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HistoryVP-34 HistoryHistory

Circa 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News March 1948 "...Naval Air Honors Truman - Page 8 - 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: "...I entered VP-34 as an AOAN in July 1949. We were flying PBM-5E Aircraft...They had the APS-15 Radar and had an early MAD gear mounted on an outrigger on the Port wing tip. I believe that it was the ASQ-4. Remember at this time that the Primary mission was Bombing and Mining. The squadron LOGO was an Indian with a Bow in his left hand and a Quiver full of arrows on his back, kneeling on his left knee and looking to the right while shielding his eyes with his right hand...AOC Harold Prince and I went to Aviation Mine Warfare school in Yorktown, Va. in Sept and picked up an Aerial Mine Warfare Designator. In October the squadron went to Halifax Nova Scotia for two weeks of "cold weather" operations. We operated from the USS Duxbury Bay (AVP-38). Flying routine patrols over the North Atlantic...Sometime in 1950 we transitioned to the PBM-5S and picked up the primary role of ASW. The 5S had a rack in themiddle of the afterstation that stowed sonsbouys. We used the Expendable Radio Sonobouys (ERSB). They had 12 channels labeled Purple, Orange, Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green on each of two bands, White and Black. To launch them you had to pull out the radio antenna and hook up the parachute to a hook over the afterstation hatch. Then when the navigator called out to launch one, you threw it out and announced which one it was. One of the Technicans listened to them in the water and made a call as to which one the Sub was closest to, and that was the one that you attacked. (or laid another pattern around if you had any bouys left. (I believe that this procedure today is called the "lost art of aural listening.")...I was on flight crew for most of the time that I was in the squadron and each crew consisted of PPC, PP2P,PP3P (navigator) Plane Captain (usually and ADC), Second Mech, Radar, Radio,Third Tech, and we had two Ordnancemen and one Mineman on each crew. The first Ordnanceman was the Bow Turret Gunner and the Radar Bombardier and the was Searchlight operator. The Second Ordnanceman was the Tail Turret Gunner and the Mineman was in charge of the two waist mounts one of which he fired and the other one was manned by anyone on the crew who didn't have a primary position, (2nd mech and third tech)...While at Norfolk we participated in several operations including Aerial Gunnery training in Bermuda and Operation Portrex (which is now called Springboard) in San Juan Peurto Rico. Where we worked off of various tenders. I remember the Greenwich Bay (AVP-41), and the Valcour (AVP-??)...In September of 1951 after the outbreak of the Korean war, the squadron transferred to NAS Trinidad, British West Indies for duty. During the NAS Trinidad, British West Indies years we operated out of San Juan, P.R. with the Valcour, and the USS Timbalier (AVP-54), (both AVP's) and in Kingston Jamaica we worked off of the USS Currituck (AV-7). We operated from the beach in Cuba and Panama. We patrolled the South Atlantic and the Caribbean...The squadron LOGO was changed while in NAS Trinidad, British West Indies. It consisted of a Buzzard Tied to a seaplande mooring bouy by a rope around his neck, while breaking up a submarine with his claws. Commanding Officer during my tour were, CDR Sinkankas, CDR Walline, CDR Lenz, and CDR Gage...Having made Third, Second and First Class in the squadron, I transferred out in November of 1952 and went to Shore Duty at Fleet All Weather Training Unit Atlantic (FAWTULANT), in Key West, Fl...The squadron lost and Aircraft enroute from San Juan to NAS Trinidad, British West Indies after I left and all hands were lost with her. I believe that was sometime in 1953. I know that AO2 Clarence Holder and AO3 Jack Arndt were lost on that plane. Patrol Squadron Thirty Four (VP-34) was decommissioned at the NAS Trinidad, British West Indies in 1954 (?)...I hope that this helps you with some history. Maybe someone with a sharper memory for dates and times can fill you in on some more of the history the squadron..." Contributed by William R. (Bill) Love Jr. AXC(AC)USN/RET bilbiker@gwi.net


Circa 1948 - 1956

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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Circa 1948

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The Official History of VP-34 (formerly VP-15F, VP-15, VP-53, VP-73, etc.) as summarized by the Navy Historical Center Aviation Divsion..." Contributed by David R. Reilly, Jr., DPC, USNR-R Dave_Reilly@nps.gov[14JUL99]

Second VP-34


Established as Patrol Squadron FIFTEEN-F (VP-15F) on 1 September 1936.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron FIFTEEN (VP15) on 1 October 1937.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron FIFTY THREE (VP-53) on 1 July 1939.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron SEVENTY THREE (VP-73) on 1 July 1941.

Redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY THREE (VPB-73) on 1 October 1944.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron SEVENTY THREE (VP-73) on 15 May 1946.

Redesignated Amphibian Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-AM-4) on 15 November 1946.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron THIRTY FOUR (VP-34) on 1 September 1948, the second squadron to be assigned the VP-34 designation.

Disestablished on 30 June 1956.

Squadron Insignia and Nickname


Patrol Squadron Fifteen-F devised an insignia of a kneeling Indian with his hand shading his eyes as he looked off into the distance. The Indian was representative of the native population of the early Virginia Commonwealth, and Norfolk was the home of VP-15. The figure was a scout, like the aircraft of the patrol squadron, and was armed with arrows just as the seaplanes were armed with bombs and machine guns. Colors: circumference of insignia, red with thin black border; Indian, reddish brown; accouterments, yellow: loin cloth, feathers in headdress and war paint, red hair, black; squadron designation, black. This designed was used by the squadron throughout all of its redesignations up to 1951.

The original designed was changed in 1951 during VP-34's deployment to Trinidad, B.W.I., and replaced by a design featuring a scowling vulture at rest, with a broken submarine in its claws and a mooring line around its neck. The significance was questionable, but it may be safe to infer that the vulture was a big winged bird with keen eyesight, always on the search for prey - the submarine. The mooring line and mooring buoy are the hallmark of a seaplane at rest. Colors: vulture, black body, white crest, neck and top of head read, with yellow beak; sky, blue, cloud, white; rope, yellow, mooring buoy, back and yellow.

Nickname: None known.

Chronology of Significant Events


1 Sep 1936: VP-15F was established at NAF Annapolis, Maryland, under the operational control of Base Force with six P3M-2 aircraft. Shortly thereafter, the squadron was relocated to NAF Norfolk, VA. Owl (AM2) provided tender support. Over the next three years, the squadron flew to Annapolis in June and remained over the summer months, provided midshipman aviation training. The squadron returned to its permanent home base at NAF Norfolk each September.

1 Oct 1937: VP-15F was redesignated VP-15 when the Patrol Wing concept was established. Under this concept patrol squadrons were organized under Patrol Wings and VP-15 came under the operational control of PatWing-5.

October 1938: VP-15 received twelve P2Y-2 aircraft from VP-10 when the latter was refitted with newer replacement aircraft.

Apr 1939: The squadron received the upgraded P2Y-3 in April 1939.

4 Sep 1939: President Roosevelt inaugurated the Neutrality Patrols in response to the German invasion of Poland in August. The patrol line extended east from Boston to latitude 42-30, longitude 65 then south to latitude 19, then around the seaward outline of Windward and Leeward Islands to the British island of Trinidad, near the short of South America. Patrol squadrons VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54 of Patwing-5 and VP-33 of PatWing-3 supported Battleship Division 5, Cruiser Division 7, 40 destroyers and 15 submarines in conducting the Neutrality Patrol. VP-53 teamed up with VP-52 and a group of destroyers to cover the waters adjacent to Norfolk.

1 Nov 1939: VP-53 replaced its P2Y-3s with a mixed bag of spare PBY-1, PBY-2 and PBY-3 seaplanes from other squadrons for commencement of the Neutrality Patrols. There were not enough PBYs to replace all of the P2Ys, so two of the P2Y-3 seaplanes were retained and flown alongside the PBYs.

Feb 1940: VP-53 was replaced to NAS Key West, Fla. The squadron remained there until April 1941, when it returned to NAS Norfolk and exchanged its older model aircraft for the new model PBY-5.

24 May 1941: VP-53 was relocated to NAS Quonset Point, R.I., to await the completion of the base under constructions at Argentia, Newfoundland. On 9 June 1941, a detachment of six aircraft deployed to Argentia, supported by tender Albemarle (AV 5). The detachment returned 25 June, after VP-52 had moved ashore and assumed responsibility for patrols.

1 July 1941: VP-53 was redesignated VP-73 after the reorganization of the fleet patrol squadrons, and placed under PatWing-7, Support Force. Detachments of VP-71, 72, &3 and 74 began a rotation program to exchange deployed aircrews at Argentia and Reykjavik back to their home ports at Quonset Point, R.I., and Norfolk, VA.

6 Aug 1941: Six aircraft of VP-73 and five PBMs of VP-74 arrived a Skerja Fjord, near Reykjavik, Iceland. Goldsborough (AVD 5) provided tender support to the squadrons operating out of Reykajavik. Convoys were covered up to 500-miles from base and ASW coverage of the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland was provided. The combined air strength of the British and U.S. forces in Iceland consisted of 48 British aircraft and 42 American planes. Crews operating in the extreme conditions of the Arctic Circle became known as "blue noses."

15 Jan 1942: Winter in Iceland was the worst enemy of the patrol squadrons. The British withdrew their PBY squadron, feeling that the weather was too extreme for operation of the slow patrol aircraft. On the 15th gales reaching 133 mph struck the area, sinking thee of VP-73 Catalinas and two of VP-74's PBMs.

20 Aug 1942: While on convoy escort in Skerja Fjord, near Reykjavik, Iceland, Lieutenant (jg) Robert B. Hopgood and crew attacked and sank U-464, Korvettenkapitan Otto Harris commanding. Hopgood and his crew pressed home the attack even though the crew of the submarine elected to remain on the surface and fight it out with the lightly armed Catalina. HMS Castleton rescued 53 survivors. Returning to base, Hopgood sent the following message: "Sank Sub Open Club." Lieutenant (jg) Hopgood was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic action.

28 Aug 1942: Lieutenant (jg) John E. Odell and crew claimed a U-boat kill while on convoy escort near Reykjavik, Iceland. Postwar examination of German records does not indicate any losses on that date.

25 Oct - Nov 1942: VP-73 was transferred to French Morocco, based at Craw Field, Port Lyautey. The squadron was operational by 11 November. During its operational patrols the squadron encountered Italian Fiat CR-32 aircraft over the Canary Islands and German Focke-Wulf 200Cs near Gibraltar. Convoys were escorted by the southern route, earning crew members the sobriquet of "shellbacks" for crossing the equator. During this period a detachment was maintained at Ben Sergao Field, Agadir, French Morocco. Crews at this location rotated with VP-92.

16 Aug 1943: VP-73 was relocated to Ben Sergao Field, Agadir, French Morocco.

4 Dec 1943: Orders were received relieving VP-73 of duty in French Morocco. The squadron arrived at NAS Norfolk, VA., on 25 December.

16 Jan 1944: After a brief home leave, the squadron was based at Floyd Bennett Field, NY. Convoys from England were provided coverage in the approaches to the eastern seaboard of the U.S., and ASW patrols were conducted off the coastline of the East Coast.

