VPNAVY VP-5 Mercury Capsule Recovery
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HistoryCASU HistoryHistory

Circa 1999

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The History Of Naval Air Station Barbers Point...Naval Air Station Barbers Point Disestablishment Ceremony...July 1, 1999 Brochure..." Contributed by Bob Zafran vpfourever@gmail.com [20JUL99]

Past Tenant Commands

Commander, Barrier Force, Pacific (CBFP)
Commander, Fleet Air Hawaii (CFAH)
Commander, Patrol Wing TWO (CPW-2)
Airborne Early Warning Barrier Squadron TWO (VPW-2)
Airborne Early Warning Wing, Pacific (AEWWP)
Aviation Physiology Training Unit/Aviation Survival Training Center
Fleet Aircraft Carrier Service Unit TWO (CASU-2)
Fleet Carrier Unit TWO (FACU-2)
Fleet Air Wing TWO (FAW-2)
Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron THREE (VQ-3)
Fleet Tactical Support Squadron TWENTY-ONE (VR-21)
Fleet Utility/Composite Squadron ONE (VU-1/VC-1)
Patrol Squadron ONE (VP-1)
Patrol Squadron SIX (VP-6)
Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VP-17)
Patrol Squadron TWENTY-TWO (VP-22)
Patrol Squadron TWENTY-EIGHT (VP-28)
B Company, 214 Aviation Regiment

Tenant Commands at Station Closure

Commander, Patrol Wings U.S. Pacific Fleet (CPWP)
Branch Medical Clinic
Branch Dental Clinic
Fleet Aviation Specialized Operations Training Group Detachment (FASO)
Fleet Imaging Center Pacific (FICP)
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) THIRTY-SEVEN (HSL-37)
Naval Aviation Engineering Service Unit Detachment (NAESU)
Naval Security Group Detachment (NSGD)
Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment (NAVPACMETOC DET)
Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4)
Patrol Squadron NINE (VP-9)
Patrol Squadron FORTY-SEVEN (VP-47)
Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit TWO (VPU-2)
297th Air Traffic Control Squadron (ATCS)
U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point (CGAS)

Circa 1978

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1978 "...Squadron Insignia - Naval Aviation News - December 1978..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1978/dec78.pdf [09OCT2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

