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HistoryVP-44 HistoryHistory

Circa 1949

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News December 1949 "...P-Boat Pilot Has Busy Time - Page - 16 - Naval Aviation News - July 1949..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1949/jul49 [12JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News December 1949 "...Planes Slug Visiting Ships - Page - 16 - Naval Aviation News - July 1949..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1940s/1949/jul49 [12JUL2004]

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Circa 1947

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-44 was in NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone from July 1947 to October 1949. At that time we flew PBM Martin Mariners. We were there in Panama with VP-40 which also flew PBM aircraft and VP-7 which had P2V aircraft. VP-44 and VP-40 shared airsea rescue duty in NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We were there three months and then switched for three months...We did Seaplane Tender operations with the tender based in Panama, but I can't remember the name of it...." Contributed by Edwin D. Sayre pbmpilot@home.com [07NOV2000]


Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron FORTY-FOUR (VPB-44) - Aircraft Action Report - October 23rd, 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [01NOV2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron FORTY-FOUR (VPB-44) - Aircraft Action Report - October 18th, 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [01NOV2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron FORTY-FOUR (VPB-44) - Aircraft Action Report - October 8th, 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [01NOV2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron FORTY-FOUR (VPB-44) - Aircraft Action Report - October 2nd, 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [01NOV2013]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-14 - History from 15OCT42-01DEC42 - Submitted December 22nd, 1944. Squadron's Assigned: VP-1, VP-2, VP-4, VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-21, VP-23, VP-24, VP-33, VP-44, VP-53, VP-54, VP-71, VP-72, VP-81, VP-91, VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-106, VP-109, VP-111, VP-115, VP-117, VP-118, VP-119, VP-121, VP-122 and VP-202..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [06DEC2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-1 - VP-48 - War Diary January 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [15NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-2, VP-44 - War Diary March 1944..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [14NOV2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 11 Jan 1944..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [29SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7, VJ-8, VJ-9, VJ-10, VJ-11, VJ-12, VJ-13, VJ-14, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-16, VP-17, VP-18 and VP-19

VP-20, VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52 and VP-54

VP-61 and VP-62

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-115, VP-116 and VP-117

VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

VP-150 and VP-151

VP-201, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...September 4, 1944, Group ONE, Fleet Air Wing TWO was established, consisting of VP-54, VP-44, VB-148, Patsu 1-7, Patsu 1-9, and Patsu 1-11. The group was placed under administrative control of ComAirSoPac.. Operational control of the individual units remained as before. ComPatron 54 assumed additional duty as commanding officer of the group..." [09DEC2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: vp44logoCameraVPB-44 Logo "...I went to the Naval Aviation Museum this AM and checked out the attached squadron patch. They had a picture of one in the library but did not quite match the one I wore on my flight jacket. It is the patch for VPB-44, 1944-45, "Black Cats", PBY5a's..." Contributed by N. A. Schneidewind, Amm 1/C U.S. Navy Retired Schneidmom@AOL.com [15JUN98]


Circa 1943

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-44 History "...Recently Life Magazine (US) and Google placed the Life Magazine photo archives on-line. This PBY, beside which Rickenbacker poses, took him and his companions from the outpost hospital where they first quartered to Samoa for fuller medical treatment - Photo snipped from LIFE magazine page February 8, 1943 issue - VP-44 - Eddie Rickenbacker transport to hospital..." WebSite: Google Image Search http://images.google.com/hosted/life/ Contributed by John Szalay jpszalay01@insightbb.com [19JUN2010]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 31 May 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [02OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU

PATSU

VD-1, VD-2 and VD-3

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7 and VJ-10

VP-1

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14 and VP-15

VP-23

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-125, VP-126, VP-127 and VP-128

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-142, VP-144 and VP-146

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 16 Jan 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU and PATSU

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-6, VJ-7 and VJ-8

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-3

VP-11 and VP-12

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81, VP-82, VP-83 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92VP-93, and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110

VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-131, VP-132, VP-133 and VP-134

VP-200, VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-210, and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 09 Nov 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU and PATSU

VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-1

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15 and VP-16

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-114, VP-115 and VP-116

VP-125, VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

VP-150

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 09 Feb 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [28SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-7 and VJ-8

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13 and VP-14

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-61, VP-62, and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81, VP-82, VP-83 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92, VP-93 and VP-94

VP-101

VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-132, VP-133 and VP-134

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209,

VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "18JUN43--"Flight Commander's Report of Attack on Nauru Island..." Contributed Arthur P. Herin, Jr. ARM2c via his daughter Joyce Tanis georgiapeach20603@yahoo.com [10APR98]

"FLIGHT COMMANDER REPORT of ATTACK on NAURU ISLAND"


This report was written by then Ensign Charles T. Carl, our ACIO, on June 20th, 1943 immediately following the raid. This bombing attack was the first night bombing attack made by PBY aircraft. The attack was supposed to have been made following an attack by a squadron of Army Air Corps B-24's but evidently they couldn't find the island.C/O Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, Calif.
June 20, 1943

From: Commander Patrol Squadron Forty-Four
Commander Fleet Air Wing One.

Subject: Flight Commander's Report of Attack on Nauru Island

Enclosures:
(A) Individual section reports of Patrol Plane Commanders.
(B) Overlay Sketch of Target Area Indicating impact points.
(C) Tactical Organization.

1. In compliance with ComFairWing ONE orders six planes of Patrol Squadron FORTY-FOUR under command of the Commanding Officer departed Espiritu Santo at 0830 L 18 June to conduct a night attack on the bivouac and revetment areas of Nauru Island...