30 May 1945: VPB-73 deployed to NS San Juan, P.R. While assigned to NS San Juan the squadron came under the operational control of FAW-11, Caribbean Sea Frontier.

1 June 1945: VPB-73 deployed a three aircraft detachment to Port Lyautey, F.M.. A second detachment with one aircraft was sent to Guantanamo, Cuba.

Nov 1946: The squadron changed homeports to San Juan, P.R., to NAS Norfolk, VA.

1 Sep 1948: Following its redesignation from VP-AM-4 to VP-34, the squadron began conversion training for the Martin PBM-5S at Norfolk, VA. The squadron's complement was nine PBMs, with 44 officers and 244 enlisted personnel.

15 Dec 1949: VP-34 conducted one week of cold weather exercises at Halifax, Nova Scotia, supported by the tender USS Duxbury Bay (AVP-38). VP-34 was the first seaplane squadron to operate from Halifax harbor.

1 Sep 1952: VP-34 and VP-3 were the only two patrol squadrons to complete FY 1952 with 100 percent safety marks. VP-34 broke all previous records by flying 3,6143 accident-free hours in just six months.

Jul 1953: Twelve VP-34 aircraft were employed in patrols and long-distance flights between Trinidad and NAS Corpus Christi, Tex., for six weeks of training exercises.

30 Jun 1956: NAS Coco Solo was selected for reversion to caretaker status during the rounds of base cutbacks after the Korean War. VP-34 departed NAS Coco Solo., C.Z., and returned to NAS Norfolk, VA, for formal disestablishment ceremonies.

Home Port Assignments


Location Date of Assignment

NAF Annapolis, MD 1 Sep 1936

NAS Norfolk, Virginia Oct 1936

NAS Key West, Fla. Feb 1940

NAS Norfolk, Virginia April 1941

NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island 24 May 1941

NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco 25 Oct 1942

Ben Sergao Field, Agadir, Morocco 16 Aug 1943

NAS Norfolk, Virginia 25 Dec 1943

NAS Floyd Bennett Field, New York 16 Jan 1944

NS San Juan, P.R. 30 May 1945

NAS Norfolk, Virginia Nov 1946

NAS Trinidad, British West Indies Oct 1950

NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone Jun 1955

NAS Norfolk, Virginia Jun 1956

Commanding Officers


LCDR George T. Owen 1 Sep 1936

LCDR Lester T. Hundt 12 Oct 1937

LCDR Steven W. Callaway May 1938

LCDR Arron P. Storrs, III 23 Sep 1939

LCDR James E. Leeper 1 Jul 1941

LCDR Alexander S. Heyward 13 Aug 1942

LCDR J.E. Odell, Jr. 5 Sep 1943

LCDR W. H. McRee 29 Jul 1944

LCDR Dryden W. Hundley 11 Jul 1945

LCDR H. C. Miller 23 May 1946

LCDR C.F. Vossler 30 Sept 1947

CDR J Sinkankas 19 Jun 1948

LCDR J. F. Schrefer 31 Dec 1949

CDR J. A. Gage, Jr. 30 Jun 1950

CDR C. S. Walloon 30 June 1951

CDR C.A. Lenz 8 Mar 1952

CDR Frank L. DeLorenzo Apr 1953

CDR Randall T. Boyd June 1954

CDR Charles J. Alley Aug 1955

Aircraft Assignment


Type of Aircraft Date Type First Arrived

P3M-2 Sep 1936

P2Y-2 Oct 1938

P2Y-3 Apr 1939

PBY-1/2/3 Dec 1939

PBY-5 Jul 1941

PBY-5A 1942

PBY-6A 1945

PBM-5A SEP 1948

PBM-5S JUN 1949

Major Overseas Deployments


Date of Date of Base of Type of Area of

Departure Return Wing Operations Aircraft Operations

9 Jun 1941 25 Jun 1941 PatWing-5 Argentia PBY-5 NorLant

1 Jul 1941 Oct 1942 PatWing-7 Reykjavik PBY-5A NorLant

Goldsborough (AVD 5)

25 Oct 1942 * FAW-15 Port Lyautey PBY-5A Med

11 Nov 1942 25 Dec 1943 FAW-15 Agadir PBY-5A Med

May 1945 Nov 1946 FAW-11 San Juan PBY-5A Carib

1 Jun 1945 Nov 1946 FAW-5 Port Lyautey PBY-5A Med

15 Dec 1949 21 Dec 1949 FAW-5 Halifax PBM-5S NorLant

USS Duxbury Bay (AVP-38)

* The squadron relocated to another base without returning to its homeport.

Wing Assignments


Wing Tail Code Assignment Date

Base Force, Norfolk 1 Sep 1936

PatWing-5 1 Oct 1937

PatWing-7 1 Jul 1941

FAW-15** 5 Oct 1942

FAW-5 16 Jan 1943

FAW-11 30 May 1945

FAW-5 EC*** Nov 1946

FAW-11 EC Oct 1950

** FAW-15 was not officially established until 1 December 1942

*** The Squadron remained part of FAW-5 but was assigned the tail code EC on 7 November 1946

Unit Awards Received


Unit Award Inclusive Date Covering Unit Award

ADSM 22 Jun 1941 20 Jul 1941

21 Jul 1941 9 Sep 1941

Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: USS Timbalier Pictures ThumbnailCameraVP-34 Aircraft and the USS Timbalier (AVP-54) "...USS Timbalier (AVP-54), 1946-1960. USS Timbalier, a 1,766-ton Barnegat class small seaplane tender, was built at Houghton, Washington, and was commissioned in May 1946. In February 1944 the Puget Sound Navy Yard was directed to complete her and Valcour (AVP-55), but in June 1945 they were ordered transferred back to the Lake Washington Shipyard at Houghton, resulting in their delayed completion. After a brief period of shakedown training at San Diego, Timbalier proceeded to the East Coast. In December 1946 she departed Norfolk for the Caribbean, and for the next eight years she tended the Martin PBM Mariner seaplanes of Fleet Air Wing 11 there and along the East Coast. Timbalier was decommissioned in November 1954 and placed in reserve. She was sold in December 1960 to a Greek merchant ship operator who renamed her Rhodos and converted her into the passenger vessel. She was scrapped at Eleusis, Greece, in 1989...." http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-t/avp54.htm Contributed by KOONTS, AT2 Billy billkoonts@aol.com [26SEP2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Medal of Honor to Nate Gordon. (Word War II Times February-March 1988 Volume 3 Number 2 Page 6)..." Contributed by WINTER, George B. pbycat@bellsouth.net WEBSITE: http://www.vpnavy.org/winter.html [03JUN2002]

MEDAL OF HONOR TO NATE GORDON
By Richard C. Knott, Captain

VPB-34 ThumbnailCameraNate Gordon - dark glasses. Nate Gordon, dark glasses, with his crew after rescuing 25 Americans from the Japanese.

One such mission performed by a VPB-34 aircraft was especially notable. It was flown by Lieutenant, Nathan Gordon and his crew on February 15. Gordon's Cat, sometimes known as the "the Arkansas Traveler" in deference to the pilot's home state, was assigned to cover a large B-25 raid against the enemy base at Kavieng on New Ireland.

The fighting had been particularly heavy that day and the PBY went directly to the same action, looking for airmen in the water.

A raft was spotted just offshore and although there was no sign of life in the vicinity, Gordon knew that a human head bobbing in the water can be easily missed from the air. He went down to investigate.

The heavy swells off the beach were not conducive to a smooth landing and the Cat hit hard. Water came in around the seams and drained into the bilges but the old PBY stayed afloat.

No sooner was the Cat airborne when they were called by a B-25 circling nearby. The pilot of that aircraft had spotted another raft with men aboard close to shore. The Japanese had put a boat over in an attempt to capture the Americans but the B-25 roared down over the surf and discouraged that line of approach with its guns.

Once again, the Catalina landed in the heavy swells and taxied over to the raft. The Japanese gunners now shifted their attention to the aircraft.

It was evident that the B-25 crewmen could not be hauled aboard the moving aircraft so Gordon pulled the mixture controls back and the props ground stop. The raft came alongside and the men were quickly hauled aboard. With slugs sprinkling the water around them, the two pilots started the engines and the Cat labored through the swells and bounced into the air.

Now Gordon received another call more men in the water. He located the three crewmen quickly, landed, and once more cut his engines. Again, he was taken under fire by the enemy shore positions and again he made it back into the air. With 19 people aboard, including his own crew, Gordon headed for home.

But before he got very far, the B-25 pilot was on the air again. He found still another raft with six more men aboard.

Already overloaded with people and a large volume of water sloshing around in the bilges, the young pilot knew this would be a squeaker. Yet he could not leave six Americans to fall into the hands of the Japanese.

Returning to Kavieng, he found the raft only a few hundred yards off- shore. Because of the direction of the wind and swells, Gordon was obliged to make his approach over the beach and through a hail of gunfire.

Setting the big Cat down in the water, he pulled up to the raft and shut down the engines. Six lucky crewmen were hauled aboard, the engines came to life and the badly leaking Cat began its takeoff run. The Japanese threw everything they had at the plane to prevent its escape.

The black hull plowed through the swells, the engines straining to heave the waterlogged Cat from the water. Gradually, the airspeed increased and after what seemed an eternity, they were airborne.

For the last time, the battered old Cat headed for Finschafen. Gordon put crewmen to work with buckets to get rid of some of the water in the bilges and thus lighten the load. Hours later, they splashed down in Langemak Bay and transferred 15 grateful airmen, some of whom were badly injured, to the field hospital.

Admiral Halsey was especially impressed with the performance of Gordon and his men, so much so, that he took time to dash off a message of congratulations. "Please pass my admiration to that saga-writing Kavieng Cat crew X-ray. Halsey." Nathan Gordon was later rewarded with the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...28 Units Receive Commendation - Naval Aviation News - October 1945.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1945/15oct45.pdf [10NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...Three Squadrons Are Cited - Naval Aviation News - January 1945.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1945/15jan45.pdf [10NOV2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

Circa 1944 - 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-34 Squadron 1945 "...Just found this in my Dad's stuff. Looks like some kind of reunion print. Nice picture of Nathan Gordon..." Contributed by Colonel Bill Anderson, Retired windtree4@comcast.net [15FEB2011]

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 Thumbnail
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 Thumbnail

Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...15 Feb 1944: Lieutenant (jg) Nathan G. Gordon and his crew of the Samarai detachment were assigned to provide air-sea rescue support to the Army for an air attack on the enemy-held Kavieng Harbor, New Ireland. Lieutenant (jg) Gordon made four full stall landings in the rough waters of the harbor to collect survivors, coming under intense enemy fire. He and his crew located and picked up 15 Army fliers shot down during the attack. After rescuing the last man, Lieutenant (jg) Gordon was running out of fuel and was forced to land at Wewak, New Guinea. There he unloaded the Army fliers on the recently arrived tender San Pablo (AVP 30) before refueling and returning to Samarai. Lieutenant (jg) Gordon was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his conduct, and each member of his crew received the Silver Star..." WebSite: Navy History Center www.history.navy.mil/avh-vol2/chap4-3.pdf [11SEP2008]

Photographs from In Their Words http://www.intheirwords.org/the_veterans/

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 Thumbnail

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_navyN.html [22NOV2007]

PAXTON, NORMAN L.

