between the early years of rock 'n' roll in the mid- to late 1950s (i.e., Bill Haley & His Comets, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly), and mid-1960s, beginning with the January 1964 arrival of The Beatles and the following British Invasion, which Don McLean's "American Pie" and the early 1970s revival of 1950s acts and oldies paralleled during the conception and filming.

The setting is two months before the Cuban Missile Crisis, and before the outbreak of the Vietnam War and the John F. Kennedy assassination [9] and before the peak years of the counterculture movement. American Graffiti evokes mankind's relationship with machines, notably the elaborate number of hot rods—having been called a "classic-car flick", representative of the motor car's importance to American culture at the time it was made. [54] Another theme is teenagers' obsession with radio, especially with the inclusion of Wolfman Jack and his mysterious and mythological faceless (to most) voice.

Accolades Edit

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Internet reviewer MaryAnn Johanson acknowledged that American Graffiti rekindled public and entertainment interest in the 1950s and early 1960s, and influenced other films such as The Lords of Flatbush (1974) and Cooley High (1975) and the TV series Happy Days. [62] Alongside other films from the New Hollywood era, American Graffiti is often cited for helping give birth to the summer blockbuster. [63] The film's box-office success made George Lucas an instant millionaire. He gave an amount of the film's profits to Haskell Wexler for his visual consulting help during filming, and to Wolfman Jack for "inspiration". Lucas's net worth was now $4 million, and he set aside a $300,000 independent fund for his long-cherished space opera project, which would eventually become the basis for Star Wars (1977). [22]

The financial success of Graffiti also gave Lucas opportunities to establish more elaborate development for Lucasfilm, Skywalker Sound, and Industrial Light & Magic. [36] Based on the success of the 1978 reissue, Universal began production for the sequel More American Graffiti (1979). [5] Lucas and writers Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz later collaborated on Radioland Murders (1994), also released by Universal Pictures, for which Lucas acted as executive producer. The film features characters intended to be Curt and Laurie Henderson's parents, Roger and Penny Henderson. [36] In 1995, American Graffiti was deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. [64] In 1997 the city of Modesto, California, honored Lucas with a statue dedication of American Graffiti at George Lucas Plaza. [4]

Director David Fincher credited American Graffiti as a visual influence for Fight Club (1999). [65] Lucas's Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) features references to the film. The yellow airspeeder that Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi use to pursue bounty hunter Zam Wesell is based on John Milner's yellow deuce coupe, [66] while Dex's Diner is reminiscent of Mel's Drive-In. [67] Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman conducted the "rear axle" experiment on the January 11, 2004, episode of MythBusters. [68]

Given the popularity of the film's cars with customizers and hot rodders in the years since its release, their fate immediately after the film is ironic. All were offered for sale in San Francisco newspaper ads only the '58 Impala (driven by Ron Howard) attracted a buyer, selling for only a few hundred dollars. The yellow Deuce and the white T-bird went unsold, despite being priced as low as $3,000. [69] The registration plate on Milner's yellow deuce coupe is THX 138 on a yellow, California license plate, slightly altered, reflecting Lucas's earlier science-fiction film.


Motives Edit

The hostage-takers were members of the Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan (DRFLA), Iranian Arabs protesting for the establishment of an autonomous Arab state in the southern region of the Iranian province of Khūzestān [1] which is home to an Arabic-speaking minority. The oil-rich area had become the source of much of Iran's wealth, having been developed by multi-national companies during the reign of the Shah. [1]

According to Oan Ali Mohammed, [note 1] suppression of the Arab sovereignty movement was the spark that led to his desire to attack the Iranian Embassy in London. The plan was inspired by the Iran hostage crisis in which supporters of the revolution held the staff of the American embassy in Tehran hostage. [3] [1] [4]

Arrival in London Edit

Using Iraqi passports, Oan and three other members of the DRFLA arrived in London on 31 March 1980 and rented a flat in Earl's Court, West London. They claimed they had met by chance on the flight. Over the following days, the group swelled, with up to a dozen men in the flat on one occasion. [5]

Oan was 27 and from Khūzestān he had studied at the University of Tehran, where he became politically active. He had been imprisoned by SAVAK, the Shah's secret police, and bore scars which he said were from torture in SAVAK custody. The other members of his group were Shakir Abdullah Radhil, known as "Faisal", Oan's second-in-command who also claimed to have been tortured by SAVAK Shakir Sultan Said, or "Hassan" Themir Moammed Hussein, or Abbas Fowzi Badavi Nejad, or "Ali" and Makki Hanoun Ali, the youngest of the group, who went by the name of "Makki". [6] [7]

On 30 April the men informed their landlord that they were going to Bristol for a week and then returning to Iraq, stated that they would no longer require the flat, and arranged for their belongings to be sent to Iraq. They left the building at 09:30 (BST) on 30 April. [8] Their initial destination is unknown, but en route to the Iranian Embassy they collected firearms (including pistols and submachine guns), ammunition and hand grenades. The weapons, predominantly Soviet-made, are believed to have been smuggled into the United Kingdom in a diplomatic bag belonging to Iraq. [9] Shortly before 11:30, and almost two hours after vacating the nearby flat in Lexham Gardens in South Kensington, the six men arrived outside the embassy. [8]

According to a 2014 academic study into the Iran–Iraq War (which broke out later in 1980), the attackers were "recruited and trained" by the Iraqi government as part of a campaign of subversion against Iran, which included sponsorship of several separatist movements. [10]

Special Air Service Edit

The Special Air Service (SAS) is a regiment of the British Army and part of the United Kingdom's special forces, originally formed in the Second World War to conduct irregular warfare. [11] Western European governments were prompted to form specialist police and military counter-terrorist units following the Munich massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games, during which a police operation to end a hostage crisis ended in chaos. In the resulting firefight, a police officer, most of the hostage-takers, and all of the hostages were killed. In response, West Germany created GSG 9, which was quickly followed by the French GIGN. Following these examples, the British government—worried that the country was unprepared for a similar crisis in the United Kingdom—ordered the formation of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) Wing of the SAS. This became the UK's primary anti-terrorist and anti-hijacking unit. The SAS had taken part in counter-insurgency operations abroad since 1945, and had trained the bodyguards of influential people whose deaths would be contrary to British interests. Thus, it was believed to be better prepared for the role than any unit in the police or elsewhere in the armed forces. The CRW Wing's first operational experience was the storming of Lufthansa Flight 181 in 1977, when a small detachment of soldiers were sent to assist GSG 9, the elite West German police unit set up after the events of 1972. [12] [13] [14]

Day one: 30 April Edit

At approximately 11:30 on Wednesday 30 April the six heavily armed members of DRFLA stormed the Iranian Embassy building on Princes Gate, South Kensington. The gunmen quickly overpowered Police Constable Trevor Lock of the Metropolitan Police's Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG). Lock was carrying a concealed Smith & Wesson .38-calibre revolver, [15] but was unable to draw it before he was overpowered, although he did manage to press the "panic button" on his radio. Lock was later frisked, but the gunman conducting the search did not find the constable's weapon. He remained in possession of the revolver, and to keep it concealed he refused to remove his coat, which he told the gunmen was to "preserve his image" as a police officer. [16] The officer also refused offers of food throughout the siege for fear that the weapon would be seen if he had to use the toilet and a gunman decided to escort him. [17]

Although the majority of the people in the embassy were captured, three managed to escape two by climbing out of a ground-floor window and the third by climbing across a first-floor parapet to the Ethiopian Embassy next door. A fourth person, Gholam-Ali Afrouz, the chargé d'affaires and thus most senior Iranian official present, briefly escaped by jumping out of a first-floor window, but was injured in the process and quickly captured. Afrouz and the 25 other hostages were all taken to a room on the second floor. [18] The majority of the hostages were embassy staff, predominantly Iranian nationals, but several British employees were also captured. The other hostages were all visitors, with the exception of Lock, the British police officer guarding the embassy. Afrouz had been appointed to the position less than a year before, his predecessor having been dismissed after the revolution. Abbas Fallahi, who had been a butler before the revolution, was appointed the doorman by Afrouz. One of the British members of staff was Ron Morris, from Battersea, who had worked for the embassy in various positions since 1947. [19]

During the course of the siege, police and journalists established the identities of several other hostages. Mustapha Karkouti was a journalist covering the crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran and was at the embassy for an interview with Abdul Fazi Ezzati, the cultural attaché. [20] Muhammad Hashir Faruqi was another journalist, at the embassy to interview Afrouz for an article on the Iranian Revolution. Simeon "Sim" Harris and Chris Cramer, both employees of the BBC, were at the embassy attempting to obtain visas to visit Iran, hoping to cover the aftermath of the 1979 revolution, after several unsuccessful attempts. They found themselves sitting next to Moutaba Mehrnavard, who was there to consult Ahmad Dadgar, the embassy's medical adviser, and Ali Asghar Tabatabai, who was collecting a map for use in a presentation he had been asked to give at the end of a course he had been attending. [21]

