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HistoryVP-197 HistoryHistory

Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Incidents - Circa 1946 - VPB-197..." Contributed by GOODELL, Billie N. goodkemp@aol.com [21OCT2006]

After my leave I checked back into VPB-197 NAAS Camp Kearny, California. They were still using the Privateers as training purposes. My first incident there was on a movie making trip. We flew to the grand canyon making movies of Hoover Dam and Lake Meade. The pilot dipped down into the canyon and flew the length making movies. It was a real rough ride. We headed back to base and at the end of the runway there is a small canyon. We use an antenna that is has a nine pound lead weight on a trailing copper cable. It is always reeled in by the radioman before landing but this time failed to do so. The lead weight hit the canyon wall and spun around the elevator. The plane was slammed to the runway with a great force but the tires held up and we taxied to the hangar. The next incident was on a practice bombing mission to the Salton Sea Bombing Range. Number three engine began to heat up and we could not get the cowl flaps to open. I told the pilot if he would land on the lake bed I could fix the problem. We sat her down and it must have been over a hundred degrees on the ground. The problem was a screwjack that controlled the cowl flaps. I fixed it first for we were burning up. We took off and climed up to three thousand feet to cool off. We carried two three hundred fuel tanks in the bomb bay. As we hit the cold air a vapor lock was pulling the air from the aft tank and blowing the other up like a baloon. I told the pilot to get the smoking lamp out and made a dash for my tool box. I took a hammer and heavy screw driver and knocked the gas cap off the tanks then stabilized themselves. We were lucky that the tanks were not holding fuel. We made it safely back to base. VPB-197 was disestablished April 1946 and I got orders for FAETUPAC located at NAAS San Ysidro, California.


Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - December 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - October 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - September 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - August 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - July 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - June 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - May 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - April 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - March 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - February 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - January 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...My Father, CPO Chris Wuethrich, who passed away about 5 years ago. Here are a few photograph's that appear to be from the time Dad spent with either VPB-124 or VPB-197. If anyone can help identify the appropriate squadron - that would be great..." Contributed by Kerry Wuethrich ktsw3@verizon.net [20AUG2009]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...AOM3 Hugh WISEMAN - VPB-197 Crew-151 - (Designated Flight Crew 21MAY45 and Flight Log: 01JUN45 - 26JUN45) - Personal Collection..." Contributed by William Wiseman dwisemn@bellsouth.net [03JUN2009]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...A Night With Ike - Circa 1945 - VPB-197..." Contributed by GOODELL, Billie N. goodkemp@aol.com [02MAR2007]

When VPB-109 came back to the states and disestablished in 1945 I was given a set of orders to VPB-197 and went to NAAS Camp Kearny, California. At quarters I ran into Jimmey Bennett who was with me in VP-83. Quarters on the base for married personel were Quonset Huts divided into two apartments. Jimmy and his wife Margie lived in one oend and my wife Elaine and I the other. We had to ride the Greyhound Bus from the front gate to go and buy groceries. Jimmy's Dad sent him seventy five dollars for an old model A Ford. His Dad was Charlie Bennett Sr. from Jacksonville, Fla. His younger brother was a Marine and was killed in a plane crash. Jimmy's older brother was Charlie Bennett Jr. and was General Eisenhower's Personal Pilot on the Sunflower Two. When Jimmy found out they were spending the night at the Ambassador Hotel we headed north. We pulled into the parking lot among the cads and other large cars. Jimmy and I were in uniform and he told us to wait while he went inside. A few minutes later here they come arm in arm. We went in and the doorman said no ladies no bobby sox and sweaters. Charlie said Ike had two floors and took u s up to his. He left back to the bar and said he had some unfinished to do do. After about thirty minutes there was a knock on the door. Htere were several busboys pushing carts into the room. Ikes Staff was leaving the next day and we were instructed to wait out front. All of a sudden there were sirens, motorcycles, staff cars and limos approaching. We were put into one of the limos and off we went, arriving at the Sunflower. Charlie introduced all of us and asked if we would like to go aboard. Soon as they took off the MP's were told to take us back to the hotel with sirens going. They asked us which was our car and when they left boy was they laughing. Sad part of the story is Jimmy got killed two weeks later in a car crash. I escorted his body back to Jacksonville where I met Charlie Bennett Sr. and they took to me as one of the family.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...New Experience - Circa 1945 - VPB-197..." Contributed by GOODELL, Billie N. goodkemp@aol.com [21OCT2006]

