VP-5 Squadron Shipmates
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ShipmateVP-71 ShipmatesShipmate

BAKER, CAPTAIN James L. Retired comobaker@aol.com "... Served with VP-71 NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C. from 1947 to 1948 and then VP-661 until called to active duty in 1951 (until discharged in 1952). I was an ADF/1 in VP-661 and flew as Flight Engineer aboard the PBY-5A and PBY-6A at NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C.. I was called to active duty on 15 September 1950, LCDR Monahan was the CO, and my PIC was LCDR Smithey (Smitty), a former enlisted pilot, who did not like being an officer "Pilot." We flew to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas and went through transition in PBM-5s and later I was aboard the PBM-5S. LCDR Smitty was the A/C of EH-3, PBM-5 and PBM-5S (which carried the MAD gear on board for detecting subs). We flew out of NAS Norfolk, Virginia to various places and patrols, i.e., NAS Trinidad, British West Indies, NAS Bermuda, NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, NAS Pensacola, Florida, etc. By the way, we broke the endurance record for the PBM with a nonstop flight from NAS Norfolk, Virginia to NAS Trinidad, British West Indies, to NAS New York, New York then to NAS Norfolk, Virginia again (until LCDR Smitty decided to land in Willowy Bay, in Norfolk). I was dead on my feet, and the crew received liberty immediately. I joined the Air Reserve Unit at NARTU, NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C., right after being discharged from WW-II (1946), and I remember the TBM Squadron I was assigned to first, then to VP-900, then VPML-71, and finally VP-661. VP-900 had Lockheed Lodestars, then moved into PBY-5As. This is all I can recall after all these years, I still have my Flight Log Book, which I carried over from my aircraft carrier days and VP-661. I was discharged from VP-661 in April 1952, but stayed in the Air Reserve, and had several flights with an abnormally qualified AP/1 (Enlisted Pilot), who flew SNBs and PBYs, etc. My Combat Aircrewman Wings were earned in 1945 and my Aerial Gunner's Badge on my right sleeve. In May 1958 I was informed that as an ADF/1 still actively flying in Naval Aircraft as a Flight Engineer, I was awarded the Gold Aircrewman Wings. I was a ball turret gunner on TBM/TBFs when I first received my wings. My favorite aircraft to this day was the beloved PBY-5A, old reliable and ever faithful. Ironicaly, I received a direct commission in the US Army, as First Lieutenant (Army Intelligence and Security), and later as an Unconventional Warfare Officer, Special Forces (ABN) qualified. Well, enough for now, as my memory is getting tired. Oh yes, I received a Direct Commission and retired as Captain, US Army Special Forces, after 22 additional years (13 enlisted)..." [BIO Updated 11JAN2004 | 30DEC2000]

Memorial Picture "...BALASI, PH2 Alfred Shipmate Pix...My late father actually had a world wind tour of the Pacific from late 1944 to early 1946. He was a photographer's mate who shipped out to the Pacific in late 1944 to be assigned to a PB4Y squadron but got sent mistakenly to a PBY squadron - VP-71 initially. By then the Navy stopped assigning photogs to planes and he began flying with different PB4Y squadrons, but mostly with VPB-104. Dad then ended up with FAW-17 at Clark and finally on the USS Pine Island (AV-12) and USS Curtiss (AV-4) in occupation duty before returning to the states in early 1946. I'd be interested in word from anyone who might remember him..." Contributed by Mark Balasi balasi@comcast.net [18NOV2002]


DALAMBAKIS, Angelo adalambakis@yahoo.com "...Served from 1943 to 1946 with VPB-71, VPB-1, VPB-2, VPB-100, and VPB-91. Served in the Phillipines, MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. Retired Dentist living in Dayton, Ohio and Pompano Beach FL. Love to hear from old squadron buddies! I can be reached at Deerfield Beach (Ft Lauderdale) on (954)425-8411..." [BIO Updated 03NOV2002 | 03NOV98]

