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

HistoryVP-17 HistoryHistory

Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 21MAY45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 19MAY45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 19MAY45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 18MAY45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 18MAY45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 16MAY45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 08MAY45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 29MAY45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail
History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VPB-17) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 28APR45..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [10OCT2013]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-17 Attach of Enemy Vessel Off Formosa 25 APR 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [23OCT2012]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Tawi Tawi..." Contributed by George R. Hauser grhauser@sbcglobal.net [12MAR2005]

My log lists the origin, duration, destination and date of each flight. A search on the internet revealed that most of the places listed are now flourishing. Puerto Pincesa (Palawan Island), Sandakan (northern Borneo), and Zamboanga all housed some of the worst Japanese prisons during WWII. These places now advertise their resorts, classy hotels, pools, beaches, tours, high raise building, etc. on the internet. I was able to locate data on all the places listed in my log except Maruda Bay Telega – could be my spelling. The round-trip flying time to Maruda Bay took only 4.8 hours – that would put it about 350 miles from Tawi Tawi.

450


There must be tens-of-thousands of islands in the Pacific. The Philippine alone consists 7,000 islands. How we always located our destinations and found the right landing area is now a mystery to me. Some of the places we landed were small with only a few feet of elevation. Jonston Island for example is only a mile long and one-tenth of a mile wide.

We were provided with the best available at the time. We were issued large maps and charts that were rolled out on the drafting table when used. We had LORAN (1) but operated outside its accurate range. Dead Reckoning (DR) navigation on the drafting table plus an occasional RADAR(2) fix worked pretty well – but RADAR didn't always work. And there was always the E6B. Wind measurements for DR navigation were determined from wind streaks on the water and wave conditions. We mostly flew at low altitudes over water so that the winds at our altitude and at sea level were close. Wind-stars could be flown to determine winds aloft but they required time and fuel and we rarely used them. During clear days confidence in DR positions could be bolstered – sometimes – by plotting moon and/or sun LOPs(3). During clear nights celestial navigation was used. Our nav. aids must have been good as we never got lost or landed at the wrong place.

When not flying PBMs were tied to buoys. We were required to maintain a security watch in the airplane at night. The watch consisted of one pilot and one enlisted crew member as a minimum. The job of the plane watch was to: guard against unfriendly visitors; start the engines and taxi to a clear area in case the airplane broke-loose from the buoy; use the engines to relieve the stress on the bow line should strong winds develop; and communicate with the tender as needed. We parked our plane in some bad places and Tawi Tawi was one of those bad places.

It was rumored that one of the airplanes was visited by a couple of natives one night. The men on board were frightened to the point where they opened-up with a tommy gun. The visitors left in a hurry and no one was hurt. Damage to the airplane was minor with only several small holes in the fuselage. We had been warned to stay clear of the Moro natives in the area – they had been causing trouble for more than a century and still are. Our PBMs were equipped with a couple of tommy guns and riffles plus hand guns. I don't remember anyone in our crew having fired them. (I learned recently that the word crew applies to enlisted personnel only. I always considered myself and the other two pilots as crew member.)

277

Five of our flights out of Tawi Tawi are listed as ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare). I have no record of the area covered by these flights. I do recall that at least two were conducted in the Makassar Straits, between Borneo and Celeles Island. Our ASW flights applied to surface ships as well as submarines. These were long flights - the longest was 14.5 hours, and nine hours was the shortest. Assuming an average speed of 150 mph the distances traveled would range from 2,175 down to 1,350 miles.

On one of these flights we flew near U.S. Ships that were bombarding Balikpapan on Borneo's central-east coast. We could see the gun muzzle blasts and then after what appeared to be too-long a time see the shell bursts on shore. The Australians had been fighting in Borneo since 1941. They invaded Balipapan in early July 1945.

(Trivia: Many years later while seated next to a man of about my age he looked me over and asked me what I had done during WWII. In answering him I happened to mention Balipapan. He, it turned out, was the chief in charge of one of the gun-turrets lobbing shells into Borneo as we flew over.)

On another ASW flight we spotted a ship also in Makassar Straits heading north at a speed that seemed much to fast for such and old and rusty-looking ship -- we challenged* it from a distance and received no response. We then flew right along side of it on the same heading and challenged it several more times and still no response. The boat had a flat-top deck and many poorly-dressed men would move to our side of the ship as we passed as though they were interested in watching us fly by. We finally positioned ourselves to drop a string of bombs along its length and made the run. I was unable to press the pickle button. We composed a position- report telling of our sighting and its location sent it to the tender as we headed for home. No one on the tender ever asked us about it and we didn't bing it up. Many years later, after reading Flags of Our Fathers, Fly Boys, Ghost Soldiers and others books, I wondered whether this could have been a Jap ship with a load of prisoners headed for a prison transfer station. Transfer stations separated the prisoner that were heathy enough to work as slaves and sent them to Jap construction projects. The weak and sickly ones were executed. There are several web sites on this subject.

http://www.sfps.k12.nm.us/academy/bataan/hell.html

*A challenge consisted of sending the letters O E ( ---- ---- ---- -) in Morse code with an aldis lamp (blinker light) from the cockpit window. The ship challenged would send the response for the day which it would get from its top-secret code book. If there was no response or the response was incorrect the ship was to be considered an enemy.

