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HistoryVP-17 HistoryHistory

Circa 1959 - 1975

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons CD-ROM: Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons Vol. 2 Stock No. 008-046-00195-2 The History of VP, VPB, VP(HL), and VP(AM) Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C...." [15JUN2000]
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Open VP History Adobe FileCHAPTER 3 Patrol Squadron (VP) Histories VP-17 331KB


Circa 1959

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News September 1959 "...Summary Of Air Changes - Page 2 to 3 - Naval Aviation News - September 1959..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1959/sep59.pdf [15AUG2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-17 HistoryVP-17 History "...This ZE-6 (front and back) in Fairbanks, Alaska in the summer of 1959. Crew 6 was sent to Fairbanks to work with the IGY ( International Geophysical Year)..." Contributed by SCALESE, Tom tjs@deltanet.com [05SEP2001]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons CD-ROM: Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons Vol. 2 Stock No. 008-046-00195-2 The History of VP, VPB, VP(HL), and VP(AM) Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C...." [15JUN2000]
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Open VP History Adobe FileCHAPTER 3 Patrol Squadron (VP) Histories VP-17 331KB


Circa 1956 - 1959

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VA(HM)-10 to VP-17 via the provided to me by the Naval Historical Center..." Contributed by McLAUGHLIN, LT Bob banddmcl1964@msn.com [09JAN2007]

On 1 JUL 56, while deployed to NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan, Patrol Squadron Seventeen (VP-17) was redesignated Heavy Attack Mining Squadron Ten. VA(HM)-10 was one of two such squadrons in the NAVY. One west coast - one east coast. Flying Lockheed P2V-6 Neptunes, VA(HM)-10 retained the tail letters-"BH". CDR E. L. Plowman assumed command in August of 1956. VA(HM)-10 returned to their home port at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington in September of 1956. Shortly thereafter aircrews began training to transition to the P2V-6M. The -6M had the capability for firing the Petrel air-to-surface missle.

In April of 1957 the squadron began to transition to the P2V-5F. The squadron's P2V-6M aircraft were transferred to the reserves in preparation for a WestPac deployment in the -5Fs. On 1 SEP 57, VA(HM)-10 deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan and FAW-6 with their -5Fs. All NAVY patrol squadrons received new tail codes letters on 9 DEC 57. VA(HM)-10 dropped their old "BH" tail code and began using "ZE".

On 11 MAR 58 the squadron returned from deployment and CDR J. P. Wheatley assumed command on 19 APR 58.

On 18 MAY 59 the squadron deployed with their -5Fs to NAS Kodiak, Alaska and FAW-4. CDR R. Larson assumed command on 24 APR 59. On 1 JUL 59 Heavy Attack Mining Squadron Ten (VA(HM)-10) was redesignated back to PATROL SQUADRON SEVENTEEN (VP-17). VP-17 returned from deployment on 20 NOV 59 and carried the tail letters of "ZE" until their disestablishment on 31 MAR 95.


Circa 1955

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I noticed that the time frame that I was in the squadron was missing (Apr. 1955 - Nov 1956). Unfortunately so are most of my memories. I was just curious if there might be something I missed. I remember the squadron was re-designated to VAHM-10 during that time. We were on deployment in Naha. A short time after we got back to the states we got the new P2. The Petre didn't pan out for one reason or another and the squadron became VP-17 again. We was supposed to be Petre Missile capable, as I recall. Our ASW equipment was a 20MM in the nose and tail and 50Cal on the upper deck, a sono receiver forward on the flight deck. Good heavens, have we come a long way??..." Contributed by R.W. Queal AW1, USN Ret que156@exchange.prb.net [26OCT99]