2. Departure was taken from Vanikoro Island at 1737 L with all planes in formation. Frontal weather was encountered from the first 50 to 75 miles of the flight but contact between planes was not lost...

3. Upon reaching the 100 mile point, the weather appeared favorable for a level bombing attack...

4. The only enemy AA fire observed was a light caliber. No searchlights were seen. It was evident that surprise was complete since AA fire was not opened until about five minutes after the first bomb exploded...

Plane No. 08148 (44-P-13 PBY-5) Flight Commander - three bombs and two cluster bombs dropped in train from 7500' on the bivouac area...

Plane No. 08314 Lieut. G. W. Hanthorn A-V(N), USNR - All bombs and clusters dropped in train from 7500'...

Plane No. 08139 Lieut(jg) H. S. Noon A-V(N), USNR - All bombs and clusters released at 1200' in glide bombing attack...received 1 7.7 MM hit in the port side of the pilots compartment injuring the PPC.

Plane No. 08131 (44-P-4 PBY-5) Lieut. R. L. Summers, USN - All bombs released at 3000' in glide bombing attack...

Plane No. 08133 (44-P-6 PBY-5) Lieut C. G. Conhad A-V(N), USNR - All bombs released at 1100' in glide bombing attack...received 23 7.7 MM hits in the wings and hull with no injuries to personnel.

Plane No. 08140 (44-P-12 PBY-5) Lieut. H. T. Skelly A-V(N), USNR - All bombs released at 2500' in glide bombing attack...

FLIGHT CREWS

Plane 4
LT R. L. Summers
LT(jg) C. M. Rees
?ble, R. E. CAP(AA)
?ndberg, W. E. AMM1c
?cabe, E. F. AMM1c
?cve, G. W. ARM2c
?kella, W. F. AOM1c

Standby - Plane 5
Lt. R. B. Hays
Ens. R. V. Comes
Adams, C. A. CAP(AA)
Judas, L. G. H. AMM1c
Hobart, V. A. AMM2c
Wilkason, X. K. ARM1c
Holmes, G. Jr. ARM2c
Blair, H. O. AOM1c

Plane 6
LT C. G. Conrad
LT(jg) T. G. Monahan
LT(jg) J. H. G. Hutchinson
Grimwood, D. C. AMM1c
Evans, O. E. AMM2c
Barker, P. R. ARM1c
Johnson, G. B. Jr. ARM3c
Boyer, S. F. S. ACOM(AA)

Plane 7
LT G. W. Hanthorn
LT(jg) H. E. Sorenson
LT(jg) R. W. Morris
Crawford, G. H. ACMM(AA)
Albers, J. H. AMM1c
Griffith, J. W. ACRM(AA)
Olsen, E. L. ARM1c
Blatherwick, G. W. AOM1c

Plane 11
LT(jg) H. S. Noon
LT(jg) R. L. Hayden
Fry, E. C. CAP(AA)
Jocius, A. C. AMM1c
Reeder, T. F. AMM2c
Bauer, N. E. ARM1c
Davis, C. D. Jr. ARM3c
Sewell, J. F. D. AOM1c

Plane 12
LT H. T. Skelly
LT J. F. Black
Robinson, R. H. CAP(AA)
Zydak, Z. F. AMM1c
Allen, A. D. AMM1c
Brown, D. E. ARM1c
Shafer, R. L. ARM2c
Barnes, R. M. ACOM(AA)

Plane 13
LTCDR R. A. Rosasco
LT(jg) R. C. donaldson
LT(jg) W. C. bolden
?mmell, J. F. CAP(AA)
?ofield, F. O. ACMM(AA)
?hwartz, S. AMM1c
?ben, M. R. ARM2c
?nch, J. R. ARM2c
?wcombe, G. W. Jr. AOM1c

Note: Commander J. F. Greenslad, USN accompanied flight Commander R. A. Rosasco as observer.

