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HistoryVP-144 HistoryHistory

Circa 1948

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...10JUN48 - Memorandum to All Hands VB-144 - ARM2 Maurice Prange Vandever's Personal Collection. While serving with VB/VPB-144 (Crew-4), Dad participated in 65 combat, photographic and reconnaissace patrols and carried out 22 bombing and strafing attacks, dropping a total of 25 tons of bombs and firing 10,000 rounds of ammunition against enemy fortified bases and armed shipping. On one ocassion, his plane was hit and received 81 holes in it with one engine shot out. Only once member of the crew was wounded and the pilot skillfully flew the plan for 120 miles on one engine in order to get back to the base safely. Dad received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1994 and three Gold Stars. Photograph Caption: Taken at Roi in Kwajalien June 4, 1944. Actors L-R: Bill Gayle, C. E. Foseman, Bill Hoban, M. P. Vandever, R. E. Yunk, T. J. Lamb (standing on barrel) - our Plane. T. J. Lam is from Crew-1..." Contributed by Scott Vandever svandever1950@gmail.com [26DEC2010]

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Circa 1947

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News January 1947 "...Harpoon Makes 4-Inch Oil Drop - Page 39 - Naval Aviation News - January 1947..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1947/jan47.pdf [16JUL2004]

History

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News January 1947 "...Compass Location Change Made - Page 39 - Naval Aviation News - January 1947..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1947/jan47.pdf [16JUL2004]

History

Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Bombing Squadron ONE FORTY FOUR (VPB-144) - ACA Rep #1 - Photo Reconnaissance, Bombing and Strafing of Napali and Ponape Islands, Carolines on 7/10/45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [15JAN2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-18 - History from 01DEC45-31DEC45 - Submitted January 30th, 1946. Squadron's Assigned: VP-23, VP-32, VP-53, VP-102, VP-108, VP-116, VP-144 and VP-152..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [10DEC2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-2, VPB-15, VPB-47, VPB-53, VPB-100, VPB-109, VPB-123, VPB-124, VPB-142, VPB-144, VPB-152, VPB-153, VPB-200 and VPB-205 - FAW-2 War Diary 1 APRIL to 30 APRIL 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [17OCT2012]

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Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...ARM2 Maurice Prange Vandever's Personal Collection. While serving with VB/VPB-144 (Crew-4), Dad participated in 65 combat, photographic and reconnaissace patrols and carried out 22 bombing and strafing attacks, dropping a total of 25 tons of bombs and firing 10,000 rounds of ammunition against enemy fortified bases and armed shipping. On one ocassion, his plane was hit and received 81 holes in it with one engine shot out. Only once member of the crew was wounded and the pilot skillfully flew the plan for 120 miles on one engine in order to get back to the base safely. Dad received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1994 and three Gold Stars..." Contributed by Scott Vandever svandever1950@gmail.com [26DEC2010]

LEFT to RIGHT - ROW 1: Distinguished Flying Cross (18MAY44-09JUN44), Newseek Article (MAY44), 05MAY44 Wotje, 09MAR44 Jaluit, 21APR44 Wotje, Freemand (killed 14FEB44) and Ruth Gowans and Local Radioman Ends 63 Missions in Pacific Area.

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVB-114 History "...Domain of Neptunus Rex - January 15th, 1944..." Contributed by Jonathan Horne vb144ventura@hotmail.com [03JUN2008]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-144 was one of the Navy's new squadrons - LCDR William N. Thies..." WebSite: World War II Memories [03NOV2006]

In 1944 the new squadron, unofficially known as the "Feather merchants," began immediate preparation for deployment. Flying Lockheed PV-1 Ventura's, VB-144 completed its training in October 1943, then embarked in USS Copahee (CVE-12) for transportation to NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Brief detachments to Midway and Johnston Islands were followed in December by the squadron's combat deployment to Tarawa. In March 1944, the squadron followed the U. S. Advance westward and flew patrols from Roi Island and Kwajelein until it was relieved in September by VB-133.

