We received the following from Kay Ritter Grasso. Her father, Lt.Col. Leland C. Ritter, was the squadron’s first CO, 1962 to 1964.
On 1/21/2022 at 2:06 PM Kay Grasso wrote, “If you recall, Lee was the first CO of HMM-265. He had his 100th birthday yesterday and we are planning a couple of parties for him in February if COVID cooperates. He was an honored guest at the MCRD graduation of new recruits on January 14th. They even arranged for a flyover of two Osprey aircraft. Dad was really pleased and said he was walking two feet off the ground for the rest of the day! (I have a short video [click to view] of the day if you are interested.)
“He is doing pretty well for a 100 year old man. I just wanted you to know he loved his time in the Marines and flying all the aircraft he flew. My husband and I have been getting videos of him telling us about his time in the Marshall Islands in WWII and the Korean War. I haven’t gotten to the days of HMM-265, but hope to soon. If there are any memories you or anyone else would like to share with him, I’d be happy to share them with him.
“If I can get some videos of his stories of HMM-265, I am happy to share them with you all too. (I’m not sure how accurate they will be, but it’s always fun to hear what he thinks happened.)”
She also sent the first five pictures shown below (the sixth came later). She would love to have any remembrances you may have of her father. You could leave a comment on this post (must be logged in) or just email it to me at email@example.com and I will send it along.
Historical note: I seem to remember that the first Thundermug was thrown off the cliff on Vieques by the SNCOs. GySgt Avery Norris even wrote a long poem that ended with something like, “I guess I haven’t the education to worship a vessel of defecation.”