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HistoryVP-146 HistoryHistory

Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...08MAR45--Coronado, CA -- On March 8, 1945 Patrol Bombing Squadron 146 (VPB-146) returned to San Diego after spending 14 months flying combat missions in the Pacific. With the San Diego skyline as the backdrop, on Saturday, September 28 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, 18 of the World War II Navy veterans will receive Air Medals for those combat missions they flew 52 years ago. The medals are just some of the 61 awards being presented nationwide to former members of VPB-146. Vice Admiral Brent M. Bennitt, Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, will present the awards aboard the North Island-based carrier to the veteran aircrew members attending the squadron's annual reunion being held in San Diego. The remainder of the medals will be presented the same day by Navy representatives across the country to those who are not able to travel to the reunion. The squadron earned these awards during combat operations in the Southwest Pacific in 1944. The aircrews flew Lockheed Vega Venturas (PV-1) on patrol, anti-submarine warfare, close air support, and strike missions in key historic battles from Tarawa to the Philippines. The Navy approved the awards last year at the request of former squadron members. Though the Air Medals, authorized for every five combat flights, were earned several times over by these individual VPB-146 members 52 years ago, nominations for the awards had never been submitted. Now, with proper and well-deserved recognition for their heroic service, the San Diego homecoming for these WWII Navy veterans will finally be complete. " http://www.airpac.navy.mil/images/pr1996.html


Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Bombing Squadron ONE FORTY SIX (VPB-146) - ACA Rep #1 - Bombing and Strafing Enemy Installations, Shipping and Seaplanes at Sanga Sanga Is, Philippines - 10/19/44..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [14JAN2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-6 - 02NOV43-31DEC44. History Submitted: January 24, 1945. Squadron's Assigned: VP-12, VP-41, VP-42, VP-43, VP-45, VP-53, VP-61, VPB-62, VPB-91, VPB-120, VPB-131, VP-135, VP-136, VP-138, VP-139, VP-142, VPB-144, VP-146, VP-151, VPB-199..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [28NOV2012]

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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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Circa 1943

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: "...PATROL BOMBING SQUADRON ONE FORTY SIX..." WebSite: National Museum of Naval Aviation http://63.66.1.190/flightlog/squadrons.asp [14MAY2001]

PATROL BOMBING SQUADRON ONE FORTY SIX

The commissioning orders for VB-146 were read by Lt Richard G. Johnston on July 15, 1943 at Ault Field, NAS Whidbey Island Washington. CFAW-6 transferred the personnel to the squadron as they completed transitional training in the PV-1. As the nucleus of the squadron was assembled, an administrative and command structure was formed.The squadron was top heavy in rank and was thinned by transfers to other units. A final organization was put in place after the commanding officer, LCDR Ralph R. Beachum, and his crew were killed on a training flight. The job of training and melding the squadron into an effective combat unit was begun with LCDR Jesse P. Robinson, Jr. as the new commanding officer. Since this was a new and "hot" plane to the pilots coming from the old faithful PBY, actual handling of the PV-1 was probably the most challenging task that faced the squadron from the outset. The usual problems and growing pains were encountered. The major obstacle was providing "off time" for the crews. The senior pilots and crewmen had come from deployments in the South Pacific(VP-12 Black Cats) and the Aleutians (VP-43 No Tumult, No Shouting) and wanted as much time with their families as possible before another long deployment to the combat area. As a result, operations were conducted around the clock, where and when feasible, to complete the training and qualification syllabus. Training was completed by mid-November, and on 5 December the squadron flew to Alameda for embarkation in the USS Coral Sea (CVE-57) departing on the 22nd of December for Hawaii. Upon arrival on December 28th, the squadron reported to CFAW-2 at Kaneohe and on January 11th was assigned the Midway patrol with six aircraft and nine crews. On January 22nd the Johnston Island patrol and convoy coverage was assigned to five planes and six crews. These patrols lasted until April 1st. During April, rockets were installed and calibration and training were conducted. Movement orders were issued in May for the Seventh Fleet but were delayed by ASW schooling. On June 8, 1944, deployment to the Seventh Fleet was carried out. On arrival at Pityilu Island in the Admiralty Group, the squadron was assigned to the hunter-killer ASW Group. In July PBYs replaced the PVs in the ASW group. VB-146 was given 4 five hundred mile search sectors out of Pityilu. On 1 October 1944, the squadron designation was changed to VPB-146, and on 18 October the squadron was moved to Morotai and reported to CFAW-17. The squadron was assigned search sectors to north Borneo and the Sulu Archipelago, the area over and east of Mindanao and over the central and north Celebes. In addition to patrols, strikes were made on seaplane facilities in Illigan Bay and sweeps through central Mindanao, the Celebes and the Sulu Archipelago. The PV-1 performed very well and with its speed was well adapted for single plane operations in hostile territory. The maintenance provided by PATSU ONE EIGHT was in all cases "top drawer". Their integration into the squadron was entirely due to the unit's leadership and the complete cooperation of the squadron personnel - it was a highlight of the operation. They were family and part of the overall organization.

