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HistoryVP-731 HistoryHistory

Circa 1959

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan VP Crew Tracks Submarine..." WebSite: NAS GROSSE ILE Virtual Museum http://nasgi.org/sanger032.htm [06MAR2006]

In April 1959, Naval Reserve units took part in an Atlantic Fleet Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW), training exercise called "LANTSLAMEX." This exercise ran for one week from 0800, Wednesday, April 15 to 0800, Wednesday, April 22. The air units were to locate, track and simulate an attack to destroy submarines that were to make a simulated missile launch on east coast cities. NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan (NASGI) reserve patrol (VP) and antisubmarine (VS) squadrons deployed to NAS Brunswick, Maine, and NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, respectively.

The VP crews were required to be on station around the clock and most crews flew 10 to 12 hour flights during the week's exercise. Many flights required 2 or more hours to get to the assigned Atlantic Ocean patrol area, then 6 hours on station, followed by at least 2 hours to return to base.

The crew of P2V-5F BUNO: 124875, side number #201, was made up of members of NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan reserve VP squadrons and two active duty NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan members, LT F. P. Gigliotti, Patrol Plane Commander and John P. Sanger, AT1, Radio Operator. This crew flew four missions during this exercise, averaging about 11 plus hours of flight time on each patrol.

Our last flight was to patrol an area across the entrance to Boston Harbor between Cape Ann and Cape Cod from midnight until the exercise was over at 0800. The flight departed NAS Brunswick about 2200 on April 21, arriving in the patrol area before midnight. Our P2V-5F flew a routine search pattern in the assigned area, giving position reports each hour. Shortly after sunrise after 0600, the observer in the bow called "Snorkel," the crew jumped into action, a flare was dropped over the reported contact, then a sonobuoy pattern was laid to attempt to maintain contact and allow our sensor operators to hear the submarine and plot its track and speed. Low altitude runs at approximately 200 feet were then made as we executed magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) runs over the area. Flares were dropped at each positive MAD contact, followed by dropping flares and practice depth charges (PDCs). While the submarine did not acknowledge the attacks, the crew had no doubt that a successful detection, localization and attack had taken place. With the exercise termination time of 0800 approaching, we departed station to return to base. At arrival at NAS Brunswick we had been in the air well over 10 hours.

After returning to NAS Brunswick, Maine, the crew was held over another day for debriefing while the exercise monitors at Fleet Air Wing THREE examined logs and tapes to validate our patrol summary. After fleet examination of submarine recordings and our crew records, it was determined that our PDCs had indeed completed a successful attack on the target submarine. (See "VP Crew April 1959" photo in John P. Sanger photo collection.)(Any assistance in identifying other members of this crew would be appreciated)

John P. Sanger, Lt. USNR Ret.
F. Pat Gigliotti, Capt, USN, Ret.


Circa 1958

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-731 NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco Cruise 1958..." WebSite: NAS GROSSE ILE Virtual Museum http://nasgi.org/VP731_1958by_%20R_%20McBrien.htm [04MAR2006]

I have to go back in time and into my log books to remember how I became a plane commander for that great flight to NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco in July 1958.

I had been a fighter pilot before being recalled to active duty during the Korean War.

I was assigned from NAS Norfolk, Virginia to a squadron in NAS Sanford, Florida. The VC-9 squadron flew AJ-2s which is a "savage" aircraft built by North American. We also had one PV-2 in the squadron that we used to get parts and equipment for our squadron. Since my wife was still in Michigan, I was available to fly and wanted to get as much flight time as I could in multi-engine aircraft. Whenever parts or equipment was needed, I volunteered for the assignment to accumulate flight time in the PV-2.

I returned to NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan in January 1955, and was assigned to VP-731 just in time as a P2V-5F was being assigned to reserve VP squadrons. The purpose of the flight to NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco, was to train reserve VP squadrons to fly P2V5-Fs to operate with NATO forces and familiarize flight crews with European bases. The reserve squadrons were trained to be in combat readiness.

LT Gerrit Lydecker and I were the 6th crew assigned for the flight to NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco in 1958. About two weeks prior to the trip, LT Roger Golden, who was a PC on one of the five P2Vs we were taking on the trip, was unavailable. LT Beesley, who was the VP Training Officer at NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan, arranged for a check ride for Lydecker and myself.

On July 11, 1958, Lydecker and I took a five hour ORI flight with pilots from an active duty squadron who had flown to NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan for the check ride from the east coast. I was then designated a PC in P2V-5Fs that enabled me to command one of the five P2Vs to NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco.

