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

HistoryVP-208 HistoryHistory

Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...1946 VPB-208 Cruisebook..." Contributed by Bruce Barth bbarth1@austin.rr.com, Director Mariner/Marlin Association [29NOV2000]

A war baby, Patrol Bombing Squadron Two Hundred Eight was the eighth of about 25 PBM squadrons formed by the navy. Its primary job was patrolling the vast ocean areas in search of the elusive submarine.

To perform this task it was assigned 58 officers, who were all pilots except four, and about 180 enlisted men, who were aviation mechanics, radiomen and ordnancemen. Everyone in the squadron had flight assignments.

We were a streamlined squadron, designed to be mobile and to travel light. As such we carried neither men nor materials for our own maintenance work, but rather depended on the Hedron or Patsu organizations to do most of the work needed on our aircraft. The squadron function was to inform and co-ordinate the work needed to be performed by these organizations. .

Our ground organization included various departments needed to keep a check on the maintenance outfits, for keeping our own records on flight time, to have available study information and communication dispatches. Also all personnel records of squadron members were kept up to date. Promotions, demotions, discipline, training and education, were carried on by the squadron organization. We were also responsible for maintaining security of our own planes whenever they were anchored out, and frequently also while they were on the ramp.

The squadron had a good record of which it can be proud. During a year and four months of anti-sub-marine and convoy operations in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, we produced several submarine sightings, but no attacks. However, during that period American losses were one ship sunk, and that was unescorted at the time. So we feel justified in thinking our presence kept the enemy from attacking .

In the Pacific we saw no submarines, but our work was not negative. Twice we bombed Yap. At Okinawa during the entire campaign, we shot down four enemy planes, damaged six or eight more. On patrol flights to China, Korea and Japan, we sank roughly ten small to medium-sized Tap vessels, damaged many others. We participated in the first night attack by PBM's on an armored Japanese convoy, damaging four vessels, and even went so far as to make daylight torpedo raids.

In addition we rescued 25 men in open sea landings, including one entire crew of our own that had been shot down attacking a Tap. Tanker. Most of these men were rescued fro,m Jap-coontrolled waters, sometimes while subject to fire from shore batteries.

We also had our losses. An entire crew of eight was killed in a night crash against a California mountain while bound for Hawaii. Three others died as a result of a crash after an attempted night, single engine landing at Alameda, California. Nine others gave their lives in an attempted rough water takeoff at Okinawa. About a dozen received the Purple Heart medal as a result of contact with enemy planes and guns. The squadron has no heroes, just individuals and crews who did their duty to the limit of their ability. For our work in the Pacific, particularly at Okinawa, we received much praise from high Naval Officials, and virtually every officer and man won the Distinguished Flying Cross for work performed there.

Assigned to the squadron was the PBM, or Martin Mariner. A twin- engined, gull-winged flying boat, it had an exceptionally strong hull and good flight and water stability. We used three models during our tours of duty.

The squadron originally was assigned the PBM-3C, an improved version of the PBM-l originally produced about 1939. This plane soon proved too heavy for the engines then available, so considerable weight was removed by taking out armor plating, turrets, some guns and such luxury fixtures as an ice box and running water. As stripped down it was known as the PBM-3S, and was the plane we flew during most of our Caribbean tour.

During our Pacific tour we had the new PBM-5 model, primary change being larger, stronger and more dependable engines, and new and addi tional radio gear. This was an excellent model.

Designed to fly at a maximum weight of 48,000 pounds, it was capable, with the new engines, of much higher weights, and was permitted to be loaded'to 56,000 pounds. However, war being what it is, we generally operated at 60,000 pounds during our Pacific duty.

Generally cruising speed was about 120 knots, sometimes a little more, but seldom over 140. In case of emergency a speed of about 170 knots (about 200 m.p.h.) could be obtained. As loaded and flown in the Pacific the normal flight was about 14 hours, with a two or three hour fuel reserve still aboard.

As operated in the battle zone it carried 8 fifty calibre machine guns, all hydraulically operated, and about 5,000 rounds of ammunition. General bomb load was about 2,000 pounds, normal gas load 2,550 gallons. Not an attack plane, it was still far from a sitting duck, and served well against smaller Tap merchantmen.

Fully equipped with radio, radar and electronic navigation gear, it was a good communication plane, capable of keeping constant contact with the home base.

