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

HistoryVP-23 HistoryHistory

Circa 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-23 History "...21JUN49 - Navy Hunting For Sub Near Rocket Range - Publication Title: 13th Naval District Public Information Department Press Clippings, 1942-1960 - Content Source: NARA - Publication Number: P2012 - Date Range: 1947-Jan 1953 - Reel Number: 0002 - WebSite: http://www.footnote.com/..." Forwarded by Stephen Miller f134kilmil@comcast.net [29AUG2008]


Circa 1948

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...UNIT: VP-23 PREVIOUS DES: VP-HL-3 NAME: Sea Hawks TAIL CODE: JA/LJ ACTIVATED: 9-1-48 DEACTIVATED: TYPICAL LOCATION(S): NAS Patuxent River, Maryland / NAS Brunswick, Maine
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 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - August 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - July 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - June 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - May 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - April 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - March 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - February 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - January 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-18 - History from 01DEC45-31DEC45 - Submitted January 30th, 1946. Squadron's Assigned: VP-23, VP-32, VP-53, VP-102, VP-108, VP-116, VP-144 and VP-152..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [10DEC2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-18 - VPB-23, VPB-117, VPB-152 - War Diary - October 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: History ThumbnailCameraVPB-23 Log Book "...Robert Francis Meinken Aviators Flight Log Book, 1944-1945. Date Created 3/1/1945

Object Desciption: The Aviators Flight Log book that belonged to Robert Francis Meinken documents his service as an aircrewman in PBY Catalina patrol boats as a member of Patrol Bombing Squadron (VPB) 23. Long-distance flights between islands and atolls including Hawaii, Midway, Kwajalein, and Majuro fill the first part of it before giving way to pages that document combat missions closer to the front lines at places like Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Entries of note include the rescue of a downed Marine F4U Corsair pilot under fire on 4 March 1945, and a Dumbo (air-sea rescue) mission for the crew of the heavy cruiser Indianapolis (CA 35). This particular entry reads "DUMBO- 300 survivors, IND." The 11.5 hour mission is the last entry in Meinken's log book...." WebSite: NavalAviationMuseum http://collections.naval.aviation.museum/ [15AUG2009]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...PBY BUNO: 64000 USN History Card..." Contributed Ragnar J. Ragnarson ragsie@centrum.is [17FEB2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...PBY BUNO: 63993 USN History Card..." WebSite: Yahoo PBY Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBY/ [11FEB2007]

    • Accepted 05JAN45
    • Delivered 14JAN45
    • VPB-100 FEB45-MAR45
    • VPB-23 APR45-SEP45
    • Stricken 31OCT45

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...PBY BUNO: 63993 USN History Card..." WebSite: Yahoo PBY Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBY/ [11FEB2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: vp23 CrewCameraVP-23 Crew Circa 1945 "PictureFOUNDATION Volume 21 Number 2 Fall 2000 A Fond Farewell to Adrian Marks: Marks and his crew pose in front of a VPB-23 PBY. Shown are (front row, left to right) AMM3c Richard W. Bayer, ENS Morgan F. Hensley, ENS Irving D. Lefkowitz, LT R. Adrian Marks, unidentified VPB-23 officer and (back row, left to right) AMM2c Donald M. Hall, ARM Robert G. France, S1c Warren A. Kirchoff, AOM Earl Duxbury..." [16NOV2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...29JUL45: There was an unidentified PBY that passed the area prior to Atteberry and Marks' arrival who dropped liferafts and survival gear. I will try to find out more. I remember reading the serial # of that craft somewhere, give me a day or two. Also there was a second PBY that landed about two hours after Marks, an Army PBY, Lt. Richard C. Alcorn, who managed to pick up one survivor, transfer him to the Doyle, and take-off the next day..." Contributed by Scott Sanford Scottca35@aol.com [04AUG98]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "... 29JUL45 Contributed by Scott Sanford Scottca35@aol.com [02AUG98]

On the night of 29 July 1945 the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) is struck by two torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-58. She sinks in 12 minutes, and at or about 00:15 on the 30th an estimated 800, from a final sailing list of 1197, go into the water. Most without lifepreservers. No distress signal was ever received, however radiomen claim that 3 did get off on the 500kc band. Thus, the men floated in the sea, unknown to anyone for 96 hours. They were accidently sighted at 11:52 Thursday 2 August by Lt. Wilbur C. "Chuck" Gwinn flying his Lockheed Ventura PV-1 (Squadron VPB-152) on a routine submarine patrol. He radios message "Sighted 30 men in water. Position 11-30N, 133-30E." Then sends the second message "Send rescue ship 11-15N, 133-47E, 150 survivors in lifeboat and jackets." At 13:40 Lt. Cmdr George C. Atteberry (Squadron VPB-152) "Gambler Leader" takes off in his PV-1 along with Lt. Robert A. Marks "PlaymateTwo" (Squadron VPB-23) in his PB5YA. Atteberry reaches Gwinn at the scene around 14:15 and Marks arrived about 15:50.

At 16:25 Lt Marks sends his message "Between 100 and 200 survivors at position reported. Need all survival equipment available while daylight holds. Many survivors without rafts." At 16:30 Marks radios "Will attempt open-sea landing. PV circling area." Lt. Robert A. Marks would then proceed to land his PBY5A in twelve foot swells, ignoring a standing order forbidding open sea landings. The big plane bounced three times and on the last bounce Lt. Marks stalled her between the valley of oncoming swells. Meantime Atteberry continued circling the area and by radio directed Marks to the stragglers and men in the most need of assistance. The first rescue ship would not arrive until some 8 hours later at 23:15, the USS Cecil J. Doyle. In that time Lt Marks and his crew managed to taxi around and pick up some 56 men. The next day, 3 August, he transferred them to the Doyle. His plane was so badly damaged from not only the landing but the constant pounding from the motor-whaleboat during the shuttle of survivors, that it was machined gunned and sunk on the spot. It is with little doubt that those fifty six men would have perished had it not been for Lt. Marks unselfish decision to land. At 15:05 on 3 August, the last two survivors were spotted by the USS Ringness, a mere 112 hours since the sinking. Had it not been for Lt. Gwinn's sighting by shear accident and Lt. Marks landing by shear luck, far less than 317 would have survived, if any at all.

The following is an exerpt from a speech read to the survivors by Lt. Marks at their 1985 reunion : " I met you forty years ago. I met you on a sparkling sun-swept afternoon of horror. I have known you through a balmy tropic night of fear. I will never forget you...I suppose that through the years... at least ten thousand times my memory has recalled some portion of the day when our fates were crossed...I am humbled by the thought that I have seen true greatness in our time." Lt. Robert Adrian Marks passed away on 7 March 1998.

