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HistoryVP-50 HistoryHistory

Circa 1957

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News September 1957 "...Shoulder Patch Adopted - Page 10 - Naval Aviation News - September 1957..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1957/sep57.pdf [11AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News June 1957 "...VP-50 Claims Speed Record - Page 22 - Naval Aviation News - June 1957..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1957/jun57.pdf [11AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News June 1957 "...Misadventures Of A P5M Marlin - Page 32 to 33 - Naval Aviation News - June 1957..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1957/jun57.pdf [11AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News January 1957 "...New Life At Seaplane Base - Page 37 - Naval Aviation News - January 1957..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1957/jan57.pdf [10AUG2004]

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Circa 1956

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News July 1956 "...VP-50 Retires Old PBM's - Page 33 - Naval Aviation News - July 1956..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1956/jul56.pdf [09AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Lest We Forget...Proceedings / September 1998 Page 126...Naval Institute U. S. NAVY INSTITUTE Magazine..." [04SEP98]

Patrol Squadron 50 (VP-50) had its beginnings as a reserve squadron, VP-917, flying PBY-5A Catalinas out of NAS Seattle, Washington. The squadron, redesignated VP-892, was called to active duty on 4 August 1950 following the outbreak of the Korean War and moved to NAS San Diego, California. Equipped with PBM-5 Mariner seaplanes, the squadron made three war deployments, and was redesignated VP-50 in 1953.

Based at NAS Alameda, California, VP-50 joined in the regular rotation of patrol squadrons to the western Pacific. In 1956, the squadron moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and retired the Pacific Fleet's last operational

PBM-5s, receiving P5M-1 Marlin seaplanes as replacements. In May 1960, after upgrading to the P5M-2S (SP-5B), VP-50 moved to MCAS lwakuni, Japan. In 1964, the Blue Dragons moved to NAS North Island, San Diego, California.

VP-50 took its Martins on two combat deployments to NS Sangley Point, Philippines and operated in support of Operation Market Time, the coastal interdiction effort off Vietnam. In 1967, the squadron ended its seaplane era by moving to NAS Moffett Field, California, and upgrading to the P-3A Orion patrol plane. VP-50 made three more deployments to the Vietnam war zone, operating out of Naha, Okinawa, and Sangley Point, and maintaining detachments at Naval Air Field Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam.

In 1971, VP-50 upgraded to the P-3C version and took this aircraft on 12 major deployments over the next 16 years-including tracking Soviet submarines, supporting battle-group operations) and rescuing Vietnamese refugees fleeing their homeland.

In 1987, VP-50 became the first squadron to transition to the Update III retrofit version of the P-3C and flew the aircraft on three more Pacific deployments. During its final deployment to NAS Adak, Alaska, the Blue Dragons conducted the Navy's last airborne prosecution of submarines belonging to the former Soviet Union. VP-50 was disbanded as part of the post-Cold War drawdown. The squadron was disestablished on 30 June 1992...Lieutenant Commander Rick Burgess, U.S. Navy (Retired)..." [04SEP98]

Circa 1955

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00AUG55--I entered the squadron in August 1955 after escaping the flight test line a NAS North Island, San Diego, California...How about the great and grand PBM5s2...VP 50 was the last naval squadron to fly this aircraft in active service. As an aircrewman I flew as first radioman, radar 2, or flight engineer relief, with a battle station in the tail turret (shakest place in the aircraft). After 3 years ll months 17 days and 12 hours I left the navy as a AE1 (nothing like a slick arm 2nd class)...I have some great pictures of May Day JATO take offs and of 7 boat boat after we rammed the seawall in Iwakuni in March of 1956 (coming shortly!). That was all she wrote for old 7 boat...By the way the Squadron tail letters were SE in those days with the call sign 7 Madness..." Former AE1 Wesley E. Johnson chipper@mlode.com

Circa 1954

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News December 1954 "...Martin P5M-2 Joins Fleet - Page 35 - Naval Aviation News - December 1954..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1954/dec54.pdf [03AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-50 Crew  ThumbnailCamera "...Iwakuni, Japan 1954-1955..." Contributed by John Catching jcatch@aol.com

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-50 Crew  ThumbnailCamera "...Iwakuni, Japan 1954-1955..." Contributed by John Catching jcatch@aol.com

Circa 1953 - 1992

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 1953

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-50 Rivet Owners Certificate  ThumbnailCamera "...Rivit Owners Certificate...To all sailors, aviators, and others who may travel the sea and and the skies, Greetings; know ye by these presents that JOHN HENRY CATCHING JR, AKAN, USN was onboard when this command was designated Patrol Squdron Fifty on 4th February 1953. He is therefore entitled to all the rights and privileges of a Rivet Owner in this noble Squadron, including and unencumbered title to one rivet in hall of Sugar Easy One. And be it further known that all persons reporting subsequent to this date are hereby commanded to show due honor, deference, and respect to this trusty rivet owner, as befits his seniority...N. B. McClure, LCDR, USNR Commanding...Attest: Icarus Guardian of the Skies..." Contributed by John Catching jcatch@aol.com

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "1953-1955--We outflew 2 MiG-15s off the Chincom coast in 1953 even after taking 2 37mm hits. No one injured, except the pride of 2 Chincom fighter jocks!..." Contributed by DAVE RINEHART DAVMARINER@prodigy.net [E-Mail Updated 09JAN99 | 25DEC97]

Circa 1952

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...How VP-50 Became The Blue Dragon Squadron..." Contributed by Captain Richard A. Hoffman, USN (Ret) dickdot@san.rr.com [E-Mail Updated 03JAN2001 | 28MAY98]

In early 1952 I joined VP-892 at NAS Alameda, California about a week before it deployed to WESPAC.