Circa 1964

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "03JAN44--Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN was commissioned at 1000 on January 3, 1944 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia; in accordance with CominCh Confidential letter 03974 of November 9, 1943; and ComAirLant letter of November 30, 1943. Lt. Comdr. Kenneth A. Kuehner, USNR, of Minster, Ohio, was designated as commanding officer of the squadron, which was temporarily based at Norfolk awaiting the assignment of officers, men and aircraft. At the time of commissioning six members of the squadron were on hand, the skipper, two other officers, and three enlisted men. On January 11th VP-17 was transferred to NAS Harvey Point, Hertford, North Carolina, for fitting out and shakedown training. The first airplane, a PBM-3D, was received on January 22nd and flight operations commenced on the 24th. As more pilots, crews and planes arrived, the training program increased progressively. The squadron remained at NAS Harvey Point, Hertford, North Carolina until the middle of April. From March 31st to April 9th a detachment of 11 crews under the command of Lt. jg Coyle was sent to Key West, Florida for training in anti-submarine warfare. About the middle of April the squadron moved by plane and rail to the West Coast. NAS Harvey Point, Hertford, North Carolina was a good operating area, although limited transportation and liberty did not make it the best area for personal enjoyment. As a result the squadron was pleased rather than annoyed by ComAirLant secret dispatch transferring it to ComFair Alameda, California. By April 24th VP-17 began its transfer to Alameda, via Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas and San Diego, California. En route to San Diego on May 3rd Lt. J. H. Dornbox and his crew were forced to parachute to safety near Palo Alto. The Squadron did not spend much time at Alameda. The first two planes departed NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on April 30th. Lt. Swanson and Lt. Roberts being PPC's. Complete squadron transfer to Fleet Air Wing Two, however, was not completed until May 31st, which gave most of the squadron considerable time to enjoy the comforts of NAS Alameda, California and ample provisions for good liberty afforded in San Franciso and Oakland. At NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for three months from June 1st to September 1st the squadron underwent intensive training in anti-submarine warfare, and completed final training in all phases of PBM operations. During this time VP-17 flew 117 operational patrols in the Hawaiian area. Conditions of living and recreation at NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii were fine for both officers and men. Operating conditions were very suitable although usual quirks were encountered of a minor nature, including a forced shallow water landing by Lt. Healy on July 25th causing minor hull damage, and one plan, Lt. Temple, PPC, running aground on a reef in Kaneohe Bay on August 1st. During the period June 1st to September 1st the squadron received two officers, one enlisted man, plus seven planes temporarily attached. Through transfers two officers and one plane were detached. Several weeks before departure to the forward area a squadron party was held on the beach near BOQ with ample supply of steaks, barbeque, baked beans and beer. A softball game between the officers and enlisted men was the highlight of the afternoon. On September 1st the Skipper leading 5 planes left Kanaohe for Ebeye, Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. This squadron movement was performed exactly as scheduled, 5 planes departing NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii each day for three days. The entire movement was completed without incident, which was considered more than satisfactory. This Movement to Task Force 59 at Ebeye was the transition point between training and action. The squadron was the last moving toward the forward area. On September 5th a 5 plane detachment was sent to Eniwetck for duty with VP-21 were it flew 11 negative searches and one photo reconnaissance hop over Wake Island. This detachment returned on the 13th receiving high praise for its work, the subject of a letter of commendation from the commanding officer VP-21 to ComAirPac. The Balance of the squadron meanwhile was awaiting orders to a more forward area. Lt. Coyle with a 3 plane section flew to Saipan on September 11th. A week later the remainder of the squadron transferred to Saipan and moved aboard the U. S. S. Hamlin (AV-15) in the outer harbor at Tenapag. While taking off from Ebeye Lt. Temple hit a submerged object, seriously damaging the hull of his plane. CASU 18 did a fine job in effecting emergency repairs so that the plane could be flown to NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for replacement. Lt. Temple later rejoined the squadron at Saipan. Administration was moved to Saipan September 18th. At Tanapag the Squadron flew 34 search, 18 dumbo and 4 cargo missions. Included in these flights were hops to Iwo Jima and Chici. While on one of the cargo missions to Kossol Passage, Palau, Lt. W. R. Lasser sighted an enemy submarine, but Seventeen's first enemy sighting proved fruitless. Being on a cargo mission, Lt. Lasser was carrying no bombs or depth charges, therefore allowing the submarine to submerge unharmed. On October 1, 1944 Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN had its designation changed to Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTEEN. The squadron moved from the U. S. S. Hamlin to the U. S. S. Curtis (AV-4) on October 6th and remained there for a week prior to departing for Ulithi Atoll in the Western Caroline Islands. On October 9th Lt. J. L. Leidecker took on advance detachment of six crews to Ulithi. Based on the USS Onslow (AVP-48) the detachment flew night anti-submarine patrols. When the balance of the squadron moved to Ulithi on October 13th it based aboard the U. S. S. Hamlin. Operations at Ulithi continued until December 24th and included just about everything in the books for PBM's. During this period SEVENTEEN flew 2,932 operational hours which comprised day and night anti-submarine patrols, convoy coverage, mail runs, photo-reconnaissance missions, transport flights, coverage for landing operations and Dubo missions. While at Ulithi VPB-17 encountered some of its more unusual experiences. On a night coverage flight, Lt. G. H. Gile lost 18 inches off one propeller blade and was forced to make a single engine open sea landing in high seas, (20 to 30 foot swells). His damaged plane was rescued by the U. S. S. ONSLOW and towed 250 miles back to Ulithi. One hundred and four nights and eighty day patrols, which included reconnaissance of Yap Island were flown in this period. One Japanese prisoner was taken during a mission covering landings on Ngulu. Escort flights consisted of 27 flights which included a flight by Lt. Whelan on December 15, plus flights on December 19th and December 21st by Lt. Comdr. Coyle and Lt. Temple on the U. S. S. Reno, U. S. S. Houston, and the U. S. S. CANBARRA, which had been damaged by the enemy action. Mail runs were made between Saipan, Palau, Ngulu and Ulithi and 4 Dumbo flights were flown to NAS Agana, Guam and Woleai. For five days beginning November 5th 13 planes were evacuated without incident to Saipan because of typhoon conditions at Ulithi. On December 24th, 25th, and 26th the squadron moved back to Tanapag Harbor Saipan, and base aboard the U. S. S. YAKULAT (AVP-32) until the U. S. S. HAMLIN arrived on the 29th. It remained at Saipen until January 19, 1945. During this period 3 ASP flights were flown daily for a total of 556 hours. All patrols flown were with negative results; so the squadron was pleased to receive FAW-1 orders transferring it to Kossol Roads, Palau. On January 20, 1945, 5 planes departed for Kossola Roads. Operations at Palau were conducted from the USS Kenneth Whiting (AV-14]. Thirty-six day searches and seven night anti-sub patrols were flown. Operating conditions at Kossol Roads were generally very poor due to extremely high seas. Many planes were damaged by boats and rough water take-offs. Lt. D. N. Brown of Ortonville, Minnesota lost a float and submerged his wing on a take-off in rough water. However, by exceptional skill he managed to get his plane airborne and later affected a safe landing. The excellent work and efficiency of the USS Kenneth Whiting (AV-14] saved one plane with a hole in her hull below the waterline. A plane already on the deck had to be put over the side before the damaged plane could be brought aboard - an excellent piece of work. On February 5th VPB-17 once again moved to Ulithi; this time to the U. S. S. CHANDLELEUR (AV-10) for inspection of planes, and then to the USS Kenneth Whiting (AV-14] which did the actual maintenance. From February 12th to 15th pursuant to ComAirPac orders the squadron moved to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, P.I., aboard the USS Currituck II (AV-7) . On February 20th the squadron moved to the U. S. S. SAN PABLO (AVP-30), after having sent a detachment of planes and crews to Lingayen. This Nucleus of the squadron remained aboard the U. S. S. SAN PABLO until March 31st and then moved ashore to NAB, Jinamoc for the first three weeks of April. While based in San Pedro Bay the squadron flew 165 missions totaling 934 hours. Sixteen airmen were rescued at sea and 110 persons were transported, including Lt. General Eichelberger, U.S.A., Commanding General 8th Army. Missions included photo reconnaissance, cargo flights, supplying guerillas, dumbo for army and marine air strikes, landing operations and air-sea rescue. There were also pre-invasions bombings of Iloilo, San Carlos, Panay, Zamboanga, Davoa and Malabang, Mindanao, Cebu-Negros, and Legaspi, Luzon by VPB-17. Squadron planes flew dumbo missions on the days of invasion of the above mentioned cities and islands also. On the second day of the invasion of Iloilo, Lt. Johnson lost an engine and was forced to land several miles north of Iloilo. An LST towed the plane to a safe area among invasion craft, where it was stripped of all salvageable parts and equipment and then sunk. Complete cooperation was given the crew by the landing craft officers and men present. There were several flights of interest and significance during this period which are worthy of mention.. Lt. J. A. Wallace of Alberta, Canada on February 19th made an open sea landing in swells of from 15 to 20 feet, off the southeast coast of Samar and picked up 1st Lt. Dan T. Doyle, 028241, and F4U pilot. The next day Lt. G. D. Mulford of Woodbury, New Jersey transported 1500 pounds of supplies to guerilla forces on Palawan and picked up Cpl. Elmo S. Deal, U. S. Army, who had been a prisoner of war since the fall of Corregidor. On the 22nd Lt. Alan Washinton, Nashville, Tennessee evacuated 14 battle casualties of the 182nd Infantry Division from Behind enemy lines near Allen on the northwest tip of Samar. At the same time blood plasma was delivered to the Army Medical Officer in command. Lt. D. N. Brown flew a photo reconnaissance hop over Jap held Ticao and Burias Islands off southwestern Luzon on the 26th of February. This flight was in preparation for a subsequent successful Army landing. On March 1st Lt. Comdr K. A. Kuehner, the squadron commander, and Lt. Wallace evacuated 2nd Lt. J. B. Lampe and his crew of 11 from a downed B-24 at Davao, Minanao. This mission, deep into enemy territory was completed without assistance of fighter cover. Lt. C. M. Nixon evacuated Major P. B. May, Commanding Officer Marine Fighting Squadron 211 and Major Teafilo Rivera, Regimental Commander of 130th Infantry Guerilla Force from the same location. Invaluable intelligence material was received form this guerilla leader. On March 26th Lt. Bouchard of Los Angeles flew two 8th Army Intelligence officers and Lt. General Eichelberger from headquarters to Cebu and returned the General on the 28th. When the Skipper and six crews went ashore on April 1st from the U. S. S. Pablo to Jinamoc Island to continue air-sea rescue operations it marked the first time since leaving NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that any part of the Squadron was shore based despite undeveloped and limited facilities the squadron personnel thoroughly enjoyed the welcome change and the cooperation and facilities afforded by the CASU and ACORN 30. While the squadron was at San Pedro a detachment of 6 planes and 8 crews under Lt. Comdr. Coyle of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was based at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon aboard the U. S. S. ORCA from February 14th until the middle of March when it moved by degrees to Puerta Princessa, Palawan aboard the USS Pocomoke (AV-9). Operations at Lingayen Gulf consisted of dumbo, air-sea rescue, evacuation, guerilla supply and photo reconnaissance flights, with primary emphasis on air-sea rescue. Of particular note was the rescue of February 20th by Lt. L. H. Roberts of Green County, Pennsylvania of two survivors of a ditched B-25 just south of North Island. He landed and took off in 30 knot winds with a cross swell running about 16 feet. On the 25th Lt. G. H. Gile of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and crew distinguished themselves by effecting two landings and take-offs 4 and 8 miles respectively from the southwest coast of Formosa. In the first landing Lt. Scott M. Alexander of a downed P-47 was rescued. On the second landing, although a wreckage of a P-51 was searched, the crew was unable to locate a survivor. Both landings and take-offs were made in 30 knot winds with 14 to 16 foot cross swells. Another flight of interest occurred on march 2nd when Lt. C. Mellerup, Cambridge, Massachusetts was called to the northwest coast of Formosa to pick up survivors of a downed B-25. After prolonged search he landed and rescued 2nd Lt. J. C. Discon, 2nd Lt. A. C. West and Sgt. D. D. Bowers of the 823rd Bombing Squadron. During his return flight Lt. Mellerup was tailed by an enemy fighter, but no attack was made. Field missions flown by this detachment included the delivery of supplies and scouts into unfriendly territory and evacuating wounded and other personnel from behind enemy lines. On May 9, 1945 the squadron received a letter from Walter Krueger, General, U. S. Army Commanding 6th Army commending them for the work of this detachment at Lingayen. With its work at Lingayen complete this detachment was transferred March 9th to 18th to Palawan where it flew searches in the South China Sea. On March 20th the squadron was augmented by its first two replacement crews. Recreation at Purta Princessa was excellent and the squadron had numerous baseball games and beer parties with the USS Pocomoke (AV-9) and the U. S. S. ORCA ship's company. On March 18th the squadron was disposed as follows: 6 planes on U. S. S. SAN PABLO, 3 planes at Jinamoc, 1 plane at Lingayen, 4 planes at Palawan. From this time forward until April 22nd the squadron crews and planes were shifted about detachments throughout this area. The month at Palawan went all too fast before the detachment received the call to rejoin the squadron and report to the U. S. S. TANGIER (AV-8) at Lingayen Gulf for Black Cat duty. On April 22nd the squadron moved from Jinamoc to Lingayen Gulf where it went aboard the U. S. S. TANGIER. From this time on until June 29th the primary mission of the squadron was night reconnaissance or Black Catting along the China Coast and the western coast of Formosa. This area was covered by two sectors, one extending from Swatow, China to Hainan, and east along the shipping lanes from Hainan Straits; the other from Hong Kong, to Foochow, China, to the northern tip of Formosa and along the western Formosa Coast. The direction in which the sectors were flown was determined by the most effective use of moonlight. These missions were flown to intercept enemy shipping which ventured under cover of darkness into the waters and bays of the China Sea. Flights took off from Lingayen Gulf with 2500 gallons of gasoline, four 250 pound and six 100 pound G. P. Bombs, 3400 rounds of .50 cal. Ammunition and six to eight 25 pound fragmentation bombs. Take-off time varied according to the hours of darkness, moonrise and prospective targets. It was always prior to darkness and flights returned after daylight on the following day. To insure that no flight would be delayed on take-off, all planes scheduled for flights and stand-by planes were water-tested every day in advance of departure time. The doctrine set forth for Black Cat missions was "plenty rugged." The first consideration after take-off was gasoline. It was necessary to conserve in every possible way. Low power settings were used constantly. The only difference between the attack run and the cruise was that the engines were put into auto-rich when in range of enemy fire. The flight to target area was maintained at an altitude of 250 feet or less and, once over the target area, altitude many times was lowered to absolute minimum in order to effect undetected attacks on enemy strongholds. Radar served as the eyes of the plane, guiding it in between and over numerous protruding rocks and islands which lined the coast. Entries into bays and rivers were made on radar. The attack run was guided by radar, the target often remained invisible until illuminated by the plane's .50 cal. Tracers. Radar operators, whether they were ordiancemen, mechs, or radioman, were soon able to distinguish between rocks, junks and prospective targets. No matter how proficient the radar operator, or how good the radar, there were no substitutes for contact flight under a full moon. Flights were completed in darkness, in fog, or in moonlight. It was not the policy to cancel flights or return to base because of weather. Fronts were usually entered without a change of heading, but at low altitude to avoid turbulence. The entire crew was unconsciously under continual strain. During the two months of Black Cat operations VPB-17 worked a heavy schedule and achieved remarkably good results in destruction and damage inflicted upon the enemy, considering the curtailment of Japanese shipping between the East Indies and Japan. Although there were numerous creditable attacks, there were a few in particular that were especially worthy of mention. On the night of May 18 and 19 in the sector between Formosa and the China Coast Lt. Warren B. Lasser of Waterloo, Iowa attacked a five ship convoy totaling 17,000 tons and completely destroyed it. One Fox Tar Baker, One Fox Tar Charlie and two Sugar Charlies were sunk and one Fox Tare Baker left burning furiously. The following night Lt. E. H. Ross of Shelbyville, Tennessee sank one and left two remaining Sugar Charlies down by the stern and listing to port. On May 28th Lt.jg J. Centa of Barberton, Ohio sank a Sugar Charlie. On June 23-24 Lt.jg Willie F. Sander of Brenham, Texas scored a clean sweep when he destroyed a 200 foot M/V and two Sugar Charlies by bombing and strafing, and later on the same flight sank two 150 foot 3-masted schooners with a single bomb hit. In the way of retaliation the enemy did some damage during the squadron's career of Black Catting. On May 26th Lt.jg F. W. Forman, Baltimore, Maryland failed to return from a mission. It was not until July that it was found that his plane had been shot down. The only survivors were Lt. Forman of Baltimore, Maryland and his co-pilot, Ens. R. S. Bunge, East Hartford, Conn. They made there way to the China Coast and, on the basis of their evasion and escape knowledge, located friendly Chinese who evacuated them inland to Kunming. Those lost included Ens. A. Ligrani, (A1), USNR, 419577; Cass, W. S., AOM3c(T), USNR, 565 75 01; Shoemake, C. M., AMM1c, USN, 295 82 35; Suck, G. R., AOM3c, USNR, 664 52 93; White, R. D., ARM3c(T), USNR, 816 25 08. On May 30th Lt.jg V. B. Moore sighted seven schooners with probable destruction of five before he ran out of ammunition and bombs. Another example of the accuracy of Japanese AA fire was the plane brought back to the squadron the morning of June 6th. That PBM had 380 holes in the after end of the plane, but miraculously enough there were no injuries or casualties among the personnel. On June 22, Lt. Edward Harmeyer sank one Sugar Dog and two Barges. On the same night Lt.jg G. R. Hauser of Yorkville, New York sank a Fox Tare Charlie. On June 25th Lt.jg E. Peterson of Marquette, Michigan sank a Sugar Charlie. On the night of June 28th the squadron's last Black Cat Missions were flown. While Lt.jg James B. Nourse of Wocester, Massachusetts was attacking a PC off the Pescadores Islands, enemy fire wounded his Mech, W. F. Snyder, AMM3c, of Passaic, New Jersey in the foot. Thus ended VPB-17s night sorties against the enemy. While the squadron was busy Black Catting the USS Currituck II (AV-7) steamed into Lingayen Gulf on June 24th. The following day VPB SEVENTEEN left the U. S. S. TANGIER and moved aboard the USS Currituck II (AV-7) . On the 16th the Squadron's new commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. Leeds D. Cutter, USNR, reported to replace "Skipper" Kuehner. The change of command ceremonies took place on June 21st with the squadron present in the hanger of the USS Currituck II (AV-7) . On June 29th VPB-17 ended its Black Cat operations and started its movement to Tawi Tawi in the Sulu Archipelago, off the coast of Borneo. As the main flight to Tawi Tawi was leaving Lingayen on June 30th the squadron suffered it first serious known operational loss. A few minutes after take-off, Lt. Comdr. Cutter had both engines fail and crashed three miles inland from Dasol Bay.The plane caught fire and was completely destroyed. Ensign Stadtler and six enlisted men were killed. Lt. Comdr. Cutter, pilot, Ensign Jensen and three men were badly burned. A few minutes later Lt. L. D. Hicks, USN, also had both engines of his PBM cut out but was fortunate in being able to reach Dasol Bay where he made a skillful landing without injury to anyone. Upon examination and investigation it was found that Lt. Hicks engine failure was caused by the presence of salt water in the gas tanks. It is presumed that Lt. Comdr. Cutter crash resulted from the same cause. With the exception of the crews involved in the emergency landings at Dasol Bay the squadron completed its transfer to the USS Pocomoke (AV-9) in Chongos Bay, Tawi Tawi between July 2nd and 4th. In the meantime while Black Catting was going on at Lingayen a detachment of three planes and crews headed by Lt. J. T. Whealan had been sent to Tawi Tawi on June 7th and had been augmented on the 14th by an additional three planes and crews. Although this detachment was originally based aboard the USS Pocomoke (AV-9), it moved to the U. S. S. HALF MOON (AVP-26) on the 11th where it remained until July 5th at which time it rejoined the squadron on the USS Pocomoke (AV-9). Operations at Tawi Tawi consisting almost entirely of anti-submarine patrols continued throughout July and August until VPB-17 was relieved of operational duties by VPB-25 on August 21st. Most of the ASP's were of a dull routine nature and all had negative results. Barrier patrols covering the Brunei and Balikpapah landings lent a spark of excitement, however, in an otherwise uninteresting operation. The searches or patrols from Tawi Tawi covered the convoy shipping lanes between Morotai and Borneo and extended south through Macassar Straits to the southern tip of the Celebes and Borneo. The Tawi Tawi operation provided the only submarine attack made by a plane of Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTEEN. On June 17th, 1945 Lt. J. T. Whelan, USNR of Rocky River, Ohio made a run on a RO class Japanese submarine and was credited with a class A attack and probable destruction of the enemy. On June 21st Lt. jg C. D. Heitert, while returning from a patrol through Macassar Straits heard a distress transmission and on his own initiative located and rescued Lt. Ferguson, U.S.A., and 10 survivors of a ditched Liberator attached to the 380th Bomber Group. Another air-sea rescue incident took place when Lt.jg W. O. Phillips of Easr Akron, Ohio and his crew sighted a survivor on a life raft west of Morotai. Lt.jg Phillips contacted a destroyer of a nearby convoy and directed it to the location of the survivor. Meanwhile two more life rafts were detected. As a result of this cooperation between air and surface craft Lt. Callison and four other members of an RAAF Liberator crew were rescued. In addition to anti-submarine patrols VPB-17 flew several missions at the request of in cooperation with Allied Intelligence Bureau. Most of these flights were of a transportation nature, carrying supplies and personnel from Morotai to guerilla groups on the coast of North Borneo. Capt. Chipper of the Australian Army often participated in these flights and was extremely helpful in supplying information about such places as Semporna, Labuan Island and Marudu Bay. Toward the end of the war in late July and early August these flights were made all the more interesting by the evacuation of prisoners of war who had been held captive by the Japanese in North Borneo." Contributed by Thomas Edwin Russell tompbm@aol.com