On one flight we delivered a package to the Australians operating in Borneo. We flew into Maruda Bay in North Borneo, landed and taxied to a point a couple of hundred yards off shore and anchored. One of the AMMs was station on the wing with a tommy gun. After a while one Australian and one native came to the forward hatch. He stated his business, was give the package and they paddled off after only a few a dozen words were exchanged, we took off and headed for Tawi Tawi. Several times an Australian would appear in the ward room for the evening meal, take in the movie on the fantail and be gone the next morning. PBMs and other large airplanes while conducting their normal missions would carry passengers traveling from one place to another. We even carried entertainers from a traveling USO show. There were no seats or seat belts, they'd squat down against a bulkhead, sit on a bunk and even stand between the pilots taking in the view of never-ending water. In addition to passengers we'd pick-up and deliver mail and movies. On one flight I went ashore for some reason, when I returned I noticed the plane was sitting low in the water – both wing floats were in the water. The crew glanced from me to a Navy Lt. and a couple of his helpers. They had piled so much mail in the cargo bay that I couldn't climb over it to get to the cockpit. After saying I would not fly the airplane loaded like that and a few other tense words the Lt. had his helpers rearrange the mail so that I could at least get to the cockpit and left. The cargo bay straddled the center of lift so the balance was probably OK. The weight was a worry so I decided to make a test run to determine if the airplane would rise-up on the step and plane properly. It performed so well that we took off and returned to Tawi Tawi.

We made three flights to Morotai, on one of these I witnessed a naval bombardment from the shore standing under the trajectory. Looking toward the ship one could see the muzzle blast, then hear a loud tearing sound and then, still looking toward the ships, see two shell side-by-side in their trajectory. The velocity of the shells was well below the speed of sound. My memory is foggy as to which flight in my log this occurred but Morotai seems most likely. Morotai is about 650 miles east of Tawi Tawi and is the eastern-most island of Indonesia. The Japanese surrendered to General MacArthur on 9/2/45; and they surrendered to the Australians on 9/9/45 at Morotai We made three trips to Morotai – 7/1/45, 7/20/45 and 8/1/45

On 8/3/45 two PBMs from VPB-17 were assigned to a bombing mission against Sandakan on northern coast of Borneo. This was to be a coordinated affaire with P-38s, PT Boats and the two VPB-17 PBMs all taking part. The Japanese, it was thought, were repairing surface ships and submarines at Sandakan. I don't remember the part that each of these three branches of the military were to play – it doesn't matter as only we in the PBMs arrived. Lt. - - - - was the lead pilot and I the other. After circling around for a while we decided to carry out our part of the raid. The place was deserted – not a person, vehicle or boat in sight. The only thing that looked worth bombing was a row of multiple-level dilapidated-looking buildings along the water front. We each dropped a string of bombs on the buildings from roof-top level and the turret gunners sprayed the place with 50 Caliber gunfire. (The bombs had delayed action fuses so we didn't fly over our own bomb blasts).

Though flying seaplanes was no white-scarf and pig-skin gloves type of job it had its advantages. We lived on a clean ship where food was good.– a minor problem was that there were always roasted little-black-bugs in the bread but one soon learned never to look at the bread or to bite down too hard. There was almost always a movie on the fantail and before the movie there was sometimes a news cast over a loud speaker. Though we weren't well informed on the progress of the war, we were kept up to the minute on the adventures of Sonny Wisecarver. Sonny was a 15 year old boy who had taken over some of the duties of GIs that were serving elsewhere. As Sonny's exploits were described a cheer would sometimes erupt from the movie goers. Tender skippers did there utmost to break the boredom for their crews. While at Tawi Tawi there were two dogs and a monkey onboard at one time. The navy must have had rules against animals onboard navy ships but Tawi Tawi was a long way from everyplace.

Night takeoffs and landings were made with reference to stars, reflections from moon light and flight instruments. After a night take off the path of the PBM on the water would glow with a bluish light.

At times while looking at the water from the ship the surface would be agitated by thousands of little fish trying to distance themselves from the surface of the water. This would be followed by a school of bigger fish feeding on the little ones.

While going to and from our airplane flying fish were disturbed by the boat would rise out of the water perhaps as much as six feet or more and fly for 10 yards more or less to escape what they perceived to be a predator.

On September 7, 1945 we left Twai Tawi for the last time and headed for Sangley Point, ten miles west of Manila. I have no idea why we spent seven days there – perhaps we were waiting for tenders to move into place. We had been spoiled living on a tender but soon got a taste of what it was like living on shore. We slept with mosquito netting over our face in a large tent. We got rained-on wherever we went. I still remember watching an outside movie standing in the rain – we were soaked all afternoon and reasoned that we couldn't get any wetter. It was so humid that our cloths never throughly dried and algae started to grow in our shoes. We did some site-seeing while there. We visited Manila – it was totally destroyed, buildings had been leveled. The Sea Bees had pushed back what had been buildings and cleared a one-way lane over the main street.

On 9/14/45 we took off for Okinawa.

1 LOng-RAnge-Navigation 2 RAdio-Detection-And- Ranging 3 Lines-Of- Position

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and Lingayen..." Contributed by George R. Hauser grhauser@sbcglobal.net [22JAN2005]

After a long flight of almost eighteen hours the Island of Oahu appeared just a few degrees to our left. As Kaneohe Bay came into view, it looked much too small for landing. The approach we made was just over the sand bar separating the bay from the ocean - arrow. When the plane stopped it was evident that there was a lot of landing space still in front of us. As part of our training we made nighttime landings with only a single light at the top of a mast of a sunken sail boat – a victim of the Japanese raid.

History


Our flying schedule at Kaneohe was about the same as Banana River and Alameda. During air-to-air gunnery practice a FM (a fighter built by General Motors) towed a sleeve past our PBM at various relative directions and speeds to provide live-gunnery practice for the crew firing from the nose, dorsal, and tail turrets as well as from the waist. The pilot of the tow plane was Ted Williams we were told during debriefing. Ted Williams was a pilot in two wars and yet managed to become one of baseball's greats.

We visited the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach several times to listen to dual-piano music played by an overweight-civilian lady and a sailor and to grab a drink or two at the bar. The hotel had been taken over by the army (I believe) for R&R. In those days to get there from Kaneohe one took the Windward Transit Co. bus that traveled over the mountains by way of the Pali Pass. That trip was the most thrilling ride during our short stay at Kaneohe. (A tunnel now connects the north and south sides of the island at that location).