Hostage Occupation Fate [2]
Gholam-Ali Afrouz Embassy Chargé d'affaires wounded during assault
Shirazeh Bouroumand Embassy secretary
Chris Cramer BBC sound organiser released prior to assault
Ahmad Dadgar Medical adviser wounded during assault
Abdul Fazi Ezzati Iranian cultural attaché
Abbas Fallahi Embassy doorman
Muhammad Hashir Faruqi British-Pakistani editor of Impact International
Ali Guil Ghanzafar Pakistani tourist released prior to assault
Simeon Harris BBC sound recordist
Nooshin Hashemenian Embassy secretary
Roya Kaghachi Secretary to Dr. Afrouz
Hiyech Sanei Kanji Embassy secretary released prior to assault
Mustapha Karkouti Syrian journalist released prior to assault
Vahid Khabaz Iranian student
Abbas Lavasani Chief Press Officer killed prior to assault
Trevor Lock Metropolitan Police Constable, Diplomatic Protection Group
Moutaba Mehrnavard Carpet dealer
Aboutaleb Jishverdi-Moghaddam Iranian attaché
Muhammad Moheb Embassy accountant
Ronald Morris Embassy manager and chauffeur
Frieda Mozafarian Press officer released prior to assault
Issa Naghizadeh First Secretary
Ali Akbar Samadzadeh Temporary employee at embassy killed during assault by hostage taker
Ali Asghar Tabatabai Banker
Kaujouri Muhammad Taghi Accountant
Zahra Zomorrodian Embassy clerk

Police arrived at the embassy almost immediately after the first reports of gunfire, and, within ten minutes, seven DPG officers were on the scene. The officers moved to surround the embassy, but retreated when a gunman appeared at a window and threatened to open fire. Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Dellow arrived nearly 30 minutes later and took command of the operation. [22] Dellow established a temporary headquarters in his car before moving it to the Royal School of Needlework further down Princes Gate and then to 24 Princes Gate, a nursery school. [23] From his various command posts, Dellow coordinated the police response, including the deployment of D11, the Metropolitan Police's marksmen, [note 2] and officers with specialist surveillance equipment. Police negotiators made contact with Oan via a field telephone passed through one of the embassy windows, and were assisted by a negotiator and a psychiatrist. At 15:15 Oan issued the DRFLA's first demand, the release of 91 Arabs held in prisons in Khūzestān, and threatened to blow up the embassy and the hostages if this were not done by noon on 1 May. [25] [26]

Large numbers of journalists were on the scene quickly and were moved into a holding area to the west of the front of the embassy, [27] while dozens of Iranian protesters also arrived near the embassy and remained there throughout the siege. [28] A separate police command post was established to contain the protests, which descended into violent confrontations with the police on several occasions. [29] Shortly after the beginning of the crisis, the British government's emergency committee COBRA, [note 3] was assembled. COBRA is made up of ministers, civil servants and expert advisers, including representatives from the police and the armed forces. The meeting was chaired by William Whitelaw, the Home Secretary, as Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister, was unavailable. The Iranian government accused the British and American governments of sponsoring the attack as revenge for the ongoing siege of the US Embassy in Tehran. Given the lack of co-operation from Iran, Thatcher, kept apprised of the situation by Whitelaw, determined that British law would be applied to the embassy. At 16:30, the gunmen released their first hostage, Frieda Mozaffarian. She had been unwell since the siege began, and Oan had asked for a doctor to be sent into the embassy to treat her, but the police refused. The other hostages deceived Oan into believing that Mozaffarian was pregnant, and Oan eventually released Mozaffarian after her condition deteriorated. [26]

Day two: 1 May Edit

The COBRA meetings continued through the night and into Thursday. Meanwhile, two teams were dispatched from the headquarters of the Special Air Service (SAS) near Hereford, and arrived at a holding area in Regent's Park Barracks. The teams, from B Squadron, complemented by specialists from other squadrons, were equipped with CS gas, stun grenades, and explosives and armed with Browning Hi-Power pistols and Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns. [note 4] [32] Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Rose, commander of 22 SAS had travelled ahead of the detachment and introduced himself to Dellow, the commander of the police operation. At approximately 03:30 on 1 May, one of the SAS teams moved into the building next door to the embassy, normally occupied by the Royal College of General Practitioners, where they were briefed on Rose's "immediate action" plan, to be implemented should the SAS be required to storm the building before a more sophisticated plan could be formed. [33] [34]

Early in the morning of 1 May, the gunmen ordered one of the hostages to telephone the BBC's news desk. During the call, Oan took the receiver and spoke directly to the BBC journalist. He identified the group to which the gunmen belonged and stated that the non-Iranian hostages would not be harmed, but refused to allow the journalist to speak to any other hostages. [35] At some point during the day, the police disabled the embassy's telephone lines, leaving the hostage-takers just the field telephone for outside communication. [36] As the hostages woke up, Chris Cramer, a sound organiser for the BBC, appeared to become seriously ill. He and three other non-Arab hostages had decided one of them must get out, and to do this, he had convincingly exaggerated the symptoms of an existing illness. [37] His colleague, Sim Harris, was taken to the field telephone to negotiate for a doctor. The police negotiator refused the request, instead telling Harris to persuade Oan to release Cramer. The ensuing negotiations between Harris, Oan, and the police took up most of the morning, and Cramer was eventually released at 11:15. He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, accompanied by police officers sent to gather information from him. [38]

As the deadline of noon approached, set the previous day for the release of the Arab prisoners, the police became convinced that the gunmen did not have the capability to carry out their threat of blowing up the embassy, and persuaded Oan to agree to a new deadline of 14:00. The police allowed the deadline to pass, to no immediate response from the gunmen. During the afternoon, Oan altered his demands, requesting that the British media broadcast a statement of the group's grievances and for ambassadors of three Arab countries to negotiate the group's safe passage out of the UK once the statement had been broadcast. [36]

At approximately 20:00, Oan became agitated by noises coming from the Ethiopian Embassy next door. The noise came from technicians who were drilling holes in the wall to implant listening devices, but PC Trevor Lock, when asked to identify the sound, attributed it to mice. [39] COBRA decided to create ambient noise to cover the sound created by the technicians and instructed British Gas to commence drilling in an adjacent road, supposedly to repair a gas main. The drilling was aborted after it agitated the gunmen, and instead British Airports Authority, owner of London Heathrow Airport, was told to instruct approaching aircraft to fly over the embassy at low altitude. [34] [36]

Day three: 2 May Edit

At 09:30 on 2 May, Oan appeared at the first-floor window of the embassy to demand access to the telex system, which the police had disabled along with the telephone lines, and threatened to kill Abdul Fazi Ezzati, the cultural attaché. The police refused and Oan pushed Ezzati, who he had been holding at gunpoint at the window, across the room, before demanding to speak to somebody from the BBC who knew Sim Harris. The police, relieved to have a demand to which they could easily agree, produced Tony Crabb, managing director of BBC Television News and Harris's boss. Oan shouted his demands for safe passage out of the UK, to be negotiated by three ambassadors from Arab countries, to Crabb from the first-floor window, and instructed that they should be broadcast along with a statement of the hostage-takers' aims by the BBC. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office informally approached the embassies of Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria and Qatar to ask if their ambassadors would be willing to talk to the hostage-takers. The Jordanian ambassador immediately refused and the other five said they would consult their governments. [40] The BBC broadcast the statement that evening, but in a form unsatisfactory to Oan, who considered it to be truncated and incorrect. [41] [42]

Meanwhile, the police located the embassy caretaker and took him to their forward headquarters to brief the SAS and senior police officers. He informed them that the embassy's front door was reinforced by a steel security door, and that the windows on the ground floor and first floor were fitted with armoured glass, the result of recommendations made after the SAS had been asked to review security arrangements for the embassy several years earlier. Plans for entering the embassy by battering the front door and ground-floor windows were quickly scrapped and work began on other ideas. [43]

Day four: 3 May Edit

Oan, angered by the BBC's incorrect reporting of his demands the previous evening, contacted the police negotiators shortly after 06:00 and accused the authorities of deceiving him. He demanded to speak with an Arab ambassador, but the negotiator on duty claimed that talks were still being arranged by the Foreign Office. Recognising the delaying tactic, Oan told the negotiator that the British hostages would be the last to be released because of the British authorities' deceit. He added that a hostage would be killed unless Tony Crabb was brought back to the embassy. Crabb did not arrive at the embassy until 15:30, nearly ten hours after Oan demanded his presence, to the frustration of both Oan and Sim Harris. Oan then relayed another statement to Crabb via Mustapha Karkouti, a journalist also being held hostage in the embassy. The police guaranteed that the statement would be broadcast on the BBC's next news bulletin, in exchange for the release of two hostages. The hostages decided amongst themselves that the two to be released would be Hiyech Kanji and Ali-Guil Ghanzafar the former as she was pregnant and the latter for no other reason than his loud snoring, which kept the other hostages awake at night and irritated the terrorists. [44] [45]

Later in the evening, at approximately 23:00, an SAS team reconnoitred the roof of the embassy. They discovered a skylight, and succeeded in unlocking it for potential use as an access point, should they later be required to storm the building. They also attached ropes to the chimneys to allow soldiers to abseil down the building and gain access through the windows if necessary. [46]

Day five: 4 May Edit

During the day, the Foreign Office held further talks with diplomats from Arabian countries in the hope of persuading them to go to the embassy and talk to the hostage-takers. The talks, hosted by Douglas Hurd, ended in stalemate. The diplomats insisted they must be able to offer safe passage out of the UK for the gunmen, believing this to be the only way to guarantee a peaceful outcome, but the British government was adamant that safe passage would not be considered under any circumstances. [47] Karkhouti, through whom Oan had issued his revised demands the previous day, became increasingly ill throughout the day and by the evening was feverish, which led to suggestions that the police had spiked the food that had been sent into the embassy. John Dellow, the commander of the police operation, had apparently considered the idea and even consulted a doctor about its viability, but eventually dismissed it as "impracticable". [48]

The SAS officers involved in the operation, including Brigadier Peter de la Billière, Director SAS, Lieutenant-Colonel Rose, Commander of 22 SAS, and Major Hector Gullan, commander of the team that would undertake any raid, spent the day refining their plans for an assault. [48]