Following its post-combat stand down, VB-144 re-formed at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and was redesignated VPB-144 under Commander Bill Theis. It began making ready for its second combat deployment, this time with PV-2 Harpoons. On 4 April 1944, VPB-144 loaded aboard USS Kadashan Bay (CVE-76), staging through NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, before deploying to Eniwetok on 27 June. The final strike of the war for the Feathermerchants was flown against Wake Island 13 August 1945. After moving to Tinian, VPB-144 began demobilization while still deployed and effectively was a nonoperational squadron by the end of the year, when remaining personnel returned to the United States.
VPB-144 HistorySnuffy Smith by Fred Lasswell is the character on Bills VB-144 Harpoon. For those who do not know who he is Bill explains.

I could not find the actual one like in the sketch I sent you but it is Snuffy: When Barney Google's adventures took him deep into the Kentucky hills to escape the law, he met Snuffy Smith, a bodacious hillbilly who soon eclipsed him in popularity. At one time the premier moonshiner of Hootin' Holler mountain, this card-playin', hammock-swayin', shotgun-sprayin' varmint made the headlines when he vowed to give up his still forever. We'll just see about that.

PV2-Harpoons and Redeployment to the Eniwetok

We had to put the squadron on an aircraft carrier to get it to the Hawaian Islands because we didn't have the range to fly there. That was April of 1945 because I vividly remember that President Roosevelt died during that voyage.

Eniwetok had been built into a major staging area after the capture of the the island group in 1944. It served as a rear anchorage and repair base and kept tabs on the by-passed island bases of the Japanese in the area. Bill's unit was primarily involved in ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) patrols and periodic recon and harrassment missions on the Japanese. It was at Eniwetok that the war came very close to ending again for Bill in the waning days of the conflict. I was surprised when he described his missions on the by-passed Japanese bases. That the Navy would have sent crews out on such raids so close to the wars end, with out escorts or supporting rescue aircraft was surprising. The possibility of any action coming from those islands was nil, and our ability to read all Japanese code traffic (ULTRA) would have tipped the military off to any pending action.

 History ThumbnailCameraVB-144 Logo The PV-2 ---was derived from the PV-1 Ventura. The Ventura was originaly built for the British to replace the Lockheed Hudson. It was, at 313 mph, a fast, well armed aircraft for it's type. The PV-2 was an improved version structurally. It was a twin engined, 282 mph, aircraft with 9 machine guns, a greater range of 1790 miles and capable of carrying 3000 pounds of bombs. The crew varied from 4-5 depending on the mission. It was well suited to its role of maritime reconnaissance. Says Bill of the PV-1 & PV-2. "I appreciated the speed and maneuverability of the PV's I always wanted to be a fighter pilot and that was as close as I ever came."

Bill and his crew were assigned to make several raids during this period.

"We made one raid on Ponapei (Pohnpei)for 'general destruction'. We were alone, no escort. (Note: there was an airstrip on the island and you could never be absolutely sure there would be no air opposition. The rule was make one pass and get the hell out.) As I was making a high speed run on a water tower (we had twin 50 caliber machine guns in the nose) the structure blazed with 40mm anti aircraft fire. The 40mm that opened up on us had more range than our 50's, and we pulled out before our 50's were in range. When we banked away, the top skin of the right wing started to peel off. We jettissoned everything that wasn't welded down and lukily made it back to Eniwetok. The Japanese never sent any return raids, it was just a week before the A-bomb was dropped and they had nothing left. There was still a small ground force on Wake and we made a couple of raids on them. The strikes went in single file with a mile separation between aircraft."

Neither Bill or any of his crew were wounded during all of his missions in the war. He admits to "just some dirty underware!" Considering that they were often sent into the midst of the most intense anti-aircraft and fighter resistance, concentrated into a small area, in addition to the most adverse of weather conditions found on any front Americans served, it is a testament to his skill as a pilot and that of his crew. He says that the PBY was and is still his favorite aircraft because of its dependable Pratt and Whitney R-1830 engines. "I wouldn't fly anything that had a bum reputation so can't allude to a least favorite aircraft."

