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HistoryVP-22 HistoryHistory

Circa 1939

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-TWO was commissioned I July 1939 and assigned to NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On 7 December 194 1, the infamous "Pearl Harbor Day," six of the squadron's twelve PBY patrol aircraft were destroyed by Japanese bombers. These aircraft were replaced and VP-22 relocated to Darwin, Australia and Dutch East Indies in January 1942. For actions during the first three months of the war, VP-22 was awarded the Navy Presidential Unit Citation. In late March, the squadron was Disestablished in Fremantle, Australia, after the war claimed 11 of its 12 PBY'S. Personnel from the Disestablished squadron were placed in various detachments throughout the Western Pacific under the operational control of CONVATWING TEN. VP-22 was recommissioned I September 1948 and based at NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, flying PB4Y aircraft. On I April 1949, the squadron moved to its permanent home at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, with nine PB4Y aircraft. In 1950, the P-2V Neptune replaced the old "Flying Boats," and that year, VP-22 became the first squadron in the Pacific to fly JATO-configured P-2V-5F's. During the 1963 deployment to Japan, VP-22 was selected to transition to the P-3 Orion aircraft. Within one year, VP-22 became the first VP Squadron in the Pacific Fleet to have ten "Alpha" qualified crews in the new aircraft. In 1966,,VP-22 garnered the Battle Efficiency "E" award and the Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for ASW Excellence. It won its second consecutive "E" award in 1967 while deployed to NAS Adak, Alaska, and following that deployment received the Navy Unit Commendation for ASW excellence. VP-22 surpassed 150,000 hours of accident-free flying in 1971. For this remarkable safety record, the squadron was awarded the CNO Aviation Safety Award. In March 1972, the Blue Geese were ordered on an emergency deployment to Okinawa, to support the Seventh Fleet during the final year of the Vietnam Conflict. Upon returning to Barbers Point, VP-22 was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" for the 1972-1973 competitive cycle. In April 1975, VP-22 was awarded the CNO "Golden Wrench" Award for outstanding aircraft maintenance. In February 1976, VP-22 was awarded the Coastal Command Trophy for the highest sustained airborne ASW proficiency in the Pacific Fleet during the 1975 competitive cycle. On 19 November 1978, the Blue Geese celebrated their Safety "Silver Anniversary": a quarter century of accident-free flight operations. VP-22's remarkable 25 years, 7 months, 8 days and 205,199 hours of accident-free flying ended on 17 June 1979, following a catastrophic, dual engine failure, that claimed the lives of five crew members. This unparalleled safety record had never been achieved by any single unit in the history of military aviation. In 1982, VP-22 again won the Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence, as well as the CNO "Golden Wrench" Award for outstanding aircraft maintenance in the Pacific Fleet. In August 1983, VP-22 closed out the last VP Detachment in Guam. Rotating crews for six months, VP-22's last plane flew home to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii after successfully maintaining ready alerts and augmenting deployed squadrons in Cubi Point, NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan, and Msawa. VP-22 ended 1983 with a Meritorious Unit Commendation for operations conducted out of Midway and the coveted CNO Safety Award. In 1984, the Blue Geese deployed to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines and flew over 7000 accident-free hours in more than 1000 sorties from May to November. Upon return to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, Patrol Squadron TWENTY-TWO was awarded the Coastal Command Trophy for ASW Excellence and was Commander, Patrol Wing TWO's nominee for the Battle Efficiency award. Returning to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines in 1985, VP-22 once again proved their ASW prowess by tracking real-world subsurface targets throughout the vast oceans of the Western Pacific and received the highest scores in the Pacific Fleet for mining operations during the Mine Warfare Certification. Inspections. On 27 June 1986, the Blue Geese marked their seventh year of accident-free flying while amassing over 48,700 operational flight hours. Excellence in weapons delivery earned the CONMATWING TWO "Bloodhound" award for torpedo accuracy. In September 1986, VP-22 was presented with the Commander, Naval Air Forces, U. S. Pacific Fleet Battle Efficiency "E" award for the 1985-1986 competitive cycle. In May 1987, the Blue Geese received the CINCPACFLEET "Golden Anchor" Award for having the best retention program of all Pacific Fleet deployable squadrons. The Blue Geese returned from a successful deployment in NAS Adak, Alaska, and in April 1988, VP-22 once again received the COHPATWING TWO "Bloodhound" Award for torpedo accuracy. In November 1988, Patrol Squadron TWENTY-TWO left once again for NAS Cubi Point, Philippines and underwent a very successful deployment. Amassing over 4900 flight hours in the six month period, the Blue Geese detached to NSF Diego Garcia, BIOT to augment, the existing deployed squadron at that site. When VP-9 departed Diego Garcia, the Blue Geese took over the site and began