Col. Stewart B. O’Neill, Jr. came up through the ranks, first service on the USS Arizona, becoming a pilot officer prior to WWII, serving until retirement in 1959.
Fantastic Grouping For The Commanding Officer – VMF 212 In WWII. Stewart B. O’Neill, Jr. served 26 years, all Regular U.S.M.C. continuous active duty. He began his career in 1930, enlisting in the Marines, and remained in the ranks until 1936, when he was commissioned an officer. He saw service onboard the USS Arizona for some time and was a member of the Fleet Whale Boat Champions, and was part of “E” gun crew. Officer O’Neill’s early years was performing duties as an infantry officer, until graduating from Marine Flight School in June of 1941.
From 1941-41, he was an instructor-chief flight instructor and executive officer of Sqdn. VN8-1B, more. In 1943, O’Neill became commander of Marine Air Base Defense Group -42, formed at Santa Barbara, and relieved by “Red” West. Then ordered to take command of VMF-212 (Combat South Pacific, Vella La Vella, Bouganville, (where he as awarded the DFC, Air Medal, and Bronze Star). After his service with VMF-212, he was assigned to the Staff, Marine Aircraft, South Pacific. He ended the War years as Group Executive Officer, Marine Air Group -92, Cherry Point.
In late 1945, O’Neill was assigned to First Air Wing, Marine Airbase Squadron One, Tientsin, China as squadron commander. Other post war commands, with various groups (qualified and had carrier duty for the first time on USS Rendover, flying F4U-4s). In the mid 50’s he had assignments in Japan, and Far East. He retired in 1959, as a Colonel on the Retired List.
During his service in the Marines, LtCol O’Niell, Jr was awarded and authorized to wear the following decorations, etc.:
- Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (w/3 stars), Asiatic-Pacific (w/3 stars), American Campaign, American Defense (w/1 star), WWII Victory, China Service, National Defense, Korean War Service, Korea UN Medals, Expert Marksman’s Medal with 1935, ’36, ’38 qualification bar (ID’d name scratched in on back), Pistol Expert with qualification bar for dates 1936, ’37, ’38.
There are many photographs, documents, personal sketches by O’Neill (and one paper with drawing of two Island with air strips (Sand & Eastern Islands), news clippings, commissions, appointments, which I will list. Some of this paper work for VMF-212 in great material. and a scrapbook contains similar of that mentioned above, with other interesting items, etc.
Most of his post war service material will be found in a different listings, as it just makes the lot to big, and many WWII collectors want only that relating to war service.
The following is the list of item found within this group:
- Green Service dress coat with all insignia for LtCol. O’Neill, with ribbons bars for medal listed above, Wings hallmarked “H & H IMPERIAL,” & marksman’s badges. 1st Marine Air Wing patch, ltcol. rank insignia, EGA officer’s collar insignia (50’s vintage I believe). Coat has tailor label, “Jacob Reed’s Sons / Philadelphia,” O’neill’s name stenciled in left sleeve lining, and another officer’s name stenciled in the other (“C.B. Becher,” Obviously worn by O’Neill, and given to him or purchased at a thrift store.) Condition overall is very good, with a few stress pulled in fabric, and so fading on the back side showing the outline of a Sam Browne belt, and upper button off, being held by a small safety pin.
- Medals, two rows mounted on clutch bars. Some light fading to some of the ribbons, especially on the Amer. Campaign medal ribbon.
- Squadron patch, painted on canvas, being the Disney designed insignia for VMF -212, marked on the back, “RKO STUDIOS/ RESEARCH LIBRARY, etc, other stamped markings unclear, and what appears to be a signature in red ink. Approximately 5.5 inches diameter. Very good -fine.
- Dog Tags on Sterling chain, 1947 dated pair, with attached silver religious medal with Naval, and Air images.
- WWII era leather with gold leaf name tag.
- Photograph of sqdn. insignia for VMF -211 with Walt Disney Studio logo in lower corner. 4 1/4 x 5 inches. A post war patch.
- Clutch back wings marked “250” and 1/20 -10KT.
- Clear plexiglass name plate, presumably for desk, etc. 13 inches with painted red lettering, with yellow accents.”
- 2 wartinme USMC large format publications.
- Plain point/swagger stick with nickel finish cap with EGA. Bullet/ casing ends. 18 inches.
