SANTA ANA — Col. L.D. (Doc) Everton, commanding officer of the first fighter squadron commissioned at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, died Friday of cancer at his Santa Ana home. He was 75.
Everton earned dozens of military awards and medals during a 30-year career which began in 1933 when he entered the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Nebraska, according to his sons, Todd and Mark Everton.
In 1937, he accepted a commission in the Army Reserve, but resigned from the position two years later to enlist in the Marine Corps to become a pilot, the sons said Tuesday.
Less than a year after finishing flight training, Everton flew in defense of Midway Island when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, they said.
During the World War II, he received the Navy Cross for shooting down 10 enemy planes over Guadalcanal between August and October, 1942, they said. He also earned a Distinguished Flying Cross and was credited eventually with 13 enemy aircraft and one probable, his sons said, adding that Everton earned a Purple Heart for his combat wounds.
In 1943, Everton was assigned as commanding officer of VMF-113, the first fighter squadron to be commissioned at El Toro, his sons said.
Later in his career, Everton served as commanding officer of a training detachment at Los Alamitos Naval Air Station, was with an intelligence division in Washington, a Marine air wing in Japan, as a commanding officer of the Marine Barracks at Bremerton, Wash., and back at El Toro where he served as chief of staff until his retirement in 1967, his sons said.
In addition to his sons, Everton is survived by his wife of 48 years, Dolores; two grandchildren, a brother and two sisters.
Graveside memorial services will be held today at 11 a.m. at El Toro Memorial Park. It is requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the MCAS El Toro Historical Foundation, MCAS El Toro, Santa Ana, 92709.