After the disestablishment of VPB-109 at NAS Alameda, California. I was given sixty four days leave and a set of orders for VPB-197 NAAS Camp Kearny, California. Being in no hurry to get back to NAS Alameda, California I caught a cab to the airport. The booking agent told me that without a priority two there was no way I could get booked. She told me that she would call the air station and see what they had and when. They told her that they had an old R5D going to San Diego for overhaul. Ii went back to the air station and added my name to the passenger list. After about a hours wait two Ensigns came in wanting a flight to NAS North Island, San Diego, California. The duty man at the desk ask them if they would sign for the aircraft log books and deliver the plane to NAS North Island, San Diego, California. The answer was yes and we all loaded aboard. We sat there for a while without anything happening until I saw one of the Ensigns coming toward me. I was wearing my Air Combat Wings and ribbons so he ask me if I would come up to the cockpit. Out of a clear blue sky he ask me how do you start a four engine plane? Only thing they had ever flown was a single engine plane. Well I had plenty of experience so I started all four engines and showed them where the landing gear and flap handle was. Please stay up here with us until we get to NAS North Island, San Diego, California. I said to myself why me lord. No one else on the plane ever knew what was happening. We made the trip fine and they thanked me and lost no time in signing the log books in. I said to myself this is enough for me and I started out hitch hiking to Alabama. It still was not my day! The first ride I caught was with five drinking marines!

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Reunion - Circa 1945 - Squadrons/NAS Mentioned: NAS Hutchinson, Kansas, VPB-109, VPB-197 and VPB-200..." Contributed by GOODELL, Billie N. goodkemp@aol.com [21OCT2006]

I left patrol VPB-107 in December 1944. I ended up in a PBM squadron at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas in january 1945 and told the Personal Officer that I was a PB4Y man and would like to get back where I could do the most good. So on February 1945 he cut me a set of orders for Combat Aircrewman School at NAS Hutchinson, Kansas. They had a bunch of old PB4Y's they used for training purposes. It was like home coming when I checked in. I met a lot of pilots I flew with at NAF Natal, Brazil. LT Bill Bofenkamp was one of my favorites and we hit it right off. He took me aside and ask if I would do him a favor - anything I replied. We are to replace a crew in VPB-197 on okinawa would you pick out a good crew (like I know you can) and we will train as Crew M68. The only accident we had while training was on a training flight. We ran into a snowstorm and returned to the base. We had no one to park us so we waited. I finally told Bill I would get out and wave us to a parking place. As I started out my second mechanic said "let me go." The last thing I said to John was when you go out the bomb bay door go aft and around the wing tip. We waited and here comes a jeep at full speed waving his arms and giving us the cut engine sign. I knew what happened - grabbed the medical kit and dashed outside. What I saw made me sick. John had put his head directly into the prop! There was nothing but blood and mess every where and he was just making a gurgling sound. After filing our report I was told to inspect the prop for damage, clean and gas the plane. They made us go up and fly a couple hours. John was flown to a brain specialist but passed away later. We graduated April 1945 and sent to NAS for survival in the Everglades. May 1945 we reported to VPB-197 NAAS Camp Kearny, California. There I got the bad news. Bill told me his wife Betty was pregnant and he would not be going with us. We were saddened but left for VPB-200 NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Upon landing the pilot hit a telephone pole and knocked the right wing tip off. We waited a week for them to fly a wing tip from the states and then we were off for VPB-197 on Okinawa, Japan. When we landed the CO said we were going to NAS Agana, Guam for a week of R and R then return to NAS Alameda, California for disestablishment.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer - BUNO: 59876..." http://www.ais.org/~schnars/aero/yaf-list.htm [01JUN2003]

