VP-5 Squadron Shipmates
VPNAVY Address

ShipmateVP-118 ShipmatesShipmate

BREEDING, AR1 Vernon c/o Ronnie W. Breeding rwbreeding@austin.utexas.edu "...My Dad, AR1 Vernon Breeding, served with VPB-118. Dad was a Radioman with Crew-4. We have spent many an hour talking about and discussing the event and deeds of VPB-118. Dad is doing fine, having a bit of leg problems but still sharp as a tack and talks with a lot of love and respect for VPB-118, the wonderful PB2Y and the great men of the squadron that flew and lived with it. Especially the "Miss You" BUNO: 59482..." [28JUL2011]

Memorial Picture "...CLIFTON, CDR Charles...My Dad, CDR Charles Clifton (USNR), passed away July 2000 in Murphys, California. I am attempting to collect copies of all pictures containing members of VP-118 Crew 18 (DeGolia crew), 1945 South Pacific. In particular, my father, copilot Charles Clifton. Will gladly pay all reproduction costs!...Gary Clifton clifton@gbis.com..." [25JAN2003]

CLIFTON, CDR Charles Retired (Deceased) c/o his son Gary Clifton clifton@gbis.com "...My father was a pilot with VP-118 in 1945. My father flew P2V's as a reservist off the west coast until retirement in about 1975...Dad also served with VP-777...CDR (USNR) Clifton passed away July 2000 in Murphys, California..." [E-Mail/BIO Updated 25JAN2003 | Updated 26MAR98]

COLCLASURE, ADCS Hubert "Ridgey" Retired "...I would like to contact any members of VB-104 crew 1, from 1943-44 first combat tour. Also any member of VPB-118 crew 12, from Jul 44- Oct 45. I served in these two crews. My phone number is 662-851-7264 after July 1st, 1999 from 1800 - 2400 hours. Before July 1st call between 1200 - 2000 hours at 281-480-7696. It is very nice to see so much interest in the Navy Patrol Bombing Squadrons..." [16MAY99]

Memorial Picture "...GILLESPIE, AMM3/c Cecil R...My father, Cecil R. Gillespie, served with VPB-118 as an AMM3/c and from what records I have, he recieved the Air Medal for service with VPB-118 in the vicinity of Western Honshu and Southern Korea July 24 to August 9, 1945. He also served with VPB-197 and VPB-200. My father is now deceased. Anyone who may have served with him and/or has information on his unit and plane crew, I would be very glad to hear from. I myself am a Vietnam vet. His Son Mick Gillespie mkgillespie@comcast.net..." [E-Mail Updated 18SEP2007 | 13JUN2000]

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]

HARVILL, James R jharvill@pacbell.net"...I was lower ball turret gunner with VB-108, '43-'44. Later joined VPB-118 at Okinawa and finished the war there..."

KEITH, Calvin Carl (OKIE) keithpb4y2@aol.com "...Entered R. M. Finleys crew #6 as 1st Ordinanceman and Bow turret gunner July 1944. Left for home from Okinawa on August 18th with Finley and crew 6 with my AC wings w/three stars. In 1948, I received from Navy Dept., DFC, 2 Air Medals, and VP-118 Presidential Unit Citation, Asiatic Pacific, National Defense, Good Conduct, and WW2 Victory Medals. What a helluva year long ride with another OKIE (Finley) who I found later to have earned the Navy Cross. Thank you Mr. Finley Sir. Carl Keith, an OLD CROW..." [13AUG2001]

KORN, Robert c/o His Brother Samuel Korn kamskorn@yahoo.com "...My brother, Robert Korn, served with VPB-118 Crew 8 in the Pacific as a waist/tail gunner aboard the PB4Y-2..." [16FEB2003]

KROKOSKI, MAJ Chip Chipkro@AOL.com "...Looking for help from anyone! My father, Chester A. "Chet" Krokoski, Farrell, PA was an Aviation Radioman 2nd class on a PB4Y2 out of Iwo Jima. I'm looking for any information on how to track this unit down as he doesn't recall many details (anyone know Harvey Dale Hall?). Thanks for any help..." [17JAN98]