Comdr Robert A. Rosasco, USN of Coronado received the Air Medal from Adm. W. L. Friedell, himself the winner of the Navy Cross in World War I. The ceremony held at Marc Island, rewarded Rosasco for leading a night bombing mission June 18 on a Japanese Air Base. Since then he has been promoted from Lieutenant Commander to Commander.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "18APR43--Tales Of The Solomon Islands...Intercept...From the log book of Harry Metke, Charlie Marsh, Ed McKissick and the crew of 44-P-6...APril 18, 1943...James C. Mills...Harry Metke andhis crew knew that they were on an unusual mission when they boarded the motor whale boats from their various tender ships-the Tangier, Curtis and Mackinac in Segond Channel, Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides on the morning of April 18, 1943. They were the crew of plane number 44-P-6 of PBY Patrol Squadron VP-44. Their normal flights were patrol of the skies north and east of the Solomons, between the Solomons and the enemy held island of Nauru...This morning was different. They were on a Dumbo mission, the Navy designation for sea air resuce, in the New Georgia island area. New Georgia was an important Japanese base for the Munda airfield and Japanese army units. Munda was the base for fighters covering bombing missions from Rabaul against the American base, Henderson Field, on Guadalcanal...VP-44 kept a small detachment of two planes and two flight crews at the Tulagi Sea Plane Base, Florida Islands for utility and Dumbo missions in the Solomon Islands. Why the, was a plane being sent from a point several hundred miles away from the landing point rather than from Tulagi which was only an hour or so away? The crew wondered about these things, but then put them aside as they readied the plane for the long flight. There was a tinge of excitement that ran through each man for they were going deep into enemy held territory and landing in enemy held waters...The crew of 44-P-6 included Lt. Harry Metke, plane commander, Ensign Johnson, enlisted pilot Frank Michalek, William Junck, Samuel Minervino, Ed McKissick, Arthur Carson and Charles M. Marsh. They could only speculate on the nature of their mission...Two gods rulled PBY squadrons. They were "Radio Silence" and "Secrecy of Operations." Flight crews were busy and seldom had an opportunity to know of the activities of other crews in the squadron. It would be many years after their work in the South Seas before they were able to learn the full story of the squadrons exploits in that area...As they lifted off Segond Channel that morning the navigator set course for a small coral lagoon on the coast of New Georgia. They were to let out some supplies to a party of coast watcher group and pick up a downed airman who had been rescued and sheltered by the group...As the PBY neared the appointed landing area, the crew sighted a squadron of P-38s. The PBY was flying at less than 500 feet of altitude. The P-38s were at half that altitude, probably to avoid radar detection by the Japanese. They were just skimming the wave tops. The Air Force planes were fast and disappeared quickly in the mists. They too were headed toward the west northwestern Solomons...It was a cloudy, overcast day. The seas were running six to eight feet...Harry landed in the designated lagoon which was not an easy task. It was so small he was landing in a circle, dodging coral heads as he stalled the plane in on the water and taxied to a small tree covered atoll. Quickly, the cargo was handed out to natives in a canoe and a passenger came aboard. In minutes from sighting the landing area, Harry was feeling his way through the coral heads and gaining take off speed...When airborne, the pilots radio of the PBY burst into activity. The P-38 pilots found enemy planes and an aerial battle erupted. The chatter of the fighter pilots indicated the intensity of the battle. They warned each other of attacks, pitched in to help one of their own in trouble and were obviously successful in downing enemy bombers and some of the protective Japanese fighter escorts in the flight...The fight ended with the order, "Mission accomplished, set a course for home." came out. At that time, Harry Metke set a course for New Hebrides...Charles Marsh was on watch in the waist hatch and had a good view of the events that followed. A damaged P-38 appeared to starboard and made a wide sweeping turn about a half mile away. At the end of the turn the ship, badly damaged, pulled abeam the PBY ...Both the PBY and P-38 were at about 700 feet altitude. Marsh reported that the port engine was stopped and the propeller feathered. There were oil streaks behind the damaged engine. There appeared to be bullet holes in the port engine cowling and ahead of the pilots compartment. The canopy over the cockpit seemed to be intact...Metke was in touch with the pilot by radio. He asked the fighter pilot if he was alright. After a pause, he answered that he thought so. Again, Metke asked if the one engine was alright, if he had enough fuel to make it home. The pilot said that he thought he could make it back. Metke assured him that if he wanted to ditch, the PBY could land and pick him up very easily. After some hesitation, the fighter pilot said he thought he could make it and asked for the course to Guadalcanal. Metke pointed the PBY on course and gave the fighter the correct compass heading. Soon the wobbly P-38 pulled ahead and out of sight. Metke again set the course to Espiritu Santo...44-P-6 landed on Segond Channel that afternoon having logged 9.9 hours on the flight. The crew and passenger were tired but happy to be there and happy to be alive. The Air Force officer they rescued, left his helmet and goggles in the PBY . Later Ed McKissick found them. Stenciled inside the helmet was the name Stuess...Later, as some of us lounged near the rail of the USS Curtis and watched the activity in the channel, news flashed across the ship, "The high ranking Japanese Admiral Osoroku Yamamoto and his party in two bombers, with an escort of Zero fighters, were shot down."...On the morning of April 18, 1943, 16 P-38 fighters took off to intercept and attack the Yamamoto party. Four of the planes were to attack the Admirals party and 12 were to provide cover. The news of Yamamoto's visit to the northern Solomon Islands came from a decoded Japanese radio message. The code used was little changed from the one the Americans had decoded which gave them the information on the invasion of Midway...The P-38s intercepted the party at the appointed time at the southeastern tip of Bougainville...The Admirals party was in two land based bombers accompanied by siz Zero fighters. The P-38s shot the two bombers down along with three of the zerios. They lost one of their own...In 1994, one month before his death, after listening to the story of the flight and observations of his crew, Harry Metke made the following comments, "I was on a Dumbo mission that day. The story may be true. I either dreamed it, someone told the story before or it really happened that way. Frankly, I was so busy I had no time to think about other friendly planes. I was responsible for the plane, the lives of my crew members and for my own life. I was deep in enemy held territory. I had just landed in a small dangerous lagoon filled with coral heads. There was little time for me to watch or think about friendly fighters which pulled along side us." "I had no previous knowledge of the plans to attack Yamamoto nor the P-38 squadron which was in the area while we were there. When the news came out about the Yamamoto ambush, I realized it was an amazing coincidence that we were in the area at the time. I did not assume that we were deliberately sent there, as a part of that mission, though we may have been."...Was 44-P-6 a part of the Yamamoto mission? After interviewing the known survivors, it remains an interesting speculation. One of them had no memory of the P-38s on the mission, one considered it a possibility and one believes they were deployed ot the area as a support for any downed P-38 pilots which might be shot down...Will the answer be left to the "Gods of Secrecy?" Will some war diary, perhaps that of Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, answer the question, was 44-P-6 a part of the Yamamoto mission by design or by coincidence?...References: The notes of Charles M. Marsh, no date given...Letter to Mr. Carrol V. Glines, December, 1993 Charles M. Marsh...Letter from C. V.. Glines to Charles M. Marsh, January 7, 1994...Letter to James C. Mills by Charles M. Marsh, May 18, 1994...Potter, E. B., Bull Halsey, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1985...Telephone Interview with Edward K. McKissick, July 1994...Telephone Interview with Harry D. Metke, July 1994..." Contributed by George Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net [From Bill Scroborough Files...]


