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On 25 September 1942, the area presently known as Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, California was designated an auxiliary landing field and served as a sub-unit of Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro. The airfield consisted of little more than a dirt runway and provided landing facilities for such aircraft as the Beech C-45 and the Sikorsky HRS-1 and 2. Bldg 2331 - The original tower and headquarters for the El Toro Auxilary Landing FieldDuring the early 1950’s, the airfield was used for the filming of “The Flying Leathernecks” starring John Wayne. The first permanent squadron stationed at the airfield was formed in the late 1960’s. This became a composite squadron consisting of OV-10’s and UH-1s.

Through the years, aviation began to play an increasing role in Marine Corps tactics, creating a need for modern facilities. To meet this need, the auxiliary landing field was re-designated a Marine Corps Air Facility on 1 September 1978 serving as home to Marine Aircraft Group 39. Since 1978, the Group expanded to a strength of four tactical helicopter squadrons, one helicopter training squadron, one observation squadron, and an aviation logistics squadron. This increase in aircraft and personnel established once again the need for improved facilities.

Marine Corps Bulletin 5450, dated 13 March 1985, re-designated the Air Facility a Marine Corps Air Station effective 1 April 1985. On 15 August of that same year, Colonel Ransom became the first Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps’ newest command.

Today, the Air Station supports over 180 helicopters assigned to MAG-39, MAG-46 Det A, and a wide variety of other Marine Corps units and visiting aircraft from other branches of the Armed Forces. The closure of MCAS Tustin and MCAS El Toro were a result of Base Realignment and Closure legislation. MCAS Camp Pendleton expanded its facilities again to support three additional helicopter squadrons. The first medium lift helicopter squadron joined MAG-39 in January 1999, and the final one came in June of that same year.

The airfield is also known as "Munn Field" in honor of Lieutenant General John C. "Toby" Munn - the first Marine Aviator to serve as the Commanding General of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

LtGen John C. (Toby) MunnLieutenant General Munn was a native of Arkansas. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1927 and first served in Nicaragua. He was designated Naval Aviation #3772 in 1931 and went on to assignments that included duty with the First Marine Carrier Squadron, and as Naval Attache for Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. During World War II, he commanded MAG-11 during the Saipan and Marshal Islands Campaigns, and MAG-31 during the Battle of Okinawa. During the Korean Conflict, he was Chief of Staff of 1st MAW. Lieutenant General Munn served as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1960-1963. Other duties as a general officer included Commanding General of 2d MAW; Director of Aviation and Commanding General of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. He retired at Camp Pendleton on 30 June 1964.

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