VP-5 Squadron Shipmates
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Memorial Picture "...CRAWFORD, Jerry...My Father, Jerry Crawford, served with VP-51 from November 19, 1941 to January 21, 1943. He served throughout the Pacific with the two squadrons, participating in the Battle of Midway. At Midway, he fished 4 fliers from the sea: Ensign John Talbot (8 June 42), LCDR Pat Mitchell, LT Stan Reuhlow (sp?), LTjg Dick Gray (lost at sea on 4 June 42). I'm interested in hearing from any of these men, if they still live. I'm also interested in hearing from any of his Shipmates still living, or their families, who may have pictures. My Dad wasn't much for pictures of those days, though he loved telling about it. I have a terrific photo of his plane over water, taken from above, if any Shipmates would like a copy. My Father passed away in 1991, still in love with the Navy. I served for 26 years in the Marine Corps. I'm proud of my Dad, and his service, eternally. Semper Fidelis!...CRAWFORD, Jerry c/o John Crawford john.crawford@dhs.gov..." [30SEP2004]


HARPER, CAPTAIN Cecil Kelly "...WebSite: USS Tarawa Veterans' Association http://www.usstarawavets.org/CV-40%20pages/harper.bio.htm..." Harper earned the Legion of Merit with Combat "V"; a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Legion of Merit with Combat "V"; Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V"; the Air Medal; Presidential Unit Citation (Patrol Bombing Squadron 118); American Defense Service Medal, with Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four stars; World War II Victory Medal; China Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal with two stars; and the United Nations Service Medal.

Born 25 February 1911 in Harrisburg, Illinois, to Scott and Fannie E. (Sisk) Harper, Cecil Kelly Harper attended Eldorado (Illinois) Township High School and Illinois College at Jacksonville. He was appointed a Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland on 16 June 1930 and was graduated with the Class of 1934.

His first assignment was to the U.S.S. Tennessee. He remained with the battleship until May of 1936 when he was sent in June of that year to the NAS Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. He was designated Naval Aviator in 1937.

In August 1937 he was assigned to Bombing Squadron 2 aboard the U.S.S. Lexington until May 1939. He then joined Patrol Squadron 51 and served on neutrality patrols until June 1940 when he returned to NAS Pensacola, Florida as a flight instructor, a job he held until June 1942.

In July 1942 he became Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Swan, a seaplane tender. In May 1943 he was detached to take command of Bombing Squadron 71, participating in operations at Midway and in the South Pacific, until May 1944.

During this period Harper won the Air Medal "For meritorious achievement...in action against enemy Japanese forces in the South Pacific Area on the night of July 16-17, 1943. Operating at the maximum range of his plane under extremely adverse weather conditions necessitating expert navigation and instrument flying, Lieutenant Commander Harper led his group of six PBY-5 aircraft in a vital bombing attack on the Japanese base at Nauru Island in the face of persistent and determined hostile anti-aircraft fire.

"By his excellent leadership and outstanding flying skill, (he) contributed in large measure to the success of his flight in inflicting severe damage on the enemy and subsequently returning sefely to base."

He also won the Legion of Merit "For exceptionally meritorious conduct...during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Solomon Islands from June 19 to March 1, 1944...(he) contributed materially to the efficiency of his squadron in performance of more than 1,200 missions without a casualty to personnel over enemy controlled territory and including rescue operations which necessitated landings and take-offs in the open seas."

In June he took command of Patrol Bombing Squadron 118 and saw action in the Marianas, at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Harper won a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Legion of Merit with this outfit "For exceptionally meritorious conduct...in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Ryukyu and Volcano Islands area from February 22 to May 10, 1945. Ably directing the personnel under his command, Commander Harper was in large measure responsible for the success of his squadron in the infliction of extensive damage on enemy shipping in this area.

"Operating from newly captured enemy bases, he displayed great resourcefulness in meeting the problems incident to the use of bases still subjected to enemy shellfire and attacks by hostile aircraft...".

In July 1945 he was sent back to the United States and was attached to the Military Requirements and Developments Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air), Navy Department, a post he held until June 1948.

In July 1948 he joined Composite Squadron 5, serving as Operations Officer and Executive Officer until January 1951. The next month he reported as Chief Staff Officer to Commander Heavy Attack Wing 1 followed by assignment in December 1951 to the U.S.S. Essex as Executive Officer.

For this service he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal "For operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from July 31, 1952 to January 10, 1953. Exhibiting sound judgment and planning ability, Commander Harper effectively organized and supervised the various resources and supporting functions of the Essex and ably coordinated the efforts of the ship's company and embarked Air Task Group to expeditiously accomplish its assigned mission and to obtain a high degree of safety and morale, materially aiding in maintaining an outstanding record of performance within the Essex during this period. By his outstanding professional skill, sound judgment and zealous devotion to duty, he contributed immeasurably to the success of the ship in inflicting extensive damage upon the enemy...".

