When an L-5B came available for sale a while back, we became interested in it because it had combat history. The L-5B had a ‘war diary’ with its paperwork, that showed the squadron of L-5Bs had been delivered to Marine unit VM04 in Sept of 1944, in Hawaii. Records note the squadron then shipped to Saipan and on to Iwo Jima, in support of the historic invasion, February, 1945. A name appearing frequently in the logbooks was ‘Lt. T. Rozga.’ Curious, members of the hangar gang at Cable began making inquiries, and located a Thomas Rozga, now 88 years old, in Florida who flew L-5Bs on Iwo Jima 65 years ago.
Thomas Rozga was suprised to hear this little airplane still existed, and arrangements were made for Mr. Rozga to come to California and fly this L-5B once again. When we purchased the L-5B, it carried Marine OY-1 markings, but didnt have military nose art. Mr. Rozga’s son, Tom Jr. , sent the picture (above), of his dad standing next to the L-5B ‘Lady Satan’. Before Mr. Rozga’s arrival, we (Terri Polley) re-painted ‘Lady Satan’ on the cowling, just as it was in WWII.
Mr. Rozga, with his two sons Tom and John, visited Cable Airport, and Tom Sr. sat in the L-5B, exactly 65 years to the day, after the invasion of Iwo Jima. Mike Polley took Tom up, who took the stick and flew for a while, before Mike landed back at Cable airport. Mr. Rozga, over lunch, related to us the various missions he took in this L-5B, including a hair-raising night mission where he flew the southern beach of Iwo Jima, scouting enemy positions while 16 inch rounds whistled around him from US battleships pounding the island.
We were honored to attend the Iwo Jima Survivor’s Banquet with Mr. Rozga, Tom and John Rozga at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, CA. on Saturday, Feb 20th, 65 years plus 3 days of D-Day, Iwo Jima.
To read the full article, go to the MARCH issue of the CABLEGRAM at http://www.cableairport.com/cablegram/march/Page_4.html