Day six: 5 May Edit

Oan woke Lock at dawn, convinced that an intruder was in the embassy. Lock was sent to investigate, but no intruder was found. Later in the morning, Oan called Lock to examine a bulge in the wall separating the Iranian embassy from the Ethiopian embassy next door. The bulge had, in fact, been caused by the removal of bricks to allow an assault team to break through the wall and to implant listening devices, resulting in a weakening of the wall. Although Lock assured him that he did not believe the police were about to storm the building, Oan remained convinced that they were "up to something" and moved the male hostages from the room in which they had spent the last four days to another down the hall. [49] Tensions rose throughout the morning and, at 13:00, Oan told the police that he would kill a hostage unless he was able to speak to an Arab ambassador within 45 minutes. At 13:40, Lock informed the negotiator that the gunmen had taken Abbas Lavasani, the embassy's chief press officer, downstairs and were preparing to execute him. Lavasani, a strong supporter of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, had repeatedly provoked his captors during the siege. According to Lock, Lavasani stated that "if they were going to kill a hostage, [Lavasani] wanted it to be him." [50] At exactly 13:45, 45 minutes after Oan's demand to speak to an ambassador, three shots were heard from inside the embassy. [51]

Whitelaw, who had been chairing COBRA during the siege, was rushed back to Whitehall from a function he had been attending in Slough, roughly 20 miles (30 km) away, arriving 19 minutes after the shots had been reported. He was briefed on the SAS plan by de la Billière, who told him to expect that up to 40 percent of the hostages would be killed in an assault. After deliberations, Whitelaw instructed the SAS to prepare to assault the building at short notice, an order that was received by Lieutenant-Colonel Rose at 15:50. By 17:00, the SAS were in a position to assault the embassy at ten minutes' notice. The police negotiators recruited the imam from Regent's Park Mosque at 18:20, fearing that a "crisis point" had been reached, and asked him to talk to the gunmen. Three further shots were fired during the course of the imam's conversation with Oan. Oan announced that a hostage had been killed, and the rest would die in 30 minutes unless his demands were met. A few minutes later, Lavasani's body was dumped out of the front door. Upon a preliminary examination, conducted at the scene, a forensic pathologist estimated that Lavasani had been dead for at least an hour, meaning he could not have been killed by the three most recent shots, and leading the police to believe that two hostages had been killed. In fact, only Lavasani had been shot. [52]

After Lavasani's body had been recovered, Sir David McNee, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, contacted the Home Secretary to request approval to hand control of the operation over to the British Army, under the provisions of Military Aid to the Civil Power. [53] Whitelaw relayed the request to Thatcher, and the prime minister agreed immediately. Thus John Dellow, the ranking police officer at the embassy, signed over control of the operation to Lieutenant-Colonel Rose at 19:07, authorising Rose to order an assault at his discretion. The signed note is now on display at New Scotland Yard's Crime Museum. [54] Meanwhile, the police negotiators began stalling Oan. They offered concessions in order to distract him and prevent him killing further hostages, buying time for the SAS to make its final preparations for the now-inevitable assault. [55] [56]

The two SAS teams on-scene, Red Team and Blue Team, were ordered to begin their simultaneous assaults, under the codename Operation Nimrod, at 19:23. One group of four men from Red Team abseiled from the roof down the rear of the building, while another four-man team lowered a stun grenade through the skylight. The detonation of the stun grenade was supposed to coincide with the abseiling teams detonating explosives to gain entry to the building through the second-floor windows. Their descent had not gone according to plan and WO1 Goodyear leading the abseilers became entangled in his rope. While trying to assist him, one of the other soldiers had accidentally smashed a window with his foot. The noise of the breaking window alerted Oan, who was on the first floor communicating with the police negotiators, and he went to investigate. The soldiers were unable to use explosives for fear of injuring their stranded staff sergeant, but managed to smash their way into the embassy. [57] [58]

After the first three soldiers & WO1 Goodyear entered, a fire started and travelled up the curtains and out of the second-floor window, severely burning the staff sergeant. A second wave of abseilers cut him free, and he fell to the balcony below before entering the embassy behind the rest of his team. Slightly behind Red Team, Blue Team detonated explosives on a first-floor window forcing Sim Harris, who had just run into the room, to take cover. [59] Much of the operation at the front of the embassy took place in full view of the assembled journalists and was broadcast on live television, thus Harris's escape across the parapet of a first-floor balcony was famously captured on video. [60]

As the soldiers emerged onto the first-floor landing, Lock tackled Oan to prevent him attacking the SAS operatives. Oan, still armed, was subsequently shot dead by one of the soldiers. Meanwhile, further teams entered the embassy through the back door and cleared the ground floor and cellar. [61] During the raid, the gunmen holding the male hostages opened fire on their captives, killing Ali Akbar Samadzadeh and wounding two others. The SAS began evacuating hostages, taking them down the stairs towards the back door of the embassy. Two of the terrorists were hiding amongst the hostages one of them produced a hand grenade when he was identified. An SAS soldier, who was unable to shoot for fear of hitting a hostage or another soldier, pushed the grenade-wielding terrorist to the bottom of the stairs, where two other soldiers shot him dead. [58] [62]

The raid lasted seventeen minutes and involved 30 to 35 soldiers. The terrorists killed one hostage and seriously wounded two others during the raid while the SAS killed all but one of the terrorists. The rescued hostages and the remaining terrorist, who was still concealed amongst them, were taken into the embassy's back garden and restrained on the ground while they were identified. The last terrorist was identified by Sim Harris and led away by the SAS. [62] [63]

After the end of the siege, PC Trevor Lock was widely considered a hero. He was awarded the George Medal, the United Kingdom's second-highest civil honour, for his conduct during the siege and for tackling Oan during the SAS raid, the only time during the siege that he drew his concealed side arm. In addition, he was honoured with the Freedom of the City of London and in a motion in the House of Commons. [64] [65] [66] Police historian Michael J. Waldren, referring to the television series Dixon of Dock Green, suggested that Lock's restraint in the use of his revolver was "a defining example of the power of the Dixon image", [67] and academic Maurice Punch noted the contrast between Lock's actions and the highly aggressive tactics of the SAS. [68] Another academic, Steven Moysey, commented on the difference in outcomes between the Iranian Embassy siege and the 1975 Balcombe Street siege, in which the police negotiated the surrender of four Provisional Irish Republican Army members without military involvement. [69] Nonetheless, the siege led to calls for increasing the firepower of the police to enable them to prevent and deal with similar incidents in the future, and an official report recommended that specialist police firearms units, such as the Metropolitan Police's D11, be better resourced and equipped. [70]

Warrant Officer Class 1 Tommy Goodyear was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for his part in the assault, in which he shot dead a terrorist who was apparently about to throw a grenade amongst the hostages. [71] After the operation concluded, the staff sergeant who was caught in his abseil rope was treated at St Stephen's Hospital in Fulham. He suffered serious burns to his legs, but went on to make a full recovery. [72]

The Iranian government welcomed the end of the siege, and declared that the two hostages killed were martyrs for the Iranian Revolution. [2] They also thanked the British government for "the persevering action of your police force during the unjust hostage-taking event at the Embassy". [3]

After the assault concluded, the police conducted an investigation into the siege and the deaths of the two hostages and five terrorists, including the actions of the SAS. The soldiers' weapons were taken away for examination and, the following day, the soldiers themselves were interviewed at length by the police at the regiment's base in Hereford. [71] There was controversy over the deaths of two terrorists in the telex room, where the male hostages were held. Hostages later said in interviews that they had persuaded their captors to surrender and television footage appeared to show them throwing weapons out of the window and holding a white flag. The two SAS soldiers who killed the men both stated at the inquest into the terrorists' deaths that they believed the men had been reaching for weapons before they were shot. The inquest jury reached the verdict that the soldiers' actions were justifiable homicide (later known as "lawful killing"). [73]

Fowzi Nejad was the only gunman to survive the SAS assault. After being identified, he was dragged away by an SAS trooper, who allegedly intended to take him back into the building and shoot him. The soldier reportedly changed his mind when it was pointed out to him that the raid was being broadcast on live television. [73] It later emerged that the footage from the back of the embassy was coming from a wireless camera placed in the window of a flat overlooking the embassy. The camera had been installed by ITN technicians, who had posed as guests of a local resident in order to get past the police cordon, which had been in place since the beginning of the siege. [74] Nejad was arrested, and was eventually tried, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the siege. [73] [75] He became eligible for parole in 2005.