Lt. Gwinn was content in the knowledge that that few other people have been given the chance to save so many lives. Lt. Wilbur C. "Chuck" Gwinn passed away 9 July 1993. May they both rest in peace.

The crew of Lt. Marks' PB5YA "PlaymateTwo"
LtRobert A. Marks, Pilot
Ensign Irving D. Lefkowitz, Co-pilot
Ensign Morgan F. Hensley, Co-pilot
Roland A. Shepard, Aviation Radioman
Warren A. Kirchoff, Seaman
Robert G. France, Aviation Radioman
Earl Duxbury, AOM
Donald M. Hall, AMM2C

The crew of Lt. Gwinn's PV-1
Lt. Wilbur C. Chuck Gwinn, Pilot
Lt. Warren Colwell, Co-pilot
Harold Hickman, AOM2T
William Hartman, Chief Radioman
Joeseph Johnson, AMM1C(T)


Any information regarding the where abouts of the above crews would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Scott Sanford Scottca35@aol.com [02AUG98]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Privateer 59763 is rare in that it is a WWII combat veteran having been assigned to VPB-111 in the Pacific Theater in August 1945. It also served as one of the original Hurricane Hunter Privateers in VP-23 and VJ-2. LT Randy Eskew and VJ-2 CO LCDR Dave Walkinshaw flew this fine plane. THis '4Y-2" was first accepted by the Navy on 28 February 1945. It was later assigned to HEDRON 2 FAW-14, VPB-200, VPB-106, VP-108, FAW-14, FASRON-110, FASRON-103 NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and then on to Advanced Based Point Lyautey, French Morocco. It also saw duty stations at NAS Kwajalein, NAS North Island, San Diego, California, NAS Jacksonville, Florida and finally NAS Litchfield Park where it was stricken from the U. S. Navy records on 1 October 1956..." WebSite: http://www.pb4y.com/ International PB4Y Association

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...00XXX45--During the first few years of hurricane reconnaissance, the Navy used aircraft from various naval activities in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean areas. The first aircraft used was the PBM Mariner seaplane. In 1945, Navy Patrol Bomber Squadron 114 (VPB-114), stationed at NAS Masters Field, Miami, Florida, was assigned the task of making the reconnaissance flights, using the famous World War II patrol bomber, the PB4Y Privateer. From 1946 to 1949 the Privateers continued the hurricane flight while the squadron's designation was changed to Weather Squadron Three (VPW-3), Meteorological Squadron THREE (VPM-3), and Heavy Land Based Patrol Bomber Squadron THREE (VPHL-3). In 1949 Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VP-23) was commissioned at the Naval Air Station, Miami, for the job. The forerunner of VW-4 was Navy Weather Squadron TWO (VJ-2), commissioned during the 1952 Hurricane season at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. The following year, the Hurricane Hunters replaced the Privateers with P2V Neptune, and in that same year the squadron's designation was changed to Airborne Early Warning Squadron FOUR. Hurricane reconnaissance techniques have improved greatly during recent years. Squadrons VPB-114, VPM-3, and VPHL-3 contributed to the research and initial development of the famous low-level penetration technique stated in 1943. This method has been used by the Navy for more than twenty years..." http://www.aewa.org/Library/vw4/vw4.html

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: vp23 CrewCameraVP-23 Crew Circa 1945 "...Francis Clifton and crew - NAS Agana, Guam 1945..." Contributed by Francis H. Clifton FHCPBYFOR@webtv.net [23JAN99]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: vp23 CrewCameraVP-23 Crew Circa 1945 "...Pilots on Pelieulu 1945...L-R Dave Tenny, R.C. Aldrich, Francis Clifton, and Bill Clark..." Contributed by Francis H. Clifton FHCPBYFOR@webtv.net [23JAN99]


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

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - December 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - November 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]center>
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - War Diary - October 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-14 - History from 15OCT42-01DEC42 - Submitted December 22nd, 1944. Squadron's Assigned: VP-1, VP-2, VP-4, VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-21, VP-23, VP-24, VP-33, VP-44, VP-53, VP-54, VP-71, VP-72, VP-81, VP-91, VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-106, VP-109, VP-111, VP-115, VP-117, VP-118, VP-119, VP-121, VP-122 and VP-202..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [06DEC2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-14 - VPB-23 War Diary - August 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [01NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-14 - VPB-23 War Diary - July 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [01NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-14 - VPB-23 War Diary - June 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [01NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-14 - VPB-23 War Diary - May 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [01NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-14 - VPB-23 War Diary - April 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [01NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 11 Jan 1944..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [29SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

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

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7, VJ-8, VJ-9, VJ-10, VJ-11, VJ-12, VJ-13, VJ-14, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-16, VP-17, VP-18 and VP-19

VP-20, VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52 and VP-54

VP-61 and VP-62

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

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

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

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-115, VP-116 and VP-117

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

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

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

VP-150 and VP-151

VP-201, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-208 and VP-209

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


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VPB-23 PBY air-sea rescue, antishipping, ferrying,antimine, leaflettes. Stationed from Dec 7, 1944 until the end of the war. Falalop - Seaplane Base - A seaplane ramp was constructed at one end of the main airfield on Falalop Island. This ramp, which extended from extreme low-water mark to the hardstand, was 50 by 95 feet, surfaced with pierced plank, and protected along the outer edges by a concrete slab. Work was begun on November 4, 1944, and completed on December 5, five days ahead of schedule - http://www.pacificwrecks.com/provinces/fed_falalop.html..." WebSite: Pacific Wreck Database [04MAR2003]


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: VP-23 History ThumbnailCameraVP-23 or VP-12 History "...Attached is a picture of what I believe is a radar equipped PBY-5A from the Black Cats (VP-23 or VP-12) named "Sleepy Time Gal." The photo was among my father's war souvenirs. My father, John Andersen, is the man on the left in the photo. I don't know who the gentleman on the right is (notice the strategic positioning of his right hand for the photo). My dad served in the Pacific on a submarine tender from 1943 to 1947 and VP-12 (formed after Pearl Harbor) and finally with VP-23. He died 8 years ago..." Contributed by Pat Andersen Repaircar@cs.com [18MAY2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...APPENDIX 3 Submarines Sunk by Patrol Squadrons During World War II - Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol2.htm [04MAY2001]

RO-101, 15 September 1943 (shared)
Type: Small, short-range submarine, Class B, RO-100 series, Type KS Laid Down: 1941, Kawasaki, Kobe
Commissioned: December 1942, LCDR Zenji Orita
Commander: December 1942 August 1943, LCDR Zenji Orita; August 1943, LCDR Masataka Fujisawa
Career: Assign: SubRon 7, carried supplies for garrisons
Successes: None

Fate: RO-101 departed Rabaul for a patrol area south of San Cristobal. It was spotted by a PBY-5 Catalina of VP-23 piloted by Lieutenant W. J. Geritz. Saufley (DD 465) assisted in the kill southeast of San Cristobal, at position 1057'S, 16356'E. The submarine was listed by the Japanese as lost with all hands (crew of 50).

