USS Curtiss (AV-4) History
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...This Is No Drill - Naval Aviation News - November-December 1991..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1991/nd91.pdf [25OCT2004]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Aviation In The Pacific In WWII - Naval Aviation News - July-August 1992.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1992/ja92.pdf [11NOV2004]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Tender Awards..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller email@example.com [31MAY2001]
Antarctica Service Medal
15 Jan 57 - 15 Feb 57
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Curtiss (AV-4) "...USS CURTIS (AV 4) 1954 - The USS CURTIS (AV 4) underway in 1954..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller firstname.lastname@example.org [17MAR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Seaplane Super Service - Page 17 to 20 - Naval Aviation News - May 1951..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1951/jun51.pdf [24JUL2004]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Curtiss (AV-4) Postcard "...August 11th, 1950..." Contributed by John Lucas JohnLucas@netzero.com [04NOV2003]
Big Seaplanes Hit Jackpot ABOARD U.S.S. CURTISS
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...USS Curtiss (AV-4) Thanksgiving Day 1950 Menu - NAS Iwakuni, Japan - FAW-6 - VP-42 - VP-47 - RAF-205 - RAF-209..." [30OCT2003]
USS Curtiss Menu
USS Curtiss Menu
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Curtiss (AV-4) "...Lowering gas barges from USS Curtiss, AV-4 to refuel PBM's and RAF Sunderlands at Iwakuni, Japan, 5 Oct 1950..." Contributed by Frank Breitenstein email@example.com [04APR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Newspaper article from "Stars and Stripes" of 7 Nov 1950...Big Seaplanes Hit Jackpot...ABOARD U.S.S. CURTISS..." Contributed by Frank Breitenstein firstname.lastname@example.org [04APR2001]
Stars and Stripes" of 7 Nov 1950
The giant Martin "Mariners" of Fleet Air Wing Six operating from this aircraft tender have finally hit the Jackpot. Close to 8,500 hours of constant patrol flying payed off for the Air wing when Ensign Lee Houcins, USN, of 563 F Ave., Coronado, Calif., a 24 year old patrol plane commander of Patrol Squadron 47, spotted "a pretty long line of specks in the water." The "specks" proved to be 26 mines guarding the entrance to Chinnampo harbor, just twenty miles southwest of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. Houchins and his crew plotted the location of the field and then destroyed four of the "specks" before a rapidly rising tide covered the rest.
THE NEXT DAY another plane of Fleet Air Wing Six was "on station" as the ebbing tide revealed the target. Lcdr. Robert L. Donley, USN, Coronado, Calif., and his crew went right to work and blew up seven more of the mines in a little over 35 minutes.
Lieutenant Commander Donley, who has ten years of flying experience and wears the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with one gold star for Aleutian action with Patrol Squadron 42 in the last war, said "They are not hard to explode if you hit them just right, but you've got to hit them from a respectful distance. When they go up their splash sometimes goes a lot higher than we're flying.
IN SUCCEEDING sorties, the flying boats of Fleet Air Wing Six destroyed 19 mines of the field and the seven left were carefully plotted and are not now considered a menace to United Nations vessels operating in the area.
Lcdr. Randall T. Boyd Jr. of South Weymouth, Mass., still holds the "P" boat record for mine destruction with his tag of six mines in 30 minutes last Saturday in the Chinnampo area.
Boyd, executive officer of Patrol Squadron 47, set his record despite very bad weather during his entire flight. "The water was so rough up there we only saw the mines in the trough of the swells. I had to make my runs parallel to the waves." Said Boyd describing the action. He added, "We had our own private shooting gallery up there while the mines lasted."
THE GIGANTIC flying boats of the U.S. Navy Squadrons 42 and 47 and the Royal Air Force Squadrons 88 and 108 have again proven the value of having patrol aircraft with a mobile base and no need for landing strips. To date they have destroyed 38 mines and recently they have been plotting the mine fields they discover, and after crossing off the mines they destroy, dropping the chart to the deck of a mine sweeper operating in the area.
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Curtiss (AV-4) "...Bringing a VP-47 PBM aboard the USS Curtiss (AV-4) at Iwakuni, Japan, 6 Nov 1950..." Contributed by Frank Breitenstein email@example.com [04APR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Curtiss (AV-4) "...USS Curtiss, AV-4 at Iwakuni, Japan, 6 Nov 1950..." Contributed by Frank Breitenstein firstname.lastname@example.org [04APR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Curtiss (AV-4) "...CURTIS and PBM-5 - A Martin PBM is hoisted aboard the USS CURTISS (AV 4) circa 1950..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller email@example.com [17MAR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS CURTISS "...USS CURTISS (AV 4) in San Diego circa 1949. Photo from the Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/index.html..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller firstname.lastname@example.org [28MAY2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Memories..." Contributed by SKIRVIN, AETM2 Stanley C. email@example.com [11MAY2004]Circa 1942
When WWII ended, I was 3 months past my 18th birthday. I was young and dumb enough to think that by missing combat I had missed something that would have made me a more complete person, I guess.