As a foreign national, he would normally have been immediately deported to his home country but Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, incorporated into British law by the Human Rights Act 1998, has been held by the European Court of Human Rights to prohibit deportation in cases where the person concerned would be likely to be tortured or executed in his home country. [76] [77] [78] Nejad was eventually paroled in 2008 and granted leave to remain in the UK, but was not given political asylum. [78] [79] The Home Office released a statement, saying "We do not give refugee status to convicted terrorists. Our aim is to deport people as quickly as possible but the law requires us to first obtain assurances that the person being returned will not face certain death". [78] After 27 years in prison, Nejad was deemed no longer to be a threat to society, but Trevor Lock wrote to the Home Office to oppose his release. [78] Because it is accepted by the British government that he would be executed or tortured, he cannot be deported to Iran he now lives in south London, having assumed another identity. [80]

Prior to 1980, London had been the scene of several terrorist incidents related to Middle East politics, including the assassination of the former prime minister of the Republic of Yemen, and an attack on a coach containing staff from the Israeli airline El Al. Although there were other isolated incidents relating to Middle Eastern and North African politics in the years following the embassy siege, most prominently the murder of Yvonne Fletcher from inside the Libyan embassy in 1984, historian Jerry White believed the resolution of the siege "effectively marked the end of London's three years as a world theatre for the resolution of Middle Eastern troubles". [81]

The SAS raid, codenamed "Operation Nimrod", was broadcast live at peak time on a bank holiday Monday evening and was viewed by millions of people, mostly in the UK, making it a defining moment in British history. [73] [82] Both the BBC and ITV interrupted their scheduled programming, the BBC interrupting the broadcast of the World Snooker Championship final, to show the end of the siege, [73] [66] [83] which proved to be a major career break for several journalists. Kate Adie, the BBC's duty reporter at the embassy when the SAS assault began, went on to cover Nejad's trial and then to report from war zones across the world and eventually to become chief news correspondent for BBC News, [83] [84] while David Goldsmith and his team, responsible for the hidden camera at the back of the embassy, were awarded a BAFTA for their coverage. [85] The success of the operation, combined with the high-profile it was given by the media, invoked a sense of national pride compared to Victory in Europe Day, the end of the Second World War in Europe. [86] The operation was declared "an almost unqualified success". [87] Margaret Thatcher recalled that she was congratulated wherever she went over the following days, and received messages of support and congratulation from other world leaders. [86] However, the incident strained already-tense relations between the UK and Iran following the Iranian Revolution. The Iranian government declared that the siege of the embassy was planned by the British and American governments, and that the hostages who had been killed were martyrs for the Revolution. [2] [86]

Operation Nimrod brought the SAS, a regiment that had fallen into obscurity after its fame during the Second World War (partly owing to the covert nature of its operations), back into the public eye. [2] [88] [89] [90] The regiment was not pleased with its new high profile, having enjoyed its previous obscurity. Nonetheless, the operation vindicated the SAS, which had been threatened with disbandment and whose use of resources had previously been considered a waste. [2] The regiment was quickly overwhelmed by new applicants. Membership of 22 SAS is open only to individuals currently serving in the Armed Forces (allowing applications from any individual in any service), but the unit also has two regiments from the volunteer Territorial Army (TA): 21 SAS and 23 SAS. Both the TA regiments received hundreds more applications than in previous years, prompting de la Billière to remark that the applicants seemed "convinced that a balaclava helmet and a sub-machine gun would be handed to them over the counter, so that they could go off and conduct embassy-style sieges of their own". [71] [91] Meanwhile, the SAS became a sought-after assignment for career army officers. [82] All three units were forced to introduce additional fitness tests at the start of the application process. [71] The SAS also experienced an increased demand for their expertise in training the forces of friendly countries and those whose collapse was considered not to be in Britain's interest. The government developed a protocol for lending the SAS to foreign governments to assist with hijackings or sieges, and it became fashionable for politicians to be seen associating with the regiment. [82] [86] [88] [92] [93] Despite its new fame, the SAS did not have a high profile during the 1982 Falklands War, partly due to a lack of operations, and next came to the fore during the 1990–1991 Gulf War. [88]

The British government's response to the crisis, and the successful use of force to end it, strengthened the Conservative government of the day and boosted Thatcher's personal credibility. [86] McNee believed that the conclusion of the siege exemplified the British government's policy of refusing to give in to terrorist demands, "nowhere was the effectiveness of this response to terrorism more effectively demonstrated". [94]

The embassy building was severely damaged by fire. It was more than a decade before the British and Iranian governments came to an agreement whereby the United Kingdom would repair the damage to the embassy in London and Iran would pay for repairs to the British embassy in Tehran, which had been damaged during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Iranian diplomats began working from 16 Princes Gate again in December 1993. [3]

The DRFLA was undermined by its links with the Iraqi government after it emerged that Iraq had sponsored the training and equipping of the hostage-takers. The Iran–Iraq War started five months after the end of the siege and continued for eight years. The campaign for autonomy of Khūzestān was largely forgotten in the wake of the hostilities, as was the DRFLA. [3]

As well as multiple factual television documentaries, the dramatic conclusion of the siege inspired a wave of fictional works about the SAS in the form of novels, television programmes, and films. Among them were the 1982 film Who Dares Wins and the 2017 film 6 Days, which was released on Netflix. [95] The siege features in the 2006 video game The Regiment, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, a 2015 tactical shooter video game focusing on counter-terrorism, uses the Iranian Embassy Siege as inspiration. [96] The SAS also feature in the book Rainbow Six, upon which the game series was based. The embassy siege was referenced multiple times in the television drama Ultimate Force (2002–2008), which stars Ross Kemp as the leader of a fictional SAS unit. [97] As well as fictional representations in media, the siege inspired a version of Palitoy's Action Man figure, clad in black and equipped with a gas mask, mimicking the soldiers who stormed the embassy. [88]



The failure of Operation Eagle Claw, the Iran hostage rescue mission, in 1980 demonstrated to the United States military a need [4] [5] for "a new type of aircraft, that could not only take off and land vertically but also could carry combat troops, and do so at speed." [6] The U.S. Department of Defense began the JVX aircraft program in 1981, under U.S. Army leadership. [7]

The defining mission of the USMC has been to perform an amphibious landing the service quickly became interested in the JVX program. Recognizing that a concentrated force was vulnerable to a single nuclear weapon, airborne solutions with good speed and range allowed for rapid dispersal, [8] and their CH-46 Sea Knights were wearing out. [9] Without replacement, the USMC and the Army merging was a lingering threat, [10] [11] akin to President Truman's proposal following World War II. [12] The Office of the Secretary of Defense and Navy administration opposed the tiltrotor project, but congressional pressure proved persuasive. [13]

The Navy and USMC were given the lead in 1983. [7] [14] [15] The JVX combined requirements from the USMC, USAF, Army and Navy. [16] [17] A request for proposals was issued in December 1982 for preliminary design work. Interest was expressed by Aérospatiale, Bell Helicopter, Boeing Vertol, Grumman, Lockheed, and Westland. Contractors were encouraged to form teams. Bell partnered with Boeing Vertol to submit a proposal for an enlarged version of the Bell XV-15 prototype on 17 February 1983. Being the only proposal received, a preliminary design contract was awarded on 26 April 1983. [18] [19]

The JVX aircraft was designated V-22 Osprey on 15 January 1985 by that March, the first six prototypes were being produced, and Boeing Vertol was expanded to handle the workload. [20] [21] Work was split evenly between Bell and Boeing. Bell Helicopter manufactures and integrates the wing, nacelles, rotors, drive system, tail surfaces, and aft ramp, as well as integrates the Rolls-Royce engines and performs final assembly. Boeing Helicopters manufactures and integrates the fuselage, cockpit, avionics, and flight controls. [3] [22] The USMC variant received the MV-22 designation, and the USAF variant received CV-22 this was reversed from normal procedure to prevent USMC Ospreys from having a conflicting CV designation with aircraft carriers. [23] Full-scale development began in 1986. [24] On 3 May 1986, Bell Boeing was awarded a $1.714 billion contract for the V-22 by the U.S. Navy. At this point, all four U.S. military services had acquisition plans for the V-22. [25]

The first V-22 was publicly rolled out in May 1988. [26] [27] That year, the U.S. Army left the program, citing a need to focus its budget on more immediate aviation programs. [7] In 1989, the V-22 survived two separate Senate votes that could have resulted in cancellation. [28] [29] Despite the Senate's decision, the Department of Defense instructed the Navy not to spend more money on the V-22. [30] As development cost projections greatly increased in 1988, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney tried to defund it from 1989 to 1992, but was overruled by Congress, [14] [31] which provided unrequested program funding. [32] Multiple studies of alternatives found the V-22 provided more capability and effectiveness with similar operating costs. [33] The Clinton Administration was supportive of the V-22, helping it attain funding. [14]

Flight testing and design changes

The first of six prototypes first flew on 19 March 1989 in the helicopter mode [34] and on 14 September 1989 in fixed-wing mode. [35] The third and fourth prototypes successfully completed the first sea trials on USS Wasp in December 1990. [36] The fourth and fifth prototypes crashed in 1991–92. [37] From October 1992 – April 1993, the V-22 was redesigned to reduce empty weight, simplify manufacture, and reduce build costs it was designated V-22B. [38] Flights resumed in June 1993 after safety changes were made to the prototypes. [39] Bell Boeing received a contract for the engineering manufacturing development (EMD) phase in June 1994. [38] The prototypes were also modified to resemble the V-22B standard. At this stage, testing focused on flight envelope expansion, measuring flight loads, and supporting the EMD redesign. Flight testing with the early V-22s continued into 1997. [40]

Flight testing of four full-scale development V-22s began at the Naval Air Warfare Test Center, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The first EMD flight took place on 5 February 1997. Testing soon fell behind schedule. [41] The first of four low rate initial production aircraft, ordered on 28 April 1997, was delivered on 27 May 1999. The second sea trials were completed onboard USS Saipan in January 1999. [24] During external load testing in April 1999, a V-22 transported the lightweight M777 howitzer. [42] [43]

In 2000, there were two fatal crashes, killing a total of 23 marines, and the V-22 was again grounded while the crashes' causes were investigated and various parts were redesigned. [31] In June 2005, the V-22 completed its final operational evaluation, including long-range deployments, high altitude, desert and shipboard operations problems previously identified had reportedly been resolved. [44]

U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) worked on software upgrades to increase the maximum speed from 250 knots (460 km/h 290 mph) to 270 knots (500 km/h 310 mph), increase helicopter mode altitude limit from 10,000 feet (3,000 m) to 12,000 feet (3,700 m) or 14,000 feet (4,300 m), and increase lift performance. [45] By 2012, changes had been made to the hardware, software, and procedures in response to hydraulic fires in the nacelles, vortex ring state control issues, and opposed landings [46] [47] reliability has improved accordingly. [48]

