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Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Rehoboth Seaplane Tender - A city on Delaware's Atlantic Coast. The first Rehoboth retained her former name...(Squadrons Mentioned: FAW-7, VH-1, VH-6, VPB-20, VPB-26 and ZP-14)..." WebSite: Naval History Center http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/r4/rehoboth-ii.htm [23DEC2005]


A city on Delaware's Atlantic Coast. The first Rehoboth retained her former name.


(AVP - 50: displacement 2,800 (full load); length 310'9"; beam 41'2"; draft 13'6"; speed 18 knots; complement 215; troop 152; armament 2 5", 8 40mm., 8 20mm., 2 depth charge tracks; class Barnegat)

The second Rehoboth (AVP-50) was laid down 3 August 1942 by Lake Washington Shipyards, Houghton, Wash.; launched 8 November 1942; sponsored by Mrs. R. P. McConnell; and commissioned 23 February 1944, Comdr. Robert Crawford Warrack in command.

Following shakedown off San Diego, Rehoboth transited the Panama Canal 25 April 1944 and reached Norfolk 14 May. Three days later she sailed for Casablanca carrying men and cargo of ZP-14. Returning to Norfolk 9 June, she carried cargo and personnel for FAW-7 in Britain, 8 July to 9 August, then sailed south to Recife reporting to ComFAirWing 16 for duty 31 August. She transported passengers and cargo between various Brazilian ports until 15 January 1945 when she departed Natal for Bristol, England, carrying personnel and cargo for ComFAirWing 7. On 14 February she returned to Norfolk, whence, until mid-June, she carried men and equipment to Bristol and Avonmouth in England.

Rehoboth retransited the Panama Canal 18 August, and after calls at San Diego and Pearl Harbor she arrived off Okinawa 2 October. There for 2 weeks she tended planes of air-sea rescue squadron 6 (VH-6), then steamed to Jinsen, Korea, where she took command of a seadrome, and tended planes of VPB-20. In mid-November she crossed the Yellow Sea, and from 18 November-21 December tended a detachment of VH-6. On Christmas Day she arrived at Shanghai to tend VH-1 and VPB-26 planes. On 25 January Rehoboth got underway for Nagoya, Japan, thence proceeded to Kobe 17 February where she set up an auxiliary seadrome area. On 24 March she arrived at Sasebo where she assumed seadrome control.

Rehoboth continued to serve in Japanese waters until August when she returned briefly to the Chinese coast, then operated off Australia and in the Philippines. In November she returned to Japan whence she sailed east in 1947. Arriving at San Diego 18 March, she continued on, transited the Panama Canal at the end of the month, and reached Philadelphia, 9 April. Decommissioned 30 June 1947, she commenced conversion to a survey ship the following year.

Reclassified AGS-50, she recommissioned 2 September 1948, and commenced oceanographic survey work under the direction of the Hydrographic Office. Equipped with a small laboratory and machinery to take Nansen casts, which provide the oceanographer with the temperature and samples of sea water at different depths, and drill for core samples, she traveled over 300,000 miles in the North Atlantic and adjacent seas during her first 6 years of operation.

In February 1952, while crossing the Atlantic, she discovered and accurately positioned an underwater mountain range with heights up to 12,000 feet above the ocean floor. In March 1952 she discovered and charted a 7,000-foot mountain near Bermuda and in August 1953 Rehoboth became the first ship to anchor in over 2 miles of water.

Employed on special projects in 1953 and 1954, she returned to oceanographic survey work in the Atlantic and Caribbean in 1953. Transferred to the Pacific in 1956, she departed Philadelphia 15 February. Transiting the Panama Canal 22 February, she was diverted to an area northwest of the Galapagos Islands to search for the raft "Cantuta" which she found after 4 days. On 9 March Rehoboth reached San Francisco, and for the next year operated off the west coast. On 4 March 1957 she proceeded to Pearl Harbor for 3 months work in Hawaiian waters. For the next 9 months she operated in the eastern Pacific. In April 1958 she extended her range to the Marshalls and in 1960 to the western Pacific. In October 1960 she also added operations off the South American coast. For the next 4 years her missions spanned the Pacific from equatorial to arctic climes.

In September 1965 Rehoboth completed operations in the northern Pacific and in November commenced survey operations in the South China Sea, conducting in December a hydrographic survey of the South Vietnamese coast from the Mekong Delta to Cape Padaran.

After completing survey operations in the South China Sea in February 1966, she sailed east, arriving at San Francisco 23 March. Overhaul and west coast operations followed. In 1967 she conducted operations in the northern and western Pacific. In California waters from December 1967 until 14 March 1968, she then departed San Francisco for Yokosuka. She undertook survey operations in the Philippine Sea until August, returning to San Francisco 26 September where she remained for the balance of the year. She operated off the California coast in early 1969 until deploying to the Far East in August, returning in December to San Francisco. She decommissioned and was struck from the Navy list 15 April 1970.

23 September 2005

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 accomp- lished 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 [17FEB20008]

Circa Unknown
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Aviation in the Pacific in WW II - Part 2 - By Capt. Albert L. Raithel, Jr., USN (Ret.)...This Squadron Mentioned...Naval Historical Center ADOBE Download File: http://www.history.navy.mil/download/ww2-20.pdf [25MAY2003]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "... In addition to the first five VH squadrons formed at NAS San Diego and NAS Alameda, California, there also was a sixth. VH-6 formed in September 1944 at San Diego. They did not arrive at NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan until early August 1945. But, during their operations before the atomic bombs ended the war; they performed outstanding rescues which resulted in several men being able to possibly extending their lifespan. Thanks for everything you are doing. Respectfully..." Contributed by Lee Way LEEWAY@aol.com [05FEB2000]

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