Citation:

The Navy Cross is presented to Norman L. Paxton, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Commander of a PBY-5 Patrol Bomber in Patrol-Bombing Squadron THIRTY-FOUR (VPB-34), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the South Molucca Sea on the night of 31 July 1944. Lieutenant Paxton skillfully located a large enemy freighter-transport, protected by two escorts, at anchor in a small harbor, and attacked in bright moonlight although he knew the enemy force had been alerted and was in an advantageous tactical position to defend itself. Gliding to a low altitude in the face of an intense barrage of anti-aircraft fire which severely damaged his aircraft, he scored two direct hits and two near misses on the merchant vessel, resulting in its destruction, and then safely brought his plane back to base despite its damaged condition. His actions on this occasion displayed outstanding courage and aggressiveness, professional ability, and a determination to bring destruction to the enemy in utter disregard of his own personal safety, in keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy of the United States.

Born: June 6, 1916 at Los Angeles, California
Home Town: Los Angeles, California

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_navyC.html [20NOV2007]

DENNISON, HAROLD L.

Citation:

The Navy Cross is presented to Harold L. Dennison, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Commander of a PBY-5 Patrol Bomber in Patrol Squadron THIRTY- FOUR (VP-34), in action against enemy Japanese forces while deployed in the Bismarck Sea during the period 16 January 1944 to 15 February 1944. On the nights of 16 and 22 January and 15 February, Lieutenant Dennison led his PBY Catalina against enemy ships in the Bismarck Sea and within the vicinity of strong enemy bases. He bombed an enemy destroyer under intense antiaircraft fire which caused severe damage to his aircraft. However, with his damaged aircraft, he returned to make repeated strafing attacks. Under hazardous weather conditions he carried out an attack against a large merchant vessel in a strongly defended convoy. Receiving heavy and constant enemy fire, he caused heavy damage to the merchant vessel. In another action he forced an enemy tanker to run aground. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Born: December 27, 1917 at Stoddard, Wisconsin
Home Town: New Orleans, Louisiana

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]

BALL, JOE FREDERICK

Citation:

The Navy Cross is presented to Joe Frederick Ball, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Commander of a PBY-5 Patrol Bomber in Patrol Bombing Squadron THIRTY-FOUR (VPB-34), after the U.S.S. COOPER (DD-695) was struck by a torpedo while engaging Japanese surface craft and barges in the waters of Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands on 3 December 1944. The COOPER broke in two and sank in less than a minute, resulting in the loss of 191 crew members and 168 survivors left struggling in the water. Lieutenant Ball and his crew were returning from a long-range reconnaissance mission and spotted the survivors floating in the bay. Lieutenant Ball landed his Catalina in the bay and proceeded over the next hour to pick up survivors within range of enemy shore fire. He rescued 56 sailors from the bay, and when the aircraft could hold no more he began a takeoff run that took three miles before liftoff could be achieved. He safely returned to his base with his passengers, many of them wounded. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...San Pablo AVP-30..." WebSite: History Central m/navy/MISC%202/sanpablo.html [21NOV2006]

...During January 1944, she gave direct support to the force which occupied Finschhafen, New Guinea, and helped to establish a new advance base at Langemak Bay. At times, she also tended the planes of VP-34, then flying rescue missions for the 5th AAF from Port Moresby. She once temporarily based two OS2U scout planes from Boise ( CL-47)...

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 History ThumbnailCameraVPB-34 History "...VPB-34 Letter - December 18th, 1944 - Los Angeles, California..." WebSite: EBay http://www.ebay.com/ [10AUG2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...07MAR44 - Japanese shore battery sinks motor torpedo boat PT-337, Hansa Bay, New Guinea, 04°09'S, 144°50'E; PBY (VP 34) rescues survivors on 11 March..." WebSite: HyperWar http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-Chron/USN-Chron-1944.html [13SEP2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Nate Gordon - PBY Pilot & Medal of Honor Recipient http://www.pacificwrecks.com/people/veterans/gordon.html..." WebSite: Pacific Wreck Database [04MAR2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...15FEB44--flying his Navy Patrol Squadron 34 PBY Catalina on air-sea rescue duty south of New Ireland, Lt. Nathan Gordon received an urgent call. Several 345th BG B25s were down following a major attack on Kavieng, and crews were in the water just offshore. Under intense gunfire from the shore, Gordon made no fewer than four perilous water landings to pick up survivors, returning to make an emergency Ianding at Cape Gloucester with 25 people aboard, and just 10 gaIlons of fuel in his tanks. Gordon was awarded the Medal of Honor..."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...00JUN44--Flew the Catalina PBY-5 as part of Fleet Air Wing 17..." http://msowww.anu.edu.au/~dfk/companies/pdmodels/72019.html


Circa 1943

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_navyE.html [22NOV2007]

FISHER, ELLIS JAY

Citation:

The Navy Cross is presented to Ellis Jay Fisher, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Pilot of a PBY-5 aircraft in Patrol Squadron THIRTY-FOUR (VP-34), during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Bismarck Sea, from 31 December 1943 to 13 February 1944. Engaging in numerous armed reconnaissance missions against Japanese shipping, Lieutenant Commander (then Lieutenant) Fisher gallantly participated in many attacks on heavily escorted enemy convoys, sinking a large merchant vessel, a large tanker and five motor launches, inflicting heavy damage on an escort vessel, a large tanker and a large merchant vessel, probably destroying an armed enemy vessel and a midget submarine and, thereby contributing greatly to the destruction of enemy shipping. His professional skill, cool courage and unwavering devotion to duty which enabled him to complete his mission successfully, reflected the highest credit upon Lieutenant Commander Fisher and the United States Naval Service.
Born: July 5, 1916 at Roseville, California
Home Town: Roseville, California

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

  • Presidential Unit Citation
    5 Sep 43 – 01 Feb 44

    Circa 1942

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

    VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

    VP-11, VP-12 and VP-14

    VP-23 and VP-24

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

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

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

    VP-61, VP-62, VP-63

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

    VP-81 and VP-83

    VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

    VP-101

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


    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: "...San Pablo - A shallow, northern extension of San Francisco Bay in California. (AVP-30: dp. 2,619; l. 310'9"; b. 41'2"; dr. 12'7"; s. 18.5 k.; cpl. 367; a. 2 5", 8 40mm., 8 20mm.; cl. Barnegat) (Squadrons Mentioned: VP-11, VPB-25, VP-33, VP-34, VP-52, VP-101..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s4/san_pablo.htm [25DEC2005]

    San Pablo (AVP-30) was laid down on 2 July 1941 302 by the Associated Shipbuilding Co., Seattle, Wash.; launched on 31 March 1942; sponsored by Mrs. W. A. Hall; and commissioned on 15 March 1943, Comdr. R. R. Darron in command.

    Following commissioning and outfitting, San Pablo conducted shakedown in the Puget Sound area and then steamed to San Diego for readiness training. On 15 June, the small seaplane tender departed the west coast and headed for the South Pacific. At Espiritu Santo, San Pablo embarked marines and deck cargo; then proceeded to Noumea, New Caledonia. After offloading there, she went to Naval Seaplane Base Brisbane, Australia, to pick up the flight crews and aviation supplies, including spare parts and fuel, of patrol squadron VP-101; then returned to Noumea to commence operations as tender and base for "Black-Cat" (night-fighting, air-search, and reconnaissance) PBM's and PBY's.

    With VP-101 and assigned crash boats, San Pablo formed Task Group 73.1 and established their seaplane base by charting the bay, setting out mooring and marker bouys, and constructing quarters for squadron personnel at nearby Honey Hollow. They also built an advanced base at Samarai, Papua, New Guinea. For the next several months, the "Black Cats" operated from these bases, preying on enemy shipping along the coasts of New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland, and in the Bismarck Sea. They inflicted great losses on inter-island barge traffic as well as to heavy shipping; harassed enemy troops with night bombing and strafing missions; conducted photo intelligence operations; provided at-sea search and rescue support for downed Army fliers and sailors of sunken vessels; and carried high ranking officers, friendly coast watchers, and native guerrilla units.

    While continuously on the alert for enemy air attack, San Pablo sailors worked around the clock to fuel, repair, arm, and control the seaplanes; and to feed and care for their crews. On 9 October, she was relieved by Half Moon (AVP-26) and sailed to Naval Seaplane Base Brisbane, Australia for long needed repair, replenishment, and shore leave. She returned to Noumea on 20 December and resumed operations with VP-52. During January 1944, she gave direct support to the force which occupied Finschhafen, New Guinea, and helped to establish a new advance base at Langemak Bay. At times, she also tended the planes of VP-34, then flying rescue missions for the 5th AAF from Port Moresby. She once temporarily based two OS2U scout planes from Boise (CL-47).

    From Langemak Bay, San Pablo's planes helped to prevent the Japanese from supplying garrisons on Rabaul and Kavieng. On 25 February, relieved again by Half Moon, San Pablo returned to Noumea for repairs alongside Dobbin (AD-3). During the work, she assisted in removing a screw from Aaron Ward (DM-34) using her seaplane winch. This speeded repairs to the destroyer-minelayer and allowed her to reach Ulithi in time to prepare for the forthcoming Okinawa campaign.

    By 24 March, San Pablo was conducting operations at Seeadler Harbor, Admiralty Islands, with VP-33 and VP-52 planes. They carried out night bombing missions in the Carolines and search flights by day. The pace had so quickened by the end of March that USS Tangier (AV-8) was brought in to help carry the load. On 13 May, they moved to Hollandia to patrol the approaches to Wakde Island prior to Allied landings there. Relieved by Orca (AVP-49) on 26 May, San Pablo then refueled PT boats at Humboldt Bay and transported personnel and cargo between Manus, Seeadler, Emirau, and Wpendi. On 19 August, she commenced ASW patrols with VP-11 planes at Woendi and, during October and November, conducted ASW operations off Morotai and Hollandia. Later relieved by Saw Carlos (AVP-51), she moved to Anibong on Bay, Leyte, to support planes conducting search missions in the Philippines.

    On 8 December, San Pablo received survivors of Mahan (DD-364) who had been picked up by one of her PBM's after that destroyer had suffered three kamikaze hits and sank in Ormoc Bay. She then joined a convoy en route to Mindoro and came under severe attack by suicide planes for ten consecutive days. Most of the kamikazes were beaten off by AA fire from the convoy screen or by CAP planes. However, one hit an ammunition ship which completely disintegrated in a tremendous explosion, and another crashed into a Liberty ship and caused severe damage. On 30 December at Mindoro, a Val barely passed astern of San Pablo and crashed into Orestes (AGP-10), wounding four San Pablo men with shrapnel. On the 31st, a Betty bombed nearby Porcupine (IX-126) and then crashed into Gansevoort (DD-608). Through January and early February 1945, San Pablo made search missions in the South China Sea and along the China coast with VPB-25 and VP-33 squadrons. On 13 February, she was relieved by USS Tangier (AV-8) and returned to Leyte.