Morotai, the forward area, was mud, mosquitoes, occasionally a python and frequently a Japanese infiltrator. There was hardly a night went by without "washing machine Charlie" overhead. In addition, there were some air raids of significant size which destroyed aircraft on the ground. On one occasion when a Japanese aircraft was shot down near our area, Captain C.B. (Doc) Jones, CFAW-17 remarked, "that crew may have given their heart to the Emperor, but we got their ass."

During the deployment at Morotai, the squadron lost 9 aircraft operationally, 6 by enemy bombing of Morotai, and three shot down, 1 by enemy AA and 2 by friendly fighters. Three crews were lost and two personnel killed in an accident in Australia. From commissioning to March 1, 1945, the personnel losses were 27; 10 officers and 17 crewmen. On December 1 the squadron was replaced by VPB-130 and sent back to the Admiralities to run sector search into the Western Carolines. During this time all crews were given 2 weeks "R&R" in Sydney Australia. Squadron planes were used for transportation and a good time was had by all! In February, the squadron was ordered back to San Diego via Hawaii for reforming. The evaluation of squadron performance was adequately expressed by our operational commander in the Seventh Fleet - "Good luck and goodbye to a fighting outfit which will never be forgotten by the enemy or ourselves. God speed you on your way home." Max Hartman put it best about this squadron: "In my mind, VPB-146 is not a number, planes or just a squadron, but a group of men who lived closely together for many months. During this time we endured boredom and tragedy, enjoyed good times and laughed at bad times, and some of us matured while others died. Except for those who died, we did not do extraordinary or heroic things, but we all did what we were called upon to do." It couldn't have been better said.

