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

HistoryVP-31 HistoryHistory

Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: PostCard "...Postamp Publishing Co. poster stamp #223 picturing Combat Insignia Patrol Squadron VP-31 used for World War II Patriotic Cachet..." [11OCT2000]


Circa 1944-1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...10/1945-05/1945 - World War II Photograph Patrol Bombing Squadron One Thirty One..." WebSite: EBay http://stores.ebay.com/estatesalewarehouse/ [24FEB2016]

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Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-11 - History from 00AUG42-00DEC44 - Submitted December 19th, 1944. Squadron's Assigned: VP-31, VP-32, VP-53, VP-74, VP-81, VP-83, VP-92, VP-94, VP-98, VP-99, VP-130, VP-131, VP-133, VP-141, VP-147, VP-204, VP-205, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214 and VP-215..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [04DEC2012]

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Circa 1943

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 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: 26FEB43: This report concerns a forced landing of a PBY-5A at sea on February 26, 1943. The account that follows is taken from the actual report filed by Lt. (jg) E.K. Prewitt, A-V(N), USNR to Commander Patrol Squadron Thirty-one. The crew on this flight consisted of the following officers and enlisted men:

PPC Lt. (jg) E.K. Prewitt, USNR
1st Pilot Ens. A.D. Bishop, USNR
2nd Pilot Ens. A.P. Adams, USNR
NAP A.L. Myles, APlc
Plane Captain J. Friedman, AMM2c
1st. Mech. G.W. Lamoureux, AMM3c
1st Radioman H.H. Pittman, ARM3c
2nd Radioman A.G. Salmen, ARM3c
Photographer R.R. Francis, PhoM3c


The airplane used was a PBY-5A, Bureau No. 08061.

"We were to intercept our objective at Lat. 45-43, Long. 48-47. We took off at 0844 (all times LZTplus 2.5), and took departure from Cape Race, Newfoundland at 0909, course 106 degrees true, distance 180 miles. Enroute the base sent us a message giving a corrected position of our convoy at Lat. 46-24, Long. 48-00. I decided to proceed on the original leg and turn to a reciprocal of the convoy's course, and conduct a radar search. We sent our two-hour position report 20 minutes early in order to have the radar free for searching, when we reached the vicinity of the convoy. Bishop, who was navigating, devised a search plan. At the end of the original leg we turned at 1039 to a course of 036 degrees true and began the radar sweep. The first leg of the search pattern was to be turned at 1109. At approximately 1104 I turned around in the seat and saw what appeared to be gasoline streaming down from above and forward of the hatch in the No.3 bulkhead. I immediately instructed all personnel by interphone to light no matches and to put out any cigarettes as we had a gasoline leak. Then I left the seat and had Bishop take my place along with Myles who was in the co-pilot's seat. I ducked through the stream of gasoline and asked Friedman, who was in the tower, if he could stop the leak. He told me that he did not know where it was coming from, that the fuel pressures were going down. He was furiously working the wobble pumps and was literally soaked in gasoline. He had switched from left to right tank and to both tanks, with no effect, and the pressures were now down to 9 pounds. I started back to the seat and Pittman asked if he could send a distress message, and what about the sparks which the transmitter would make? I told him to shut off all electrical equipment except the two main switches. Before going back to the seat I called to all unoccupied personnel to prepare for an emergancy landing. I then took Bishop's place and told him I was turning West and to give me a corrected course to the nearest land. He handed me this information a moment later, course 279 degrees true, distance 210 miles. Just before I got into the seat I noticed that the gasoline was already approximately six inches deep in the bilge of the Navigation compartment. I increased throttle settings to 33 inches M.P. and 2100 R.P.M., descended to 200 feet altitude, and dropped all the depth bombs. Immediately I heard shouts that we would have to land. Pittman ran up and told me that Friedman had said we must land. Pittman was blind from the gasoline that had sprayed into his eyes while he was shutting off the equipment. Adams had been in the bow and he started aft at this point. As he passed me I asked him to find out whether we still had fuel pressure. Almost immediately he returned with the report from Freibman that the fuel pressures were gone and the engines would stop at any moment. Then Adams went aft to the waist compartment to supervise the preparations to abandon ship, since apparently it was a matter of moments until we would be in the water. At this time Freidman had to leave the tower as the raw gasoline plus the tremendous concentration of fumes had almost rendered him unconscious. He ran forward and shouted "You've got to land! You've got to land!" . I was flying so Myles explained to him that any landing in that sea would have to be a full stall landing anyway, so there was no point in trying to land as long as we had power and could stay in the air and get ourselves somewhat closer to home. I don't imagine Freidman was in a condition to understand this, but at any rate he left. I began to realize that I couldn't pay any attention to anything anyone said as the fumes were so powerful that anyone who had been in the Navigation compartment for any length of time had probably lost all reasoning power. This was further born out when Bishop came forward almost immediately after that and said, "Please land, everyone is going crazy". I told him why we were not going to land until we had to. Bishop stayed forward in order to be of any assistance possible. We had no interphone and no one was in the tower. The fumes were coming through the opening behind the pilot's heads so fast that even though we had both pilot's windows and overhead hatches open, Myles and I realized we were being affected. I asked Bishop to put the covers on the opening behind our heads but he had been with the fumes so mush that by now he could not muster sufficient coordination to get more than one snap on each side fastened, which didn't help much. I had forgotten when we had started home but I did know approximately how far it was to land so on three different occasions I asked Bishop to find out when we had left. He always back with some sort of answer but I couldn't tell whether he was telling me what I wanted to know and I just couln't understand him. I wanted this information to get an estimate as to when we should make a landfall but I just couldn't figure it out. Bishop later said he actually passed out several times during this period and that it all seemed as if he were dreaming. He said that Myles and I appeared to him as very old men, and that the situation seemed so unreal to him that he could not decide whether all these things were actually happening or not. He was completely confused.