LEONARD, ADC John "Jack" Retired boxcar93@comcast.net "...I served with VP-14 and was combined with VPB-102 (WWII) and VPB-118. While serving with VP-14 / VPB-102 we flew the PBY-5s and PB4Y-1s and while serving with VPB-118 we flew the PB4Y-2 (first combat squadron to fly the PB4Y-2). I retired with 40 years (1942-1982) spanning both Active and Naval Reserve..." [E-Mail Updated 01SEP2011 | E-Mail Updated 07SEP2004 | 14DEC97]

MARCO, Tony De tonyd118@aol.com "...I was with Squadron VPB-118 from May 7 1945 to the end. I was in crew 13. Please some one drop me a line..." [14FEB99]

MARSHALL, Marion mmlm5@flash.net "...I served in VP-118, Aviation Ord. Crew 14 piloted by Lody Ladota who now lives on Long Island. Our crew received the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross. I was awarded a purple heart as a result of anti aircraft fire injury over Korea on July 14, 1945. I lost right arm as a result of the injury. I worked for the United States Department of Agriculture for 31 years..." [11MAR2001]

Memorial Picture "...MESSERSMITH, Merritt...Funeral services for Merritt (Smitty) Messersmith were held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, November 15 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Riceville. The Rev. John Mosher officiated. Interment was in Calvary Cemetery in Riceville. Lindstrom Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Merritt, 75, died Tuesday, November 9, 1999 following a massive heart attack. Merritt Eugene Messersmith was born May 25, 1924 at Red Oak, the son of Wilmeth and Walter Messersmith. He graduated in 1941 from Missouri Valley High School. He served in the United States Navy Air Force from 1941 to 1945 and was a member of the VPB 118 Squadron. On February 25, 1944 he married Bea Floriano at San Diego, CA. He was a newspaper editor by trade and was employed at the Shenandoah Sentinel, and newspapers in Alliance, NE, Maquoketa, Monticello and Independence. They purchased the Riceville Recorder in 1957, and he was the editor there for 39 years, retiring in June of 1996. In 1983 he received the "Master Editor-Publisher" award from the Iowa Newspaper Association. He is past president of the association and the Iowa Newspaper Foundation. "Smitty" was a member of the Riceville Rest Home board for 25 years, was a member of the Roy Gue Post #244 of the American Legion and the Father F. Stirn chapter of the Knights of Columbus. Survivors include his wife Bea; two daughters: Karen Zahasky of Tucson, AZ, and Gail Morris of Riceville; five grandchildren; one sister: Carla Pulley of Shenandoah, and one brother: Merlin of Edwards, CA. Merritt was preceded in death by his parents..." http://www.pafways.org/obituaries/crescotimesplaindealer/1999/1999novdec.htm [02JUN2003]

Memorial Picture "...NETHERCUTT, ART2 Carl C. Jr...My Dad, Carl C. Nethercutt Jr., served with VPB-118. I am looking at a Commendation from LCDR A. F. Farrell, Jr., USNR dated 27 July 1945. Dad served in the Navy from 30JUN1942 to 17NOV1945. I would love to hear from any of Dad's former Shipmates..." Contributed by Matthew Nethercutt matthew.nethercutt1@us.army.mil [E-Mail Updated 10JUL2009 | 28JAN2004]

RINEHART, CAPT Carl W. https://naval-air.org/flightlog/moreinfo.asp?UID=481 "...CAPT Carl W. Rinehart, USN - NFL Number: 481 - Date of Birth: 8/10/1912 - Date In: 6/1/1938 - Date Out: 6/1/1953 - City, State: Pensacola, FL - Aircraft Flown: PBY, PB4Y-2, F4U, F6F, P2V-2 - Ship or Unit: USS Ranger - USS Wright VPB-118, CO - Pilot Desg.: Naval Aviator - Theaters, Campaigns, etc.: RAF England & Pacific - Associations/Service Organizations: Shriners - Scottish Rite - York Rite - Highest personal decoration or award: Dist Flying Cross - Significant Achievements: Presidential Unit Citation VPB-118 Assistant Naval Attache & Assistant Naval Attache for Air, London, England. In Memoriam? No..." [03DEC2005]

