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HistoryVP-4 HistoryHistory

Circa 1958

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...1958 Bangkok Deployment - In transit from May 19, 1958-May 23, 1958 (taken from YD-12 BUNO: 131481)..." Contributed by Jerry Hentz janjer2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 09JUN2004 | 26MAR98]

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Circa 1957

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News December 1957 "...Pilots Of VP-4 - Page 24 - Naval Aviation News - December 1957..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1957/dec57.pdf [11AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News February 1957 "...Okinawa's Stormy Welcome - Page 23 - Naval Aviation News - February 1957..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1957/feb57.pdf [10AUG2004]

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Circa 1956

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News January 1956 "...VP-4 Tours SW Pacific - Page 11 - Naval Aviation News - January 1956..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1956/jan56.pdf [08AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News January 1956 "...P2V Gives Guiding Light - Page 14 - Naval Aviation News - January 1956..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1956/jan56.pdf [08AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-4 P2 "...Some VP-4 P2Vs visited Australia on a goodwill tour in 1956..." Contributed by Wynnum B Graham wbg@bigpond.com [31DEC98]


Circa 1955

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News December 1955 "...Safety Awards Presented - Page 29 - Naval Aviation News - December 1955..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1955/dec55.pdf [07AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News April 1955 "...Heads-Up Action Saves P2V - Page 19 - Naval Aviation News - April 1955..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1955/apr55.pdf [03AUG2004]

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Circa 1954

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History "...Patrol Squadrons Convene Here For Anti-Sub Exercise - JAX AIR NEWS - VOL 11 - NO 50 - NAS Jacksonville, FL - 25 MAR 1954..." WebSite: University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries http://ufdc.ufl.edu/ [25JAN2011]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History "...09JUN54 - Squadron Returns - VP-4 Returns To NAS Whidbey Island, Washington - Publication Title: 13th Naval District Public Information Department Press Clippings, 1942-1960 - Content Source: NARA - Publication Number: P2012 - Date Range: Jan 1953-1955 - Reel Number: 0003 - WebSite: http://www.footnote.com/..." Forwarded by Stephen Miller f134kilmil@comcast.net [23AUG2008]


Circa 1953

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History "...POW Drill, VP-4, 1953, SC-6 Crew...(Ronald Hart Collection)..." Contributed by HART, Ronald hartron@comcast.net [02MAR2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History "...POW Drill, VP-4, 1953, SC-6 Crew...(Ronald Hart Collection)..." Contributed by HART, Ronald hartron@comcast.net [25FEB2003]


Circa 1952

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FASRON-110, FASRON-112, FASRON-114, FASRON-117, FASRON-118, FASRON-119, FASRON-120, FASRON-885, FASRON-895, VP-1, VP-2, VP-4, VP-6, VP-9, VP-22, VP-28, VP-29, VP-40, VP-42, VP-46, VP-47, VP-731, VP-772, VP-871, VP-892 and VP-931) - Naval Aeronautical Organization OPNAV NOTICE 05400 for Fiscal Year 1953 dated 1 October 1952 is: DECLASSIFIED per Office of Chief of Naval Operations on 1 February 1965 by Op-501..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/nao53-68/fy1953-oct52.pdf [14MAR2007]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-1, FAW-2, FAW-4, FAW-6, FAW-14, VP-1, VP-2, VP-4, VP-6, VP-9, VP-22, VP-28, VP-40, VP-42, VP-46, VP-47 and VP-871) - Naval Aeronautical Organization OPNAV NOTICE 05400 for Fiscal Year 1953 dated 1 October 1952 is: DECLASSIFIED per Office of Chief of Naval Operations on 1 February 1965 by Op-501..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/nao53-68/fy1953-oct52.pdf [14MAR2007]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News October 1952 "...VP-4 Plane Crew Captured - Page 12 - Naval Aviation News - October 1952..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1952/oct52.pdf [27JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News August 1952 "...VP-4 Visits Air Reserves - Page 19 - Naval Aviation News - August 1952..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1952/aug52.pdf [26JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii "...VP-4 On patrol in the Pacific - 1952...(Ronald Hart Collection)..." Contributed by HART, Ronald hartron@comcast.net [05FEB2003]