In June 1953 Harper became Head of the Plans, Programs, Budget Branch, Guided Missiles Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, a post he held until July 1956 when he was ordered to study at the National War College, Washington, D.C., from which he graduated in June 1957.

For the next six months he worked as Force Plans Officer on the Staff of Commander Naval Air Force, Atlantic. Then in January 1958 he took command of the U.S.S. Tarawa (CVS-40). He was in command during Operation Argus, the nuclear missile space test program in the South Atlantic that year.

In November 1958 he received orders to report to Staff, Commander First Fleet, an assignment he held until August 1960 when he became Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station, Oceana, Virginia.

Under orders of October 1, 1962, he later joined the Joint Staff, Director of Strategic Target Planning, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Harper was married to the former Beatrice M. Scollin of Saranac Lake, New York; she died in 1980. They had no children. He then married Evelyn Privitera, a widow with four children.

The captain retired in 1964 and then took a year of post-graduate studies at George Washington University before settling down in Juno Isles, North Palm Beach, Florida, where he became involved in church and community activities.

Harper died in Vencor Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 3 December 1993, after a lengthy illness. A Mass of Christian Burial was sung in his St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in North Palm Beach on 6 December. He was buried in Riverside Memorial Park, Tequesta, Florida. [11AUG2001]


ISNER, CDR Rennix J. https://naval-air.org/flightlog/moreinfo.asp?UID=239 "...CDR Rennix J. Isner, USN - NFL Number: 239 - Date of Birth: 5/14/1913 - Date In: 1/1/1937 - Date Out: 1/1/1958 - City, State: Melbourne, FL - School Attended: Davis & Elkins Col - Aircraft Flown: PBY-1, PBY5, PBY5A, F6F-5, B-17, R4D, R5D - Ship or Unit: VPB-52 - VPB-51, CO - VPB-71, CO - Pilot Desg.: SeniorCommandPilot - Theaters, Campaigns, etc.: Pacific, Atlantic - Associations/Service Organizations: Ret. Officers Assn - AARP - Highest personal decoration or award: Air Medal - Significant Achievements: 5272 hours flight time. Green-card qualified. CO of VPB-52. 1952 Kansas City Flood Disaster Coordinator. In Memoriam? No..." [30NOV2005]


LAWRENCE, William J. w_lawrence@att.net "...I served with VP-51 (1950-1952) as a Radio operator in the B-17, PB4Y and PBY. I would like to hear from former Shipmates..." [09DEC2012]

LEARY, CPO Harold Max c/o Tom Leary Shipmate Pix Circa 1945 tomnjoleen@embarqmail.com "...I am looking for VPB-102 Shipmates. "Lil Nell" - My father is Max Leary. His last mission was on "Mister 5 X 5." Dad served with VP-51, VP-71, VP-14 and VP-102..." [E-Mail Updated 14APR2009 | PIX Added 26JAN2004 | 25JAN2004]

LEMLEY, JOHN H. jhlemley54@hotmail.com "...I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM SOME OF MY OLD Shipmates FROM SQUADRONS VP-54 - VP-51 AND VB-101. THESE SQUADRONS WAS ORIGNALLY VP-11(f) flying PBY'S UNTIL 1943 THEY GOT THE ARMY B-24D AND THE SQUADRON WAS KNOWN AS VB-101. I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM OF MY OLD Shipmates THAT WAS WITH ME AT MIDWAY BEFORE AND AFTER THE BATTLE..." WebSite: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/6439/ [E-Mail Updated 25MAR2001 | Updated WebSite URL 06SEP98 | 04SEP98]


TRAVIS, Wilson H. c/o His Son T. Travis mrmudroach@aol.com "...Dad served with VP-51 from 1939 until 1943. Dad was a flight engineer and blister gunner. He currently resides in Alabama..." [19JAN2002]


VANLANDINGHAM, PR1 Jack R. Retired cvanlan123@aol.com "...In 1940 and '41 I was in VP-51 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. VP-51 was an advanced base patrol squadron. We had PBY-1s. While in Puerto Rico we obtained the PBY-5s from Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego. In early 1941 VP-51 moved to NAS Norfolk, Virginia for short stay, then to NAS Floyd Bennett Field, New York in Flatbush Brooklyn, N.Y. From April '41 the squadron alternated half the squadron to NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada while the air station there was being completed. The crews stayed aboard the USS Albemarle (AV-5), a seaplane tender. That same year President Franklin Roosevelt gave the order to engage and "shoot on sight" any German submarines sighted. VP-51 was also changed to VP-71. In 1947, '48' and half of '49 I was in VP-44 in NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone. VP-40 was there also. We sent detachments to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for AirSea Rescue. I was a PR1 during my stay in VP-44. If anyone remembers me please get in touch. I retired in 1960..." [14JAN2002]


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