Circa 1942

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-44 History "...CDR Harry G. Sharp, Jr. graduated from flight training in May 1942, CDR was attached to VP-44 and later VP-54 the same year flying night patrols from Solomon Islands...." Official U. S. Navy Documentation [20DEC2012]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-44 History "...Midway: The Defining Batter - Naval History and Heritage Command - Circa 1942 - Thu., May 27, 2010..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://www.jaxairnews.com/ [28MAY2010]

Photograph Caption: Photo courtesy of VP-26 The VP-26 "Tridents" are arriving at the their new home at NAS Jacksonville, Florida this week. The squadron is the last patrol squadron to transition from VP-26.

The "Tridents" of VP-26 are in the homestretch of a six-month deployment before returning to their new duty station at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. As the last squadron to finalize its homeport transition from VP-26; the men and women of VP-26 look forward to making their new home in Hangar 1000 and joining their sister squadrons in Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven (CPRW-11).

Aircraft and crews will begin the redeployment process this week, with all Tridents scheduled to be home from deployment by the first week in June. Over the past five and a half months, Team Trident has been flying a variety of missions from three widespread locations.

With its near global deployed presence, the squadron has supported counter-drug operations in Central America, maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, and anti-piracy and regional stabilization efforts in the Horn of Africa.

It has supported Operations Unified Response and Active Endeavor, the USS Eisenhower Strike Group, and has participated in numerous multinational exercises including Noble Manta, Brilliant Mariner and Caya Green.

"VP-26 has a long standing tradition of excellence. We look forward to being a part of the CPRW-11 Team and continuing that tradition in our new duty station," said Lt. Cmdr. Sam Gage, officer in charge of the squadron's El Salvador detachment. "Our Sailors look forward to making a new home in Jacksonville and contributing to the local community."

History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History Photo courtesy of VP-26 Members of VP-26 gather in front of their P-3 Orion aircraft while on detachment in Djibouti, Africa.

"The experience has been priceless," said Lt. j.g. Nick Grow, a tactical coordinator who has flown in all three deployed locations as well as several detachment sites. "Flying a variety of missions has enabled crews to hone their tactical skills and familiarity with multiple geographic areas."

On April 27, Cmdr. Jeff Draeger assumed command of VP-26, relieving Cmdr. Mike Parker. Cmdr. Noel Dahlke joined the squadron on deployment as the new executive officer. Spending time in all three deployed locations, Draeger saw firsthand how the squadron met requirements and overcame a variety of challenges in each site while maintaining its overall unit cohesiveness across so many miles and time zones. The teamwork forged by this demanding and dynamic deployment provides a strong foundation on which the Tridents will build during their upcoming inter-deployment readiness cycle.

"Our old and new neighbors in Brunswick and Jacksonville as well as our families can be extremely proud of what this squadron has done during its latest turn in the deployment barrel," said Draeger.

"While deployed we have made a positive difference for our loved ones back home, fellow Americans, and people around the world. We look forward to doing the same in Jacksonville."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross - To U.S. Navy Personnel - World War II - (2,889 Awards) - Navy Cross Citations U.S. Navy - World War II..." WebSite: Home of Heros http://www.homeofheroes.com/ valor/ 1_Citations/ 03_wwii-nc/nc_06wwii_navyE.html [22NOV2007]

FULGHUM, PHILIP LEROY

Synopsis:

The Navy Cross is presented to Philip LeRoy Fulghum, Aviation Ordnanceman Second Class, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Seaplane Squadron FORTY-FOUR (VP-44), based at Midway Island, during the "Air Battle of Midway" on 4 and 5 June 1942. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: October 31, 1921 at Taft, California
Home Town: Oakland, California

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Op-40-A-KB - (SC)A6-4/VZ - January 6, 1942 - Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [23SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VP-11, VP-12 and VP-14

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62, VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-83

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208, VP-209, VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212


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

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Office of the Chief of Naval Operations - Naval History Division Washington - USS Camp (DE-251)..." WebSite: HyperWar http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/dafs/DE/de251.html [16JAN2006]

Born 27 August 1916 in Jennings, La., Jack Hill Camp enlisted in the Naval Reserve 20 January 1941 and was appointed a naval aviator 29 December 1941. Attached to Patrol Squadron 44, Ensign Camp was killed in action 7 June 1942 during the Battle of Midway.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I was with the squadron on the flight from San Diego to Honolulu for the 19.5 hour stretch. I was a member of the crew of John Norman Andregg, who was the squadron Engineering Officer. Jack Reid was the enlisted pilot of our crew amd subsequently was given a temporary commission so he could be a PPC--He had more hours in PBY5A's than most every one of the Commissioned Officers! The accounts of the Battle of Midway brought back many memories of that time. I was released from Active Duty in November or December of 1945 and remained in the Navy Reserve until I qualified for Retired Pay in 1974. The name of our skipper, Robert Brixner and the name of Ens McCleary also brought memories of that time. Lt. Bill Richards, our Executive Officer, led a PBY attack on the Japanese forces, coming in to Midway from the Southwest, the night of June 6, 1942, and they were featured in a Colliers Weekly article that Fall. They sank one troop carrier ship that night, and the balance of the Japanese force turned away from Midway..." Contributed by James L. Oppenheimer, Captain, (RET), USNR jcaptain@netins.net [28FEB99]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "29MAY42--...That same day, 12 Navy PBY-5A Catalinas joined the 12 PBY-5s stationed on Midway. Beginning on May 30, Midway's planes began searching for the Japanese. Twenty-two PBYs from Lt. Cmdr. Robert Brixner's Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44) and Commander Massie Hughes' VP-23 took off from Midway lagoon, then headed out in an arc stretching 700 miles from Midway in search of the Japanese...." http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Sands/5608/midway.html