Circa 1950 - 1953
Korean War

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol squadrons in the Korean War - Naval Aviation News, July-August, 2002 by Rick Burgess..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IAX/is_5_84/ai_90332255 [29MAR2005]

Because most of the combat action of the KOREAN WAR took place over the Korean peninsula, the bulk of the Navy's aerial contribution to the war took the form of carrier-based tactical aircraft. For Navy patrol squadrons (VP), the war was fought primarily on the peripheries of the main front, mostly in sea-control and sea-denial missions, and other roles such as mine hunting.

The Korean War was one hot spot of many along the Asian landmass attracting the attention of VP squadrons in the early 1950s. The broader Cold War was in full chill. The Soviet Union had tested its first nuclear weapons in 1949, and its large submarine fleet presented a credible threat to the Navy's carrier and amphibious task forces. Also in 1949, the Communist Chinese People's Liberation Army forces had pushed the Chinese Nationalist forces off the Asian mainland across the Formosa Strait onto Formosa (now Taiwan). French colonial forces in Indochina were embattled by an increasingly strong Viet Minh force led by Ho Chi Minh. From the Bering Strait to Singapore, Navy patrol planes had much to monitor.

Although the U.S. Seventh Fleet's carrier task forces were committed to the Korean area of operations, the fleet still was charged with the protection of Formosa. The fleet was able to maintain routine surveillance of the Formosa Strait with patrol aircraft, which made it impossible for the Communist Chinese to launch a surprise invasion of the island.

In the Korean area of operations, VP squadrons participated in the blockade of North Korea, keeping merchant shipping and fishing fleets under surveillance and deterring hostile submarine activity. In addition, patrol aircraft hunted and destroyed mines, dropped flares for air strikes, and conducted weather reconnaissance and search-and-rescue operations.

At the beginning of the Korean War, Pacific Fleet VP squadrons were equipped with three heavily armed aircraft types. Martin PBM-5/5S/5S2 Mariners were the only flying boats in active patrol squadrons (the P5M Marlin had not yet entered service.) Seaplanes were increasingly being displaced by land-based patrol bombers, such as the four-engine Consolidated Privateer P4Y-2/2S/2B, a holdover from WW II; and versions of the new twin-engine Lockheed Neptune (P2V2/3/3W/4/5), successor to the post-WWII PV-2 Harpoon patrol bomber.

The Pacific Fleet was equipped with only nine VP squadrons in June 1950, having disestablished four squadrons in the first half of the year. VP squadrons were based at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington; NAS North Island, San Diego, California; and NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. They deployed to NAF Yokosuka, Japan; NS Sangley Point, Philippines, Philippines.; NAS Kodiak, Alaska; and NAS Agana, Guam. By the end of 1950, seven reserve VP squadrons were activated, five of which were assigned to the Pacific Fleet. By the end of 1951, two more active duty VP squadrons were established in the Pacific Fleet, and two more reserve squadrons were activated to augment them. NAS Alameda, California, and NAS Seattle, Washington, accommodated some of the new squadrons. Only one Atlantic Fleet patrol squadron, VP-7 at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, was deployed to the war zone, arriving less than one month before the truce on 30 June 1953.

When the war broke out in 1950, Fleet Air Wing FAW-1 at Guam controlled squadrons deployed to the western Pacific. In July 1950 FAW-1 moved to Naha, Okinawa, to control patrols over the Formosa Strait using one land-based and one flying boat squadron. FAW-6 was established at Atsugi, Japan, to coordinate patrols in the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan. Eventually the typical strength of FAW-6 included three land-plane squadrons and two flying boat squadrons, as well as two squadrons of Royal Air Force Sunderland flying boats. These command structures remained in place throughout the war, except during a short period when they were relieved by FAW-2 and FAW-14, respectively.