    Through April, she escorted LST-777, Chestatee (AOG-49), and various merchant transports between Leyte and Palawan. She then steamed, via Morotai, to Manus. At the end of June, she moved to Samar and the Lingayen Gulf area for air search and rescue operations in the South China Sea-Formosa area. These lasted until 15 August when she received orders to cease offensive operations. On 2 September, the day of Japan's formal surrender ceremony, San Pablo was in Lingayen Gulf providing ASW patrols to cover occupation convoys bound for Japan.

    San Pablo returned to Bremerton, Wash., on 17 November to prepare for inactivation. She moved to Alameda, Calif., on 25 March 1946 and remained idle until placed out of commission, in reserve, on 13 January 1947.

    Following conversion to a hydrographic-survey vessel, San Pablo was reconunissioned on 17 September 1948 at San Francisco, Comdr. T. E. Chambers in command. She conducted shakedown training off San Diego from 29 October to 15 November and was then ordered to report to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. San Pablo reached Portsmouth, Va., on 14 December and completed outfitting prior to sailing on 3 February 1949, in company with Rehoboth (AVP-50) for oceanographic work in the western approaches to the Mediterrannean. Calling at Ponta Delgada, Azores; Plymouth, England; Gibraltar; and Bermuda; she returned to Philadelphia on 18 April. During the remainder of the year, she conducted two similar cruises to survey and measure ocean currents; and, during the last, made a study of the North Atlantic Drift. She included in her ports of call Scapa Flow; the Orkney Islands; Oslo, Norway; and Copenhagen, Denmark. San Pablo was redesignated AGS-30, effective 25 August 1949.

    Beginning 18 January 1950, she conducted a survey of the Gulf Stream; and, from 5 to 26 June, served as Survey Headquarters Ship for a group of American and Canadian vessels engaged in broad coverage behavioral studies of that massive current. After a cruise to Casablanca, French Morocco, in July and August, she returned to the east coast of the United States to conduct survey operations between New London and Key West for the remainder of the year.

    During 1951, San Pablo conducted oceanographic studies during various cruises, ranging from Scotland to the Mediterranean and along the coast in the Narragansett Bay operating area. Her tasks included making accurate profile studies of the ocean bottom for the purpose of evaluating new sonar devices. In 1952, she spent the majority of her time in the North Atlantic, and devoted the latter part of the year to training operations out of Norfolk. From 1953 through 1968, San Pablo alternated between the North Atlantic and the Caribbean conducting studies on salinity, sound reflectivity, underwater photography techniques, deep bottom core sampling, bottom profile mapping, subsurface wave phenomena, and other topics still classified. For several months during 1965, she utilized the port and docking facilities at Rosyth, Scotland, as a temporary home port, courtesy of the British Royal Navy. From 1 January to 29 May 1969, she underwent inactivation at Philadelphia.

    San Pablo was decommissioned on 29 May 1969 and struck from the Navy list on 1 June. After being used by the Ocean Science Center of the Atlantic Commission, Savannah, Georgia, she was sold on 14 September 1971 to Mrs. Margo Zahardis of Vancouver, Wash.

    San Pablo earned four battle stars for World War II service.

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Albemarle - DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/a5/albemarle-iii.htm [09APR2005]

    Albemarle

    A town and a sound in North Carolina and a county in Virginia. All three were named for General George Monck, the first Duke of Albemarle and one of the original Carolina proprietors

    III

    (AV-5: dp. 8,761; 1. 527'4"; b. 69'3"; dr. 21'11"; s. 19.7 k.; cpl. 1,195; a. 4 5", 8 .50-cal. mg.; cl. Curtiss

    The third USS Albemarle (AV-5) was laid down on 12 June 1939 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 13 July 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Beatrice C. Compton, the wife of the Honorable Lewis Compton, Assistant Secretary of the Navy; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 20 December 1940, Comdr. Henry M. Mullinnix in command.

    Albemarle remained at Philadelphia, fitting out, through mid-January, 1941. Underway for Newport, R.I., on the morning of 28 January, the seaplane tender arrived at her destination on the 30th, and loaded torpedoes. She sailed the following day for Norfolk, arriving on 1 February, and over the ensuing days remained in that area, loading bombs and pyrotechnics and calibrating her degaussing gear, before she sailed on her shakedown cruise on the afternoon of 6 February, setting course for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    The seaplane tender shifted thence to Havana on the morning of 18 February, and over the days which followed her captain made the usual formal calls dictated by diplomatic protocol. In Havana harbor, Albemarle dressed ship for Washington's Birthday, her 21-gun salute to the American national holiday returned gun-for-gun by the Cuban gunboat Yarn. On the morning of 24 February, the ship got underway for the Canal Zone.

    Diverted while en route, Albemarle anchored in the harbor at San Juan, Puerto Rico, on the morning of 28 February, and that afternoon received the official call of Rear Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, Commandant of the 10th Naval District. That same day, she embarked 91 men from VP-51 and VP-61 from VP-52 for temporary duty and transportation, and sailed for Norfolk, Virginia on the morning of 2 March. While en route, Comdr. Mullinnix was relieved as commanding officer by Comdr. H. B. Sallada.

    Albemarle moored at Pier 7, Naval Operating Base (NOB) Norfolk, Virginia, on the afternoon of 5 March, but lingered there for less than a day, getting underway the following afternoon for Philadelphia. She returned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard and spent the rest of March there, undergoing post-shakedown repairs.

    The seaplane tender departed Philadelphia on 6 April, and arrived back at Norfolk, Virginia the following afternoon; there she took on board depth charges and depth bombs. She sailed for Newport on the morning of 10 April, and soon after standing out into international waters past the Virginia capes, met her escort for the trip—six "flush-deck" destroyers, one of which was the ill-fated Reuben James (DD-245). That afternoon she fueled two of her escorts, Sturtevant (DD-240) and MacLeish (DD-220) at the same time, the former to starboard, the latter to port.

    Albemarle then anchored in the harbor of refuge, off Block Island, late on the afternoon of 11 April and, accompanied by the destroyer Truxtun (DD-229), calibrated her radio direction finders. She then set out to finish her voyage up the eastern seaboard to Newport, arriving at her destination late on the afternoon of 13 April. She there joined a host of warships, ranging from the battleship Texan (BB-35) and the heavy cruisers Tuncaloosa (CA-37) and Wichita (CA^IS) to old and new-type destroyers and the destroyer tender Prairie (AD-15).

    While Albemarle had been on her shakedown, the United States determination to aid the British in the Battle of the Atlantic had resulted in the establishment, on 1 March, of the Support Force, commanded by Rear Admiral Arthur LeRoy Bristol, to protect the vital lifeline between the United States and Great Britain in the North Atlantic. It was formed around destroyers and patrol plane squadrons; the latter would be tended by small seaplane tenders (ex-destroyers and ex-minesweepers) and Albemarle.

    Over the next few days, the seaplane tender operated in local waters, at Narragansett Bay, off Martha's Vineyard and Quonset Point, Rhode Island, running drills of various kinds and conducting target practices. Rear Admiral Bristol came on board briefly on 28 April and wore his flag in Albemarle; that same day, she embarked her former commanding officer, now Capt. Mullinnix, who was now Commander, Patrol Wing, Support Force; men of VP-56 reported on board in connection with advanced base operations, as did men from VP-55. The following day, the planes from those two squadrons commenced night-flying operations.

    Albemarle, after again wearing Rear Admiral Bristol's flag on 2 May, departed Newport for Norfolk, Virginia on 4 May, arriving the following day. The seaplane tender then cleared the Virginia capes on the morning of 9 May for Newport, and arrived there the following morning. She embarked officers and men of VP-52 on 12 May and then sailed the following morning (13 May) for Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. Ultimately anchoring in Little Placentia Bay, Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, on the morning of 18 May, Albemarle was soon laying 13 seaplane moorings and gathering data on the weather of the region, establishing the advanced base for VP-52's operations from Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada.

    Over the days that followed, in addition to tending the planes assigned to her, she also fueled a succession of destroyers. On 20 May, she received a visit from not only Rear Admiral Bristol— his first visit to Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, which he later made his headmarters— but Rear Admiral John H. Towers, the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, who both arrived separately in planes from VP-56. Both flag officers departed the following morning.

    Twelve PBYs of VP-52 arrived at Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada from Quonset Point, Rhode Island on 18 May, and immediately commenced familiarization flights in the region—activities which were suddenly cancelled on 24 May. On that day, the German battleship Bismarck, which had left Norwegian waters shortly before in company with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eiu/en on what was to be a raiding cruise into the Atlantic, encountered and destroyed the British battle cruiser HMS Hood. An anxious Prime Minister Winston Churchill, concerned over the convoy routes that lay open to the powerful German battleship, immediately cabled President Roosevelt and requested American help.

    Albemarle quickly refueled the aircraft that had been flying training missions that morning and readied others for the urgent mission. At 1440 the first group of four PBYs lifted off, followed a little less than three hours later, at 1720, by a second flight of seven. The pilots of the "Catalinas" were briefed for a long reconnaissance mission that would take them some 500 miles southeast of Cape Farewell, Greenland. They encountered foul weather and very dangerous flying conditions in the course of their extensive searches, did not find their quarry in the murk, and were compelled by the fog and darkness to seek haven at various bays in Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec, and adjoining islands.

    Albemarle remained at Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada until 12 June, when she sailed for Norfolk, Virginia, arriving on the 15th. There she loaded supplies, stores, ammunition and gasoline, before getting underway to return to Newfoundland on 20 June. Escorted there by the destroyer MacLeish, Albemarle touched at Halifax en route (22 June), and then proceeded on to Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, screened by MacLeish and Cole (DD-155), arriving on 24 June. The seaplane tender supported the operations of VP-71, VP-72 and VP-73 until she sailed again for Norfolk, Virginia on 19 July, in company with Dallas (DD-199). Mooring at Pier 7, NOB Norfolk, Virginia on the morning of the 25th, she shifted to the Norfolk, Virginia Navy Yard later that same day and remained there, undergoing an availability, until 12 August.

    Underway on the day, Albemarle, screened by the destroyer Broome(DD-210), sailed for Angentia once more, and reach her destination on the 16th, resuming her support of VP-73. She provided support for seaplane and flying boat operations out of Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada through October, 1941. Clearing Little Placentia Harbor on 1 November, Albemarle sailed for Casco Bay, Maine, arriving there on the 3d; she then pushed on for Norfolk, Virginia, arriving there on the 7th.

    On the day that Japanese planes attacked the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7 December 1941, Albemarle lay at NOB Norfolk, Virginia, embarking passengers before she was scheduled to get underway for anchorage at Lynnhaven Roads. On Christmas Day, 1941, the seaplane tender got underway for Newport and Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada.

    Ultimately, the ship proceeded to Reykjavik, Iceland, where she would encounter the most severe weather she would see in her career. One particular day, 15 January 1942, was memorable. She set her special sea, anchor and steaming watches and put out both anchors with 120 fathoms of chain on the starboard and 60 to port, with her main engines turning over and steam up on all boilers. The winds were clocked at 71 knots, with occasional gusts of 95, forcing the tender to drag anchor.