We departed NAS NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan July 13, 1958, for NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada flying P2V-5F, BUNO: 127734 Side #204. We were the first plane departing from NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan therefore making us the first plane to arrive in NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. Upon our arrival, NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada was completely fogged over and we made five GCA approaches to the airport without success. LT Lydecker and I were put into a holding pattern for 30 minutes allowing the other four P2Vs to fly over NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada and land at Torbay, Newfoundland. We then climbed out of the fog over the mountains and landed at Torbay. We were happy to see the ground once more after flying in fog for over one hour.

We departed Torbay July 14, 1958, for Lages in the Azores which entailed about a 6.5 hour flight. Upon arriving at Lages, the ground control operator created landing intervals so that all five P2Vs were on final approach at the same time. In my mind, I can still picture that beautiful moment when all five planes engulfed by mountains made our final approach to Lages airport. What a great memory!

July 15, 1958: As we were departing Lages for NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco, my radioman called and asked us to listen to a special news broadcast he had picked up. The president had ordered the marines into Lebanon. I then called the other planes in the squadron to tune into the news broadcast. Within the next 48 hours, there were more planes arriving and departing from NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco than we had ever seen before. As fast as they could be refueled, they would be sent on or were headed back to the States for more men and equipment. It was a 24 hour a day operation.

We were the only P2V squadron in the area and if this incident in Lebanon had erupted into a full scale confrontation, the navy would have detained us in the Mediterranean longer than our two week cruise time. Fortunately, it all ended in about 72 hours and VP-731 could resume our regular flights.

    July 19: Good old P2V-204 and crew flew to Barcelona for sightseeing and Med Fam. That night we all met at Las Carrescolas (a restaurant I had been to before with my wife when I was stationed with the 6th Fleet). LT Lydecker charged the dinner to his credit card that was something new for the rest of our flight crew and me. Most of us had not used a credit card internationally before this.

    July 20: We flew to NAF Naples, Italy where we met Charley Davis in P2V #203. On July 21, Charley Davis with his crew and my crew in #204 flew out into the Mediterranean for an exercise with an Italian navy sub. Charley Davis and his crew were the first to do an attack on the sub while we circled overhead. At one time #203 flew so low over the water we could see the wake flying behind his left wing tip. I called Flt 203 to pull up which they did. In submarine exercises, it is very easy for both pilots to be looking at charts in the cockpit while engaged in these exercises. After #203 completed their exercises, it was our turn to replicate the same procedures successfully. Both crews returned to NAF Naples, Italy, and were debriefed about the exercise.

    July 22: As we were getting to depart from Naples, a police car drove up and parked in front of my airplane. I went out and talked to the police and was informed that someone from my crew had taken some towels from the Hotel Mediterranean. I told Bob Losie to tell the crew that I was going to walk to the rear of the plane to the rear hatch and whoever had the towels to drop them in my hand. I returned same to the police and departed for NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco. I'm glad it wasn't I who had taken the towels.

    July 25: Departed NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco for Lages which took 6.5 hours. As we approached Lages, we were having a problem with our starboard engine in addition all the radios in our plane died. The only radio I could receive on was ARC-5 receiver. I made a couple 90 degree turns and Lages called to ask if we were having radio problems. They asked us to acknowledge by making several additional turns. Once they were certain who we were, Lages brought us into a GCA landing using only the ARC-5 receiver. After we landed, we were parked next to a super constellation that flew out of NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. I talked to my radioman to see what we could do about the radios. I never knew but always felt there was some midnight swapping of radios with the super constellation. Also, the mechanics worked long into the night on the starboard engine.

    July 26: Departed Lages for NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada which was about an 8.5 hour flight. For the first time, we got to see the airfield at NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. Our radios and engines worked perfectly all the way.

    July 27: Departed NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada for Selfridge AFB to clear customs. I don't know if my plane captain ever forgave me for leaving NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada without the box lunches that were late in arriving. We cleared customs at Selfridge and returned with all five P2Vs to NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan in the late afternoon.

