VPNAVY VP-5 Mercury Capsule Recovery
http://www.vpnavy.org
VPNAVY Address

HistoryVP-104 HistoryHistory

Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...27 MAY 46 - The Chief of Naval Operations outlined a program for the operational introduction of the Bat (SWOD Mk 9) which called for its assignment to VP-104 of the Atlantic Fleet and VP-115 of the Pacific Fleet and directed transfer to VP-104 of all PB4Y-2s already modified to operate the Bat missile..." http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-1910/PART06.PDF [28MAY2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "21MAY46--The Chief of Naval Operations outlined a program for the operational introduction of the Bat (SWOD Mk 9) which called for its assignment to VP-104 of the Atlantic Fleet and VP-115 of the Pacific Fleet and directed transfer to VP-104 of all PB4Y-2's already modified to operate the Bat missile...." http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/avchr5.htm


Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-14 - History from 15OCT42-01DEC42 - Submitted December 22nd, 1944. Squadron's Assigned: VP-1, VP-2, VP-4, VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-21, VP-23, VP-24, VP-33, VP-44, VP-53, VP-54, VP-71, VP-72, VP-81, VP-91, VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-106, VP-109, VP-111, VP-115, VP-117, VP-118, VP-119, VP-121, VP-122 and VP-202..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [06DEC2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-1 - VP-14, VP-71, VP-81, VPB-104, VPB-106 - War Diary - January 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [21OCT2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-1 - VP-14, VP-71, VP-81, VPB-104, VPB-106 - War Diary - January 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [21OCT2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...WWII Aviator's Log Books: Occo Gibbs, Lt. Cmdr. USN (1943 and 1945) - Lt. Cmdr. Gibbs was a scout observation pilot attached to the USS Cleveland during WWII. After initial flight training, his group was briefly assigned to duty in North Africa but quickly was transferred to service in the South Pacific. In addition to Lt. Cmdr. Gibb's log books, this collection includes his flight jacket, flight suit, personnel records and photo album from his tour of duty. Shown below are the log book entries relating to PBY flights he made. We will be adding his scout observation flights and photos as time allows (including VPB-104, VPB-119, and VJ-9 1945)..." Contributed by WebSite: Douglas Science & Technology Corporation http://www.dstc.org/ at http://www.dstc.org/w01/g05/m01/l04OG/lg_index.html [06MAR2005]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...28 Units Receive Commendation - Naval Aviation News - October 1945.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1945/15oct45.pdf [10NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

Circa 1944 - 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraPB4Y-2 Squadron Assignments "...PB4Y-2 Squadron Assignments 1944 - 1949 by W. T. Larkins 5-11-1984. A review of the aircraft history cards for the 740 aircraft 59350-60009 and 66245-66324 allows the following squadrons with one or more aircraft. Unfortunately the original assignment on many in 1944 is simply "PAC" for Pacific area. No card was found to verify VB-200 as the first squadron delivery or any Marine Corps squadrons. Squadrons listed include VP-12, VP-21, VP-22, VP-23, VP-25, VP-26, VP-27, VP-28, VP-29, VPB-100, VPB-101, VPB-10, VPB-102, VPB-104, VPB-106, VPB-107, VPB-108, VPB-109, VPB-111, VPB-114, VPB-115, VPB-116, VPB-117, VPB-118, VPB-119, VPB-120, VPB-121, VPB-122, VPB-123, VPB-124, VPB-143, VPB-197, VPB-200, VP-HL-1, VP-HL-2, VP-HL-4, VP-HL-6, VP-HL-7, VP-HL-8, VP-HL-9, VP-HL-10, VP-HL-11, VP-HL-12, VP-HL-13, VPM-1, VPW-1, VPW-2, VPW-3, VX-1 and VX-2..." Contributed by Bill Larkins wtl@earthlink.net [01AUG2010]


Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 11 Jan 1944..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [29SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7, VJ-8, VJ-9, VJ-10, VJ-11, VJ-12, VJ-13, VJ-14, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-16, VP-17, VP-18 and VP-19

VP-20, VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52 and VP-54

VP-61 and VP-62

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-115, VP-116 and VP-117

VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

VP-150 and VP-151

VP-201, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...ABBOTT, WILLIAM EDWIN - Aviation Machinist's Mate Third Class, U.S. Navy - Patrol bomber Squadron 104 (VPB-104), Date of Action: December 12, 1944..." WebSite: Home of Heroes http://www.homeofheroes.com/verify/1_Citations/nc_06wwii_navy.html [29DEC2005]

Citation:

The Navy Cross is presented to William Edwin Abbott, Aviation Machinist's Mate Third Class, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against the enemy. On 12 December 1944, Aviation Machinist's Mate Third Class Abbott, as first mechanic on a Navy Liberator on armed combat patrol, penetrating a thousand miles into enemy territory over northwest Borneo, salvaged enough fuel from a gas line tank pierced by savage enemy fire, to enable his plane to return to its base. In so doing he braved intense fumes, until unconscious, he fell to his death. He thereby sacrificed his life for those of his fellow crew members. His action showed undaunted courage, fierce tenacity, an absolute disregard for personal safety and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy of the United States.