At wars end Bill and his unit were sent to Tinian. Bill tells the story of the dissolution of his unit as follows.

"I was still on Eniwetok when the war ended. We then went to Tinian where the squadron was decomissioned and ordered to push all 15 PV-2's over a 100 foot cliff into the ocean! This was done by revving up the engines, taxing to the edge of the cliff and jumping out!
TORPEDO JUICE

Having grown up watching TV shows like McHales Navy and seeing movies like Mr. Roberts, I had hear the term torpedo juice in references to brews concocted by the ships crews. Here is a story about that from Bill:

"All torpedoes for the Navy and AAF planes were stored and loaded at Umnak. There was a Navy Chief Torpedo man in charge. The "fish" in those days ran on ethyl alcohol. The Alcohol was spiked with "pink lady" so that if anyone drank it, they would get diarrhea. This enterprising Chief drained all the torpedoes, built a 'still' to remove the pink lady, recovered and sold the pure alcohol! His court martial punishment was a reduction in rank to Seaman 2nd class and "banishment" to stateside!!! (Big Deal!!!)" When asked if the Chief's liquor business ever caused our pilots to unwittingly go on missions with bad ordanance he responded, "Absolutely - often everyone that was dropped by the Army Air Corp aircraft and the Navy PBY's did not run. There were a couple of Army crews and Navy crews that actually found the Japanese carriers and made torpedo runs. Goes without saying "substance abuse" undoubtedly changed history."

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: "...War Record of Search Plane Squadron VB-144 - October 7, 1944..." Contributed by Jonathan Horne vb144ventura@hotmail.com [11MAR2006]

NAVY DEPARTMENT
HOLD FOR RELEASE
UNTIL 6 P.M., (C.W.T.)
October 7, 1944

INFORMATION ON LOCAL MAN IN VB-144.
WAR RECORD OF SEARCH PLANE SQUADRON VB-144


Search Plane Squadron VB-144 has returned to the United States after eight action packed months in the Central Pacific. Its record in combat shows the pilots and aircrewmen met strong Japanese resistance and compiled a highly successful record using Lockheed VENTURA (PV-1) twin-engine land-based bombers.

Every one of VB-144's VENTURAS was damaged by enemy antiaircraft fire at one time or another while in the combat zone, yet only one plane failed to reach a friendly base and land without injury to the crew. The personnel of this crew is listed as "missing in action." In addition one airman was killed by antiaircraft fire and seven were injured during the squadron's tour of duty.

The squadron suffered no casualties in planes or personnel due to operational accidents. This was accomplished despite the fact not one of the pilots had flown in a VENTURA before the squadron started training in California the middle of last year.

"The variety of operations carried out by VB-144, plus the proven stamina of the aircraft should establish the VENTURA as one of the most reliable work horses of the Navy," states Lieutenant Commander Curtis L, Tetley, USN, of 8040 Fairway Drive, Seattle, Washington, and Sikeston, Missouri Commanding Officer of VB-144.

Lieutenant Commander Tetley, the other pilots and air crewmen of VB-144 were high in their praise of the ruggedness, speed, and reliability of their VENTURAS. The ability of the plane and its Pratt and Whitney engines to stand up under heavy antiaircraft fire is considered outstanding.

VB-144 had the assignment of watching over certain Japanese islands in the Central Pacific which have been by-passed in the drive toward Tokyo. Their search operations consisted of keeping a daily check on island activities, rendering them ineffective for use as possible enemy offensive bases, and preventing reinforcement supplies and men from reaching the islands.

All of the by-passed and isolated Japanese islands still have sufficient gun emplacements and ammunition to mete out severe punishments the squadron reported. The pilots and air crewmen of VB-144 can tell plenty about the flak they met and how their VENTURA's withstood the punishment and came home safely numerous times on only one engine or with their wings and fuselage riddled with holes.

