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

HistoryVP-32 HistoryHistory

Circa 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News March 1948 "...Secure Those Coffee Pots - Page 39 - Naval Aviation News - March 1949..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1949/mar49.pdf [15JUL2004]

Naval Aviation News March 1948

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News February 1949 "...33 AF Men Saved By Navy - Page 10 - Naval Aviation News - February 1949..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1949/feb49.pdf [16JUL2004]

HistoryCamera

Circa 1948 - 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons CD-ROM: Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons Vol. 2 Stock No. 008-046-00195-2 The History of VP, VPB, VP(HL), and VP(AM) Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C...." [15JUN2000]
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Open VP History Adobe FileCHAPTER 3 Patrol Squadron (VP) Histories VP-32 68KB


Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVPB-32 History "...In preparation of station for disestablishment and transfer to RFC on 1 September 1945. 19 July to 25 July - during this period all Fleet activities were in process of transferring personnel and equipment to NAS Norfolk, Virginia in view of disestablishing of NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina. On 25 July 1945, all Fleet activities were out of NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina. These activities were: VPB-32 and VPB-212..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [01JAN2013]

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-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - December 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - October 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - September 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - June 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - May 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - April 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - March 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - February 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-8 - VPB-32 War Diary - January 1945 - War Diary..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [11NOV2012]

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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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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: "...VP-32 History..." Contributed by Gordon T. Hall ghall10644@aol.com (VPB-32 1945-1946) [20FEB99]

VP-32 Squadron History
"Currently Designated VP-46"

The oldest, continuously operating patrol squadron in the United States Navy served throughout World War II as either VP-32 or VPB-32. All told, the squadron has born eight designations since its Establishment on 1 September 1931 at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone as VP-5S. In 1933 it became VP-5F and in 1937 just VP-5; followed by VP-33 on 01/07/39; VP-32 on 01/07/41; VPB-32 on 01/10/44; back to VP-32 on 15/05/46; VP-MS-6 on 15/11/46; and finally VP-46 (current designation) on 01/09/48.

The Squadron's early years operating from NAS Upham (Coco Solo) were spent in maritime patrols over the Antilles and throughout the Caribbean, as well as along the coasts of South America, flying PM-2 aircraft under the command of FAW-3. These planes were later replaced by P2Ys, the Catalina's forerunner. In early 1938 VP-5 ferried its P2Ys in a mass flight to NAS Norfolk, Virginia and the crews proceeded overland to NAS North Island, San Diego, California. There they trained in the new PBY-3, eventually delivering the squadron's aircraft complement directly to NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, again by a mass flight.

Operations in 1939 became more meaningful, as war clouds began to gather in Europe, and the President announced a "limited national emergency" on 08/09/39. The resulting "neutrality patrols" found newly designated VP-33 alternating its operational bases between NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, San Juan and NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, continuing both its patrols and training, including the introduction of "submarine bombing" tactics in 1941, after another designation change to VP-32.

The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor found the Squadron stationed at Coco Solo, and patrols quickly became extended over the oceans both sides of the Panama Canal. In addition, the squadron, operating under CPW-3, also reported to the Army's Sixth Bomber Command as its long range reconnaissance arm. The increased wartime demands for patrols resulted in the reinforcement of VP-32 with detachments from VP-52 and VP-81, whose planes were the newer PBY-5s, and gave NAS Upham a total of 28 operational PBY aircraft.

During the early war period VP-32 remained at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, moving to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in August of 1942. Caribbean operations conducted by it included both convoy escort duty and anti-submarine patrols with PBY and PBM replacement aircraft. As submarine attacks escalated, resulting in heavy Allied losses of ships and lives, the squadron's battle successes peaked. In July 1943 alone three German subs were sunk by its PBM-3Cs using newly developed ASG radar: U-159 on the 15th south of Haiti; U-759 on the 26th east of Jamaica; and U-359 on the 28th south of Puerto Rico.

On 8 July 1944, and now known as VPB-32, the squadron returned to NAS Norfolk, Virginia once again. Operational assignments continued to be escort duty and anti-submarine patrol, but now along the Atlantic seaboard. Training of crews was ongoing, and all the PBM-3Cs from Guantanamo Bay underwent overhaul and technical updates. In January of 1945 VPB-32 exchanged its planes for new PBM-5s, and on 10 April the squadron was ordered to the Western Sea Frontier Command at NAS Alameda, California, via the southern transcontinental seaplane route.