UPDATE "...My name is William Cass. I wrote a poem in memory of my great uncle who was killed on patrol in a PBM on May 25, 1945. I have attached a poem about the Purple Heart his mother received.. William Cass wscass69@speakeasy.org..." [Crew Added 09DEC2001 | 01DEC2001]

THE PURPLE HEART
By William Scott Cass in loving memory of William Stephen Cass
VP-17 History ThumbnailCameraCrew

Top Row from Left to Right: Marion Nutter, P. Orberdorffer, W.S. Cass, Chester Shoemake, Gerry Slick, Oliver Plumb Front Row from Left to Right: Ralph Halstead, Robert Bunge, Fredrick W. Forman, Amedo Ligrani, Robert White


At the bottom of the beautiful laden sea,

lies the grave of someone I knew, but never met.

He lived his life as a sailor, but he died as a savior.

The ones he left behind will always

remember his passing, he received a

blessing, that should be in red, not in purple.

The red would stand for the blood

spilt to receive it, the gold

figurehead stands for the First

Commander who gave it.

The colors that hold it stand for the

Glorious Country that cries each time it is given.

On the back of the medal the names are

scrolled to remember those who received it.

The shape is in that of a heart to show

where the true idea of giving it came from.

The purple and gold are in memory of

where you may be now, and where we

someday may join you.

Circa 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Regarding aircraft attached to FASRON-3 - I was transferred there from Aviation Electrician's School (NATTC NAS Memphis, Tennessee) in July of 1949 as an Aviation Electrician Airman and was transferred out to USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) in March of 1953 as an AE2 (to be advanced to AE1). The aircraft I remember were: SNJ, SNB, TBM, TBG, TBF, F4U, F6F, F8F, SBD (the US gave a squadron to the French Navy), AD, and the most memorable one to me was the XBTD-2 (the prototype for the AD. It had the most screwed up electrical system as it was used as a test bed). For jets I remember the FH1, FH2 and the A3D. FASRON-3 was originally CASU-21..." Contributed by AEC Allen McCroskey, Retired amccroskey@woh.rr.com [21FEB2002]


Circa 1947

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News January 1947 "...Rocket Switch Corrosion Licked - Page 31 - Naval Aviation News - January 1947..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1947/jan47.pdf [16JUL2004]

History

Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "11JUL46...To establish clear-cut relationships for aircraft maintenance, the Chief of Naval Operations directed the disestablishment of all CASU's and other maintenance units and their replacement by Fleet Aircraft Service Squadrons by 1 January. The new FASRON's were to be of three kinds according to aircraft types serviced, and were designed to promote higher standards and greater uniformity and efficiency in aircraft maintenance..." http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/avchr6.htm [19MAR99]


Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...PBY BUNO: 63993 USN History Card..." WebSite: Yahoo PBY Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBY/ [11FEB2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...10 JAN 1945 - Comdr. John Donovan, USNR, assumed command of CASU-24..." WebSite: Naval Air Station Wildwood http://www.usnasw.org/Chron.htm [07NOV2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...Island Repair Work - Naval Aviation News - July 1945.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1945/15jul45.pdf [10NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...Naval Aviation Advanced Bases - Naval Aviation News - June 1945.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1945/1jun45.pdf [10NOV2004]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...CASU - Naval Aviation News - April 1945.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1945/1apr45.pdf [10NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...CASU Borseights On Water Range - Naval Aviation News - January 1945.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1945/1jan45.pdf [10NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraSquadron History "...Information from Odis Homer Strickland (FAW-6, CASU-7, NAS Hutchinson, Kansas, NAS Jacksonville, Florida, VP-45 and VPB-136)..." WebSite: EBay http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/goodjunquebin [27NOV2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 11 Jan 1944..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [29SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU

PATSU

VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7, VJ-8, VJ-9, VJ-10, VJ-11, VJ-12, VJ-13, VJ-14, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-16, VP-17, VP-18 and VP-19

VP-20, VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52 and VP-54

VP-61 and VP-62

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-115, VP-116 and VP-117

VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

VP-150 and VP-151

VP-201, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...21 APR 1944 - Radar training transferred to NAS Cape May, New Jersey as CASU-24 detachment..." WebSite: Naval Air Station Wildwood http://www.usnasw.org/Chron.htm [07NOV2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...CASU Simplifies Trouble Shooting - Naval Aviation News - September 1944..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1944/15sep44.pdf [07NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...CASU - Naval Aviation News - July 1944..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1944/1sep44.pdf [07NOV2004]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...VB-104 Gets Unit Citation - CASU Has Safety Equipment - Naval Aviation News - July 1944..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1944/15aug44.pdf [07NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...CASU Solves Difficult Problem - Naval Aviation News - May 1944..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1944/15may44.pdf [06NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...United States Pacific Fleet Air Force Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred Eight..." Contributed by Jeff H. Olsen j.olsen@ssamarine.com [09MAY2000]

United States Pacific Fleet
Air Force
Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred eight
Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, Calif
31 august 1945

Subject: Summary Operations, Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred Eight

1. Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred eight was reformed at the U. S. Naval Air Station, Alameda, Calif., on 0 September, 1944, under the Command of Liut. Comdr. John E. Muldrow, USN. On 9 May 1945 Lieut. Comdr. Muldrow was shot down while leading a strike on Marcus Island and was officially reported Missing in Action. On 9 May 1945 Lieut. Comdr. Robert C. Lefever, USN, assumed the Command of the squadron.

