Welcome to the 386th Air Service Group!

This website has been developed for the family, friends, and men of the 386th ASG and all those appreciative of the men and women that sacrificed a part of their lives assuring that freedom and our way of life could continue. This website celebrates just one very small part of the struggle that was WWII. While doing research for the site, I found that the 386th ASG was a microcosm of the whole, and portrayed the willingness of the service people to do more than just the job that they had been trained to do.

BIG NEWS! There is now a book on the 386th ASG! Click the link below to buy it on Amazon.

The Forgotten Unit of Iwo Jima: 386th ASG, USAAF by USMC (Ret.), Col. J.J. Preston

Here's the beginning of the book description on Amazon.com:

It was the first and only time during combat operations in the Pacific theater that an Army Air Force unit would land with U.S. Marine assault elements across a hostile beach. The date was February 24, 1945 (D+5), and the beach on which the men of the 386th Air Service Group (ASG), U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) landed was given the name of a color - Red. They possessed few of the combat skills Marine infantrymen would have had. They weren't trained to close with and destroy an enemy through close combat. They were specialists, trained in skills totally alien to the Marine "grunts" swarming ashore. Their skills, however, were critical to the successful execution and completion of Operation Detachment (code name for the island and battle destined to become legendary in the history of World War II). Red beach was one of the black sand beaches on the eastern shore of the island named - Iwo Jima. This is a brief history of the 386th ASG, USAAF. Their story could have been lost to history except for the tenacity of a few of the units' veterans and their descendants. It's the account of a group of men who could accomplish almost anything asked of them....

It's very exciting that we can order the book, post reviews and give it to descendants of the members of the 386th ASG. Enjoy!

What was envisioned as a 72 hour battle turned into a struggle that would take nearly 7,000 American lives and wound more than 20,000 others. Trained to service aircraft, the 386th ASG disembarked onto Iwo Jima on D + 5 and found themselves in the middle of an epic battle. They were then enjoined to aid the Marines by helping resupply, take the wounded out to aid stations, and do whatever other task developed. The men of the 386th worked well beyond the call of duty. Major Richard Feuille reports that the 386th was the only non-Marine or Naval unit on Iwo Jima to receive an award from the Marines. A copy of the commendation and award can be found on the Mission page.

This site is designed to enable the men of the 386th ASG, their families, and friends to communicate with one another if they so desire, using the Message Board. We have attempted to describe the Mission in terms understandable to the children and grandchildren of veterans. The History page is filled with descriptions written by the men themselves.

I will be forever grateful to the following for their time and gracious understanding to someone that needed a hand (several hands!) in this endeavor:

          • A. J. (Westy) Westheimer, 1st Lt. 611th Materiel Squadron
          • Richard (Rickie) Feuille, Major, Headquarters Squadron
          • Melinda Zipin, daughter-in-law, 1st Lt. Martin Zipin, deceased, HQ Squadron
          • Sandra Brown, daughter, Corporal Raymond Minton Jr., HQ Squadron

    and to my uncle, T/Sgt. Oswald (Ossie) Villi, 490th AES, deceased, for his time and gracious understanding when I needed it.

    ---Ron Villi
    I welcome your mail at: caronv39@yahoo.com

    or 41849 John Muir Drive, Coarsegold, CA, 93614

    and your phone calls at 559-923-4235

12 Men of the 490th Air Engineering Squadron

Bottom row, left to right kneeling: Fred Sealander, Paul Reiser, Charles Bierer, John Mizia, Joseph Tomasi, and Allen Granquist.
Left to right standing: Richard Ball, Richard "Si" Reid, Ernar "Swede" Lindskog, Foy R. Randall, Oswald "Ozzie" Villi, and William T. Gaffey..

We believe in America and Americans.
We believe that Americans have a sense of what
has been sacrificed in the past for our Freedom today.
We believe that Americans are heroes-in-waiting,
and that given a particular moment in time,
will step forward and demonstrate that innate ability.
We believe that as Americans we should reflect often upon
the heroes-in-waiting that did step forward on Sept. 11,
and to those men and women who have
done the same throughout our history.


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