    Flight time on 1958 cruise was 73 hours.
    LCDR Ralph McBrien PC
    LT Gerrit Lydecker was a very good pilot. We flew together for four years.
    Plane Captain: Robert Losie ADR-1 for 204 for both 58 & 59 cruises
    Chief Stralka flew with #204 both 58 and 59 cruise.
It is my opinion that VP-731 could not have been able to undertake a cruise of this type in 1958 without the strong leadership of people like CDR. L. B. Ulstrom, Skipper of VP-731. LT Howard Beesley, who was the VP Training Officer at NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan was the person who thought we could accomplish this mission and worked many hours getting all of the flight crew up to flight proficiency. LT Beesley knew more about the P2Vs than any pilot I have known and was an excellent instructor to the many pilots in the VP squadrons at NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan.

LCDR Ralph McBrien
13 March 2001

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-731 NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco Cruise 1958..." WebSite: NAS GROSSE ILE Virtual Museum http://nasgi.org/sanger024.htm [04MAR2006]

In July 1958, VP-731 from NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan and a VR squadron from NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania made a two week deployment to Port Lyautey, Morocco. At the time I was an AT2 in the Air Maintenance Department at NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan, and assigned to be part of the crew of P2V #201. This would be my first trip across the Atlantic to Africa and Europe. This plane's pilot was LT John Paul from Fort Wayne, IN, Co-pilot was CDR L. B. Ulstrom, from Battle Creek, squadron CO, and the Navigator was LT Howard L. Beesley, VP Training Officer. As I remember:

On Sunday morning 13 July 1958 five P2V-5F aircraft depart NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan on runway 17 for Argentia, Newfoundland. The Pilots for the planes are: #201 LT John Paul, #202 LT Herbert Ermolik from Dearborn, #203 LT Charles Davis, from Dowagiac, #204 LCDR Ralph Mc Brien, from Detroit, and #205 by LT Kenneth Drew, from Taylor.

The route takes the planes over London and Ottawa in Ontario, Montreal Quebec, Fredericton and Moncton in New Brunswick, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and Sydney, Nova Scotia then on to Argentia Newfoundland. As we near Argentia we are notified that Argentia is fogged in. One of the planes, #204, tries a GCA, Ground Controlled Approach, but the weather is too bad, so this flight diverts to the Canadian air base at Torbay north of St. John's Newfoundland. The sky is overcast when we land. The crews are bussed to the Pepperell Army base in St. John's where we spend the night. We now learn that Newfoundland is in a time zone that is not the usual one hour difference but a 1/2 hour time zone.

Monday 14 July 1958

The sun is shining this morning as we ride the bus back to Torbay. The area around Torbay has many trees, almost like forest. After take-off we head out to sea to the ESE toward Lajes in the Azores about 1300 miles away. About a hour after take off I go down to the observers position in the bow of the plane. Can see only miles and miles of open water. About an hour later I go back up to the flight deck and watch the Navigator, LT Howard Beesley at work. He is using sun fixes as well as radar. About 3 hours into the flight we pass ocean station "Delta", a ship located about way from Newfoundland and the Azores. About 5 hours into the flight we can now see the island of Flores on the radar, and about 40 minutes later we are near Graciosa, in the Azores. Lajes Field is on Terceira Island. The Field has one long runway in the valley between two mountains. After servicing the planes we take the bus to the barracks area across the field and on a mountain. From this side of the base we can look down into the valley and see the airport and the planes across the field. A surprise is finding slot machines in the Barracks. The Azores belong to Portugal.

Tuesday 15 July 1958

Today we will fly from Lajes, Azores to Port Lyautey, Morocco. We depart Lajes and head to the SE about 100 miles until over Santa Maria then turn to the east toward Casablanca. For a while we are in and out of the clouds. About 2 hours out of Port Lyautey we learn that President Eisenhower has ordered the marines to land in Lebanon. The flight continues to the African Coast over Casablanca then turn to the NE, toward Rabat and Port Lyautey, at Kenitra, Morocco. As we circle the field we can see the regular Navy P2V's departing for the Eastern Mediterranean. VP-731 is now the only patrol squadron in Port Lyautey. As we depart our aircraft we are immediately aware that we are in a Moslem country. Later in the day we go to the Navy Exchange and find out that our US money is no good. All sales on the base are made with "script", MPC, Military Payment Certificates. I buy 7 X 50 binoculars which I have to this day.

Wednesday 16 July 1958

Now there seems to be a never ending stream of marines being airlifted to the eastern Mediterranean. Planes are arriving refueling and departing, and troops are eating in the mess hall at all hours.

This afternoon we all go to an orientation meeting to learn about the world situation, the marines had landed in Lebanon without opposition, the status of VP-731, and about the local area around the base, where it was safe to go and what areas to avoid.