the first split Cubi/Diego Garcia deployment in the Seventh Fleet. VP-22 successfully maintained ready alert duties as well as maintenance support at both sites, while flying operations out of 25 other littoral sites. In addition to operational flights, the squadron flew numerous humanitarian missions, including SAR and NEDEVAC. The return from NAS Cubi Point, Philippines also marked another significant occasion as the Blue Geese found that yet another year of accident free flying had passed. The squadron had now completed over 10 years and 70,000 hours mishap free flying. The home cycle of 1989-1990 proved to be as busy as ever. The squadron's pace was renuniscent of a deployment as VP-22 assumed the ready nearly every other month (July, September, November, January). Through January 1990. During the summer of 1989, VP-22 also learned that they would transition from the P3B(Mod) to the newer P-3C airframe. The upcoming transition cycles directly affected WESTPAC deployment sites for all VP squadrons, and the Blue Geese soon headed back across the Pacific to NAF NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan, Okinawa for a four month deployment prior to transition. The NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan deployment, scheduled to begin on February 19, 1990 left VP-22 with only a 9 month home cycle. This time period was especially busy as the squadron supported PACEX 89, which required the participation of four aircrews and three aircraft. These crews found themselves operating at a rigorous pace over a three week period which commenced in the Aleutian Chain and proceeded Southwest to Nhsawa, Japan and eventually terminated in NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan, Okinawa. Meanwhile, VP-22 was also tasked with a six week operational commitment operating out of both Midway Island and Kwajelain Atoll. These operations tapped another four crews and three aircraft. The Blue Geese found themselves with only the skeleton of a squadron left at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. Throughout these evolutions, the Blue Geese continued to meet every challenge and were able to respond immediately when their presence was required in NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan. The NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan deployment was actually a split cycle Barbers Point/ NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan detachment with the squadron providing four aircrews and three aircraft to man the site. A continuous flow of aircrew, maintenance and administrative personnel rotated though NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan on four to six week cycles. During the detachment, the Blue Geese were instrumental in supporting numerous reserve squadrons as well as providing for their own operational commitments. Notable operations out of NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan included participation in Cobra Gold and SPRINGEX '90 exercises. Meanwhile at Barbers Point, the squadron was tasked with a 45 day ready cycle in March and April and also participated in RWAC '90. In all, the Barbers/ NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan detachment proved to be an extremely tasking evolution with the Blue Geese continuing to improve their safety record. By June of 1990, VP-22 has accumulated over I I years and 73,000 hours of mishap free flight. In June of 1990, VP-22 commenced its transition cycle to newer P-3C (Update 11.5) airframe. The transition took place during a 6 month period with crews rotating back to VP-31 for training. On June 28, the Blue Geese received their first update 11. 5 and by October 23rd , they had received their last, completing an inventory of eight aircraft. On September 11, 1990, the Blue Geese retired the last P-3B(Mod) from active duty with a commemorative three plane sortie along Oahu's Waianac Coast. The B-Mods were transferred to the Fleet Reserve and continue their mission there. VP-22 completed the transition in December of 1990 and was fully operational in January of 1991. The Blue Geese deployed to Nfisawa, Japan in August, 1991. On October 4th, VP-22 surpassed 80,000 accident-free flying hours. The Blue Geese returned from a successful NAF Misawa, Japan deployment in January 1992 and began the ominous task of transitioning to the Update III aircraft in a ten month period prior to their next deployment. During this brief time frame, the Blue Geese also maintained a detachment to Panama in support of drug interdiction operations and participated in multi-national exercise training with the Japanese and Canadians in RWAC. During this period VP-22 earned the CONWATWING TWO nominations for the 1992 Arleigh Burke Award and the 1992 CNO Safety Award. The Blue Geese conducted a highly successful deployment from November 1992 through May 1993, maintaining three detachment sites in Kadcna, Japan; Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T.; and Masirah, Omanand flying over 5,000 hours in support of Seventh Fleet and COMUSNAVCENT exercises and operations, including DESERT STORM and RESTORE HOPE. The Blue Geese returned to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 10 May 1993. The squadron was notified midway through a fast paced and highly productive home cycle that the squadron would be disestablished by March 31, 1994. The Blue Geese flew their last flight on December 17th, 1993." Contributed by P. J. Waeghe, AFCM pjwaeghe@bellsouth.net

