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HistoryVP-AM-4 HistoryHistory

Circa 1946 - 1948

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons CD-ROM: Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons Vol. 2 Stock No. 008-046-00195-2 The History of VP, VPB, VP(HL), and VP(AM) Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C...." [15JUN2000]
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Circa 1937

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The Official History of VP-34 (formerly VP-15F, VP-15, VP-53, VP-73, etc.) as summarized by the Navy Historical Center Aviation Divsion..." Contributed by David R. Reilly, Jr., DPC, USNR-R Dave_Reilly@nps.gov[14JUL99]

Second VP-34

Established as Patrol Squadron FIFTEEN-F (VP-15F) on 1 September 1936.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron FIFTEEN (VP15) on 1 October 1937.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron FIFTY THREE (VP-53) on 1 July 1939.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron SEVENTY THREE (VP-73) on 1 July 1941.

Redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY THREE (VPB-73) on 1 October 1944.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron SEVENTY THREE (VP-73) on 15 May 1946.

Redesignated Amphibian Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-AM-4) on 15 November 1946.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron THIRTY FOUR (VP-34) on 1 September 1948, the second squadron to be assigned the VP-34 designation.

Disestablished on 30 June 1956.

Squadron Insignia and Nickname

Patrol Squadron Fifteen-F devised an insignia of a kneeling Indian with his hand shading his eyes as he looked off into the distance. The Indian was representative of the native population of the early Virginia Commonwealth, and Norfolk was the home of VP-15. The figure was a scout, like the aircraft of the patrol squadron, and was armed with arrows just as the seaplanes were armed with bombs and machine guns. Colors: circumference of insignia, red with thin black border; Indian, reddish brown; accouterments, yellow: loin cloth, feathers in headdress and war paint, red hair, black; squadron designation, black. This designed was used by the squadron throughout all of its redesignations up to 1951.

The original designed was changed in 1951 during VP-34's deployment to Trinidad, B.W.I., and replaced by a design featuring a scowling vulture at rest, with a broken submarine in its claws and a mooring line around its neck. The significance was questionable, but it may be safe to infer that the vulture was a big winged bird with keen eyesight, always on the search for prey - the submarine. The mooring line and mooring buoy are the hallmark of a seaplane at rest. Colors: vulture, black body, white crest, neck and top of head read, with yellow beak; sky, blue, cloud, white; rope, yellow, mooring buoy, back and yellow.

Nickname: None known.

Chronology of Significant Events

1 Sep 1936: VP-15F was established at NAF Annapolis, Maryland, under the operational control of Base Force with six P3M-2 aircraft. Shortly thereafter, the squadron was relocated to NAF Norfolk, VA. Owl (AM2) provided tender support. Over the next three years, the squadron flew to Annapolis in June and remained over the summer months, provided midshipman aviation training. The squadron returned to its permanent home base at NAF Norfolk each September.

1 Oct 1937: VP-15F was redesignated VP-15 when the Patrol Wing concept was established. Under this concept patrol squadrons were organized under Patrol Wings and VP-15 came under the operational control of PatWing-5.

October 1938: VP-15 received twelve P2Y-2 aircraft from VP-10 when the latter was refitted with newer replacement aircraft.

Apr 1939: The squadron received the upgraded P2Y-3 in April 1939.

4 Sep 1939: President Roosevelt inaugurated the Neutrality Patrols in response to the German invasion of Poland in August. The patrol line extended east from Boston to latitude 42-30, longitude 65 then south to latitude 19, then around the seaward outline of Windward and Leeward Islands to the British island of Trinidad, near the short of South America. Patrol squadrons VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54 of Patwing-5 and VP-33 of PatWing-3 supported Battleship Division 5, Cruiser Division 7, 40 destroyers and 15 submarines in conducting the Neutrality Patrol. VP-53 teamed up with VP-52 and a group of destroyers to cover the waters adjacent to Norfolk.

1 Nov 1939: VP-53 replaced its P2Y-3s with a mixed bag of spare PBY-1, PBY-2 and PBY-3 seaplanes from other squadrons for commencement of the Neutrality Patrols. There were not enough PBYs to replace all of the P2Ys, so two of the P2Y-3 seaplanes were retained and flown alongside the PBYs.

