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HistoryVP-17F HistoryHistory

Circa 1937 - 1939

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-17 - A Chronology - via the provided to me by the Naval Historical Center..." Contributed by McLAUGHLIN, LT Bob banddmcl1964@msn.com [09JAN2007]

U. S. Naval Aviation first saw a "Patrol Squadron Seventeen" on 2 January 1937 when VP-17F was established at Fleet Air Base Seattle, Washington. LCDR Dolph C. Allen commanded the squadron which was under the administrative control of Patrol Wing 4, Base Force. The squadron's Martin PM-1 seaplanes were tended aboard USS Thrush (AVP-3). LCDR John Perry took over command on 30 September 1937. VP-17F was redesignated VP-17 on 1 October 1937 when all patrol squadrons were removed from the Base Force and administratively placed under Patrol Wings. VP-17 turned in it's PM-1s on 17 March 1938 for new Consolidated PBY-2 Catalinas. They deployed to the South Pacific until April 1938 aboard Thrush (AVP-3). USS Teal (AVP-5) provided tender support for the squadron's seaplanes while participating in Fleet Problem XIX (Phase II). In October of 1938, LCDR Stanhope C. Ring assumed command.

Great crew discomfort was experienced at high altitudes and in northern latitudes as PBY aircraft of the period lacked cabin heaters. On 1 November 1938 VP-17 was selected to test the new electrically heated flying suits. In the first trials, at 18,700 feet, the fuses were blown out by the suits. The general opinion was that the suits were too bulky and unreliable in the cramped quarters of the aircraft. Better heating and insulation was, therefore, installed by the manufacturer in following models of the PBY. Crew comfort was improved on long cold flights.

The squadron insignia depicted a lion seal as the central figure as most of the squadron's activities took place in Alaskan waters. Approved by the Bureau of Aeronautics on 16 November 1938 the circular insignia had no letters or numbers designating the squadron. The background color was white with a black seal balancing a black bomb on it's nose and a black circular outline.

On 1 July 1939 VP-17 was redesignated VP-42 who retained the black seal insignia.

"VP-17F Summary Page"