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "03JUN42--The plane was flown by Ens. Jack Reid and at 09:25 hrs June 3, 1942 he flashed the famous message 'Main Body'. What Reid had contacted was the 27 ship Transport Group of admiral Kondo. The palne was 44-P-4 a PBY-5A of VP-44. I'm a little hazy on som of these points and I can check some more refs. Right now I'm looking at Walter Lord's Incredible Victory pp.65-67. Somewhere some artist painted a picture of this aircraft and I saw it in one of the aviation mags. Air Classics? I also recall that VP-44 was equiped with all PBY-5a's and operated from Eastern Island (Midway) and the other patrol squadron (VP-23) used PBY-5's and operated from the ex-Pan Am seaplane base on Sand Island (Midway). I will attempt to verify this..." Contributed by William Reece William_Reece@ncsu.edu

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "05JUN42--BATTLE OF MIDWAY-RESCUES PERFORMED BY PBYS (by Jim Sawruk) VP-44 PPC LTJG Samuel O. Cole - rescued VT-8 ENS George H. Gay..."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "06JUN42--BATTLE OF MIDWAY-RESCUES PERFORMED BY PBYS (by Jim Sawruk) VP-44 PPC ENS. Richard V. Umphrey - rescued VP-24 ENS. Gaylord D. Propst, ENS. Bernard L. Amman, CAP Haillard C. Smathers, AMM3 Daniel M. Zech, AMM3 G. C. Harrison, AMM3 Elmer L. Kline, ARM3 Vicent Abate Jr, ARM3 J. F. Dwyer, and ARM3 Ewing W. Hix..."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "06JUN42--BATTLE OF MIDWAY-RESCUES PERFORMED BY PBYS (by Jim Sawruk) VP-23 PPC LTJG Norman K. Brady - rescued VP-44 ENS Lee C. McCleary, ENS. Jack H. Camp (Died of wounds at Midway on 07JUN42), AMM1 Virgil R. Marsh, AMM2 John C. Weeks, and AOM2 Philip L. Fulghum..."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "31AUG42--Japanese submarine sunk: RO-61, by destroyer REID (DD-369) and naval land-based aircraft (VP-43), Aleutian Islands area, 52 d. 36' N., 173 d. 57 ' W...."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...1942 MIDWAY--August, 1993, the PBY Foundation had a unique opportunity to share with five members of VP44, reliving their most important role in the 1942 battle of Midway Island and the momentous defeat of the Japanese navy. We all sat riveted with attention and hero bound as Lee and the others told their stories blow by blow. The VP44 crew members included: Allen J. Thompson, Jim Mills, Lee McCleary, Ried Wilson and Bill Wood. Lee McCleary is the only survivor of the only PBY to be shot down at Midway. He was the copilot as Japanese zeros made one pass after another until his plane refused to fly any more. His shaky voice amplifying his deep emotions as he relived the frightening experience, Lee McCleary took over the controls as we flew back in time. The zeros came sliding in on their starboard wing and let fly with machine gun and cannon. He pointed at and explained the flying rivets and metal torn from his craft's outer skin. The zero had blown all the rivets and metal along these ribs. He pointed again, voice quivering, . . . With the wing tower shredded and the engines out, most of crew dead and wounded, we simply crashed into the sea. I was the only one lucky enough to get out. As each of the 44 members relived their experience with us, it caused cold chills to run through our humbled bodies. Recording this kind of real life information, gathering all the data, old photos and any other memorabilia of the men, their missions and the aircraft is the major goal of the PBY Foundation. Ultimately with a historical PBY museum located at Sonoma County Airport, this most valuable part of our history can be reserved forever. Otherwise, if it is not gathered soon, much of the real life history will fade away unnoticed and be gone forever. Most people do not know the tremendous part this aircraft, the men and the missions played during WWII. They were a real pain in the rear of the Japanese as they sank over 800,000 tons of Japanese shipping, many of them men of war. They also rescued an untold number of Army, Navy and Marine pilots and crews. VP 44 guys, we are very grateful for your first visit. Please come back soon. ..." http://www.pbycat.org/chronp1.htm


Circa 1941 - 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol2.htm [28APR2001]
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Squadron History:  VPB-44

Lineage

Established as Patrol Squadron FORTY FOUR (VP-44) on 3 June 1941.
Redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron FORTY FOUR (VPB-44) on 1 October 1944.
Disestablished on 20 June 1945.

Squadron Insignia and Nickname

VP-44 was one of the later Black Cat squadrons in WWII. The nickname came from the black paint scheme applied to the Catalinas for night operations. The Black Cat in the squadron’s insignia depicted its stealth in the dark as well as surprise and viciousness in its attack. The outline of the yellow moon emphasized the night operations, suggesting that cats operate best when the moon is full. Colors: moon, yellow; cat, black and white; background, black.

Nickname: Black Cats, 1942–1945.

Chronology of Significant Events

3 Jun 1941: VP-44 was established at NAS San Diego, Calif., under the operational control of PatWing-1, as a seaplane squadron flying the PBY-5A Catalina. Ground and flight training was conducted at San Diego.

Dec 1941–Mar 1942: VP-44 received advanced operational training at NAS Alameda, Calif., from 14 Halavo Beach, Florida Islands, for Dumbo searches only. Many of the missions flown from Halavo went deep into enemy territory. For those flights fighter escorts often accompanied the Catalinas. While based at Espiritu Santo during the months of February and December 1941 until the squadron began preparations for transpac to Hawaii at the end of March 1942. While at Alameda, the squadron came under the operational control of PatWing-6.

