Skydive Hawaii Presents Colonel John Bates and the Flying Leathernecks

Flying Leathernecks history:

In the Spring of 2003, while stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, I would skydive most weekends at Skydive Elsinore, about an hour north-east of the base.  A US Marine had died (elderly; natural causes) and his family had asked if his ashes could be released in the air on a skydive.  Col Bob Wagner USMC, good friend and fellow skydiver, agreed that we needed to honor the family request.  We did.  A few months later, we were asked to do the same for another Marine who had also been a skydiver.  We needed a name for our ad hoc team …. so we unashamedly stole the name “Flying Leathernecks” from the Metro Goodwin Mayer movie of the same name that starred John Wayne.

We have never been “organized” or even sanctioned as an official team.  The membership nearly always varies from jump to jump.  Although “doing business as” the Flying Leathernecks, we do not jump for profit.  We jump for expenses only; and try to keep that very minimal – as we are doing for the Kailua Fireworks Show. We have grown into jumping in recognition of America’s wounded warriors and Gold Star families who have suffered so much.

At present, we have few of the members that are active duty or retired Marines.  However, all members are great Americans that want to honor our past and present service members.

For public requests of John Bates and the Flying Leathernecks for an appropriate exhibition Skydive, please email John Bates at

(Colonel John Bates and the Flying Leathernecks Air Show to be determined by weather conditions the day of show)



KailuaFireworksNew Show Feature: John Bates and the Flying Leathernecks