VPB-104 File P15 MM, Serial 051 (December 22, 1944)
Birth: 6/29/1925 - St. Joseph, MO
Home Town: Peoria, IL

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...19DEC42 - PB4Y-1s (VPB 104) attack Japanese convoy in South China Sea, and sink transport Shinfuku Maru, which had survived attack by submarine Segundo (SS-398) on 6 December 1944, 30 miles west of Manila, 1340'N, 11550'E..." WebSite: HyperWar http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-Chron/USN-Chron-1944.html [13SEP2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...VB-104 Gets Unit Citation - CASU Has Safety Equipment - Naval Aviation News - July 1944..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1944/15aug44.pdf [07NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...'My Fighter Plane Had Four Engines' by Captain Paul F. Stevens, USN (Retired) - Foundation Volume 24 Number 1 - Spring 2003 http://www.naval-air.org/..." [13MAY2003]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-104 Squadron Awards..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller mkwsmiller@cox.net [23APR2001]

  • Presidential Unit Citation
    06 Nov 44 - 07 Jun 45

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-104  LT Paul Stevens Thumbnail"15NOV44--LT Paul Stevens, XO. VPB-104, en route to United States, after six months in combat. Photo courtesy CAPT P. F. Stevens." "The Best Laid Plans" by CAPT Paul F. Stevens, USN (Ret), FOUNDATION Volume 17 Number 2 Fall 1996 Page 71 Picture Contributed by George B. Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "11NOV44--VPB-104 had just commenced its second combat tour and was operating from Morotai Island, then a Dutch possession and now part of Indonesia. The squadron was equipped with PB4Y-1 Liberators, each manned by a crew of 11...On 11 November 1944, at about 0600, crews No. 3 and 16 were scheduled for departure on their assigned search sector. During preflight of the planes, the airfield was strafed by a Japanese fighter plane which delayed our takeoff about an hour. The antiaircraft gunners downed the enemy plane..." "Survivors" by Mr. Charles D. Vey, FOUNDATION Volume 16 Number 2 Fall 1995 Page 77 Picture Contributed by George B. Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: ArticleArticle "...1,000 Miles Eyes by Sidney Shalett dated 23SEP44. Article mentions CAPTAIN Thurlow Gray DOYLE (served with VP-14 and VPB-102) as well as VPB-104..." Contributed by DOYLE, CAPTAIN Thurlow Gray (Deceased) c/o His Son Thomas Doyle tmdoyle4@earthlink.net [22JUN2001]


    Circa 1943 - 1945

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...ETTINGER, LCDR Robert L...My Uncle, Robert L. Ettinger, passed away July 22, 2008. He was a LCDR and served with VP-71 and VPB-106 flying the PB4Y-2 and PBY-5A during WWII. He was a very quiet man and when asked about the war, all he would say was that he was a pilot and saw a few things. After his death, his family found his pictures, log book and medals which included Distinguished Flying Cross (2 Gold Stars), Air Medal (5 Gold Stars), American Theatre Ribbon, Asiatic - Pacific Theatre Ribbon (2 Bronze Stars) and the Phillipine Liberation Ribbon (Bronze Star). The following pictures are from my Uncle's personal collection..." Contributed by Terry Baize applegator1@yahoo.com [19JUL2016]

    PERSONAL SCRAPBOOK
    VP-71
    VP-101
    VP-104
    VP-106
    NAAS Camp Kearny, California