2. Deployment of the squadron to date has been as follows:

20SEP44-16OCT44
Alameda, Calif
Reforming
Fleet Air Wing EIGHT

17OCT44-18JAN45
Cros Landing, Calif
Training
Fleet Air Wing EIGHT

19JAN45-12MAR45
Kaneohe, T. H.
Training
Fleet Air Wing TWO

16MAR45-04APR45
Peleliu
Offensive Search
Fleet Air Wing ONE
Antisub patrols

04APR45-15APR45
Tinian
Offensive Search
Fleet Air Wing ONE

15APR45-03MAY45
Tinian & Iwo Jima
Offensive Search
Fleet Air Wing ONE
Antisub patrols

04MAY45-09MAY45
Tinian & Iwo Jima
Offensive Search
Fleet Air Wing EIGHTEEN
Antisub patrols

09MAY45-03JUN45
Tinian
Offensive Search
Fleet Air Wing EIGHTEEN

03JUN45-31AUG45
Iwo Jima
Offensive Search
Fleet Air Wing EIGHTEEN
Air-Sea Rescue
Antisub patrols
Fleet Barrier Patrols



3. At its maximum complement the squadron was composed of (18) eighteen Flight Crews, six (6) Ground Officers, one (1) Ground Chief, two (2) Yeoman, and three (3) aviation radio technicians. The squadron did not receive its full authorized complement of (18) eighteen flight crews and (15) fifteen PB4Y-2 aircraft until December 1944, two and a half months after it was reformed. A second ACI Officer and a RCM officer reported for duty on 24 of February 1945 and 12 March 1945 respectively. The Radar Officer was detached from this Command on the 26 MAY 1945. A squadron of this size, while operation in the forward area, requires the services of three (3) instead of two (2) Yeoman to handle the immense amount of paperwork, including Action Reports, Recommendations for Awards, Personnel Reports.

4. Following is a summary of Combat Operations from 15 March 1945 to 31 August 1945:

FLIGHT

Combat Missions
731
Hours in Combat MissionsTest and Miscellaneous FlightHours on Test and Miscellaneous FlightsTotal Number of FlightsTotal Hours Flown
LAND TARGETS
DESTROYED

1 Government Building
1 Warehouse
1 Radio and Weather Station
Barracks
Harbor Facilities
Boat Repair Basin

DAMAGED
1 Airstrip
8 Radio Stations
5 Lighthouses
8 Revetments and Installations
5 Harbor Facilities
4 Warehouses

C. Enemy Aircraft

ENEMY AIRCRAFT IN THE AIR
DESTROYED
2 Zekes
1 Oscar

PROBABLES
1 Oscar

DAMAGED
2 Oscars
1 Zeke

ENEMY SHIPPING
SUNK OR DESTOYED

6 ??? Sugars
25 Sugar Dogs
2 Motor Torpedo Boats
1 Whale Killer
2 Sub Chasers
6 Trawlers
1 Sea Truck
1 Auxiliary Schooner
1 Powered Lighter
1 Junk
1 Sea Going Tug
2 Landing Craft
68 Victor Ables, Luggers and Sampans

118 Total SUNK

DAMAGED
3 ??? Dogs
2 Picket Boats
1 Sugar Baker Sugar
1 Sugar Able Sugar
3 Motor Torpedo Boats
1 Gunboat
1 Sub Chaser
15 Sugar Dogs
1 Sea Going Tug
1 Powered Lighter
4 Trrawlers
7 Junks
10 Barges
108 Victor Ables, Luggers and Sampans

159 Total DAMAGED


The majority of the attacks on enemy shipping were made just off the coast of Kyushu, Shikoku, Honshu, and the Izu Islands (northern Nahfo Shoto) within range of shore batteries and in close proximity to enemy airfields.

Soon after Iwo Jima was occupied, the blockade of enemy waters south of the empire was so effective that large cargo ships were no longer risked in these waters, and for the most part traffic was confined to small cargo vessels, which kept close to the shore and often traveled only at night. For this reason, although this squadron flew offensive searches regularly to the Japanese mainland and investigated coves, and harbors closely, in spite of frequent AA fire and occasional fighter interception, the hunting was usually poor.

PERSONNEL CASUALTIES
Missing---8
Seriously Wounded---2
Slight Wounded---13

F. Aircraft Losses

AIRCRAFT LOSSES

ENEMY ACTIONS

1 Enemy Action
Shot down over Marcus Island

1 Forced Ditching
After being hit by AA fire from A A.P.D.

1 Forced Ditching
At end of long search as flown through enemy (exploding) ship; damaged beyond repair.

PATROL LOSSES

1 Forced Ditching
At end of long search as result of Navigation and Communication difficulties.

OPERATIONAL LOSSES

1 Hit by towed sleeve during air to air firing exercise
(Kaneohe, T.H.)

1 Delayed emergency landing
Engine trouble, damaged beyond repair.

MISCELLANEOUS

1. This squadron was the first to install two fixed forward firing 20 mm. guns in any PB4Y-2 aircraft and to demonstrate the effectiveness of the increased fire power in combat. During the period of advanced training at Kaneohe, work was begun on an experimental installation in one of the squadrons aircraft. The work was completed in March at Peleiu, and when the squadron was transferred to Tinian, installations were made in other planes. The first combat test occurred off the coast of the Japanese mainland on April 26, 1945, when a steel hulled picket boat was attacked and sunk by 20 mm. fire. Since that date 20 mm. guns have been used extensively in combat by pilots of this command, and have been the major factor in the destruction of enemy shipping. It is believed that the additional fire power has materially increased the effectiveness of the PB4Y-2 for combat patrols.

The entire original assemblies were conceived, designed, assembled, and constructed by personnel of this squadron. Later installations were made with the assistance of CASU (F) 44 (TINIAN) and CASU (F) 52 (Iwo Jima).

2. It is believed that this unit was the first Navy Patrol Squadron to test the effectiveness of Napalm Bomb against small enemy cargo ships and important land targets. Both the AN/M13 500lb. and AN/M47A2 100 lb. Napalm Bombs have been used successfully in low level attacks.

3. In June, July, and August pilots of this squadron flew many Air Sea Rescue missions in Japanese Empire waters, and co-operated with lifeguard subs and surface craft in providing facilities for the assistance and rescue, when necessary, of Army B-29 and fighter pilots during long-range strikes on target on the mainland of Japan.

4. during July and August seventy (70) Barrier Patrols, averaging about 11.5 hours each, were flown by the squadron in close support of the operations of the Third Fleet in Japanese Empire waters.

COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

1. The experience of this command had indicated that the Navy's Long Range Search and Reconnaissance Squadrons could operate more efficiently in the combat area with (15) crews and (15) planes, instead of eighteen (18) crews and fifteen (15) planes which has been standard complement.

2. Although the rotation plan has been working satisfactory, relief by squadron rather than by individual crews is believed to be preferable for the reason that it tends to produce a more closely knit and effective organization.

3. In preparation for combat flying, more heavy-load take-offs at all hours and in all kinds of weather than were called for in the flight training syllable are desirable. While this squadron was operation the forward area, take-offs with gross weight of 68,000 lbs. or more were made regularly under adverse flying conditions.

4. The present relief system for CASU's is not considered satisfactory. Maintenance efficiency and morale of CASU personnel definitely decreased after twelve months of service in the forward area, where equipment, facilities, and living conditions are generally inadequate.

5. The maintenance work of CASU (F) 52 at Iwo Jima is especially commended. Operation under the adverse conditions of a newly occupied forward base, the CASU kept this squadron's planes, as well as the PB4Y's of other squadrons, at a high level of operational and combat efficiency.

6. Command of this squadron was transferred 31 August 1945 from Lieut. Comdr. Robert C. Lefever, USN, to Liut. Comdr, Alexander D. Walter, Jr. USNR.

Circa 1943

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Memories (NAS Inyokern, California and CASU-45F)..." Contributed by MOSER, Lawrence E. nein9moe@yahoo.com [02JUN2007]

I can add a little to the saga of "Life in the Desert".

The incidents as I relate them are not in any order as there happenings, just ramblings.

There was the night that the driver of a load of fuel tried to make a shortcut across the sand area to the fuel dump, not wanting to take the long way on the road. Needless to say that the heavy truck was not made for "off road" driving and he got stuck. The Boatswain called out all of use who could drive our bigger trucks to come and help pull him out. Using the "6x" hooked together using the winches , about 6 of us were able to get him back on the roadway.

And then another night that one of the men "jumped ship' by stealing our 750 gallon oil truck and cutting across the desert and the next day having to go pull it back to the motor pool.

We had a man who's wife was living in Inyokerrn that used to bring sandwiches to the fence for him sell.

The information about the crash of the plane that killed the pilot for whom the base was named is not as I remember it.

As I recall it was an SB2C that was carrying 2 Tiny Tim (11 3/4") rockets. One attached to the bomb shackles under the wings, This was before we started using the "rail" system. when he fired the rockets they failed to release from the bomb racks and he did a power dive at a low altitude into the ground. They called out some of the personnel to go out to the target to search for remains. I was not among the group but was told that it was a rather gruesome sight.

One of the more interesting things that occurred was the testing of the firing of the Tiny Tim rocket from the torpedo bay of an TBF. I had worked on the release mechanism to drop the rocket below the "prop arc' before it was fired. I had welded the framework of tubing and also the clip on the end of the cable that was attached to a reel that when the rocket was clear it triggered the switch that fired the rocket. We had the TBF setting on a built-up stand similar to an old fashion grease rack. This was tested out in a dry lake bed. When the rocket fire, it was almost like in slow motion and when it landed it tumbled end over end.

On one of our test sites we had some large concrete blocks about 10 feet hight and 10 feet wide with about 5 feet into the ground. There were about 6 of these about 4 feet apart in 2 rows about 10 feet apart. These wee use to test the the fuses of the High Explosive heads. Beyond the rows of concrete block was a simulated "Tarawa Pill Box, standing vertically and consisting of 3 layers of cocoa logs and about 3 feet of sand.The rockets were fired into this to see if the fusing was able to fire after penetrating the cover of the Japanese entrenchments. While doing this test I was standing between 2 of the concrete block shrapnel landed about 2 feet in front of me. The fuse was a success.

Later we were to have a test of the Tiny Tim air-fired at the concrete blocks to test penetration. On this test I was driving the jeep with the range security officer. Our job was to be sure the range was clear before the firing took place.

For this test we had a lot of Allied brass witnessing the action. Commander Vossler of the Aviation Ordnance Testing Unit Was flying an F4U. The rocket was fired and went through the first block and into the bottom of the second block blowing it out of the ground. A very impressive test.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Memories (NAS Inyokern, California and CASU-45F)..." Contributed by MOSER, Lawrence E. nein9moe@yahoo.com [07APR2007]

In Febuary 1943 I left NAS North Island, San Diego, California in the morning for NAS Inyokern, California by way of Los Anglele. We arrived at NAS Inyokern, California some time after dark. I was in charge of a draft of 25 men which was to be the formation of Ships Company and was assigned to Transportation. As a result I was able to witness the first of many activities before the base was commissioned. I spent 13 months there before being transfered to 29 Palm assigned to CASU-45F.