DeVAUX, Marcel kaymarc@mindspring.com "...I was in the old VP-71 aboard the USS Albemarle assigned to the Radio gang when NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada was first opened in 1941. Later to be transferred to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island . When the war broke out we were all shipped to MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii . Later I was transfered to VP-72 and moved to Espirito Santo aboard the USS Tangier, and operated out of there until 1943. I would like to hear from any of the old gang, either VP-71, VP-72 or anyone from the Radio gang aboard the Albemarle or NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Does anyone know what happened to Charlie Cearley who was transfered from VP-71 to VPB-104 in 1942?..." [11JUN2000]

DEVERS, Donald DDevers@aol.com "...I was in VPB-71 from April 1944 to April 1945. Crew 4, first pilot. PPC Ralph Trejo. Owi Island, Morotai, Tacloban, Mindoro, Luzon. First crew relieved in April 1945. Could that have been 57 years ago? Seems like yesterday. Recalled during Korea, decided to make a career of it and retired from NAS Pensacola, Florida where it all started 28 years prior!..." [03JUN2001]

DuCLAIR, E9 Bruce Retired bnpduclair@earthlink.net "...After getting off active duty as an AE2 I was assigned to VP-873 NARTU NAS Alameda, California. I was very proud to fly the P2V-7 lator the SP2. I Cross trained to the AW rate and finally passed the 1st Class test in 1970. I also saw the hand writting on the wall. The life of the Neptune was about to become very short and that I flew as a TACO/NAV (as we were short of officers). I then transfered to a reserve VA Squadron flying the A6A. The reserve VA Squdron's were short of Navigators. The regular navy had Enlisted Navigator/Bomberdeers, so I quit and joined the USAF Reserves at Travis AFB CA. This was the same reserve unit AOC Stan Alsing and AO1 Jim Franklin. Both were in VP-71G3 as I was. I became Loadmasters flying C141 Aircraft. In 1973 I transfred to a squadron that flew C5A. I was the first pure reserve to be qualified to fly as the primary loadmaster. I flew C5A's for 12 years then travsfred to the Civil Engeering Squadron. In 1992 retired from the reserves as a Chief MasterSgt (E9). 35 years of active and reserve time. I miss the reserves . If anyone out there from VP-873 or VP-71G3 is still around please e-mail me..." [E-Mail Updated 16OCT2002 | 16MAR99]


Memorial Picture "...ELLER, ENSIGN Dick...My Father, Ensign Eldon C. Eller, served with VP-71 and served as a Flight Instructor in Seattle after the war. Dad had a business ("Playmaker Tours") flying gamblers to California in the 1960's. I would like to hear from former Shipmates via E-Mail or Voice (209-533-9056)..." Contributed by CWO4 R. A. Eller, USMC-Retired t.eller@skywayusa.net [19SEP2011]

Memorial Picture "...ETTINGER, LCDR Robert L...My Uncle, Robert L. Ettinger, passed away July 22, 2008. He was a LCDR and served with VP-71 and VPB-106 flying the PB4Y-2 and PBY-5A during WWII. He was a very quiet man and when asked about the war, all he would say was that he was a pilot and saw a few things. After his death, his family found his pictures, log book and medals which included Distinguished Flying Cross (2 Gold Stars), Air Medal (5 Gold Stars), American Theatre Ribbon, Asiatic - Pacific Theatre Ribbon (2 Bronze Stars) and the Phillipine Liberation Ribbon (Bronze Star)..." Contributed by Terry Baize applegator1@yahoo.com [10JUN2016]


HARPER, CAPTAIN Cecil Kelly "...WebSite: USS Tarawa Veterans' Association http://www.usstarawavets.org/CV-40%20pages/harper.bio.htm..." Harper earned the Legion of Merit with Combat "V"; a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Legion of Merit with Combat "V"; Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V"; the Air Medal; Presidential Unit Citation (Patrol Bombing Squadron 118); American Defense Service Medal, with Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four stars; World War II Victory Medal; China Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal with two stars; and the United Nations Service Medal.

Born 25 February 1911 in Harrisburg, Illinois, to Scott and Fannie E. (Sisk) Harper, Cecil Kelly Harper attended Eldorado (Illinois) Township High School and Illinois College at Jacksonville. He was appointed a Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland on 16 June 1930 and was graduated with the Class of 1934.