Circa 1954

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: NAS History ThumbnailCameraTent City "...Circa 1953-1954 VP-17 crewman - Tent City at NAS Iwakuni, Japan..." Contributed by CURRY, G. L. gcurry147@earthlink.net [24MAY2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: NAS History ThumbnailCameraTent City "...Circa 1953-1954 VP-17 Barracks after Tent City at NAS Iwakuni, Japan..." Contributed by CURRY, G. L. gcurry147@earthlink.net [24MAY2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP Mishap "...Circa 1954... NAS Iwakuni, Japan...D.W. Jones & Edward A. Rausch on board a Baker-Howe 11" Contributed by Edward A. Rausch via RAUSCH, Edward lydadel@aol.com [14JUL2001]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-772 was flying out of Sand Point, Seattle, WA in 1952. The squadron was activated and became VP-17. We were flying PB4Y-2's at the time and were sent to NAS Iwakuni, Japan in December of 1952. We flew anti-sub patrol for Task Force 77. When we returned to the States we were stationed at Ault Field on Whidbey Is., WA. At that time we were issued P2V-5's for training and later P2V-6's. The squadron returned to NAS Iwakuni, Japan in 1954 and back to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington in early 1955..." Contributed by John (Jack) W. Brown tazinc@gci.net [12JAN2001]


Circa 1953

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: UNIT: VP-17 PREVIOUS DES: VP-772 NAME: White Lightings TAIL CODE: BH ACTIVATED: 2-4-53 DEACTIVATED: TYPICAL LOCATION(S): NAS Whidbey Island, Washington
Books"Title: Lockheed P2V Neptune An Illustrated History by Wayne Mutza wmutza@wi.rr.com...A Schiffer Military History Book...ISBN: 0-7643-0151-9...286 pages full of pictures and history!


Circa 1950 - 1953
Korean War

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron Korean War Deployments - 1950 Deployments - 1951 Deployments - 1952 Deployments - 1953 Deployments..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-korea/vp-deploy.htm [26MAY2007]

      VP-1

        Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
        Date In: 19 Aug 1950
        Date Out: 13 Nov 1950
        Patrol Area: Formosa Straits
        Aircraft: P2V-3/3W
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

        Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
        Date In: Apr 1951
        Date Out: 29 Aug 1951
        Patrol Area: Korean coast
        Aircraft: P2V-3
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

        Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
        Date In: 29 Mar 1952
        Date Out: 5 Oct 1952
        Patrol Area: Korean coast
        Aircraft: P2V-3
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

        Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
        Date In: 27 May 1953
        Date Out: 1 Dec 1953
        Patrol Area: Korean coast
        Aircraft: P2V-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-2

        Deployed to: Detachment only
        Detachment Location: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
        Detachment Date In: 1 Aug 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 2 Dec 1951
        Patrol Area: East China Sea; Yellow Sea
        Aircraft: P2V-3W
        Losses: None

      VP-6

        Deployed to: Johnson AFB
        Date In: 7 Jul 1950
        Date Out: 6 Aug 1950
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea

        Deployed to: Tachikawa AFB
        Date In: 7 Aug 1950
        Date Out: 12 Feb 1951
        Patrol Area: Korean coastline; Sea of Japan
        Aircraft: P2V-3/3Wbr>Losses: None
        Detachment Location: NAS Atsugi, Japan
        Detachment In: 5 Jan 1951
        Detachment Out: 12 Feb 1951
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Korean coastline

        Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
        Date In: 1 Aug 1951
        Date Out: 14 Jan 1952
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Sea of Japan; Tsushima Straits
        Aircraft: P2V-3/3W
        Losses: P2V-3 on 16 Aug 1951, crew rescued P2V on 6 Nov 1951, 10 KIA (combat)
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-7

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Date In: 28 Jun 1953
        Date Out: 27 Jul 1953
        Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; Yellow Sea
        Aircraft: P2V-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-9

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Date In: 27 Jun 1952
        Date Out: 16 Nov 1952
        Patrol Area: Sea of Japan
        Aircraft: P4Y-2S
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: Pusan
        Detachment Date In: Jul 1952
        Detachment Date Out: 3 Jan 1953
        Patrol Area: Inland Korea