After a short time in transportation I was assigned to the Aircraft Metal Shop as I was a an Aviation Metalsmith stricker. During my assignment as drive I was assigned to drive the cook to Mohave Marine Corp base for mess supplies. This was a one way trip of about 54 miles and was a welcome relief from the duties on base. Also we always had to sample some of the food like cheese and crackers. Getting on good terms with the cook also allowed me free acess to the mess hall when he was on duty.

One of the things that stands out in my memroy is the first time we picked up beef quaters. We were to get aboout six quartes of bothfront and hind quarters. Noticed the when we started to take the beef off the hooks that he held back so that I had to grab the first one. I didn't realize that he was making me grab a quarter that weighed about 225 pounds. He liked to laugh his head off as I almost collapsed under the weight. We would grasp the beef by walking up to it and throw our arms around the quarte and heave it up off the hook, and ofcourse I was not prepared for that much weight. Then he told me how much it weighed.

My first work assingment was to to take a work party and gater large rocks to take to the rocket target areas to outline the target rings. As we were returning from one of the targets we had to cross the firing line of one of the targets where ther were doing strafing runs. I waited for the plane to make his pass so I could try to cross the dive line, not seeing the next plane, I started across the line about the time he started firing. I floor boarded the 6x and hit a rut that knock the air breather off the carburator spilling oil over the hot manifold causing it to smoke. Thinking that the engine was on fire and knowing that the fire exstinguisher was empty, I started throwing sand on the smoking area. With the air breather off the carburator this let sand get down in the intake. A contractor party came by and I sent the work party back to the base with them with instrution to have a wrecker come tow me back to the base. I would not turn the engine over for fear of damaging the engine. The motor Mech at the garage want to courtmartial me but the Transportation Officer questioned me about my report and said that "I was either very quick and smart or very clever" and let me of with just the warning that they would be watching me.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 31 May 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [02OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU

PATSU

VD-1, VD-2 and VD-3

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7 and VJ-10

VP-1

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14 and VP-15

VP-23

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-125, VP-126, VP-127 and VP-128

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-142, VP-144 and VP-146

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 16 Jan 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU and PATSU

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-6, VJ-7 and VJ-8

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-3

VP-11 and VP-12

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81, VP-82, VP-83 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92VP-93, and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110

VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-131, VP-132, VP-133 and VP-134

VP-200, VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-210, and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 09 Nov 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU and PATSU

VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-1

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15 and VP-16

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-114, VP-115 and VP-116

VP-125, VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

VP-150

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...16 AUG 1943 - CASU-24 arrived for duty with Lt. Comdr. E. C. Asman, USN, as Commanding Officer..." WebSite: Naval Air Station Wildwood http://www.usnasw.org/Chron.htm [07NOV2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...23 AUG 1943 - CASU-23 Detachment transferred to NAS Atlantic City, New Jersey..." WebSite: Naval Air Station Wildwood http://www.usnasw.org/Chron.htm [07NOV2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraNAAS Crows Landing "...Historic California Posts - Naval Auxilary Air Station, Crows Landing - History..." WebSite: The California State Military Museum http://www.militarymuseum.org/NAASCrowsLanding.html [06NOV2005]

Photograph: Title: Crows Landing - Image Number: A92-0471-4 - Date: 1992 - Keywords: aerial - Crows Landing - historical - Description: Aerial photo, NAAS Crows Landing; Photographer: US Navy; Date: August 5, 1947 WebSite: http://ails.arc.nasa.gov/Images/Historical/A92-0471-4.html

NAAS Crows Landing, located 2-1/2 miles northwest of the town of the same name, began in late 1942 as an auxiliary air station to NAS Alameda, California. It was used to train Navy fighter pilots. Pilots of F4F Wildcats, TBF and TBM Avengers trained here first in Link and Panoramic trainers then eventually in actual planes. Later, pilots in R4D Skytrains and R5D Skymasters (Navy versions of the Army's C-47 and C-54) trained here. After the war the station was placed in caretaker status.

History
by M.L. Shettle, Jr.
Historical works by M. L. Shettle, Jr.


In late 1942, the Navy chose a site in the San Joaquin Valley, 71 miles southeast of Alameda, for an auxiliary air station. An 804-acre parcel of land was purchased for $86,708 and ground broken on December 1, 1942. The site was located near the agricultural community of Crows Landing, 1940 population of 363, that consisted of a gas station, country store, and a freight train stop. During con struction, the project was known as NAAF Patterson for the nearest post office, six miles to the north. After the Navy decided to include a post office on the station, the base commissioned on May 25, 1943, as NAAF Crows Landing.

On June 18, 1943, VC-36 became the first unit assigned. A detachment of Alameda's CASU 6 also arrived in support. For the next nine months, Crows Landing hosted various carrier units. These units included VC-65, and elements of CAG 28, CAG 18, and CAG 11. In the meantime, a detachment of CASU 37 replaced CASU 6 and Crows Landing was upgraded to an NAAS. Up to the spring of 1944, multi-engine patrol aircraft were based at NAAS Vernalis, 18 miles to the northwest. The Navy real ized that Crows Landing's 7,000-ft. concrete run ways would be better suited for the heavier weight multi-engine aircraft than Vernalis's asphalt run ways; thereafter, Vernalis was designated for carrier units and Crows Landing for multi-engine types.

In March 1944, the first multi-engine squadron, VPB-137 arrived from Alameda with PVs. From June to November, the station embarked on an expansion project that added housing, a hangar, and other improvements. The runways were widened from 150 to 200 ft. The station's ramp that initially was 200 x 400 ft. was enlarged by a 1200 x 200-ft. and a 1890 x 260-ft. section. In August 1944, the first PB4Y-2 Privateer squadron, VPB-118, arrived from NAAS Camp Kearny, California. In January 1945, Crows Landing added six enlisted barracks, a warehouse, and a 100-man ground training building. From February 2, to March 27, 1945, a VRE-1 Detach ment with 12 R4Ds was based at the station. VRE-1 was one of the Navy's three evacuation squadrons that transported wounded men from combat areas in the South Pacific to the various Naval Hospitals in the U.S. In addition, Oakland's VR-4 and VR-11 used Crows Landing for training throughout the sta tion's existence.

Crows Landing's isolated location prompted the Navy to run 10 liberty buses a day to Modesto and Patterson. Navy men were allowed to use the swim ming pool at Patterson High School. In June 1945, the station's complement stood at 27 officers and 185 men -- squadron personnel added an additional 245 officers and 1220 enlisted men. Available billeting accommodated 268 officers and 2116 men. Patrol squadrons that passed thought the station during the war included VPB-115, VPB-122, VPB-101, VPB-103, VPB-107, VPB-133, VPB-140, VPB-118, and VPB-108. The PV operational training squadron, VPB-198, also spent time aboard. Patrol squadrons were supported by PATSUs 8-2, 8-4, 8-5, and 8-7. Other units that operated and trained at Crows Landing were VJ-12 and ABATU 105. By war's end, the station was valued at $4 million.

Crows Landing decommissioned on July 6, 1946, becoming an OLF to NAS Alameda, California and later NAS Moffett Field, California. In recent years, the Navy maintained a perma nent detachment at the field that supplied crash equipment and refueling services for Naval aircraft from the stations in the area. With the closing of Moffett, the Navy turned Crows Landing over to NASA's Ames Research Center in 1993.

Circa 1942

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: NAS ALANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY History Contributed by Tom Melley tomadr2@aol.com

This information was obtained thru :
Emil Buehler Naval Aviation Libary
National Museum of Naval Aviation
1750 Radford Blvd., Sutie C
Pensacola, Fl.
32508-5402
(850)452-3604
NAS ALANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY


In the fall of 1942, the CAA began buliding a new municipal airport, 12 miles northwest of Alantic City, in the township of Egg Harbor. The Navy took an interest in the site and announced the intention of establishing an air station at the airport.The CAA completed construction of the airfield and the Navy commissioned NAS Alantic City on April 24, 1943. With the forming of CAG 31 (VF-31 and VC-17) on May 1,under the command of Cmdr. W. J. Junkerman. Meanwhile, Carrier Air Support Unit 24 had come on board followed by bombing, fighters, and torpedo squadrons. Shortly thereafter the Navy designated Alantic City excusively as a fighter base.

Lt. S. W. Vejtasa, who had eighteen months of fighter combat expirience in the Pacific, designed and organized a fighter training program. This program consisted of ground school, gunnery, rocket training, tactics, and aircraft dummy deck landings (ADDLs). The Navy requisitioned the Brigantine Hotel, at Brigantine, N. J. and formed a Fighter Directors School. Additional support came from CASU-25. The hotel had radar installed on the roof and its upper two floors converted to a CIC unit. The vast majority of fighters based at Alantic City were F6F's and the station ultimately had over 200 on hand. In December 1944, the Navy commissioned the first ofthree Observation Fighter Squadrons, VOF-1. The Navy intended the VOF units for use in European Operations. By the spring of 1945, over 50 fighter squadrons had passed through the station and the number of aircraft on board had peaked at over 275. CASU 23, present during most of the war, supported the carrier squadrons. A detachment of Utility Squadron VJ-4 from Norfolk, also stationed here, provided target towing service with Martin JM Marauders.

Alantic City had four 5280 ft. concrete runways. Station complement in March 1944, consisted of 326 officers, 2073 enlisted, and 448 civilians with billeting capacity for 315 officers and 2348 enlisted. Alantic City had two outlying fields. The one at Woodbine, shared and supported by Wildwood, had three 2500 ft. runways and two catapults and arresting systems. The station's second OLF was Alantic City's municipal airport, Bader Field, that had been first used by the Navy before completion of the main station. CASU 23 stationed its 29 SNJs at Bader and the fighter squadron's pilots conducted all proficiency instrument flying from here. The Navy also set up a rocket target at Coyle, N.J., at a former State Fire Warden airfield; when weather was favorable, as many as 3,000 bombs were dropped per week. In Alantic City's Harbor, the station maintained a crash boat facility. Station aircraft numbered about 10 and included rescue amphibians, light transport, and utility aircraft.