Thursday 17 July 1958

Today we learn that #201 and #202 will fly to NAF Naples, Italy on Friday and return on Sunday. The other planes will go to other locations then to Naples. This evening as we were leave the mess hall we are shocked to hear of the death of Lcdr Alan Dale and LT Don L. Southworth in the S2F crash at NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan.

Friday 18 July 1958

#201 and #202 will fly directly to Naples. On this flight we have Detroit Times reporter Jerry Kabel with us. Leaving Port Lyautey we fly along the coast of Morocco to the Strait of Gibraltar, then head east over the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Balearic Islands, across Sardinia and on to Capidicino Airport in Naples. NAF Naples is located at Capidicino. As we taxi to our parking spot can see farmers cutting hay on the field between the taxiways. Also we have our first view of Mt. Vesuvius. After servicing the planes we are taken into the city to the Mediterranean Hotel, on Piazza Municipio. The hotel was new, only about a month old. In the area near the hotel it was still possible to see some damage to buildings from WW II. From the roof of the hotel is a beautiful view of the harbor, the Castle, and Mt. Vesuvius. This flight included the following: Harold McNeil AD2, Roosevelt Secars AD2, Charles Mitchell AT? and Leroy Kelly.

Back in Michigan the Detroit Free Press has a headline "NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan Airmen Join Sixth Fleet" "Planes Called To Hunt Subs". The Detroit Times has an article on page one, "Ile Fliers On Secret Mission".

Saturday 19 July 1958

Today we will participate in an Exercise with the Italian Navy, locating an Italian Submarine. This will take place in the Mediterranean near Naples. Jerry Kabel is with us. (On Monday 28 July 1958, after return to NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan) he writes about this flight in the Detroit Times. "They Play a Deadly Game Over the Mediterranean" and includes a picture of the crew. He said this exercise took place at a secret location in the Mediterranean. (This actually took place within sight of the Isle of Capri.)

Sunday 20 July 1958

This is another beautiful sunny day in Naples. The farmers have now stacked the hay on the field. Just before our departure Jerry Kabel takes several pictures of the crew. Today we will fly back to Port Lyautey, departing about 1100 for the 6 hour flight. It is a beautiful afternoon can clearly see Sardinia and also have a good view of the Rock of Gibraltar. Can clearly see across the strait of Gibraltar with Spain, Europe to the north and Morocco, Africa to the south. We arrive back in Port Lyautey about 1830. The other 3 P2V's had departed for Barcelona and then to Naples. They will return on Tuesday or Wednesday. From what I am told #204 went to Barcelona and many of the crew attend a bullfight.

[Other information:

    Each P2V had one or two stationkeepers on board. This is how I remember it:

    #201 - Homer Crook AD1 and John Sanger AT2

    #202 - Donald Coombs AD1

    #203 - Wm. Jerome Steele AD1 and Robert E. Raines AT2

    #204 - Bruce Badger AD2 and Edward Phillips AD2 (changing rate to AT)

    #205 - A. A. Bartczak AT1 and George Yoscovitts AD1
Three newspaper reporters accompanied VP-731 on the cruise they were: USNR Capt. John C. Treen from the Detroit News, Civilians Jerry Kabel from the Detroit Times, and Miller M. Hollingsworth from the Detroit Free Press..

After arriving in Port Lyautey the NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania VR squadron was put into service flying to and from Beruit, Lebanon.

From Monday 21 July to Friday 25 July the NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan P2V flew patrols near the Strait of Gibraltar.]

Thursday 24 July 1958

We are preparing our planes for the return flight to NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan. Going to the planes I am surprised to see names on the four NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan planes. The names are as follows: #201 "Adios Mama", named after an Arab entertainment place in Kenitra. #203 "Little King" There were two stories about this name: One is that is was named for Sultan Mohammed V of Morocco and the other was that this is Jerry Steele's plane and he can be very English at times. Also when #203 landed at NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan "Have Fez Wont Travel" was painted on the plane. #204 "Barcelona Baby" because the crew had gone to Barcelona and to a bullfight, and #205 "Pogo" because of the landing on arrival at Port Lyautey. We receive word that a NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania R5D will need an engine change when it returns to Port Lyautey. So the P2V crews are changed. Most stationkeepers will stay in Port Lyautey and return on the R5D later. I am assigned to return on #205, 127737 with Lt Kenneth Drew and his crew, co-pilot was Lcdr Doyle and navigator LT Parkey.

