A leading Marine Corps Air Ace in WWII, Gregory Boyington was born in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho on December 4, 1923. He served with the Flying Tiger prior to WWII, and was a part of the Marine Corps Bougainville campaign during WWII. During the campaign of Rabaul, and Boyington's 26 "kill" fight, he was shot down and captured by the Japanese plus held as a prisoner of war until the end of WWII. When he returned to the U.S. after the war, Boyington was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Boyington graduated for the University of Washington in 1934 as an engineer. He worked for Boeing as a draftsman before he joined the Marine Corps. He was a flight instructor for six years and became a Marine pilot after WWII wad declared. Boyington worked at a desk job until a call for a fighter squadron from the U.S. was called. Boyington persuaded his commander to let him form a unit of relief flyers. The VMF 214 was initiated and became the Black Sheep Squadron. The squadron destroyed 94 enemy fighters due to Boyington's flamboyant leadership. He was nicknamed Pappy due to his age.
Boyington received the Medal of Honor, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Cross, Purple Heart Medal, and presidential Unit Citation twice. He was inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor in Pensacola Florida in 1994.
Boyington wrote Baa Baa, Black Sheep in 1958. This book spawned a television series with Robert Conrad playing Boyington. The series lasted for two years. Boyington died on January 11, 1988 at the age of 75 due to complications from cancer and smoking.