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Circa 1939 AIRCRAFT SCOUTING FORCE - Rear Admiral A. B. Cook - MEMPHIS (CL-13) - CAPTAIN S. A. Manahan..." Contributed by John Lucas john.lucas@netzero.net [15DEC98]

PATROL WING ONE - CAPTAIN C. P. Mason

TENDERS

USS WRIGHT (AV-1) - CDR W. K. Harrill
USS PELICAN (AVP-6) - LT H. J. Dyson
USS AVOCET (AVP-4) - LT J. M. Carson

SQUADRONS

VP-11 - LCDR F. T. Ward, Jr.
VP-12 - LCDR A. C. Olney, Jr.
VP-13 - LCDR S. H. Ingersoll

PATROL WING TWO - Rear Admiral Arthur L. Bristol

TENDERS

USS LANGLEY (AV-3) - CDR A. C. Davis
USS CHILDS (AVP-14) - LCDR H. F. Fick
USS SWAN (AVP-7) - LT J. F. Greenslade

SQUADRONS

VP-21 - Cmdr. S. L. LaHache
VP-22 - LCDR W. P. Cogswell
VP-23 - LCDR G. Van Deurs
VP-24 - LCDR D. C. Allen
VP-25 - LCDR A. R. Brady

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-22 Thumbnail [15JAN2001]


Circa 1938

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...USS Avocet I (AM-19/AVP-4) - (Passages pertaining to VP squadrons)..." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/dafs/AVP/avp4.html [03MAR2003]

Avocet's inactivity, however, lasted only a little over three years. Reconditioned for service at Cavite, the ship was recommissioned on 8 September 1925, Lt. Grady B. Whitehead in command. Avocet was recommissioned to serve as an "auxiliary aircraft tender", assigned to the Asiatic Fleet's air squadrons.

Avocet then operated out of the Fleet Air Base, Pearl Harbor, through early April 1933, local operations punctuated only by upkeep in the navy yard. She sailed independently for French Frigate Shoals on 15 April, anchoring there on the 17th to commence advanced base operations--the first such evolutions for Pearl Harbor-based flying boats. She got underway on the 19th to reach her plane-guard station, and soon logged in the arrival of 30 flying boats from Patrol Squadrons VP-1, VP-4 and VP-6. She supported VP-6, providing berthing and messing facilities for the squadron's officers and men, over the next several days, out of French Frigate Shoals, until recovering the seaplane moorings and breaking camp on 28 and 29 April. She sailed the latter day for Pearl Harbor in company with the small seaplane tender Pelican (AVP-6). Arriving back at the Fleet Air Base on 2 May, Avocet operated locally for the remainder of the year 1933, acting as plane guard for familiarization flights, night flying, and, on one occasion, salvaged the wreckage of a crashed Douglas PD-1 flying boat from VP-9, during August 1933, recovering the body of one of the pilots and parts of the aircraft.