An MV-22 landed and refueled onboard Nimitz in an evaluation in October 2012. [49] In 2013, cargo handling trials occurred on Harry S. Truman. [50] In October 2015, NAVAIR tested rolling landings and takeoffs on a carrier, preparing for carrier onboard delivery. [51]


Development was protracted and controversial, partly because of large cost increases, [52] some of which were caused by a requirement to fold wings and rotors to fit aboard ships. [53] The development budget was first set at $2.5 billion in 1986, increasing to a projected $30 billion in 1988. [31] By 2008, $27 billion had been spent and another $27.2 billion was required for planned production numbers. [24] Between 2008 and 2011, the V-22's estimated lifetime cost grew by 61%, mostly for maintenance and support. [54]

Its [The V-22's] production costs are considerably greater than for helicopters with equivalent capability—specifically, about twice as great as for the CH-53E, which has a greater payload and an ability to carry heavy equipment the V-22 cannot. an Osprey unit would cost around $60 million to produce, and $35 million for the helicopter equivalent. [55]

In 2001, Lieutenant Colonel Odin Lieberman, commander of the V-22 squadron at Marine Corps Air Station New River, was relieved of duty after allegations that he instructed his unit to falsify maintenance records to make it appear more reliable. [24] [56] Three officers were implicated for their roles in the falsification scandal. [52]

In October 2007, a Time Magazine article condemned the V-22 as unsafe, overpriced, and inadequate [57] the USMC responded that the article's data was partly obsolete, inaccurate, and held high expectations for any new field of aircraft. [58] In 2011, the controversial defense industry supported Lexington Institute [59] [60] [61] reported that the average mishap rate per flight hour over the past 10 years was the lowest of any USMC rotorcraft, approximately half of the average fleet accident rate. [62] In 2011, Wired Magazine reported that the safety record had excluded ground incidents [63] the USMC responded that MV-22 reporting used the same standards as other Navy aircraft. [64]

By 2012, the USMC reported fleetwide readiness rate had risen to 68% [65] however, the DOD's Inspector General later found 167 of 200 reports had "improperly recorded" information. [66] Captain Richard Ulsh blamed errors on incompetence, saying that they were "not malicious" or deliberate. [67] The required mission capable rate was 82%, but the average was 53% from June 2007 to May 2010. [68] In 2010, Naval Air Systems Command aimed for an 85% reliability rate by 2018. [69] From 2009 to 2014, readiness rates rose 25% to the "high 80s", while cost per flight hour had dropped 20% to $9,520 through a rigorous maintenance improvement program that focused on diagnosing problems before failures occur. [70] As of 2015 [update] , although the V-22 requires more maintenance and has lower availability (62%) than traditional helicopters, it also has a lower incidence rate. The average cost per flight hour is US$9,156 , [71] whereas the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion cost about $20,000 per flight hour in 2007. [72] V-22 ownership cost was $83,000 per hour in 2013. [73]

While technically capable of autorotation if both engines fail in helicopter mode, a safe landing is difficult. [74] In 2005, a director of the Pentagon's testing office stated that in a loss of power while hovering below 1,600 feet (490 m), emergency landings ". are not likely to be survivable." V-22 pilot Captain Justin "Moon" McKinney stated that: "We can turn it into a plane and glide it down, just like a C-130." [57] A complete loss of power requires both engines to fail, as one engine can power both proprotors via interconnected drive shafts. [75] Though vortex ring state (VRS) contributed to a deadly V-22 accident, flight testing found it to be less susceptible to VRS than conventional helicopters. [4] A GAO report stated that the V-22 is "less forgiving than conventional helicopters" during VRS. [76] Several test flights to explore VRS characteristics were canceled. [77] The USMC trains pilots in the recognition of and recovery from VRS, and has instituted operational envelope limits and instrumentation to help avoid VRS conditions. [31] [78]


On 28 September 2005, The Pentagon formally approved full-rate production, [79] increasing from 11 V-22s per year to between 24 and 48 per year by 2012. Of the 458 total planned, 360 are for the USMC, 50 for the USAF, and 48 for the Navy at an average cost of $110 million per aircraft, including development costs. [24] The V-22 had an incremental flyaway cost of $67 million per aircraft in 2008, [80] The Navy had hoped to shave about $10 million off that cost via a five-year production contract in 2013. [81] Each CV-22 cost $73 million in the FY 2014 budget. [82]

On 15 April 2010, the Naval Air Systems Command awarded Bell Boeing a $42.1 million contract to design an integrated processor in response to avionics obsolescence and add new network capabilities. [83] By 2014, Raytheon began providing an avionics upgrade that includes situational awareness and blue force tracking. [84] In 2009, a contract for Block C upgrades was awarded to Bell Boeing. [85] In February 2012, the USMC received the first V-22C, featuring a new radar, additional mission management and electronic warfare equipment. [86] In 2015, options for upgrading all aircraft to the V-22C standard were examined. [87]

On 12 June 2013, the U.S. DoD awarded a $4.9 billion contract for 99 V-22s in production Lots 17 and 18, including 92 MV-22s for the USMC, for completion in September 2019. [88] A provision gives NAVAIR the option to order 23 more Ospreys. [89] As of June 2013, the combined value of all contracts placed totaled $6.5 billion. [90] In 2013, Bell laid off production staff following the US's order being cut to about half of the planned number. [91] [92] Production rate went from 40 in 2012 to 22 planned for 2015. [93] Manufacturing robots have replaced older automated machines for increased accuracy and efficiency large parts are held in place by suction cups and measured electronically. [94] [95]

In March 2014, Air Force Special Operations Command issued a Combat Mission Need Statement for armor to protect V-22 passengers. NAVAIR worked with a Florida-based composite armor company and the Army Aviation Development Directorate to develop and deliver the advanced ballistic stopping system (ABSS) by October 2014. Costing $270,000, the ABSS consists of 66 plates fitting along interior bulkheads and deck, adding 800 lb (360 kg) to the aircraft's weight, affecting payload and range. The ABSS can be installed or removed when needed in hours and partially assembled in pieces for partial protection of specific areas. As of May 2015, 16 kits had been delivered to the USAF. [96] [97]

In 2015, Bell Boeing set up the V-22 Readiness Operations Center at Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, to gather information from each aircraft to improve fleet performance in a similar manner as the F-35's Autonomic Logistics Information System. [98]


The Osprey is the world's first production tiltrotor aircraft, [99] with one three-bladed proprotor, turboprop engine, and transmission nacelle mounted on each wingtip. [100] It is classified as a powered lift aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration. [101] For takeoff and landing, it typically operates as a helicopter with the nacelles vertical and rotors horizontal. Once airborne, the nacelles rotate forward 90° in as little as 12 seconds for horizontal flight, converting the V-22 to a more fuel-efficient, higher speed turboprop aircraft. [102] STOL rolling-takeoff and landing capability is achieved by having the nacelles tilted forward up to 45°. [103] [104] Other orientations are possible. [105] Pilots describe the V-22 in airplane mode as comparable to the C-130 in feel and speed. [106] It has a ferry range of over 2,100 nmi. Its operational range is 1,100 nmi. [107]

Composite materials make up 43% of the airframe, and the proprotor blades also use composites. [103] For storage, the V-22's rotors fold in 90 seconds and its wing rotates to align, front-to-back, with the fuselage. [108] Because of the requirement for folding rotors, their 38-foot (11.6 m) diameter is 5 feet (1.5 m) less than optimal for vertical takeoff, resulting in high disk loading. [105] Most missions use fixed wing flight 75% or more of the time, reducing wear and tear and operational costs. This fixed wing flight is higher than typical helicopter missions allowing longer range line-of-sight communications for improved command and control. [24]

Exhaust heat from the V-22's engines can potentially damage ships' flight decks and coatings. NAVAIR devised a temporary fix of portable heat shields placed under the engines and determined that a long-term solution would require redesigning decks with heat resistant coating, passive thermal barriers, and ship structure changes. Similar changes are required for F-35B operations. [109] In 2009, DARPA requested solutions for installing robust flight deck cooling. [110] A heat-resistant anti-skid metal spray named Thermion has been tested on USS Wasp. [111]


The V-22's two Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines are connected by drive shafts to a common central gearbox so that one engine can power both proprotors if an engine failure occurs. [75] Either engine can power both proprotors through the wing driveshaft. [74] However, the V-22 is generally not capable of hovering on one engine. [112] If a proprotor gearbox fails, that proprotor cannot be feathered, and both engines must be stopped before an emergency landing. The autorotation characteristics are poor because of the rotors' low inertia. [74]

In September 2013, Rolls-Royce announced that it had increased the AE-1107C engine's power by 17% via the adoption of a new Block 3 turbine, increased fuel valve flow capacity, and software updates it should also improve reliability in high-altitude, high-heat conditions and boost maximum payload limitations from 6,000 to 8,000 shp (4,500 to 6,000 kW). A Block 4 upgrade is reportedly being examined, which may increase power by up to 26%, producing close to 10,000 shp (7,500 kW), and improve fuel consumption. [113]

In August 2014, the U.S. military issued a request for information for a potential drop-in replacement for the AE-1107C engines. Submissions must have a power rating of no less than 6,100 shp (4,500 kW) at 15,000 rpm, operate at up to 25,000 ft (7,600 m) at up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius), and fit into the existing wing nacelles with minimal structural or external modifications. [114] In September 2014, the U.S. Navy, who already purchase engines separately to airframes, was reportedly considering an alternative engine supplier to reduce costs. [115] The General Electric GE38 is one option, giving commonality with the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion. [116]