26 Mar 1942: VP-44 flew its transpac to NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, coming under the operational control of PatWing-2. Operational and combat training was conducted in conjunction with patrols over the waters off Oahu.

22 May–Jun 1942: VP-44 transferred to Midway Island to provide combat patrols, joining Catalinas from VPs 14, 23, 24, 51, 72, 91 and 44. There were 32 PBY-5 and 5A aircraft at Midway awaiting the arrival of the Japanese due to decoded intercepts detailing their plans to attack Midway Island. The aircraft were split into two groups—one operating with 22 aircraft from Sand Island, the other with 10 aircraft operating from Eastern Island. Sector searches were flown out to 700 miles from Midway commencing at 0415 each morning. The squadrons were handicapped at this stage of the war by the lack of radar on the aircraft. All sightings had to be done by the "Mark I eyeball." On 3 June, Ensign Jewell H. Reid and his crew were the first to spot the Japanese task force approaching Midway. On the night of 3–4 June, four squadron aircraft conducted an attack with obsolete Mark XIII torpedoes on a portion of the Japanese task force, causing damage to the Japanese tanker Akebono Maru. On 6 June, Lieutenant (jg) R. S. Whitman and his crew were attacked by three Japanese floatplanes and forced down. Whitman and ACRM C. Adams were killed in the attack. The aircraft was successfully ditched by the copilot, Ensign L. H. Camp, who then died of his wounds. AMM1c Virgil R. Marsh remained in the burning Catalina while his crew exited the sinking aircraft, holding off the attacking Japanese aircraft. The survivors were picked up later that day. The squadron returned to Pearl Harbor on 9 June. The other squadrons remained at Midway through the 25th conducting SAR missions for dive-bomber aircrews shot down during the Battle for Midway.

9 Jun–Sep 1942: VP-44 continued its patrols from NAS Pearl Harbor over the waters of Oahu, with a detachment at Johnston Island. On 26 September, the Pearl Harbor section of the squadron, including the headquarters staff, relocated to the recently completed NAS Kaneohe Bay facility. Two VP-44 aircraft were transferred to other squadrons reducing the complement to 10 aircraft.

21 Dec 1942: VP-44 turned in its 10 PBY-5A aircraft in return for 12 PBY-5 Catalinas. These aircraft were then equipped with twin 30-caliber guns and Mark IX gunsights.

22 Dec 1942–May 1943: The squadron received orders to deploy to the combat zone at Espiritu Santo Island, New Hebrides, under the operational control of FAW-1. A detachment of two aircraft was sent to March 1943 the squadron carried numerous Dumbo missions and transported equipment and personnel during the Solomons campaign. In May 1943, the squadron received two aircraft from VP-72, increasing the complement of Catalinas to 14 PBY-5s. Attacks on the Catalinas during this period were frequent. No less than 12 attacks by Mavis flying boats and Nell bombers were recorded on squadron aircraft, but with no losses.

26 Jun 1943: VP-44 was relieved for return to NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii, and then on to the U.S. By 20 July 1943 VP-44 had arrived at NAS San Diego, Calif., coming under the operational control of FAW-14. All hands were given orders and home leave.

29 Sep 1943–Feb 1944: VP-44 was reformed at NAS San Diego, Calif., and conducted training in preparation for its second tour in the combat zone. It is interesting to note that, unlike the other Black Cat squadrons in the South Pacific, VP-44 was designated as such from the start. Its aircraft came from the factory with a flat-black finish instead of Navy blue, as was the normal practice. Training was completed in January 1944 and the squadron conducted its transpac to NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii. It was discovered that the new amphibious PBY-5A with wheels did not have the range of its predecessor the PBY-5, and could not fly all the way to Hawaii with its wheels attached. The squadron found some PV-1 drop tanks at San Diego that they were able to fit to the wings of the Catalinas that gave them the range needed to make it to Hawaii. This then became standard procedure for the squadrons that followed. From 18 January to 13 February, the squadron departed NAS San Diego in pairs bound for Kaneohe.

1 Feb 1944: The squadron remained at Kaneohe, under the operational control of FAW-2, for five weeks of intensive training with emphasis on ASW techniques.

11 Mar 1944: VP-44 was deployed to Luganville Airfield on Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, under the operational control of FAW-1. A detachment of aircraft was maintained for convoy coverage at Nausori. ASW training resumed at Luganville Airfield, with the addition of two new technical aids: the sonobuoy and a searchlight with 80 million candlepower. Antishipping searches, ASW patrols and rescue missions were the primary missions at both locations.

15 Jun 1944: VP-44 moved to Green Island, halfway between Bougainville and Rabaul, only 150 miles from the enemy stronghold. A PATSU was available for maintenance of squadron aircraft and the berthing and feeding of unit personnel. Patrol missions involved flying daily search sectors extending in a northerly direction to within 200 miles of Truk. ASW operations were discontinued. Patrol missions ceased after 18 August when the primary mission of the squadron was changed to keeping 17 nearby enemy airfields neutralized and to prevent shipping at night from getting to the bypassed Japanese garrisons. Nightly Black Cat raids were conducted and the squadron maintained standby aircraft for ASW and Dumbo missions during the day. Nightly hunts were usually coordinated with one of the PT boat squadrons stationed on Green Island. The Cats would spot the target at night with their radar, then illuminate the scene for the PT boats. Both would then join in on the kill. Attacks were usually made with 4 500-pound ANM-64 bombs and 40 20-pound fragmentation bombs. On one nighttime mission over Rabaul, an enemy floatplane fighter attacked Lieutenant Lloyd Garrison and his crew. In the ensuing combat they managed to shoot down the fighter. Upon return, the jubilant crew was informed that confirmation was needed before credit could be authorized. Undaunted, the crew returned early the next morning and took pictures in broad daylight of the smoking wreckage still floating in the bay at Rabaul. They were duly given credit for the deed.