Only eight patrol planes--PBMs assigned to VP-46 and the squadron it was relieving, VP-47--patrolled the Far East when the North Korean invasion began, while VP-28's PB4Ys were deployed to NAS Agana, Guam. Soon, VP-47 was regrouped and retained on deployment, VP-6's P2V-3s arrived at Johnson Air Base near Tokyo, Japan, and VP-42's PBMs staged at Iwakuni, Japan. VP-28 staged to NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan and began daily patrols of the Formosa Strait and the coast of China. Other squadrons rotated in turn, and also deployed to far-flung bases and anchorages such as Hong Kong; the Pescadores, Buckner Bay and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan; Tachikawa and Itami in Japan; and NAS Kodiak, Alaska and Shemya in the Aleutians.

As the North Korean invasion pushed south, VP-6's Neptunes were used on three occasions to provide naval gunfire spotting for United Nations warships on the western coast of South Korea. The squadron's P2V-3s, armed with 20mm cannon, bombs and rockets, also launched many attacks themselves against North Korean targets along the northeast shore.

On 29 July 1950, two crews destroyed a railroad train with their rockets and guns. On 13 August, crews sank three boats and two barges engaged in minelaying near Chinnampo, and damaged two surface craft near Wonsan. One VP-6 Neptune was damaged in the attack. An attack on a patrol boat near Chinnampo on 16 August was fatal to another VP-6 aircraft, which ditched after taking fire. The crew was rescued by the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Kenya. Patrol planes were prohibited thereafter from undertaking attack missions over Korea. VP-6 became the only patrol squadron awarded the Navy Unit Citation during the Korean War.

Patrol planes--PBMs, P2Vs and Sunderlands--were used extensively in mine hunting, particularly in the harbors of Inchon and Wonsan. This tedious activity required the PBMs to fly low and slow, close enough to detonate a moored mine with machine gunfire, but high enough to avoid the mine's explosion. P2Vs dropped depth charges to wipe out magnetic mines.

In 1951 VP squadrons were pressed into another role, this time over land, dropping illumination flares in support of air strikes. Known as Firefly missions, they helped deny the night to enemy supply movements. Admiral Arthur W. Radford suggested the use of P4Y-2 Privateers as flare ships to replace the more vulnerable R4D Skytrains in illuminating targets for Marine Corps F4U-5N Corsair and F7F-3N Tigercat night hecklers. One P4Y from VP-772 was modified For the mission and proved highly successful, and three more P4Ys from VP-772 and VP-28 were assigned as "Lamp Lighters" (later operated by successive squadrons). During a typical mission, the P4Y would rendezvous with four attack aircraft, search for truck convoys and illuminate the targets for the attack aircraft.

Although United Nations forces were successful in maintaining air superiority over most of the Korean peninsula, lumbering patrol aircraft had a few encounters with enemy aircraft. A VP-42 Mariner was damaged on 11 May 1952 by a MiG-15 fighter over the Yellow Sea, and on 31 July 1952 a VP-731 PBM was seriously damaged by gunfire from a MiG-15, which killed two crewmen and injured two others.

Flights off China and the Soviet Union, far from protective cover, were more dangerous. VP-28 P4Ys were attacked over the Formosa Strait on 26 July by an F-51 Mustang in North Korean markings, and on 20 September and 22 November 1950 by MiG-15s, all without result. A VP-42 PBM was lost to unknown causes in the southern Formosa Strait on 5 November. On 6 November 1951 a VP-6 P2V-3W was shot down, with no survivors, by Soviet fighters near Vladivostok. On 18 January 1953 Chinese antiaircraft batteries shot down a VP-22 P2V off Swatow. A Coast Guard PBM-5G picked up the survivors but crashed on takeoff, resulting in the loss of 11 fliers, including 7 from the P2V. The survivors were rescued by a Navy ship. Further such aircraft incidents and losses occurred in the years after the Korean truce.