There was evidence of the destruction of Japanese air power by strong Naval task forces in the Central Pacific, the squadron observed. In search operations over its assigned area, VB.144 sighted enemy planes only once, four bomber and four fighters were seen south of Kwajalein in the Marshalls last January.br>
The lack of enemy air opposition did not mean that VB-144 had an easy time. It only meant the squadron could make more concentrated raids on airfields, shore installations and communications facilities to keep them in an ineffective condition. It was on these raids that the squadron met strong antiaircraft fire,

VB-144's record speaks well for their planes. On more than 15 occasions, pilots had to return to base with only one engine functioning. Some of engines received direct hits from flak; in every instance the damaged engine functioned for at least a portion of the distance to the base.

This squadron made 1,865 flights in the combat zone, for a total of 6,903.2 hours in the air. In the eight months of active combat operations -- bombing attacks, photographic reconnaissance, patrol and search missions -- only two trips were called off, and both of those because of weather.

Operating from the Gilberts and the Marshalls, this land-based Navy squadron inflicted its heaviest damage on the enemy by bombing and strafing assaults against Nauru in the Gilberts, Wotje, Taroa, Jaluit and Taongi Atolls in the Marshalls, and Kusaie in the Carolines.

More than 26 carloads (780,000 pounds) of high explosives were dropped on these by-passed and isolated islands in the Central Pacific by VB-144 and over 80 per cent of the explosives hit and caused damage within an assigned target area. In addition, 170,000 rounds of .30 and .50 caliber ammunition were expended from the VENTURA's machine guns.

Following are some of the pilots who had close calls with their planes but returned to their bases safely.

Lieutenant Edgar J. Rook, USNR, Chattanooga, Tennessee, was hit squarely twice by 20 millimeter shells over Wotje. One shell wrecked his starboard engine.

Lieutenant William E. Scarborough, USN, Savannah, Georgia, had an engine knocked out by a direct hit over Jaluit in May, and landed all right with one engine.

Lieutenant William R. Hayes USNR 70 School St., Belmont, Massachusetts, also received shell hits over Jaluit in May. His second pilot was wounded and his elevator control cable knocked out. He landed by using the elevator tab after a 140-mile flight.

Lieutenant James 0. Brady, USNR, Wheaton, Illinois, had his plane riddled with 81 holes, his port engine knocked out and a crew member injured when one of his own bombs exploded prematurely after he dropped it. He was fortunate to be airborne after the explosion, but still landed the VENTURA on one engine.

Lieutenant Donald M. McAusland, USNR, Seattle,Wash., had his plane hit by shrapnel with three 20 millimeter shells over Jaluit in June. His landing gear would not lower, his hydraulic system was shot out, his port rudder cable was cut, his port-engine was badly damaged and his flight instruments inoperative. Yet he made a successful crash landing.

Lt. (jg) Kenneth J. McNatt, USNR, 821 Loveland, Colorado, co-pilot took control of a VENTURA at 50 feet over the target when flak killed the plane commander, seriously wounded two aircrewmen, and damaged the plane's controls. Although he never had landed a VENTURA alone before, Lieut. (jg) McNatt brought the damaged plane in successfully, with the aid of Thomas Reed, Aviation Machinist's Mate, Third Class, USNR, of Jellico, Tennessee.

While bombing enemy-held islands was their most spectacular achievement, there was no surcease for the versatile VENTURAS. Each of the 18 six-man crews flew an average of 369.8 hours as VB-144 engaged in submarine searches, long, tiring but necessary patrols and searches, trips to drop propaganda leaflets photographic reconnaissance missions, and escort duty for big four-engined bombers on special missions. The bombing, and patrol missions were flown in all kinds of weather.

During the period 13 January to August, 1944 operations were carried out in the Gilberts, Marshalls and Eastern Carolines area. Prior to the Marshalls Campaign, patrols and bombing missions were carried out against enemy bases and shipping out of Tarawa. After completion of the conquest of the Marshalls, patrols and strikes were carried out by the squadron from both Tarawa and Roi Island. The patrols covered enemy held bases and ranged 300 to 500 miles from the base. The strike missions were carried out against Nauru in the Gilberts, Wotje, Taroa, Jaluit, and Taongi Atolls in the Marshalls and Kusaie in the Carolines. During February and March, the bombing missions were conducted out of Tarawa by six plane divisions. From April through June strikes on Wotje were carried out in conjunction with fighters and fighter-bombers of Marine Air Group THIRTY-ONE (MAG-31) from Roi, and in addition, bombs were dropped on Jaluit every fourth day by four plane sections proceeding between Roi and Tarawa. In addition to the above, anti-submarine hold down missions, special searches, fighter escorts, photo-reconnaisance and propoganda flights were conducted by the squadron.