The V-22 has a maximum rotor downwash speed of over 80 knots (92 mph 150 km/h), more than the 64-knot (74 mph 119 km/h) lower limit of a hurricane. [117] [118] The rotorwash usually prevents the starboard door's usage in hover the rear ramp is used for rappelling and hoisting instead. [74] [119] The V-22 loses 10% of its vertical lift over a tiltwing design when operating in helicopter mode because of the wings' airflow resistance, while the tiltrotor design has better short takeoff and landing performance. [120] V-22s must keep at least 25 ft (7.6 m) of vertical separation between each other to avoid each other's rotor wake, which causes turbulence and potentially control loss. [97]


The V-22 is equipped with a glass cockpit, which incorporates four multi-function displays (MFDs, compatible with night-vision goggles) [74] and one shared central display unit, to display various images including: digimaps, imagery from the Turreted forward-looking infrared system [121] primary flight instruments, navigation (TACAN, VOR, ILS, GPS, INS), and system status. The flight director panel of the cockpit management system allows for fully coupled (autopilot) functions that take the aircraft from forward flight into a 50 ft (15 m) hover with no pilot interaction other than programming the system. [122] The fuselage is not pressurized, and personnel must wear on-board oxygen masks above 10,000 feet. [74]

The V-22 has triple-redundant fly-by-wire flight control systems these have computerized damage control to automatically isolate damaged areas. [123] [124] With the nacelles pointing straight up in conversion mode at 90° the flight computers command it to fly like a helicopter, cyclic forces being applied to a conventional swashplate at the rotor hub. With the nacelles in airplane mode (0°) the flaperons, rudder, and elevator fly similar to an airplane. This is a gradual transition, occurring over the nacelles' rotation range the lower the nacelles, the greater effect of the airplane-mode control surfaces. [125] The nacelles can rotate past vertical to 97.5° for rearward flight. [126] [127] The V-22 can use the "80 Jump" orientation with the nacelles at 80° for takeoff to quickly achieve high altitude and speed. [105] The controls automate to the extent that it can hover in low wind without hands on the controls. [105] [74]

New USMC V-22 pilots learn to fly helicopter and multiengine fixed-wing aircraft before the tiltrotor. [128] Some V-22 pilots believe that former fixed-wing pilots may be preferable over helicopter users, as they are not trained to constantly adjust the controls in hover. Others say that experience with helicopters' hovering and precision is most important. [105] [74] As of April 2021 [update] the US military does not track whether fixed-wing or helicopter pilots transition more easily to the V-22, according to USMC Colonel Matthew Kelly, V-22 project manager. He said that fixed-wing pilots are more experienced at instrument flying, while helicopter pilots are more experienced at scanning outside when the aircraft is moving slowly. [106]


The V-22 can be armed with one 7.62×51mm NATO (.308 in caliber) M240 machine gun or .50 in caliber (12.7 mm) M2 machine gun on the rear loading ramp. A 12.7 mm (.50 in) GAU-19 three-barrel Gatling gun mounted below the nose was studied. [129] BAE Systems developed a belly-mounted, remotely operated gun turret system, [130] the Interim Defense Weapon System (IDWS) [131] it is remotely operated by a gunner, targets are acquired via a separate pod using color television and forward looking infrared imagery. [132] The IDWS was installed on half of the V-22s deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 [131] it found limited use because of its 800 lb (360 kg) weight and restrictive rules of engagement. [133]

There were 32 IDWSs available to the USMC in June 2012 V-22s often flew without it as the added weight reduced cargo capacity. The V-22's speed allows it to outrun conventional support helicopters, thus a self-defense capability was required on long-range independent operations. The infrared gun camera proved useful for reconnaissance and surveillance. Other weapons were studied to provide all-quadrant fire, including nose guns, door guns, and non-lethal countermeasures to work with the current ramp-mounted machine gun and the IDWS. [134]

In 2014, the USMC studied new weapons with "all-axis, stand-off, and precision capabilities", akin to the AGM-114 Hellfire, AGM-176 Griffin, Joint Air-to-Ground Missile, and GBU-53/B SDB II. [135] In November 2014, Bell Boeing conducted self-funded weapons tests, equipping a V-22 with a pylon on the front fuselage and replacing the AN/AAQ-27A EO camera with an L-3 Wescam MX-15 sensor/laser designator. 26 unguided Hydra 70 rockets, two guided APKWS rockets, and two Griffin B missiles were fired over five flights. The USMC and USAF sought a traversable nose-mounted weapon connected to a helmet-mounted sight recoil complicated integrating a forward-facing gun. [136] A pylon could carry 300 lb (140 kg) of munitions. [137] However, by 2019, the USMC opted for IDWS upgrades over adopting new weapons. [138]

Refueling capability

Boeing is developing a roll-on/roll-off aerial refueling kit, which would give the V-22 the ability to refuel other aircraft. Having an aerial refueling capability that can be based on Wasp-class amphibious assault ships would increase the F-35B's strike power, removing reliance on refueling assets solely based on large Nimitz-class aircraft carriers or land bases. The roll-on/roll-off kit can also be applicable to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) functions. [139] Boeing funded a non-functional demonstration on a VMX-22 aircraft a prototype kit was successfully tested with an F/A-18 on 5 September 2013. [140]

The high-speed version of the hose/drogue refueling system can be deployed at 185 knots (213 mph 343 km/h) and function at up to 250 knots (290 mph 460 km/h). A mix of tanks and a roll-on/roll-off bladder house up to 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) of fuel. The ramp must open to extend the hose, then raised once extended. It can refuel rotorcraft, needing a separate drogue used specifically by helicopters and a converted nacelle. [141] Many USMC ground vehicles can run on aviation fuel, a refueling V-22 could service these. In late 2014, it was stated that V-22 tankers could be in use by 2017, [142] but contract delays pushed IOC to late 2019. [143] As part of a 26 May 2016 contract award to Boeing, [144] Cobham was contracted to adapt their FR-300 hose drum unit as used by the KC-130 in October 2016. [145] While the Navy has not declared its interest in the capability, it could be leveraged later on. [146]

In October 2019, the fleet of 375 V-22s operated by the U.S. Armed Forces surpassed the 500,000 flight hour mark. [147]

U.S. Marine Corps

Since March 2000, VMMT-204 has conducted training for the type. In December 2005, Lieutenant General James Amos, commander of II Marine Expeditionary Force, accepted delivery of the first batch of MV-22s. The unit reactivated in March 2006 as the first MV-22 squadron, redesignated as VMM-263. In 2007, HMM-266 became Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 (VMM-266) [148] and reached initial operational capability. [1] It started replacing the CH-46 Sea Knight in 2007 the CH-46 was retired in October 2014. [149] [150] On 13 April 2007, the USMC announced the first V-22 combat deployment at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq. [151] [152]

V-22s in Iraq's Anbar province were used for transport and scout missions. General David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, used one to visit troops on Christmas Day 2007 [153] as did Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign tour in Iraq. [154] USMC Col. Kelly recalled how visitors were reluctant to fly on the unfamiliar aircraft, but after seeing its speed and ability to fly above ground fire, "All of a sudden, the entire flight schedule was booked. No senior officer wanted to go anywhere unless they could fly on the V-22". [106] Obtaining spares proved problematic. [155] By July 2008, the V-22 had flown 3,000 sorties totaling 5,200 hours in Iraq. [156] General George J. Trautman III praised its greater speed and range over legacy helicopters, saying "it turned his battle space from the size of Texas into the size of Rhode Island." [157] Despite attacks by man-portable air-defense systems and small arms, none were lost to enemy fire by late 2009. [158]

A Government Accountability Office study stated that by January 2009, the 12 MV-22s in Iraq had completed all assigned missions mission capable rates averaged 57% to 68%, and an overall full mission capable rate of 6%. It also noted weaknesses in situational awareness, maintenance, shipboard operations and transport capability. [159] [160] The report concluded: ". deployments confirmed that the V-22’s enhanced speed and range enable personnel and internal cargo to be transported faster and farther than is possible with the legacy helicopters. " [159]

MV-22s deployed to Afghanistan in November 2009 with VMM-261 [161] [162] it saw its first offensive combat mission, Operation Cobra's Anger, on 4 December 2009. V-22s assisted in inserting 1,000 USMC and 150 Afghan troops into the Now Zad Valley of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan to disrupt Taliban operations. [131] General James Amos stated that Afghanistan's MV-22s had surpassed 100,000 flight hours, calling it "the safest airplane, or close to the safest airplane" in the USMC inventory. [163] The V-22's Afghan deployment was set to end in late 2013 with the drawdown of combat operations however, VMM-261 was directed to extend operations for casualty evacuation, being quicker than helicopters enabled more casualties to reach a hospital within the 'golden hour' they were fitted with medical equipment such as heart monitors and triage supplies. [164]

In January 2010, the MV-22 was sent to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response relief efforts after an earthquake, the type's first humanitarian mission. [165] In March 2011, two MV-22s from Kearsarge helped rescue a downed USAF F-15E crew member during Operation Odyssey Dawn. [166] [167] On 2 May 2011, following Operation Neptune's Spear, the body of Osama bin Laden, founder of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, was flown by a MV-22 to the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea, prior to his burial at sea. [168]

In 2013, several MV-22s received communications and seating modifications to support the Marine One presidential transport squadron because of the urgent need for CH-53Es in Afghanistan. [169] [170] In May 2010, Boeing announced plans to submit the V-22 for the VXX presidential transport replacement. [171]