The plane was comfortable, designed to be lived in. Pilot, radio and flight engineer seats were well padded. Two hot plates and a small galley table facilitated Cooking and eating, while four sacks were available for sleeping. When anchored out a constant buoy watch of four men was generally maintained, so these facilities were all needed. The PBM-P for patrol, B for bomber, M for Martin, the manufacturer, was not the fastest plane ever built. But it was a mighty good seaplane, and proved itself capable of operating both offensively and defensively under adverse conditions.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...What I forgot to add in the PBM part, was that we called ourselves "P-BOAT SAILORS", and were proud of that title; guess it came from the fact that we could make open-sea landings with a good pilot, in many sea conditions of adverse winds, waves and currents. While at anchor, enlisted crews usually stayed aboard the plane, for its safety, while officers went ashore, RHIP! ha. In 1946 VPB-208, Jax, and other coastal squadrons carried sick, wounded or emergency cases (appendicitis) from merchant ships off Florida and other areas of the East Coast to port and thence to needed medical care. We flew rescue-search duty in Trinadad after we got there in 1946, along with our regular training flights. We were the first (or perhaps one of the first ) ASW squadrons in the Atlantic with a crude beginning and frequently worked with subs to see if we could find them and make runs on them before they dove. It became quickly apparent that we needed electronic methods to find them submerged, since the Mark-1 eyeball could not see them under water. It was fun zooming in on the sub, flying at 50 feet or below, with the after station hatches open and sea water hitting us in the face, thrown at us by the propellors while we looked for the sub to report his position to the PPC (patrol plane commander)..." Contributed by George Werner gwerner@mediaone.net


Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...In August 1945 my PBM joined VPB-208 aboard the USS Hamlin (AV-15), located at Shimawan Bay, Okinawa. We had been flying ASW flights around convoys in the South Atlantic. When Germany gave up the squadron disbanded and our plane transferred to Okinawa. We did routine patrols until September 2, 1945. We were ordered to the seadrome located at Yokosuka, Japan. This involved our flight plan to fly low over Tokyo Bay. I was manning guns in the tail turret when we passed right over the Missouri while they were signing the surrender terms..." Contributed by WATTS, Doug wattsup@centurylink.net [05MAR2014]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - July 14th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [23SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - July 4th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [23SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - June 30th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [22SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - June 29th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [21SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - June 28th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [20SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - June 27th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [19SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - June 6th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [25SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - May 13th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [24SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - April 27th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [18SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Night Anti-sub Patrol) - April 22nd, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [15SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Enemy Bombing Yap Island) - March 16th, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [15SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 Aircraft Action Report (Enemy Bombing of Yap and Search of Ngulu Island for Shipping) - March 10, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [10SEP2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-12 - VPB-208 War Diary - February 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [23OCT2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...My Uncle, Robert F. Bailey, served in VPB-208. We share a birthday. I have inherited his Air Medal - awarded for action off coast of Korea in VPB-208 when his Mariner went down. What an honor to have this! Thanks to all who served our nation! Your deeds and sacrifice serve to guide my actions..." Contributed by Charlie Waddell Herndon 428mach1@verizon.net [23SEP2009]

Commander Fleet Air Wing One

In the name of the President of the United States, the Commander Fleet Air Wing ONE, United States Pacific Fleet, presents the AIR MEDAL to

Robert Francis Bailey
Aviation Machinist Mate F First Class
United States Naval Reserve


For service set forth in the following CITATION

"For distinguishing himself by meritorious acts while participating in an aerial flight as Plane Captain and Flight Engineer against enemy forces near the coast of Korea on 5 May 1945. When his Commanding Officer and Pilot were severely wounded and the plane seriously damaged by anti-aircraft fire from an enemy ship, he maintained complete control of the Engineer`s Panel and obtained maximum power out of the engines, thus enabling the Pilot to fly the crippled aircraft a safe distance from the enemy ship before ditching. He aided materially in successfully combating and extinguishing a fire that broke out on the flight deck during the emergency landing. His skill and courage were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

J. Perry
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208 CruiseBook Circa 1945. Note: Crew Photo's from the Cruisebook were previously submitted by another Shipmate and posted on VPB-208's Crew Summary Page. It should be noted that the normal phonetic alphabet for PBM would have been Peter Baker Mike. However, several PBM aircraft Dad's squadron were notorious for frequent communications problems. Hence, these birds were often mistaken for enemy aircraft (bogeys) until properly identified. The squadron decided to comically name their book in honor of this continuing snafu. Thus, BOGEY was used for the "B" in PBM, instead of Baker..." Contributed by DAUM, F. David (Deceased) and forwarded by Drake A. Daum Drake.Daum@wpafb.af.mil [03MAR2005]