      VP-17

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Date In: 1 Feb 1953
        Date Out: 30 Jun 1953
        Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; Yellow Sea
        Aircraft: P4Y-2/2s
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-22

        Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
        Date In: 4 Nov 1950
        Date Out: 1 May 1951
        Patrol Area: Chinese mainland; Formosa
        Aircraft: P2V-4
        Losses: P2V, 21 Jan 1951 (non-combat)
        Detachment Location: None
        VP-22

        Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
        Date In: 1 Dec 1951
        Date Out: 31 May 1952
        Patrol Area: Tsushima Straits; Sea of Japan
        Aircraft: P4Y-2S
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None
        VP-22

        Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
        Date In: 30 Nov 1952
        Date Out: 31 May 1953
        Patrol Area: North and South China Sea
        Aircraft: P2V-5
        Losses: P2V-5, 18 Jan 1953 (combat), 7 rescued, 4 KIA and 2 POW (combat related)
        P2V-5, 31 Jan 1953 (non-combat)
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-28

        Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
        Date In: 16 Jul 1950
        Date Out: 7 Aug 1950
        Patrol Area: Foochow; Shanghai
        Aircraft: PB4Y-2S
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: NAF Agana
        Detachment Date In: Jan 1950
        Detachment Date Out: 7 Aug 1950
        VP-28

        Deployed to: Tachikawa AFB
        Date In: 1 Apr 1951
        Date Out: 9 Oct 1951
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Tsushima Straits
        Aircraft: PB4Y-2S
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: Itami AFB
        Detachment Date In: 24 Apr 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 30 Apr 1951
        Patrol Area: Japanese coast, ASW ops.
        Detachment Location: Kimpo AFB
        Detachment Date In: 1 Oct 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 13 Dec 1951
        Patrol Area: Inland Korea
        VP-28

        Deployed to: NAF Itami
        Date In: 1 Jun 1952
        Date Out: 2 Dec 1952
        Patrol Area: North Korean coast; China coast
        Aircraft: P2V-3/P4Y-2/2S
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-29

        Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
        Date In: 27 Sep 1952
        Date Out: 1 Apr 1953
        Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; Korean coast
        Aircraft: P2V-5/6
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-40

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Suisun (AVP 53), 11 Apr 1951–late 1951
        Date In: 9 Jun 1951
        Date Out: 13 Dec 1951
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Tsushima Straits
        Aircraft: PBM-5/5S
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None
        VP-40

        Deployed to: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
        Date In: 2 Sep 1952
        Date Out: 28 Mar 1953
        Patrol Area: South China Sea; Formosa Straits
        Aircraft: PBM-5/5S
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: Pescadores
        Detachment Date In: 2 Sep 1952
        Detachment Date Out: 28 Mar 1953
        Patrol Area: South China Sea and East China Sea
        Detachment Location: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
        Detachment Date In: 2 Sep 1952
        Detachment Date Out: 28 Mar 1953
        Patrol Area: East China Sea; Yellow Sea

      VP-42

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Date In: 19 Jul 1950
        Date Out: 10 Aug 1950
        Patrol Area: Korean coast

        Deployed to: NAS Yokosuka
        Date In: 11–31 Aug 1950
        Date Out: 1 Sep 1950
        Patrol Area: Tsushima Straits; Sea of Japan

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Pine Island (AV 13), Aug 1950–Dec 1950
        Curtiss (AV 4), 1 Nov 1950–1 Dec 1950
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 18 Oct 1950–27 Feb 1951
        Suisun (AVP 53), 11 Apr 1951–15 Jul 1951
        Date In: 1 Sep 1950
        Date Out: 9 Apr 1951
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea
        Aircraft: PBM-5
        Losses: PBM-5, 7 Jan 1951 (non-combat)
        Detachment Location: Inchon
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 3–13 Oct 1950
        Detachment Date In: 3 Oct 1950
        Detachment Date Out: 17 Oct 1950
        Patrol Area: Korean waters
        Detachment Location: Chinhae
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 13–18 Oct 1950
        Detachment Date In: 14 Oct 1950
        Detachment Date Out: 18 Oct 1950
        Patrol Area: Korean waters; Yellow Sea