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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VB/VPB-104 (The Buccaneers) Commanding officers: Commander Harry Sears (1943-1944); Commander Whitney Wright (June 1944 to June 1945); Lt. Commander William Cole (June to August 1945). First tour: Based on Guadalcanal. Second tour: Assigned to FAW-10 (January to April 1945); FAW-17 (November to December 1944 and April to August 1945). Based at Morotai, Tacloban, and Clark Field. Commander Whitney Wright invented the art of low-level attacks by the PB4Y-1 Liberator and was awarded the Navy Cross..." WebSite: U.S. Navy Pacific-Based PB4Y Squadrons in World War II http://www.alanc.carey.freeservers.com/custom2.html [26NOV2005]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Air-to-Air Shoot Downs by Navy and Marine Corps Patrol Type Aircraft During World War II - This Squadron Mentioned...Naval Historical Center ADOBE Download File: http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-vol2/Appen4.pdf [12FEB2004]
    Get Adobe Reader
    Open VP History Adobe FileAir-To-Air Shootdowns 118KB


    Circa 1943

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-104 Crew ThumbnailCameraSouth Pacific Tour "...Commander Sears of VB-104 took Mrs. Roosevelt from NOB Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides Islands to our base at Guadacanal. She arrived on September 17th and returned on the 18th, 1943. The first lady was allowed to fly as co-pilot on the return hop and landing. He was flying LT Alley's and Crew-5 Plane (BUNO: 32075), as his #48 was crashed earlier by LT Searls. They had made modification to this plane which had a picture of a nude girl and was named "Open Bottom". They painted over the name. She had peviously told the skipper after seeing all the painted planes that sailors have the cleanest bodies and dirtyest minds..." Contributed by Jack Bartell jjbartell@gorge.net [02FEB2011]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross - To U.S. Navy Personnel - World War II - (2,889 Awards) - Navy Cross Citations U.S. Navy - World War II..." WebSite: Home of Heros http://www.homeofheroes.com/ valor/ 1_Citations/ 03_wwii-nc/ nc_06wwii_navyR.html [23NOV2007]

    WRIGHT, WHITNEY

    Citation:

    The Navy Cross is presented to Whitney Wright, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Commander of a heavy bomber of Patrol-Bombing Squadron ONE HUNDRED FOUR (VPB-104) in combat against Japanese forces near Leyte in the South Pacific from 26 August 1943 to 3 November 1943. In the face of intense antiaircraft fire, Lieutenant Wright pressed home his attacks, destroying or seriously damaging one enemy gunboat, one loaded troop transport and one cargo vessel. On 8 September he was attacked by seven Japanese airplanes while maneuvering to complete the destruction of an enemy bomber. After a twenty-minute battle he eluded the fighters and returned to his base with his plane undamaged. Lieutenant Wright's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 336 (March 1945)
    Born: May 22, 1915 at Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Town: Waterville, Maine

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross - To U.S. Navy Personnel - World War II - (2,889 Awards) - Navy Cross Citations U.S. Navy - World War II..." WebSite: Home of Heros http://www.homeofheroes.com/ valor/ 1_Citations/ 03_wwii-nc/ nc_06wwii_navyR.html [23NOV2007]

    SEARS, HARRRY E.

    Synopsis:

    The Navy Cross is presented to Harrry E. Sears, Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action from August 26 to 4 November 1943, while serving with Patrol Squadron 104 (VP-104) in the Solomon Islands. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 31 May 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [02OCT2006]

    VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

    CASU

    PATSU

    VD-1, VD-2 and VD-3

    VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7 and VJ-10

    VP-1

    VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14 and VP-15

    VP-23

    VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

    VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

    VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

    VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

    VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

    VP-81 and VP-84

    VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

    VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

    VP-125, VP-126, VP-127 and VP-128

    VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

    VP-140, VP-142, VP-144 and VP-146

    VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

    VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212

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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 09 Nov 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

    VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

    CASU and PATSU

    VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

    VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-15, and VJ-16

    VP-6 Coast Guard

    VP-1

    VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15 and VP-16

    VP-23 and VP-24

    VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

    VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

    VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

    VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

    VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

    VP-81 and VP-84

    VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

    VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

    VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-114, VP-115 and VP-116

    VP-125, VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

    VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

    VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

    VP-150

    VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

    VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00AUG43--In August 1943, a Consolidated PB2Y-3 Coronado flying boat, flown by Lt. C. J. Alley of Squadron VB-104, encountered a Japanese Mavis four-engine flying boat in South Pacific. Despite heavy Mavis armament of guns and cannon, PB2Y-2 closed in to point-blank range, set aflame Mavis wing tanks..." "Golden Wings - A Pictorial History of the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Air" by Martin Caidin in co-operation with the U.S. Navy ISBN 0-405-03755-4.