I signed for a brand new PBM # 59253 with orders to deliver it to squadron VPB-17 aboard the USS Currituck (AV-7) at Lingayen Gulf. This PBM model had the latest engines and electronics.

While flying out of Kaneohe we experienced our first real in-flight engine failure.

We were based at Kaneohe five days shy of one month when we were directed to report to VPB-17 aboard the Currituck at Lingayen Gulf. Lingayen Gulf is located at the Midwestern side of Luzon, PI about 125 miles north of Manila – arrow.

History

Our route and hours in route:

    Kaneohe to Johnson    5.3
    Johnson to Kwajalein   10.3
    Kwajalein to Saipan   10.3
    Saipan to Jinamoc   11.0
    Jinamoc to Lingayen   3.5

HistoryUSS Currituck (AV7)

We carried lots of hitchhikers on these flights – 20 from Jinamoc to Lingayen. That was a common way for military personnel to travel to and from assignments.

The Currituck anchored at Lingayen on June 11, 1945, just three days before our arrival on 14 June. It would be our home until 2 July. We flew one familiarization flight and three Black Cat missions while at Lingayen. The name Black Cat originated with the Catalina PBY flying boats that were painted black for low-altitude night attacks on shipping. Squadron VPB-17's job, while at Lingayen, was to fly Black Cat missions along the south China coast from Formosa to Hainan Island.

History


The area was divided into two sectors. The sector we flew included the coastline between Kowloon and Hainan Island. The flights were long, running more than 15 hours. With a mid-afternoon takeoff flights would arrive at the China coast well after dark. The direction of flight along the coast was selected to take advantage of moon light. The airplanes were blacked out so that no light from the plane was visible from the outside. Radar was used for navigation and for target detection and ranging. During our three flights the weather was clear, we had a bright moon in front of us and visibility was good as we flew in a generally west-south-west direction along the coast from Kowloon. Prior to reaching the coast we moved the mixture control closer toward rich, reduced altitude to 250 feet, and the crew was directed to ‘man their stations'. While flying around under 250 feet and below we didn't do much looking at the radar scope – maneuvering was done with reference to the real-world outside. In the Kowloon-Hong Kong area there were rocks jutting up out of the water as high as we were.

Pilots were told that junks, more than certain number of miles offshore, were to be considered unfriendly and destroyed. The logic was that the Japanese were using them to move equipment and troops closer to their main islands. While I was maneuvering the airplane into position along the side of the first junk that we sited the bow gunner asked "should we shoot if there are women and children aboard" – I confess, after all these 60 years, that we passed it up.

On each mission we flew by Hong Kong and up the Pearl River toward Canton then south past Macau looking for targets. Macau (a Moroccan mandate) was lit up like a Christmas tree – even the beacon at the airport was rotating brightly. We maneuvered in and out along the coast at altitudes below 100 feet at times trying to find and sneak up on targets. The radio altimeter worked down to 70 feet (I think). The sector ended after passing through the narrow waterway between China and Hainan Island. On the return leg we climbed to a more comfortable altitude, adjusted the engine settings and headed for the Currituck at Lingayen Gulf.

On our second mission, the night of 21-22 June, as we passed over the northern tip of Hainan Island I spotted what looked like a ship just offshore. The nose and tail gunners confirmed that it was a ship but by this time we had passed it up. I made a 360-degree turn and came back along the same course and pickled off all of our bombs and pulled up in a right-hand turn and got out of there. The crew got on the intercom again to say we got it and that we had started a hell of a fire. I turned the airplane enough to look back and saw the red glow. It was chalked-up as a FTC by the Currituck's ACI officer. A FTC was a ship in the 1000 ton class if I remember correctly. (It was hard to miss a target with a vertical profile when a string of bombs was dropped from an altitude just a few feet above the target.)

The third flight was flown as the other two and that ended our Black Catting and we were to be deployed to Tawi Tawi.

Tawi Tawi, five- degrees north latitude and 124-degree east longitude, is the southern most islands of the Sulo Archipelago and only a few miles east of the easternmost tip of northern Borneo.

On the morning of 30 June a number of VPB-17's PBMs departed Lingayen for Tawi Tawi. Lt. Commander Cutter was leading the flight. His plane carried two crews. I was flying at his left wing position. We were heading south over the low land between Lingayen and Manila. Everything was going along well when Mr. Cutter started to descend. I held my position until it was obvious that he would crash. I headed for the South China Sea only a couple of minutes to our west, landed and anchored the plane. Two crew members and I armed ourselves, inflated a life raft, paddled ashore and walked inland. After a few minutes we met Mr. Cutter and his copilot, Lt(jg) Roberson, walking out. The two pilots had escaped through their respective cockpit windows. Mr. Cutter's plane had burst into flames on impact. One of his hands was burned, his copilot, the PPC of the second crew, was not injured.

The crash occurred at the point where one would likely transfer fuel from the hull tanks to the wing tanks. Since we had flown for several minutes after transferring fuel we decided to fly over the same land on the way back in order to get to the Currituck as quickly a possible.

Another PBM, flown by Lt Hicks, landed at the same time we did. He managed to stretch his descent to the coast and make a safe landing. At the time I thought that he was there to help survivors. I didn't learn until many years later that he also made an emergency landing because of water in his fuel tanks.

Each engine on the PBM received fuel from separate wing tanks located near their respective engine nacelles. The wing tanks were relatively small, holding only enough fuel for about two hours of flying -- 200 gallons if my memory serves me correctly. They were refilled from much larger tanks located in the hull by transfer pumps operated by the flight engineer (AMM) from his control station. The airplanes were to always land with full wing tanks to assure good gasoline for the next take off and fly out. Hull tanks were always tested for any sign of water before a flight. This was done by drawing fuel from the bottom of the hull tank into a test tube. If water and fuel both were in the tube the water will form a glob at the bottom that is easily recognized. If the tube were filled with water only or fuel only there would be no glob. Since water and the 100 octane fuel used by the PBM are both colorless and clear, pure water would no be readily apparent.