The Last Word

That's it, fellows. You paid your money and this is what you get. It's not perfect, but considering the obstacles overcome, I think it's pretty good. We all ought to render a hearty "thank you" to the men who did the work on this book. Most of the composition and editorial work was done by John Lemak and Roqert (R.E.A.) Smith, who were the prime movers behind the project. Artist Leonard Huffaker is responsible for the drawings, and Marvin Krekel acted as consultant and business manager. Much of the typing was done by Robert V. Johnson. Roy Garrett and the lads in the Hamlin's photo lab aided in getting the pictures.

We all know the material was gathered and whipped into shape during the summer of 1945 while the squadron was based aboard the USS Hamlin (AV-15) and taking an active part in the Okinawa campaign. The work was done under definite limitations: lack of time, knowledge, and inaccessibility of many pictures of our Caribbean tour which should have been included. Notably absent is the picture of our original commanding officer, Commander D. C. Goodman, who was responsible for our original organization and who successfully guided us through our first trying year. Missing also are pictures of three former executive officers, Commander R. W. Leeman, Lt. Commander H. D. Helfrick and Lt. Commander B. K. Beaver.

As originally planned, it was not intended that this memory book should attempt to be a squadron history. Thus no concerted attempt has been made to preserve in print, records of our deeds, daring or otherwise. Squadron 208 was a good squadron that did a good job in a negative way in the Caribbean and in a positive way in the Pacific, particularly in the Okinawa Campaign and blockade of Japan. It produced no great heroes; but every man jack of us did his duty, and of that we can all be proud.

For what is included in this book, credit goes to Lemak-Smith and Company. For the omissions, mistakes and falsehoods, blame Your obedient servant...

A. J. Stintic, Jr.
LCDR, USNR
Commanding Officer
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVPB-208 1945 "...Squadron planes hoisted aboard the tender USS Hamlin at Kerama Retto, Okinawa July 1945..." Contributed by CALLEN, AMM1 Ed ecall755@aol.com [07DEC2002]


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


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Circa 1943

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 31 May 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [02OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU

PATSU

VD-1, VD-2 and VD-3

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7 and VJ-10

VP-1

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14 and VP-15

VP-23

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-125, VP-126, VP-127 and VP-128

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-142, VP-144 and VP-146

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 16 Jan 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU and PATSU

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-6, VJ-7 and VJ-8

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-3

VP-11 and VP-12

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81, VP-82, VP-83 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92VP-93, 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-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-131, VP-132, VP-133 and VP-134

VP-200, VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-210, and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 09 Nov 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU and PATSU

VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-1

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15 and VP-16

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-114, VP-115 and VP-116

VP-125, VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

VP-150

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 09 Feb 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [28SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-7 and VJ-8

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13 and VP-14

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-61, VP-62, and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81, VP-82, VP-83 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92, VP-93 and VP-94

VP-101

VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-132, VP-133 and VP-134

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209,

VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...History - Naval Aviation News - January 1943.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1943/15jan43.pdf [08NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

Circa 1942-1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-12 - History from 16SEP42-30MAY45 - Submitted May 30th, 1945. Squadron's Assigned: VP-63, VP-81, VP-125, VP-132, VP-143, VP-145, VP-201, VP-202, VP-204, VP-208 and VP-213..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [05DEC2012]

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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]

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Circa 1942

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Op-40-A-KB - (SC)A6-4/VZ - January 6, 1942 - Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [23SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VP-11, VP-12 and VP-14

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62, VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-83