His first assignment was to the U.S.S. Tennessee. He remained with the battleship until May of 1936 when he was sent in June of that year to the NAS Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. He was designated Naval Aviator in 1937.

In August 1937 he was assigned to Bombing Squadron 2 aboard the U.S.S. Lexington until May 1939. He then joined Patrol Squadron 51 and served on neutrality patrols until June 1940 when he returned to NAS Pensacola, Florida as a flight instructor, a job he held until June 1942.

In July 1942 he became Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Swan, a seaplane tender. In May 1943 he was detached to take command of Bombing Squadron 71, participating in operations at Midway and in the South Pacific, until May 1944.

During this period Harper won the Air Medal "For meritorious achievement...in action against enemy Japanese forces in the South Pacific Area on the night of July 16-17, 1943. Operating at the maximum range of his plane under extremely adverse weather conditions necessitating expert navigation and instrument flying, Lieutenant Commander Harper led his group of six PBY-5 aircraft in a vital bombing attack on the Japanese base at Nauru Island in the face of persistent and determined hostile anti-aircraft fire.

"By his excellent leadership and outstanding flying skill, (he) contributed in large measure to the success of his flight in inflicting severe damage on the enemy and subsequently returning sefely to base."

He also won the Legion of Merit "For exceptionally meritorious conduct...during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Solomon Islands from June 19 to March 1, 1944...(he) contributed materially to the efficiency of his squadron in performance of more than 1,200 missions without a casualty to personnel over enemy controlled territory and including rescue operations which necessitated landings and take-offs in the open seas."

In June he took command of Patrol Bombing Squadron 118 and saw action in the Marianas, at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Harper won a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Legion of Merit with this outfit "For exceptionally meritorious conduct...in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Ryukyu and Volcano Islands area from February 22 to May 10, 1945. Ably directing the personnel under his command, Commander Harper was in large measure responsible for the success of his squadron in the infliction of extensive damage on enemy shipping in this area.

"Operating from newly captured enemy bases, he displayed great resourcefulness in meeting the problems incident to the use of bases still subjected to enemy shellfire and attacks by hostile aircraft...".

In July 1945 he was sent back to the United States and was attached to the Military Requirements and Developments Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air), Navy Department, a post he held until June 1948.

In July 1948 he joined Composite Squadron 5, serving as Operations Officer and Executive Officer until January 1951. The next month he reported as Chief Staff Officer to Commander Heavy Attack Wing 1 followed by assignment in December 1951 to the U.S.S. Essex as Executive Officer.

For this service he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal "For operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from July 31, 1952 to January 10, 1953. Exhibiting sound judgment and planning ability, Commander Harper effectively organized and supervised the various resources and supporting functions of the Essex and ably coordinated the efforts of the ship's company and embarked Air Task Group to expeditiously accomplish its assigned mission and to obtain a high degree of safety and morale, materially aiding in maintaining an outstanding record of performance within the Essex during this period. By his outstanding professional skill, sound judgment and zealous devotion to duty, he contributed immeasurably to the success of the ship in inflicting extensive damage upon the enemy...".

In June 1953 Harper became Head of the Plans, Programs, Budget Branch, Guided Missiles Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, a post he held until July 1956 when he was ordered to study at the National War College, Washington, D.C., from which he graduated in June 1957.

For the next six months he worked as Force Plans Officer on the Staff of Commander Naval Air Force, Atlantic. Then in January 1958 he took command of the U.S.S. Tarawa (CVS-40). He was in command during Operation Argus, the nuclear missile space test program in the South Atlantic that year.

In November 1958 he received orders to report to Staff, Commander First Fleet, an assignment he held until August 1960 when he became Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station, Oceana, Virginia.

Under orders of October 1, 1962, he later joined the Joint Staff, Director of Strategic Target Planning, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Harper was married to the former Beatrice M. Scollin of Saranac Lake, New York; she died in 1980. They had no children. He then married Evelyn Privitera, a widow with four children.

The captain retired in 1964 and then took a year of post-graduate studies at George Washington University before settling down in Juno Isles, North Palm Beach, Florida, where he became involved in church and community activities.

