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HistoryVP-3 HistoryHistory

Circa 1938

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-2, VP-3, and VP-5 made up Patrol Wing THREE in 1938
Title: U.S. Navy Aircraft 1921-1941, U.S. Marine Corps Aircraft 1914-1959: Two Classics in One Volume [Squadron insignias, aircraft, and more!] by William T. Larkins [10SEP98]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "PATROL SQUADRON THREE NOTES" Contributed by Vincent A. Dauro vadauro@aol.com [21MAY98]

VP-3 was established 2 Jan 1937 as VP-16F and went through several name changes. It was dis-established on 1 Nov 1955.

The squadron logo was an Alaskan Husky, sitting on snow in front of trees and a mountain. Imagine that on a patch in Panama where I joined the squadron. Our call sign was SEAFOX, in keeping with our nickname "Huskies". We later had a contest and tried to change the patch, but BuAer said no. Words to the effect that it was "Historical". I have and treasure my first squadron patch, which I wore in Coco Solo.

Some of the personnel at VP-3:

NAS Coco Solo July 1949-Jan 1950
NAS Jacksonville Jan 1950-Sep 1952

CO's:
CDR Gil J. Frauenheim (CO) 49-Jan 51
CDR Louis DeCamp (CO) Jan 51 Sep 52
CDR George D. Ghesquire (CO) Sep 52

XO's:
LCDR Ed Foster (XO) 49-51
CDR J. Spotswood Harris (XO, Transition training) 51
LCDR Martin (XO) 51-52

OTHERS (Civilian, Enlisted, and Officers):AO1 James Alphin
LCDR Red Bartz (Mustang maintenance)
AO1 Donald Buell
MIDN/ENS/LTJG Ken Costen
AO1 Cunningham
MIDN/ENS/LTJG Vince Dauro
MIDN/ENS Andy DiFonzo
CPO Evans Leading Chief
LT Goodpasture
LTJG Hamby
LTJG Hal Hamburg
LT Hartnett
MIDN/ENS/LTJG Mike Hollack
MIDN/ENS/LTJG M. L. Johnson
CPO Lombardi Great cook
LT Ed McNett
LCDR Minton
CPO A. J. Pink (Chief Steward Mate)
Quinn (BOQ steward) a character
MIDN/ENS/LTJG E. E. Rivers
LT B. B. Smith
Snuffy Smith (Lockheed tech rep)
MIDN/ENS/LTJG H. H. Sproull
MIDN/ENS/LTJG Harold Stevens
MIDN/ENS/LTJG G. L. Stokes
MIDN/ENS/LTJG A. F. Synder
LCDR Ben Tate
LTJG VanLandingham
LCDR York


I joined VP-3 at Coco Solo in the Panama canal zone in July of 1949 as a First Class Midshipman. I had received my wings in June and this was my first fleet station. We worked tropical hours, Mon thru Fri, 0700-1300. Breakfast before, lunch afterwards. There were 3 VP squadrons there VP-3, Vp-40 and Vp-44. Also FASRON 108. Fantastic weather, duty and liberty. The base was on a little bay seperated from the Atlantic by a breakwater. It was used by the seaplanes of VP-40 and 44. We used an Air Force field, "France Field", and had to taxi about a mile on a one way taxiway through the jungle to get to the base. Right before reaching the base, we crossed a Panamanian road that had to be blocked off for us.

PRES Harry Truman and SECDEF Louis Johnson were closing the Canal zone bases, and it was getting dangerous to go to Colon, the nearest town, but we went. A sizzling steak, french fries, butter, good fresh french bread and beer cost $1 at a restaurant there. Drinks at nite clubs were only 25 to 45 cents. When you consider my pay was only $78 base and $39 flight pay with $6 one month and $7 the next held out for insurance, you understand why I thought the duty was great. We were lodged in AOQ and had a brisk two minute walk to work. The COM(C) charged $30 and we ate family style. Lots of fresh fruits, but milk had to be purchased separately. (Bovine hookworm affected humans as well as cows).

In December of 1949, we were the last VP Squadron at Coco Solo and as such hosted the New Year party at the O'Club. A gala event, with the club trying to lose money to reduce its assets. Beer and drinks ten cents, and champagne eighty cents a bottle.

Moved to NAS Jacksonville in Jan 1950. Took part in Operation PORTREX Feb 1950 where we moved to NS Roosevelt Roads, PR and were the enemy forces defending Vieques. On 2 Mar was navigator on SAR flight; PBM sunk. Arrived after surface ship had picked them up, so patrolled area for incoming fleet from Norfolk. Spotted them at 500 miles out and our skipper, who was in tactical command, launched a strike of 3 squadrons that caught the force flatfooted.