Feb 1940: VP-53 was replaced to NAS Key West, Fla. The squadron remained there until April 1941, when it returned to NAS Norfolk and exchanged its older model aircraft for the new model PBY-5.

24 May 1941: VP-53 was relocated to NAS Quonset Point, R.I., to await the completion of the base under constructions at Argentia, Newfoundland. On 9 June 1941, a detachment of six aircraft deployed to Argentia, supported by tender Albemarle (AV 5). The detachment returned 25 June, after VP-52 had moved ashore and assumed responsibility for patrols.

1 July 1941: VP-53 was redesignated VP-73 after the reorganization of the fleet patrol squadrons, and placed under PatWing-7, Support Force. Detachments of VP-71, 72, &3 and 74 began a rotation program to exchange deployed aircrews at Argentia and Reykjavik back to their home ports at Quonset Point, R.I., and Norfolk, VA.

6 Aug 1941: Six aircraft of VP-73 and five PBMs of VP-74 arrived a Skerja Fjord, near Reykjavik, Iceland. Goldsborough (AVD 5) provided tender support to the squadrons operating out of Reykajavik. Convoys were covered up to 500-miles from base and ASW coverage of the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland was provided. The combined air strength of the British and U.S. forces in Iceland consisted of 48 British aircraft and 42 American planes. Crews operating in the extreme conditions of the Arctic Circle became known as "blue noses."

15 Jan 1942: Winter in Iceland was the worst enemy of the patrol squadrons. The British withdrew their PBY squadron, feeling that the weather was too extreme for operation of the slow patrol aircraft. On the 15th gales reaching 133 mph struck the area, sinking thee of VP-73 Catalinas and two of VP-74's PBMs.

20 Aug 1942: While on convoy escort in Skerja Fjord, near Reykjavik, Iceland, Lieutenant (jg) Robert B. Hopgood and crew attacked and sank U-464, Korvettenkapitan Otto Harris commanding. Hopgood and his crew pressed home the attack even though the crew of the submarine elected to remain on the surface and fight it out with the lightly armed Catalina. HMS Castleton rescued 53 survivors. Returning to base, Hopgood sent the following message: "Sank Sub Open Club." Lieutenant (jg) Hopgood was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic action.

28 Aug 1942: Lieutenant (jg) John E. Odell and crew claimed a U-boat kill while on convoy escort near Reykjavik, Iceland. Postwar examination of German records does not indicate any losses on that date.

25 Oct - Nov 1942: VP-73 was transferred to French Morocco, based at Craw Field, Port Lyautey. The squadron was operational by 11 November. During its operational patrols the squadron encountered Italian Fiat CR-32 aircraft over the Canary Islands and German Focke-Wulf 200Cs near Gibraltar. Convoys were escorted by the southern route, earning crew members the sobriquet of "shellbacks" for crossing the equator. During this period a detachment was maintained at Ben Sergao Field, Agadir, French Morocco. Crews at this location rotated with VP-92.

16 Aug 1943: VP-73 was relocated to Ben Sergao Field, Agadir, French Morocco.

4 Dec 1943: Orders were received relieving VP-73 of duty in French Morocco. The squadron arrived at NAS Norfolk, VA., on 25 December.

16 Jan 1944: After a brief home leave, the squadron was based at Floyd Bennett Field, NY. Convoys from England were provided coverage in the approaches to the eastern seaboard of the U.S., and ASW patrols were conducted off the coastline of the East Coast.

30 May 1945: VPB-73 deployed to NS San Juan, P.R. While assigned to NS San Juan the squadron came under the operational control of FAW-11, Caribbean Sea Frontier.

1 June 1945: VPB-73 deployed a three aircraft detachment to Port Lyautey, F.M.. A second detachment with one aircraft was sent to Guantanamo, Cuba.

Nov 1946: The squadron changed homeports to San Juan, P.R., to NAS Norfolk, VA.

1 Sep 1948: Following its redesignation from VP-AM-4 to VP-34, the squadron began conversion training for the Martin PBM-5S at Norfolk, VA. The squadron's complement was nine PBMs, with 44 officers and 244 enlisted personnel.

15 Dec 1949: VP-34 conducted one week of cold weather exercises at Halifax, Nova Scotia, supported by the tender USS Duxbury Bay (AVP-38). VP-34 was the first seaplane squadron to operate from Halifax harbor.