During the spell at the Mare Island Naval Yard at Vallejo when repairs were being completed from the June Kamikaze attack, a fellow crewman, Larry Dillon with whom I palled around, and I made it a point to try our flotation ability at the hospital swimming pool. We floated and tread water for about 1/2 hour and dragged ourselves out feeling very exhausted. We regarded this as a somewhat unhappy omen for going to sea.
The key thing, though, was that we both saw many young men patients around our ages that were recovering from the loss of hands, arms, and legs. I was startled to see how active and happy those wounded young men seemed.
I concluded that they were going to live happy lives when they returned to civilian life and that I had simply been lucky not to have been exposed to the hazards of combat.
Along those same lines, BuPers posted a bulletin in the spring of 1946 which offered people serving in the Western Pacific the opportunity to extend to the end of 1946 to serve at the upcoming Bikini Atoll atomic tests and to receive a bump in rating. As one of the last two AETM-2/c ratings aboard, I was convinced that I would continue to serve on the Curtiss in the Western Pacific if I signed on. (This despite being an intense reader of science fiction since I learned to read.)
10 years or so ago, I saw a documentary on TV which showed the utter disregard for personnel heath and safety at the Bikini tests despite public announcements claiming the contrary. Personnel were sent aboard the contaminated vessels the day after the explosion in their skivvies without the vessels even having been hosed down.
Having been fortunate enough to marry a wonderful woman (we're still lovingly together after 51+ years) and to father three big, beautiful babies by her, I felt that not electing to serve at the Bikini tests was a most fortunate decision.
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Recently Life Magazine (US) and Google placed the Life Magazine photo archives on-line. I came across photos taken in 1942 by Ralph Morse aboard U.S. Navy Seaplane Tender. source:life. http://images.google.com/..." Contributed by John Szalay firstname.lastname@example.org [16MAY2010]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...21FEB42: The seaplane tender USS Curtiss (AV-4) and VP-14 arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, to begin operations from what became a principal Navy base in the South Pacific during the first year of the war..." http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/avchr5.htm [02JAN2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...15NOV40: The seaplane tender USS Curtiss (AV-4) first of two ships of her class, was commissioned at Philadelphia, Commander S. P. Ginder commanding..." http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/avchr5.htm [02JAN2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Curtiss (AV-4) "...The USS CURTISS (AV 4) on fire after being hit by a Japanese suicide plane during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller email@example.com [17MAR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...U.S.S. Curtiss (AV4)..."The Ships and Aircraft of the U. S. Fleet - War Edition - Page 47 - 1941"...Official U. S. Navy Photo..." [24JAN2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Ships Present at Pearl Harbor, 0800 7 December 1941 - USS Curtiss (AV-4) and USS Tangier (AV-8)..." http://www.usswestvirginia.org/pearl_ships_present.htm [04JAN2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Island of Oahu - The First Casualties ..." http://www.nps.gov/usar/PHcas.html
Island of Oahu
At dawn on 7 December 1941 more than half of the United States Pacific Fleet, approximately 150 vessels and service craft, lay at anchor or alongside piers in Pearl Harbor. All but one of the Pacific fleet's battleships were in port that morning, most of them moored to quays flanking NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By 10:00 a.m. the tranquil Sunday calm had been shattered, 21 vessels lay sunk or damaged, the fighting backbone of the fleet apparently broken. Smoke from burning planes and hangers filled the sky. Oil from sinking ships clogged the harbor. Death was everywhere.
The fleet in Pearl Harbor, the focus of the attack, suffered the greatest loss; almost half the total casualties occurred when the USS Arizona blew up. Army, Navy, Army Air Force, and Marine Corps facilities across the length and breadth of Oahu, from Kaneohe to haleiwa to Malakole, bore their share of death and destruction. Hickam, Wheeler, and Bellows Army Air Force bases lost 217 men and 77 aircraft. Naval Air Stations at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Kaneohe lost 19 men. Pacific Fleet naval aircraft losses in total, were 92. At Ewa Marine Corps Air Station, 4 men were killed and 33 aircraft were destroyed. Civilians from Waikiki to Pearl City were killed by exploding anti-aircraft munitions (friendly fire).
This exhibit lists persons, military and civilians, who died as a result of the attack or were killed later that day in the performance of their duties. The listing of servicemen is by branch of service and duty station. The list of civilians is by location. Sailors and marines killed on board the USS Arizona are identified in the USS Arizona Casualty list.