Friday 25 July 1958

Make the flight back to Lajes without incident. One of the NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania R5D now has to leave 1/2 of its passengers in Lajes and go to Argentia and return to Lajes for the others due to the duration of the flight over 8 hours, and fuel requirements.

Saturday 26 July 1958

Flight from Lajes to Argentia is long over 8 hours. On the way there is some concern about the weather in Argentia, and where we can go as a possible alternate. However when we arrive the field is open with clouds and some fog. All planes make a GCA landing.

Sunday 27 July 1958

Depart Argentia early for Selfridge ANG Base. Follow the same route that we took going to Argentia. It was a nice sunny day and I can see Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the locks on the St. Lawrence River near Montreal. All 5 P2Vs land at Selfridge for Customs. We are bussed to a building and the customs inspector takes our declarations and clear us. The 5 planes take off and fly in formation across Lake St. Clair, down the Detroit River over Wyandotte and Trenton arriving over NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan about 1400.

Back in Port Lyautey Morocco, NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan stationkeepers were busy "Working Their Way Home" by changing the engine on the NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania R5D. This engine change crew consisted of: Bruce Badger, Becker, Ed Harker, Jerome Steele, Harry Barriger, James Osgood, George Yoscovitts, and Haynes. The remaining stationkeepers returned to NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan on the repaired NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania R5D early Tuesday morning.

John P. Sanger, LT USNR, Ret.
Rev. A, 5 May 2000

Circa 1957

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...1957 Cruise Book..." Contributed by ROBERT [N] BELL captbell@tampabay.rr.com [30MAR99]

In the fall of 1945, in a small reserve station at NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan, a new patrol squadron, designated VPB-905, was organized. The reserve pilots who made up this new squadron called themselves the "SUNDAY FLIERS" because of the "SF" markings on their PBM seaplanes.

In 1946, they were redesignated VP-ML-55, and soon thereafter, redesignated VP-731. In 1950, they were called to active duty, to take part in the Korean conflict.

A three month training cycle in San Diego was followed by a six month deployment to the NS Sangley Point, Philippines.

Six months later, the squadron left Sangley Point and returned to the San Diego area to reorganize and retrain.

Now the squadron deploys yearly to Iwakuni, Japan to patrol the waters from Korea to Hong Kong, and further their training in Anti-Submarine Warfare and advanced base operations. It was during this period, in 1953, that the squadron received its present designation of VP-48.

The only Navy Patrol Squadron still retaining the SF markings, but now flying P5M "MARLINS", the present day Sunday Fliers laugh, live and work together as a closely knit team. This book was created to show you the many aspects of life in our squadron; the fun we have, the work we do, the lighter side and even the dreary side of things as they happen in our daily routine..." Contributed by ROBERT [N] BELL captbell@tampabay.rr.com [30MAR99]


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]

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

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News December 1952 "...VP Commanding Officers - Page 16 - Naval Aviation News - December 1952..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1952/dec52.pdf [28JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...31JUL52 - While conducting a partol mission, a US Navy PBM-5S2, of VP-731, based from NAS Iwakuni, Japan, was attacked by two Chinese MiG-15s over the Yellow Sea. Two crewmembers were killed and two were seriously wounded. The PBM suffered extensive damage, but was able to make it safely to Paengyong-do Korea..." Website: Aircraft Downed During the Cold War and Thereafter http://www.silent-warriors.com/shootdown_list.html [20FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraThe Hole Mob "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraCommanding Officer "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraExecutive Officer "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraSquadron History "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraAir Medals "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraOrdnance Shop "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraMetalsmiths Shop "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraGround Crew "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraElectronics Shop "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraFlying Home "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraOfficers "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraEnlisted "...From my Father's (AM2 Carl F. Luce) Cruise Book from 2 June 1952 to 1 December 1952..." Contributed by Brad Luce trefili@yahoo.com [15AUG2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...From 1945 to 1969, U.S. Navy aircraft were involved in a number of aerial incidents with forces of the Soviet Union, People's Republic of China, North Korea, and Czechoslovakia. These incidents resulted in the loss of eight Navy aircraft and one Coast Guard aircraft, eighty-one Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviators and crewman, and several aircraft damaged and crewmen wounded and injured. The list below, compiled from official and unofficial sources, does not include aircraft lost in direct action in the Korean and Vietnam wars, nor aircraft shot down by Chinese forces in the vicinity of Vietnam in connection with that war..." Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol2.htm [06MAY2001]

  • 31 Jul 1952 PBM-5S2 VP-731
    While conducting a patrol mission, this PBM-5S2 based from NAS Iwakuni, Japan, was attacked by two Chinese MiG-15s over the Yellow Sea, resulting in two crewmembers killed and two more seriously wounded. The PBM suffered extensive damage, but was able to make it safely to Paengyong-do, Korea.