Harper died in Vencor Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 3 December 1993, after a lengthy illness. A Mass of Christian Burial was sung in his St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in North Palm Beach on 6 December. He was buried in Riverside Memorial Park, Tequesta, Florida. [11AUG2001]


Memorial Picture "...ILAVSKY, AMM2 Martin S...My Dad, Martin S. Ilavsky, passed away at the age of 85 on April 28th, 2008. Dad served with VP-71 as a crewman aboard the PBY aircraft (BUNO: 64036) while deployed to Samar, Philippines from 1942 to 1946. After leaving the Navy, Dad went to Cleveland Trade School for painting and decorating, he had an apprenticeship. Dad worked for painting contractors; he was a very hard worker and had a good mechanical aptitude. In 1953 Martin Ilavsky married Dorothy Cupach and had 4 children: Denise, Dale, Douglas, and Dorene. His grandchildren are: Dale, Jr., Danielle, George, Sarah, Steven, and Stephane. In 1965 Dad got a job working at Metro General Hospital in Cleveland (county hospital), which is now MetroHealth Medical Center. Dad worked for 23 years painting. He had heart trouble and had to retire. I would like to make contact with anyone of Dad's former Shipmates or their families....Dale M. Ilavsky, Sr. dilavsky@metrohealth.org..." [25APR2009]

ISNER, CDR Rennix J. https://naval-air.org/flightlog/moreinfo.asp?UID=239 "...CDR Rennix J. Isner, USN - NFL Number: 239 - Date of Birth: 5/14/1913 - Date In: 1/1/1937 - Date Out: 1/1/1958 - City, State: Melbourne, FL - School Attended: Davis & Elkins Col - Aircraft Flown: PBY-1, PBY5, PBY5A, F6F-5, B-17, R4D, R5D - Ship or Unit: VPB-52 - VPB-51, CO - VPB-71, CO - Pilot Desg.: SeniorCommandPilot - Theaters, Campaigns, etc.: Pacific, Atlantic - Associations/Service Organizations: Ret. Officers Assn - AARP - Highest personal decoration or award: Air Medal - Significant Achievements: 5272 hours flight time. Green-card qualified. CO of VPB-52. 1952 Kansas City Flood Disaster Coordinator. In Memoriam? No..." [30NOV2005]


JANISZEWSKI, David lahammer@tcnug.com"...My father was in the 7th Fleet Patrol Bombing Squadron VP 71 in WW II. His squadron patroled from Midway thru the Phillipines If you have any information about this squadron, he is trying to locate some of the men he served with. Thanks Dave..."


LEARY, CPO Harold Max c/o Tom Leary Shipmate Pix Circa 1945 tomnjoleen@embarqmail.com "...I am looking for VPB-102 Shipmates. "Lil Nell" - My father is Max Leary. His last mission was on "Mister 5 X 5." Dad served with VP-51, VP-71, VP-14 and VP-102..." [E-Mail Updated 14APR2009 | PIX Added 26JAN2004 | 25JAN2004]

LORAN, ENSIGN T. V. c/o his son Michael A Loran 72401.230@compuserve.com "...I am interested in communicationg with anyone who knew my father, Ltjg Thomas V. Loran. He was a PBY-5A co pilot with VP-71 in '44 and '45. Dad died on 8/31/81. Would like to here from any war time friends or colleagues. Your response much appreciated!...My father flew with VPB-71. Squadron CO was Lt. Commander Gillette & his pilot was Lt j.g. Everly Cox. My Dad was the copilot..." [BIO Updated 22JUN99 | 27FEB99]


McGUINESS, CAPTAIN Brian Retired (360)856-4010 "...VP-17 12/66 through 12/69 SP2H and P-3A Plane Commander VP-71 01/70 through 11/70 SP2H CoPilot VP-91 12/70 through 03/72 P-3A CoPilot VP-69 04/72 through 06/84 SP2H and P-3A Plane Commander, Ninth Commanding Officer. Retired August 1, 1987 with 24 years total active and reserve duty..." [16SEP98]