In only two instances during the entire tour did the squadron fail to maintain its operating schedule, and on these occasions the flights were cancelled due to weather. In view of the fact the patrols and strikes were flown in all kinds of weather, both night and day, this record is all the more commendable.

The following statistics will serve to give a better idea of the scope of operations conducted during eight months in the combat area:
    Bombing Sorties - 338
    Patrol Sorties - 682
    Special Searches - 42
    ASW Hunter-Killer Operations - 20
    Photo Reconnaissance Missions - 8
    Propoganda Leaflets Missions - 10
    Escort Missions - 158
    Staging Flights - 234
    Local and Test Flights - 353
    Total Number of Flights - 1865
    Total Hours Flown - 6903.2
    Average Hours / Crew - 369.9
    Average Number Bombing Sorties / Crew - 18
    Average Number Patrol Sorties / Crew - 38

    Total Bombs Dropped on Enemy Installations - 394.9 tons
    Average Percentage of hits - 82%
    Total .30 and .50 Cal. Ammunition Expended - 170,000
Of the total figures given above, 43 of the bombing missions: 27 of the patrols and special searches and 6 of the Hunter-Killer flights were made at night.

On 42 of the bombing sorties, th PV's carried 6 x 500# bombs and full gas load, including drop tanks, giving a gross take off weight of 32,400 pounds. 36 strikes were made on enemy bases as far as 520 miles from base, with a 15 to 20 per-cent fuel reserve remaining on return to base. This is considerably in excess of the performance data given in Addendum No. 11, 01 December, 1943, prepared by the Bureau of Aeronautics, but no undue difficulties were encountered.

The tonnage of bombs dropped by the squadron would have been considerably greater had there not developed a shortage of 500# G.P. bombs at Roi and Tarawa which necessitated the use of the 120# fragmentation cluster on bombing missions.

Two 200-250 ton inter-island coasters were destroyed by the squadron planes on patrol over Ailinglapalap Atoll in the Marshalls during the period 19 to 22, January, 1944. On 12 March, a submarine was sighted and attacked by patrol plane out of Tarawa, but due to the fact that the submarine was submerged at the time of sighting, it was impossible to observe the results. On 16 August an enemy submarine was sighted 20 miles North of Kusaie by the squadron on patrol. The plane was unable to close fast enough to make a Class A attack and contact was not re-established despite the employment of gambit tactics. These were the only submarine contacts made by the squadron in the combat area, although numerous hold-down operations were conducted at Tarawa and Roi after contacts had been made by other units. The only sighting of enemy aircraft in the air by the squadron occurred on 18 January, when a bomber and four fighters were sighted by patrol plane South of Kwajalein. No encounter resulted from the contact.

The following losses in men and material were sustained by the squadron in the combat zone:
    Personnel Killed In Action - 6
    Personnel Killed by Enemy AA Fire - 1
    Personnel Seriously Wounded by Enemy AA Fire - 2
    Personnel Slightly Wounded by Enemy AA Fire - 5
    Planes Missing in Action - 1
    Planes Seriously Damaged by AA Fire - 7
    Planes Slightly Damaged by Enemy AA Fire - 31
    Planes Lost as a Result of Operational Errors - None
One plane and crew of six have been missing since 14 February, 1944 when they failed to return from a night mission over Jaluit. One of the planes serioulsy damaged by AA fire was subsequently stricken after it made a crash landing at Majuro.

Worthy of special mention are the following exploits of individual members of the squadron.