    The gale lasted until 19 January, and caused heavy damage among the ship's patrol planes. The ship nearly collided with Wichita on one occasion, and was in danger of fouling several other ships during that time. Her starboard anchor was fouled once, and she lost the port anchor. She ultimately left Reykjavik on 19 January, steaming initially at greatly reduced speed because of the tempest, shaping course for Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, where she would embark passengers for transportation to Norfolk, Virginia.

    Reaching Norfolk, Virginia on 29 January, Albemarle then proceeded to Narraganasett Bay, and there provided tender services to VP-73 as that squadron worked with torpedoes there. On 5 March, Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll, Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, made an unofficial call and inspected the ship informally. Albemarle completed her work with VP-73 and remained at anchor in Narragansett Bay until 3 April, when she proceeded to the Boston Navy Yard South Annex for an availability. Her overhaul lasted until 1 May 1942.

    Upon completion of her refit, Albemarle got underway for Newport, on 5 May, and there, over the next few days, degaussed, calibrated her direction finders, and loaded aircraft for transportation to Bermuda. Underway on 15 May with Mayo (DD-422) and Benson (DD-421) as escorts, the seaplane tender reached her destination on the 17th, unloaded the planes she had brought, and immediately set sail for Narragansett Bay.

    Relieving USS Pocomoke (AV-9) in connection with aircraft torpedo and submarine familiarization training, on the 19th, Albemarle remained anchored in Narragansett Bay until 12 August, providing torpedo services for a succession of squadrons: VP-94, VP-34, VP-33 and Torpedo Squadron 4. Underway on 12 August and escorted by the destroyers Livermore (DD-430), Kearny (DD-432) and Rowan (DD-405), the submarine tender sailed for Norfolk, Virginia. After her arrival there, Albemarle conducted gunnery exercises in the Chesapeake Bay operating area.

    Shortly thereafter, escorted by Fletcher (DD-445) and O'Bannon (DD-450), Albemarle sailed for the Canal Zone on 5 September 1942. Damaging her starboard screw at Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, the seaplane tender was ordered drydocked for repairs; after transiting the Panama Canal for the first time on 15 September, she entered dry dock at Balboa on the following day. Upon completion of repairs, she transported Army troops and marines to Rio Hato, Panama, for two days of joint Army-Navy maneuvers.

    Over the next several months, Albemarle acted as fast transport of aeronautical material and men to naval air bases in the Caribbean and the Pacific coast of South America, as well as in the northern South Atlantic. During this time (September-November 1942), she visited Salinas, Ecuador; the air base at Seymour Island, in the Galapagos Islands; San Juan and Bermuda, primarily operating out of Colon and Balboa and escorted by the seaplane tender Goldsboroygh (AVD-5).

    Relieved on station by the seaplane tender USS Pocomoke (AV-9), Albemarle sailed from the Canal Zone on 13 November 1942, escorted by Goldsborough and the small seaplane tender Matagorda (AVP-22). Proceeding via San Juan, Trinidad and Bermuda, the seaplane tender reached Hampton Roads on 30 November having completed her longest sustained tour of duty outside the continental limits of the United States.

    Over the next seven months, Albemarle shuttled between Norfolk, Virginia and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Trinidad, British West Indies, San Juan, and Bermuda, on eight round-trip voyages. She varied this routine only slightly on the sixth and eighth of these, visiting Recife, Brazil for the first time (17 to 21 April 1943) on the sixth cruise and putting into the Canal Zone on the eighth. Her cargo included aviation gasoline and ammunition. Upon completion of that cycle of operations, she underwent repairs and alterations at the Boston Navy Yard between 15 June and 23 July 1943, departing on the latter date for Norfolk, Virginia, whence she resumed her cargo-carrying and transport run to Trinidad, Recife, San Juan and Guantanamo Bay. On this voyage, her last on this run, she brought back 27 German prisoners of war, survivors of a sunken U-boat.

    Underway from Norfolk, Virginia on 16 September 1943, Albemarle sailed for the British Isles, escorted by the destroyers Bulmer (DD-222) and Barker (DD-213). Proceeding via Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, the seaplane tender reached Swansea, Wales, with aeronautical cargo and passengers on 28 September, the men and freight she carried to support the newly inaugurated antisubmarine operations by patrol squadrons operating from the British Isles. Underway from Swansea on 4 October, she scraped a screw while leaving the harbor, and, after sailing via Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, reached Boston on 15 October. She was drydocked the following day, and the damaged propeller was repaired. Albemarle returned thence to Norfolk, Virginia via the Cape Cod Canal, arriving at Norfolk, Virginia on 18 October.

    Underway on 22 October as part of a task group formed around the escort carrier Croatan (CVE-25) and three destroyers, Albemarle sailed for Casablanca. Routed via Bermuda, the group reached its destination on 3 November. After discharging her cargo and disembarking her passengers, the seaplane tender then sailed for the United States on 10 November with another convoy, this one larger and formed around Croatan and the light cruiser Philadelphia (CL-41), escorted by seven destroyers, and containing Matagorda and three transports.

    Albemarle made a second cruise to Casablanca before the year 1943 was out, underway on 28 November and escorted by the destroyers Barry (DD-248) and Goff (DD-247), and arriving on 7 December. She sailed on the 13th for Reykjavik, and reached that Icelandic port on the 19th. There she embarked men from VB-128 for transportation back to the United States, and proceeded out of Reykjavik on 22 December for Norfolk, Virginia. Battling heavy seas on the return voyage (making only five knots on Christmas Day), Albemarle returned to NOB, Norfolk, Virginia, on the last day of the year 1943.

    Proceeding thence to Bayonne, N.J., on 4 January 1944, for upkeep and availability, Albemarle returned to Norfolk, Virginia on 17 January, and prepared for a voyage to San Juan. While outward-bound, however, on 18 January 1944, the seaplane tender fouled a buoy in a thick fog and put about for repairs. Drydocked on 20 January, Albemarle sailed again for her original destination, San Juan, the following day.

    Subsequently touching at Trinidad, British West Indies and Recife, Brazil, and retracing her path calling at Trinidad, British West Indies and San Juan on the return leg of the passage, Albemarle returned to Norfolk, Virginia on 23 February for availability. She then steamed to Casablanca in company with the amphibious command ship Catoctin (AGC-5) and two destroyers, and, among her passengers on the westward bound trip, were 20 German U-boat sailors, prisoners of war. She arrived back at Norfolk, Virginia on 1 April 1944.

    After upkeep at NOB, Norfolk, Virginia, Albemarle proceeded up to the Naval Supply Depot at Bayonne, where she loaded aviation cargo, between 7 and 13 April. She then sailed, via Norfolk, Virginia, to Guantanamo Bay, Trinidad, the Brazilian ports of Recife and Bahia, and San Juan, ultimately making arrival back at Norfolk, Virginia on 27 May for voyage repairs and upkeep. Loading cargo at the end of that period, including 29 dive bombers, Albemarle again shaped a course for North African waters, the seaplane tender making arrival at Casablanca on 20 June. She proceeded thence to Avonmouth, England, where she loaded cargo and embarked passengers for return to the United States. Underway for Boston on 6 July, she reached her destination on the 13th.

    Albemarle spent the next month undergoing a 30-day availability for repairs and alterations at the Boston Navy Yard. Emerging from the yard on 15 August, the seaplane tender proceeded to Bayonne, to load cargo. Sailing via Norfolk, Virginia, the ship visited the familiar bases at San Juan, Trinidad, British West Indies, Recife, Brazil and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba before returning to NOB, Norfolk, Virginia, on 29 September.

    After loading cargo at Bayonne (12 to 17 October), Albemarle headed south for the supply run to San Juan, Trinidad and Recife. Outward-bound the voyage proved uneventful; however, while loading ammunition and cargo at San Juan for the return leg of the voyage, an electrical fire damaged the ship's main distribution board, putting Albemarle's lighting and ventilation systems out of commission. Underway for Hampton Roads on 22 November, the seaplane tender reached Hampton Roads on the 25th, and moored at NOB, Norfolk, Virginia, on the 26th to commence an availability.

    Underway for Guantanamo Bay on the last day of 1944, Albemarle dropped anchor there on 4 January 1945. Reporting to Commander, FAW-11, for temporary duty, she tended VPB-201 and VPB-210 at "Gitmo" until 17 January, when the seaplane tender sailed for Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, arriving at her destination on the 19th. Thence she sailed for Trinidad, British West Indies where she tended VPB-213 from 1 to 11 February.

    Shifting back to the Canal Zone soon thereafter, Atbemarle commenced tending operations for VPB-214 at Almirante Bay, Panama, on 18 February, and remained engaged in that duty until Washington's Birthday. On 25 February, the ship was designated as flagship for Commander, Air Force, Atlantic Fleet, the day after she cleared Limon Bay for the Galapagos group.

    There, Albemarle tended VPB-74 and VPB-209 from 27 February to 6 March, when the seaplane tender got underway to return to the Canal Zone. She steamed thence to Guantanamo Bay and Norfolk, Virginia, arriving at the latter place on 17 March for an availability that lasted through mid-May 1945.

    Albemarle cleared Norfolk, Virginia on 18 May for New York, laden with cargo, escorted by the destroyers Bernadou (DD-153) and Dallas. Two days later, the seaplane tender sailed for the British Isles in CU-71, a convoy formed around the venerable USAT George Washington. Albemarle's mission was to bring back to the United States those patrol squadrons whose task in the Atlantic had been completed with the end of the war in Europe, and whose presence was required in the still-active Pacific theater. Ultimately, Albemarle reached her destination, Avonmouth, on 30 May, and brought her passengers—men of FAW-7 — back to Norfolk, Virginia on 14 June.

    Albemarle made a second voyage to Avonmouth, sailing from Hampton Roads on Independence Day 1945 and reaching her destination on 13 July. There she embarked 772 sailors and soldiers, the majority of the latter repatriated prisoners of war. Underway on the 17th, the seaplane tender arrived back at Norfolk, Virginia on the 26th.

    Entering the Norfolk, Virginia Navy Yard on 28 July for repairs and alterations to fit her out for duty in the Pacific, Albemarle was in the midst of this availability when the war in the Pacific ended in mid-August, 1945. The Japanese capitulation suspended the work; and, soon thereafter, the orders to the Pacific to tend seaplanes were cancelled.

    Shortly thereafter, however, Albemarle underwent alterations of a different kind, to fit her out for different duty. With repairs carried out to the ventilation and berthing arrangements, the seaplane tender departed Norfolk, Virginia on 25 September with 2,000 Navy replacements embarked, bound for the Canal Zone. She soon reported for duty as a transport under the Naval Transport Service.

    Albemarle cleared Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone, for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, but while transiting the Panama Canal suffered damage to her port screw. Reduced to proceeding with a single propeller, the seaplane tender put into San Francisco for repairs. Assigned to the "Magic Carpet" fleet—the ships given the job of returning American veterans home for rotation or discharge—upon completion of her repairs, Albemarle sailed westward, arriving at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 1 November before pushing on for New Caledonia, arriving there on 13 November, eventually arriving at NAS Alameda, California, on 28 November.