CREWS OF PATROL BOMBING SQUADRON ONE FORTY SIX

LCDR Jesse P. Robinson, Jr.
LT James C. Clark
LT(jg) Harris W. Wright
LT(jg) Gerald S. Barker
ENS Richard H. Hendrickson
Warren W. Hazelton
Harold J. Roberts
Jamie E. Taylor
Vincent J. Desalvo
William W. Anderson
Leslie A. Nelson
Austin W. Bennett
Marvin C. Pearson
Ervin V. Barnhurst
LCDR Hadley M. Lewis
LT Dudley C. Walton
LT(jg) James S. Graham
ENS Orville C. Rees
Harry V. Bobo
Burt E. Boydston
James A. Glenn
Howard C. Donnelson
Ernest Oullette
Donald K. Corwin
Kenneth R. Selle
Ralph J. Bogan
LT William C. Armstrong
LT Emil B. Hanson
LT(jg) James E. Wickersham
LT(jg) Edward B. Ash
LT(jg) Arnold M. Gibson
James L. Woodward
William B. Bottoms
Laurence V. Johnson
Charles M. Ferguson, Jr.
Max L. Hartman
David J. Kinne
Harry S. Howard
David C. Peters
LT Robert W. Anderson
LT Kenneth D. Bradshaw
LT(jg) Robert B. Lobbregt
LT(jg) Frank M. Mason
Harry Haines, Jr.
ENS Carl M. Weil
Burdelle C. Allen
Julius Schmidt
Robert K. Johnson
Billie K. Clark
Arthur L. Millay
Henry J. Ciz
George B. Finney
LT Charles Hanley
LT Herbert W. George
LT(jg) George L. Stanton
LT(jg) Richard E. Hanna
James M. Burton
Bonnie L. Puckett
William H. Fenner
Robert G. Lininger
Daniel K. Knight
Oscar Rosin
Carl L. Gilly
George J. Steeples
LT Herbert C. McWilliams
LT James E. Clark
LT(jg) Lloyd E. Burton
LT(jg) Winfred W. Bootman vHarold J. Fleming
John C. Blum
Donald W. Klier
Chester M. Taylor
Frank M. Kessler
John J. Addington
Chester W. Gardner
Kenneth L. Altman
LT Richard G. Johnston
LT Erling G. Olson
LT(jg) Donald A. Nowak
LT(jg) William C. Anderson
Albert G. Anderson
ENS Ferris L. Farrell
Leonard M. Williams
Roland A. Roberts
Albert A. Charpentier
Lyle L. Durant
Dennis W. Tomlin
James A. Baker
Kenneth R. Marinelli
LT William T. Sorenson
LT(jg) John P. Barber
LT(jg) Philip E. Caron
LT(jg) Harris W. Wright
ENS "L" "C" Goodman, Jr.
LT(jg) Arnold M. Gibson
Jefferson D. Beck
Eugene L. Clarke
Rodney C. Johnson
Leo E. Munson
Thomas L. Ruth James J. Nash
Augie L. Montgomery
Bud J. Taylor
LT Richard H. Hart
LT Clifton E. Jackson
LT(jg) Bernard T. Schafersman
LT(jg) Johnson E. West
Lloyd G. Briggs
J. W. Hastings
Robert J. Flynn
Russell L. Crutchfield
John E. Anderson
Chester L. Sewell
Jack E. Scott
Robert E. Lee, Jr.
LT Ace L. Coulter
ENS Wayne P. Dunham
William S. Hinshaw LT(jg)
Kenneth T. Bretz
Paul H. Galka
Duane E. Bennehoff

REPLACEMENTS

Leonard W. Burridge
Sidney Liswood
Arden L. Luker

KILLED IN ACTION AND TRAINING
LT William J. Decker
LT(jg)Gordon L. Peel
ENS Theodore Thornburg
LT(jg) Benjamin Lyford
Hazel Porter, Jr.
Carl N. Denson
Elmer Garcia
Joseph B. Berdami
Robert G. Brockman
Floyd W. Johnson
John E. Andrews
Wayne Stewart
LT(jg) William Taylor
ENS Kenneth Ambule
ENS Robert Dunlop
LCDR R. R. Beacham
George Robinson
LT(jg) Neston
Francis Harrison
Leo Demarco
John Kendall
Peter Lavalle
Earl Layten
Robert Gray
C. A. Brown

SUPPORT PERSONNEL
LCDR Leonard E. Nelson
Jake W. Finley
LT Blackard H. McCaslin
Creighton N. Bassett
LT Henry G. Elwell
William F. Search
LT(jg) Edwin K. Welch
Jack D. Christensen
ENS John A. Prew
Edwald W. Wendorf
W. O. Elect Harry Koslosky
Paul H. Grady

TRANSFERRED PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF TOUR
LCDR William R. Wallis
Everett E. Benson
LT Ronald F. Stultz
Archie A. Barnett
ENS J. W. Riddle
Richard T. Clark
Edward L. Belfoure
Raymond J. Wydra

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...1995 discovery of the wreckage of VP-146 PV-1 in the North Cascades of Washington State" Contributed by Thomas Wm. McGarry twmflak@teleport.com [15AUG98]

Navy Ventura Lost and Recovered

A small footnote to the total cost of World War II was added in October 1994 when the war finally ended for six U.S. Navy aviators.