Myles and I were now at a point where we couldn't fly more than ten minutes at a time and while one of us was flying the other would ask him continually if he were all right. I remember that the motors sounded as if they were badly out of synchronization, but the indicator showed that they were in phase. I was very much concerned about my depth perception as the water began to look as if we might be thousands of feet high instead of two hundred. I recall noticing that the floats were up, but I left them that way as it began to appear as if we might reach land after all and I didn't want anything to cut down our speed. As we flew along I rehearsed over and over again just how I was going to make the landing if and when the engines cut out. It had been several months since I had made a water landing. After approximately one hour of this the rotors stopped and immediately came back on and then began cutting out for two or three seconds and reviving for two or three. I hoped they would catch again so I pulled up my nose to ninety knots but couldn't keep my altitude. I decided if we got as low as thirty feet I would pull back the throttle as I didn't want to run the risk of one motor cutting out which would probably result in a water loop. Finally when we got down to what I estimated to be 30 feet, I pulled back on both throttles and set about to make the landing. Myles cut both switches as soon as I pulled back the throttles. We were heading into a twelve knot wind and also into the swells which were from six to eight feet high. The landing was a complete stall and Myles said that our air speed was 40 knots when we struck the water. We landed just forward of the crest of a swell and did not bounce. I glanced into the box to see if we were taking on water and saw that it was dry. I looked out and saw the port wing go into the water but we had lost all forward speed by this time, so it did not even change our heading, and not more than ten feet of the wing went into the water. I stood up in the seat and saw that the life rafts were going over tha side and being inflated and secured to the sides of the plane. I shouted for some one to roll down the floats and Lamoureux rolled them down with the hand crank. I thought of course that all the gas had either been burned or leaked into the bilges (the gasoline had covered the cat walk in the Navigation compartment and about 300 gallons were in the bilges). However Lamoureux reported that the sight gages registered 200 gallons in the port tank and fifty in the starboard. With this information it seemed as if we could find and repair the leak. Lamoureux and Myles took off the inspection panel on the fairing between the wing and the hull and swa that the rubber hose connection in the cross-feed line had parted from the metal hose. They cut out a section just below with a screw driver and hammer in order to get to it, and cut off six inches of the hose which had deteriorated, causing the failure. The hose was still long enough to make a reconnection and the clamp was replaced. Then Lamoureux went back into the tower and reported that he could now get 15 pounds of fuel pressure. While all this had been going on final preparations to abandon ship had been made and everything was in order. The effect of the fumes had apparently weakened our stomacks, because while we were on the water no less than 5 of the crew were seasick. Then came the preparations for takeoff if we could start the engines. The machine guns, ammunition, and all heavy non-essentials were thrown over the side. I didn't know, of course, whether we could start the engines, and even if we could, a successful take-off was highly problematical. So we put all the abandon-ship equipment back into the plane, deflating the rafts just enough to stuff them into the waist. On account of the fumes inside the plane, the only safe method was to crank the engines, so everything was closed off except the pilot's compartment and Adams and Freidman went up to do the cranking. The engines started with a minimum of trouble and after a short warm-up we were ready for take-off. I had quite a problem on my hands in this respect. I knew that if we got back and I hadn't made the take-off, I would have some questions to answer. On the other hand everything depended on the takeoff, and Myles had had quite a bit of experience taking off in swells in Trinidad and St. Lucie, and in addition to that, he had several hundred more hours than I. So, as I figured it, any possible difference in our ability to take it off would would have to give the edge to Myles. I told him he was to make the take-off as soon as the engines warmed up. There was no point in testing the mafs. As we reached the top of a swell I put the throttles all the way up and off we went. It was a wonderful take-off, considering the conditions. Myles was on instruments from the time I put the power on until we got into the air. We bounced off the water three times without flying speed, but gained it just before we struck the water again after the last bounce. We were on the water approximately two hours.