USS Curtiss - AV-4, Seaplane Tender
Joseph I. Caro, F1c
Lee H. Duke, Sea2c
Clifton E. Edmonds, Sea1c
John W. Frazier, Cox
Nickolas S. Ganas, Sea2c
George H. Guy, Sea2c
Kenneth J. Hartley, F1c
Edward S. Haven, Jr., Sea1c
Anthony Hawkins, Jr., MAtt2c
Thomas Hembree, AS
Andrew King, AS
Robert S. Lowe, Sea2c
James E. Massey, AS
Maurice Mastrototaro, Sea1c
Jesse K. Milbourne, AS
Dean B. Orwick. RM2c
William J. Powell, MAtt2c
Wilson A. Rice, Sea1c
Howard A. Rosenau, Sea2c
Benjamin Schlect, RM2c
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS Curtiss (AV-4) "...USS CURTIS (AV 4) 1940 - The USS CURTIS (AV 4) just after commissioning in 1940..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller firstname.lastname@example.org [17MAR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...USS Curtiss (AV-4)..." http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-c/av4.htm [04JAN2001]
USS Curtiss (AV-4), 1940-1972
USS Curtiss, lead ship of a class of two 8671-ton seaplane tenders, was built at Camden, New Jersey. Commissioned in November 1940, she served in the Atlantic until May 1941, when she was sent to the Pacific. During the next several months, she supported seaplane operations out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and made one voyage to reinforce the garrison at Wake Island. Curtiss was at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, during the Japanese Attack, in which she was damaged by a bomb hit and a Japanese plane that crashed into her superstructure. Following repairs on the west coast, she returned to Pearl Harbor in February 1942 and remained there until mid-year.
For the rest of 1942 and into 1943, Curtiss was stationed at Noumea, New Caledonia, and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, She acted as a flagship, supported aircraft and repaired warships during the Guadalcanal and Central Solmons campaigns. Transferred to the Central Pacific in November 1943, she served through the rest of the Pacific War at a series of bases, moving forward as the fighting fronts advanced toward Japan. After the end of the conflict, Curtiss operated in the Far East until March 1947.
During the later 1940s and into the 1950s, Curtiss was mainly employed to support scientific endeavors and amphibious operations. She made one Korean War deployment, in the last half of 1950, to tend patrol seaplanes in Japanese waters. In 1951-56, she was on hand during a series of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons tests in the Central Pacific. In early 1957, Curtiss took part in Operation "Deepfreeze", a long-running project for the scientific study of the Antarctic continent. Decommissioned in September 1957, USS Curtiss was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in July 1963 and transferred to Maritime Administration custody. She was sold for scrapping in February 1972.
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...USS Curtiss (AV-4).." http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/dafs/AV/av4.html [03JAN2001]Circa Unknown
USS Curtiss (AV-4)
Glenn Hammond Curtiss, the renowned pioneer in aviation, was born 21 May 1878 in Hammondsport N.Y. He set many aeronautical records and designed several types of planes, including the Navy Curtiss flying boats which in 1919 were the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic. Curtiss trained many of the early naval aviators, and established a firm to manufacture aircraft. He was actively concerned with naval aviation until his death on 23 July 1930.
(AV-4: dp. 8,671; l. 527'4"; b. 69'3"; dr. 21'11"; s. 20 k.; cpl. 1,195; a. 4 5"; cl. Curtiss)
Curtiss (AV-4) was launched 20 April 1940 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., sponsored by Mrs. H. S. Wheeler; and commissioned 15 November 1940, Commander S. P. Ginder in command.
Curtiss operated out of Norfolk and in the Caribbean for training and in fleet exercises through the spring of 1941. On 26 May she got underway for Pearl Harbor from which she served on patrol as well as tending two patrol bomber squadrons. From 15 October to 9 November she voyaged to Wake Island carrying aviators, air-crewmen, and cargo to reinforce the garrison there. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Curtiss got underway immediately, firing at the enemy planes. At 0836 she sighted a periscope and opened fire. A torpedo from the submarine missed Curtiss, smashing into a dock at Pearl City. Four minutes later the Japanese midget submarine surfaced and was further damaged by gunfire before diving again; after which Monaghan (DD-354) took over with a depth charge attack. Curtiss turned her attention to the air again. At 0905 she hit an enemy plane which crashed into her No. 1 crane and burned. Three minutes later she splashed a plane, then began firing at a dive bomber. A bomb from this plane crashed Curtiss in the vicinity of her damaged crane and exploded below decks, setting the hangar and main decks and No. 4 handling room on fire, as the plane splashed off her port beam. Despite 19 dead and many wounded Curtiss' crew quenched the fires, then turned to for emergency repairs. On 28 December she was underway for San Diego for permanent repairs and replacement of the damaged crane with 20 mm. guns. Her repairs completed in only 4 days, she was back in Pearl Harbor 13 January 1942 to begin the job of ferrying men and supplies to forward bases at Samoa, Suva, and Noumea until June.