In mid-October, Charles Eaton, a local resident, was hiking in a rugged, remote area on 10,775-foot high Mt. Baker in northwestern Washington. Familiar with the usually snow-covered area, Eaton was on the edge of Thunder Glacier at an altitude of about 7,500 feet. An unusually warm, dry summer has caused the glacier to retreat and Eaton was able to walk into the area, about 12 miles south of the Canadian border, for the first time.

As he moved up the glacier, looking for a place to sit and have lunch, he discovered the burned and shattered remains of an aircraft and of the crew.

"Everything was burned and shattered," he said.

Among the twisted wreckage were fragments of the engines and fuselage, parts of two.50 caliber machine guns and hundreds of rounds of .50 caliber and.30 caliber ammunition. The wreckage also included carbon dioxide bottles used to inflate life rafts and "Mae West" lifejackets and a "dog tag."

Eaton also found the skeletal remains of the crew, six naval aviators who were among the more than 4000 Navy fliers lost during the war in accidents in the United States. His discovery finally solved a war-time mystery, resolving the fate of six men for their families.

More than half a century after their US Navy Lockheed PV-1 Ventura (sn 29-730) was lost in the North Cascades Mountains on 29 August 1943, the ultimate fate of the six man crew, long presumed lost at sea, was known.

Eaton brought back several .50 caliber rounds, dated 1943, and turned them over to the Watcom County (Washington) Sheriff's Office. The sheriff then notified military authorities. A few days later, a U.S. Air Force UH-1 helicopter from the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB, south of Mt. Baker and near Tacoma, Washington, lifted a team into the crash site.

"We originally thought the wreckage might be that of a Lockheed P-38 believed to have crashed in same area in 1947," said Col. Michael Vrosh, Commanding Officer of the 62nd Combat Control Squadron, who served as the USAF spokesperson.

"The team determined that the wreckage was that of a US Navy aircraft and we informed Navy officials in Seattle," he added.

The Air Force team noted that parts of the Ventura were still imbedded in the glacier where they had come to rest after the aircraft hit the mountain in bad weather.

A Navy team of two ordnance disposal experts and an aerospace physiologist returned to the site by helicopter. They discovered additional human remains in and near the wreckage. The team also found a World War II-era military identification tag, a "dog tag." The "dog tag" and the serial numbers of various pieces of equipment would allow the Navy to identify the aircraft and its crew.

The recovered material allowed the Navy, through records at the service's Bureau of Personnel and the Naval Aviation Safety Center, to positively identify that the Ventura was the missing aircraft from VP-146 (later VB-146), assigned to Fleet Air Wing Six at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.

Following initial identification of the aircraft and its crew, another Navy team returned to the crash site, recovering additional human remains and other items to aid in the identification of individual remains. Once positive identification was made at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, the Navy began notifying the crew's surviving next-of-kin, a process that took about ten days. Once the families had been notified, the Navy released the names of the two officers and the four enlisted crew members.

Pilot of the Ventura was LCDR Ralph R. Beacham, a 1935 graduate of the US Naval Academy. Beachem was an experienced pilot. He had 2,594 hours in his logbook including more than 80 hours in PV-1s within 90s of what would be his last flight. He was also a Pearl Harbor survivor, having been assigned as the pilot of an observation plane on the battleship USS West Virginia at the time of the Japanese attack.

Ens. Charles E. Nestor, USNR, was the co-pilot.

The Ventura's enlisted crew included Petty Officers, Second Class, Carl A. Brown and Robert W. Gray and Petty Officers, Third Class, Livio E. DeMarco and Peter D. Lavalle.

The standard Ventura flight crew was five men, two officers and three enlisted members. Most Pacific squadrons added a sixth person, a navigator, most of whom were enlisted ranks.

The accident happened early in the squadron's history. VP-146 was commissioned on 15 July 1943, beginning training operations on 5 August with aircraft "borrowed" from other Fleet Air Wing 6 squadrons.

