in September of that year having returned to Espiritu Santo from recuperation from broken bones caused by a fist fight, he lacked a squadron assignment, so he set up one of his own. Utilizing the unused designation VMF-214, he assembled his unit from unassigned F4U's and unassigned pilots like himself. Some of the latter - though not all - were facing disciplinary action for various minor infractions and this played into the myth that 214 was a band of misfits and outcast. This is actually something the squadron always denied but curiously were quite happy to accept the epithet, 'Black Sheep Squadron'.
The following 12 weeks after their formation was the best they were to have, scoring 94 aerial victories and 100 or so on the ground. Boyington himself would shoot down 19 of this total including 5 in one day.
On Jan 3 '44 over Kahili he added three more to his total of 25 (includes 6 in China) before being himself shot down by Masajiro Kawato of the 253rd Kokutai, a 19 victory ace. Boyington was picked up by a Japanese sub and was lucky he wasn't decapitaited. Instead he was held captive for the next 20 months mainly at Ofuna Japan as a 'special' prisoner and received some rough treatment as such. (see Jolie's movie about the B-24 ex olympic runner).
Assumed dead, he was posthumously awarded the MoH plus the Navy Cross. Upon repatriation he became the object of intense media attention and the Corps promoted him to Lt Col and sent him around to sell war bonds and all things partiotic. Started well but fell flat at the end when he continually showed up drunk.
Boyington left the service in '47 as a bird and tried his hand at all sorts of jobs including draught beer salesman and a referee for wrestling matches. He finished 'Baa Baa Blacksheep in '57 and died on Jan 11th '88.
In the air he was an extraordinary pilot and a skilled squadron leader. On the ground, however, he drank heavily, broke all the rules and was for the most part a pugilistic thug who could not avoid a fist fight. So who else could play him but Robert Conrad?
An interesting note about VMF-214 was their association with Major League Baseball. VMF-214 pilots were to receive a cap from a World Series player for every Japanese aircraft shot down.