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Date In: 7 Dec 1951
        Date Out: 6 Jun 1952
        Patrol Area: Korean coast
        Aircraft: P4Y-2
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: Chinhae
        Detachment Date In: 15 Mar 52
        Detachment Date Out: Apr 1952
        Patrol Area: Inland Korea

      VP-46

        Deployed to: Pescadores Islands
        Suisun (AVP 53) 30 Jul 1950–6 Mar 1951
        Date In: 31 Jul 1950
        Date Out: 6 Feb 1951
        Patrol Area: Formosa Straits; China

        Deployed to: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
        Date In: 1 Dec 1950
        Date Out: 6 Feb 1951
        Patrol Area: Night sector searches
        Aircraft: PBM-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: Buckner Bay
        USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13), 1 Nov 1950–6 Mar 1951
        Detachment Date In: 1 Nov 1950
        Detachment Date Out: 6 Feb 1951
        Detachment Location: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
        Detachment Date In: 31 Jul 1950
        Detachment Date Out: 6 Feb 1951
        Patrol Area: Courier flights to Okinawa

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Floyds Bay (AVP 40), 26 Sep 1951–early 1952
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 26 Sep 1951–early 1952
        Date In: 30 Sep 1951
        Date Out: 2 Apr 1952
        Patrol Area: Korean coast
        Aircraft: PBM-5S/5S2
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: Chinhae
        Suisun (AVP 53)
        Detachment Date In: Sep 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 2 Apr 1952
        Patrol Area: Korean coast

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)
        Date In: 1 Mar 1953
        Date Out: 27 Jul 1953
        Patrol Area: Formosa Straits; east coast of Korea
        Aircraft: PBM-5S2
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-47

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), Jul 1950–1 Oct 1950
        Date In: 31 Jul 1950
        Date Out: 16 Oct 1950
        Patrol Area: Chosin Straits

        Deployed to: Chinhae/Inchon
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 3–13 Oct 1950
        Patrol Area: Korean waters
        Date In: 16 Oct 1950
        Date Out: 15 Nov 1950

        Deployed to: NAF Yokosuka
        Date In: 16 Nov 1950
        Date Out: 1 Jan 1951
        Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; eastern Korean coast
        Aircraft: PBM-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

        Deployed to: Pescadores Island
        Pine Island (AVP 12)
        Date In: 1 Aug 1951
        Date Out: 4 Mar 1952
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea
        Aircraft: PBM-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
        USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13)
        Detachment Date In: 26 Jul 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 4 Mar 1952
        Patrol Area: China Sea
        Detachment Location: Buckner Bay
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)
        Corson (AVP 37)
        Detachment In: 26 Jul 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 4 Mar 1952
        Patrol Area: China Sea
        1952 Deployments
        VP-47

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)
        Date In: 22 Nov 1952
        Date Out: 31 May 1953
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Sea of Japan
        Aircraft: PBM-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: Fukuoka
        Corson (AVP 37)
        Detachment Date In: Dec 1952
        Detachment Date Out: 31 May 1953
        Patrol Area: Sea of Japan

      VP-48

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)
        Date In: Jul 1953
        Date Out: Dec 1953
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea
        Aircraft: PBM-5S2
        Losses: PBM-5 on 30 Jul 1953 (non-combat), 5 rescued, 10 killed in the crash
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-50

      VP-57

        Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
        Date In: 28 Mar 1953
        Date Out: 27 Jul 1953
        Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; Yellow Sea
        Aircraft: P2V-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-731

