PAUL MORET, LTCOL, USMC
Paul Moret '30
Date of birth: February 27, 1907
Date of death: June 8, 1943
From the 1930 Lucky Bag:
Paul was lost when the transport aircraft he was aboard crashed near New Caledonia on June 8, 1943. Unable to determine which unit he was stationed with. Earlier in the war he had been commanding officer of Marine Scout-Bomber Squadron (VMSB) 131.
He is buried in South Dakota. Unable to find next-of-kin information, though the newspaper article below states he was survived by his wife and nine-year-old son.
"He was a natural athlete. No matter what sport he engaged in, he was equally adept. Football was his pride and joy.
"The men of his squadron revered him for his gentle understanding and kindness. He won their unqualified respect and devotion ..." These were some of the fond recollections yesterday of Mrs. Dorothy Josephine Moret, of Coronado, widow of the Marine hero, Lieutenant Col. Paul Moret, U. S. M. C., who was killed June 8 in a south Pacific plane crash. He was 36.
Mrs. Moret, who resides with her nine-year-old son, Mickey, at 523 Fourth street, has just received the Legion of Merit medal which was awarded to her husband posthumously for outstanding service as Aircraft Operations Officer on Guadalcanal from Nov. 12 to Jan. 20, 1943.
The citation accompanying the award praised Col. Moret for "exceptionally meritorious conduct" in directing operations by Army, Navy and Marine aircraft in bombing, torpedo, reconnaissance, search, antisubmarine and ground support operations, adding:
"Throughout an exceedingly grave period, Lieut. Col. Moret displayed courage, foresight and ususual ability. His skillful employment of aircraft caused severe losses to be inflicted on the enemy in surface vessels, aircraft personnel and vital materials.
"Determined to keep our operational losses at a minimum, he worked tirelessly and with great success toward airdrome control and the training and indoctrination of pilots. "He contributed invaluable service toward the success of our armed forces in the Solomon Islands."
A native of Jackson, Mich., Col. Moret was graduated from the Naval Academy in 1930, where he starred in football, basketball and boxing and coached football in 1930 and 1935.
During his midshipman days he was an All-Eastern football end and intercollegiate boxing champion, also being captain of his mitt squad. In 1933 he coached and played on the West Coast Marine team in San Diego. He was stationed at North Island from 1933-37.
At the age of 33 the Marine officer became the youngest squadron commander in Marine aviation at that time, having earned his wings in 1932 at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida.
His last shore assignment before leaving with his squadron for the South Pacific was at North Island, from March to September, 1942. He led his unit only once on a combat mission, encountering no opposition, then was assigned to direct Guadalcanal aerial operations. Mrs. Moret is employed in the bookkeeping department of a bank in Coronado.
From Zamboanga.com; published on January 6, 2001:
I first knew him at Quantico Virginia Marine Barracks when I was assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing there. Col. Moret, then Capt. Moret, commanded Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 131. This squadron consisted of about 20 SB2U-3 aircraft. The unit moved to San Diego California in December 1941 and sailed shortly thereafter for Hawai. It was based at EwaMarine Air Station in Hawai, moved to the southwest pacific area and arrived at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal in the Solomons in November of 1942.
By this time Capt. Moret had been promoted to Major. He was relieved of command on 28 Feb 42 before the movement to the Solomons. He reassumed command for the period 24 March thru 20 November 1942. These switches in command often were caused by a senior officer being transferred in to a unit whereupon the senior did automatically assume command. I mention this so you will understand that Major Moret was not relieved for cause.
When Major Moret left this unit at Guadacanal is not clear to me. By this time I had returned to the U.S. to begin flight training, actually I left the squadron at Eva prior to its deployment to the Solomons. At some time during this perios Major Moret was promoted to Lieut. Colonel and his dive bomber squadron was equipped with new torpedo planes. It was the first USMC torpedo squadron formed during World War II and Col. Moret had the honor to command it.
Colonel Moret was killed in mid 1943 in a transport plane crash at New Caledonia. … James P. Collins, Jr
Legion of Merit
From Hall of Valor:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Legion of Merit (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Colonel Paul Moret (MCSN: 0-4528), United States Marine Corps, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States during the period from 12 November 1942 through 20 January 1943. As Aircraft Operations Officer on Guadalcanal, Lieutenant Colonel Moret's courage and unusual ability in the employment of his aircraft caused severe losses to enemy surface vessels, aircraft, and vital materials.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 318 (September 1943)
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
In March 1945 a Japanese airfield in the Philippines was captured and renamed Moret Field in Paul's honor.