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I went thru operational (PBM) before the end of WWII. My group went to Bikini. I went home to the reserves. I was recalled in 52 and joined VP 731 at North Island (redesignated VP-48) and spent 10 months with them. The first portion at Sangley Point, Manila Bay, doing ship searches, Task Force coverage, and a little spook work with a group of AJ Savage type aircraft.We also spent time on Seaplane Tenders in the Formosa area and Buckner Bay. Then we spent the last half and Iwakuni Japan doing more of the same and ECM and anti-sub work. After the cease fire we went home and I said goodbye to the USNavy. There is only one PBM left and that is the 5 version at Tuscon Air Museum. We still have reunions every few years and it great fun seeing the waistline and the stories growing in direct portions to age..." Contributed by Thomas Savage savpbm@hutchtel.net

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...KOREA--ARRIVED: 29MAY52 DEPARTED: 08DEC52 TAIL CODE: AIRCRAFT: PBM-5" http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/koreaob.htm


    Circa 1951

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...LT(jg) George Gender who flew combat missions in WWII and KOREA. He flew PV-2 harpoons in WWII and PBM Mariners in Korea. He flew with VPB-142 in WWII and VP-731 during the Korean War..." WebSite: EBay http://www.ebay.com/ [18MAR2009]

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

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News March 1951 "...Stars Over The Atlantic - Page 30 - Naval Aviation News - March 1951..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1951/mar51.pdf [23JUL2004]

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

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-731 History ThumbnailCameraVP-731 PBM "...PBM from VP-731 (NASGI) being hoisted aboard USS Pine Island (AV-12). June 1951 in the Formosan Straits - NASGI@yahoogroups.com by Hugh Lathrop ADRC USNR (Ret)..." Forwarded by KOONTS, AT2 Billy billkoonts@aol.com [16JAN2003]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The following is a list of some Reserve Squadrons ordered to active duty as of August 13, 1951. The information is in the following order: Station, Squadron, Date Activated, Assignment..." Contributed by Bill Larkins wtl@earthlink.net via KOONTS, AT2 Billy billkoonts@aol.com [11AUG2002]

    NAS Minneapolis VP-812 (7-20-50) to FAW-4
    NAS Seattle, Washington FASRON-895 (7-20-50) to FAW-4
    NAS Seattle, Washington VP-892 (7-20-50) to FAW-4
    NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania VP-931 (9-1-50) to FAW-4
    NAS Los Alamitos, California VP-772 (9-1-50) to FAW-4
    NAS Columbus FASRON-691 (9-1-50) to FASRON-691
    NAS Norfolk, Virginia VP-861 (9-15-50) to FAW-11
    NAS Squantum, Massachusetts FASRON-915 (9-15-50) to FAW-11
    NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C. VP-661 (9-15-50) to FAW-5
    NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan VP-731 (9-29-50) to FAW-14
    NAS Dallas, Texas FASRON-701 (2-1-51) to FASRON-701
    NAS New Orleans, Louisiana FASRON-821 (2-1-51) to FASRON-821
    NAS Jacksonville, Florida VP-741 (3-1-51) to FAW-11
    NAS Memphis, Tennessee FASRON-795 (3-1-51) to FAW-5
    NAS Oakland, California VP-871 (3-1-51) to FAW-4
    NAS Olathe, Kansas FASRON-885 (3-1-51) to FAW-4
    NAS Seattle, Washington VS-892 (7-20-50) VS-892
    NAS Miami VS-801 (2-1-51) VS-801
    NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania VS-931 (3-1-51) VS-931
    NAS Squantum, Massachusetts VS-913 (4-1-51) VS-913
    NAS Oakland, California VS-871 (5-1-51) VS-871
    NAS New York, New York VS-831 (6-1-51) VS-831