        Deployed to: Buckner Bay
        USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13), 1 Nov 1950–6 Mar 1951
        Suisun (AVP 53), 6 Mar 1951–13 Aug 1951
        Date In: 7 Feb 1951
        Date Out: 13 Aug 1951
        Patrol Area: Formosa Straits; China coast
        Aircraft: PBM-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
        USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13), 13 Mar 1951–18 Oct 1951
        Detachment Date In: 7 Feb 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 13 Aug 1951
        Patrol Area: Formosa coast; China coast
        Detachment Location: Hong Kong
        Detachment Date In: 7 Feb 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 13 Aug 1951
        Patrol Area: Courier Flights

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)
        Date In: 1 Jun 1952
        Date Out: 8 Dec 1952
        Patrol Area: Korean coast; Formosa Straits
        Aircraft: PBM-5S2
        Losses: PBM damaged on 31 Jul 1952, 2 KIA and 2 WIA (combat related)
        Detachment Location: None

      VP-772

        Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
        Date In: 31 Jan 51
        Date Out: 3 Aug 1951
        Sea Patrol Area: Yellow; Tsushima Straits
        Aircraft: P4Y-2
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: K-1, Pusan
        Detachment Date In: 12 Jun 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 3 Aug 1951
        Patrol Area: Inland Korea

      VP-871

        Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
        Date In: 1 Dec 1951
        Date Out: 7 Jul 1952
        Patrol Area: Sea of Japan
        Aircraft: P4Y-2S
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: Kimpo AFB
        Detachment Date In: 12 Dec 1951
        Detachment Date Out: 7 Jul 1952
        Patrol Area: Inland Korea

      VP-892

        Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
        Curtiss (AV 4) thru 30 Dec 1950
        Pine Island (AV 12), Dec 1950–mid-1951
        USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 18 Oct 1950–13 Apr 1951
        Suisun (AVP 53), 11 Apr 1951 – Late 1951
        Date In: 13 Dec 1950
        Date Out: 9 Jun 1951
        Patrol Area: Yellow Sea, night patrols
        Aircraft: PBM-5
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None
        1951 Deployments

        Deployed to: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
        USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13)
        Date In: 1 Mar 1952
        Date Out: 12 Sep 1952
        Patrol Area: China Sea
        Aircraft: PBM-5S/S2
        Losses: None
        Detachment Location: None
        1953 Deployments

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol squadrons in the Korean War - Naval Aviation News, July-August, 2002 by Rick Burgess..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IAX/is_5_84/ai_90332255 [29MAR2005]

Because most of the combat action of the KOREAN WAR took place over the Korean peninsula, the bulk of the Navy's aerial contribution to the war took the form of carrier-based tactical aircraft. For Navy patrol squadrons (VP), the war was fought primarily on the peripheries of the main front, mostly in sea-control and sea-denial missions, and other roles such as mine hunting.

The Korean War was one hot spot of many along the Asian landmass attracting the attention of VP squadrons in the early 1950s. The broader Cold War was in full chill. The Soviet Union had tested its first nuclear weapons in 1949, and its large submarine fleet presented a credible threat to the Navy's carrier and amphibious task forces. Also in 1949, the Communist Chinese People's Liberation Army forces had pushed the Chinese Nationalist forces off the Asian mainland across the Formosa Strait onto Formosa (now Taiwan). French colonial forces in Indochina were embattled by an increasingly strong Viet Minh force led by Ho Chi Minh. From the Bering Strait to Singapore, Navy patrol planes had much to monitor.

Although the U.S. Seventh Fleet's carrier task forces were committed to the Korean area of operations, the fleet still was charged with the protection of Formosa. The fleet was able to maintain routine surveillance of the Formosa Strait with patrol aircraft, which made it impossible for the Communist Chinese to launch a surprise invasion of the island.