Departing Pearl Harbor 2 June 1942 Curtiss served as flagship for Commander, Naval Air, South Pacific at Noumea from 16 June to 4 August, then serve as seaplane tender, flagship, repair and supply ship for destroyers and small craft engaged in the Solomons operation from Espiritu Santo until 9 July 1943. After overhaul at San Francisco, she arrived at Funafuti, Ellice Islands, 7 November to serve as flagship for Commander Air Central Pacific, based at Funafuti until 29 December 1943; then at Tarawa (31 December 1943-8 March 1944), Kwajalein (10 March-26 June), Eniwetok (27 June-9 August), Saipan (12 August 1944-1 January 1945), and Guam (2 January-7 February) .
After repairs at San Francisco, Curtiss sailed to Okinawa, arriving 22 May 1945 to serve as flagship for Commander, Fleet Air Wing 1. On 21 June a kamikaze and its bomb ripped two holes in her hull and exploded on the third deck, killing 35 and wounding 21 of her crew. Effective damage control kept her afloat and 4 days later she was underway for the west coast and an overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard.
Rejoining the Fleet in the Western Pacific, Curtiss embarked Commander, Fleet Air Wing 1 (who was also Commander Task Force 75) at Okinawa 5 December 1945. She joined in fleet exercises, operated with patrol squadrons in the Formosa Strait, ferried men and supplies to outlying bases and made several visits to Tsingtao, China, until 8 March 1947 when she headed for the west coast for overhaul and alterations recommended by the Atomic Energy Commission for stowage of scientific equipment.
Curtiss operated off the California coast on a number of fleet and training exercises until early in 1949 when she served as flagship for Commander First Fleet for 3 weeks of amphibious operations in Alaskan waters to evaluate cold weather equipment. She continued to serve as flagship for this command during amphibious exercises off Seattle during the summer of 1949. Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, Curtiss sailed from San Diego to join the 7th Fleet in July 1950 on patrol in the Korean Strait. Sailing out of Iwakuni and Kure, she tended two PBM Mariner squadrons and a squadron of British Sunderlands operating over Korean territory. She returned to San Francisco 14 January 1951 for further alterations to fit her as a base for scientific work.
From 23 February to 13 June 1951 Curtiss served as flagship for Operation "Greenhouse" and was the base for civilian and military technicians during the atomic tests at Eniwetok. She also provided meteorological information and operated a boat pool. Curtiss served at San Diego in local operations until 29 September 1952 when she again sailed to Eniwetok as flagship during the atomic tests of Operation "Ivy." Returning to San Diego 4 December, she cruised the west coast, and visited Acapulco, Mexico in 1953. From 10 January to 28 May 1954 she participated in Operation "Castle" during which the first hydrogen bomb was exploded.
Fitted with a helicopter deck during November and December 1954, Curtiss engaged in a large scale amphibious exercise on the coast of California in March 1955. From 21 March to 8 August 1956 she took part in Operation "Redwing," the atomic tests at Eniwetok during which she was visited by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. As flagship for the First Fleet she was visited by Vice Admiral A. H. Vdel, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Danish Navy on 20 September 1956.
Curtiss departed San Diego 27 December 1956 for Operation "Deep Freeze II," carrying sailors of the wintering-over party, and scientists to take part in the International Geophysical Year program. Calling at Port Lyttelton, New Zealand, from 12 to 15 January 1957, she entered McMurdo Sound 19 January and transferred cargo by helicopter to Glacier (AGB-4). From 21 to 28 January she put men and cargo ashore the same manner as she lay moored to the ice shelf, continuing these operations at Little America from 30 January to 6 February. She carried out ice reconnaissance to Okuma Bay and Sulzberger Bay, then departed McMurdo Sound 10 February. She called at Port Lyttelton and Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia, before returning to San Diego 25 March to undergo repairs for ice damage. She continued her local operations until placed out of commission in reserve 24 September 1957.
Curtiss received seven battle stars for World War II service.
Can you identify the Month and or Year?
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS CURTISS Contributed by KOONTS, AT2 Billy email@example.com [07MAR2003]
A BIT OF HISTORY: USS CURTISS Contributed by John Lucas firstname.lastname@example.org [01JUN2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-47 Aerial Photographer Frank Breitenstein with 20" F-56 camera in the USS Curtiss (AV-4) photo lab..." Contributed by Frank Breitenstein email@example.com [04APR2001]
A BIT OF HISTORY: [01MAR2001]
"USS Curtiss (AV-4) Summary Page"