APR45  Accepted on April 27 by USN as the 527th of 740 built
AUG45  Delivered on August 1 to USN
SEP45  Assigned to VPB-197 NAAS Camp Kearny, California (NAS Miramar, California), Transitional Training
DEC45  Assigned to Weather Reconnaissance Sq.1. VPW-1
MAR46  Assigned to HEDRON 2, FAW-14
JUL46  Repaired at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas
SEP46  Placed in storage at Litchfield Park, AZ, with 371 hours total flight time. In storage for 6 years
SEP52  Removed September 15 from storage and flown to NAS North Island, San Diego, California
SEP52  Retired on September 18 by USN and converted to Search and Rescue configuration for use by the USCG. New USCG designation P4Y-2G. New USCG colors were added..."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Consolidated...PB4Y-2 [USN], P4Y-2G [USCG]...Privateer...59876 [BuNo]...N6319D, N6813D....Willow Run...YAF...Static Display. Ex-sprayer and fire-bomber. Ex-Hawkins & Powers air tanker #s 'A25', 'B25', and '125'. Crashed at Port Hardy, British Columbia, Canada on Aug 9, 1975. Manufactured by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft, San Diego, CA....Apr 1945 accepted on April 27 by USN as the 527th of 740 built...Aug 1945 delivered on August 1 to USN;Sep 1945 assigned to Patrol Bombing Sq. 197, NAAS Camp Kearny, California (NAS Miramar), Transitional Training; Dec 1945 assigned to Weather Reconnaissance Sq.1. VPW-1..." http://www.umcc.umich.edu/~schnars/texte/yaf-list.htm


Circa 1944 - 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraPB4Y-2 Squadron Assignments "...PB4Y-2 Squadron Assignments 1944 - 1949 by W. T. Larkins 5-11-1984. A review of the aircraft history cards for the 740 aircraft 59350-60009 and 66245-66324 allows the following squadrons with one or more aircraft. Unfortunately the original assignment on many in 1944 is simply "PAC" for Pacific area. No card was found to verify VB-200 as the first squadron delivery or any Marine Corps squadrons. Squadrons listed include VP-12, VP-21, VP-22, VP-23, VP-25, VP-26, VP-27, VP-28, VP-29, VPB-100, VPB-101, VPB-10, VPB-102, VPB-104, VPB-106, VPB-107, VPB-108, VPB-109, VPB-111, VPB-114, VPB-115, VPB-116, VPB-117, VPB-118, VPB-119, VPB-120, VPB-121, VPB-122, VPB-123, VPB-124, VPB-143, VPB-197, VPB-200, VP-HL-1, VP-HL-2, VP-HL-4, VP-HL-6, VP-HL-7, VP-HL-8, VP-HL-9, VP-HL-10, VP-HL-11, VP-HL-12, VP-HL-13, VPM-1, VPW-1, VPW-2, VPW-3, VX-1 and VX-2..." Contributed by Bill Larkins wtl@earthlink.net [01AUG2010]


Circa 1944 - 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol2.htm [28APR2001]
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Circa 1944 - 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...War Diary - December 31st, 1944 through August 31st, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [12JAN2014]