In the Korean area of operations, VP squadrons participated in the blockade of North Korea, keeping merchant shipping and fishing fleets under surveillance and deterring hostile submarine activity. In addition, patrol aircraft hunted and destroyed mines, dropped flares for air strikes, and conducted weather reconnaissance and search-and-rescue operations.

At the beginning of the Korean War, Pacific Fleet VP squadrons were equipped with three heavily armed aircraft types. Martin PBM-5/5S/5S2 Mariners were the only flying boats in active patrol squadrons (the P5M Marlin had not yet entered service.) Seaplanes were increasingly being displaced by land-based patrol bombers, such as the four-engine Consolidated Privateer P4Y-2/2S/2B, a holdover from WW II; and versions of the new twin-engine Lockheed Neptune (P2V2/3/3W/4/5), successor to the post-WWII PV-2 Harpoon patrol bomber.

The Pacific Fleet was equipped with only nine VP squadrons in June 1950, having disestablished four squadrons in the first half of the year. VP squadrons were based at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington; NAS North Island, San Diego, California; and NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. They deployed to NAF Yokosuka, Japan; NS Sangley Point, Philippines, Philippines.; NAS Kodiak, Alaska; and NAS Agana, Guam. By the end of 1950, seven reserve VP squadrons were activated, five of which were assigned to the Pacific Fleet. By the end of 1951, two more active duty VP squadrons were established in the Pacific Fleet, and two more reserve squadrons were activated to augment them. NAS Alameda, California, and NAS Seattle, Washington, accommodated some of the new squadrons. Only one Atlantic Fleet patrol squadron, VP-7 at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, was deployed to the war zone, arriving less than one month before the truce on 30 June 1953.

When the war broke out in 1950, Fleet Air Wing FAW-1 at Guam controlled squadrons deployed to the western Pacific. In July 1950 FAW-1 moved to Naha, Okinawa, to control patrols over the Formosa Strait using one land-based and one flying boat squadron. FAW-6 was established at Atsugi, Japan, to coordinate patrols in the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan. Eventually the typical strength of FAW-6 included three land-plane squadrons and two flying boat squadrons, as well as two squadrons of Royal Air Force Sunderland flying boats. These command structures remained in place throughout the war, except during a short period when they were relieved by FAW-2 and FAW-14, respectively.

Only eight patrol planes--PBMs assigned to VP-46 and the squadron it was relieving, VP-47--patrolled the Far East when the North Korean invasion began, while VP-28's PB4Ys were deployed to NAS Agana, Guam. Soon, VP-47 was regrouped and retained on deployment, VP-6's P2V-3s arrived at Johnson Air Base near Tokyo, Japan, and VP-42's PBMs staged at Iwakuni, Japan. VP-28 staged to NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan and began daily patrols of the Formosa Strait and the coast of China. Other squadrons rotated in turn, and also deployed to far-flung bases and anchorages such as Hong Kong; the Pescadores, Buckner Bay and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan; Tachikawa and Itami in Japan; and NAS Kodiak, Alaska and Shemya in the Aleutians.

As the North Korean invasion pushed south, VP-6's Neptunes were used on three occasions to provide naval gunfire spotting for United Nations warships on the western coast of South Korea. The squadron's P2V-3s, armed with 20mm cannon, bombs and rockets, also launched many attacks themselves against North Korean targets along the northeast shore.

On 29 July 1950, two crews destroyed a railroad train with their rockets and guns. On 13 August, crews sank three boats and two barges engaged in minelaying near Chinnampo, and damaged two surface craft near Wonsan. One VP-6 Neptune was damaged in the attack. An attack on a patrol boat near Chinnampo on 16 August was fatal to another VP-6 aircraft, which ditched after taking fire. The crew was rescued by the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Kenya. Patrol planes were prohibited thereafter from undertaking attack missions over Korea. VP-6 became the only patrol squadron awarded the Navy Unit Citation during the Korean War.

