UPDATE: Marine Corps Colonel Suicide El Toro. MCAS El Toro and the Untimely Death of Marine Fighter Pilot James Sabow. Somebody should produce a full length movie about this epic American tragedy. By any reasonable explanation based on a large amount of evidence from multiple sources, Colonel James Sabow was murdered because he was about to take out several high-ranking Marines at El Toro, as they were involved. to the continuous transportation of drugs for aid. terrorist groups in Nicaragua known as the Contras.
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I. UPDATE: Marine Corps Colonel Suicide El Toro
MCAS El Toro and the Untimely Death of Marine Fighter Pilot James Sabow
Somebody should produce a full length movie about this epic American tragedy.
Colonel James Sabow flew more than 220 missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, before becoming the third ranking officer at MCAS El Toro
Colonel James Sabow flew more than 220 missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, before becoming the third ranking officer at MCAS El Toro. He was murdered for threatening to drop a dime on an illegal government weapons for drugs trading program that funded the Contras.
(IRVINE, Calif.) – In early 1991, something happened at the El Toro Marine air base that was so bad, so shameful, that it will not go away. It’s the highly controversial death of Marine Colonel James Sabow. A fighter pilot, a hero of the Vietnam War, a man considered by those who knew him, to be ‘general material’.
First and foremost, Jim Sabow was the last man who would have ever contemplated suicide. He made it through 220 missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and had risen far in rank. The only officers who ever criticized him were almost certainly the same ones involved in his demise.
By any logical account based on a large amount of evidence from multiple sources, Colonel James Sabow was murdered because he was going to bring the roof down on a number of senior Marines at El Toro, for their involvement in the continual running of drugs to aid terrorist groups in Nicaragua known as the Contras.
Today the old El Toro Marine Air Station is a closed down, deserted ghost town; a toxic EPA Superfund site that poisoned and contaminated the Marines who worked here.
The flightline was the center of west coast Marine air operations, and the place where Col. Sabow and other pilots took off and landed in their fighter jets.
II. El Toro Colonel, Inquiry Target, Kills Himself
Colonel James E. Sabow, a high-ranking officer at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, tragically took his own life amid allegations of misusing a base plane for personal purposes. His body was discovered by his wife on the patio of their El Toro base home on Tuesday morning, confirming the devastating news. Col. Sabow, 51, served as an assistant chief of staff in charge of air operations.
Col. Sabow’s death came shortly after his suspension from duty, along with another senior officer, Col. Joseph E. Underwood, due to allegations of administrative abuses. While the military did not officially comment on the nature of the allegations, sources suggest that Col. Sabow’s case involved the unauthorized personal use of a twin-engine military plane for out-of-state trips. The exact number and reasons for these unauthorized trips on the C-12 Beechcraft plane remain unclear.
Col. Sabow, a Georgetown University graduate, held the position of assistant chief of operations at El Toro since August 1989. He was responsible for advising the base general and overseeing policies related to airfield activities, disaster control, and airspace usage in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. Col. Sabow worked directly under Col. Underwood, and they were also neighbors.
Col. Underwood, a 29-year Marine veteran, faced allegations of improper billing to the government for hotel and car rental expenses in connection with a military golf tournament held out of town. His wife, Jean Underwood, confirmed the accusations of unauthorized use of the C-12 Beechcraft for weekend golf trips to places like Northern California, Reno, and Las Vegas. However, she maintained that these trips were primarily intended to maintain her husband’s flight status and not solely for recreational purposes.
The investigation into the conduct of both Col. Sabow and Col. Underwood was prompted by an anonymous call to the El Toro base. Military investigators initiated the probe, leading to the suspension of both officers. The news of their suspensions and Col. Sabow’s tragic death deeply affected the personnel at El Toro, especially considering the ongoing deployment of Marines for Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia.
While Col. Underwood remained free to move around the base and await the completion of the investigation, officials refrained from commenting further on the matter. The Orange County coroner’s office and Naval Investigative Services were involved in examining the circumstances surrounding Col. Sabow’s death, which was determined to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Friends and colleagues of Col. Sabow were left searching for answers. They pointed to the tremendous pressure he faced as a career Marine, unable to cope with the prospect of the allegations becoming public. Col. Sabow’s unwavering dedication to the military and the devastating impact on his family were factors that friends believed may have contributed to his tragic decision.