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Awards approved for VP-731 for services during WestPac Deployment 1/51 through 8/51 includes The China Service Medal (Extended), and The Navy Occupation Service Medal (Authorized August 1951 for all Squadron Members). Air Medals were approved for Flight Crew Members by U.S. Congress in Fiscal Year 96 Defense Authorization Act, Section 526, which was the culmination of 17 years of research, collecting 491 pages of documentation, and letter writing by 4 former Flight Crew Members, and the efforts of Governor (then Congressman) Don Sundquist, former Senator Jim Sasser, Mr. Ewing Carruthers, Senator Fred Thompson, and the special assistance of ADM. F.L. "Skip" Bowman, without aid the request would never have been submitted to Congress. Our eternal thanks to ADM. Bowman, Mr. Carruthers, and to Mrs. S.J. Kirk for her expertise and dedication in expediting the awards process upon our submission of Flight Log Books, which were required as proof of flights. To date 48 Flight Crew Members.Surviving Family Members have received 48 Air Medals, (AM's), 81 Gold Stars in lieu of (AM'S), and 17 Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC'S). The DFC's were approved by Congress in Fiscal Year 98 Defense Authorization Act. The first AM's were approved by the Navy for VP731 on 26 September 1996, 45 years, 1 month, and 11 days after VP731 flew the final Combat Patrol of the 1951 Deployment. In October 1998, The Chief of Naval Operations approved The Korean Service Medal, The Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and The United Nations Service Medal for "Aircrews from VP731 who flew in the Korean area during the period of 1 January 1951 to 31 August 1951. The Death, inability to locate former Members. and loss of Flight Log Books has resulted in approximately 90 Flight Crew Members being denied the above awards. It is noteworthy to mention that letters and documentation was sent to 15 Congresswomen, Congressmen and Senators from Arizona, california, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The only responses was fron Senator Thurmond of south Carolina, and the Congressmen and Senators from Tennessee. Our search for former members continues..." Contributed by Andrew W. Yancey YanceyAVCM@aol.com [History Updated 19JUL99 | 17JUL99]


    Circa 1950

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Minutemen of naval aviation: the naval air reserve in Korea - Naval Aviation News, Sept-Oct, 2001 by Hill Goodspeed..." [28MAR2005]

    Patrol squadrons (VP) were among the first from the Naval Air Reserve to deploy overseas. Recalled to active duty on 20 July 1950, VP-892 reported to NAS North Island, San Diego, California the following month, and on 18 December logged its first mission, the first by a reserve squadron during the Korean War. Eventually, seven recalled patrol squadrons served during the conflict, flying PBM-5 Mariners, PB4Y/P4Y-2 Privateers and P2V-2/3 Neptunes. The crews flew a variety of missions, including long-range antisubmarine warfare and reconnaissance flights in the Sea of Japan and along the coasts of China and North Korea. This could get dangerous, as evidenced by the experiences of a VP-731 crew operating over the Yellow Sea off the west coast of Korea. On 31 July 1952, two Chinese MiG-15 jets attacked a squadron PBM-5S2, killing two crewmen and wounding two others. The plane's pilot, Lieutenant E. E. Bartlett, Jr., descended to low altitude, weaving in an effort to avoid further attack, and limped to Paengyong, South Korea, where he made an emergency landing. Two squadrons, VP-772 and VP-871, harkened back to the days of the famous "Black Cat" patrol squadrons by operating at night over Korea, dropping flares to support night interdiction and close air support missions by Marine Corps aircraft.

    While patrol aircraft were the first elements of the Naval Air Reserve to see service in Korea, the weekend warriors flying fighter and attack aircraft made a sizable contribution as well. Of the 24 deployments by fleet carriers during the Korean War, nearly one-third of them had at least one reserve squadron operating from the flight deck.

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Was a tinbender (AM) in FASRON119, NS Sangley Point, Philippines 1950-1952. Some of the VP's we serviced: VP-47 and VP-731..." Contributed by Owen Truitt owentr@juno.com[15NOV98]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...In mid 1950's the Korean War erupted. This was at a time that the Naval Air Reserves had 27 air-wings at as many stations stateside. Fourteen reserve squadrons were ordered to active duty by July 1950, which was increased to 40 within a year. October 1st., over 200 men of NASGI's VP-731 squadron departed for the west coast and far east. They also sent a fighter squadron and Marine unit and many individuals. The base was used as a refresher training base for many air reservist called to active duty. In August, 1950 the Coast Guard stationed rescue boats and 5 men at the site of the old seaplane base. 1951 and 52 saw the only jet fighter to be assigned to NAS Grosse ILE, Michigan arrive. Not being assigned to a specific squadron allowed all the stations fighter pilots, jet flight time in one of the six FH-1 Phantoms. The Phantom, a forerunner of the Banshee was able to use the runways with no trouble. But the runways were to short for the higher performance jet fighters. The reservists needed to remain proficient fighter pilots. This and the Grosse Ile Township Board resisting any further expansion would change the station mission as a reserve fighter base and eventually force a move and closure of the air station. By the mid 50's, the last fighter had shipped out and the pilots had been assigned to attack squadrons flying the AD Skyraiders. NASGI had lost a critical battle and it was only a matter of time now. 1955 brought a new aircraft. The Army installed a Nike-Ajax missile site (D-51) at NASGI. The command center was just north of Meridian Road across from the air-station and the launch site was beside the runway just above the old seaplane base that was by now being called "The Boathouse". Later in the decade, patrol squadrons got P2V-5 Neptunes. These hybrids were a last chance at jet flight at Grosse Ile. They were powered by two large piston engines and two axial flow jets. These would be the last jets at the air station. Naval Reserve Transport squadrons at NASGI continued flying R4D's until they were replaced by R5D's in January of 1961. ..." Contributed by Stanley doc@thenavy.com WEBSITE: http://localsonly.wilmington.net/~stanley/the50.htm