Being in the air had gotten us over a major hurdle, of course, but we had quite a number of problems still. I thought we must be approximately 100 miles (actually it was nearer 150) from land, and I didn't know how accurate the fuel gages were, since we were so low on fuel. In addition to that, there was still most of the gasoline in the bilges. We had bailed some of it out, and although I had taken all possible precautions, I still felt there was a possibility of our exploding at any time. We were now more alert mentally, since we had been able to get fresh air into our lungs while we were on the water. The electric compass is the most accurate one in the plane but it, of course, was turned off. I had Bishop calibrate the Mark IX in front of the second pilot with the one on the navigation table, and he reported that they were 30 degrees apart, so we must be south of our course. I turned to a new heading of 330 degrees true and we flew that for a while. After about 30 minutes on this course, land was over due so Myles went back to check again. He found that the tool box was sitting by the navigation table compass and when he removed it the two compasses agreed. I still had a hunch that the nearest land was due West, so we headed in that direction, and in less than 10 minutes made a landfall, which we tentatively identified as Baccalleu Island at the northern tip of Conception Bay. Feeling that the fuel must be very low, even though the gages showed 150 gallons, I decided to go into Tor Bay instead of trying to reach Argentia. This proved to be a very fortunate decision. Tor Bay was closed in so I flew West again to get out of the soup, and landed in Portugal Cove. We dropped anchor and a small boat put out from the dock. I went ashore in this and made arrangements with the skipper of a passenger boat to tow the plane into the only available buoy. Then I found a phone and called Operations at the base to report that we were down safe. Within 48 hours we had bailed all the gas out and aired out the plane so that it was safe to start up again. The reason I mentioned that the decision not to try to reach Argentia was a fortunate one was that when we landed at Portugal Cove we had not over 10 minutes of fuel left. I flew the plane back to Argentia without further mishap.

Performance of all the crew, without exception, was excellent, and there is not criticism of a single person to be made. I would like to recommend especially the conduct of several: First, Myles, for staying and helping me fly the plane the whole time, for repaining the damage and for making the take-off from the open sea. To Bishop, for staying in the Navigation compartment in order to be of assistance when the fumes were absolutely unbearable. Adams did excellent work in organizing the preparations to abandon ship. Within 2 minutes after landing at sea we ready in all respects to put out in the rafts, had it been necessary, and everything that we needed was ready to be placed aboard. To Lamoureux for his part in fixing the damage, and to Freidman for a great job at the beginning by sticking to his post to the limit of human possibility, with the raw gas spraying all over him , and long enough to prove that there was nothing more to be done in the tower, thus solving one of our major problemsright at the start. All the others showed the most possible in initiative and cooperation, and it should be remembered that in all the time that everyone in the plane was doing everything possible and at the same time racking his brain for an idea to be of more aid, each person felt, and with every justification for his thoughts, that total destruction was highly probable at any instant, either from explosion or from crashing in the sea, and this condition prevailed for almost 5 hours.

E.K. PREWITT
The Commander of Partol Squadron 31 sent the Commander of Fleet Air Wing 7 the report with the following memo:

  • 1. Enclosure A (the report) is forwarded as of interest in the case of an emergency to a plane of this squadron which necessitated a landing at sea without power. Of particular interest is the fact that the pilot negotiated a safe landing with the floats up. While this is not the approved doctrine it is certainly excusable in this particular emergency. Also of note is the effect on personnel of gasoline fumes. A trouble report will be submitted covering the installation and inspection of duprene gasoline tubing.

  • 2. In this emergancy the conduct of pilots and crew was exemplary an, it is believed, meritous of commendation from higher authority. Award of such commendation is herewith recommended.