Duty at Alameda was primarily providing security patrols of waters around San Francisco Bay in connection with the United Nations Conference on International Organization. Once this was concluded VPB-32 was ordered, on 27 June 1945, to NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina for further training. After arrival, and well earned leave, it turned out that the anticipated training would be given at NAS Norfolk, Virginia instead of NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina. So again, on 15 July, the squadron flew there, but this time in further updated PBM-5E aircraft, newly assigned by FAW-5.

The Pacific war's end on 14 August changed Squadron dynamics dramatically. Many VPB-32 members with service seniority had already left, and more would now be leaving. New replacements were arriving, but things were truly in a state of flux. The impending orders to the West coast and ComAirPac arrived, however, and the first planes left for NAS Alameda, California on 12 September. The remainder were delayed by a hurricane, and the last plane did not arrive at its destination until the 23rd.

New orders soon issued which instructed the turn over of recently acquired aircraft to FAW-8, and making ready for sea transport aboard CVE-9, USS Bogue, to Saipan with stopovers at NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and NAS Guam. Other aircraft awaited VPB-32 at its final destination. Departure from NAS Alameda, California was on 11 October with arrival at NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the 17th. Leaving there on the 19th, Bogue arrived at NAS Guam on the 28th and at Saipan on the 31st after a two day stop at NAS Guam.

PBM squadrons that had been operating from Saipan had all left NAS Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, Marianas Islands with the exception of VPB-18, which departed on 15 November, leaving VPB-32 the sole such unit. Having received twelve PBM-5E aircraft upon arrival, the squadron began its assigned tasks which included: logistic support of the Naval and Marine forces occupying the Japanese base at Truk; air/sea rescue standby; photo reconnaissance missions; and the ongoing training of pilots and crews.

In early March of 1946 VPB-32 received orders to participate in "Operation Crossroads" (atom bomb testing at Bikini atoll), and the first planes departed Saipan on 15 March for Kwajalein atoll, the operations base for the tests. The squadron's home was on Ebeye, a small island adjacent to Kwajalein and a former Japanese seaplane base. The main mission was aerial logistic support for Bikini, which had no landing strip. In addition, photo surveys were conducted, especially of water flows through the atoll's channels, after dropped sea dye marker had defined the currents.

A pleasant surprise occurred in April when the squadron was ordered to MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii for ten days of "rest and recreation" without military duties. Then back to Ebeye and "Crossroads", operating as VP-32, having again been redesignated. After transporting many passengers, and carrying out miscellaneous missions, the tests took place 1 July (aerial drop), and 25 July (underwater detonation). After both of these, two of the Squadron's planes made runs over the target site to check radioactivity, while others took aerial photos and assessed damage.

The "Crossroads" chapter of VP-32's history was classified material for many years, even to the extent that VP-46's 1955 request to the Chief of Naval Operations for the Squadron's historical background brought forth an Aviation History Unit reply that was footnoted: "Although no squadron history for the period....is in the ....files, it is fairly evident that the squadron was based on Saipan for the entire period." Ebeye operations are not mentioned.

VP-32 seems to have remained in tact at its Ebeye base until late 1946 when, as VP-MS-6, it sent a small detachment to Truk. Later, a six plane detachment was at Eniwetok from 1 February 1947 until 22 May 1948, operating under Joint Task Force Seven in "Operation Sandstone". In April of 1947, while under FAW-18, its mission was changed from SAR/utility transport in the Central Pacific to ASW/long range patrol; and further changed 31 July by the elimination of SAR duties and the addition of a mine laying function. On 1 September 1948 VP-MS-6 became VP-46, as it has been known for the past fifty years.

The so-called "Wings over Panama" Squadron insignia displays the western half of the globe, with silhouettes of North, Central and South America in black against a light blue circular field. Across Central America is superimposed a pair of Naval Aviator's wings (elongated wing proportions in original). This design is enclosed in a black circle which, in turn, is enclosed in a bright red compass rose. The design's significance is the Squadron's genesis: its Establishment at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone on 1 September 1931 as VP-5S. It is believed to have originated with one of the earlier VP-5 squadrons; adopted by the first VP-33; and passed along to VP-32. A note of interest is that under post-war regulations Navy Wings could not be incorporated into new squadron insignia. Had VP-46 chosen not to adopt a new insignia, "Wings over Panama" would have been a viable ("grandfathered") design for it to use in carrying on the Squadron's tradition as The Oldest and the Best.