ROSEN, Arthur "...WebSite: The Distinguised Flying Cross Society http://www.dfcsociety.org/page3.htm..." As a tail gunner in a PB4Y-2, during the Korean conflict, Machinist's Mate Third Class Rosen was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as an Aircrewman of a Patrol Bomber in Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred Eighteen during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Korea on May 15 and June 24 and 26, 1945.   Participating in attacks against enemy shipping and shore installations in the face of intense Japanese anti-aircraft fire, Rosen aided in obtaining valuable information concerning hostile forces and contributed materially to the sinking of two enemy freighters, the crippling of five Japanese vessels and to the damaging of radar installations and a lighthouse.  His courage and devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service..." [08DEC2000]

SHORTLIDGE, CAPTAIN George Retired shorty@swithin.com "...I was commissioned an Ensign in June, 1941. After two years in PBY's, SNB's and PV1's as an instructorand 18 months as a PPC in the PV1 ASW Squadron VB-143, I started PB4Y training at NAS Hutchinson, Kansas, in November of 1943. Variously traind there, NAS Jacksonville, Florida and Camp Kearney, California. I was designated a PPC in PV1's in September,1943 and a PPC in PB4Y's on June 8, 1945. We made a TransPac on May 29, 1945. There we reported into Fleet Training Squadron 2, I believe it was, at MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. We reported into VPB-118 on Yontan Field, Okinawa, on July 9, 1945, as a replacement crew. All of the above was garnered from my Navy log-books..." [27JUN99]

Memorial Picture "...SOWER, Hammond E. "Ed" Jr...Hammond E. (Ed) Sower, Jr., passed away on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 in Huntsville, Texas. He was born in Roanoke, Va. on April 13, 1919 where he lived most of his life. Ed was a veteran of World War II, serving with VPB-118 on Okinawa. He was retired from Norfolk Southern Railroad and was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church serving in many lay capacities where he was most proud of his long service as a Sunday School Teacher..." WebSite: Encyclopedia http://www.encyclopedia.com/ [11SEP2008]

TOLER, George Marion gtoler@intrex.net "...I first trained with VPB-18 out of Charleston, SC. VPB-18 was over complimented so some of us were sent to NAS Norfolk, Virginia to wait for the next squadron to be established. In May 1944, we were bused down to Harvey's Point. That's not the end of the world but you can see it from there! After training was over, we were bused back to NAS Norfolk, Virginia, put in some train cattle cars, and shipped out for NAS Alameda, California. The trip took 7 days, five in Texas, hot, man you should have been there, in undress blues, no less. While waiting for the trip west, I had one ferry trip to Hawaii and one flight under the Golden Gate Bridge. I would like to hear from anyone that remembers Crew 5 making an open sea landing to pick up a downed crew south of Okanawi. The notes I have in my log are in hygrflics, unreadable, and my penmanship was not my long suit. Since I couldn't drink at that time (Navy regulations) and too far from a land base I must have dreamed it. One of our crew doesn't remember the incident. After 55 years, the memory may have dimmed a bit. I sure hope someone else remembers!!..." [20AUG99]

VanDYKE, Peter peter_vandyke@chase.com "...My dad was a pilot in VPB-118 flying PB4Y2s in the Pacific in WW2. I would be interested in any pictures/drawings of the plane..." [14OCT98]


WHITE, George D. gdw@provide.net"...I served with VPB-118 in the Lodoto crew (crew 14) from March to August 1945..." [E-Mail Updated 05JUN2000 | E-Mail Updated 06SEP99]

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