The crews deserve much credit that I don't believe they received at the time. Imagine the tail-gunner's job for example: he would enter through the aft bulk-head hatch, crawl through the tunnel, cram himself into the tail turret and sit there for several hours with his knees at his chest while the guy up front maneuvered around at altitudes below 250 feet in the dark of night – the nose and dorsal-turrets gunner's jobs weren't much better. And the other six crew member sitting at their station operating their systems with out reference to the outside world. There were only a couple of small portholes . They never complained to me - not one of them – about their job or about each other.

On 2 July we alone left Lingayen for Tawi Tawi – time in flight 6.4 hrs. The trip was uneventful.

The information in italics was abstracted from the book, Ghost Soldiers published by Doubleday, copyright by Hampton Sides 2001, first edition. - - ‘On Jan. 9, 1945 one of the most monumental operations during WWII in terms of troops, airplanes and ships took place at Lingayen. It was where and when General MacArthur waded ashore Later, a few miles south of Lingayen, at Cabanatuan, Americans from Bataan and Corregidor held prisoners by the Japanese were rescued by U S Rangers in a daring raid on January 30, 1945.'

Gen. MacArthur had also waded ashore at Leyte on 20 Oct. 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...May first mission with VPB-17 is dated 17 June 1945. We were based on the USS Currituck II (AV-7) at Linguyen, Luzon. We were credited with the sinking of a Fox Tare Charlie on June 22, 1945..." Contributed by George R. Hauser grhauser@sbcglobal.net [12NOV2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...08MAY45 -- While on patrol off the China coast we made a bombing run on a destroyer, we took a hit in our right wing that was bad enough that the wing had to be replaced..." Contributed by Dane Williams MAXGLNDORA@aol.com [07OCT2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...27MAY45 -- On May 27, 1945 we sank a Suger Charlie. LTjg Centa was our pilot..." Contributed by Dane Williams MAXGLNDORA@aol.com [07OCT2000]


Circa 1944 - 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...WW-II VP-17/VPB-17 history provided to me by the Naval Historical Center..." Contributed by McLAUGHLIN, LT Bob banddmcl1964@msn.com [03JAN2007]

World War II saw the return of Patrol Squadron Seventeen on 3 January 1944. VP-17 was established at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, as a large seaplane squadron flying twelve Martin PBM-3D Mariners. Under the command of LCDR Kenneth A. Kuehner the squadron was relocated, on 11 January 1944, to NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina for flight training in the Mariners. Fitting out and shakedown of squadron personnel and equipment continued through 31 March 1944 when VP-17 was again relocated to NAS Key West, Florida. Flight training continued with the emphasis being on Anti Submarine Warfare. On 7 April 1944 the squadron returned to NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina where an advanced party of two officers and forty-five enlisted personnel prepared to leave on 12 April 1944 by train for NAS Alameda, California. The squadron aircraft, along with the remainder of the personnel and equipment arrived at NAS Alameda, California on 15 May 1944. Preparations began immediately for the trans-Pacific flight to Hawaii. Aircraft began departing Alameda for NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii on 18 May 1944 with all aircraft arriving by 31 May with no en route problems encountered. FAW-2 provided the operational control of the squadron while at NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The squadron settled into temporary quarters and was quickly brought up to operational status. On 1 June 1944 patrols began in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands. Continuation of ASW training began on 1 July and continued until the squadron deployed to the South Pacific.

Five aircraft deployed to NAB Ebye, Eniwetok, Marshall Islands on 3 September 1944. Crews shared quarters aboard the tender USS Casco (AVP-12) and were under the operational control of FAW-1. An additional three aircraft deployed on 11 September to NAS Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, Marianas Islands. Tender support was provided by USS Hamlin (AV-15). This detachment was joined by the remainder of the squadron's four aircraft on 17 September. FAW-1 assigned "Dumbo" missions, sector searches as well as cargo and mail missions to Palau.

On 1 October 1944, VP-17 was redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron 17 (VPB-17). In preparation for relocation to Ulithi, VPB-17 was temporarily assigned to the tender USS Currituck (AV-7) on 5 October 1944. On 9 October six aircraft departed for Ulithi temporarily operating from the tender USS Onslow (AVP-48) until USS Hamlin (AV-15) arrived on 13 October. The same date saw the arrival of the squadron's remaining six aircraft. Antishipping patrols began immediately in the Ulithi area.

Relocating back to NAS Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, Marianas Islands on 24 December 1944, VPB-17 conducted essential maintenance and crew rest in preparation for further deployment. VPB-17 arrived at Kossol Passage, Palau Islands on 21 January 1945 and took up antishipping patrol and sector searches. USS Kenneth Whiting (AV-14) provided the seaplane tender support. 5 February 1945 saw the squadron relocated again to Ulithi based temporarily aboard USS Chandeleur (AV-10). A detachment was deployed further south on 12 February aboard USS Ocra (AVP-49) operating out of Jinamoc Seaplane Base, San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, Philippines with FAW-17. USS Currituck (AV-7) berthed a second detachment at Lingayen Gulf. The remainder of the squadron arrived at San Pedro Bay on 20 February. Crews were relocated aboard USS San Pablo (AVP-30). Jinamoc Seaplane Base, San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, Philippines, saw the arrival of VPB-17 on 9 March 1945 reuniting the detachment operating from Lingayen Gulf. The seaplane base at Jinamoc Seaplane Base, San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, Philippines was completed by 31 March providing the squadron with shore based berthing and maintenance facilities.