Circa 1943

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-11, VP-32 - Report of Anti-Submarine Action by Aircraft - 29 July 1943..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [19OCT2012]

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

U-159, 15 July 1943
Type: IXC Laid Down: 11 November 1940, AG Weser, Bremen
Commissioned: 4 October 1941, Kptlt. Helmut Witte (Knights Cross)
Commander: October 1941 June 1943, Kptlt. Helmut Witte; June 1943 July 1943, Oblt. Heinz Beckmann
Career: Five patrols, assigned: October 1941–April 1942, 4th Flotilla (Stettin); April 1942–July 1943, 10th Flotilla (Lorient)
Successes: 22 ships sunk for a total of 119,533 tons; one ship of 265 tons damaged

Fate: Sunk 15 July 1943 south of Haiti, in position 15°58'N, 73°44'W, by bombs from a PBM-3C Mariner from VP-32. 53 dead (entire crew lost). The claim was judged probable sunk by FAW-11's intelligence officer, and was not confirmed until examination of German navy records after the war.

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]

U-759, 26 July 1943
Type: VIIC Laid Down: 15 November 1940, Kriegsmarinewerft, Wilhelmshaven
Commissioned: 15 August 1942, Oblt. Rudolf Friedrich
Commander: August 1942 July 1943, Kptlt. Rudolf Friedrich
Career: Assigned: August 1942 January 1943, 5th Flotilla (Kiel); February 1943 July 1943, 9th Flotilla (Brest)
Successes: Two ships sunk for a total of 12,764 tons

Fate: Sunk 26 July 1943, east of Jamaica, in approximate position 18°06'N, 75°00'W, by bombs from a U.S. Mariner PBM-3C of VP-32. 47 dead (entire crew lost). The claim was judged probable sunk by FAW-11's intelligence officer, and was not confirmed until examination of German Navy records after the war.

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]

U-359, 28 July 1943
Type: VIIC Laid Down: 9 June 1941, Flensburger Schiffsbau, Flensburg
Commissioned: 5 October 1942, Ltnt. Heinz Förster
Commander: October 1942 July 1943, Oblt. Heinz Förster
Career: Assigned: October 1942 February 1943, 8th Flotilla (Danzig); March 1943 July 1943, 7th Flotilla (St. Nazaire)
Successes: None

Fate: Sunk 28 July 1943 in the Caribbean south of Santo Domingo, in position 15°57'N, 68°30'W, by U.S. bombs from a PBM-3C Mariner. 47 dead (entire crew lost). U-359 was sunk by the San Juan Detachment of VP-32. The claim was judged probable sunk by FAW-11's intelligence officer, and was not confirmed until examination of German Navy records after the war.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Squadron Awards..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller mkwsmiller@cox.net [23APR2001]

  • Navy Unit Commendation
    01 Jul 43 – 31 Jul 43

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...1943-1944--VP Squadrons Win Citations - Five Outfits Given World War Honors...Five patrol bombing squadrons of the Navy have been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation or Navy Unit Commendation on the basis of their heroic actions during World War II. those granted the PUC were VP-84, VP-83, later renamed VB-107, and VP-84. VP-83 won the citation for heroism against German submarines in the Atlantic between January and April 1943, July through February 1944 and the month of September 1944. Any personnel attached then can wear the PUC ribbon. Squadrons winning the Navy Unit Commendation were VP-32, VP-83, later renamed VB-100, and VB-103, later renamed VBP-103. VP-32's honor was won off Cuba from July 1 to 31, 1943, VP-82 won its award in the Atlantic from 15 January to 10 June 1942 and during April 1943. VB-103's period covered 1 November 1943 to 31 January 1944 and from 1 March to 30 April 1945, in Atlantic waters off England..." Bill O'Neil [AB4FK- HAM RADIO Call] ab4fk@norfolk.infi.net WebSite: Flying Boat Amateur Radio Society http://www.qsl.net/ab4fk/fbars/ [URL Updated 26 MAY 99 | 15FEB98]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...15JUL43--German submarine sunk: U-159, by naval land-based aircraft (VP-32), Caribbean area, 15 d. 58' N., 73 d. 44' W...." http://www.cyberplus.ca/~chrism/chr43.txt