After the war, Alantic City was the base for Composite Squadrons, an Air Development Squadron, and a Fleet Electronic Traing Unit. Reserve squadrons also served their two weeks summer crusies here. On July 15, 1958, NAS Alantic City closed. After the Navy departed, the Federal Aviation Agency created a technical and testing facility in former Navy spaces. In 1994, the 177 Fighter Group of the New Jersey Air National Guard is stationed here with F-16s.

Bibliography

A: " History of United States Naval Air Station, Alantic Ciry, July 1942- May 1945" and supplements ( Washington Naval Historical Center, Operational Archives Branch); U.S. Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks, Buliding the navy's Bases in World War II, 2 vols. (Washington: GPO, 1947), I:237

B : "Four Stations Will Close," Naval Aviation News

Circa 1939

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "History of PATROL SQUADRON-11F, PATROL SQUADRON-54, PATROL SQUADRON-51, VB-101, PATSU 1-2, and CASU F-56" WebSite: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/6439/ Contributed by John Lemley jhlemley54@hotmail.com via George Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net [20MAR99]

History of
PATROL SQUADRON-11F, PATROL SQUADRON-54, PATROL SQUADRON-51, VB-101, PATSU 1-2, and CASU F-56


Patron Squadron ELEVEN F(VP-11-F) was commissioned in Hanger #68 at Naval Air Station(North Island), San Diego, California on July 1, 1936. Laverne A. Pope, Commanding, Commander A. Mills as Executive Officer. A nucleus of 20 enlisted men transferred from the USS Wright to the new squadron. Some are named below;

BEYER, George M. Sea2c
CHRIST, J. E. Sea2c
COPPIN, Billy Sea2c
EALEY, P. H. Sea2c
GILLIAM, Jack Sea2c
GIORDANO, J. P. Sea2c
HART, H. L. Sea2c
KANZIGG, W. L. Sea2c
LAKE, Martin W. Sea2c
REID, S. E. Sea2c
SLOAN, J. V. L. Sea2c
TOTZ, H. A. Sea2c

At the commissioning, this squadron was equipped with the following types of Patrol Seaplanes:

Hall PH
Consolidated P2Y
Martin PM-1

The above mentioned planes were used for training of both flight and maintenance personnel until the dawn of the Consolidated PBY-1 in late 1936. (This plane was later Known as the famous "Catalina" of World War II fame.) VP-11F was issued 12 new PBY-1 aircraft in late 1936. These planes were used to check out flight crews and maintenance personnel in this new aircraft. On April 12 & 13, 1937, VP-11F flew these 12 planes to NAS, NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The ground personnel arrived at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii some time later on the USS LANGLEY and the USS Wright where the entire squadron tended by the USS LANGLEY (Commanded by Captain A. H. Douglas) and the USS Wright (Commanded by Commander Marc A. Mitscher) and the USS PELICAN (Commanded by Lieutenant A. P. Storrs) engaged in Fleet Problem 17 in the Midway and French Frigate Shoals area. After completion of Fleet Problem 17, the 12 PBY-1 aircraft were then turned over to VP-8F at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and all of VP-11F personnel (both ground and flight personnel) returned to San Diego on the USS LANGLEY and the USS Wright via San Francisco in June 1937.

Upon arrival at San Diego, this squadron was issued 12 new PBY-2 aircraft. (These 12 PBY-2 aircraft were the only PBY-type to be equipped with Curtiss Electric Propellers.) About June of 1937, VP-11F became host squadron for an airborne radio operations school which came under the able instructorship of John Wendhab, RM1c. The primary mission of this school was to supply airborne radio operations for Patrol Wing One.

After returning from Fleet Problem 17, VP-11F continued operating from the Naval Air Station, North Island until Fleet Problem 18 commenced on February 3,1938 with a tragic collision of two PBY-2 aircraft of VP-11F.

This happened off the Southern California Coast of the night of February 3,1938 at 2037 hours, killing all but 3 of the both crews. 11-P-3 was flown by Lieutenant E.G. Cooper, 11-p-4 was flown by Lieutenant C.B. Hutchins. Eleven officers and men perished, three survived, namely: Vernon O. Hatfield,ACMM [NAP], D.B. McKay, ACMM, and L.S. Carpenter, AMM2c.

VP-11F, a part of Patrol Wing One, continued operating from North Island until Fleet Problem 19 commenced on June 26,1938. One of VP-11F's aircraft, 11-P-2, piloted by Lieutenant JG George Hughes crash landed at sea, 2 miles off Point Loma with minimum damage to the aircraft and no serious injuries to the crew. The plane was towed back to North Island for repair at the A&R Department. Another plane was substituted and the flight for Seattle continued with the two planes that turned back to aid Lieutenant Hughes and 11-P-2.

Patrol Wing One operated with its tenders in Alaska from 26 June 1938 to 9 August 1938 in the Sitka and Kodiak areas. VP-11 carried on routine squadron operations from the San Diego area until Fleet Problem 20 commenced in late December 1938. VP-11 and sister squadrons took off from San Diego for FAB Coco Solo, C. Z. on January 10, 1939. Patrol Wing One operated briefly from NAS Coco Solo and then the whole wing flew to San Juan, P. R. VP-11 had the senior Patrol Squadron Commander, namely: Rossmore D. Lyon. His seniority gave his squadron the privilege of living on the beach in a tent camp called "Rancho Rossmore". The other squadrons of Patrol Wing One didn't fare so good as they had to live on the USS Wright. All aircraft operated from seaplane buoys for the month or so the Wing operated out of San Juan. Fleet Problem 20 ended in the Newport R. I. area. The Wing arrived at NAS Norfolk and it was there that VP-11 and VP-12 was ordered to stay in Norfolk as a part of Patrol Wing Five under the command of Y'all Griffin. VP-7 and VP-9 would fly back to the West Coast and be a part of Patrol Wing One at San Diego. VP-11 became VP-54 and VP-12 became VP-51 and was transferred to San Juan, P.R. for duty. VP-54 stayed in Norfolk as a part of Patrol Wing Five. In June 1939, 4 planes of VP-54 were transferred to Gould Island (Newport, R.I.) to run a neutrality patrol daily (weather permitting) from Newport to Nova Scotia. On Gould Island the facilities were: Hanger and seaplane ramps, barracks, Weather Station and Radio Station. This detachment was commanded by Lieutenant L. B. Southerland (Senior Aviator, Fleet Air Detachment, Newport, R. I.)

In September 1940, three of VP-54's PBY-2 aircraft were sent as a detachment to Bermuda, B.W.I., to run a neutrality patrol daily.

In February 1941, the Newport Detachment was dissolved. Planes and crews transferred to NAS Norfolk. VP-51 is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Arnold J. Isbell.

The second group relieved the first group in the Bermuda Detachment on January 15, 1941. (Neutrality Patrol).(VP-54 is now VP-51 as of June 1941)

The third group relieved the second group in the Bermuda Detachment on April 22, 1941. (Neutrality Patrol).

On June 25, 1941, six VP-51 plane crews left Norfolk via train for San Diego to accept and ferry 6 new PBY-5 aircraft to NAS Norfolk. This ferry trip was completed on July 18, 1941.

The fourth group relieved the third group of planes in Bermuda with new PBY-5 aircraft on August 18, 1941.

The fifth group relieved the fourth group of planes in Bermuda on October 17, 1941.

The sixth group relieved the fifth group of planes in Bermuda on November 18, 1941.

December 7, 1941 --- Squadron received orders to load all squadron gear and personnel and proceed to NAS; Norfolk. On December 9, 1941 this detachment of 6 PBY-5 aircraft took off for Norfolk and they encountered their first experience with the "Bermuda Triangle" as the formation ran into a most violent storm for an hour or so. A down draft took us from about 6000 feet to 500 feet in a frightening short time. All radio communication was out. The planes hit the North Carolina Coast between Cherry Point and Elizabeth City. The formation landed at Norfolk intact.

VP-51 was completely assembled for the first time in years. All 12 planes recieved a 120 hour check. The entire squadron departed NAS Norfolk on December 11,1941 for Pensacola. Departed Pensacola December 13,1941 for Corpus Christi. Departed Corpis Cristi December 14, 1941 for San Diego. Departed San Diego December 15, 1941 for Alameda. Departed Alameda for Kaneohe Bay, T.H. on December 20th and December 21st. Flight time: 19.2 hours.

VP-51 was the first VP squadron to leave the continental limits of the United States after December 7,1941 and was the first VP squadron to land at Kaneoha Bay after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 25,1941 the squadron was ordered to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where VP-51 gave up their 12 PBY-5 planes to VP-22 who were ordered to Australia , and VP-51 accepted 22 PBY-3 aircraft from VP-22. VP-22 flew and maintained the 22 PBY-3 planes for a period from December 25,1941 to June 1942.

From June 1942 to October 1942 VP-51 was the first and only squadron to operate it's planes simultaneously in three diffrent areas of the Pacific Theatre --- all being combat areas at the time: Midway, Dutch Harbor, Fiji and Espiritu Santos.

May 1942 --- 6 plane crews were ordered to the United States to pick up and ferry 6 new PBY-5 aircraft to Ford Island,T.H. The 6 plane crews, and skipper , Lieutenant Commander D.T. Day, was transported from Hawaii to Alameda via the USS HENDERSON. While this ferry group was in California , Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians was raided by the Japanese. The group's orders were modified and this group and its planes were sent to Dutch Harbor for the purpose of patrol and bombing missions against the Japanese forces in that area. VP-51's base was Dutch Harbor (when it could find it in the foul weather). About a month after our arrival at Dutch Harbor, a suitable base was made for us at Sand Point, Alaska which we occupied for the remainder fo the time there. VP-51 operated from this advance base for about 2 months doing mostly patrol and bombing missions against the Japanese forces on Kiska Island. Most missions against Kiska Island were made from Nazon Bay (about 7 flying hours by PBY from Kiska). The USS CASCO tended VP-51 at Nazon Bay. The planes here were operated from seaplane buoys.

June 3, 1942 --- Two planes (PBY-3) of VP-51 made the first torpedo attacks on the Japanese Fleet then attacking Midway Island.

August 7,1942 --- A plane of VP-51 was the only plane to make contact with the Tenth Fleet under command of Admiral Kinkaid. This lone plane preceded the Tenth Fleet into Kiska Bay acting as a weather relay and anti-submarine patrol.