PETERSON, WO William G. Retired WillyGPete@aol.com "...Served in VP-71 December 9, 1941 to February 13, 1943 as Squadron Bombsight Mechanic, Bombadier. Battle assignment 71-P-9 (Niner Boat). Trained 18 Bombadiers for the Squadron. One per plane that could do the basic maintenance for the Bombsight and the automatic pilot SBAE gear a copy of the wiring diagram was provided them. Not regulation for SECRET material but most effective for efficency. Developed the Fuel System diagram for the new B-24's as it was to secret for inclusion in the PILOTS Manual. Examined for Warrant Gunner last Fleet Exam given in 1942 as an AO 2/c along with 24 Chief Petty Officers. I was the only one to pass the exam and be advanced although the promotion was lost for 9 (NINE) years. Retired as Warrant Gunner service 1938 - 1968 Will answer inquires if the answers are still in my head and hello to all of my old Shipmates..." [06AUG2001]


REARDEN, AAM1 Lawrence E. Sr. c/o His Son Lawrence E. Rearden, Jr. REARDENJR@AOL.COM "...My Dad flew in Crew #8 BUNO: 46517 VPB-71 as AAM1 Class Crew Chief. Pilot LTjg A. O. Turner, ENS Morken, Navigator, Greene, 2nd Machanic, G. A. Barret, Ordnance, W. W. Perin, 1st Radioman, H. P. Lawrence, 2nd Radioman, H. A. Blencoe, Bomber, and H. S. Peterson. Plane number was E-68 "The Black Eagle." If anyone there knows or were part of Dad's crew, please write. I might be interested in (and maybe have) some stuff that you would like to share. Dad passed away 10-17-79. Thanks..." [19SEP2000]

Memorial Picture "...RHORER, John M...My Father, John M. Rhorer, served proudly in the Navy during WWII. His service record indicates the following: NATTCNAS Norman, Oklahoma, VP-71, FAW-14 and VPB-91. I would love to hear from anyone that served with my Dad. Donna Rhorer donna@kjeldaas.net..." [02DEC2009]


SADLER, Byron L. bls@glacierview.net "...I was ARM 2/C in VP-71 from June 1941 to Feb. 1943 would like to hear from Shipmates who were in VP-71 during this period..." [E-Mail Updated 21JUL99 | 08MAY98]

SAXTON, Gerald F. c/o His Stepson Robert Kay Disp403@aol.com "...My stepfather Gerald F. Saxton (1920-1992) was in the NAVY duing WWII from March 1942 thru December 1945. According to his discharge papers he flew with PF Hdqrts Squad, FAW-2, VP-71, Hedron, and FAW-14. I'm looking for anyone who might have know him. The discharge papers also list the schools he was in and that his rank at discharge was "Avaition Radioman 1/c (CA) V6". Thanks..." [29JUL2001]

STEWART, AMMF3 Robert J. rjstewjr@davtv.com "...I served with VPB-71 / VP-AM-3 from 1946 to 1948. The "Unknown" VP-AM-3 PBY is BUNO: 46557. I crewed this plane on many hops..." [E-Mail Updated 19FEB2007 | BIO Updated 17FEB2007 | 25JUN2000]

STICH, Rodney stich@rodneystich.com "...I served with VP-71 (Radioman) and VP-54 (12/1942). I attended Pilot Training (05/1943) at NAS Jacksonville, Florida (PBY) and became Patrol Plane Commander (PPC) in the PB4Y-1 and PB4Y-1. Take a look at http://www.defraudingamerica.com/ has photograph's of the early PBY days. While Captain with the start of Japan Airlines, I had war time Japanese pilots as my copilots startng in 1951..." [26NOV2011]

STROBACH, Fred fstrob@silcom.com "...I was with the Patrol Squadron 71 (VP-71) at NAS Norfolk, Virginia from July 1946 to Nov.1947. I was a radioman (ARM3). Some time in this period (VP-71) was changed to (VP-AM3). I would like to get in touch with anyone who was there at that time. Some names are Penland,Greene, Healey.(All last names)..." [01MAR98]

SULLIVAN, James M. c/o His Son James W. Sullivan SullivanMarvin@aol.com "...I would like to hear from anyone who served with my father James M. Sullivan in VPB-71 in Samar in 1945. His PBY serial number ended in 03. Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you..." [08APR2001]


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