4 Sep–Dec 1944: VP-44 operational control was changed from FAW-1 to FAW-2. By this stage of the war, Japanese resistance had been broken and Rabaul neutralized. It was the squadron’s job to see that 17 enemy airfields were regularly bombed to prevent their use and to intercept resupply ships and barges attempting to reinforce Japanese troops on Bougainville and New Ireland. A detachment of three aircraft was maintained for a few months at Torokina airstrip on Bougainville for Dumbo work with Marine air units. This group was nearly overrun during a Banzai attack by the last remaining Japanese troops on Bougainville in December 1944.

1 Dec 1944: VPB-44 operational control was shifted from FAW-2 to Commander Air Seventh Fleet (ComAir7thFlt). Six squadron aircraft were utilized for passenger and mail runs between Hollandia, New Guinea and Leyte, Philippines. The squadron also conducted resupply for the Australian coastwatchers, flying to such remote islands as Pinipel, Feni, Nuguria, Lehir and Ontong Java.

Jan–Feb 1945: The squadron remained based primarily on Green Island, with one aircraft at Hollandia and two at the Seaplane Base Repair Base #1 on Manus Island. Black Cat missions were officially terminated on 10 February with the complete neutralization of Rabaul and the primary mission of the squadron shifted to Dumbo work.

Mar 1945: A three-aircraft detachment was located at Manus and a two-aircraft detachment at Emirau Island for Dumbo work. The squadron at Green Island was primarily assigned air freight, ASW standby and Dumbo missions.

11 Apr 1945: VPB-44 was relieved by VPB-53 for return to the United States. The squadron arrived at NAS Kaneohe on 21 April and boarded Cape Esperance (CVE 88) for return to San Diego, Calif. Upon arrival on 1 May, the squadron was given orders reassigning all personnel.

20 Jun 1945: VPB-44 was disestablished at NAS San Diego, Calif.

 

Home Port Assignments

Location Date of Assignment
NAS San Diego, Calif. 3 Jun 1941
NAS Alameda, Calif. 14 Dec 1941
NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 26 Mar 1942
NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii 26 Sep 1942
NAS San Diego, Calif. Jul 1943
NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii 18 Jan 1944
NAS San Diego, Calif. 1 May 1945

 

Commanding Officers

Name Date Assumed Command
LCDR W. C. Holt 3 Jun 1941
LCDR R. C. Brixner Oct 1941
LCDR R. A. Rosasco Dec 1942
LCDR G. S. Bogart 29 Sep 1943

 

Aircraft Assignment

Type of Aircraft Date Type First Received
PBY-5A Jun 1941
PBY-5 Dec 1942
PBY-5A Sep 1943

 

Major Overseas Deployments

Date of Departure Date of Return Wing Base of  Operations Type of Aircraft Area of Operations
26 Mar 1942 22 May 1942 PatWing-2 Pearl Harbor PBY-5A WestPac
22 May 1942 22 Dec 1942 PatWing-2 Midway PBY-5A WestPac
22 Dec 1942 20 Jul 1943 FAW-1 Espiritu Santo PBY-5 SoPac
18 Jan 1944 * FAW-2 Kaneohe PBY-5A WestPac
11 Mar 1944 * FAW-1 Espiritu Santo PBY-5A SoPac
15 Jun 1944 1 May 1945 FAW-1/2 Green Island PBY-5A SoPac
  • Continued combat deployment in the Pacific, moving from base to base.

 

Wing Assignments

Wing Tail Code Assignment Date
PatWing-1 3 Jun 1941
PatWing-6 14 Dec 1941
PatWing-2/FAW-2 26 Mar 1942
FAW-1 22 Dec 1942
FAW-14 Jul 1943
FAW-2 18 Jan 1944
FAW-1 11 Mar 1944
FAW-2 4 Sep 1944
ComAir7thFlt 1 Dec 1944
FAW-14 1 May 1945

† Patrol Wing 2 (PatWing-2) was redesignated Fleet Air Wing 2 (FAW-2) on 1 November 1942.

 

Unit Awards Received

Unit Award Inclusive Date Covering Unit Award
None on record.

Circa 1941

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Hearings Before The Joint Committee On The Investigation Of The Pearl Harbor Attack - Congress Of The United States - Seventy-Ninth Congress...Squadrons mentioned: VP-11, VP-13, VP-14, VP-21, VP-22, VP-23, VP-24, VP-31, VP-32, VP-41, VP-42, VP-43, VP-44, VP-51, VP-52, VP-71, VP-72, VP-73, VP-74, VP-81, VP-82, VP-83, VP-84, VP-91, VP-92, VP-93, VP-94, VP-101, VP-102, CPW-1, CPW-2, CPW-3, CPW-4, CPW-5, CPW-7, CPW-8 and CPW-9..." WebSite: The public's library and digital archive http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pha/misc/rainbow5.html [01APR2005]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "22DEC41--While still attached with VP-44 at the start of the war we were making patrols from NAS Alameda, California up and down the coast. On 22 December 1941, "Pappy" Cole, (he later picked up Ens Gay during battle of Midway), Dick Mather, the enlisted crew and I were flying near the California and Oregon border. We spotted a ship dead in the water and saw people going over the sides and getting into lifeboats. As we approached we saw a Japanese submarine on the surface. We started an attack, the submarine dove and we dropped depth charges. We never knew if we were successful with our attack. We circled the ship, the tanker EMIDIO. We continued on our patrol and never heard any more about the incident. Last week I went to the State Library and looked back into the archives. From the Oregonian and the Statesman newspapers of 23 December, I found that the EMIDIO had been attacked by the submarine on the 22nd with both gun fire and torpedo. Captain Farrow of the ship said that the torpedo went into the engine room and killed two men. One shell knocked three men from a lifeboat being launched. He further stated that a bomber made an attack and that there was a big blast and plenty of smoke after the depth charges were dropped. He did not know if the submarine was hit or not. The crew was rescued and taken into Eureka, CA..." Contributed by David Walkinshaw djwinor@cp.com