    Following a second round-trip voyage to Samar, in the Philippines, and back, Albemarle underwent a three-month overhaul at the Naval Shipyard, Terminal Island, Calif., in preparation for her participation in Operation "Crossroads." The seaplane tender arrived at the Marshall Islands on 4 May 1946, to provide laboratory and base facilities for the technical staff for the operation. On the date of the first test (Able), an air detonation of an atomic device, Albemarle lay 155 miles to the southeast, moored in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands lagoon. Departing there on 3 July, the ship reached Bikini Atoll the following day, and, except for a rehearsal exercise on 19 July, remained moored at Bikini until she departed the lagoon there on the 25th. She observed the second test (Baker) on that day, and after spending a brief period at Bikini departed Kwajalein, Marshall Islands Atoll for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, reaching her destination on 5 August 1946, her part in "Crossroads" completed. She continued on to the west coast, reaching San Pedro on 12 August, and remained there until she sailed for Norfolk, Virginia on 29 October.

    Arriving at Norfolk, Virginia via the Panama Canal on 15 November, Albemarle underwent a six-week overhaul at the Norfolk, Virginia Naval Shipyard. She remained in the Norfolk, Virginia area until she sailed on 3 March 1947 with Commander, Training Command, Atlantic, embarked. Stopping briefly at Key West, Fla., from 6 to 8 March, Albemarle proceeded on down to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reaching her destination on 10 March for a week's operations there. Clearing "Gitmo" on 18 March, the seaplane tender returned to Norfolk, Virginia on the 21st.

    Departing the Hampton Roads area on 9 April, Albemarle sailed for Boston, arriving at the naval shipyard there on the llth. She remained there until the 21 April, at which time she sailed for Newport, making arrival the same day. Departing Newport on the 23d with ComTraComdLant embarked, Albemarle returned to Norfolk, Virginia on the 24th, remaining in that vicinity, conducting refresher training and routine upkeep, until 30 June, when she sailed for Boston.

    Spending the 4th of July at Boston, Albemarle remained at that port for over a month, shifting to Newport on 5 August and then back to Boston on the 14th, remaining until 2 September, when she sailed for Norfolk, Virginia. She then conducted one more trip to Newport (22 to 31 October 1947) before coming back to Norfolk, Virginia on 1 November. She then underwent a restricted availability at the Norfolk, Virginia Naval Shipyard from 1 December 1947 to 15 January 1948, for "special temporary alterations" in connection with her next operation.

    Albemarle sailed from Norfolk, Virginia on 16 January 1948 for the Canal Zone, and upon completing the transit of the isthmian waterway reported for duty with Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, for temporary duty with Joint Task Force "Switchman." Steaming thence to Terminal Island for final fitting out for her next task at hand, and arriving there on 4 February 1948, Albemarle sailed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 1 March, in company with the radar picket destroyer Rogers (DDR-876), proceeding thence to the Marshall Islands, arriving at Eniwetok on 16 March, to take part in Operation "Sandstone." Specially altered for the task, Albemarle served as the laboratory ship during "Sandstone"—a three-detonation nuclear atmospheric test series— shots "X-Ray" (15 April 1948), "Yoke" (1 May 1948) and "Zebra" (15 May 1948). Departing Eniwetok on 21 May 1948, Albemarle arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the 27th, en route to Oakland, Calif., which she reached on 4 June. Sailing for Norfolk, Virginia on 11 June, she transited the Panama Canal on 20-21 June, and reached her ultimate destination on the 26th. She remained there undergoing overhaul at the Norfolk, Virginia Naval Shipyard until 23 August, when she sailed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reaching "Gitmo" on the 27th for a three-day stay. Over the two weeks following her departure from Cuban waters, Albemarle visited Key West, Boston, and Newport before returning to Norfolk, Virginia on 14 September.

    Following an overhaul at Norfolk, Virginia Naval Shipyard, Albemarle stood out of Hampton Roads on 8 February, and over the ensuing weeks visited a succession of ports and operating areas: Key West; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Kingston, Jamaica; and Bermuda, interspersing these port visits with training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Returning to the Norfolk, Virginia Naval Base on 19 March, she remained there into the summer, ultimately sailing for Boston on 13 July for a port visit. Subsequently visiting Newport and New York, Albemarle returned to Norfolk, Virginia on 27 July, and worked in the local operating areas into September. Further operations late in the summer and early fall of 1949 took the ship to Newport, New York, and the Norfolk, Virginia local operating areas. Standing out of Lynnhaven Roads on 2 March 1950, Albemarle subsequently worked out of Vieques, Puerto Rico, and Roosevelt Roads before she visited Martinique'\15-17 March 1950), Grenada (17-19 March), Willemstad, Curacao (20-22 March), and Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic (23-25 March). Stopping briefly at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the ship returned to Norfolk, Virginia on 31 March and remained there until 11 May, when she got underway for the New York Naval Shipyard, arriving there the following day. Attached to the New York Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet, the ship was decommissioned on 14 August 1950 and berthed at Brooklyn.

    Shifted to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in February 1956, Albemarle was earmarked for conversion to tend Martin P6M "Seamaster" jet flying boats. She was reassigned from the Atlantic Reserve Fleet to the Commandant, 4th Naval District, for conversion, effective 6 February 1956. Equipped with stern ramps and servicing booms to handle the "Seamaster," as well as a semi-sheltered area and a service drydock, the ship emerged from the conversion possessing the capability to serve as a highly mobile seadrome capable of supporting jet seaplanes anywhere. Albemarle was recommissioned at Philadelphia on 21 October 1957, Capt. William A. Dean in command. After fitting out, she sailed for Norfolk, Virginia on 7 December, and arrived there on the 10th. The ship then sailed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on 3 January 1958, made port there on the 7th, remaining there for ten days and carrying out shakedown training, before dropping down to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Proceeding thence back to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, concluding her shakedown on 21 January, Albemarle steamed thence to San Juan and Trinidad, carrying out tending operations with four squadrons of Martin P5M "Marlin" flying boats and participating in "Springboard" exercises. Albemarle arrived back at Norfolk, Virginia on 9 April, remaining there only five days before proceeding back to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where she remained under overhaul through mid-July. Returning to Norfolk, Virginia on 20 July, the ship got underway for operations in the North Atlantic on 14 August, and ranged as far as the Azores before returning to Norfolk, Virginia on 16 September. Over the next two months, Albemarle operated between Norfolk, Virginia and Bermuda; she rounded out the year at Norfolk, Virginia, arriving there on 19 November and remaining until 2 March 1959.

    Albemarle continued to operate out of Norfolk, Virginia through 1959 and into 1960, although the cancellation of the "Seamaster" program meant that the ship would never service the aircraft for which she had been reconfigured. Her ports and places visited in 1959 encompassed the naval air facility at Patuxent River, Maryland; Pillsbury Sound, in the Virgin Islands; San Juan, and Savannah, Ga.; Halifax and Nova Scotia, Canada; New York City; York-town, Va., Port-au-Prince; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Bermuda. The ship commenced the year, 1960, operating out of San Juan, then moved in succession to Bermuda, back to San Juan, thence to Pillsbury Sound and Grand Turk Island, in the West Indies, thence to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Pillsbury Sound again; thence to San Juan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, into March.

    Unloading ammunition at the Naval Weapons Station at York-town, between 12 and 15 July, Albemarle moored at Norfolk, Virginia, commencing preparations for inactivation, from 15 to 18 July, before she proceeded to Philadelphia to unload material. Returning thence to Norfolk, Virginia on 30 July, she continued inactivation preparations through the summer.

    Placed out of commission, in reserve, on 21 October 1960, Albemarle was initially berthed with the Norfolk, Virginia group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet pending her transfer to the Maritime Administration (MarAd) James River Fleet. Placed in the custodial care of MarAd, Albemarle was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 September 1962.

    On 7 August 1964, however, MarAd transferred the ship— earmarked for conversion to a floating aeronautical maintenance facility for helicopters—back to the Navy. On 27 March 1965, the ship received the new name and classification Corpus Christi Bay (T-ARVH-1), and was transferred to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 11 January 1966.

    Converted at the Charleston (S.C.) Naval Shipyard, the ship emerged from the yard only faintly resembling her former self. Gone was the prominent seaplane ramp, aft, replaced by a built-up superstructure topped by a helicopter landing pad measuring 50 by 150 feet. Previously, damaged helicopters had had to be transported back to the United States for refit; with the advent of this "new" ship type, repairs could be accomplished near the forward areas, damaged helos barged out to the ship and lifted on board by two 20-ton capacity cranes.

    Accepted by MSC in January 1966, Corpus Christi Bay's first commander was Capt. Harry Anderson, who had a crew of 129 men, a fraction of the ship's original complement, under him. Accompanying the ship on her first deployment in support of forces in Vietnam was the Army's 1st Transportation Corps Battalion (Seaborne), 308 aircraft technicians and specialists under the command of Lt. Col. Harry 0. Davis, USA. The ship operated out of Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam, during 1966.

    Ultimately determined by MSC to be "in excess of current and future requirements," Corpus Christi Bay was taken out of service and berthed in ready reserve status at Corpus Christi, Texas. Corpus Christi Bay (T-ARVH-1) was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 31 December 1974. On 17 July 1975, the ship was sold to Brownsville (Texas) Steel and Salvage, Inc., and was scrapped subsequently.

    VP History ThumbnailCameraUSS Albemarle USS Albemarle (AV-5), 30 July 1943, in what is probably Measure 21 (Navy blue/haze gray) camouflage. (80-G-76629)

    VP History ThumbnailCameraUSS Albemarle USS Albemarle (AV-5), her stem showing the extensive modifications made to enable her to handle the projected Martin PGM "Seamaster" flying boats, in the Azores, 21 August 1958, in this photograph taken by Chief Photographer Leuko. (USN 1044231)

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I am an aviation historian resident in a suburb of Perth, Western Australia. I am preparing a Masters thesis titled "The Air War in Western Australia 1939-1945". From March 1942 to August 1944 we had Patrol Wing Ten (Fleet Air Wing Ten from 01 NOV 42) based at Crawley on the Swan River, near Perth. PWTen appears to have doubled as a training and local patrol unit, with patrol squadrons being rotated as the war in the Southwest Pacific progressed. From the Wing's War Diary I have ascertained that the following squadrons were present at Crawley: VP-101 (includes merged VP-21, VP-22 and VP-102 after the evacuation of Java in MAR 42), VP-11, VP-33, VP-34, VP-52. After FAWTen left Perth in AUG 44, a utility training unit, VS-61 continued until well into 1945. I am seeking information on these squadrons when they were in Western Australia. I know of their bases at Geraldton and Exmout Gulf (POTSHOT) but I have a problem with the mobile base, "Heron Haven". I have a copy of Messimer's "In the Hands of Fate" and a few other published references, so have an overall picture. Any help would be appreciated..." Contributed by Lindsay J. Peet (Mr.) ppeetlj@ic-net.com.au [22JUL98]

    UPDATE "...Lindsay, Since our recent communication I have delved into the matter of Heron Haven, and have enjoyed doing so.