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208, VP-209, VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of VPB-208 - One of the objectives of the Mariner/Marlin Newsletter has been to print the story of each of the squadrons of PBMs and P5Ms. This msut be doen in brief for the interest of space. The following was submitted by Walter Schurman, Southwest Harbor, ME..." Contributed by DAUM, F. David (Deceased) and forwarded by Drake A. Daum Drake.Daum@wpafb.af.mil [03MAR2005]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...PBM flying boat squadron VPB-208 photos from WW II. My father, F. David Daum, was a Chief Aviation Machinists Mate (plane captain / crew chief / flight engineer -- ACMMF) aboard Martin Mariner PBM-1, PBM-3C, PBM-3S, and PBM-5 flying boats serving in the South Pacific theater. He was in VPB-208, and was assigned to Combat Aircrew "Dog" (emblem attached). VPB-208 was the eighth of 25 PBM squadrons formed by the Navy in World War II. I was lucky to find all this detail in a hard-bound book specifically dedicated to the history of VPB-208, compete with names, hometowns, and photos of all the crewmembers, along with emblems for all 16 combat aircrews in VPB-208. My dad was awarded both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for bravery in aerial combat against the Japanese enemy..." Contributed by Drake A. Daum drake.daum@wpafb.af.mil [05AUG2002]

UPDATE VP History ThumbnailCamera "...Attached is final version of the paver brick honoring my dad's Navy service in WWII (PBM flying boats): F. David Daum. The USN logo and the VPB-208 Combat Aircrew "D" logo have been considerably enhanced from the draft version..." Contributed by Drake A. Daum drake.daum@wpafb.af.mil [10JUN2003]

UPDATE VP History ThumbnailCamera "...Draft paver brick honoring my dad's Navy service..." Contributed by Drake A. Daum drake.daum@wpafb.af.mil [10SEP2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-208--1942--1945..." Contributed by CALLEN, AMM1 Ed ecall755@aol.com [30NOV2002]

On the 15th of December 1942, at the Naval Air Station,in Norfolk,Va. Patrol Squadron 208 was born with appropriate ceremonies. The compliment at the time consisted of 21 Officers and 83 enlisted men. The personnel were divided into 18 combat air crews (CAC) and some non-flying personnel, but there were no aircraft assigned. By the 6th of Feb. the squadron had received 5 Martin Mariners PBM3c. and an increase in officers and enlisted men The squadron was then assigned to Corpus Christi,Texas for shakedown training. After a very extensive couple of months of training, the squadron was then assigned to Key West Naval Air Station as home port in the early part of June 1943.I joined the squadron in the early part of August, '43 from Transitional Training Squadron Atlantic, stationed at Banana River, Fl. While in Key West we flew anti-sub patrols day and night,in the Gulf of Mexico,Atlantic and Caribbean. We also operated out of advanced bases,Grand Cayman Island, (BWI) Cuba, Great Exuma and Nassau in the Bahamas. In January of 1944 the squadron was anticipating an assignment and transfer to the Pacific theater of operations, it did'nt happen. We figured we were going to spend the rest of war in Key West,

Then on the 5th of July 1944 orders finally came through for the squadron to transfer to Norfolk,Va. to receive new PBM model 5 aircraft, this was it ,we were finally going to the Pacific Theater. Departure from Key West was delayed for 3 weeks due to rumors of sub sightings in the Caribbean. We finally departed Key West in groups of five and all landed safely in Norfolk. In our time in Key West,we had many mishaps,planes damaged or sunk,some injuries, but fortunatly we did not have any fatalities.

After we received our new planes, we transfered to Naval Air Station Harvey Point,N.C. for more extensive training in aircraft and ship recognition,survival,gunnery etc. Finally on the 4th of Nov. we departed Harvey Point for Alameda,Calif. All planes arrived safely in spite of some minor mishaps. While in Alameda, we did some simulated long distance flying to familurize the pilots for the cross Pacific flights to come. While in Alameda, one of our crews ( Crew Baker) had engine trouble,one of their engines caught fire and attempting to make a single engine night landing in San Francisco Bay,crashed with loss of 3 crew members. These were the first fatalities suffered by the squadron since our commissioning in December of 1942. Some of the other crew members suffered severe injuries and were hospitalized.

On the 30th of Nov. the squadron departed the Alameda Air Station for Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii at 2100hrs.We were to fly in groups of three, but another tragic accident shocked the squadron. Crew "C" while flying to rendezvous with their group crashed into a mountain north of San Francisco with the loss of all hands. The rest of the squadron arrived with no more accidents or mishaps,but with heavy hearts with the loss of their shipmates.

We spent 2 months in K Bay, as it was called, doing more extensive training. It was unbelievable the training we had to go through,we thought we knew everything there was to know, but we found out later we did'nt know everything. While in K Bay, a new Crew "B" (Baker) was formed to replace the crew that crashed in San Francisco Bay. The crew was made up of members who were taken from other crews in the squadron. Lt. Michaels was Patrol Plane Commander and I was taken from Crew "I" (Item) and made Plane Captain of Crew "B".