A detachment of eight aircraft deployed to Puerto Princessa, Palawan Islands on 11 March 1945. USS Pocomoke (AV-9) provided tender services for the duration of the detachment until 22 April. This detachment then redeployed again to the Lingayen Gulf aboard USS Tangier (AV-8). The remaining four aircraft at Jinamoc Seaplane Base, San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, Philippines rejoined the squadron at Lingayen Gulf on 27 April 1945.

Tawi Tawi, Sulu, Philippines was the location of the next detachment deployed by VPB-17 on 7 June 1945. This group was joined by three additional aircraft on 14 June 1945. The rest of the squadron remained in the Lingayen Gulf at Port Saul, Philippines still aboard USS Tangier (AV-8). LCDR Leeds D. Cutter assumed command on 21 June 1945. Japanese positions and ships were attacked during night searches and attack patrols until 30 June, at which time the remainder of the squadron joined the Lingayen detachment. The reunited squadron was relocated back aboard USS Currituck (AV-7). Eleven of the squadron's aircraft were deployed back to Tawi Tawi on 21 July aboard USS Pocomoke (AV-9). Morotai, Borneo and Balikpapan were covered by on going patrols.

14 September 1945 saw VPB-17 relocated to Jinsen, Korea aboard the tender USS Currituck (AV-7). The squadron operated from this location with the 7th Fleet for duty with the Allied occupation of Korea and the China coast. On 19 September part of the squadron received orders to move to Lungwha Airdrome on the Whangpo River. After the USS Currituck (AV-7) arrived on 24 September the remainder of the squadron flew to Lungwha Airdrome. VPB-17 deployed to Taku on 29 September 1945. USS Currituck (AV-7) and the squadron staff departed, leaving half of the squadron at Shanghai and the other half temporarily based aboard USS Barataria (AVP-33). The squadron was reunited at the end of the month at Taku.

On 30 January 1946, Patrol Bombing Squadron 17 (VPB-17) was disestablished at NAS North Island, San Diego, California. No squadron nickname or officially approved insignia were on file.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol2.htm [28APR2001]
Get Adobe Reader
Open VP History Adobe FileVPB-17 23KB


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


History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraYakutat (AVP-32) as a Coast Guard cutter (WHEC-380) "...Yakutat - A bay on the southern coast of Alaska. (AVP-32: dp. 2,411 (f.); l. 310'9"; b. 41'2"; dr. 11'11"; s. 18.5 k.; cpl. 367; a. 2 5", 8 40mm., 6 20mm., 2 dct.; cl. Barnegat)...Squadrons Mentioned: VPB-13, VPB-16, VPB-17, VPB-27 and VPB-216..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/y1/yakutat.htm [22DEC2005]

Photograph Caption: Yakutat (AVP-32) as a Coast Guard cutter (WHEC-380), in the gray finish used on cutters operating in Vietnam.

Yakutat (AVP-32) was laid down on 1 April 1942 at Seattle, Wash., by Associated Shipbuilders, Inc.; launched on 2 July 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Peter Barber, a mother who had lost three sons when the battleship Oklahoma (BB-37) was sunk on 7 December 1941 at Pearl Harbor; and commissioned on 31 March 1944, Comdr. George K. Fraser in command.

After her shakedown in the San Diego, Calif., area, Yakutat got underway on 25 May and arrived at San Pedro, Calif., late the following day. Following post-shakedown availability in the West Coast Shipbuilders' yard at San Pedro, the small seaplane tender sailed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 17 June; she reached Ford Island one week later.

Underway at 0700 on 28 June, Yakutat steamed for the Marshalls as an escort for Makin Island (CVE-93). Arriving at Kwajalein on 6 July, she shifted to Eni-wetok within a week, where she embarked officers and men of a patrol service unit and took on board a cargo of 5-inch illuminating ammunition. She sailed for Saipan on 14 July.

Reaching recently secured Tanapag Harbor on 17 July, Yakutat began setting up a seaplane base there and immediately commenced servicing seaplanes, providing subsistence and quarters for the aviators and aircrews attached to those aircraft. The tender provided the aircraft with gasoline and oil via bowser fueling boats and commenced servicing planes by the over-the-stern method as well.

Yakutat remained at Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, Marianas Islands for the rest of July, all of August, and into September. After shifting to the Garapan anchorage, Saipan, on 8 September, Yakutat transferred all plane personnel to USS Coos Bay (AVP-25) and sailed for the Palaus on the 12th. In company with USS Chandeleur (AV-10), USS Pocomoke (AV-9), USS Onslow (AVP-48), and USS Mackinac (AVP-13), Yakutat reached Kossol Passage on 16 September, the day after the initial landings on Pelelieu.

Proceeding to the seaplane operation area via a "comparatively well-marked channel" and "while sweeping operations went on continuously" nearby, Yakutat soon commenced laying out a seaplane anchorage. The following day, the tender serviced the first plane of VPB-216, furnishing fuel and boat service.

With nine planes operational, VPB-216 was based on Yakutat, conducting long-range patrols and antisubmarine sweeps daily. During that time, the tender also served as secondary fighter director unit and experienced air alerts on six occasions. Enemy planes remained in the vicinity for varying lengths of time and occasionally dropped bombs in the lagoon area.

Yakutat serviced the Martin PBM patrol planes into early November 1944. On 9 November, the ship got underway for Ulithi and arrived there the following day. Yakutat tended planes there from 13 to 26 November before she underwent a drydocking for a routine bottom cleaning and hull repairs. She then sailed for Guam on the 29th.

Reaching Apra Harbor on the 30th, Yakutat loaded spare parts for Martin PBM Mariner flying boats before she got underway on the 2d to return to Saipan. She arrived later the same day; completed the discharge of her cargo two days later and, on the 5th, took on board 13 officers and 30 men of VPB-216 for temporary subsistence.