Patrol planes--PBMs, P2Vs and Sunderlands--were used extensively in mine hunting, particularly in the harbors of Inchon and Wonsan. This tedious activity required the PBMs to fly low and slow, close enough to detonate a moored mine with machine gunfire, but high enough to avoid the mine's explosion. P2Vs dropped depth charges to wipe out magnetic mines.

In 1951 VP squadrons were pressed into another role, this time over land, dropping illumination flares in support of air strikes. Known as Firefly missions, they helped deny the night to enemy supply movements. Admiral Arthur W. Radford suggested the use of P4Y-2 Privateers as flare ships to replace the more vulnerable R4D Skytrains in illuminating targets for Marine Corps F4U-5N Corsair and F7F-3N Tigercat night hecklers. One P4Y from VP-772 was modified For the mission and proved highly successful, and three more P4Ys from VP-772 and VP-28 were assigned as "Lamp Lighters" (later operated by successive squadrons). During a typical mission, the P4Y would rendezvous with four attack aircraft, search for truck convoys and illuminate the targets for the attack aircraft.

Although United Nations forces were successful in maintaining air superiority over most of the Korean peninsula, lumbering patrol aircraft had a few encounters with enemy aircraft. A VP-42 Mariner was damaged on 11 May 1952 by a MiG-15 fighter over the Yellow Sea, and on 31 July 1952 a VP-731 PBM was seriously damaged by gunfire from a MiG-15, which killed two crewmen and injured two others.

Flights off China and the Soviet Union, far from protective cover, were more dangerous. VP-28 P4Ys were attacked over the Formosa Strait on 26 July by an F-51 Mustang in North Korean markings, and on 20 September and 22 November 1950 by MiG-15s, all without result. A VP-42 PBM was lost to unknown causes in the southern Formosa Strait on 5 November. On 6 November 1951 a VP-6 P2V-3W was shot down, with no survivors, by Soviet fighters near Vladivostok. On 18 January 1953 Chinese antiaircraft batteries shot down a VP-22 P2V off Swatow. A Coast Guard PBM-5G picked up the survivors but crashed on takeoff, resulting in the loss of 11 fliers, including 7 from the P2V. The survivors were rescued by a Navy ship. Further such aircraft incidents and losses occurred in the years after the Korean truce.

One daring P2V crew amazingly survived a series of eight or nine intentional overflights of the Soviet Union's Kamchatka peninsula between April and June 1952. A VP-931 P2V-3W--modified with special electronic intelligence equipment in its nose and flown by a handpicked crew--flew in radio silence over the peninsula at 15,000 feet in search of military installations. When military sites were detected, an Air Force RB-50 flying above and behind the P2V photographed the sites. The snoopers were intercepted on two missions by Soviet MiG fighters but apparently never were fired upon. Fortunately, the recently declassified operations never required the services of the Air Force SB-17 rescue plane assigned to the missions. This VP-931 (later VP-57) crew also performed a daring search and rescue flight in July 1953 over Vladivostok harbor for the crew of an RB-50 that was shot down by Soviet fighters. A U.S. destroyer rescued one of the crewmen.

Land-based patrol planes saw greater use than flying boats in the Korean War, proving to be more efficient. In Korea, land-based patrol planes flew 12 sorties for every 9 flown by flying boats.

As with U.S. forces in general, patrol aviation maintained a high level of presence in the Far East after the Korean War. Its operations increasingly focused on peripheral reconnaissance of the Soviet Union and China, particularly surveillance of the growing Soviet submarine force and vigilance against Chinese sabre-rattling against Formosa.

U.S. Navy Patrol Squadrons in the Korean War

Squadron    Aircraft    Tail Code    Home Port


Circa 1950

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of Patrol Squadron Seventeen 1950 through 1973..." VPNAVYs Library Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN 1973 Cruisebook [15SEP99]

History of Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN began on I September 1950. Known as VP-772, a "Weekend Warrior" Reserve Squadron, the unit was activated and became the first Reserve Squadron to participate in the Korean conflict. Staging operations from MCAS lwakuni, Japan, VP-772 flew 425 missions over enemy territory in the four engine heavy patrol bomber, PB4Y-2 "Privateer."