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "31DEC41--PATROL WING FOUR (VP-44) Patrol Squadron FORTY-FOUR (6 PBY5)..." http://omni.cc.purdue.edu/~pha/pha/hart/xha-029.html

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00DEC41--Order of Battle December 1941 Patrol Wing Four - NAS Seattle, Washington VP-41 - 6 Catalinas PBY5, VP-42 - 6 Catalinas PBY5, VP-43 - 6 Catalinas PBY5, and VP-44 - 6 Catalinas PBY5..."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Local naval veteran recalls Battle of Midway by Bob Britton...The surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, cost America 2,000 lives and much of its Pacific naval fleet. The stunned nation vowed to rebuild its fleet, defeat the Japanese military forces and stop the enemy from capturing strategic Pacific islands. Retired Navy Cmdr. William Cullin, a World War II veteran of Patrol Squadron 44 and a Carmel resident, was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Military Order of World Wars June 6 at Rancho Canada Golf Club. He described his aviator role in the Battle of Midway from June 3-5, 1942, which proved to be the decisive battle and turning point in the Pacific. Cullin, a living part of American history, helped preserve democracy during the critical World War II years. He flew PBY patrol aircraft while stationed at Hawaii and Midway Island. Cullin mentioned the Japanese took Guam Dec. 9, 1941, and that Bataan in the Philippines surrendered April 9, 1942. In the Battle of the Coral Sea, May 4, 1942, American forces stopped the Japanese from reaching Australia and New Zealand. In April 1942, he and his crew flew their PBY aircraft 21 hours nonstop from San Diego to Hawaii. Once settled, his squadron patrolled about 600 miles out daily from Hawaii. On May 22, the planes transferred to Midway Island, which consisted of Eastern Island with a runway, and Sand Island, where the PBY seaplane base was located. "We were informed on May 23 that the Japanese would attack Midway Island June 1 with a four-carrier task force," Cullin said. "American cryptanalysis and radio intelligence officers broke the Japanese code late in May, which indicated the letters 'AF' meant Midway Island. On May 23, we covered 700 miles on patrols around the island. Our squadron had 12 PBY patrol planes and we logged 120 hours of flight time within 10 days looking for any signs of the Japanese fleet. Besides our aircraft, additional Marine, Navy and Army pilots helped search the Pacific area." "On June 3, we patrolled a sector northwest of Midway Island 600 miles out and ran into a fog bank. We had no radar at the time, didn't spot anything and flew further out," Cullin continued. "During the patrols, we saw black specs on the horizon, and reported the information to our superiors. One of our pilots, then Ensign Jack Reid, was the first to spot part of the Japanese fleet consisting of troop transports and supporting ships. While we were patrolling, the American Task Forces Spruance and Fletcher were 200 miles further away from our search planes." The following day, the aviators had better luck tracking the approaching Japanese fleet and went out on patrol again. This time, one PBY-5 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and was lost in combat. "On June 4, one of our aircraft sighted about 120 Japanese torpedo planes, fighters and bombers headed toward Midway Island," he said. "We continued in our search for the Japanese fleet, found part of it and communicated back to naval headquarters. Although we had a smaller task force in numbers compared to the superior Japanese fleet, (The Japanese had 88 ships while the Americans had 28) our carrier planes and others wreaked havoc on the enemy, destroying or sinking four carriers, while we lost the carrier Yorktown on June 7. The Battle of Midway marked the turning point in the Pacific and the Japanese never recovered from this disastrous engagement." On June 5, the squadron went on short patrols, looking for more elements of the Japanese fleet and downed American aviators. Naval aviators found the rest of the enemy, consisting of two battleships, four heavy cruisers, four destroyers and a burning carrier. "The net result from the Battle of Midway was that America had good intelligence and teamwork among the different military services," Cullin said..." GLOBE Volume 19, No. 6 - August 1996 http://160.133.244.200/command/pao/august/midway.htm


Circa 1940

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-44 during the late 1940's was based at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone. I was attached to this squadron flying PBM-5 type aircraft. VP-44 was formerly a PBY squadron (VP-43) in FAW-4 during the late 1930's and was split off as VP-44 in the Pacific during WWII. VP-44 was later reformed during the Korea Crisis and was designated as VP-204; then VPMS-4; then in 1947 became VP-44. VP-40 (old VP-74/VP-56) was next hangar in NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone. VP-3 one of the first P2V squadrons took up residence across from us in the same hangar. I departed in 1949 for NAS Operations, NAS Norfolk, Virginia. I lost track of VP-44 after that..." Contributed by ADC(AP) O'LAUGHLIN, Francis M. "Red" Retired FMOL2@AOL.COM [27JAN2001]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...LOCKHEED PV VENTURA and HARPOON - by Jack McKillop..." http://www.microworks.net/pacific/aviation/pv_ventura.htm [23JUN2002]

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