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Flight Logbook Entries - VP-23 Chornology May43 - Dec 44..."Contributed by Harry LaBrie (ACOM) via his daughter Leslie La Brie-DePue LBlackwolf@aol.com [16NOV98]

VP 23 Chornology May 43 - Dec 44

  • PBY -Pilot-Lt. Cmmdr Garcia (was Skipper) while Bradley was Lt. Commander.


  • ACOM-Harry LaBrie (my dad), 2nd pilot-Abele, radioman-Jaquille (Sparky).

  • Plane-PBY-The Message. From original flight log book:

  • 26MAY43 - Flew patrols at Palmyra

  • 27MAY43 - Flew 12 hour patrols to Samoa

  • 28MAY43 - Flew to Espirito Santos-special mission (sick shipmen)

  • 02JUN43 - JUL43 - Patrolled for submarines 7 1/2 hrs @ day over Espiritos Santos

  • 24AUG43 - Flew Dumbo-rescue hops near Randova

  • 28AUG43 - Flew dumbo-rescue hops all around Tulagi (picture 3 I sent)

  • 30AUG43 - Flew dumbo-rescue hops around Colombangera. Took "break" at Espirito Santos hospital with malaria....

  • 18SEP43 - 19SEP43 - Flew bombing drops over Nareu (Naru?) Out of the 9 PBYs that flew out they were the only one plane to find the target and bomb. The others got lost or turned beack because of a fierce storm.

  • 05SEP43 - Espirito Santos

  • 26SEP43 - Back to Tulagi and then on to Rendova for patrolling and dumbo-rescues

  • 30SEP43 - DEC43 - Night patrols at Tulagi and Rendova

  • 03OCT43 - Had to take a day off for test flight as a temporary assigned ordinanceman dropped two bombs out of their plane while patrolling and didn't get clearance. So, while my dad was cleaning and loading for next flight he noticed the bomb hatch had the lock bolt all rusty. He worked and worked at it until it got loose and when he pulled it out the second bomb shot out and blew a hole in the side of the plane !!!!!! They then had a temporary pilot named Owerie until "Chilipepper" Garcia got back. They continued flying rescues and patrols in their PBY until Jan 44

  • Jan 44- Flew to Figi, then Wallace Island, then Canton, Than back to base at Kenoehe Bay, Hawaii. They also had 2 other temporary pilots for a short time named Miller, and Garitz. Then my dad moved up to CPO.


    Hope some of this rings a bell with former shipmates! I'll take all the memories anyone can give me......thanks to silverbullit for all his wonderful stories. I'm waiting for more. Leslie La Brie..." Contributed by Harry LaBrie (ACOM) via his daughter Leslie La Brie-DePue LBlackwolf@aol.com [16NOV98]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...15AUG43--Fleet Air Wing 17 is commissioned in Naval Seaplane Base Brisbane, Australia, for operations in southwestern Pacific area. Japanese submarine sunk: RO-103, by naval land-based aircraft (VP-23) and destroyer SAUFLEY (DD-465), Solomon Islands area, 10 d. 57' S., 163 d. 56' E...." http://www.cyberplus.ca/~chrism/chr43.txt


    Circa 1942

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-23 History "...Rear Admiral Francis Massie Hughes was commander of VP-23 stationed at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and received a commendation for the first plane up after the Pearl Harbor attack - 1960 Rear Admiral Francis Massie Hughes Photo Document..." WebSite: EBay http://www.ebay.com/ [25OCT2015]

    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


    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: "...Battle of Midway Sailors and Marines Honored Aboard Namesake Ship - Friday, June 09, 2006 - By JO2 Adrian Melendez - Navy Compass..." WebSite: Navy Compass http://www.navycompass.com/news/newsview.asp?c=187605 [10JUN2006]

    "We stand in the company of men who remember Midway not only as a heroic victory, but also as the bloody ferocious fight for freedom that it was."

    These were the words of the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Mullen, as he stood before a crowd of more than 1,200 guest at the Battle of Midway ceremony aboard the flight deck of the Midway Museum in San Diego, June 3.

    "I can't think of a more fitting venue than the Midway Museum for this event," said Vice Adm. James Zortman, Commander, Naval Air Forces.

    The ceremony marked the 64th anniversary of the battle, in which the smaller U.S. Navy sank four Japanese aircraft carriers, three destroyers and two cruisers.

    Fifteen veterans of the battle were also honored at the ceremony for their sacrifice and heroism during the historic fight.

    "We are fortunate this evening to be in the company of the brave Navy and Marine Corps heroes and all their families whose courage and commitment brought great honor to our Navy and to our entire nation," said Scott McGaugh, Midway Museum marketing director.

    Along with speeches from Mullen and Zortman, Midway veteran Kenneth Weaver shared his experience and memories of the battle to the crowd.

    Weaver, an Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st class aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6), said he remembered the words of wisdom from Adm. Raymond Spruance, Commander, Task Force 16, as they steamed from Pearl Harbor on their way to Midway.

    "He told us that they were about to meet the enemy," said Weaver. "He said that we would be the underdogs because our forces were out numbered three to one. But he reminded us we were well trained and up to the challenge. I'm so proud of what we were able to do that day."

    Howard Dickerson was a navigator aboard a PBY Catalina aircraft attached to VP-23 out of Midway and vividly remembers his experience June 4, 1942.

    We were on patrol from Midway were on our way back to the island when a call over the radio came in and told the us to go see what was going on with the Japanese ships," said Dickerson. "When we got to where the battle was there were three Japanese carriers burning from one end to the other that were floating about five to 10 miles apart."

    It was then that the crew noticed Japanese ships were traveling north of Midway and they decided to follow the fleet to keep track of them. It was while they were following the retreating ships that a Japanese Zero gave the Catalina crew an unwelcoming surprise.

    Dickerson said that the Zero seemed to come out of no where and was soon firing on their aircraft.

    "We had two .50 caliber guns in the back so we traded shots to each others wings," said Dickerson.

    After trading volleys of lead for a while the Zero pulled off the Catalina and retreated.

    It was then that the Dickerson and the crew decided to head back to the island.

    While flying for a while the crew figured they should have seen the island by then and radioed in to get an idea on their position to the airfield.

    "We couldn't find the island and we ended up running out of fuel," said Dickerson.

    Their only option was to land the seaplane in the water and wait for rescue.

    They launched a small float light from the plane and attempted a sea landing in the pitch black night.