    UPDATE 02MAR98: "...In "A Bit Of History" the author states that Lt. Alley was flying a PB2Y-3. I would like to make a slight correction. Lt. Alley was flying a PB4Y-1 as a member of the first tour of VB-104. The Squadron was based at Henderson field, Gaudalcanal. The bow gunner who shot down the Mavis was Allie J. lymenstull who I had the privilege of flying with on the second tour of VPB-104. The type of aircraft can be confirmed in Henry J. Thompson's book, "The Buccaneers Of Harry Sears" which is a complete history of the first tour of VB-104..." Contributed by Fred Himsworth fredhvpb104@imagina.com

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...A Bigger Prize - Sometimes you don't know the score until the game is over" by CAPT Paul E. Stevens, USN..." FOUNDATION Volume 22 Number 1 Spring 2001 Page 22 through 27 Picture [10MAY2001]

    Bombing Squadron 104 deployed to Guadalcanal with its 15 new PB4Y-1 Liberators in August 1943. These were not green, inexperienced flight crews.

    The squadron had operated as VP-71 flying "neutrality patrols" over the North Atlantic with PBY-5 Catalinas just before our entry into World War II. Once hostilities commenced, the squadron moved to the South Pacific and began combat missions in the flying boats. In March 1943 the squadron returned to Kaneohe, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It reformed as VB-104 and transitioned to the Liberator.

    On 28 August 1943, Lieutenant Charles J. "John" Alley, the patrol plane commander for Crew 5, flew north-northwest from Carney Field, Guadalcanal, on a long-range search mission. The story of this patrol was published in The Buccaneers of Harry Sears, written by Henry J. "Horse" Thompson, a pilot in the squadron. It was written four years ago, prior to acquiring "the rest of the story:'

    BAGGING A MAVIS

    John Alley and his crew were flying Sector 2, along Bouganville. The day was clear and sunny with visibility 40 miles. At 1235, at zero degrees 20 minutes north latitude and 152 degrees 15 minutes east longitude, they sighted a Japanese Mavis flying boat. The large, four-engined airplane was on course 172 degrees true -the track from Truk to Rabaul -cruising at 8,000 feet at a speed of 150 mph. Alley was at 5,000 feet; the Mavis was 3,000 feet above and 15 miles ahead off his port bow. Alley climbed at an air speed of 170 mph and overtook the enemy plane. He did not lower the belly turret because he was going to attack from below, and the lowered turret would reduce his plane's speed and rate of climb.

    Alley was concerned about the 20mm cannon in the Mavis' tail, because his gradual approach was in the cannon's cone of fire. As he maneuvered into his attack position from below, there was no indication that the Mavis' crew was aware of the PB4Y-1. Over the intercom, bow turret gunner A.J. "Lyme" Lymenstull called off the rings in his gunsight, giving everyone the range to the Mavis. Lymenstull, first radioman H.B. Tiliman in the top turret, and Plane Captain WG. Lloyd on the port waist .50-caliber gun saw that all of the gun hatches on the Mavis were closed. If any hatch opened, all gunners were ready to fire at it.

    When 500 yards from the Mavis, Alley's gunners opened fire. Their bullets hitting the plane must have been the first indication to the Mavis' crew that an enemy plane was near them. Lymen - stull fired four short bursts from his bow turret -a total of 200 rounds. His first burst went into the No.4 engine, the second into No.3, and as the Mavis' starboard wing dropped, he got bursts into the NO.2 and NO.1 engines. Lloyd burned out the barrel of his .50-caliber. He was evidently so excited that he forgot short bursts were necessary. A year earlier, when Lloyd was flying in a PBY in VP-71, a Mavis had shot at him. He was eager to even the score.

    It seemed forever for the gunners, but only seven seconds after the opening bursts, both starboard engines of the Mavis caught fire, flames trailing one plane length behind. The enemy nosed over and spiraled in smoke and flames until it crashed into the sea. It took only 150 to 200 rounds from each of Alley's three gun stations to down the Mavis.

    Waist gunner F.S. "Moe" Mahaley was on the starboard waist .50-caliber and could not bring his gun to bear. Instead, he grabbed the K-20 camera that they carried and took one of the most famous sets of combat photos of the war. He shot 19 pictures from the moment. before the Mavis started burning until it hit the water. The attack was so dramatic and the pictures so good that an account of the shoot-down and three of Mahaley's photos appeared in the November 1943 Newsweek. There was also an article about this action in Liberty magazine.

    The Mavis was a bit old-fashioned but a very serviceable seaplane used at this time largely for transporting important people. Scuttlebutt had it that there was a senior well-known Japanese admiral aboard the Mavis that Alley's gunners put into the ocean.