At the conclusion of the war, having been newly designated Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VP-17), the unit returned to its new home duty station, NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, Washington. After settling down at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and having received a new aircraft, the Lockheed P2V-6 "Neptune," the squadron began establishing itself as one of the best ASW units in the Pacific.

In July 1956, VP-17 was designated Heavy Attack Mining Squadron TEN (VA (HM) 10), becoming the only heavy attack mining squadron in the Pacific. For the next three years VA (HM) 10 deployed several times to Alaska, establishing an outstanding flying record, which resulted in the squadron being awarded the Chief of Naval Operations Commendation. On I July 1959, VA

UPDATE "...I served in it as a pilot between February 1955 and June 1958, and noticed an error in the history text. It should be: In July 1956, VP-17 was designated Heavy Attack Mining Squadron TEN (VA (HM) 10), becoming the only heavy attack mining squadron in the Pacific. For the next three years VA (HM) 10 deployed several times to the far east, establishing an outstanding flying record, which resulted in the squadron being awarded the Chief of Naval Operations Commendation. On I July 1959, VA..." Contributed by Lawrence Mayhew lmayhew4@attbi.com [02MAY2002]

(HM) 10 was re-designated Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN and the squadron resumed its antisubmarine warfare operations in the Pacific.

During the next several years, VP-17 continued with normal operations and training missions making deployments to Alaska and the Western Pacific. In 1966, the squadron was the recipient of the coveted "Triple Crown" of the ASW, Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award, the Chief of Naval Operations Maintenance Award, and the Battle Efficiency "E" for Pacific Squadrons. In connection with the Battle Efficiency "E", VP-17was awarded the lsbell ASW trophy signifying excellence in air anti-submarine warfare maneuvers. Thus, the squadron had established itself as the outstanding ASW unit in the Pacific.

During the years 1966-1972, VP-17, now known as the "White Lightning" squadron, completed deployments to Sangley Point, Philippines, lwakuni, Japan, and Naga, Okinawa. During this time, they made valuable contributions to the U.S. efforts in Southeast Asia, by participating in operation Market Time. Working out of detachments in U-Tapao Royal Thailand Air Force Base, Thailand. Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, and Cubi Point, Philippines, VP-17 flew over 1250 combat sorties, accumulating 12,500 accident free flight hours. In the course of these missions, VP-17 was responsible for the detection of several North Vietnamese infiltrator trawlers, and the destruction of four. The outstanding achievements of the "White Lightnings crews received wide recognition through numerous Air Medals and Navy Commendation Medals. The President of the United States also recognized the squadron's superior performance by awarding the Distinguished Flying Cross to a patrol plane pilot for the first time since the Korean War.

The officers and men of PATRON SEVENTEEN have demonstrated outstanding ability flying search and rescue missions. In 1971, a crew was responsible for the ultimate rescue of the lone survivor from a sunken freighter and again, in 1972, VP-17 located and assisted in rescuing 26 survivors of a burning merchant vessel.

Excelling in all areas, VP-17 was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for outstanding performance in the spring and

summer of 1970 and again in the winter of 1970. PATRON SEVENTEEN was also the first Pacific Fleet VP squadron to take part in the joint North-South American training exercises, UNITAS XII. The outstanding success of this detachment reflects the spirit and team effort which has been the key to the squadron's success.

From May to November 1973, we were deployed to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines As the first VP squadron to complete a full deployment after the cessation of hostilities in Viet-Nam, the "White Lightning" Squadron scored an impressive 5500 accident-free hours in support of Seventh Fleet, while the "ground-pounders" worked 75,000 man-hours to keep us in the air. In the following pages, you will see the people who made the deployment safe and successful.


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