    "You don't get flood lights out there, all you have is a little light in the middle of the ocean for reference. We must have bounced five times when we hit the water before we stopped," said Dickerson. "After we got down I felt like a million dollars. We were up in the air for about 17 hours."

    But the troubles weren't over yet. Dickerson noticed water coming in to the plane from the numerous bullet holes in the bottom of the aircraft. They had little time to find a way to plug all the holes before they would have to spend the night floating around in the Pacific.

    "We had to plug them before more water started coming in," said Dickerson. "We used sharpened pencils and shoved them in the holes to stay afloat. We must have went through over 20 of those things."

    The next morning USS Monaghan (DD 354) came to pick up the stranded crew and take them back to Midway.

    Mullen said that it's the sacrifices and experiences such as Dickerson's, Weavers and all the service members who fought in the battle of Midway that reflect on the service today as well as the world as a whole.

    "To all you here from World War II, we know that we owe you for the freedoms we enjoy today," said Mullen. "And that legacy grows stronger with each passing year. You understood that this country is more safe and secure when others are free.

    We look to their courage, to their determination and their commitment. Our brave men and women in the service today are doing just that."

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...23AUG42 - PBY (VP-23) attacks (in daylight!) Japanese heavy cruiser Furutaka, Solomons..." HyperWar WebSite: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-Chron/USN-Chron-1942.html [16SEP2005]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...29JUL42 - PBYs (VP-23) bomb Japanese bases in Tulagi-Gavutu area..." HyperWar WebSite: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-Chron/USN-Chron-1942.html [16SEP2005]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: vp23 CrewCameraVP-23 Crew Who Discovered Japanese Fleet - Battle of Midway "...Photo #: 80-G-19974 (Complete Caption)...Battle of Midway, June 1942...Crew of the Patrol Squadron 23 (VP-23) PBY-5A "Catalina" patrol bomber that found the approaching Japanese fleet's Midway Occupation Force on the morning of 3 June 1942...Those present are (standing, left to right): Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class R.J. Derouin; Chief Aviation Radioman Francis Musser; Ensign Hardeman (Copilot); Ensign J. H. Reid (Pilot)--on wheel-- and Ensign R.A. Swan (Navigator). Kneeling are (left to right): Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class J.F. Gammell (Naval Aviation Pilot); Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class J. Goovers and Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class P.A. Fitzpatrick. Names are as given on the original photographic mount card, in the custody of the National Archives. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives..." http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/g10000/g19974c.htm [10DEC2000]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Biography of Francis H. Clifton - VPB-23, USN..." http://members.aol.com/famjustin/Clifton1.html [02MAR2003

    Christmas 1942 and how I got there.

    On November 11, 1942 at NAS Pensacola, Florida, I had completed an eight month Aviation Cadet flight training program and was commissioned an Ensign, A-V(N), USNR with a designation of Naval Aviator. My final squadron was in P-Boats (PBY flying boats) The P stands for patrol. Departing NAS Pensacola, Florida, my orders read in part "proceed to San Diego, Calif. and report to the Commanding Officer, Transition Training Squadron, Pacific Fleet for temporary active duty involving flying under instruction......delay for fifteen days.....will count as leave."

    I reported into San Diego December 3, 1942. I "completed" the transitional training schedule of six weeks over night and was ordered to San Francisco for transportation to Fleet Air Wing Two wherever it may be. When I asked the yeoman where FLEET AIR WING TWO was, he said "Pearl Harbor, we will put you on a train to Frisco, there you will go aboard the USS Henderson for Pearl." I went aboard the Henderson at 1530 December 7, 1942. Exactly one year after the attack at Pearl. (I have two December 7ths in my mental history file) We sailed at 1001 on the 8th and arrived at Pearl at 1430 December 16, 1942

    On December 18th, Fleet Air Wing Two gave me orders to PATROL SQUADRON TWENTY THREE. When I asked the yeoman where Squadron 23 was, he said "It's at Kaneohe on the other side of the island. We'll put you on a bus for the trip over there."

    Later that day another set of orders on December 18, 1942 read as follows:

    FROM: The Commander Patrol Squadron TWENTY THREE
    TO: Ensign Francis H. Clifton, A-V(N), USNR.

    1. Reported for duty this date.

    s/
    F. A. BRANDLEY

    Thus, I had found a navy home for the next two and one-half years in VP-23 as it would roam the South and Central Pacific war zones with a short stay on the West Coast of the U.S.

    My log book shows my first flight in VP-23 on Christmas Day 1942 was a 700 mile 11.0 hour patrol in a PBY-5A, BuNo 04976 with Ensign La Plant. PPC. (Patrol Plane Commander) I was the navigator for the crew and the only time I got in the cockpit was to pass through it to go to the bow to use the Norden Bombsight to take drift reading. I did get a complimentary "good job" when we hit the return ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) within a few minutes at the designated point of land on Oahu.

    One other fact I remember was the test radio message sent from the base included these words, "On Christmas Day go all the way."

    Thus was my indoctrination into my new navy home of VP-23.

    I had another Christmas Day flight in 1943 from Noumea to Espiritiu Santo but that's another story for another day.

    PBY Torpedoes

    PBY's carried torpedoes in the regular bomb racks under the wings, one at a time. I know there was a topedo attack in the Battle of Midway without much success. I made a couples practice drops without much enthusiasm.

    Bombing of Espiritu Santo

    In June of 1943, after a three day flight from Kaneohe, VP-23 was berthed on USS Wright (AV-1) in the harbor at Espiritiu Santo, New Hebides Islands.

    I recall several "Red Alerts" but I do not remember an actual bombing.

    The most vivid memory of the alerts was the actions of the Wright's crew at the sound of the alert signal. The ship became alive with motion and sound as the crew scurried about slamming and securing watertight doors and hurrying to their battle stations.

    Since the men of VP-23 had no battle stations on the ship, all we could do was lay in our bunks and wait for the "All Clear." We were so deep below decks, I think it would have taken a direct hit on Wright for us to have known of any action from any bombing on Santo.

    It gives a person an eerie feeling to hear the watertight doors being slammed and secured knowing there is no way out. The only consolation was the thought that we were not far from shore. We greeted the "All Clear" signal with gladness, turned over and went back to sleep.

    My Rennell Island Story

    This is the way I remember it. In early September 1943, all VP-23 crews were united at Halavo Bay on Florida Island in the Solomons. The 10-12 hour patrols flights of Funtafuti and Espiritiu Santo were behind us and we would start a new type operation in the Solomons. An operation patterned for VP-23's type aircraft, PBY-5's, Catalina flying boats, known in the navy as P-Boats.

    If we had been in private business, we could have called our operation; SOLOMON ISLANDS AIR TAXI AND FREIGHT SERVICE. "To Any Island at Any Time."