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Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I "discovered" my Uncle George's Log books, finally. I have scanned five of those pages for you to browse over of the months of September, October and November of 1944 and July and August of 1945. His full name was LCDR George F. Poulos and mostly flew the PB4Ys out of Hawaii. The following July and August 1945 photograph's reflect his VP-197 days ..." Contributed by Bill Poulos poulosbill@hotmail.com [12OCT2011]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...My dad (Bruce Vernon Rogers) flew as a tail gunner and radio operator in PB4Y-1s and 2s. I have seen the PB4Y-2 on display at Pensacola Naval Air Museum. There is one being refurbished at Galveston Island, TX Air Museum...Entered service 3/28/44, Gunnery School at Percell, OK (4 weeks), Radio School at Memphis, TN (18 weeks), Radar School at Memphis, TN (2 weeks), NAS, Miami, FL (5 weeks). He served with VPB-197, VPB-200, and VPB-111. He was a tail gunner and radio operator on PB4Y-1s and PB4Y-2s. Highest rank: ARM3c(T) Awards: Philippine Liberation Ribbon (1 star), Asiatic-Pacific Area Ribbon, Combat Aircrew Insignia (3stars), and the Victory Ribbon American Area. Dad's Date of Separation 1/19/46. He passed away at the VA Medical Center, Feb. 25, 1986. Here are some of the things that he told me, which I will repeat to the best of my memory: 1) The crew generally stayed together, however, they flew in several aircraft, including both the PB4Y-1 and PB4Y-2. 2) At one Pacific base, a couple of airplanes exploded just after take-off. Subsequent investigation found that Japanese slipped into the area and rigged hand grenades to explode as the front wheel was retracted into the wheel-well. 3) On one mission, he was elated when the aircraft flew over a Japanese ship. He strafed it with his twin 50 caliber machine guns and it blew up. He reported his sinking of the ship to the rest of the crew via the inter-com. To which he was advised that a bomb from their aircraft had been dropped down the funnel of the ship. (Oh...) 4) There were two types of turrets used: Electric and hydraulic. He said that they had a quite different feel from one to the other. I believe one was an ERCO turret. 5) On one mission, the aircraft was attacked by Japanese aircraft. As an embarrassing result, he got wedged in the turret so that he could not move, nor could he activate the inter-com. After the "excitement was over", the pilot called for a check of all personnel. My dad could not communicate and was assumed dead in the rear turret. He said that he had to put up with inter-com conversation on the way back (he could hear, but not speak) regarding his "death". 6) On one mission, they were asked to find an island which had a fighter plane strip on it and land there, then take off again, which they did. Later, they found out that "the brass" wanted to know if the island strip could be used for emergency landings... The crew was not happy about being used as "guinea pigs" on a short field. 7) I asked him about the accuracy of shooting the twin 50's. He said that those student gunners that could shoot a shot-gun well, also generally did well in the airplanes. He said he thought that this is because of the lead required along with the reflex action. 8) He also said that he was on a mission the day that the 1st atom bomb was dropped and always wondered if the radiation that was in the air at the time would affect him. (Of course at the time that the bomb dropped, they had no idea of what affects or potential affects that it might have on an aircraft flying "down-wind"). Unfortunately, I do not recall any of the names of the various aircraft that he flew in, although he did give me the names of several of the aircraft. Because this is rather lengthy, you may edit or not use any part of it as you wish. There are a couple of things that may be "embarrassing" to have happen, such as being a captive in one's own turret. However, those things happen. We are all human beings, no matter what country we come from. I still remember qualifying with the M-1 rifle at Fort Ord, CA. In the Army's "wisdom" all rifle sights (at that time) had to be set at a Zero - Zero setting when in the rifle rack. When we went to the rifle range to qualify at shooting "pop-up" targets, I was not hitting anything - and I couldn't see where my bullets were going. Finally, some longer distance targets popped up and I saw my bullets hit - way low and far to the left. So far, that I at first thought that they were not mine. Well, I used "Kentucky windage" the rest of the morning. I was trying to figure out, between shots, what the heck was wrong. When we broke for some lunch, I looked down and saw that #$%& Zero - Zero setting. I clicked up 8 and 17 clicks to the right and ended up shooting Expert. But, I dropped some points that I should have had...And learned a lesson that I will never forget. (17 clicks is not a misprint. I have a bad habit of canting my rifle, which in turn distorts "normal view".)..." Contributed by Philip Rogers pbro@sprynet.com


Circa Unknown
Can you identify the Month and or Year?

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVPB-197 WWII USN K-20 Aircraft Camera "...Circa Unknown..." Contributed by John Lucas JohnLucas@netzero.com [28AUG2005]


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