    Since my interest begins with aircraft and their squadrons, I approached this exercise from an "aircraft on aggressive ops. using Seaplane Tenders" point of view. This allowed me to rule out some matters, such as :---

  • 1 Regular seaplane patrols from such as Geraldton.
  • 2 Seaplane mine laying ops from West Bay in Napier Broome Bay which began 17Nov44.

    I set aside some matters temporarily, being :---
  • 1 The seven and then five USN PBY flying Crawley to Townsend Haven to Darwin in Jun43.
  • 2 The joined usage of "Townsend Haven(Heron Haven)".

    I then found that only RAAF Catalinas were thereafter used on aggressive ops from [or returning to] WA advanced bases in my search timeframe and area. I shall list these under "locality" headings, of which there are just three, being
  • 1 Exmouth Gulf
  • 2 Cygnet Bay
  • 3 Yampi Sound
    Exmouth Gulf.

    In Aug43 and Nov43, RAAF Catalinas did mining sorties to Soerabaya Harbour. They flew Darwin, Soerabaya, Heron Haven for fuel, then return to Darwin.

    In both months, tender Preston is mentioned for refuelling.

    Pilot Honan was on the Nov43 Sortie, describes his career in book "That's That", clearly states Heron Haven was at Exmouth Gulf, shows it so on a map.

    Cygnet Bay.

    In Jan44, RAAF investigated Cygnet Bay for use by mine laying Catalinas. It was accepted for RAAF use, perhaps because of radar station at Cape Leveque and protective airfield at Derby. Tidal mudflats were a problem.

    Tender Preston laid moorings and supported the Catalinas. The sorties were flown Cygnet Bay - Balikpapan - Cygnet Bay.

    Cygnet Bay was used only once for RAAF ops, for a set of three mine laying sorties to Balikpapan on 20, 22, and 24Feb44.

    Yampi Sound. [Codename "Shecat"]

    In Apr44 Yampi Sound was selected as advanced base for more minelaying ops to Balikpapan. A radar station was at Cockatoo Island. Tender Childs set the moorings.

    A set of three ops were done this month, flying Yampi Sound - Balikpapan - Yampi Sound.

    More sets of ops were done from Yampi Sound in May, June, and July44, to Balikpapan and to Soerabaya.

    After Jul44, no more aggressive Catalina ops were done from WA coast until West Bay came into use.

    *****************

    So, from the above, I'm happy that Heron Haven was a "common usage" name for Exmouth Gulf, and only Exmouth Gulf. I can't see it as a formal "code name" since it could relate to the operational vessel USS Heron. I see there is a "Heron Point" adjacent Learmonth in Exmouth Gulf.

    Heron may have done a reconnaisance to Cygnet Bay in early Jun43, prior to the VP-101 flights to Darwin in Jun43. As for Heron's dalliance in the Dampier Archipeligo, perhaps the fishing was good. Where was General Blamey just then? No jest!

    There is a "Townshend River" at Cygnet Bay. Perhaps it was Cygnet Bay, by whatever name, where the USN Catalinas refuelled on their way to Darwin in Jun43. Perhaps the USN avoided Exmouth Gulf in Jun43 as the Japanese bombed there [no physical damage] in May43, after which the submarine base was closed.

    I would love to read about the VP-101 flights in context, would appreciate any info you might be able to provide...

    Hope this helps, best wishes, Bruce G..." Contributed by Wynnum B Graham wbg@bigpond.com [26AUG98]

    Circa 1941

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: There are many gaps in this work, I hope others can help me with info such as date and base of commissioning, bases and dates of moves toward SWPac area, how the squadron returned to the US - dates of main personnel moves, what ship, did any fly their PBYs back to US? All information will be gladly received and acknowledged. Regards, Wynnum B Graham wbg@bigpond.com [29AUG98]

    VP-34 CHRONOLOGY
    WWII ERA


    07DEC41....VP-34 designation had not been used prior to WWII beginning in the Pacific.

    ??Date....VP-34 commissioned. [Info needed from plank owners]

    00MAR42....Norfolk, Va, is home port to VP-34.

    15SEP43....Fleet Air Wing 17 is formed at Naval Seaplane Base Brisbane, Australia, to control VPs 33, 34, and 52.

    LateDEC43....VP-34 arrived New Guinea, based at Samarai, relieves VP-52. VP-34 has PBY-5, not the amphibian PBY-5A. A related matter is that a new advanced base is at Samarai, not far from Namoia Bay. It has a ramp and shore base. All repairs except overhaul are now done there. A heavy maintenance base was being constructed at Palm Island, offshore Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

    31DEC43....VP-34 does first ops, CO is Lt Cmdr T A Christopher.

    31DEC43-16FEB44....VP-34 operated from Samarai.

    During FEB44....VP-34 departed Samarai, relieved VP-52 at Port Moresby, allowing VP-52 crews 10 days rest time in Australia [Surfers Paradise is mentioned]. At Samarai, VP-33 came in to relieve VP-34. VP-34 had found quite a lot of ships to attack during its operational tour, but VP-33 found the pickings rather slim.

    15FEB44....Day of big bomber raids on Kavieng, supporting the NZ 3rd Div landings at Green Island. VP-34 had a PBY on rescue duty, picked up three sets of downed crewmen and flew back to Finschhafen. Lt Gordon was awarded the Medal of Honor.

    00APR44....VP-34 moved from eastern New Guinea to Manus, Admiralty Islands, doing air-sea rescue duties.

    Perhaps 22APR44....VP-34 had ten PBY at Langemak Bay, Finschhafen, under CO Christopher, tender is Half Moon. Part of VP-34 was doing ASR from Langemak Bay, Finschhafen, from tender San Pablo and later Half Moon. 5th AF HQ controlled ASR ops.

    04JUL44....Three crews of VP-52 were at Lake Boga, Victoria, Australia, an RAAF heavy maintenance base. [During Jul44, Lake Boga serviced ten US PBYs, at least three from VP-33, and one from VP-34.]

    17JUL44....VP-34 CO is Lt Cdr V V Utgoff. Igor Sikorsky had built his first plane in the US in Utgoff's father's back yard. VP-34 now changed from air-sea-rescue duties back to search and attack, is based at Woendi Is with tender Orca. Their flights are westward into Molucca Sea, and Celebes Is area.

    2AUG44....VP-34 pilot Essary departed Lake Boga for Hamilton Reach, Naval Seaplane Base Brisbane, Australia, then on to Tender Orca anchored off Woendi, near Biak.

    06AUG44....VP-11 joins VP-34 at Woendi, near Biak, having just returned from Western Australia. About Jul44, Patwing 10 had ceased ops at Perth and departed.

    22AUG44....VP-11 and VP-34 move forward to Middleburg Is, near Sansapor, with tenders Orca and Half Moon. They start doing ops to the Philippines.

    About end AUG44....VP-34 withdrew to Manus Is. after completing a tour of ops, much of their work seems to have been 'out of Woendi'.

    01SEP44....VP-34 returned to Manus Is in the Admiralties group. VP-11 continued ops from Middleburg Is, CO Lt Cdr White. VP-33 moved up from Admiralties to Middleburg Is, operate from Orca and do a record breaking tour, CO is Lt Cdr Fernald P Anderson who had relieved L Cdr Bengston.

    01OCT44....As with all VP squadrons, VP-34 was re-designated. Now is VPB-34

    Thru OCT44...VPB-33 and -34 have been training at Manus Island, Admiralties.

    20OCT44....Time frame : MacArthur waded ashore at Leyte, PI, this day. Seaplane Tenders Tangier, Orca, and San Pablo are at Morotai as bases for the PBYs.

    23OCT44....Utgoff, CO of VPB-34 led a ten plane flight, five each from VPB-33 and VPB-34, from Mios, Woendi [near Biak] to Hinunangan Bay, Leyte.

    25OCT44....They move to tender San Carlos, at San Pedro Bay, Leyte.

    24NOV44....VPB-71 arrived Morotai, has PBY-5A. Seems to relieve VP-11 and VP-34 which returned to US in Nov44 and Dec44 respectively.

    04DEC44....Destroyer USS Cooper had been sunk the day before , at Ormoc Bay, Philippines. Five PBY of VP-34 are sent to the rescue, along with one army OA-10-A (PBY-5A).

    cDEC44....VPB-34 wind down 'black cat' operations and return to US. Contributed by Wynnum B Graham wbg@bigpond.com [29AUG98]

    Circa 1942 - 1945

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol2.htm [28APR2001]
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    Squadron History:  VP-34

    Lineage

    Established as Patrol Squadron THIRTY-FOUR (VP-34) on 16 April 1942.
    Redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron THIRTY-FOUR (VPB-34) on 1 October 1944.
    Disestablished on 7 April 1945.

    Squadron Insignia and Nickname

    The squadron’s only insignia came into being during its first tour of duty in the South Pacific in early 1944. VP-34 was one of ten Navy patrol squadrons to be designated Black Cats during the war. The nickname came from the flat black paint applied to the Catalinas and the nighttime strike missions assigned to these squadrons. The VP-34 squadron insignia featured a cat’s face with its jaws champing down on an enemy cargo vessel. On top of the cat’s head was a set of radio headphones and a ball cap. Across the top of the insignia was the legend Black Cats, and at the bottom VPB-34, and Southwest Pacific. Colors: (see Logos page, -ed.)

    Nickname: Black Cats, 1944–1945.

    Chronology of Significant Events

    16 Apr 1942: VP-34 was established at NAS Norfolk, Va., under the operational control of FAW-5, as a seaplane squadron flying the PBY-5 Catalina. A shortage of aircraft prevented the squadron from receiving its full complement of Catalinas until early June 1942. In the interim VP-81 loaned the squadron one PBY-5 with which to practice. Several aircrews were sent to Banana River, Fla., and Key West, Fla., for flight instruction with other squadrons.

    25 Jul 1942: VP-34 was by this time fully equipped and manned. Orders were received for duty at NAS Coco Solo, C.Z., with detachments at Kingston, Jamaica, and Trujillo, Honduras. During this period the squadron conducted ASW training, and provided convoy coverage patrols under the operational control of FAW-3.

    10 Oct 1942: The squadron was transferred to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under the operational control of FAW-11. Detachments were maintained at Great Exhuma Island, San Juan, Antigua, Trinidad, and Essequibo. Coverage for convoys and ASW patrols in the Caribbean were provided around the clock.

    7 Jun 1943: VP-34 was relieved of duties in the Caribbean and relocated to NAS San Diego, Calif., under the operational control of FAW-14. Personnel were given home leave prior to the pending departure to the South Pacific. Upon return from leave, all hands began preparation for the transpac to NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii.

    8–10 Jul 1943: VP-34 arrived at NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii, and came under the operational control of FAW-2. Squadron personnel were given a brief period of combat training in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.

    24 Jul 1943: The squadron was split into detachments with six aircraft at Midway Island, five at Canton Island, and one at Johnston Island. Search patrols in the vicinity of the islands were conducted during the daylight hours. The squadron detachments returned to Kaneohe on 11 August 1943.