    I do not remember all the islands we went to, nearly all the larger ones, usually to drop off and/or pick up personnel and/or material and supplies with a few "wait here's". We hardly ever went ashore. I do remember going ashore at Malaita, and overnight stays at San Christobal, Ondonga on New Georgia and a small island with a PT Boat base. The passengers could be either military or civilian with a high priority on coastwatcher and their supplies.

    One crew had Admiral Halsey as a passenger to Bougainville. Another carried H.V. Kaltenborn, the radio commentator, to Bougainville. Another crew told of the Naval Intelligence service going to Bougainville to interrogate captured Japanese soldiers. The mission was doomed to near total failure due to lack of captives. I do not know of any big names our crew had as passengers. We never knew the list of passenger, sometimes only 3 or 4, other times a plane load.

    In the Solomons, there was little air navigation to do, therefore the navigator became a Chief Steward of Loadmaster, which ever the flight required.

    Also, in the Solomons, we had quite a bit of "Stand By" time, being ready, willing and able to meet all conditions on very short notice. We would stand by at Halavo Bay, also with the PT Boats at their advanced base and with a F4U fighter squadron on Ondonga. I have forgotten whether it was navy or marine. Future president, Lt (jg) J.F. Kennedy, had left the PT Boat squadron by this time but the big name in the squadron was "Whizzer" White, All American football player, later a Supreme Curt Justice. Several downed air crew personnel were rescued from these stand-by locations.

    My Patrol Plane Commander (PPC) was K.F. Richards, Jr. and the other co-pilot was Thomas Mulroy. Tom and I alternated time in the cockpit by flights, not hours. A flight was from takeoff to return to base, regardless of the duration of the flight. However, a new day meant the start of a new flight.

    Sometime around the middle of October 1943, we were scheduled for a flight to Rennell Island, a couple hundred miles south of Guadacanal. All crews hoped for a trip to Rennell because of the friendly Polynesian natives there. However, we did not get to go ashore. It was my flight in the cockpit and while drifting on the water waiting for the transfer of personnel and and supplies, I happened to look into the water just outside the cockpit and just beneath the surface of the water only about four feet from the hull was a large coral head. It passed between the hull and wingtip float. We had missed disaster by 3 or 4 feet. Needly to say we headed for deeper water.

    A week or so later, another crew was scheduled for Rennell. We told the PPC about our experience with the coral head and warned him about dangers in the waters of Rennell.

    A few hours later, a radio message received at the base read "SINKING AT RENNELL". The crew of the singing plane managed to make the beach with the damaged plane. VP-23 sent rescue and salvage crews to pick up the crew and save as much of the equipment and supplies as possible.

    I do not know what happened to the PBY hull left on the beach at Rennell by VP-23 in 1943. I have never seen any mention of it in any PBY literature.

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: vp23 CrewCameraVP-23 Crew Who Discovered Japanese Fleet - Battle of Midway "...Photo #: 80-G-19974 (Complete Caption)...Battle of Midway, June 1942...Crew of the Patrol Squadron 23 (VP-23) PBY-5A "Catalina" patrol bomber that found the approaching Japanese fleet's Midway Occupation Force on the morning of 3 June 1942...Those present are (standing, left to right): Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class R.J. Derouin; Chief Aviation Radioman Francis Musser; Ensign Hardeman (Copilot); Ensign J. H. Reid (Pilot)--on wheel-- and Ensign R.A. Swan (Navigator). Kneeling are (left to right): Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class J.F. Gammell (Naval Aviation Pilot); Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class J. Goovers and Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class P.A. Fitzpatrick. Names are as given on the original photographic mount card, in the custody of the National Archives. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives..." http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/g10000/g19974c.htm [10DEC2000]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...29MAY42--...That same day, 12 Navy PBY-5A Catalinas joined the 12 PBY-5s stationed on Midway. Beginning on May 30, Midway's planes began searching for the Japanese. Twenty-two PBYs from Lt. Cmdr. Robert Brixner's Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44) and Commander Massie Hughes' VP-23 took off from Midway lagoon, then headed out in an arc stretching 700 miles from Midway in search of the Japanese...."

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...00JUL42--EARLY JULY 1942 GUADAL CANAL BATTLE We left for Guadal Canal battle landing at Espiritu Santos. We boarded the USS Curtiss where we would stay until January 1943. We patrolled every other day 12 to 14 hours for approximately 7 months. During that period, one of our PBY's shot down a twin engine Jap patrol plane. All the members received special commendations from ADM Nimitz and later all received promotions. One of the members was an aviation pilot (enlisted) ; two others were machinist mates, one named Cook and the other named Williams. Later on, during that campaign, our plane was sent to an advance base in Santa Cruz island for a couple of weeks. while there, we worked off another Seaplane Tender until we spotted a Japanese task force. While tracking them, they spotted us. We could see large guns firing at us but all shells were dropping short. A few minutes later, we spotted 3 Jap planes beginning their runs at us. One burst shot part of the blister away as I was shooting at him. The blast missed me but killed one of our pilots--Lt. Robert R. Wilcox III from Albuquerque, New Mexico. After about 20 minutes, they saw we were flying away from their fleet, so they returned to their ship. We were able to return to Santa Cruz Island with about 5 minutes of fuel left and all our floats shot up, but I was able to use the manual crank to bring the floats down. Our pilot at that time was Lt. Reiser, who I feel to this day, was the best navigator in the squadron. He was the reason we survived the return flight. Some time in January of 1943, we were relieved off the USS Curtiss. I think we only had about four or five planes left out of the entire squadron at VP-23. The small group of us left from the original VP 23 boarded an English ship called the H.M.S. Pennant, a diesel, which took us back to Pearl Harbor. I believe we must have lost four or five of our planes in that campaign. I'm sure the PBY found recently on Espiritus Santos was from our squadron of VP-23 between July 1942 and January 1943. I thought I would try to relate some of the activity of VP-23 between the time of the December 7th Pearl Harbor attack and January 1943 in honor of everyone who served with the squadron. It is also my hope that if my account of the activities of VP-23 are printed in the Catalina Chronicle, that some of my old shipmates will try to contact me. IF ANYONE KNOWS JOHNNY SOSH FROM VP-23, PLEASE HAVE HIM CONTACT ME. Sincerely, Bill Forbes ACMM P. O. Box 5049 Anaheim, CA 92804 Phone: (714) 520-3022 or (714) 520-0129" http://www.santarosa.edu/~nwalden/chronp2.htm

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...04JUN42--"BATTLE OF MIDWAY-RESCUES PERFORMED BY PBYS (by Jim Sawruk) VP-23 PPC LTJG Harold W. Lough - rescued VB-8 Ens. Troy T. Guillory and ARM2 Billy R. Cottrell..." www.vpnavy.com/vp91news.html

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...06JUN42--"BATTLE OF MIDWAY-RESCUES PERFORMED BY PBYS (by Jim Sawruk) VP-23 PPC LTJG August A. Barthes - rescued VB-6 Ens. Tony F. Schneider and ARM2 Glen L. Holden..."

