On Sept 7, 1943,VMF-214 officially began it's first combat tour at Munda, on the island of New Georgia (shown above). Munda was an inhospitable place- hot, humid, barren from shelling, and for a time, smelled of the aftermath of battle from the Marine assault in August. It was from this island airstrip that Marine Squadron VMF-214 launched many successful missions during their first two tours. VMF-214 flew the beautiful F4U-1, and later, F4U-1A Corsairs against their very capable Japanese opponents, often flying two or three missions a day. VMF-214 was known as the "Black Sheep" squadron and their commander was the legendary Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington. The Black Sheep became the top guns in the Pacific, racking up an impressive score in a relatively short time. The Black Sheep's second tour on Munda ended on Oct 18, 1943. After a short period of R & R , they resumed combat operations at Vella Lavella in mid-November,1943. Today, the airstrip at Munda is still in service, though the area is now covered with trees and lush vegetation. Likewise, the tents and warplanes have been replaced by the small homes and the fishing boats of the natives living there.