- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rod Montgomery III understands the bonds that are created through military service. He grew up in a military household, the son of Marine Maj. Rod “Monty” Montgomery Jr., and is now a Marine himself.

grew up in a military household, the son of Marine Maj. Rod “Monty” Montgomery Jr., and is now a Marine himself.

Monty Montgomery served in World War II after graduating from Creighton University in Nebraska in 1943. He was a member of the famed VMF(N)-541 “Bat-Eye” squadron — a group of 200 men, including 22 pilots. The squadron was honored with the Army Distinguished Unit Citation, signed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, for its service in the Philippines in 1945.

After becoming the first Marine to shoot down a Japanese airplane in the Philippines, Monty Montgomery was honored during a lunch with Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Philippine President Sergio Osmena.

To honor his father and the men who served with him, Rod Montgomery became the driving force behind a reunion Saturday for members of the Bat-Eye squadron at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va.

During their 28th annual reunion, the retired Marines visited local FBI facilities, attended a presentation of the presidential helicopter unit and toured the 10-month-old Marine Corps museum. More than 60 of the squadron’s original members, including a few of its pilots, attended.

Retired Marine Maj. Bob Marr, a former Bat-Eye squadron member, said hosting the reunion in Quantico this year was important, because fewer veterans are able to attend each year.

“We’ve been down to the World War II museum in New Orleans, and seen the World War II memorial in Washington, so now seeing the Marine Corps museum in Quantico is a must on our tour,” Mr. Marr said.

Rod Montgomery also recognizes the importance of the reunion for his father and his fellow Marine veterans.

“Some 1,800 of our World War II veterans are passing away each month,” he said. “We need to capture their history, acknowledge their sacrifice and honor their service. … I want to show my father how much I appreciate what he did for us — as a Marine and as a father.”

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