On the 1st. of Feb.1945 the Squadron received orders to report to Commander, 5th Fleet at Saipan. On the 5th of Feb. the first section of three planes departed "K" Bay for Saipan,with overnight stops at Johnston Island and Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands before reaching Saipan on the third day. The remaining flights of three planes each departed on successive days with all 15 planes settled in Tanapag Harbor by the 12th of Feb. The first planes to arrive at Saipan were already sent out to do anti-sub patrols and "Dumbo" ( air-sea rescue) flights to Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima in support of Army B-24s and B-29s that were bombing Iwo in advance of the invasion. These flights were assigned even before our last planes arrived in Saipan. The squadron continued to do anti-sub patrols and Dumbo operations up to the invasion of Iwo Jima.

While at Saipan the enlisted men lived in tents,( Called tent city) and the officers lived in Quanset huts, it didn't last too long because at the end of Feb. the squadron was ordered to the island of Ulithi to await further orders. In the meantime we did fly anti sub patrols both day and night even though Ulithi was considered a secure island used for R & R for the Pacific Fleet. Even though Ulithi was secured we were attacked by three Jap kamikaze planes. One of the planes hit and severely damaged the aircraft carrier USS Randolph,one crashed into the island and the third one dove into the harbor. While at Ulithi the squadron was assigned to three small tenders, the USS Castle Rock,Suisun and Casco from which to operate. Being an R&R Island Ulithi harbor was cluttered with all kinds of ships and it made it difficult for the sea planes to maneuver,consequently there were many mishaps and accidents but non serious. While on patrol some of our planes did encounter several Japanese merchant ships at different times, these were attacked in bombing and strafing runs, some were sunk and others were damaged, in some of these attacks there was return fire but no fatalities. There were several raids on the Jap Island of Yap, one of the raids was to take out the radio communications and the other was to bomb the airfield to disrupt the Kamikaze planes from taking off, on these raids heavy anti-aircraft fire was encountered.

On the 1st of April the squadron left Ulithi for Kerama Retto which is a small group of islands off the southern end of Okinawa. This was the same day the invasion of Okinawa started. When we arrived at Kerama Retto we hooked up with the seaplane tender USS Hamlin which was to be our home for the remainder of the campaign. The day after we arrived at Kerama Retto some of our planes were out on day and night patrols. There were many instances were our planes encountered Japanese aircraft and in some of these encounters we chased and shot down or left their planes trailing smoke. Most of the Japanese planes were on Kamikaze missions to dive bomb the ships at Okinawa and they would not be deterred from that mission, so we rarely received any return fire from them. In one instance the ships at Okinawa did not pick up on their radar,a flight of eight Jap Kamikaze that were headed for Okinawa. Our pilot radioed ahead that the planes were on the way and the ships gunners were waiting for them with guns ablazin. Our crews also encountered Jap merchant ships which were attacked with bombs and strafed, some of which were sunk and others heavily damaged.

Some crews attacked escorted convoys and received heavy return fire,the captains crew was one who was heavily damaged in one attack and was forced to land and abandon his plane. Another squadron plane broke off the attack and landed to pick up the Captains crew.

On July 14th the Hamlin and the Squadron moved to Chimu Wan,Okinawa as a new operating base. The next day in an attempt to take off in rough water,split the hull and sank. Attempts to save the plane by the Hamlins crew were unsuccessful

Then on the 28th of July Crew G in an attempt to take-off with JATO crashed killing nine members of the crew and severely injuring three others. This was our worst loss of the Okinawa campaign, we also had 14 members of the squadron who were wounded by enemy fire and received the Purple Heart.

In August of 1945 2 Atomic bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which pretty much ended the war. On the 2nd of Sept. as the peace treaty was being signed VPB-208 flew into Tokyo Bay from Okinawa. The war was over for us

All in all it was a very successful campaign for VPB-208, Our Captain received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star, the crews were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal and the Squadron received several Commendations from Commander ,Fleet Air Wing 1.

This has been a condensed version of the exploits of Patrol Bombing Squadron-208, this also happens to be the title of a book that was written by one of 208's crew members who gives a more precise and detailed version of 208's exploits. If you are interested in one of his books his name is: Walter Schurman, 2400 S. Ocean Dr. #6124, Ft.Pierce, Fl. 34949


Circa 1941-1944

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

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