Paul J. Fontana Papers

1933-1973, 1997
Manuscript Collection #278
Fontana, Paul J.
Physical description
0.1103 Cubic Feet, 44 items , including correspondence, reports, war diaries, photographs, citations, certificates, and military orders.
Preferred Citation
Paul J. Fontana Papers (#278), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1933-1973) of U. S. Marine Corps aviation officer (Major Gen.) who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and who retired as commander of the Cherry Point, NC Marine Air Station, including correspondence, reports, war diaries, citations, certificates, and military records. See also related Oral History #30.

Biographical/historical information

Major General Paul J. Fontana, as a U.S. Marine Corps officer, participated in three international conflicts: World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War. During World War II, Fontana served in the Pacific Campaign against Japan and distinguished himself in his role during the capture of Guadalcanal (Nov., 1942) and the Okinawa campaign (Jan.-June, 1945). During the Korean Conflict, Fontana served as a lieutenant colonel and participated in the attacks on Yong Dong Po, Korea, and the operations at Wonsan. Between the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War, Fontana served in the Pentagon for two years (1960-1962) as Deputy Director for Operations. In 1964 he served briefly in the Vietnam War as commander of the First Marine Aircraft Wing in Japan, before taking command of the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station (1964-1973). When Fontana retired from active service in 1973, he had received numerous awards and medals, including the Army Silver Star Medal, the Legion of Merit, and and the Bronze Star.

Scope and arrangement

This collection consists primarily of Major General Fontana's correspondence (1933–1973), photographs, diaries (1942–1943), and certificates. The correspondence is composed of reports and military orders, as well as formal correspondence and is primarily concerned with his activities as commanding officer of the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina, and a controversy concerning appropriate medals to be awarded prior to his retirement.

Of particular interest are two World War II official unit war diaries for Marine Fighting Squadron 112, Marine Aircraft Group Eleven, stationed near Noumea, New Caledonia. The diaries cover the period between 13 October 1942 and 12 June 1943 and provide daily coverage of Marine air strikes at targets on Guadalcanal, Savo Island, Florida Islands, Russell Islands, Sealark Channel, and elsewhere in the area. Included are the names of personnel making flights, details of aerial and surface battles, names and numbers of those lost and wounded, duration of battles and patrols, the number of enemy downed, and the battle "scores" for individual fighter pilots.

Also included are official photographs of General Fontana and other officials along with citations and certificates reflecting his various awards.

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 13, 1975, 43 items, 0.110 cubic feet; Papers (1933-1973), including correspondence, reports, war diaries, photographs, citations, and military orders.

November 26, 1991, (unprocessed unnumbered addition); Speech files and copies of personal correspondence while SBI director. Donor: Morgan, Robert (Hon.).

October 24, 2001, (unprocessed addition 1), 1 item, 0.0003 cubic feet; "Retired Cherry Point general WWII flying ace dies at age 85," Daily Reflector [Greenville, NC] Obituary clipping (3/2/1997). Rec'd 10/23/2001 Donor: Donald R. Lennon.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Morgan, Robert (Hon.)

Gift of Donald R. Lennon

Processing information

Processed by M. Quintanilla, December 1986

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Related material

Paul J. Fontana Oral History Interview (#OH0030), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Key terms
Personal Names
Fontana, Paul J.
Corporate Names
United States. Marine Corps--Officers
United States. Marine Fighter Squadron, 112th--History
Guadalcanal, Battle of, Solomon Islands, 1942-1943
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, American
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Japan--Okinawa Island
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Area
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
World War, 1939-1945--Regimental histories--United States
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (N.C.)