One daring P2V crew amazingly survived a series of eight or nine intentional overflights of the Soviet Union's Kamchatka peninsula between April and June 1952. A VP-931 P2V-3W--modified with special electronic intelligence equipment in its nose and flown by a handpicked crew--flew in radio silence over the peninsula at 15,000 feet in search of military installations. When military sites were detected, an Air Force RB-50 flying above and behind the P2V photographed the sites. The snoopers were intercepted on two missions by Soviet MiG fighters but apparently never were fired upon. Fortunately, the recently declassified operations never required the services of the Air Force SB-17 rescue plane assigned to the missions. This VP-931 (later VP-57) crew also performed a daring search and rescue flight in July 1953 over Vladivostok harbor for the crew of an RB-50 that was shot down by Soviet fighters. A U.S. destroyer rescued one of the crewmen.

Land-based patrol planes saw greater use than flying boats in the Korean War, proving to be more efficient. In Korea, land-based patrol planes flew 12 sorties for every 9 flown by flying boats.

As with U.S. forces in general, patrol aviation maintained a high level of presence in the Far East after the Korean War. Its operations increasingly focused on peripheral reconnaissance of the Soviet Union and China, particularly surveillance of the growing Soviet submarine force and vigilance against Chinese sabre-rattling against Formosa.

U.S. Navy Patrol Squadrons in the Korean War

Squadron    Aircraft    Tail Code    Home Port


Circa 1950

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13) - Circa 1950. Squadrons Mentioned: FAW-1, FAW-6, VP-1, VP-2, VP-4,VP-42, VP-46 and VP-47..." WebSite: USS Salisbury Sound http://www.salisburysound.com/index_Page555.htm [07JAN2007]

She tended planes of VP-42 at that port until 6 February 1950, then shifted to Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands. She resumed duty at Hong Kong on 12 April and cleared port on 11 May for exercises off Sangley Point, Luzon before loading aircraft at Guam (27-29 May 1950). She put to sea on the latter day and steamed by way of Pearl Harbor for return to San Diego on 13 June 1950. After voyage repair in the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, she embarked passengers, including men of VP-42, and sailed from San Diego on 26 July bound for the Far East. She debarked her passengers at Pearl Harbor on 1 August and to sea the next day, carrying some 700 passengers destined for the VP-1, VP-2, and VP-4 of Fleet Air Service Squadron and Army units in Japan. Four helicopters and an equal number of SNBS of the Fleet Air Service Squadron were loaded on her seaplane deck. She reached Yokosuka on 11 August 1950, debarking her passengers and their equipment, and took on new aviation cargo and passengers for transport to Apra Harbor, Guam. She arrived at the latter port on 20 August, debarked her passengers, then loaded patrol bomber spare parts and eight jet fighters for delivery to Naha Harbor, Okinawa, 25 August 1950. She reported to Commander Seventh Fleet for duty that day and shifted to Buckner Bay for operations under Commander Service Squadron Three (Commander Task Group 70.7). On 3 September she serviced seven Mariners of VP-46 and two Sunderlands of the 88th Royal Air Force Squadron, which had sortied on typhoon evacuation from their base at Iwakuni, Japan.

On 6 September 1950, Salisbury Sound arrived at Iwakuni, Japan, and reported for duty to Commander FAW-6. She commenced service to VP-42 and VP-47, which had eleven Mariners present on that day plus three Sunderlands of the 88th Squadron of the Royal Air Force. These units comprised the seaplane and reconnaissance of Task Force Ninety-Six supporting the operations of Task Force Seventy-Seven and Task Group 96.5. Four additional Mariners had arrived on 9 September 1950 when Salisbury Sound became Flagship of Commander Fleet Wing SIX. She now became the operating base for all seaplanes in the Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (*Task Force 99) tending eight Sunderlands of the 88th Squadron of the Royal Air Force, seven planes of VP-47 and nine planes of VP-42. On 16 September Commander FAW-6 shifted his Flag, along with pilots and crew of VP-47, to sea plane tender USS Curtiss (AV-4), controlling all flights from that ship. Salisbury Sound continued seadrome control until 18 September, then took on aviation fuel at Kure, returning to Iwakuni on 21 September 1960. She reported for duty to Commander Air Wing One (task Group 70.6) on 23 September and shifted to base at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on the 26th. She laid 18 buoys in the seaplane anchorage and on 2 October five Mariners of VP-46 (Southern Search and Reconnaissance Force), arrived from the Pescadores Islands to escape the fury of a typhoon. These planes conducted nightly reconnaissance and patrol flights of the Formosa Straits from the Salisbury Sound until 10 October, when they again terminated their flights in the Pescadores. Meantime she had hoisted the flag of Commander FAW-1 on 5 October 1950. Winds and heavy seas again threatened the seadrome in the Pescadores on 19 October, and Mariners of VP-46 there once again shifted gradually to base from Salisbury Sound. On 2 November 1950 she entered the harbor of Naha, transferring 30,000 gallons of gasoline to Y-53 for delivery to the Naval Base before return to Buckner Bay the same day. She continued direction and tending of the Mariners' search and reconnaissance flights until 27 November 1950 when Commander Fleet Wing ONE- shifted his flag to USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39).