From 2 to 5 August 2013, two MV-22s completed the longest distance Osprey tanking mission to date. Flying from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa alongside two KC-130J tankers, they flew to Clark Air Base in the Philippines on 2 August, then to Darwin, Australia on 3 August, Townsville, Australia on 4 August, and finally rendezvoused with Bonhomme Richard on 5 August. [172]

In 2013, the USMC formed an intercontinental response force, the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Africa, [173] using V-22s outfitted with specialized communications gear. [174] In 2013, following Typhoon Haiyan, 12 MV-22s of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade were deployed to the Philippines for disaster relief operations [175] its abilities were described as "uniquely relevant", flying faster and with greater payloads while moving supplies throughout the island archipelago. [176]

U.S. Air Force

The USAF's first operational CV-22 was delivered to the 58th Special Operations Wing (58th SOW) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, in March 2006. Early aircraft were delivered to the 58th SOW and used for training personnel for special operations use. [177] On 16 November 2006, the USAF officially accepted the CV-22 in a ceremony conducted at Hurlburt Field, Florida. [178] The USAF's first operational deployment sent four CV-22s to Mali in November 2008 in support of Exercise Flintlock. The CV-22s flew nonstop from Hurlburt Field, Florida with in-flight refueling. [4] AFSOC declared that the 8th Special Operations Squadron reached Initial Operational Capability in March 2009, with six CV-22s in service. [179]

In December 2013, three CV-22s came under small arms fire while trying to evacuate American civilians in Bor, South Sudan, during the 2013 South Sudanese political crisis the aircraft flew 500 mi (800 km) to Entebbe, Uganda after the mission was aborted. South Sudanese officials stated that the attackers were rebels. [180] [181] The CV-22s had flown to Bor over three countries across 790 nmi (910 mi 1,460 km). The formation was hit 119 times, wounding four crew and causing flight control failures and hydraulic and fuel leaks on all three aircraft. Fuel leaks resulted in multiple air-to-air refuelings en route. [182] After the incident, AFSOC developed optional armor floor panels. [96]

The USAF found that "CV-22 wake modeling is inadequate for a trailing aircraft to make accurate estimations of safe separation from the preceding aircraft." [183] In 2015, the USAF sought to configure the CV-22 to perform combat search and rescue in addition to its long-range special operations transport mission. It would complement the HH-60G Pave Hawk and planned HH-60W rescue helicopters, being employed in scenarios where high speed is better suited to search and rescue than more nimble but slower helicopters. [184]

U.S. Navy

The V-22 program originally included Navy 48 HV-22s, but none were ordered. [24] In 2009, it was proposed that it replace the C-2 Greyhound for carrier onboard delivery (COD) duties. One advantage of the V-22 is the ability to deliver supplies and people between non-carrier ships beyond helicopter range. [185] [186] Proponents said that it is capable of similar speed, payload capacity, and lift performance as the C-2, and can carry greater payloads over short ranges, up to 20,000 lb, including suspended external loads. The C-2 can only deliver cargo to carriers, requiring further distribution to smaller vessels via helicopters, while the V-22 is certified for operating upon amphibious ships, aircraft carriers, and logistics ships. It could also take some helicopter roles by fitting a 600 lb hoist to the ramp and a cabin configuration for 12 non-ambulatory patients and 5 seats for medical attendants. [187] Bell and P&W designed a frame for the V-22 to transport the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine of the Lockheed Martin F-35. [188]

On 5 January 2015, the Navy and USMC signed a memorandum of understanding to buy the V-22 for the COD mission. [189] Initially designated HV-22, four aircraft were bought each year from 2018 to 2020. [190] It incorporates an extended-range fuel system for an 1,150 nmi (1,320 mi 2,130 km) unrefueled range, a high-frequency radio for over-the-horizon communications, and a public address system to communicate with passengers [191] [192] the range increase comes from extra fuel bladders [193] through larger external sponsons, the only external difference from other variants. Its primary mission is long-range logistics, other conceivable missions include personnel recovery and special warfare. [194] In February 2016, the Navy officially designated it as the CMV-22B. [195] The Navy's program of record originally called for 48 aircraft, it later determined that only 44 were required. Production began in FY 2018, and deliveries start in 2020. [196] [197]

The Navy ordered the first 39 CMV-22Bs in June 2018 initial operating capability is anticipated to be achieved in 2021, with fielding to the fleet by the mid-2020s. [198] The first CMV-22B made its initial flight in December 2019. [199]

Japan Self-Defense Forces

In 2012, former Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto ordered an investigation of the costs of V-22 operations. The V-22's capabilities exceeded current Japan Self-Defense Forces helicopters in terms of range, speed and payload. The ministry anticipated deployments to the Nansei Islands and the Senkaku Islands, as well as in multinational cooperation with the U.S. [200] In November 2014, the Japanese Ministry of Defense decided to procure 17 V-22s. [201] The first V-22 for Japan was delivered in August 2017. [202]

In September 2018, the Japanese Ministry of Defense decided to delay the deployment of the first five MV-22Bs it had received amid opposition and ongoing negotiations in the Saga Prefecture, where the aircraft are to be based. [203] On 8 May 2020, the first two of the five aircraft were delivered to the JGSDF at Kisarazu Air Field after failing to reach an agreement with Saga prefecture residents. [204] It is planned to eventually station some V-22s on board the Izumo-class helicopter destroyers.

Potential operators


In 2015, the Indian Aviation Research Centre showed interest in acquiring four V-22s for personnel evacuation in hostile conditions, logistic supplies, and deployment of the Special Frontier Force in border areas. US V-22s performed relief operations after the April 2015 Nepal earthquake. [205] The Indian Navy also studied the V-22 rather than the E-2D for airborne early warning and control to replace the short-range Kamov Ka-31. [206] India is interested in purchasing six attack version V-22s for rapid troop insertion in border areas. [207] [208]


On 6 July 2020, the U.S. State Department announced that they had approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Indonesia of eight Block C MV-22s and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2 billion. The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of this possible sale. [209]


On 22 April 2013, an agreement was signed to sell six V-22 to the Israeli Air Force. [210] By the end of 2016, Israel had not ordered the V-22 and was instead interested in buying the C-47 Chinook helicopter or the CH-53K helicopter. [211] As of 2017, Israel had frozen its evaluation of the V-22, "with a senior defence source indicating that the tiltrotor is unable to perform some missions currently conducted using its Sikorsky CH-53 transport helicopters." [212]

The V-22 Osprey has had 12 hull-loss accidents with a total of 42 fatalities. During testing from 1991 to 2000, there were four crashes resulting in 30 fatalities. [31] Since becoming operational in 2007, the V-22 has had seven crashes resulting in 12 fatalities and several minor incidents. [248] The aircraft's accident history has generated some controversy over its perceived safety issues. [249]

  • 163913 – V-22A on display at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center in West Chester, Pennsylvania. [250]
  • 164940 – MV-22B on display at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum in Lexington Park, Maryland. [251]
  • 165437 – MV-22B on display at the New River Aviation Memorial at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina. [252]
  • 99-0021 – CV-22B on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. [253]

Data from Norton, [254] Boeing, [255] Bell guide, [103] Naval Air Systems Command, [256] and USAF CV-22 fact sheet [214]

Jim Tucker of No.293 Squadron - History

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020 Reunion has been rescheduled for October 6-10, 2021. It will be in Jacksonville FL.

The VA-85 Reunion is open to all veterans who served in VA-85 regardless of rank, rate or time period.

USS Samuel Gompers 2021 Reunion

The USS Samuel Gompers AD-37 Reunion will be held in Alexandria, VA at the Sheraton Suites Old Town Alexandria October 7-11, 2021. This reunion is open to all Officers and Crew of the USS Samuel Gompers and their guests.



It is with a heavy heart that learned of the passing of two of my shipmates from the USS John R. Perry (DE-1034).George Cherry, SK2 on Feb. 1, 2020 and Thomas H. Sather, IC3 on Feb. 6, 2019.Shipmates you stand relieved… "We have the…

Chief mess duty

remeber main side unit i galley ?

Bill Parsons, STGCS

It is with a heavy heart that I learned of the passing of one of my shipmates. William (Bill) Parsons 74 of Sunbury, PA resided in VA Beach, VA passed peacefully at home with family on 3/04/2020. He proudly served 22 years in the USN, retired in…

Chelsea Naval Hospital, Ma. 1968-1971

My name is James(Jim) Knippel and I was stationed at the hospital during this time. I was a dental technician in the clinic next to PT behind the hospital. In 1969 I started to work oral surgery and over the next 3 years spent most of my time in the…

Agent Orange AS Cecil Field VF and VA 174

After Co 110 Orlando and AT A school I was sent to NAS Cecil Field VA 174 the wonderful E 9 Chief sent me to the Galley where the wonderful E 6 sea bee and I had a chat on my prior experiences with Lums the next day I was to learn potato pealing and…

USS Grayback SS-208

The USS Grayback SS-208, credited with sinking 14 enemy ships during WWII, was recently discovered off the coast of Japan with 80 entombed sailors…RIP

Recent suicides aboard the carrier George H. W. Bush

A very SAD & ALARMING news article today:https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/24/us/navy-suicides-uss-george-bush.html:. My prayer and condolences go out to the families of OUR fallen service members, as always "WE HAVE THE WATCH".Lets all hope and pray…



USS LEXINGTON (CVT-16)This is a personal account by then FN Nelson J. Coleman.Grounding incident on 31 March 1973 while steaming out of Boston Harbor.On the morning of 31 March 1973 we were getting ready to get underway, as I recall it was extremely…

USS John R. Perry DE-1034 Family Gram from 1959

FAMILY-GRAM NUMBER TWO 1959The purpose of this family-gram is to keep the families and friends of the USS JOHN R. PERREY informed concerning the activities concerning the ship, past, present and future as well as to let you…

Archives & History

The DAR’s Department of Archives and History consists of the Americana Collection, the NSDAR Archives, and the program for DAR members to mark graves of Revolutionary War patriots, their spouses and daughters with DAR-approved markers and to mark historic sites by the National Society, DAR State Societies, and DAR Chapters.

