Paul J. Fontana Papers, 1933-1973

Manuscript Collection #278

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Paul J. Fontana Papers
    Creator: Fontana, Paul J.
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: 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.
    Extent: 0.1103 Cubic feet, 44 items , including correspondence, reports, war diaries, photographs, citations, certificates, and military orders.
  • Description

    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.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    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.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    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.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Morgan, Robert (Hon.)
    Gift of Donald R. Lennon

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

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

    Preferred Citation

    Paul J. Fontana Papers (#278), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by M. Quintanilla, December 1986

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

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Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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