    Having expended a lot of fuel chasing the Mavis, Alley's crew looked anxiously at the fuel sight gauges as they neared Guadalcanal. About 30 minutes from Carney Field, the fuel in the sight gauges would surge up a little and then disappear. Alley radioed the field that he was coming in low on gas and could not tolerate a wave-off. After a perfect landing, all four engines died at the end of the runway. A tractor pulled the PB4Y to its hard stand -fuel management to the last drop by a fine crew.

    The squadron filed an aircraft action report dated 28 August 1943 that briefly described the shootdown. In the "damage claimed" column was stated: "Our plane opened fire, both starboard engines caught fire and plane crashed in water:' Officially, the squadron chalked up another.

    CONFIRMING THE SCORE

    Over the years, several members of VB-104 have acquired a considerable amount of information from Japanese records related to our aircraft action reports. An independent historian named Minoru Kamada, who does research at the National Institute for Defense Studies in Japan, has provided details from their records that have confirmed many of our claims of damage and destruction.

    Recently an inquiry was made as to whether there were, in fact, senior Japanese officials aboard the Mavis on 28 August 1943. Indeed, a number of Imperial Japanese Army and Navy officers were passengers. The most senior officer on the plane was Major General Yadoru Arisue of the Japanese army. Arisue was the assistant chief of staff -third in the chain of command -of the 8th Area Army at Rabaul. Also on board the Mavis was Captain Kyosuke Mizuno of the Japanese navy, who until recently had been working at the Imperial Palace. The Mavis was also transporting several submariners when it went down, including Lieutenant Fumio Arima, commanding officer of submarine RO-lO1, based at Rabaul.

    EPILOGUE

    Bombing 104 returned to the United States in April 1944. Under the exceptionally fine leadership of the commanding officer, Commander

    Harry Sears, it had been the most successful PB4Y-1 squadron in long-range search to date. The aggressiveness and competence of the crews were recognized when the squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

    The squadron was reorganized as Patrol Bombing Squadron 104 and returned to combat in November 1944. Again it was highly successful under the same brand of leadership in Lieutenant Commander Whitney Wright, and again the squadron was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. Of note was a shootdown during that tour of an Emily, a four-engined seaplane, carrying Vice Admirai Seigo Yamagata and his entire staff. This must be a record of some kind: one squadron bagging two flag officers during the same war.

    Captain Paul R Stevens, USN (Ret.), began his career in 1939 in the college pilot training program. He entered the Navy as an Aviation Cadet in 1941 and served two combat tours in the South Pacific during World War II. Among his awards are the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. Stevens commanded an auxiliary ship, two squadrons and an air wing. He attended test pilot school and had two tours at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River Maryland.

    After retiring from the Navy, he served as chief pilot for W.R. Grace and Company. He also served as chairman for the NBAA international operations committee for three years. Stevens later worked in the engineering department of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.

    Stevens maintains a home in Nashville, Tennessee, and a condominium in Pensacola, Florida, where he volunteers at the National Museum of Naval Aviation. He is a regular contributor to Foundation.

    Dr. Henry I. Thompsons naval service was limited to the four years of World War 11. He began in the V-5 Pilot Training program and graduated from Corpus Christi in 1942 as a Naval Aviator and ensign in the Naval Reserve. He went directly to VP-71, a PBY Catalina squadron based at Kaneohe, Hawaii, operating from advanced bases at Midway, Canton and Johnston Islands. More rigorous operations followed: VB-104 in Navy PB4-1 Liberators in the Solomons and VPB-118 in Privateers out of Tinian, Iwo lima and Okinawa. From Tinian and Iwo lima, the squadron covered the Pacific shores of Japan. From Okinawa, operations were over China, Korea and the Sea of Japan. Thompsons decorations include the Silver Stat; two presidential Unit Citations and an undetermined number of Distinguished Flying Crosses and Air Medals.

    After the war the GI Bill made it possible for Thompson to earn a doctorate in biology from Stanford University. For 32 years he worked as a professor of biology at University of California, Los Angeles. With his wife Joyce, he is now retired in Coronado, California. In the Optimist Club, with shipmates old and new, he serves the youth of the community.


    Circa 1942

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-14 - History from 15OCT42-01DEC42 - Submitted December 22nd, 1944. Squadron's Assigned: VP-1, VP-2, VP-4, VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-21, VP-23, VP-24, VP-33, VP-44, VP-53, VP-54, VP-71, VP-72, VP-81, VP-91, VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-106, VP-109, VP-111, VP-115, VP-117, VP-118, VP-119, VP-121, VP-122 and VP-202..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [06DEC2012]

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