August 20, 1942 ---At Kodiak, Alaska VP-51 Detachment was relieved of all duty involving flying. All of VP-51's PBY-5 aircraft were turned over to the squadron at Kodiak. VP-51 personnel was issued orders to report to NAS San Diego and accept 6 new PBY-5A aircraft to be ferried to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii VP-51's Skipper, Lieutenant Commander D.T. Day, was transfered to Admiral Gehres' Staff in the Aleutians and about September 1,1942, Leiutenant Commander William A. Moffett Jr became Skipper of VP-51.

Around the 1st of September VP-51 personnel reported in at NAS San Diego and accepted 6 new PBY-5A aircraft for ferring to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On September 6, 1942 the 6 PBY-5A's landed at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Flight Time approximately 19.0 hours.

September 27,1942 --- VP-51 was returned to NAS Barbers Point, T.H., and around October 1,1942, VP-51 received 3 PB4Y-1 aircraft (USAF B-24-D) for training of pilots and crew members. VP-51 was the first naval combat squadron to receive PB4Y-1 aircraft and was the first to take them into combat against the enemy.

Around January 1,1943--- VP-51 received 13 new PB4Y-1 aircraft. The original 3 planes used for training were transfered to NAS Kaneohe.

On January 15, 1943 VP-51 departed Barbers Point for Palmyra. January 16, 1943 they departed Palmyra for Canton. January 17, 1943 departed Canton for Nandi and on January 18, 1943 departed Nandi for Espiritu Santo. Flight crews and planes of VP-51 landed on bomber strip 2 on Espiritu Santo on January 18.1943. VP-51's first bombing mission was flown in this area on January 23,1943. Between January 27,1943 and February 10, 1943 ,seven patrol missions were completed. Among these were VP-51's participation in the Battle of Rennell Island. A PB4Y-1 (51-P-1) ran anti-submarine patrol for 8 hours for the crippled USS CHICAGO that was torpedoed by enemy "Bettys" during the night of January 29,1943. The CHICAGO was being towed by a tug. Late in the afternoon of January 30.1943, 51-P-1 was relieved of patrol by a PBY-5 on station. Later a group of Japanese torpedo planes attacked and sank the CHICAGO and badly damaged the USS LA VALLETTE. The next day on station, a different situation appeared as the tug that was towing the CHICAGO the day before now had the USS LA VALLETTE in tow.

The next day,February 14,1943, off the coast of Southern Bougainville Island. nine PB4Y-1 aircraft fully armed, bombs and ammunition, bombed and sank a large enemy transport and a destroyer from 22,000 feet altitude. After the flack came 50 to 60 enemy fighters from Kahili airfield to intercept the bombers and their cover. The top cover consisted of 4 Army P-38's and the lower cover consisting of Navy F6F's and Marine Corps Corsairs (F4U). The Marine Corsair was in combat for the first time in this mission. Two PB4Y-1 Bombers -- 101-B-3 and 101-B-4 and entire crews were shot down. The entire top cover was destroyed and six of the lower cover aircraft were destroyed. It was reported by observers that the enemy lost 26 aircraft in this fight. This "skirmish" was named in most military history books as the "Saint Valentines Day Massacre". The losses for both sides were very heavy for the day.

The patrol and bombing missions described above were rather typical of operations carried out by VB-101 over the next six months,until the squadron was relieved by VB-104.

During the period, January 1943 to September 1943,VP-51 alias VB-101 maintained the highest aircraft availability schedule of any VP squadron in the Guadalcanal area operating the same equipment. During this period not one aircraft was lost due to maintenance. VP-51 alias VB-101 was the first squadron to use their PATSU as an integral part of the operating squadron, training and employing PATSU personnel as replacement combat crews.

VP-51 was the first operating squadron to conduct a complete mobile course on the PB4Y-1 aircraft using working "mock ups" made from actual parts salvaged from damaged aircraft. The school trained over 850 Army, Navy, and Marine Corps Personnel in the maintenance and operations of the PB4Y-1 aircraft in areas still under bombing attack.

VP-51 became VB-101 around February 1, 1943. This squadron chalked up 7 1/2 months of combat flying (550 hours). Finally it is felt that VP-51 alias VB-101 commanded by Lieutenant Commander William A. Moffett Jr , deserves the final first in that this squadron has contributed in lives and effort above and beyond the normal call of duty, to this date has not been cited of commended for a job "Well Done". Combat squadrons were supposed to be relieved after six months of combat flying. This squadron did 7 1/2 months, January 18,1943 to September 1, 1943, before being relieved.

September 1943 : Not much has been said about PATSU 1-2, which was the Service Unit for VB-101 and was made up former VP-54 and VP-51 personnel. Most of these men were ground maintenance personnel. Lieutenant W.W. Suydan was first Officer in Charge. Later the unit was commanded by Lieutenant H.E. Wood.

PATSU 1-2 was formed about the same time VP-51 was re-designated VB-101. The unit moved from Hawaii to the south Pacific in early 1943 as the Service Unit for VB-101. Their Headquarters was at Espiritu Santo with advance units sent up to Henderson Field on Guadacanal to service VB-101 and VB-104, maintaining twenty-four PB4Y-1s. This was an around-the-clock job for all hands.

The high availability of VB-101's aircraft was due to the expertise of the maintenance personnel of PATSU 1-2. WebSite: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/6439/ Contributed by John Lemley jhlemley54@hotmail.com via George Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net [20MAR99]


Circa 1938

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of PATROL SQUADRON-11F, PATROL SQUADRON-54, PATROL SQUADRON-51, VB-101, PATSU 1-2, and CASU F-56" WebSite: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/6439/ Contributed by John Lemley jhlemley54@hotmail.com via George Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net [20MAR99]

History of
PATROL SQUADRON-11F, PATROL SQUADRON-54, PATROL SQUADRON-51, VB-101, PATSU 1-2, and CASU F-56


Patron Squadron ELEVEN F(VP-11-F) was commissioned in Hanger #68 at Naval Air Station(North Island), San Diego, California on July 1, 1936. Laverne A. Pope, Commanding, Commander A. Mills as Executive Officer. A nucleus of 20 enlisted men transferred from the USS Wright to the new squadron. Some are named below;

BEYER, George M. Sea2c
CHRIST, J. E. Sea2c
COPPIN, Billy Sea2c
EALEY, P. H. Sea2c
GILLIAM, Jack Sea2c
GIORDANO, J. P. Sea2c
HART, H. L. Sea2c
KANZIGG, W. L. Sea2c
LAKE, Martin W. Sea2c
REID, S. E. Sea2c
SLOAN, J. V. L. Sea2c
TOTZ, H. A. Sea2c

At the commissioning, this squadron was equipped with the following types of Patrol Seaplanes:

Hall PH
Consolidated P2Y
Martin PM-1

The above mentioned planes were used for training of both flight and maintenance personnel until the dawn of the Consolidated PBY-1 in late 1936. (This plane was later Known as the famous "Catalina" of World War II fame.) VP-11F was issued 12 new PBY-1 aircraft in late 1936. These planes were used to check out flight crews and maintenance personnel in this new aircraft. On April 12 & 13, 1937, VP-11F flew these 12 planes to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The ground personnel arrived at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii some time later on the USS LANGLEY and the USS Wright where the entire squadron tended by the USS LANGLEY (Commanded by Captain A. H. Douglas) and the USS Wright (Commanded by Commander Marc A. Mitscher) and the USS PELICAN (Commanded by Lieutenant A. P. Storrs) engaged in Fleet Problem 17 in the Midway and French Frigate Shoals area. After completion of Fleet Problem 17, the 12 PBY-1 aircraft were then turned over to VP-8F at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and all of VP-11F personnel (both ground and flight personnel) returned to San Diego on the USS LANGLEY and the USS Wright via San Francisco in June 1937.

Upon arrival at San Diego, this squadron was issued 12 new PBY-2 aircraft. (These 12 PBY-2 aircraft were the only PBY-type to be equipped with Curtiss Electric Propellers.) About June of 1937, VP-11F became host squadron for an airborne radio operations school which came under the able instructorship of John Wendhab, RM1c. The primary mission of this school was to supply airborne radio operations for Patrol Wing One.

After returning from Fleet Problem 17, VP-11F continued operating from the Naval Air Station, North Island until Fleet Problem 18 commenced on February 3,1938 with a tragic collision of two PBY-2 aircraft of VP-11F.

This happened off the Southern California Coast of the night of February 3,1938 at 2037 hours, killing all but 3 of the both crews. 11-P-3 was flown by Lieutenant E.G. Cooper, 11-p-4 was flown by Lieutenant C.B. Hutchins. Eleven officers and men perished, three survived, namely: Vernon O. Hatfield,ACMM [NAP], D.B. McKay, ACMM, and L.S. Carpenter, AMM2c.

VP-11F, a part of Patrol Wing One, continued operating from North Island until Fleet Problem 19 commenced on June 26, 1938. One of VP-11F's aircraft, 11-P-2, piloted by Lieutenant JG George Hughes crash landed at sea, 2 miles off Point Loma with minimum damage to the aircraft and no serious injuries to the crew. The plane was towed back to North Island for repair at the A&R Department. Another plane was substituted and the flight for Seattle continued with the two planes that turned back to aid Lieutenant Hughes and 11-P-2.

Patrol Wing One operated with its tenders in Alaska from 26 June 1938 to 9 August 1938 in the Sitka and Kodiak areas. VP-11 carried on routine squadron operations from the San Diego area until Fleet Problem 20 commenced in late December 1938. VP-11 and sister squadrons took off from San Diego for FAB Coco Solo, C. Z. on January 10, 1939. Patrol Wing One operated briefly from NAS Coco Solo and then the whole wing flew to San Juan, P. R. VP-11 had the senior Patrol Squadron Commander, namely: Rossmore D. Lyon. His seniority gave his squadron the privilege of living on the beach in a tent camp called "Rancho Rossmore". The other squadrons of Patrol Wing One didn't fare so good as they had to live on the USS Wright. All aircraft operated from seaplane buoys for the month or so the Wing operated out of San Juan. Fleet Problem 20 ended in the Newport R. I. area. The Wing arrived at NAS Norfolk and it was there that VP-11 and VP-12 was ordered to stay in Norfolk as a part of Patrol Wing Five under the command of Y'all Griffin. VP-7 and VP-9 would fly back to the West Coast and be a part of Patrol Wing One at San Diego. VP-11 became VP-54 and VP-12 became VP-51 and was transferred to San Juan, P.R. for duty. VP-54 stayed in Norfolk as a part of Patrol Wing Five. In June 1939, 4 planes of VP-54 were transferred to Gould Island (Newport, R.I.) to run a neutrality patrol daily (weather permitting) from Newport to Nova Scotia. On Gould Island the facilities were: Hanger and seaplane ramps, barracks, Weather Station and Radio Station. This detachment was commanded by Lieutenant L. B. Southerland (Senior Aviator, Fleet Air Detachment, Newport, R. I.)