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...06JUN42--"BATTLE OF MIDWAY-RESCUES PERFORMED BY PBYS (by Jim Sawruk) VP-23 PPC LTJG Norman K. Brady - rescued VP-44 ENS. Lee C. McCleary, ENS. Jack H. Camp (Died of wounds at Midway on 07JUN42), AMM1 Virgil R. Marsh, AMM2 John C. Weeks, and AOM2 Philip L. Fulghum..." VP-91 Newsletter

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...08JUN42--"BATTLE OF MIDWAY-RESCUES PERFORMED BY PBYS (by Jim Sawruk) VP-23 PPC ENS Robert E. Slater - rescued VF-8 LTJG Minuard F. Jennings and ENS Humphrey L. Tallman..." VP-91 Newsletter

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...21JUN42--"BATTLE OF MIDWAY-RESCUES PERFORMED BY PBYS (by Jim Sawruk) VP-23 PPC LTJG John E. White - rescued VT-6 MACH Arthur W. Winchell and RM3 Douglas M. Cossitt..." VP-91 Newsletter

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Air-to-Air Shoot Downs by Navy and Marine Corps Patrol Type Aircraft During World War II - This Squadron Mentioned...Naval Historical Center ADOBE Download File: http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-vol2/Appen4.pdf [12FEB2004]
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    Open VP History Adobe FileAir-To-Air Shootdowns 118KB


    Circa 1941

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...20DEC41 - PBY (VP-23) arrives at Wake Island to deliver information to the garrison concerning the relief efforts then underway (see 21 December)..." WebSite: HyperWar http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-Chron/USN-Chron-1941.html [15SEP2005]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...21DEC41 - PBY (VP-23) departs Wake Island; Japanese concern over the potential presence of patrol planes at Wake, occasioned by the large amount of radio traffic that accompanies the sole PBY's arrival at the island, prompts advancing the date of the first carrier strikes. Consequently, planes from carriers Soryu and Hiryu bomb Wake Island for the first time. Later that day, land attack planes (Chitose Kokutai) bomb Wake..." WebSite: HyperWar http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-Chron/USN-Chron-1941.html [15SEP2005]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Hearings Before The Joint Committee On The Investigation Of The Pearl Harbor Attack - Congress Of The United States - Seventy-Ninth Congress...Squadrons mentioned: VP-11, VP-13, VP-14, VP-21, VP-22, VP-23, VP-24, VP-31, VP-32, VP-41, VP-42, VP-43, VP-44, VP-51, VP-52, VP-71, VP-72, VP-73, VP-74, VP-81, VP-82, VP-83, VP-84, VP-91, VP-92, VP-93, VP-94, VP-101, VP-102, CPW-1, CPW-2, CPW-3, CPW-4, CPW-5, CPW-7, CPW-8 and CPW-9..." WebSite: The public's library and digital archive http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pha/misc/rainbow5.html [01APR2005]
    Get Adobe Reader
    Open VP History Adobe FileHearings Before The Joint Committee On the Investigation Of The Pearl Harbor Attack 333KB

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...07DEC41--Patrol Wing TWO (CPW-2), U. S. Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor. T.H., War Diary Sunday, December 7, 1941...Prior to the sudden attack by Japanese aircraft on Oahu, the forces under the Commander Patrol Wing TWO were disposed as follows: VP-21 at Midway; VP-11, VP-12, and VP-14 at Kaneohe; VP-22, VP-23, and VP-24 at Pearl Harbor. All tenders except the WRIGHT were at Pearl Harbor, the WRIGHT was enroute Pearl from Midway. Following is the exact status of aircraft at the time of attack:

    VP-21 7 planes in air conducting search 120 to 170 degrees to 450 miles from Midway. 4 planes on surface at Midway armed each with 2 five hundred pound bombs and on 10 minutes notice.

    VP-11 12 planes ready for flight on 4 hours notice

    VP-12 6 planes ready for flight on 30 minutes notice. 5 planes ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-14 3 planes in the air on morning security patrol armed with depth charges. 3 planes ready for flight on 30 minutes notice. 4 planes ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-22 12 planes ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-23 11 planes ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-24 4 planes in the air conducting inter-type tactics with submarines. 1 plane ready for flight on 30 minutes notice.

    Total 72 in the air or ready for flight in 4 hours or less..." http://www.pby.com[14MAY2000]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...07DEC41--The units at NAS Pearl Harbor and their aircraft on 7 Dec 41 were: Patrol Squadron Twenty One (VP-21) based on Midway Island Consolidated PBY-3 Catalina under repair...Patrol Squadron Twenty Two (VP-22) 14 Consolidated PBY-3 Catalinas (12 could be made ready on four hours notice; 2 under repair)...Patrol Squadron Twenty Three (VP-23)12 Consolidated PBY-5 Catalinas (11 could be made ready on four hours notice; under repair)...Patrol Squadron Twenty Four (VP-24) 6 Consolidated PBY-5 Catalinas (4 in the air; 1 ready on 30 minutes notice; 1 under repair)..." World War II Discussion List WWII-L@UBVM.BITNET http://listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9312A&L=wwii-l&D=&H=&T=&O=&F=&P=4270

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...00DEC41--Order of Battle December 1941 Patrol Wing Two - NAS Pearl Harbor VP-22 -14 Catalinas PBY3, VP-23 -12 Catalinas PBY5, VP-24 -6 Catalinas PBY5, and VP-21 - 12 Catalinas on Midway..." http://www.halisp.net/listserv/pacwar/1314.html

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...PATROL WING TWO - U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION - PEARL HARBOR, T.H. - 20 Dec 1941..." http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep/Pearl/PatWing2.html [08JAN2001]

    UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET AIRCRAFT
    PATROL WING TWO
    FLEET AIR DETACHMENT
    MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii
    1 January 1942.


    From: The Commander Task Force NINE (Commander Patrol Wing TWO).
    To: The Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.

    Subject: Operations on December 7, 1941.

    On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, forces under my command were disposed as follows: Patrol Squadron TWENTY-ONE at Midway, Patrol Squadrons ELEVEN, TWELVE, FOURTEEN at Kaneohe, TWENTY-TWO, TWENTY-THREE and TWENTY-FOUR at pearl Harbor, all tenders except Wright at Pearl Harbor; Wright enroute to Pearl Harbor from Midway.