Yakutat tended planes of VPB-16 and VPB-17 at Saipan through mid-January of 1945. She departed Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, Marianas Islands on the morning of 17 January, steamed independently for Guam, and reached her destination later that day. However, she remained there only a short time, for she sailed on the 19th for the Palaus and reached Kossol Roads on the 21st. Yakutat discharged cargo there and fueled seaplanes until 6 February, when she sailed in company with USS St. George (AV-16) and escorted by PC-1130, bound for the Carolines.

Anchoring at Ulithi on the 7th, Yakutat tended seaplanes there for most of February; highlighting that brief tour was the ship's going to the vicinity of a crashed Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane on the 10th. After salvaging equipment from the plane—the aircraft apparently too badly damaged to warrant repair—Yakutat sank the plane with gunfire and returned to her anchorage in the seaplane operating area.

On 25 February, Yakutat sailed for the Marianas in company with USS St. George (AV-16) and reached Garapan harbor two days later. She tended seaplanes there for a little less than a month before sailing for Okinawa on the 23d to take part in Operation "Iceberg," the conquest of the Ryukyus.

Yakutat tended the PBM Mariners of VPB-27 for the rest of the war. The seaplane tender established seadrome operations at Kerama Retto on the 28th and spent the rest of the important Okinawa campaign engaged in her vital but unsung task. The presence of enemy aircraft in the vicinity on numerous occasions meant many hours spent at general quarters stations, lookouts' eyes and radar alert for any sign of approaching enemy planes. Yakutat provided quarters and subsistence for the crews of the Mariners and furnished the planes with gas, lube oil, and JATO (jet-assisted take-off) units. The twin-engined Martin flying boats conducted antisubmarine and air-sea rescue ("Dumbo") duties locally, as well as offensive patrols that ranged as far as the coast of Korea.

Although the ship received a dispatch on 21 June to the effect that all "organized resistance on Okinawa has ceased," her routine remained busy. A week later, for example, a Consolidated PB2Y Coronado crashed on take-off and sank approximately 500 yards off the starboard beam of the ship. Yakutat dispatched two boats to the scene and rescued eight men. Boats from another ship rescued the remaining trio of survivors from the Coronado. All men were brought on board Yakutat, where they were examined and returned to their squadron, VPB-13.

On 15 July, Yakutat sailed for Chimu Wan, Okinawa —in company with USS Norton Sound (AV-11), USS Chandeleur (AV-10), Onslow, Shelikof (AVP-52), and Bering Strait (AVP-34)—but returned to port due to a typhoon in the vicinity. However, she got underway again the following day and reached Chimu Wan the same date. She remained there, tending seaplanes, largely anchored but occasionally moving to open water to be free to maneuver when typhoons swirled by. On one occasion, while returning to Chimu Wan after a typhoon evacuation, Yakutat made sonar contact on a suspected submarine, on 3 August. The seaplane tender made one attack, dropping depth charges from her stern-mounted tracks, but lost the contact soon thereafter.

Yakutat was at Chimu Wan when Japan capitulated and hostilities ended on 15 August. With the officers and men of the crew assembled aft, the ship's commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. W. I. Darnell humbly led his crew in offering thanks to God "for being kept afloat to see the final day of this war."

Although V-J Day meant that offensive operations against the Japanese ceased, it only meant the beginning of the long occupation of the erstwhile enemy's homeland and possessions. Yakutat remained at Chimu Wan for the rest of August and for most of September, before she sailed for Japanese home waters on 20 September, in company with St. George.

En route, the two seaplane tenders caught up with Vice Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf's Task Unit 56.4.3 formed around the battleships Tennessee (BB-43) and California (BB-44) and became units of Task Force 56, and later, when redesignated, as Task Force 51.

Yakutat reached Wakanoura Wan, Honshu, on the 22d, finding Floyds Bay (AVP-4C) already there and operating as tender for seaplanes. Yakutat underwent a brief availability alongside Cascade (AD-26) before she commenced her tending operations at Wakanoura Wan. She operated as tender for seaplanes using that port until 12 October, when she shifted to Hiro Wan where she performed seaplane tender operations and seadrome control duties for a little over a month.

Underway on 14 November, Yakutat arrived at Sasebo on the 15th, stayed there until the 19th, and then set sail for the United States with 58 officers and 141 enlisted men embarked as passengers. After stopping at Midway for fuel on the 27th, the small seaplane tender continued on, bound for the Pacific Northwest.

Reaching Port Townsend, Wash., on 6 December, Yakutat transferred all passengers to LCI-957 for further transportation and then shifted to Sinclair Inlet, Wash., where she offloaded all bombs and ammunition before reporting on the 7th to the Bremerton Group of the Pacific Reserve (19th) Fleet.

Yakutat subsequently shifted south to the NAS Alameda, California, where she was decommissioned on 29 July 1946. Transferred on loan to the Coast Guard on 31 August 1948, the erstwhile small seaplane tender was towed to the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in September, where she was fitted out into the winter months. She was recommissioned at San Francisco on 23 November 1948 as USCGC Yakutat (WAVP-380).

Proceeding via the Panama Canal and Kingston, Jamaica, Yakutat eventually commenced weather patrol duties in the North Atlantic out of Portland, Maine, in late January 1949. Homeported at New Bedford, Mass., in 1949, Yakutat operated out of that port over the next 11 years, always ready to perform her assigned missions of search and rescue, ocean station patrol, and providing meteorological and oceanographic service_s. Periodically, the ship conducted refresher training in company with naval units out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

During the course of her operations. Yakutat proceeded, in February 1952, to the scene of an unusual maritime disaster that occurred off Cape Cod. Two tankers—SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton—each broke in two and foundered, almost simultaneously. Yakutat, as ship in tactical command of the rescue efforts, consequently picked up men from both ships and directed the rescue efforts by other participating vessels in the vicinity. Later that year, in December, Yakutat rescued survivors of a plane crash off the entrance to St. George's Harbor, Bermuda, with her small boats.