- Wood and engraved metal desk plague, 9.5 inches long.
- Aircraft plexiglass and aluminum wrist watch band with engraved name.
- 2 wrapped lots of printed calling cards.
- Marine Officer’s Club, Midway Island, dated June 1943, signed by a sec/ treasury for culb.
- Log Book belonging to O’Neill, for service time only with VMF-212, begun at Vella La Vella; beginning in June of 1943, listing missions mostly in July -Sept.; “Scrambles, “nite” missions, gunnery practice, patrols, “escorting TB’s attack on Task Force.” Signed certifying to all entries. Mostly blank. Has a pin-up picture in the back.
- Lot of snap shots, different sizes with the largest being 2.5 x 4.5 inches. Shots of individuals, camp scenes, natives, etc.
- 3 foot complete squadron photo of all personnel of VMF-212, taken by The Grant Co., Los Angeles. O’Neill is seated second row just above the left side of sign naming the sqdn.
- Naval Aviator Certificate from Miami Air Station, dated 10 June, 1941, for 1st Lt. O’Neill, signed by Commander of station, and Superintendent of Aviation Training.
- USMC Certificates from International Correspondence Schools for Warrant Officer Preparatory, First Lesson In English, Good English, each on of the three signed by Brig. Gen. USMC Donald Porter, and others.
- 2 large vellum commissions from President F.D. Roosevelt, for 1st Lieutenant, & Captain, dated 19 July, 1939, and 13 May, 1942, signed by Sec. of the Navy, an acting sec. and the last by James Forrestal.
- Commission for Lt.Col. 20, December, 1943, dated 25 July, 1949.
- Commission for Colonel on the Retired List, dated 1 November, 1959.
- Certificate of Retirement, 26 October, 1959.
- lot of forwarding letters for commissions 1949 dated for the rank of Regular; O’Neill’s LtCol rank during his VMF-212 days was under temporary rank.
- Lot of 3 appointments in rank while aboard U.S.S. Arizona, Jan, 1933, Jan. 1934, and another (date no visible), all signed by Captains. These last two show some bug damage in the upper fold, and have some staining, once being in another album.
- Lot of 14 plus snapshots taken while serving on Arizona. Different uniforms, one of Arizona’s boats, several taken on deck, 2 nice shots of the ship, 2 of the Fleet Whaleboat Champions, two of “E”gun crew, other candids. Many have annotations.
- Letter from US War Dept. notifying O’Neill he is a competitor for appointment to the US Military Academy, signed by Major General James F. McKinley, (a nephew of the President).
- Circular Letter no, 169. list of articles required to be procured by Probationary officers. A long list of articles on 2 sides.
- Lot of photographs of O’Neill in dress uniform, blues, greens and whites. Snap shot size up to 8x10s -a dozen or more. Additional photos of same (copies).
- Newspaper, North Shore Sentinel, Vol. XVIII, No. 7, Thursday, February 3, 1944, with article on from cover about O’Neill.
- Secret Communique from Marine Aircraft Group Eleven, date 16, Oct., 1943, Orders for VMF-211, 212, 214, and 215.
- Secret Memo to O’Neill, regarding recent information on officer personnel (LtCol. Parmley-considered to be a hell of a guy per quotes from majors Post and Boyington.) New Zealand general, shortage of CO2, Oxygen, “and the fact the planes are clunkers.” Intelligence about Marine Raiders landing on Bouganville, more.
- 8×10 photo of pilots of 212 with F4U Corsair behind them, captioned “Capt DeLong )In an F4U) who shot down two YAK Fighters in Korea Recently, annotated by O’Neil in the early 50’s). Wartime photo taken 9/17/43.
- 5 snapshots of burial of unidentified marine (pilot?), 10.2. 43. various views.
- 24 snap shots – 8x10s of marine pilots, planes, camp etc. mostly WWII, a few from Korea. Some of pilots being promoted, etc. One of pilot 1st Lt. G. Grill, Jr. who was killed in action on a mission dated 30/10/43.