Patrols during PORTREX were generally at 100-150 feet to avoid the radar beams of surface ships. We were not interested in subs then, only in finding and attacking the invasion fleet. On another attack, when they were just south of Vieques, we had a coordinated attack from three directions and had to be very careful not to hit either the other attacking planes or the ships we were attacking. Simulated bomb and torpedo runs were from 75-100 feet above the water.

On 14 Mar we took part in Operation CARIBEX 1st phase, and then on 22 Mar the 2nd phase. Squadron deployed to Argentia in June 1950 and again in June 1951. In August 1951, took part in special patrol missions from Quonset, Argentia, and Bermuda. These involved very accurate navigation in which we had to cross designated points at specified speeds, altitudes and directions. Complete detailed logs and plots had to be turned in with pilot comments. In Feb/Mar 1952, we were at Norfolk for CONVEX III.

When I joined the squadron in July 1949, they were flying P2V-2s. In May 1950, we went to P2V-3 and P2V-3Ws. We were the first to get P2V-5s in Jan 1952. The early P2Vs were awesome. Six 20 mm in nose, two 20 mm in tail and twin 50 calibers in upper deck turret. Bomb bays could carry two torpedoes or two 11/14 inch rockets or 16 depth charges. Sixteen 5 inch HVAR on wings. When I tell fighter pilots that we had a gunsight for the pilot, they are amazed. During PORTREX 1950, we jumped a F4U, (Corsair), and engaged himin a brief dogfight. According to the rules we were shot down,but if the guns were loaded, he'd been dead even before he knew wewere there. We were less than 200 feet on his tail before he evensaw us.

Circa 1937

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-3 - History of Headquarters Squadron Fleet Air Wing Three - History: 01OCT37-01NOV44. Squadron's Assigned: VP-2, VP-3 and VP-5 - Submitted January 4, 1945..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [25NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-3 HistoryCameraVP-3 Post Card "...Cover "commemorating first non-stop mass flight, San Diego, California to Coco Solo, Panama, Made by 12 Consolidated Catalina planes of Patrol Squadron Three, United States Navy, 11:30 am 21 June 1937 to 6:20 pm, 22 June 1937, Distance 3292 miles. The cover bears four US 5-cent Naval Academy stamps. The back of the cover is stamped with a cancel from the USS Ranger on June 22, 1937. Morse's autographed has been cut out of the enclosed letter and glued to the front of the cover. The enclosed letter reads "My dear Jesse, After conferring with Captain Gunther, our CO, who is also a philatelist, I feel unable to oblige you in the cachets enclosed. I believe they are a violation in part of GO 91 or whatever it is, since by the 21 June postmark, the inference is made that they were carried in the planes. This opinion is that of other officers as well as mine. Yours sincerely"..." WebSite: EBay http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZauroraintl [24JUL2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-3 HistoryCameraVP-3 PBY BUNO: 3-P-2 "...Circa June 1937 - Yahoo Naval Aviation Group..." Contributed by KOONTS, AT2 Billy billkoonts@aol.com [27AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Naval Aeronautic Organization - Change In - Fiscal Year 1938 - Dated 24 Sep 1937..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [25SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VP-1, VP-2, VP-3, VP-4, VP-5, VP-6, VP-7, VP-8 and VP-9

VP-10, VP-11, VP-12, VP-14, VP-15, VP-16, VP-17 and VP-19
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Naval Aeronautic Organization - Fiscal Year 1938 - Dated 7 May 1937..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [25SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VP-1, VP-2, VP-3, VP-4, VP-5, VP-6, VP-7, VP-8 and VP-9

VP-10, VP-11, VP-12, VP-14, VP-15, VP-16, VP-17 and VP-19
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Circa 1936

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "25OCT36...After repairs at the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif., USS Wright departed San Diego on 10 October 1936 for Pearl Harbor and thence sailed once more to French Frigate Shoals, reaching there on 25 October. She then landed a camp detachment to establish a base on East Island, and tended seaplanes from VP-1, VP-3, VP-4, and VP-10 until 6 November." http://namopdc.nawcad.navy.mil/talps/tapxo.htm


Circa 1934

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...In July, 1934, Captain DICKEY reported for duty under instruction at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and spent nearly a year there in preparation for the next stop in his Navy career. This was command of Patrol Squadron THREE, then based in the Canal Zone..." WebSite: USS HANCOCK CV-19 http://www.usshancockassociation.org/wwii%20history-3.html [01NOV2005]


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