Participating in Coast Guard operations as part of Operation "Market Time" off the coast of Vietnam in 1967 and again in 1970 and 1971, Yakutat was also re-designated as a medium endurance cutter and given the alphanumeric hull number WHEC-380. Returned to the Navy in 1970, Yakutat was transferred to the Navy of the Republic of South Vietnam on 10 January 1971.

Renamed Tran Nhat Duat (HQ-03), the former seaplane tender and weather ship cooperated with units of the United States Navy on coastal patrol and counter-insurgency missions off the coast of embattled South Vietnam until the collapse of that country in the spring of 1975.

Fleeing to the Philippines, Tran Nhat Duat and her five sisterships of the former South Vietnamese Navy lay moored in Subic Bay awaiting disposition—ships without a country. The Philippine government, however, acquired the ships in 1975, and title was formally transferred on 5 April 1976. Tran Nhat Duat and her sistership Tran Quac Toan (HQ-06) (ex-Coofc Inlet, WHEC-384 and AVP-36) were acquired only to be cannibalized for spare parts to keep the other four units of the class in operating condition.

Yakutat (AVP-32) received four battle stars for her World War II service. She also received one award of the Navy Unit Commendation, one award of the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and four battle stars for Vietnam service while assigned to the United States Coast Guard

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Bombing Squadron Seventeen "Flying Turtles" 1944-1946..." Contributed by Thomas F. Borst CoBegger@AOL.Com [16APR2000]

Patrol Bombing Squadron Seventeen
"Flying Turtles"
1944-1946

The officers and sailors started training in NAS Banana River, Florida in Cocoa Florida, what is now Cocoa Beach and Patterson Air Base, (USAF) in November 1943. Training was completed in February 1944 and the Patrol Bombing Squadron 17 was commissioned in February 1944 at Hereford, NC.

The Squadron began its shakedown training, flying mission in and around this area and organizing crews, (18 crews, three to four officers and 13 enlisted being the makeup for each crew), we had fifteen PBM aircraft to work with...

In May 1944 the crews were split in half, some flying the aircraft across country, via NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, NAS North Island, San Diego, California and then to NAS Alameda, California. before flying to MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. One aircraft was lost flying from NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, to NAS North Island, San Diego, California the men bailed out over Arizona, one man Broke his leg, the plane Captain, who was to be married when they reached San Diego.

The other half of the crews were sent west on a troop train from NAS Norfolk, Virginia to NAS Alameda, California via the longest route they could fine, believe me, it seemed like for ever getting there. When the squadron was altogether, we again split and the troop train group went aboard a CVE, just commissioned, for NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and then to MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. We trained and had missions from Kaneohe till September 1944.

The Squadron went Saipan to do ASW Patrol for ships in the area, damaged ships and Air sea Rescue. We stayed in Saipan for about six weeks then moved on to Mog Mog Ulithi where the fleet was marshalling for other invasions, We covered everything from here till we moved to Palau, then back to Uthli for awhile, then to Lye, at this locations we covered the invasion, SAW, Air Sea Rescue of Pilots who had to abandon the aircraft over the water.

After Leyte we went to Linguyen Gulf to fly night bombing to Hanoi, Taiwan back to Lyngun, this trip took about fifteen hours of night flying. I don't remember the number of tons that we damaged sunk. We lost one crew because the Plane Captain had to go back and see what he dropped his bombs on, it was a Jap cruiser and they shot the plane down. The Captain and Copilot escaped and rescued by the Chinese and taken through China to India and they returned to the Squadron and then sent back to the states. The rest of the crew was lost.

We were in Borneo when the war ended. . We went to Manila to fly to Shanghai, China, to a Tender AVE anchored on the Wangpoo River. It was the first American ship in port. We arrived in Shanghai on September 1945. We flew the mail to Peking to Port Arthur and then back to Shanghai. The squadron stayed in Shanghai till the first part of 1946 and returned to San Diego for decommissioning.

I started with the squadron in November 1943 and trained, received my combat aircrew wings. When the squadron arrived in Hertford, NC it was looking for a Yeoman striker. I got the job, kept my position as crown turret gunner till the squadron left for Hawaii. At this time I received a promotion to Yeoman 3. When the senior left for the states I received Yeoman 2.

On our way to Hawaii our Executive Office, Lt James J, Coyle, USN said if everyone behaved himself would return to the states with the Squadron. :Little did we know that out there, everything changed. Three crews would rotate every month after we were out six months. The changes did not effect the administration personnel. I served under three Commanding officers. An ALNAV came through requesting all Yeoman in access of 50 % be returned to the States, at this time we were changing commands and the out going Commanding gave me orders to return to the states after the change of command. I returned to the States in November 1945.

It seems that we were on about six to eight tenders, some A V's and AyE's, moving every six weeks.

The Squadron's Insignia was "Flying Turtles"

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...JAN-APR44--RESCUE IN ALBEMARLE SOUND...This occurred between January and April of 1944 while we were at NAS Harvey Point, North Carolina for advanced training. We were on a patrol of the Atlantic when we heard that a tugboat pulling a barge loaded with logs was sinking in Albemarle Sound. When we arrived, logs were everywhere and only the top corner of the pilothouse of the tugboat was above water. An old man and young boy were sitting on that small space. A crashboat sent out to rescue the two had hit a log and was disabled. Our pilot at that time was Lt. (Jg) Jones and he decided to land. I gather from rumors I heard later that he made the landing against orders. I felt water against the hull and was about to step into the aft bunk room when we dropped into the trough of a wave. The bottom dropped out and I almost fell into the compartment on my face. When we stopped, I went to my bow station and opened the hatch. The tops of the waves were hitting the engines. A life raft was sent out to the tugboat but it drifted away. The second one was successful and we got the man and boy safely aboard. By this time, my friend and other Ordnanceman, Bel Tucker was turning green and I was feeling queasy from the up and down motion. We made the open sea take-off with the man and boy in two of the bunks and Tucker and I in the other two. I only heard rumors afterward that the pilots were chewed out for losing the life raft. The rescue was never mentioned." Contributed by Thomas Edwin Russell tompbm@aol.com