In September 1940, three of VP-54's PBY-2 aircraft were sent as a detachment to Bermuda, B.W.I., to run a neutrality patrol daily.

In February 1941, the Newport Detachment was dissolved. Planes and crews transferred to NAS Norfolk. VP-51 is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Arnold J. Isbell.

The second group relieved the first group in the Bermuda Detachment on January 15, 1941. (Neutrality Patrol).(VP-54 is now VP-51 as of June 1941)

The third group relieved the second group in the Bermuda Detachment on April 22, 1941. (Neutrality Patrol).

On June 25, 1941, six VP-51 plane crews left Norfolk via train for San Diego to accept and ferry 6 new PBY-5 aircraft to NAS Norfolk. This ferry trip was completed on July 18, 1941.

The fourth group relieved the third group of planes in Bermuda with new PBY-5 aircraft on August 18, 1941.

The fifth group relieved the fourth group of planes in Bermuda on October 17, 1941.

The sixth group relieved the fifth group of planes in Bermuda on November 18, 1941.

December 7, 1941 --- Squadron received orders to load all squadron gear and personnel and proceed to NAS; Norfolk. On December 9, 1941 this detachment of 6 PBY-5 aircraft took off for Norfolk and they encountered their first experience with the "Bermuda Triangle" as the formation ran into a most violent storm for an hour or so. A down draft took us from about 6000 feet to 500 feet in a frightening short time. All radio communication was out. The planes hit the North Carolina Coast between Cherry Point and Elizabeth City. The formation landed at Norfolk intact.

VP-51 was completely assembled for the first time in years. All 12 planes recieved a 120 hour check. The entire squadron departed NAS Norfolk on December 11,1941 for Pensacola. Departed Pensacola December 13,1941 for Corpus Christi. Departed Corpis Cristi December 14, 1941 for San Diego. Departed San Diego December 15, 1941 for Alameda. Departed Alameda for Kaneohe Bay, T.H. on December 20th and December 21st. Flight time: 19.2 hours.

VP-51 was the first VP squadron to leave the continental limits of the United States after December 7,1941 and was the first VP squadron to land at Kaneoha Bay after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 25,1941 the squadron was ordered to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where VP-51 gave up their 12 PBY-5 planes to VP-22 who were ordered to Australia , and VP-51 accepted 22 PBY-3 aircraft from VP-22. VP-22 flew and maintained the 22 PBY-3 planes for a period from December 25,1941 to June 1942.

From June 1942 to October 1942 VP-51 was the first and only squadron to operate it's planes simultaneously in three diffrent areas of the Pacific Theatre --- all being combat areas at the time: Midway, Dutch Harbor, Fiji and Espiritu Santos.

May 1942 --- 6 plane crews were ordered to the United States to pick up and ferry 6 new PBY-5 aircraft to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The 6 plane crews, and skipper , Lieutenant Commander D.T. Day, was transported from Hawaii to Alameda via the USS HENDERSON. While this ferry group was in California , Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians was raided by the Japanese. The group's orders were modified and this group and its planes were sent to Dutch Harbor for the purpose of patrol and bombing missions against the Japanese forces in that area. VP-51's base was Dutch Harbor (when it could find it in the foul weather). About a month after our arrival at Dutch Harbor, a suitable base was made for us at Sand Point, Alaska which we occupied for the remainder fo the time there. VP-51 operated from this advance base for about 2 months doing mostly patrol and bombing missions against the Japanese forces on Kiska Island. Most missions against Kiska Island were made from Nazon Bay (about 7 flying hours by PBY from Kiska). The USS CASCO tended VP-51 at Nazon Bay. The planes here were operated from seaplane buoys.

June 3, 1942 --- Two planes (PBY-3) of VP-51 made the first torpedo attacks on the Japanese Fleet then attacking Midway Island.

August 7,1942 --- A plane of VP-51 was the only plane to make contact with the Tenth Fleet under command of Admiral Kinkaid. This lone plane preceded the Tenth Fleet into Kiska Bay acting as a weather relay and anti-submarine patrol.

August 20, 1942 ---At Kodiak, Alaska VP-51 Detachment was relieved of all duty involving flying. All of VP-51's PBY-5 aircraft were turned over to the squadron at Kodiak. VP-51 personnel was issued orders to report to NAS San Diego and accept 6 new PBY-5A aircraft to be ferried to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii VP-51's Skipper, Lieutenant Commander D.T. Day, was transfered to Admiral Gehres' Staff in the Aleutians and about September 1,1942, Leiutenant Commander William A. Moffett Jr became Skipper of VP-51.

Around the 1st of September VP-51 personnel reported in at NAS San Diego and accepted 6 new PBY-5A aircraft for ferring to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On September 6, 1942 the 6 PBY-5A's landed at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Flight Time approximately 19.0 hours.

September 27,1942 --- VP-51 was returned to NAS Barbers Point, T.H., and around October 1,1942, VP-51 received 3 PB4Y-1 aircraft (USAF B-24-D) for training of pilots and crew members. VP-51 was the first naval combat squadron to receive PB4Y-1 aircraft and was the first to take them into combat against the enemy.

Around January 1,1943--- VP-51 received 13 new PB4Y-1 aircraft. The original 3 planes used for training were transfered to NAS Kaneohe.

On January 15, 1943 VP-51 departed Barbers Point for Palmyra. January 16, 1943 they departed Palmyra for Canton. January 17, 1943 departed Canton for Nandi and on January 18, 1943 departed Nandi for Espiritu Santo. Flight crews and planes of VP-51 landed on bomber strip 2 on Espiritu Santo on January 18.1943. VP-51's first bombing mission was flown in this area on January 23,1943. Between January 27,1943 and February 10, 1943 ,seven patrol missions were completed. Among these were VP-51's participation in the Battle of Rennell Island. A PB4Y-1 (51-P-1) ran anti-submarine patrol for 8 hours for the crippled USS CHICAGO that was torpedoed by enemy "Bettys" during the night of January 29,1943. The CHICAGO was being towed by a tug. Late in the afternoon of January 30.1943, 51-P-1 was relieved of patrol by a PBY-5 on station. Later a group of Japanese torpedo planes attacked and sank the CHICAGO and badly damaged the USS LA VALLETTE. The next day on station, a different situation appeared as the tug that was towing the CHICAGO the day before now had the USS LA VALLETTE in tow.

The next day,February 14,1943, off the coast of Southern Bougainville Island. nine PB4Y-1 aircraft fully armed, bombs and ammunition, bombed and sank a large enemy transport and a destroyer from 22,000 feet altitude. After the flack came 50 to 60 enemy fighters from Kahili airfield to intercept the bombers and their cover. The top cover consisted of 4 Army P-38's and the lower cover consisting of Navy F6F's and Marine Corps Corsairs (F4U). The Marine Corsair was in combat for the first time in this mission. Two PB4Y-1 Bombers -- 101-B-3 and 101-B-4 and entire crews were shot down. The entire top cover was destroyed and six of the lower cover aircraft were destroyed. It was reported by observers that the enemy lost 26 aircraft in this fight. This "skirmish" was named in most military history books as the "Saint Valentines Day Massacre". The losses for both sides were very heavy for the day.

The patrol and bombing missions described above were rather typical of operations carried out by VB-101 over the next six months,until the squadron was relieved by VB-104.

During the period, January 1943 to September 1943,VP-51 alias VB-101 maintained the highest aircraft availability schedule of any VP squadron in the Guadalcanal area operating the same equipment. During this period not one aircraft was lost due to maintenance. VP-51 alias VB-101 was the first squadron to use their PATSU as an integral part of the operating squadron, training and employing PATSU personnel as replacement combat crews.

VP-51 was the first operating squadron to conduct a complete mobile course on the PB4Y-1 aircraft using working "mock ups" made from actual parts salvaged from damaged aircraft. The school trained over 850 Army, Navy, and Marine Corps Personnel in the maintenance and operations of the PB4Y-1 aircraft in areas still under bombing attack.

VP-51 became VB-101 around February 1, 1943. This squadron chalked up 7 1/2 months of combat flying (550 hours). Finally it is felt that VP-51 alias VB-101 commanded by Lieutenant Commander William A. Moffett Jr , deserves the final first in that this squadron has contributed in lives and effort above and beyond the normal call of duty, to this date has not been cited of commended for a job "Well Done". Combat squadrons were supposed to be relieved after six months of combat flying. This squadron did 7 1/2 months, January 18,1943 to September 1, 1943, before being relieved.

September 1943 : Not much has been said about PATSU 1-2, which was the Service Unit for VB-101 and was made up former VP-54 and VP-51 personnel. Most of these men were ground maintenance personnel. Lieutenant W.W. Suydan was first Officer in Charge. Later the unit was commanded by Lieutenant H.E. Wood.

PATSU 1-2 was formed about the same time VP-51 was re-designated VB-101. The unit moved from Hawaii to the south Pacific in early 1943 as the Service Unit for VB-101. Their Headquarters was at Espiritu Santo with advance units sent up to Henderson Field on Guadacanal to service VB-101 and VB-104, maintaining twenty-four PB4Y-1s. This was an around-the-clock job for all hands.

The high availability of VB-101's aircraft was due to the expertise of the maintenance personnel of PATSU 1-2. WebSite: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/6439/ Contributed by John Lemley jhlemley54@hotmail.com via George Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net [20MAR99]


Circa Unknown
Can you identify the Month and or Year?

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...NAS Atlantic City, New Jersey as part of CASU-23. The first picture from the left - my Dad is in the back row, second from the left..." Contributed by VALKENBURG, Ray Van c/o Mark Van Valkenburg mullett@comcast.net [23APR2005]

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