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...On 29 September, 1950, VP-731 was called to active duty from the Organized Reserve at Grosse Ile, Michigan, and reported for duty to COMNAVAIRPAC at NAS North Island, San Diego, California flying the PBM Mariner aircraft. During the Korean Conflict the squadron was awarded the Korean Presidential Citation and on 23 Feb., 1953, VP-731 was designated VP-48. In June 1954, VP-48 completed transition to the P5M Marlin aircraft. In 1959 and 1960 the squadron was awarded the Captain Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence and COMNAVAIRPAC Battle Effeciency "E". While on deployment in the Gulf of Tonkin crisis in August 1964, VP-48 established an all-time seaplane squadron record by amassing 1585 flight hours during one month of ASW operations with the SEVENTH Fleet. One year late, VP-48 established a six-lane detachment at NS Sangley Point, R.P. and was actively engaged in flying Ocean Surveillance Air Patrol flights over the South China Sea. In Setp. 1966 transition to the P3 Orion began as the homeport was shifted from NAS North Island, San Diego, California to NAS Moffett Field, California. In March, VP-48 was once again chosen to receive the COMNAVAIRPAC Battle Effeciency "E" for the year 1966; in April the squadron was again awarded the Captain Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for 1965-1966. During 1967 and 1968, VP-48 deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, and NAS Adak, Alaska, respectively. The Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded for the squadron's patrol efforts during the NAS Adak, Alaska deployment. In March 1970, the squadron was awarded the COMNAVAIRPAC Battle Effeciency "E" and deployed the following month to Sangley Point. During the next six months, with a detachment maintained at NAF Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam, the squadron flew Market Time flights over the South China Sea. Returning to Moffett Field in October, VP-48 began a seven month turnaround including training, ASW excercises, and administrative and operational inspections. By 1 May 1971, the squadron was on the line again at Sangley and Cubi Point with a detachment at the Royal Thai Navy Base a Utapao, Thailand, flying Ocean Surveillance Air Patrols as part of the SEVENTH Fleet operations. VP-48 returned from WESTPAC in November 1971 to transition to the new P3C aircraft. On 3 December the squadron was presented the COMNAVAIRPAC Battle Efficiency "E" and the Captain Arnold J. Isbell Tropphy for 1970-1971. The Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded on that date for the 1970 WESTPAC deployment. In addition to receiving the CNO Maintenance Award and the Royal Air Force Coastal Command Trophy, the squadron has held the COMNAVAIRPAC Quarterly Safety Award five times in the last thirteen years. From June 1972 to January 1973 the squadron participated in the "tri-detachmant" deployment which consisted of detachments at NAS Adak, Alaska; NAS Agana, Guam; and Moffett Field. During this deployment, VP-48 saw every type of tasking known to the P3 community, from subtime to MEDEVACS and Sea-Air Rescue operations. Tll this was accomplished from bases several thousand miles distant, in weather ranging from the arctic ice and cold to the heat and humidity of the tropics. VP-48 returned to Moffett Field in January of 1973 for a year of intensive training and reorganization for the purpose of sharpening their skills and talents for missions at home and on the next "tri-detachmant" deployment which began in January of 1974. The missions for the next six months were as varied as the previous deployment with successful Sea Air Rescue missions, MEDEVACS, and numerous flights on submarines, both on operational and training missions. Following a stand-down period, the squadron began agnew its training to better its skills so as to continue to play its part in the defense of the United States and her allies..." Contributed by Bill Bryan AWC (Ret) luckydog@inna.net


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