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...25JUL44--EMERGENCY LANDING - July 25, 1944..We had a 5 A.M. patrol of the Pacific from NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and our hull tanks and an auxiliary tank in the starboard bomb bay were filled with high octane gas. We had two 365-lb depth charges and one 600 lb "F-100" bomb (attracted to the sound of a sub's engines) in the port bomb bay. We were not flying our regular plane #1 that day but had Plane #15 I believe. We made our take-off run and had just lifted off the bay when the starboard engine blew a piston. A fully loaded PBM flying on one engine at take-off is about as airworthy as a lead brick. Three of us were in the waist compartment - my friend Bel Tucker, Ordnanceman, Johnson, Radioman, and myself. Johnson was sitting on the step by the port waist hatch with the earphones on and said, `We're going to crash!!". His eyes, Tucker's eyes and, no doubt, my eyes were big as saucers. We had flown this route several times before and I watched the take-off area from the port window. First we went over a palm tree-lined road then an army base with a rectangular concrete parade ground surrounded on all four sides by wooden barracks, over a beach strewn with truck- size boulders, over an ocean with a pounding surf and finally out to sea. I assumed this was the path we were now taking and that at the moment, we should be right over the concrete parade ground. I lay flat on the deck by the aft bunk room hatch hoping to spread the impact of the crash. All I could think of was, "Is my Life Insurance paid up?" and "Will I hear the explosion before or after I die?". I lay there for what seemed like an eternity but it couldn't have been more then a few seconds. I looked up at the circular window on the port side just in time to see the port float slide through a palm tree. Then I heard the sound change which meant we were almost down. Then there was a soft "Thump!" and a sliding noise. It could not have been concrete but it didn't sound like water. We started slowing down like a giant hand was pulling us back then, as we were almost stopped there was a grinding sound, the nose rose slightly and we stopped completely. We looked at each other in unbelief. The hatch was opened and we found we had landed in Kaluapuhi Pond east of NAS Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The water was shallow with a soft mud bottom and we had ended up on a coral reef not far from an embankment with a road along the ocean. The pilots came down and one of them said, "There'll be a prayer meeting in my room tonight!". Our troubles weren't over yet. We were sitting in the middle of a shallow pond, crash trucks and rescue equipment were sitting on a road beside us but the water was too shallow to launch a boat. Finally someone got the idea to launch one of our rafts. As soon as a couple people got in the raft, the bottom of the raft sank to the pond bottom. We had to make shore by pushing on the bottom of the pond with the paddles and sliding the raft across the mud and coral reef to shore. It was a mighty thankful crew that finally was on dry land. The plane sustained only a small dent in the keel at the nose but it took two weeks to drag the plane over the reef, up the embankment to the road and around the base back to the hangars." Contributed by Thomas Edwin Russell tompbm@aol.com

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...18SEP44 - 20FEB45--Squadron VP-17 was based on the following aircraft tenders: U.S.S. HAMLIN (AV-15)- Sept. 18, 1944...U.S.S. CURTISS (AV-4)- Oct. 6, 1944...U.S.S. HAMLIN (AV-15)- Oct. 13, 1944...U.S.S YAKUTAT (AV-32)-Dec. 24, 1944...U.S.S HAMLIN (AV-15)-Dec. 29, 1944... USS Kenneth Whiting (AV-14]- Jan. 23, 1945...U.S.S. CHANDDELEUR (AV-10)- Feb. 5, 1945... USS Currituck II (AV-7) - Feb. 14, 1945...U.S.S. SAN PABLO (AVP-30)- Feb 20, 1945..." Contributed by Thomas Edwin Russell tompbm@aol.com

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...00NOV44--The first Kaiten operations, in November 1944, involved VP-17, a squadron of PBM Mariners based at Ulithi Atoll, Mariana Islands, a major U.S. anchorage. VP-17's Crew No. 1 flew five night patrols around the harbor and engaged Kaitens twice. ..." http://listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9408D&L=wwii-l&D=&H=&T=&O=&F=&P=2626

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-17 Squadron ThumbnailCameraVP-17 Squadron ...Circa 1944... Contributed by Thomas Edwin Russell tompbm@aol.com


Circa 1942-1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-5 - History of Headquarters Squadron Fleet Air Wing Five - 01SEP42 through 01JAN45. Squadron's Assigned: VP-15, VP-16, VP-17, VP-18, VP-21, VP-22, VP-25, VP-26, VP-27, VP-28, VP-31, VP-52, VP-63, VP-81, VP-92, VP-94, VPB-105, VPB-107, VPB-110, VPB-111, VPB-112, VPB-113, VPB-114, VPB-126, VPB-134, VPB-147, VPB-149, VP-201, VP-205, VP-208, VP-209, VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216 - Submitted Feburary 1, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [27NOV2012]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail
History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail
History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail   

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Aviation in the Pacific in WW II - Part 2 - By Capt. Albert L. Raithel, Jr., USN (Ret.)...This Squadron Mentioned...Naval Historical Center ADOBE Download File: http://www.history.navy.mil/download/ww2-20.pdf [25MAY2003]
Get Adobe Reader
Open VP History Adobe FilePatrol Aviation in the Pacific in WW II - Part 2 2049KB


Circa 1942

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...USS Yakutat (AVP 32)..." http://laesser.11net.com/cutters/whec/311/cgcyakut.htm [10OCT2001]

Waiting for permission to post entire article.


Return
"VP-17 History Summary Page"

Selection Page

VPNAVY Copyrighted © 1996 - 2012