Lieutenant D.M. McAusland, USNR, sighting and attacking two armed picket boats on 19 January. The pilot's prompt and able execution of the attack so badly damaged both ships that they were later destroyed, due to their inibility to leave the area of the original attack. The attack was made with only two 500# bombs and in the face of AA fire from both ships.

Lieutenant (jg) K.J. McNatt, USNR, landing his plane safely at Kwajalein after PPC had been killed by AA fire over Wotje on 19 April. The courage and skill displayed by Lieutenant (jg) McNatt in taking over control of the plane at 50 feet over the target and flying it to Kwajalein despite damage to the controls and despite the fact that the entire crew, two of whom were seriously wounded, conducted themselves in a most exemplary manner.

Lieutenant E.J. Rook, Jr., USNR, landing his plane safely at Roi after being hit twice by 20mm AA fire over Wotje on 16 May. One shell scored a direct hit on the starboard engine.

Lieutenant W.E. Scarborough, USN, landing his plane safely at Kwajalein on one engine after receiving a direct hit on one engine from AA guns over Jaluit on 17 May.

Lieutenant W.R. Hayes, USNR, successfully landing at Majuro after his plane was hit twice by 20mm AA fire over Jaluit on 24 may. The AA, in addition to wounding the second pilot, knocked out the elevator control cable and the plane had to be landed after a flight of 140 miles, by means of the elevator tab.

Lieutenant J.O. Brady, USNR, landing his plane on one engine at Kwajalein on 09 June after being damaged by premature explosion of one of his own bombs over Jaluit. The explosion riddled the plane, knocking out the port engine and injuring one crew member.

Lieutenant D.H. McAusland, USNR, landing his plane at Majuro after being hit by three 20mm AA shells over Jaluit on 17 June. The pilot, althought wounded by AA shrapnel, made a successful crash landing, despite the fact that the landing gear would not lower, the hydraulic system was shot out, the port rudder cable was cut, the port engine damaged and flight instruments out of operation. The entire flight of 140 miles to Majuro was made under instrument conditions with the help of another squadron plane which acted as an escort.

Lieutenant G.T. King, USNR, making possible the rescue of a marine fighter pilot and the crew of a wrecked dumbo plane near Wotje on 27 June. Lieutenant King, acting as photographic plane on a fighter strike was called upon to assist the rescue of a fighter pilot shot down by AA fire and drifting toward enemy held Wotje. When the dumbo PBY crashed in attempting to effectuate rescue, the PV directed the rescue boat from a destroyer to the two rafts, despite the fact that the plane had already reached its prudent limit of endurance. All survivors were rescued and the PV returned to ROI with less than 20 gallons of fuel.

On strike missions the squadron made use of parachute flares to illuminate the target on night strikes, incendary clusters against wooden installations and depth bombs and fragmentation clusters against enemy land installations, in addition to GP bombs. In conjunction with marine fighter planes, the squadron experimented with coordinated bombing and strafing attacks against enemy installations. Glide bombing tactics were employed on the greater part of the bombing missions due to the heavy concentration of automatic weapons and medium AA at enemy bases which were attacked. However, against some land targets and against enemy shipping, minimum altitude tactics were used.

The planes held up extremely well under the heavy and varied schedule assigned to the squadron. The success in this respect can be attributed to both the squadron and the excellent maintenance and servicing received from CASU SEVENTEEN while based at Tarawa. The co-operation and skillful workmanship evidenced by CASU SEVENTEEN were in a large way responsible for the excellent record made by the squadron while carrying out its operating schedule.

Contrary to the school of thought so often encounterd, this squadron has found the PV-1 airplane to be an exceptionally safe and reliable plane. The ability of both the plane and the R-2800-31 engines to return to base after severe damage by enemy AA is considered outstanding. In the eight months of operations not a single plane in the squadron has escaped damage by enemy AA; yet only one plane has failed to reach a friendly base and land without injury to the crew. On five separate occasions engines have received direct hits from enemy fire; in every case the damaged engine has functioned for at least a portion of the distance to the base.