The Americana Collection offers more than 4,000 diverse American imprints and manuscripts. The focus of the collection is on Colonial America, the Revolutionary War Era, and the early Republic, but the breadth of the collection spans five centuries.

The NSDAR Archives serves as the repository for NSDAR records which are no longer administratively useful but which have sufficient historical or other value to warrant their continued preservation. The NSDAR Archives houses items such as correspondence, meeting minutes, project files, photographs and the like.

Locate an Individual

Professional WW2 Researcher and Historian Bill Beigel provides military records research services to veterans’ families, genealogists, historians, authors, community members, veterans themselves, and others who are looking for information found in WW2 military records. A highly skilled researcher and qualified historian, Bill’s interpretive skills are invaluable to his clients in understanding complex and often emotionally-gripping military files. To date, Bill has researched nearly two thousand individual military files from World War II, for well over a thousand clients.

Bill Beigel researches American veterans who served and survived the war, as well as those who became WW2 casualties. You do not need to be a relative of a veteran to request a search of military records from World War II.

All research requests submitted through this site will receive a direct response, usually the day they are submitted. Bill tries to respond to all requests within 24 hours.

World War II Casualties

Currently, there is no single database containing a list of all Americans killed or missing and unrecovered from World War II. To complicate matters, millions of US military service records were destroyed by fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973.

Bill Beigel has created a searchable online database that eventually will hold the names and other vital information for all 407,000 American WW2 casualties. The database is live and free for anyone to access. Search results can be sorted on a number of fields, such as City, County, State, Rank, or Branch of Service, providing rich insights on Americans who served and gave their lives for freedom. Bill Beigel’s WW2 Casualties Database is a work in progress more names will be added each month until the database is complete. Please click the button below to start your search.

Request a Research Quote: To request a research quote from Bill Beigel of all military records on an individual veteran (or group) who served in World War II and returned from the war, please complete this form.

Search by Unit: Click the buttons below to access Bill Beigel’s unit and vessel listings for each branch of service. Through these links, you may submit a research inquiry for an individual’s military service history. If you do not find the unit or vessel you are looking for, please click on any name within your desired branch of service and type the appropriate unit name.

There is no cost to submit a research request or discuss your project with Bill Beigel you do not need to be a relative to initiate a research request for WW2 military records or casualty files. For more information on Bill’s research services, please visit his Services & Rates page.

First Female Commander of Marine One Fired After Assault Charge

The Marine officer who was named a "person of the week" in 2009 when she became the first-ever aircraft commander of Marine One -- the presidential chopper -- has been fired from her current post, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Jennifer Grieves, 45, was relieved from command of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464, a CH-53E Super Stallion squadron out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, due to a loss of trust and confidence in her ability to continue to lead, according to a statement released by II Marine Expeditionary Force.

A spokesman for II MEF, Lt. Col. Michael Armistead, said Grieves was fired by Maj. Gen. Matthew Glavy, commander of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, due to an off-duty incident that was not properly reported.

Grieves was arrested Dec. 16 at her home in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, and charged with simple assault, Maj. C. D. Thomas of the Onslow County Sheriff's Office told Military.com. The incident happened around 3 a.m. and stemmed from a domestic argument, according to the arrest report. She was released on a $500 bond the charge is still pending, Thomas said.

Related content:

Grieves, who enlisted in 1990 and would earn a commission eight years later, gained a level of celebrity when she became the first woman to ever command Marine One.

In 2009, ABC News named her a "person of the week" as she wrapped up her one-year tour in the post, reporting that her final flight featured an all-female crew. She also received a personal acknowledgment and send-off from then-President Barack Obama.

"As far as the female crews go, I was so incredibly proud of both of them when we came and landed," she told the outlet at the time. "Everything about [the flight] has probably made my Marine Corps career. And if I were to retire in six months, I would retire knowing that I've been part of an exceptional organization."

Grieves took command of HMH-464 in May 2015, according to her official biography. She previously served as a commander for other aircraft in Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, which supplies Marine One. After departing HMX-1 in 2009, she studied at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. She would later deploy to Djibouti with HMH-461 out of New River in 2010 and to Afghanistan with HMH-464 in 2011.

Her awards include two Air Medals-Individual Action, three Meritorious Service Medals, five Air Medals-Strike/Flight, and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Grieves, who assumed command of the squadron in May 2016, has been replaced by Lt. Col Troy Callahan, formerly of Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1), as commander of the squadron. Grieves will be reassigned within II Marine Expeditionary Force.


NOTE: We do not keep “service files” of individual riflemen in our archives. Some 19th century nominal rolls and orders are listed below. If you are looking for anything we have connected to individuals in our collections, we recommend you check our online catalog under the Search Terms: People. This will include the most up to date information we have cataloged and entered into our database. Service records for those serving since the South African War (1899-1901) may be available from Library and Archives Canada – search for Military Service Records.

NOTE: The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum and Archives condemns the use of racist and other offensive statements, comments and rhetoric in any form. However, the Museum is committed to not hiding from the full history of our Regiment and its members. It is from this commitment to acknowledge and learn from painful and uncomfortable moments, that we make our archival materials available.

The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum includes an archival collection with materials dating back to the 1860’s. We are in the process of digitizing a selection of this material and including it here. Our thanks to Anne Dondertman, Acting Director of the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto for allowing us use of their book scanner.

NEW! You can now also see a large collection of our digitized photos on our Flickr site.

00053 – This is a bound record book of handwritten Nominal (or attendance) Rolls. Each roll includes a “staff” or headquarters listing in then rolls by company. Blank pages have not been included. See item description for further details about content and information.


00184 – This is a bound record book of handwritten Nominal (or attendance) Rolls. Each roll includes a “staff” or headquarters listing in then rolls by company.

Blank pages have not been included.

00128 – Bound Book of Remembrance containing a brief history of the Queen’s Own Rifles up to 1931, list of battle honours, VC recipients, decorations received in the Great War, honour roll for those who died in the Fenian Raids, South Africa, and the Great War, and Orders of Service for the dedications of the Memorial Cross and the Memorial Shrine. (Searchable pdf format.)

Regimental Orders

These are 19th century bound books of handwritten regimental orders signed by the Adjutants. These include training, supply and administration instructions, and personnel administration including enrollments, transfers, postings, promotions and discharges with individuals named. Also include in some cases, district and brigade (Camp Niagara) orders.

Modern day typed orders include training, supply and administration instructions, and personnel administration including enrollments, transfers, postings, promotions and discharges with individuals named. These files have OCR applied so they are searchable.

1910 Trip to England

Diaries & Memoirs

Our archives have a number of personal diaries which include relevant periods of active service, which in a number of cases have been transcribed and digitized.

    (Transcribed) – Lieutenant R. S. Cassels served with the Queen’s Own Rifles and participated in the North West Field Force in 1885 (Transcribed) – Rifleman J. A. Forin (later Judge Forin) also served with the Queen’s Own in the North West Field Force in 1885 and perhaps provides a slightly different perspective from the “other ranks” view. (pdf) – Redway joined the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada in the 1890s and later served in the South African War with the Royal Canadian Regiment Special Service Battalion. – Bill joined the QOR one month before D-Day at the age of 18 and after landing at Juno Beach and fighting through Europe, was discharged in Canada on February 1, 1946 just before his 21st birthday.

Standing Orders Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada

Standing Orders spell out organization, detailed dress regulations and orders of dress, mess, committees, band, drill and a raft of other need to know for all officers, NCOs and men of the regiment. These were updated periodically and the following are examples of several versions from our archives (scans courtesy of CWO Shannon):

  • 00223 – QOR RSOs March 31st 1880 – Capt Lawrence Buchan (pdf 1.8 MB)
  • 00224 – QOR RSOs March 28th 1894 – Capt M. S. Mercer (pdf 1.2 MB)
  • 00222 – QOR RSOs May 22nd 1925 – Col Reginald Pellatt (pdf 3.2 MB)
  • 00150 – 2nd Battalion 15 November 1956 – Lt Col R F MacKay
  • 00151 – Regimental Depot circa 1957 – Maj C J Doerksen (pdf 10 MB)
  • 2018.07.064 – QOR RSOs 1965

Nominal Rolls – WWI and WWII

These searchable nominal rolls issued with Militia Orders in 1915, includes service number, rank, name, previous military service, name of next of kin, address of next of kin, country of birth, and date and place taken on strength.

    (pdf 7.8 MB) Raised in Toronto and consisted primarily with soldiers from the 2nd Regiment, Queen’s Own Rifles the 10th Regiment (later the Royal Regiment of Canada) and the Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG) (amalgamated in 1936 with The Mississauga Horse to become The Governor General’s Horse Guards). (1.86 MB) (5.23 MB) (4.97 MB) (1.72 MB) (pdf 1.2 MB) Searchable document includes B Company soldiers’ name name, relationship and address of next of kin and date for those killed in action (k/a) or died of wounds (d/w). At the end is a list of all those Queen’s Own Rifles killed during the Second World War and a two maps of Aldershot Camp in England.

Court of Inquiry on the Battle of Lime Ridge or Ridgeway completed June 24 1866. President was Colonel George T. Denison, Commandant of Volunteer Force, 5th Militia District.

Watch the video: RAF No 137 Squadron Hawker Typhoon 2TAF