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Circa 1995

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-24 Batmen Disestablished...Naval Aviation News Jan/Feb 98, "Airscoop"..." Contributed by Andy Massa navyvp24@hotmail.com [06MAR98]

A 13 April 1995 ceremony at NAS Jacksonville, Fla., marked the disestablishment of Patrol Squadron (VP) 24 (officially 30 April) after 52 years of service. Cdr. Steve A. Seal was the last CO of the Batmen.

VP-24's long history began during WWII when the squadron was formed from a cadre of VP-71 personnel and established at NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, on 10 April 1943 as Bombing Squadron (VB) 104. Equipped with the PB4Y-1 Liberator patrol bomber, VB-104 was sent into action in the southwest Pacific in August 1943, flying from Guadalcanal on strike and reconnaissance missions against Japanese islands and shipping. After operating briefly from Munda airfield on New Georgia, the squadron returned to the United States in March 1944 for rest and reorganization.

After training work-ups at NAAS Kearney Field, Calif.; NAS Hutchinson, Kansas; and Kaneohe Bay, the squadron was redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron (VPB) 104 and returned to combat in November 1944, resuming strike and reconnaissance missions from the captured airstrip on the island of Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies. VPB-104 continued the same operations after moving to Clark Field in the Philippines. On one memorable mission, a PB4Y-1 crew led by Lt. Paul Stevens intercepted a Japanese "Emily" flying boat off the coast of China and shot it up so badly it was forced to beach itself on the Chinese coast. The flying boat's passenger, VAdm. Yamagata, en route to Japan for an interview with Emperor Hirohito for the position of undersecretary of the Imperial Japanese Navy, committed suicide on the beach rather than surrender to Chinese partisans. VPB-104 was the only patrol squadron to receive two Presidential Unit Citations for WWII actions.

At war's end, VPB-104 moved to NAS Floyd Bennett Field, N.Y., and switched to the PB4Y-2 (later P4Y-2) Privateer patrol plane. Redesignated VP-104 on 15 May 1946, the squadron changed home base to NAS Atlantic City, New Jersey, the following week as one of two Atlantic Fleet squadrons armed with the ASM-N-2 Bat glide bomb. On 15 November 1946, VP-104 was redesignated Heavy Patrol Squadron (landplane) (VP-HL) 4. In 1947, the squadron received the PB4Y-2B version, making four deployments to Argentia, Newfoundland, and one each to NAS Port Lyautey, French Morocco, and Luqa, Malta, between 1947 and 1954. VP-HL-4 moved to NAS Patuxent River, Md., in April 1948 and was redesignated VP-24 on 1 September 1948. The squadron moved to NAS Chincoteague, Virginia., in 1954.

The squadron, equipped with the P2V-6M Neptune, was one of two Navy squadrons selected to deploy the Petrel guided missile in March 1956. On 1 July, VP-24 was redesignated Attack Mining Squadron 13 with the primary mission of aerial mining. The Batmen deployed twice to Malta (before shifting home base to NAS Norfolk, Va., in 1959) and once to Keflavik, Iceland, with the P2V-6M. While deployed to Keflavik, on 1 July 1959, the squadron was once again redesignated VP-24.

In November 1959, VP-24 received its first P2V-7S (SP-2H) versions. The squadron deployed to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in late 1962 and again in early 1963, conducting quarantine surveillance and monitoring the removal of Soviet missiles and bombers from Cuba. By 1967, VP-24 made deployments to Rota, Spain; Keflavik; NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Sigonella, Sicily; and Souda Bay, Crete, with its SP-2Hs, tracking Soviet submarines and shipping, among other missions.

On 5 July 1967, VP-24 moved back to Patuxent River in conjunction with its transition to the P-3B Orion patrol plane. With the transition complete in December 1967, the squadron deployed in March 1968 to Rota, maintaining a detachment in Lajes, Azores. The Batmen assisted in the search for the nuclear-powered submarine Scorpion, which was lost at sea in May 1968.

After a Keflavik/Lajes deployment in 1969, VP-24 became the third Atlantic Fleet squadron to switch to the P-3C version, completing the transition in March 1970. After two more deployments to Keflavik, VP-24 made its final home base change to NAS Jacksonville in October 1972. After a 973 deployment to Keflavik/Lajes, the Batmen maintained a series of "mini-detachments" at Bermuda and Lajes in 1974, as a test of an alternative to the full-squadron/split-site deployments common in this era. From 1974 until 1991, VP-24 made 11 major deployments to Bermuda, Sigonella, Lajes and Keflavik, heavily involved in tracking Soviet submarines and ships, and supporting cold war fleet operations and crisis response efforts.

In the early 1990s, VP-24 received the Update III retrofit version of the P-3C. The Batmen made two more deployments with this version, to Sigonella in 1992-1993 and Keflavik in 1994-1995. The squadron flew missions in support of Operation Sharp Guard, enforcing sanctions against the former Yugoslavia. Returning to Jacksonville for the last time on 9 February 1995, VP-24 quickly drew down its operations in preparation for disestablishment...." Contributed by Andy Massa navyvp24@hotmail.com [06MAR98]

Circa 1946 - 1948

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons CD-ROM: Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons Vol. 2 Stock No. 008-046-00195-2 The History of VP, VPB, VP(HL), and VP(AM) Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C...." [15JUN2000]
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Circa 1944 - 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraPB4Y-2 Squadron Assignments "...PB4Y-2 Squadron Assignments 1944 - 1949 by W. T. Larkins 5-11-1984. A review of the aircraft history cards for the 740 aircraft 59350-60009 and 66245-66324 allows the following squadrons with one or more aircraft. Unfortunately the original assignment on many in 1944 is simply "PAC" for Pacific area. No card was found to verify VB-200 as the first squadron delivery or any Marine Corps squadrons. Squadrons listed include VP-12, VP-21, VP-22, VP-23, VP-25, VP-26, VP-27, VP-28, VP-29, VPB-100, VPB-101, VPB-10, VPB-102, VPB-104, VPB-106, VPB-107, VPB-108, VPB-109, VPB-111, VPB-114, VPB-115, VPB-116, VPB-117, VPB-118, VPB-119, VPB-120, VPB-121, VPB-122, VPB-123, VPB-124, VPB-143, VPB-197, VPB-200, VP-HL-1, VP-HL-2, VP-HL-4, VP-HL-6, VP-HL-7, VP-HL-8, VP-HL-9, VP-HL-10, VP-HL-11, VP-HL-12, VP-HL-13, VPM-1, VPW-1, VPW-2, VPW-3, VX-1 and VX-2..." Contributed by Bill Larkins wtl@earthlink.net [01AUG2010]

Circa 1943

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VA(HM)-13 - Established as VB-104 10APR43, VB-104 redesignated VPB-104 10OCT44, VPB-104 redesignated VP-104 15MAY46, VP-104 redesignated VP-HL-4 15NOV46, VP-HL-4 redesignated VP-24 01SEP48, VP-24 redesignated VA(HM)-13 01JUL56, VA(HM)-13 redesignated VP-24 01JUL59..." http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol1.htm [29DEC98]

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