Newbie here...have WW2 films/photos/data to share

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Jan 24, 2023
Hello Everyone,

I have been lurking for some time and I must say the depth of knowledge on the website subject is phenomenal! My interest for the time being is rather focused on a small niche and I am hoping to share some of the films, photos and data that I have collected as well as learn some things!

My interest all started when researching my Father In Law's military history; he has since passed. He didn't talk about it much. During WW2 he was a Marine pilot later in the war (starting ground school late 1942 and getting his wings in 1943). After finishing initial training in Illinois and then Pensacola, FL, he was assigned to VMS-3 in the Virgin Islands doing sub patrols. There he flew OS2Us and SBDs. I have his original Navigation desk from this time still showing the Caribbean maps! Next he was assigned to what would become squadron VTMB-143 and they would ultimately report to the USS Gilbert Islands (CVE-107). With this squadron he flew TBF(M) Avengers and an occasional F4U and F6F. Newer Marine troop ground support attack training and Carrier Qual training took place in the MCAS Santa Barbara (Goleta) and Southern California areas.

I began learning even more about my FiL's war history when a gentleman named Adam Lewis of the website started dialog with my FiL to further develop his own website and connect with more of his squadron and shipmates. Adam also connected my FiL with the Flying Leatherneck Museum (The Marine Aviation Museum located in Miramar, CA but now relocating). They recorded interviews and built a display about the squadron.

After my FiL's passing we collected all of the memorabilia related to this particular time in his life - uniforms, flight goggle, flight logbooks, navigation desk, photo albums, war time documents/records, maps, war diaries, medals, and books. Adam then steered me to the film archives at South Carolina University. Thankfully, the USMC embedded film crews during his training all the way through carrier deployment. Apparently they wanted to document this first group of Escort Carriers to be operated under USMC direction.

After contacting the archiving department at the U of SC, we reached an understanding, and I started the process of downloading over 120 films in ProRes format (the average file size is 30Gb). I am editing these to make short subject films. The first batch is now online at YouTube on my channel @WW2VMTB. Some of the film quality is amazing given the age of these films. They are all in color. All of this film processing is new to me, so please bear with me!

My goal is to build a website and embed these videos along with other artifacts to tell his story and those of the squadrons on the four escort carriers USS Block Island, USS Gilbert Islands, USS Cape Gloucester, and USS Vella Gulf. I think I have most of what I need to make it fairly accurate and chronological. I am always open to learning though! If you feel that I misrepresent or am in error, then please let me know. Accuracy is important to my goal. The intent of my mission is not a financial one. I am merely trying to connect the dots of data I have to tell a story that I think is well documented but fragmented. I believe it is a story worth telling.

This is a work in progress that will take me some time to "complete". Thank you for your attention!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Yes, time just seems to fly when I am in "the process".
I am delayed in processing more videos due to a limit that U of SC places on an annual purchase. I will be getting the next batch near the end of the year...

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