1 Sep 1952: VP-34 and VP-3 were the only two patrol squadrons to complete FY 1952 with 100 percent safety marks. VP-34 broke all previous records by flying 3,6143 accident-free hours in just six months.

Jul 1953: Twelve VP-34 aircraft were employed in patrols and long-distance flights between Trinidad and NAS Corpus Christi, Tex., for six weeks of training exercises.

30 Jun 1956: NAS Coco Solo was selected for reversion to caretaker status during the rounds of base cutbacks after the Korean War. VP-34 departed NAS Coco Solo., C.Z., and returned to NAS Norfolk, VA, for formal disestablishment ceremonies.

Home Port Assignments

Location Date of Assignment

NAF Annapolis, MD 1 Sep 1936
NAS Norfolk, Virginia Oct 1936
NAS Key West, Fla. Feb 1940
NAS Norfolk, Virginia April 1941
NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island 24 May 1941
NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco 25 Oct 1942
Ben Sergao Field, Agadir, French Morocco 16 Aug 1943
NAS Norfolk, Virginia 25 Dec 1943
NAS Floyd Bennett Field, New York 16 Jan 1944
NS San Juan, P.R. 30 May 1945
NAS Norfolk, Virginia Nov 1946
NAS Trinidad, British West Indies Oct 1950
NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone Jun 1955
NAS Norfolk, Virginia Jun 1956

Commanding Officers

LCDR George T. Owen 1 Sep 1936
LCDR Lester T. Hundt 12 Oct 1937
LCDR Steven W. Callaway May 1938
LCDR Arron P. Storrs, III 23 Sep 1939
LCDR James E. Leeper 1 Jul 1941
LCDR Alexander S. Heyward 13 Aug 1942
LCDR J.E. Odell, Jr. 5 Sep 1943
LCDR W. H. McRee 29 Jul 1944
LCDR Dryden W. Hundley 11 Jul 1945
LCDR H. C. Miller 23 May 1946
LCDR C.F. Vossler 30 Sept 1947
CDR J Sinkankas 19 Jun 1948
LCDR J. F. Schrefer 31 Dec 1949
CDR J. A. Gage, Jr. 30 Jun 1950
CDR C. S. Walloon 30 June 1951
CDR C.A. Lenz 8 Mar 1952
CDR Frank L. DeLorenzo Apr 1953
CDR Randall T. Boyd June 1954
CDR Charles J. Alley Aug 1955

Aircraft Assignment

Type of Aircraft Date Type First Arrived

P3M-2 Sep 1936
P2Y-2 Oct 1938
P2Y-3 Apr 1939
PBY-1/2/3 Dec 1939
PBY-5 Jul 1941
PBY-5A 1942
PBY-6A 1945
PBM-5A SEP 1948
PBM-5S JUN 1949

Major Overseas Deployments

Date of Date of Base of Type of Area of

Departure Return Wing Operations Aircraft Operations

9 Jun 1941 25 Jun 1941 PatWing-5 Argentia PBY-5 NorLant

1 Jul 1941 Oct 1942 PatWing-7 Reykjavik PBY-5A NorLant

Goldsborough (AVD 5)

25 Oct 1942 * FAW-15 Port Lyautey PBY-5A Med

11 Nov 1942 25 Dec 1943 FAW-15 Agadir, French Morocco PBY-5A Med

May 1945 Nov 1946 FAW-11 San Juan PBY-5A Carib

1 Jun 1945 Nov 1946 FAW-5 Port Lyautey PBY-5A Med

15 Dec 1949 21 Dec 1949 FAW-5 Halifax PBM-5S NorLant

Duxbury Bay (AVP 38)

* The squadron relocated to another base without returning to its homeport.

Wing Assignments

Wing Tail Code Assignment Date
Base Force, Norfolk 1 Sep 1936
CPW-5 1 Oct 1937
CPW-7 1 Jul 1941
FAW-15** 5 Oct 1942
FAW-5 16 Jan 1943
FAW-11 30 May 1945
FAW-5 EC*** Nov 1946
FAW-11 EC Oct 1950
** FAW-15 was not officially established until 1 December 1942
*** The Squadron remained part of FAW-5 but was assigned the tail code EC on 7 November 1946

Unit Awards Received

Unit Award Inclusive Date Covering Unit Award
ADSM 22 Jun 1941 20 Jul 1941
21 Jul 1941 9 Sep 1941

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