Salisbury Sound arrived at Iwakuni, Japan 20 November 1950, and hoisted the flag of Commander Air Wing Six. She relived USS Curtiss (AV-4) of seadrome control and began tending nine Mariners of VP-42 and four Royal Air Force Sunderlands, operating from Iwakuni. On 1 December, seven Mariners of VP-47 arrived, and on the 21st, Commander FAW-6 transferred his flag to Curtis. On 15 December 1950, Salisbury Sound returned to Buckner Bay and relieved Gardiners Bay (AVP-39) as flag ship of Commander FAW-1. She now commenced service for the detachment of five Marines of VP-46, stationed at Buckner Bay, and three Mariners of the same squadron, stationed at Sangley point, Luzon, Philippine Islands. These units conducted search and reconnaissance flights out of Buckner Bay and completed courier flights between Sangley Point and Hong Kong. Commencing 6 January 1951, she supported Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Element 7016 comprising a Land Plane Air Search and Attack Unit (9 P2V4s of VP-22); a Seaplane Air Search and Attack Unit (9 Mariners of VP-46); and Fleet Submarine Besugo (SS-321). This duty terminated on 16 January 1951 and Salisbury Sound resumed her daily direction of reconnaissance flight and tender services.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News October 1950 "...Pinball Idea Cuts Bounces - Page 37 - Naval Aviation News - October 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/oct50.pdf [22JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News August 1950 "...Vp-4 Flew 1,280 Hours - Page 39 - Naval Aviation News - August 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/aug50.pdf [21JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News July 1950 "...Axman Helps Repair Plane - Page 34 - Naval Aviation News - July 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/jul50.pdf [20JUL2004]

History

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News April 1950 "...Letters Reward Good Shots - Page - 35 - Naval Aviation News - April 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/apr50.pdf [19JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News March 1950 "...VP-4 Knows Alaskan Terrain - Page 10 - Naval Aviation News - March 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/mar50.pdf [19JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News January 1949 "...Neptunes Fly Adak Nonstop - Page - 13 - Naval Aviation News - January 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/jan50.pdf [19JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadrons In The Korean War By LCDR Rick Burgess, USN (Retired) - Naval Aviation News July-August 2002..." Contributed by Mike Yared mikeyared@yahoo.com [25JAN2003]
VP History ThumbnailCameraPatrol Squadrons In The Korean War Page 1 of 4
VP History ThumbnailCameraPatrol Squadrons In The Korean War Page 1 of 4
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VP History ThumbnailCameraPatrol Squadrons In The Korean War Page 1 of 4

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii "...VP-4 Summer Quarters, NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, early 1950's...(Ronald Hart Collection)..." Contributed by HART, Ronald hartron@comcast.net [21JAN2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History "...SC-4, VP-4, on NAS Midway Island, early 1950s. L to R, Airman Ronald Hart, Airman Snyder...(Ronald Hart Collection)..." Contributed by HART, Ronald hartron@comcast.net [17JAN2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History "...P2V, VP-4 at NAS Kodiak, Alaska, early 1950s...(Ronald Hart Collection)..." Contributed by HART, Ronald hartron@comcast.net [16JAN2003]


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