    18 Aug 1943: A detachment of six aircraft was sent to Funafuti Island.

    23 Aug 1943: A detachment of three aircraft returned to Johnston Island, remaining until 12 September 1943, when they returned to NAS Kaneohe. Two days later thissame detachment was sent to Canton Island to conduct daytime long range searches for enemy vessels.

    21 Sep 1943: The Canton and Funafuti detachments were relocated to Perth,Australia, arriving on 29 September 1943. Training and long-range search patrols were conducted by the squadron through mid-December under the operational control of FAW-10.

    18 Dec 1943: VP-34 was relocated to Palm Island, Queensland, Australia, under the operational control of FAW-17. By 26 December 1943, the squadron was located at Samarai, Papua New Guinea, where it began its first offensive combat operations against the enemy as a Black Cat squadron.

    31 Dec 1943–22 Jan 1944: Lieutenant Commander Thomas A. Christopher, the squadron commanding officer, set the pace for VP-34 operations in the Bismarck Sea area of operations. On 31 December 1944 he attacked and damaged one enemy vessel during a night patrol. On 22 January 1944 he again attacked and damaged an enemy vessel at night, receiving damage from heavy AA fire resulting in injury to one crewmember. For his leadership in seeking out the enemy and pressing home the attack under heavy fire Lieutenant Commander Christopher was awarded the Navy Cross. On 15 January 1944 Christopher led a five-aircraft attack on a strongly escorted enemy convoy attempting to cross the straits. He made a mast-head attack at extremely close range and personally accounted for one 6,800-ton merchantman, while the remainder of the flight destroyed two more. For this action Lieutenant Commander Christopher was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross.

    31 Dec 1943–15 Feb 1944: Lieutenant Ellis J. Fisher led his PBY-5 Catalina in numerous attacks on Japanese shipping in the Bismarck Sea. On the nights of 31 December 1943, 4 and 15 January 1944, and 15 February 1944 he participated in attacks on heavily escorted enemy convoys, sinking a large merchant ship, heavily damaging another and aiding in the destruction of a large tanker. On 18 January and 2 February 1944 he damaged a large merchant vessel and sank a medium sized tanker. On 13 February 1944 he successfully strafed and destroyed an armed enemy vessel, sank five motor launches and probably damaged a midget submarine. For his actions between 31 December 1943 and 15 February 1944 he was awarded the Navy Cross.

    Jan–Feb 1944: During the nights of 16 and 22 January and 15 February, Lieutenant Harold L. Dennison led his PBY Catalina against enemy ships in the Bismarck Sea and within the vicinity of strong enemy bases. He bombed an enemy destroyer under intense antiaircraft fire which caused severe damage to his aircraft. However, with his damaged aircraft, he returned to make repeated strafing attacks. Under hazardous weather conditions he carried out an attack against a large merchant vessel in a strongly defended convoy. Receiving heavy and constant enemy fire, he caused heavy damage to the merchant vessel. In another action he forced an enemy tanker to run aground. For his actions in these engagements he was awarded the Navy Cross.

    12 Feb 1944: Several VP-34 crews were relocated to Port Moresby, with the remaining crews and ground personnel remaining at Samarai, Papua New Guinea, to conduct maintenance, overhauls and a brief period of relief from combat operations. The detachment sent to Moresby boarded Half Moon (AVP 26) and San Pablo (AVP 30) for passage to Langemak Bay. On 19 February 1943, air-sea rescue and evacuation missions were conducted in support of TG 73.1.

    15 Feb 1944: Lieutenant (jg) Nathan G. Gordon and his crew of the Samarai detachment were assigned to provide air-sea rescue support to the Army for an air attack on the enemy-held Kavieng Harbor, New Ireland. Lieutenant (jg) Gordon made four full stall landings in the rough waters of the harbor to collect survivors, coming under intense enemy fire. He and his crew located and picked up 15 Army fliers shot down during the attack. After rescuing the last man, Lieutenant (jg) Gordon was running out of fuel and was forced to land at Wewak, New Guinea. There he unloaded the Army fliers on the recently arrived tender San Pablo (AVP 30) before refueling and returning to Samarai. Lieutenant (jg) Gordon was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his conduct, and each member of his crew received the Silver Star.

    17 Feb 1944: Lieutenant Orazio Simonelli was awarded the Navy Cross for his action in rescuing five airmen who had been forced down by enemy gunfire on 15 February during the air attack against Kavieng Harbor, New Ireland. Although his PBY Catalina lost its fighter escort before reaching the downed airmen, Lieutenant Simonelli continued on to his object and the successful rescue, which included several severely injured men.

    17 May 1944: The Langemak Bay detachment was relocated to Hollandia aboard Half Moon (AVP 26), where it continued air-sea rescue and evacuation missions through mid-July.

    18 May 1944: The Samarai detachment was relocated to Manus Island supported by the tender Tangier (AV 8). Daytime scouting missions and long range scouting patrols were conducted through mid-July.

    16 Jul 1944: VP-34 was relocated to Mios Woendi and Middleburg islands for a continuation of Black Cat operations.

    31 Jul 1944: On the night of 31 July 1944 Lieutenant Norman L. Paxton led his PBY-5 Catalina in an attack against a large enemy freighter-transport protected by two escorts at anchor in a small harbor. He attacked in bright moonlight and against an intense barrage of antiaircraft fire. His low altitude attack succeeded in destroying the freighter-transport. He safely brought his plane and crew back to their home base despite the AA damage it had sustained during the attack. For his actions Lieutenant Paxton was awarded the Navy Cross.

    1 Sep 1944: Operational control of the squadron was shifted from FAW-17 to FAW-10. A detachment was returned to Manus Island, leaving five aircraft at Mios Woendi to conduct day and night antishipping patrols.

    7 Oct 1944: Five additional crews flew to supplement the detachment at Mios Woendi for patrol duties.

    23 Oct 1944: VPB-34 was relocated to San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, with tender support provided by San Carlos (AVP 51), San Pablo (AVP 30), Orca (AVP 49) and Currituck (AV 7). By 6 November 1944, the squadron once again commenced its hallmark Black Cat operations, alternating with daytime air-sea rescue and evacuation missions.

    3 Dec 1944: At 0013 hours, Cooper (DD 695) was struck by a torpedo while engaging Japanese surface craft and barges in the waters of Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippines. The ship broke in two and sank in less than a minute, resulting in the loss of 191 crew members and 168 survivors left struggling in the water. At 1400 Lieutenant Frederick J. Ball and his crew were returning from a long-range reconnaissance mission and spotted the survivors floating in the bay. Ball landed his Catalina in the bay and proceeded over the next hour to pick up survivors within range of enemy shore fire. He rescued 56 sailors from the bay, and when the aircraft could hold no more Lieutenant Ball began a takeoff run that took three miles before liftoff could be achieved. He safely returned to his base with his passengers, many of them wounded. The remaining 112 survivors were collected by another VPB-34 Catalina which taxied to safety outside the bay where they were offloaded onto another ship. For his bravery under fire Lieutenant Ball received the Navy Cross.

    23 Dec 1944–16 Jan 1945: VPB-34 was relieved of combat operations and relocated to Manus Island in preparation for return to the U.S. Squadron personnel boarded Hollandia (CVE 97) at Kaneohe, Hawaii, on 10 January 1945, arriving at San Diego, Calif., on the 16th. Upon arrival all hands were given home leave and the squadron was reduced to caretaker status.

    7 Apr 1945: VPB-34 was disestablished.

     

    Home Port Assignments

    LocationDate of Assignment
    NAS Norfolk, Va.16 Apr 1942
    NAS Coco Solo, C.Z.25 Jul 1942
    NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba10 Oct 1942
    NAS San Diego, Calif.7 Jun 1943
    NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii8 Jul 1943
    NAS San Diego, Calif.16 Jan 1945

     

    Commanding Officers

    NameDate Assumed Command
    LCDR Renwick S. Calderhead16 Apr 1942
    LCDR James G. Craig, Jr.21 Aug 1942
    LCDR Thomas A. Christopher2 Nov 1943
    LCDR Vadym V. Utgoff12 May 1944

     

    Aircraft Assignment

    Type of Aircraft Date Type First Received
    PBY-5 Jun 1942

     

    Major Overseas Deployments

    Date of DepartureDate of Return Wing Base of  Operations Type of Aircraft Area of Operations
    25 Jul 194210 Oct 1942FAW-3Coco SoloPBY-5Carib
    10 Oct 19427 Jun 1943FAW-11GuantanamoPBY-5Carib
    8 Jul 194310 Jan 1945FAW-2KaneohePBY-5WestPac
    24 Jul 1943*FAW-2MidwayPBY-5WestPac
    24 Jul 1943*FAW-1CantonPBY-5WestPac
    24 Jul 1943*FAW-1Johnston Is.PBY-5WestPac
    18 Aug 1943*FAW-1FunafutiPBY-5SoPac
    21 Sep 1943*FAW-10PerthPBY-5SoPac
    18 Dec 1943*FAW-17Palm IslandPBY-5SoPac
    26 Dec 1943*FAW-17SamaraiPBY-5SoPac
    12 Feb 1943*FAW-10Port MoresbyPBY-5SoPac
    Half Moon (AVP 26)
    San Pablo (AVP 30)
    17 May 1944*FAW-17LangemakPBY-5SoPac
    Half Moon (AVP 26)
    18 May 1944*FAW-17Manus Isl.PBY-5SoPac
    Tangier (AV 8)
    16 Jul 1944*FAW-17Mios WoendiPBY-5SoPac
    1 Sep 1944*FAW-10Manus Isl.PBY-5SoPac
    23 Oct 194423 Dec 1944FAW-10San Pedro BayPBY-5SoPac
    San Carlos (AVP 51)
    San Pablo (AVP 30)
    Orca (AVP 49)
    Currituck (AV 7)

    * Continued combat deployment in the Pacific, moving from base to base.
    † This deployment only involved a squadron detachment. The main body of the squadron remained at NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii.

     

    Wing Assignments

    WingTail CodeAssignment Date
    FAW-5 *16 Apr 1942
    FAW-325 Jul 1942
    FAW-11 10 Oct 1942
    FAW-147 Jun 1943
    FAW-210 Jul 1943
    FAW-1021 Sep 1943
    FAW-17 18 Dec 1943
    FAW-10 1 Sep 1944
    FAW-2 23 Dec 1944
    FAW-14 16 Jan 1945

    * Patrol Wing 2 was redesignated Fleet Air Wing 2 (FAW-2) on 1 November 1942.
    † The squadron remained a part of FAW-4, but was assigned the tail code DD on 7 November 1946.

     

    Unit Awards Received

    Unit AwardInclusive Date Covering Unit Award
    PUC15 Sep 19431 Feb 1944

    Patrol Aviation in the Pacific in WW II

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Aviation in the Pacific in WW II - Part 2 - By Capt. Albert L. Raithel, Jr., USN (Ret.)...This Squadron Mentioned...Naval Historical Center ADOBE Download File: http://www.history.navy.mil/download/ww2-20.pdf [25MAY2003]
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