VP-892 had been a Naval Reserve squadron from the Seattle area which was called to active duty in August 1950. Although it still retained it's Reserve Designator, by 1952 VP-892 squadron personnel were a mix of regular navy types and individually recalled reservists. At that time we did not have a squadron insignia, but during the deployment we were just too busy to worry about it, flying the Formosa Straits Patrol out of NS Sangley Point, Philippines and tenders in the Pescadores, Hong Kong and Okinawa.

Late in the deployment the squadron was told that it would be redesignated VP-50 in February 1953. The CO, Commander Bill Chester, decided we should have a new logo to go with our new designation and appointed me "Officer-in-Charge of Getting a New Logo". First I researched the subject and found that official squadron insignia were governed by an OPNAV Instruction with very specific criteria. The OPNAV Instruction recommended obtaining the assistance of the Army Heraldic Service, an organization which performed insignia design for all the Armed Forces. However, first we tried to do a design in house, so I held a contest, and although we had some talented artists in the squadron, we couldn't seem to come up with anything that was motivating and morale-enhancing while still meeting the strict and specific requirements of the OPNAV Instruction.

We returned to NAS Alameda, California in October 1952 and after we moved into the spaces vacated by VP-47, I found a number of professionally-drawn squadron insignia in my inherited desk. Apparently they had been done at the request of VP-47 by the Army Heraldic Service and they met all of the requirements of the OPNAV Instruction. Although the insignia I found were designs that were not selected by VP-47, I thought one in particular, which depicted a heraldic blue dragon attacking a submarine, to be quite attractive. I took it to our new skipper, LCDR N.D. "Nate" McClure. He liked it and said to post it for squadron comments. Most of the squadron liked it, so we submitted it and The Blue Dragon became VP-50's logo in 1953.

The original design lasted for nearly 30 years. Even after the logo was modernized, it retained the Blue Dragon theme, and VP-50 remained the Blue Dragon Squadron until it was decommissioned in June 1992. Even though it may have been a concept discovered in an empty desk, the Blue Dragon was a proud symbol of VP-50 for nearly forty years!

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...No longer in reduced operating status, NAS Whidbey Island, Washington had a new lease on life with the beginning of the Korean War. By 1952, Whidbey was buzzing with growth. The P-2V Neptune, which arrived in the late 1940's, would eventually make up six patrol squadrons here. VP-50 moved up from Alameda in June 1956, returning seaplanes to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. Flying the P5M-2 Marlin, patrol squadrons dominated the base until the 1960's. ..." http://www.naswi.navy.mil/history.html

Circa 1951

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The history of VP50: Patrol Squadron Fifty was originally commissioned VP-892, a reserve squadron home ported at NAS Sand Point, NAS Seattle, Washington. The squadron flew the PBY-5A Catalina during this period. The Korean conflict actually gave virth to the squadron as an active duty unit. VP-892 was activated to assist in meeting the demands for increased forces during that period. The squadron moved to San Diego and transitioned to the PBM Mariner, in 1951. Shortly thereafter VP-892 began its first deployment as an active duty squadron, this time in Iwakuni, Japan. After two additional deployments, the squadron was redesignated Patrol Squadron FIFTY. After cessation of hostilities in Korea, Patrol Squadron FIFTY became a regular member of the U. S. SEVENTH Fleet assigned to NAS Alameda, California and placed on the regular WESTPAC deployment schedule. VP-50 was engaged in a continuous cycle of WESTPAC deployments. In May of 1960, there was a radical change in this cycle when VP-50 deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan to be stationed permanently there in new P5M-2s. On June 30, 1964, Patrol Squadron FIFTY again moved to San Diego, California. For three years VP-50 made its home at NAS North Island, San Diego, California and made periodic deployments to NAVSTA Sangley Point, Republic of the Philippines. In the summer of 1967 NAS Moffett Field, California became the squadron's sixth home port and the Lockheed P3A Orion became the fourth type of aircraft flown by the squadron. The 1967 transition brought the squadron its first land based aircraft in its history. The squadron completed a very successful six month deployment to NAVSTA Sangley Point in November 1968, during which it operated out of Naval Air Facility, Can Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam. After an eight month training cycle at Moffett Field, VP-50 deployed to NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan. From Okinawa the squadron operated detachments in NAF Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, NAS Iwakuni, Japan, Taipei, Tainan, Guan, NS Sangley Point, Philippines, U-Tapao Royal Thailand Air Force Base, Thailand and NAS Atsugi, Japan. In October 1970 the squadron again deployed to Sangley Point with a detachment at Can Ranh Bay. During the next six months, FIFTY very successfully maintained a market time barrier against North Viet Nam infiltrator trawlers. After a brief post-deployment stand down, Patrol Squadron FIFTY transitioned to the ultra-sophisticated P3C aircraft in May 1971. FIFTY was the second squadron on the west coast to make such a transition. Commencing December 15, 1971, Patron FIFTY embarked on its revolutionar 6 1.2 month deployment with detachments at NAS Adak, Alaska and NAS Agana, Guam. Flight crews were rotated every twenty days between Alaska, Guam and Moffett Field. The squadron remained an organized unit even though scattered over 5000 miles of Pacific Ocean..." Contributed by Ken Jackson ken@score.com

Circa 1950

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "05JUL50--KOREA--ARRIVED: 05JUL50 DEPARTED: 27JUL53 TAIL CODE: SE AIRCRAFT: PBM-5" http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/koreaob.htm

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