The loss of Col. Sabow and the ongoing investigation cast a somber cloud over the El Toro community, as rumors swirled and emotions ran high. Despite the accusations, neighbors and friends stood by the character and integrity of both officers, asserting that they had done nothing wrong. The investigation would continue to unfold, leaving behind questions and profound grief within the Marine Corps community.
III. A half-century later, relatives pay tribute to Marines who died in El Toro crash
Fifty years after a tragic crash at El Toro, family members gather to honor and remember the Marines who lost their lives. Lisa Hollingsworth and her mother, Susan Deardoroff, hold a cherished photograph of Deardoroff’s late husband, Marine Lance Cpl. Alfred “Freddie” Peterson. With gratitude, Deardoroff expresses her appreciation for the long-overdue honor and recognition bestowed upon Freddie and his fellow Marines. Their dedication and sacrifice will forever be remembered.
IRVINE – Doris Peterson had always wished to visit the location where her son tragically lost his life. Lance Cpl. Alfred Eugene Peterson, just 20 years old at the time, boarded an Air Force jet at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in 1965, bound for Okinawa via Hawaii as part of his deployment to the Vietnam War. Sadly, the C-135 Stratolifter crashed into Loma Ridge in dense fog, claiming the lives of all 84 men on board.
Despite her efforts to visit the crash site in the early 1980s, Doris Peterson was unable to gain access to the privately owned property. However, her granddaughter, Lisa Hollingsworth, is fulfilling her grandmother’s wish. Hollingsworth, born nine months after her parents’ marriage, will be visiting the crash site along with about 50 other individuals, mostly family members of those who perished in the tragedy.
During the visit, a Marine pastor will offer a prayer, a wreath will be laid, and relatives will place small stones inscribed with the names of the deceased on the ground. This gathering marks the first of its kind since the crash occurred 50 years ago. The initiative to organize this memorial event was led by Jordan Fourcher, a Boy Scout who sought to establish a memorial for the victims of the Loma Ridge crash, whose names were not inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
Pat Macha, a longtime aviation crash researcher, worked closely with Fourcher to bring attention to the crash site and ensure the fallen Marines receive proper recognition. Macha, who has been involved in similar memorials in the past, helped connect Fourcher with relatives of the victims. The event will serve as a poignant remembrance and a way to honor the sacrifice made by these brave Marines.
The dedication ceremony of Fourcher’s project, an interactive memorial kiosk, will take place at the Orange County Great Park. The kiosk will feature the names, photos, and information of the victims, serving as a permanent tribute to their memory. The memorial is part of the park’s heritage and aviation exhibition, which opened recently.
While some relatives will attend the ceremony, others will remember and pay tribute to their loved ones from afar. The organizers encourage veterans who were stationed at the El Toro air base during that time to attend the event, providing an opportunity for families to connect with those who shared the same military experience.
IV. Mourning of the people and the government
The local community has shown profound sadness and heartfelt sympathy for those who lost their lives in the tragedy at Loma Ridge. The sacrifice of these brave Marines has evoked respect and gratitude, marking a somber chapter in the community’s history.
Citizens have come together to offer prayers and remembrance for the fallen. They understand that the lives of the affected families have been permanently altered, and the community’s support will be there for them during difficult times.
People also express their appreciation and respect to the dedicated advocates who have devoted their time and effort to organize this event. The collaboration and volunteerism of individuals like Jordan Fourcher and Pat Macha have created a platform for honoring and recognizing the sacrifices of these courageous servicemen.
While unable to attend the memorial ceremony, many individuals have sent their condolences and empathetic sentiments from afar. They recognize that this loss is not only a personal one but also a loss for the entire community and nation. Families and citizens are grateful and remember those who have been lost, never forgetting their selflessness.
As a community, we come together and share in the grief during this time. Our collective mourning and appreciation will always be with those who left us too soon. Let us show respect and remembrance, and always keep in mind the impact they made in making the world a better place.
V. Wacth video Marine Corps Colonel Suicide El Toro
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