SATURDAY SPECIAL EVENT
Happy Birthday to WWII Marine Major John Tashjian – 100 Years!
Everyone is Invited – Corsair Will Fly!
Very few of us will get to see 100 candles placed upon our birthday cake.
This Saturday, Planes of Fame Air Museum is honored to host the 100th Birthday Party of former United States Marine aviator and World War II combat veteran Major John Tashjian.
The public is invited to join in the festivities! Museum doors open at 10:00am. The party runs from 10:30am until 12:30pm. A special flight of the Museum’s F4U-1A “Corsair” will begin at noon. The aircraft will fly over the Museum for about twenty minutes.
More than just a Birthday Celebration — this is also a Reunion of Two Old Friends.
John Tashjian was born on July 10, 1921 and grew up in Oakland, California. In 1942, with his country at war, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and became an aviator. In 1944, he was assigned to VMF-441 to participate in Operation Flintlock – the capture of the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Vought F4U-1A “Corsair” (Bureau Number 17799) rolled off the Stratford, Connecticut assembly line on August 31, 1943. It immediately shipped out and was part of Operation Cartwheel in the South Pacific where if flew numerous sorties with several Marine Corps squadrons (VMF-217 and possibly VMF-213, 214, 215 and 216). By 1944, it was reassigned to VMF-441 to participate in Operation Flintlock.
Hundreds of combat sorties were flown by VMF-441 during the operation. On at least one, a combat air patrol to protect Navy ships below, John Tashjian flew Vought F4U-1A “Corsair” number 17799.
Both the aircraft and the man would see the end of the war and both would return home to the United States.
Mr. Tashjian settled in the San Diego area, serving for a time as a firefighter before following his true passion – zoology. He worked at several major zoos and became an expert in reptiles and amphibians.
Vought F4U-1A Bureau Number 17799 went to work in Hollywood, serving as a prop at MGM Studios where it had small roles in a number of films and even served from time to time as a wind machine. It was acquired by the Planes of Fame Air Museum in 1970, restored to flight in 1976, and flew in the NBC television series “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.” Over the years, it has performed regularly in airshows and other events, and most recently completed filming a soon-to-be-released major motion picture.
These two combat veterans – man and machine – will revisit each other this Saturday, July 10, 2021 beginning at 10:30am. The public is invited to take pictures as they reminisce about their time together seventy-seven years ago.
Planes of Fame Air Museum
909-597-3722 ~ www.planesoffame.org
Open Wednesdays – Sundays
10:00am – 4:00pm
14998 Cal Aero Drive • Chino Airport • Chino, CA 91710