NOTAM 01-2015 Staples

Golden Eagle NOTAM
Col Murray M. Staples, USMC (Ret)
Golden Eagle Emeritus

NOTAM 01-2015 (Staples)

Dear Golden Eagles,

It is my sad duty to inform you that Emeritus Member, Col Murray M. Staples, USMC (Ret),  made his Last Take-Off on 6 January 2015 in Riverside, CA. Murray was born in Marceline, MO, on March 11, 1919 to Nathan Minor Staples and Emma Sue Washburn Staples. He is survived by his 4 children; Richard, David, Gregory Staples and Mary Sue Staples Aldrich and 3 grandchildren.  According to his son David, he was ready to go and he made a peaceful transition to his next assignment. Murray was one of the few "three war marines" remaining in The Golden Eagles. His wife of 65 years, Mary Zoe Staples predeceased him on  February 6, 2014 and was buried at Riverside National Cemetery last February. Murray will be buried next to his wife at Riverside National Cemetery on January 30, 2015 at 2:00 PM with a service and celebration held on January 31 at Air Force Village West at 3:30 PM, also in Riverside.

His father, a Santa Fe railroad conductor, gave him his lifelong love of travel. Murray joined the USMC in August 1942 and he applied to flight training, but was apparently assigned to artillery because his first degree was in chemistry. He attended class #9, 14th ROTC, Artillery School at Quantico. From 1943 to 1945 he was an Artillery Officer, 1st Marine Division, and he fought in New Guinea, New Britain, Peleliu, and Okinawa in WWII. He commanded K Battery, 4th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment on Okinawa. He entered flight training in 1946 and earned his wings in October 1947. He made two Med cruises from 48 -50, flying F4U-4’s aboard USS Midway and USS Leyte in VFMA-224 and 225. In 1951, he served in VMF-311, in Korea where he flew 81 combat missions in F9F-2 aircraft.  He graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School Class #9, NATC Patuxent River, and served in the Flight Test Division until mid-55. He commanded VMF-311 in 56-57 and he was next assigned as Assistant G-3, 1st Marine Air Wing, Iwakuni, Japan.

He continued his education in 62 and 63 at the Naval Post Graduate School, earning his BS in Aeronautical Engineering.  He was Head, Air Weapons System Branch, DCS/Air, HQMC, (OP-52M) from mid-63 through 65.  In 66, he was CO, Marine Aircraft Group 33, El Toro and then assigned as Assistant J-1, COMUSMACV, Force Development Division, Saigon, Vietnam. He was CO, NROTC Unit at the University of Notre Dame from 6/69 -5/72 where he earned his MS in Aerospace Engineering. He retired in May 1973 after his last assignment as Community Plans and Liaison Officer, MCAS El Toro. His combat awards include: Legion of Merit with combat "V" (Vietnam), DFC (Korea), 4 Air Medals (Korea), Purple Heart WWII, (New Britain 1943) and 2 Presidential Unit Citations, 1st MARDIV,  (Peleliu and Okinawa).

From 1973 -87, Murray worked as an engineer at Northrup Aircraft where he headed the F-5 Cockpit Design Team, served as Project Engineer for Swiss and Saudi F-5 fighter programs, and wound up as Deputy Program Director for Technical Operations on the F-20 fighter program. He was a Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and thought it a great honor to be a member of The Golden Eagles.   Murray traveled to some 45 countries and never slowed down. At age 94, he was driving his Porsche when other drivers noticed smoke and honked at him to pull over. The Porsche burned up. He came home, had his usual cocktail, called it a day and never drove again.  Another member of the Greatest Generation has left us behind.  He will be missed.

In Sadness,
Don Boecker-Pilot