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...26JUL43--German submarine sunk: U-759, by naval land-based aircraft (VP-32), Caribbean area, 18 d. 06' N., 75 d. 00' W...." http://www.pagesz.net/~jbdavis/navy_43.txt

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...28JUL43--German submarine sunk: U-359, by naval land-based aircraft (VP-32), West Indies area, 15 d. 57' N., 68 d. 30' W...." http://www.pagesz.net/~jbdavis/navy_43.txt


    Circa 1942

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-TWO (VP-32) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 23JUN42..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22JAN2013]

    History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-TWO (VP-32) - U. S. Action with Enemy on 05NOV42..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [22JAN2013]

    History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

    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: "...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) 

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-32 Poster "...Circa 1942 - Buy US War Bonds and Stamps..." Contributed by John Lucas JohnLucas@netzero.com [28AUG2005]


    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]
    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: "...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..."

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-32 History..." Contributed by Gordon T. Hall ghall10644@aol.com (VPB-32 1945-1946) [20FEB99]

    VP-32 Squadron History
    "Currently Designated VP-46"

    The oldest, continuously operating patrol squadron in the United States Navy served throughout World War II as either VP-32 or VPB-32. All told, the squadron has born eight designations since its Establishment on 1 September 1931 at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone as VP-5S. In 1933 it became VP-5F and in 1937 just VP-5; followed by VP-33 on 01/07/39; VP-32 on 01/07/41; VPB-32 on 01/10/44; back to VP-32 on 15/05/46; VP-MS-6 on 15/11/46; and finally VP-46 (current designation) on 01/09/48.

    The Squadron's early years operating from NAS Upham (Coco Solo) were spent in maritime patrols over the Antilles and throughout the Caribbean, as well as along the coasts of South America, flying PM-2 aircraft under the command of FAW-3. These planes were later replaced by P2Ys, the Catalina's forerunner. In early 1938 VP-5 ferried its P2Ys in a mass flight to NAS Norfolk, Virginia and the crews proceeded overland to NAS North Island, San Diego, California. There they trained in the new PBY-3, eventually delivering the squadron's aircraft complement directly to NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, again by a mass flight.

    Operations in 1939 became more meaningful, as war clouds began to gather in Europe, and the President announced a "limited national emergency" on 08/09/39. The resulting "neutrality patrols" found newly designated VP-33 alternating its operational bases between NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, San Juan and NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, continuing both its patrols and training, including the introduction of "submarine bombing" tactics in 1941, after another designation change to VP-32.

    The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor found the Squadron stationed at Coco Solo, and patrols quickly became extended over the oceans both sides of the Panama Canal. In addition, the squadron, operating under CPW-3, also reported to the Army's Sixth Bomber Command as its long range reconnaissance arm. The increased wartime demands for patrols resulted in the reinforcement of VP-32 with detachments from VP-52 and VP-81, whose planes were the newer PBY-5s, and gave NAS Upham a total of 28 operational PBY aircraft.

    During the early war period VP-32 remained at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, moving to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in August of 1942. Caribbean operations conducted by it included both convoy escort duty and anti-submarine patrols with PBY and PBM replacement aircraft. As submarine attacks escalated, resulting in heavy Allied losses of ships and lives, the squadron's battle successes peaked. In July 1943 alone three German subs were sunk by its PBM-3Cs using newly developed ASG radar: U-159 on the 15th south of Haiti; U-759 on the 26th east of Jamaica; and U-359 on the 28th south of Puerto Rico.

    On 8 July 1944, and now known as VPB-32, the squadron returned to NAS Norfolk, Virginia once again. Operational assignments continued to be escort duty and anti-submarine patrol, but now along the Atlantic seaboard. Training of crews was ongoing, and all the PBM-3Cs from Guantanamo Bay underwent overhaul and technical updates. In January of 1945 VPB-32 exchanged its planes for new PBM-5s, and on 10 April the squadron was ordered to the Western Sea Frontier Command at NAS Alameda, California, via the southern transcontinental seaplane route.