The variety of operations carried out by this and other PV squadrons in the area, plus the proven stamina of the aircraft, should establish the PV as one of the most reliable "work horses" of the Navy.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Summary Of Operations Of VB-144 - 13 January to August, 1944..." Contributed by Jonathan Horne vb144ventura@hotmail.com [11MAR2006]


Circa 1943 - 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...My Father, LCDR Roy V. Gilcrest, Jr. Retired, passed away December of 1998. Dad served with VB-144/VPB-144 (1943-1944) in the south Pacific. These are some of my Dad's personal collection..." Contributed by Tom Gilcrest tomg@bucon.com [13JUN2012]

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UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraPV-2 Aircraft "...A restored PV-2 has been donated to the Kansas City Airline History Museum, and I went to see it last week. They have a photo with the city skyline in the background of its flyby (attached). I left Dad's stuff with them for the museum display..." Contributed by Tom Gilcrest tomg@bucon.com [10JUL2013]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The pictures in hawaii were taken late 43, the other pictures were taken on Tarawa and Kwajelein-Roi in 1944. My father is LCdr Philip Horne USN ret. He is an active member of the battle of midway roundtable..." Contributed by Jonathan Horne vb144ventura@hotmail.com [30JUL2007]

LEFT to RIGHT - ROW 1: Who is this pilot, Wash day, Ventura ckpt, Tetley & Unknown, Phil crew and Junior Officer Goodbee

LEFT to RIGHT - ROW 2: Ensign, Unknown, Crew, Unknown, Pilots Hawaii 1943 and Pilots

LEFT to RIGHT - ROW 3: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Too young to shave and Tetley Hawaii 1943

LEFT to RIGHT - ROW 4: Tetley & Unknown, Tarawa, Tarawa Memorial, Roi-Namur Map, Nose Art and Nose Art

LEFT to RIGHT - ROW 5: LT Pahorne Tarawa 1944, LT Philip Horne, orne-Buie, Horne-Buie and Home Ttarawa

LEFT to RIGHT - ROW 6: Ckpt Venturan, Bill Hoban in grass skirt. Unsure of the other pilot, ARM3c Marvin Schandorff, 1944 on Roi Namur CDR Williams, LT P.A. Horne, 1933, and 3 Unknown pilots Lary Moran right side

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Circa 1943

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...ARM2 Maurice Prange Vandever's Personal Collection. While serving with VB/VPB-144 (Crew-4), Dad participated in 65 combat, photographic and reconnaissace patrols and carried out 22 bombing and strafing attacks, dropping a total of 25 tons of bombs and firing 10,000 rounds of ammunition against enemy fortified bases and armed shipping. On one ocassion, his plane was hit and received 81 holes in it with one engine shot out. Only once member of the crew was wounded and the pilot skillfully flew the plan for 120 miles on one engine in order to get back to the base safely. Dad received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1994 and three Gold Stars. Photograph Caption: Taken at Roi in Kwajalien June 4, 1944. Actors L-R: Bill Gayle, C. E. Foseman, Bill Hoban, M. P. Vandever, R. E. Yunk, T. J. Lamb (standing on barrel) - our Plane. T. J. Lam is from Crew-1..." Contributed by Scott Vandever svandever1950@gmail.com [26DEC2010]

LEFT to RIGHT - ROW 1: Enlisted Circa 30MAY1943, Enlisted Names Circa 30MAY1943, 08MAY43 Stevens and Schriever, 08MAY43 McGuine, Rezek and Stevens and Kneeling L-R: Stevens, Rezek and McGuire. Laying: Schriver.