Beachem's Ventura, one of 412 PV-1s acquired in the Navy's third order for type from Lockheed, launched from NAS Whidbey Island, Washington at 1322 hours, Pacific War Time, on 29 August 1943.

The accident report noted that weather at the base was "average" but "undesirable to the east," where the North Cascade Mountains create a stony spine through British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

The last contact with the aircraft was at 1522 hours. At that time the crew reported to the base that some type of on-board equipment had been shut down. The Ventura crew also gave a position report, believing that they were somewhere between Everett and Bellingham, Washington.

At 1630 hours, Widbey Island issued a general recall notice to all aircraft, telling them to return to the base and land. No reason is recorded, but the recall was probably issued because of worsening weather conditions.

When Beachem's PV-1 failed to return, a search was started, lasting until 2010 hours, when it ended because of darkness.

The next day the search resumed at 0730 hours.

No trace of the aircraft was found and the search was ended.

The Navy then classified the aircraft as "lost" and informed the crew's families that they were "presumed dead" with the aircraft "lost at sea."

A story in a September 1943 issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said the aircraft failed to return from a routine instrument training flight. The Ventura was last reported somewhere near Bellingham and Everett, Washington. The original reports showed the aircraft carrying a crew of five, but the Navy later confirmed that there six persons on-board.

Lt. Kenneth J. Exum of Naval Base Seattle said that it may not be feasible to extract the bulk of the Ventura's wreckage. Because of the crash site's altitude, recovery efforts are dependent on the weather allowing helicopters to operate in the area.

Some local search and rescue officials said this was not the first time the wreckage had been spotted.

Whatcom County Sheriff Ron Peterson said various agencies had been aware of the general location of the crash site for several years but that once the wreckage would be spotted again, it always had been covered by snow before any investigation or salvage efforts could be arranged.

Once a major A-6 Intruder base and now home to several squadrons of another Lockheed patrol aircraft, the P-3 Orion, NAS Whidbey Island, Washington was one of several West Coast naval air stations (the others being NAS Alameda, California and NAS Moffett Field, California, both in the San Francisco Bay Area) where Ventura and later PV-2 Harpoon squadrons trained. Those same bases were responsible for transitioning Ventura crews to the newer Harpoon.

Patrol and bombing squadrons trained at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington included, in addition to VP-146, VP-131, VP-136 and VP-139. Once trained, the PV-1 squadrons then moved to operational assignments in the South Pacific, South America and Alaska.

VP-146 completed its training at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and its aircraft, equipment and personnel went by sea from NAS Alameda, California to Hawaii. From there, they flew the Midway Island patrol and then began operations from Johnston Island and from the Admiralty Islands.

Derived from the successful Lockheed 18 Lodestar, the US Navy's first PV-1 Ventura was originally ordered in February 1940 by the British Air Ministry.

The first Navy Venturas were actually designated PV-3s after being requisitioned from a British order. The Ventura entered operational service in October 1942 with VP-82 based in Argentia, Newfoundland, flying anti-submarine patrols over the North Atlantic convoy routes.

The first flight of a US Navy-built PV-1 was on 3 December 1943.

Between December 1942 and May 1944, when production ended, 1,600 PV-1s were built on US Navy contracts. The Ventura evolved into the PV-2 Harpoon and the last of the type in active US Navy service were flown by VP-3 until August 1948.