    Duty at Alameda was primarily providing security patrols of waters around San Francisco Bay in connection with the United Nations Conference on International Organization. Once this was concluded VPB-32 was ordered, on 27 June 1945, to NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina for further training. After arrival, and well earned leave, it turned out that the anticipated training would be given at NAS Norfolk, Virginia instead of NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina. So again, on 15 July, the squadron flew there, but this time in further updated PBM-5E aircraft, newly assigned by FAW-5.

    The Pacific war's end on 14 August changed Squadron dynamics dramatically. Many VPB-32 members with service seniority had already left, and more would now be leaving. New replacements were arriving, but things were truly in a state of flux. The impending orders to the West coast and ComAirPac arrived, however, and the first planes left for NAS Alameda, California on 12 September. The remainder were delayed by a hurricane, and the last plane did not arrive at its destination until the 23rd.

    New orders soon issued which instructed the turn over of recently acquired aircraft to FAW-8, and making ready for sea transport aboard CVE-9, USS Bogue, to Saipan with stopovers at NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and NAS Guam. Other aircraft awaited VPB-32 at its final destination. Departure from NAS Alameda, California was on 11 October with arrival at NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the 17th. Leaving there on the 19th, Bogue arrived at NAS Guam on the 28th and at Saipan on the 31st after a two day stop at NAS Guam.

    PBM squadrons that had been operating from Saipan had all left NAS Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, Marianas Islands with the exception of VPB-18, which departed on 15 November, leaving VPB-32 the sole such unit. Having received twelve PBM-5E aircraft upon arrival, the squadron began its assigned tasks which included: logistic support of the Naval and Marine forces occupying the Japanese base at Truk; air/sea rescue standby; photo reconnaissance missions; and the ongoing training of pilots and crews.

    In early March of 1946 VPB-32 received orders to participate in "Operation Crossroads" (atom bomb testing at Bikini atoll), and the first planes departed Saipan on 15 March for Kwajalein atoll, the operations base for the tests. The squadron's home was on Ebeye, a small island adjacent to Kwajalein and a former Japanese seaplane base. The main mission was aerial logistic support for Bikini, which had no landing strip. In addition, photo surveys were conducted, especially of water flows through the atoll's channels, after dropped sea dye marker had defined the currents.

    A pleasant surprise occurred in April when the squadron was ordered to MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii for ten days of "rest and recreation" without military duties. Then back to Ebeye and "Crossroads", operating as VP-32, having again been redesignated. After transporting many passengers, and carrying out miscellaneous missions, the tests took place 1 July (aerial drop), and 25 July (underwater detonation). After both of these, two of the Squadron's planes made runs over the target site to check radioactivity, while others took aerial photos and assessed damage.

    The "Crossroads" chapter of VP-32's history was classified material for many years, even to the extent that VP-46's 1955 request to the Chief of Naval Operations for the Squadron's historical background brought forth an Aviation History Unit reply that was footnoted: "Although no squadron history for the period....is in the ....files, it is fairly evident that the squadron was based on Saipan for the entire period." Ebeye operations are not mentioned.

    VP-32 seems to have remained in tact at its Ebeye base until late 1946 when, as VP-MS-6, it sent a small detachment to Truk. Later, a six plane detachment was at Eniwetok from 1 February 1947 until 22 May 1948, operating under Joint Task Force Seven in "Operation Sandstone". In April of 1947, while under FAW-18, its mission was changed from SAR/utility transport in the Central Pacific to ASW/long range patrol; and further changed 31 July by the elimination of SAR duties and the addition of a mine laying function. On 1 September 1948 VP-MS-6 became VP-46, as it has been known for the past fifty years.

    The so-called "Wings over Panama" Squadron insignia displays the western half of the globe, with silhouettes of North, Central and South America in black against a light blue circular field. Across Central America is superimposed a pair of Naval Aviator's wings (elongated wing proportions in original). This design is enclosed in a black circle which, in turn, is enclosed in a bright red compass rose. The design's significance is the Squadron's genesis: its Establishment at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone on 1 September 1931 as VP-5S. It is believed to have originated with one of the earlier VP-5 squadrons; adopted by the first VP-33; and passed along to VP-32. A note of interest is that under post-war regulations Navy Wings could not be incorporated into new squadron insignia. Had VP-46 chosen not to adopt a new insignia, "Wings over Panama" would have been a viable ("grandfathered") design for it to use in carrying on the Squadron's tradition as The Oldest and the Best.


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