    F.E. NUESSLE. Contributed by Doug Nester robert.d.nester@sam.usace.army.mil [21AUG98]

    Circa 1942-1945

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

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    Circa 1942

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VP-31) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 05NOV42..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [23JAN2013]

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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VP-31) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 05NOV42..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [23JAN2013]

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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VP-31) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 17JUN42..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [23JAN2013]

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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VP-31) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 26MAY42..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [23JAN2013]

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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE (VP-31) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 17MAY42..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [23JAN2013]

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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross - To U.S. Navy Personnel - World War II - (2,889 Awards) - Navy Cross Citations U.S. Navy - World War II..." WebSite: Home of Heros http://www.homeofheroes.com/ valor/ 1_Citations/ 03_wwii-nc/ nc_06wwii_navy.html [19NOV2007]

    BINNING, EDWARD G.

    Citation:

    The Navy Cross is presented to Edward G. Binning, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Patrol Plane Commander of an airplane in Patrol Squadron THIRTY- ONE (VP-31, based at Naval Air Station St. Lucia, B.W.I., while operating over the waters of the Caribbean Area, on 26 May 1942. While conducting a night antisubmarine patrol, Lieutenant Binning located a submarine on the surface and dropped three depth charges on it in two diving attacks. The submarine appeared to settle slowly in the water in a sinking conditions. The conduct of Lieutenant Binning throughout this action, the first night search and attack on enemy craft, reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 306 (September 1942)
    Born: February 6, 1915 at Syracuse, New York
    Home Town: New York, New York

    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: "...Patrol Wings - Rear Admiral A. D. Bernhard - August 1942..." Contributed by John Lucas JohnLucas@netzero.com [28DEC2005]

    PATROL WINGCOMMANDING OFFICER
    CPW-3CDR G. L. Compo
    CPW-5CDR G. R. Owen
    CPW-7CDR F. L. Baker
    CPW-9CDR O. A. Weller
    CPW-11CDR S. J. Michael
    SQUADRON
    TENDER
    COMMANDING OFFICER
    VP-31LCDR A. Smith
    VP-32LCDR B. C. McCaffree
    VP-33LCDR H. D. Hale
    VP-34LCDR R. S. Calderhead
    VP-52LCDR F. M. Hammitt
    VP-53LCDR F. M. Nichols
    VP-73LCDR J. E. Leeper
    VP-74LCDR W. A. Thorn
    VP-81LCDR T. B. Haley
    VP-82LCDR J. D. Greer
    VP-83LCDR R. S. Clarke
    VP-84LCDR J. J. Underhill
    VP-92LCDR C. M. Heberton
    VP-93LCDR C. W. Harman
    VP-94LCDR D. W. Shafer
    TENDERCOMMANDING OFFICER
    USS Albemarle (AV-5) 
    USS Pocomoke (AV-9) 
    USS Chandeleur (AV-10) 
    USS Clemson (AVP-17) 
    USS Goldsborough (AVP-18) 
    USS Lapwing (AVP-1) 
    USS Sandpiper (AVP-9) 
    USS Barnegat (AVP-10) 
    USS Biscayne (AVP-11) 
    USS Humboldt (AVP-21) 
    USS Matagorda (AVP-22) 
    USS Rockaway (AVP-29) 
    USS San Pablo (AVP-30) 
    USS Unimak (AVP-31) 

    Circa 1941-1945

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-9 - History from 00MAY41-00JAN45 Submitted June 19th, 1945. Squadron's Assigned: VP-31, VP-52, VP-81, VP-82, VP-91, VP-92, VP-93, VP-94, VP-128..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [02DEC2012]

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    Circa 1941-1944

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-7 - History from 01MAR41-31DEC44 Submitted June 11th, 1945. Squadron's Assigned: VP-31, VP-52, VP-53, VP-63, VP-71, VP-72, VP-73, VP-74, VP-82, VP-84, VP-92, VP-93, VP-103, VP-105, VP-110, VP-111, VP-114, VP-125, VP-126 and VP-128..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [30NOV2012]

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    Circa 1941

    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]
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    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00DEC41--Patrol Wing Three - NAS Coc Solo, Panama: VP-31 n/a, VP-32 n/a Caribbean, and W. Indies, VP-33 n/a Arrived in the New Guinea in 6/43..."

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00DEC41--Order of Battle December 1941 Patrol Wing Three - NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone VP-31 n/a, VP-32 n/a Caribbean, and W. Indies, and VP-33 n/a Arrived in the New Guinea in 6/43..."


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