NOTE: Thomas Wm. McGarry is a freelance writer specializing in aviation, aerospace and defense subjects. Based in Portland, Oregon, McGarry originally researched and wrote this story for Naval Aviation News and Atlantic Flyer. A slightly different version of this story will appear in Lost Birds, a new magazine devoted to aviation archeology. McGarry's work has appeared in Air Classics, Smithsonian Air & Space, FlyPast, Air Forces Monthly, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News and the Oakland Tribune. He is the co-author of LAST HOPE: A History of Blood Chits (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,1997), the first history published history of blood chits and other escape and evasions devices used by aircrews.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I was in VB-146, a Vega Ventura PV-1 built by Lockheed that formed at Whidbey Island Washington in 1943. I was among the early ones to get to Whidbey Island after completing Airborne Gunnery Training in the PV-1 at NAS Lake City, Florida. I joined the Navy in June 1942 at 17, the day after graduating from high school. After boot camp in San Diego, Shipboard Radio Operators School in Boulder, Colo., Aviation Radio School in Millington, Tenn (volunteer), a short stint of gunnery training in a place near Jacksonville and Cecil Field in Florida that I can't remember the name of right now. Then a short checkout in PV-1s in Lake City (Yellow water, Florida is where I took the 30 and 50 caliber training) with airborne gunnery training using tow targets over Misquito Lagoon (Now Cape Canaveral). Then after a short leave, to Whidbey Island where we formed the squadron and crews and such. Then we flew our planes to Alameda and embarked on either the Frederick Funston or the Sitko Bay jeep carrier (I can't remember which at the moment, I think the Frederick Funston) within a day or so of Christmas, 1943. From there we went to NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where we unpickled our planes, sanded and waxed them (a couple more miles of speed), took our short turn at running patrols out of Midway Island (Eastern, I think), then headed to the South Pacific by way of Canton, Funa Futi, Esperito Santo, and Manus. We ran patrols out of Manus until shortly before the fleet was ready to re-invade the Philippines, then moved by way of Biak to Morotai. Morotai was just off Halmahera not far south of Mindanao (?). There we provided patrol services to the South and West of Morotai as well as reconnaissance and nuisance bombing raids on anything we could find that did not look native in Mindanao. The invasion fleet was an impressive sight as it approached the Philippines. It also shot down one of our crews that had the bad judgement to fly over. They were picked up and dried out. If you are a historian you probably have access to the official history of VB-146 (later VPB-146) but as I recall, we bagged a few barges around the Celebes and blelw up some bridges and stuff up in the Philippines. My crew bagged a small Japanese Float plane in Illigan Bay where the Zamboanga Peninsula runs down. We also ran upon three Japanese two seater biplanes east of Mindanao. We circled under them (if we stayed down they could not depress their twin guns in the rear cockpit to hit us) but our Ordnanceman had trouble with the Martin upper local turret and couldn't fire. We lowered the camera hatch and fired on them with the Thompson sub machine gun but no apparent damage was done. With no gas stations available, we eventually waved goodbye and came back home. I don't remember why we didn't fire on them with our five fifty calibers that were fixed mounted in the nose of the aircraft. Probably they looked relatively harmless and we didn't feel like killing anybody that day. By th way, my crew consisted of two pilots and four ratings as follows. Pilot Bradshaw, from Dallas I believe, Co-pilot I don't remember because he was new. Our Original co-pilot didn't know how to fly and cracked up a plane while trying to go down and pick up some of the PATSU's tools. He wound up as a Commissary officer on one of the ships in the bay. Crew Chief, Ciz, from Minnesota I believe, Navigator (?) from Washington, Ordnanceman Schmidt (Now an art instructor, sculpture, at Iowa, and myself, Radioman/Gunner Billy K. Clark presently of Tahlequah, Ok. The best I can recall, we started out with 18 PV-1s, got five replacements and wound up with five planes that would fly back to Hawaii at the end of our tour. The rest of us came back via PBM. Most of these planes were lost to Japanese bombing attacks on Morotai. One was lost to the invasion fleet, one was shot down during the floatplane incident in Illigan Bay (three plane flight), and I think three were lost because the replacement crews weren't too sharp on navigation. Time to go to bed. If you are a serious historian, amateur or otherwise, I might be able to dredge up some better info. This is just off the top iof my head. Incidentally, due to the efforts of one of our squadron members, we received air medals a couple of years ago, which I passed on to my Grandson...." Contributed by Billy K. Clark (ex ARM2/c) clark@netsites.net

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

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