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVB-114 History "...VB-114 PV-1 NAS Vernalis Summer 1943..." Contributed by Jonathan Horne vb144ventura@hotmail.com [03JUN2008]

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: "...Crew Listings..." Contributed by HOLCOMB, John FlyVB144@aol.com [Updated 28SEP2001 | 30AUG2001]

VP-144 History
VP-144 History

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "XXMID43--By mid-1943 the tide of war in the Pacific had shifted against Japan. America's superior production capacity and its ability to mobilize its fighting forces were the prime reasons for the dramatic reversal. Established 1 July 1943 at NAS Alameda under the command of Lieutenant Commander C. L. Tetley, Bombing Squadron One Forty-Four (VB-144) was part of naval aviation's growth from 7,058 heavier-than-air aircraft at the beginning of the year to 16,691 by the end of 1943. Active-duty aviation personnel grew from 42,793 to 148,024 officer and enlisted. The new squadron, unofficially known as the "Feathermerchants," began immediate preparation for deployment. Flying Lockheed PV-1 Ventura's, VB-144 completed its training in October, then embarked in USS Copahee (CVE-12) for transportation to NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Brief detachments to Midway and Johnston Islands were followed in December by the squadron's combat deployment to Tarawa. In March 1944, the squadron followed the U. S. Advance westward and flew patrols from Roi Island and Kwajelein until it was relieved in September by VB-133. Following its post-combat stand down, VB-144 re-formed at NAS Whidbey Island and was redesignated VPB-144 under Commander Bill Theis. It began making ready for its second combat deployment, this time with PV-2 Harpoons. On 4 April 1944, VPB-144 loaded aboard USS Kadashan Bay (CVE-76), staging through NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, before deploying to Eniwetok on 27 June. The final strike of the war for the Feathermerchants was flown against Wake Island 13 August 1945. After moving to Tinian, VPB-144 began demobilization while still deployed and effectively was a nonoperational squadron by the end of the year, when remaining personnel returned to the United States. VPB-144 was redisgnated VP-144 on 15 May 1946, VP-ML-4 on 15 November, and finally, VP-4 on 1 September 1948, the designation it carries today, now known as the "Skinny Dragons." Transitioning to Lockheed P2V-2 Neptunes in 1947, the squadron remained in the Pacific Fleet based at Naha, Okinawa (1956-1964) and at NAS Barber's Point while deploying throughout the Far East. VP-4 flew Market Time and Yankee Station missions during the Vietnam War. Flying Lockheed P-3C Orion's, VP-4, currently under Commander Patrick S. O'Brien, is scheduled to move to MCAF NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by 1999...(Proceedings/April 1996 Lest We Forget-Bob Lawson)..." Contributed by George Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...LOCKHEED PV VENTURA and HARPOON - by Jack McKillop..." http://www.microworks.net/pacific/aviation/pv_ventura.htm [23JUN2002]

A brief history of the squadrons that operated the PV-1 and PV-2 is listed below.

VB/VPB-144: VB-144 etablished at NAS Alameda, California, 01 July 1943 with PV-1s; redesignated VPB-144 1 October 1944. To NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii in escort aircraft carrier USS Copahee (CVE-12) August 1943 and trained and flew operational patrols. To NAB Betio, Gilbert Islands, 9 January 1944 and flew combat patrols. To NAB Roi-Namur, Marshall Islands, 1 February 1944 and commenced bombing operations against Japanese bases in the Gilbert, Marshall and Eastern Caroline Islands. Leaving a detachment at NAB Roi-Namur, returned to NAB Betio 30 March and continued attacks on the Marshalls; a second detachment sent to NAB Roi-Namur in April 1944 and the entire squadron moved there on 1 September. To NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, via NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii on 1 November 1944 and began re-equipping with PV-2s. To NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii in the escort aircraft carrier USS Kadashan Bay (CVE-76), April 1945 and then to NAF Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands 27 June 1945. Flew patrols and photographed Japanese held islands until VJ Day.


Circa 1941-1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-8 - History from 08JUL41-31DEC44 Submitted April 12th, 1945. Squadron's Assigned: VP-16, VP-18, VP-19, VP-20, VP-21, VP-22, VP-25, VP-26, VP-27, VP-28, VP-43, VP-61, VP-62, VP-63, VP-72, VP-81, VP-82, VP-83, VP-84, VP-92, VP-118, VP-123, VP-133, VP-137, VP-140, VP-142, VP-144, VP-148, VP-150, VP-153, VP-198, VP-205, VP-208 and VP-216..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [01DEC2012]

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