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HistoryVE-1 HistoryHistory

Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Just a few comments on the 6 VH Rescue Squadrons. Each unit when formed consisted of 6 PBM-3Rs & 6 R4D-5s land-planes. The dual mission would be: PBMs as SAR & R4Ds as Medical Evacuation. However instead of R4D-5s, VH-1 were utilizing PB2Y-3s. The 4 engined flying boats. This dual mission looked good on paper. But, having 2 separate commands at different bases proved unfeasable. Around 15 December 1944 the land plane & PB2Ys from VH-1 and VH-2 were formed into VE-1. Likewise VH-3 and VH-4 formed VE-2 & VH-5 and VH-6 formed into VE-3. These 3 Evacuation squadrons operated from newly won airstrips and seadromes under intense enemy fire oftentimes to remove the wounded to the rear area where they could be operated on. An amazing feat of VE-1s PB2Ys was accomplished when they flew many severly wounded men from the forward area Islands back to San Francisco. Only making stops for fuel & provisions and landed at NAS Alameda, California 48 hours later. Words fail describe the role these unsung heroes played in getting these men out of harms way. For decades the exploits of the VH rescue squadrons & the VE Evacuation squadrons have been one of the best kept secrets of WW2. Every pilot and aircrewman can stand tall who has set down on a tempestuous sea or braved enemy fire in order to rescue airmen or sailors and footsloggers who would have possibly died from lack of attention..." Contributed by Lee Way ex-VH-3 LEEWAY104@aol.com [17FEB2000]

UPDATE "...VE-1, flying the Consolidated PB2Y Coronado, flew the wounded out of the forward area to NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii not NAS Alameda, California (that was as far as we went). I seem to remember their was a hospital and from the hospital Shipmates would return to the states by ship...." Contributed by COOLEY, AMMF Robert O. robtcool@aol.com [20OCT2009]

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