Avocet plane-guarded the last leg of the inbound flight of the new Consolidated P2Y flying boats of VP-10 as they arrived at Pearl Harbor on 11 January 1939, and then operated locally until heading for Kahului, Hawaii, with the seaplane tender USS Wright (AV-1), on 20 January.

Underway for Corinto, Nicaragua, on 3 April, Avocet tended the Martin PM-1 flying boats from VP-7F and VP-9F from 13 to 15 April, and briefly served as the flagship for Rear Admiral Alfred W. Johnson, Commander, Aircraft, Base Force, while at Corinto.

One highlight of this period came on 10 May when Avocet received word that one of VP-9F's planes had been forced down, and was under tow of a merchant ship, SS Prospector. Underway from the Bay of Caldera at 1304 on 10 May, the ship rendezvoused with Prospector at 2238, and at 0040 on the 11th, first took the Martin PM-1 under tow and then hoisted it on board for repairs later that day.

Again she served briefly as Rear Admiral Johnson's flagship in August, 1934, and provided VP-9F with berthing and messing facilities while at Cordova.

Arriving on 8 May, this advanced party, despite "rain squalls and continued bad weather," succeeded in "skillfully and expeditiously" accomplishing its task. over the days following, Avocet supported seaplane operations out of Midway, accommodating men from VP-8 on board during this time.

She returned to Johnston Island later the same month, and supported advanced base operations there with VP-4, there and at Pearl and Hermes Reef.

Subsequently transporting passengers to Kahului and Hilo, Avocet tended VP-1 at the latter port from 23 to 31 August 1937 before she returned briefly to Pearl Harbor. She sailed thence for French Frigate Shoals on 1 September, and tended, in succession, VP-8, VP-10, VP-6 and VP-4, until 19 September, at which point she returned to the fleet air base.

March 1938--returned to French Frigate Shoals on 23 March 1938, supporting advanced base evolutions of VP-8; during this time she took on board gasoline from the submarine Nautilus (SS-168). Departing French Frigate Shoals on 28 March, Avocet proceeded directly to the village of Makua, on the coast of Oahu, and arrived on the 30th. The following morning she attempted the salvage of a crashed flying boat of VP-4, recovering the body of a radioman; she hoisted the wreckage of the plane on board on 1 April.

Before the year 1938 was out, Avocet conducted two periods of advanced base operations at Midway, tending VP-6 from 25 to 27 July and VP-4 between 25 to 27 October.

Avocet spent the first six months of 1939 operating out of Pearl Harbor, interspersing the routine local evolutions with advanced base maneuvers-once at Hilo, twice at Midway, and once at French Frigate Shoals--and an inspection of Lisianski Island. During this time Capt. Whiting again flew his pennant briefly in Avocet and the ship supported VP-4, VP-6, VP-8 and VP-10 at varying times.

Sailing from Pearl Harbor on 23 June 1939 for San Diego, Avocet arrived at her destination on Independence Day, having plane-guarded for VP-1 en route.

Performing plane-guard duties en route, Avocet arrived at Pearl Harbor on 9 April, and got underway for French Frigate Shoals four days later, to establish an advanced base for the Consolidated PBY flying boats of VP-24 as part of the "Maroon" fleet in Part VI of Fleet Problem XXI, the last of the large-scale fleet maneuvers.

With all of VP-24 in the air to conducted search missions on the 20th, the seaplane tender found herself alone when a formation of "Purple" cruiser-based scout planes arrived overhead.

For the rest of the summer, Avocet and USS Curtiss (AV-4) , and then tended VP-22 at Hilo.


Circa 1937

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-2 - History of Headquarters Squadron Fleet Air Wing Three - History: 01OCT37 - 15MAY45 . Squadron's Assigned: VP-1, VP-4, VP-6, VP-8, VP-10, VP-13, VP-16, VP-21, VP-22, VP-23, VP-24, VP-25, VP-26, VP-27, - Submitted July 5, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [24NOV2012]

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