    The condition of readiness in force was Baker 5 (50% of assigned aircraft on 4 hours notice) with machine guns and ammunition in all planes not undergoing maintenance work. In addition to the above, three squadrons (VP-21 at Midway, VP-23 at Pearl, and VP-11 at Kaneohe) were in condition Afirm 5 (100% of assigned aircraft on 4 hours notice). This was augmented by specific duty assignments on December 7 which required six planes from Patrol Squadrons FOURTEEN, TWENTY-FOUR, and TWELVE to be ready for light on 30 minutes notice.

    The general orders listed above were modified by circumstances and planes actually ready for flight were as follows:

    VP-21 7 planes - in the air conducting search 120 to 170 to 450 miles from Midway.
  • 4 planes - on the surface at Midway armed each with 2 five hundred pound bombs and on 10 minutes notice.

    VP-11 12 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-12 6 planes - ready for flight on 30 minutes notice. 5 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-14 3 planes - in the air on morning security patrol armed with depth charges.
  • 3 planes - ready for flight on 30 minutes notice.
  • 4 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-22 12 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-23 11 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.

    VP-24 4 planes - in the air conducting inter-type tactics with submarines.
  • 1 plane - ready for flight on 30 minutes notice.

    Total 72 planes - in the air or ready for flight in 4 hours or less.

    In this connection it may be stated that the 4 hours notice was primarily set to permit rest and recreation of personnel and was in no wise a criterion of material readiness. For example, one plane of VP-23, theoretically on 4 hours notice, was actually in the air 45 minutes after the first bomb dropped.

    To summarize the foregoing, at the moment the first bomb dropped, aircraft of this command were in the following condition:
  • 14 - in the air (7 on a search from Midway).
  • 58 - on the surface ready for flight in four hours or less.
  • 9 - undergoing repairs.
  • 81 - Total.

    Illustrative of the efforts made by personnel, one of the nine planes undergoing repairs took off for a search at 1356, local time, loaded with 4 one thousand pound bombs.

    A narrative of events of the day follows:
  • TIME (LOT)
  • 0700 14-P-1 sank enemy submarine one mile off Pearl Harbor entrance.
  • 0715 Message coded and transmitted to base.
  • 0735 Message and decoded and information received by Staff Duty Officer.
  • 0737 Message relayed to Operations Officer.
  • 0740 Relayed by telephone to Staff Duty Officer of Commander-in-Chief.
  • 0750 Search plan drafted by Operations Officer.
  • 0757 First bomb dropped near VP-22 hangar.
  • 0758 Message ordered broadcasted to all ships present quote "AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NO DRILL" unquote (An identical message was sent by CinCPac).
  • 0800 Search plan transmitted by radio and telephone (Received by some of the planes in the air at 0805).

    From this time on an accurate chronological account is impracticable.

    The Commander Patrol Wing TWO arrived at the Operations Office during the first attack and approved the orders that had been issued. Telephonic communication with the various squadrons at Pearl harbor was established in order to supplement and possibly accelerate the radio transmissions. As was usually the case, it was difficult to communicate with Kaneohe. The page printer had gone out of commission and it was quite difficult to obtain a telephonic connection. Immediately upon termination of the first attack, an endeavor was made to determine the sectors of the search actually being covered. it was determined, with some difficulty that, of all planes at the bases of Kaneohe and Pearl Harbor, only 3 were still in commission. These were dispatched to fill holidays in what appeared to be the most promising sectors for search. in addition, available planes from the Utility Wing were ordered out. The 2 planes still available for duty at Kaneohe were ordered by telephone to cover the sector between 280 and 300 degrees. The one plane still available at Pearl harbor had some difficulty in being launched due to the wreckage and fires of other planes in the way. Abut this time the second attack came in. Fire was opened by tenders of this command and from machine guns mounted in planes on the ground or removed from the planes to extemporized mountings with greater arcs of fire. As a result of this second attack, all communications, radio, telephone and page printer were knocked out of commission. Immediate steps to restore communications were taken while the second attack was still underway and communications personnel, who unfortunately have not yet been identified, proceeded to repair the radio antenna during the height of the attack. Before the end of the second attack, radio communications were established on the tenders of this command. Shortly thereafter, telephonic communication was reestablished and information was received that the 2 planes at Kaneohe previously reported as ready for service had been destroyed. Accordingly, orders were issued for the 1 plane at Pearl Harbor, which had somehow escaped uninjured during the second attack, to cover the sector from 280 to 300 degrees. The Commander Patrol Wing ONE at Kaneohe felt that the orders to cover the sector 280 to 300, which had been transmitted to him by telephone for the 2 planes on the ground, required his taking action and he accordingly diverted 14-P-1 and 14-P-3 from the sectors that they had been searching. Information of this action was not received by me.

    The Fleet Aviation Officer, Captain A.C. Davis, U.S.N., kept in constant touch by telephone and made many valuable suggestions. Various members of my staff maintained communications with Army information centers and requested that attempts be made to track the retiring Japanese planes by RADAR. Unfortunately, the Curtiss RADAR was placed out of commission by the damage sustained by that vessel. During the mid-afternoon, 14-P-2 reported being attacked by enemy planes and was thereafter not heard from for 2 or 3 hours. As it was felt that this plane had been shot down and a hole thus left in what appeared to be the most promising sector of the search, every effort was made, as additional planes from whatever source became available, to plug the gap.

    All hands exerted their utmost efforts to get more planes ready for flight and to arm them for offensive action. Three more patrol planes were reported ready at Pearl harbor and dispatched, each carrying 4 one thousand pound bombs. Thirteen SBD planes, loaded with 500 pound bombs, came in from Lexington and were pressed into service. Nine were dispatched to search a sector to the north, while the remaining 4 were ordered to attack 4 Japanese troop ships reported off Barbers point. This report proved to be unfounded.

    The accompanying charts indicate the search as actually conducted. The urgent necessity for conducting daily searches since December 7 and for putting all planes possible back in commission, together with urgency for immediate operations, have precluded an exhaustive analysis of the events of the day. Certain highlights however may be of interest:

    All planes in commission had guns on board together with full allowances of service ammunition. During the first attack, fire was opened from the guns as mounted in the planes, and when it was discovered that these were not effective for fire from the ground due to structural interference, many personnel removed these guns from the planes and set them upon benches in vises and opened up an effective fire against the second attack. As nearly as can be determined, a total of 4 Japanese planes were shot down by personnel of patrol plane squadrons by this method.

    Two planes or Utility Squadron One conducted an extensive search although these planes being of a non-combatant type were not equipped with machine guns. Despite the lack of defense against attacks by hostile aircraft, the pilots of these planes persisted in their search until the threatened exhaustion of their fuel forced their return to Pearl Harbor. The devotion to duty of these pilots will be made the subject of a special report.