- Australian Blood Chit printed on field press, on paper. a similar one shown on page 159-160 in the “LAST HOPE -The Blood Chit Story.” I think these would be very scarce., (the one shown was used by LtCol. N.W. Pratt, with Marine Air Group 25, off of Vella La Vella.) One side was shown to Islanders, while the other could be used to read aloud in English to same. This one is stamped on the back MAG-11 (Marine Air Group Eleven), 8/29/43, “Australian Seal”
- Hand made Squadron VMF-911 “stag party” invitation sent of O’Neill. Signed by Major H.S. Miller.
- Typed letter to Sqdn. 16 April, 43, from O’Neill, regarding several details that must be done, obeyed etc.
- Typed letter from Com. Off. 2nd MAW, subject: missing and KIA. 2 pages.
- Typed letter from Com. Off, to Comdr. Aircraft, Solomons. Subject: Recommendation for award to LtCo. O’Neill, VMF-212. Super content!. Dated 2/4/44. Signed by O’Neill.
- Similar dated 2/4/44 includes citation. Signed by O’Neill.
- Abbreviated Extracts from Log Book, – Combat Hops -Solomon Islands -October and November, 1943. A super document recording all of O’Neill’s combat action as commander of VMF-212.
- Typed list of Combat Score of VMF-212, 2 pages, signed by O’Neill.
- Chronological Record of Military Service. 1930 to 1956.
- Similar as above, dated 1948 to 1956.
- Typed – Printed copy of: Unit Citation, May 12, 1944.
- same: Temp. Citation for DFC.
- HQ 1st MAW, Temp Citation for DFC.
- same: Temp. Citation for Air Medal.
- HQ 1st MAW, Temp. Citation for 2nd AM.
- Similar – Forwarding letter, subject: 1 Temp. Citation, 1 Air Medal, dated 27/10/44.
- Temp. Citation for 2nd Air Medal.
- same: for 3rd Air Medal.
- HQ 1st MAW, Temp. Citation for 3rd AM.
- same: for 4th Air Medal.
- HQ 1st MAW, Temp. Citation for 4th AM.
- Typed Letter, dated 2/4/44; Recommendation for award for LtCol. O’Neill – For Extraordinary Meritorious achievement as commanding officer of VMF-212 from 3 June, 1943 to 4 January, 1944.
- Typed Letter, dated 27/4/44; Recommendation for Submission of a Presidential Unit Citation, case of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Twelve.
- Typed Letter, dated 27/4/44; Subject- same as above, forwarding letter.
- Typed Letter, dated 10/6/49; Subject – Permanent Citations for DFC, AM & Gold Stars in lieu of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th AM.
- 8×10 photo of Pilots of VMF-212 with Squadron (Disney) Insignia. (different), dated on back, 9/17/43.
- Blank, color letterhead for VMF-212.
- Map showing Sand & Eastern Islands with hand drawn figures, planes, etc.
- Typed Letter, dated June 7, 1946, on letterhead, Hqtrs, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington,D.C., to O’Neill in regards to retirement board action, deciding to retain O’Neill on active status, signed by A.A. Vandegrift, General & Commandant of USMC.
- HQs 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 25 June 1946, forwarding letter ; delivery of medals; 1 DFC, 3 Gold stars in lieu of Air Medals, 4 Temporary Citations.
- Several more documents from early to WWII documents -letters.
- Large format scrapbook, browned – brittle pages containing the following (not a complete list): Decal of another sqdn., Photograph from Top’s Restaurant, San Diego of LtCol. O’Neill, Sr. and Jr. together for dinner. Both in uniform with news article “Fighting O’Neills; Japanese Currency, snapshots of O’Neill and airfield with old F4F’s, letter to wife just prior to moving to the Pacific, snapshots of pilots and families at outing on Hawaii, Photo of sqdn, insignia with news clipping, hand sketches of Disney characters, photos of O, and F4F, mail notifications that transfer to Pacific theater, some V-mail, loads of news clippings, photo of Marine Capt, no id’d, news clippings about “Pappy” Boyington, Comical sketches of F4U planes and his officers who flew them. Small lot of snap shots of natives, pilots, and much more.
A great grouping containing much information on a hard fighting Marine air squadron in the Pacific. The information contained within such as KIAs, List of kills and destroyed enemy ships, etc, super photos of the squadron’s pilots, unit citation and personal citations of awards for combat actions, uniform, medals, insignia, and personal items, and so much more.
All in very good to fine displayable condition.