    These and numerous other instances of distinguished conduct occurred which Commander Task Force NINE has not yet had time to investigate.

    Attention is invited to the following dispatches and mailgrams indicating the extensive searches conducted by units of this command during the period 30 November to 7 December, 1941, from Wake and Midway:

    CinCPac 280450
    280447 of November.
    040237 of December.

    ComTaskForce NINE 291124
  • 292101
  • 292103 of November.
  • 302359
  • 050323 of December.

    [signed] P.N.L. BELLINGER.

    Copy to: Comairscofor.

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...My interest in VP-23 was brought about by the fact that my PPC (in VPB-116) Lt(jg) Harold F. Williamson had served a tour of duty with VP-23 prior to his tour with VPB-116. Harold was a "Mustang" and served as a Co-pilot with VP-23. At that time he was a CPO. After his VP-23 tour, he was promoted to Ensign and was assigned as our PPC in VPB-116. He was a great pilot. I have an audio tape that I urged him to make for me. He had some interesting stories to relate about his time in 23. He has since died. The following is an excerpt from the VP-23 history which I obtained a couple of year ago. I thought that you would be interested in reading it and who knows, there may be a couple of folks out there that can relate to the "OLD" VP-23. The VP-23 logo (posted above) is all hand sewn. It was made before they had the sewing machines that did it automatically. The patch is on the flight jacket that Harold wore at that time..."

    "...Squadron tradition says that TWENTY THREE was commissioned as Patrol Squadron TEN which became for a short period Patrol Squadron TWENTY FIVE and then Patrol Squadron TWENTY THREE. The commissioning date and the dates on which these changes of name took place are not known. The first date, important or otherwise, which does appear in the history of the squadron as handed down from person to person is February 1934. In that month the squadron, then called TEN, is said to have carried out the first mass flight of airplanes from the continental United States to the Hawaiian Islands with P2Y planes.

    A large gap occurs between that year and 1941. In September of the latter year the story can be picked up again, based on the accounts of squadron members related from memory to this writer. The squadron was based at the beginning of that month at Ford Island, Oahu Island, T. H., operating under Patrol Wing TWO and its Commanding Officer was Lt.Comdr. Francis Massie HUGHES, U.S.N. The squadron was by this time Patrol Squadron TWENTY THREE, its designation was VP-23 and its plane complement was 12 PBY-2, a plane that was the prototype of the later workhorse of the Navy, the PBY-5. Operations at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii consisted of training and routine searches off Oahu. On 8 November 1941 the entire complement of 12 PBY-2 were flown by the squadron to San Diego Naval Air Station. The flight was made in two six plane sections with the Commanding Officer of the squadron leading one section and the Executive Officer the other. The time in flight was 17.5 hours.

    At San Diego the squadron was assigned 12 planes of the then new PBY-5 type and two weeks were spent in instructing the pilots and air crews in their use. By 23 November the squadron was again at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii with its new planes - the first PBY-5s to be seen in the islands. Two weeks of battle maneuvers with the fleet followed and they brought the squadron, the Navy, and the country to the brink of a new era.

    On the night of 6 December 1941 Patrol Squadron TWENTY THREE was the Ready Duty search squadron on Oahu. Another squadron, Patrol Squadron FOURTEEN, had the duty - that is had been assigned the search patrols for the period 0300 6 December to 0300 7 December - and TWENTY THREEs planes and personnel were to be in a standby status in the event additional planes were required. The first of the Jap attacks hit NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii at 0745 7 December and two bombs were place in the midst of the squadron planes, knocking eight of them out of commission temporarily. The four remaining planes were made immediately ready for flight. Captain HUGHES had one of these planes in the air before the attack was completed and the remaining three flyable planes were airborne immediately after the attack. No contact with the enemy was gained however and the sneak attack ended with a squadron loss of four planes totally destroyed, four planes damaged, and no personnel casualties. Searches for the enemy fleet were immediately ordered. A sector of 225 degrees to 270 degrees to 500 miles from Pearl Harbor was assigned to and searched by the squadrons four undamaged planes, each carrying four 1000 lb. bombs. The attackers were not found. TWENTY THREE is said to be the only Patrol Squadron on Oahu that put planes in the air or assumed search duties on the day of the attack..." Contributed by Joseph A. Palsha rpalsha@swisher.com [13JAN98]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...NAS Pearl Harbor was on NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the middle of Pearl Harbor and served two functions; first, it was home for the four squadrons of Patrol Wing Two (PatWing Two) and second, it was the home base for the carrier based squadrons when the carriers were in port. Generally, the carrier based squadrons would fly off the carriers to NAS Pearl Harbor before the carrier reached port; subsequently, the aircraft would fly back to the carrier when the ship left port. Because it served as a home for carrier aircraft, there were seven spare carrier aircraft present during the Japanese attack. NAS Pearl Harbor was also the home of two utility squadrons flying non-combatant utility aircraft. The units at NAS Pearl Harbor and their aircraft on 7 Dec 41 were: Patrol Squadron Twenty Three (VP-23) 12 Consolidated PBY-5 Catalinas (11 could be made ready on four hours notice; 1 under repair)..." http://listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9312A&L=wwii-l&D=&H=&T=&O=&F=&P=4270


    Circa 1940

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VPB-23) - U. S. Action with Enemy on - 30NOV44..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22OCT2013]

    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

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Circa 1940 AIRCRAFT SCOUTING FORCE - Rear Admiral Arthur L. Bristol - HULBERT (AVD-6) - LCDR J. V. Carney..." Contributed by John Lucas john.lucas@netzero.net [15DEC98]

    PATROL WING ONE - CDR W. K. Harrill

    TENDERS

    USS HULBERT (AVD-6) - LCDR J. V. Carney
    USS PELICAN (AVP-6) - LT H. J. Dyson
    USS AVOCET (AVP-4) - LT R. E. Dixon

    SQUADRONS

    VP-11 - LCDR J. W. Harris
    VP-12 - LCDR C. W. Oexle
    VP-13 - LCDR S. B. Cooke
    VP-14 - LCDR W. T. Rassieur

    PATROL WING TWO - CAPTAIN Patrick N. L. Bellinger

    TENDERS

    USS WRIGHT (AV-1) - CDR J. M. Shoemaker,
    USS WILLIAM B. PRESTON (AVD-7) - LCDR F. J. Bridget
    USS SWAN (AVP-7) - and LT A. R. Truslow, Jr.

    SQUADRONS

    VP-22 - LCDR W. P. Cogswell
    VP-23 - LCDR G. Van Deurs
    VP-24 - LCDR D. C. Allen
    VP-25 - LCDR A. R. Brady
    VP-26 - LCDR A. N. Perkins


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