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HistoryVPP-1 HistoryHistory

Circa 1950

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News February 1950 "...No Napping In Mapping - Page 22 - Naval Aviation News - February 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/feb50.pdf [19JUL2004]

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Circa 1948

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...AERIAL SURVEY OF NORTHERN ALASKA IN 1948..." Contributed by Frank Breitenstein fvbreit@yahoo.com [18AUG2000]


On 24 April 1948, Photographic Squadron ONE (VPP-1) commensed deployment of six PB4Y-1P (Liberators) and two SNB (Beechcraft) and flight and ground personnel from the N.A.A.S. Miramar to the Big Delta Air Base and Umiat, Alaska. The primary mission was to map the Naval Petrolium Reserve FOUR (NPR-4) in northern Alaska. One Liberator was deployed to Marks Air Force Base, Nome, Alaska, to conduct an aerial survey of St. Matthew and St. Lawrence Islands in the Bering Sea.

While awaiting the snow cover to thaw in the NPR-4 area, VPP-1 conducted an aerial survey of the proposed oil pipeline strip between Fairbanks and northern Alaska. (The pipeline was built about 25 years later.) By the middle of June, the NPR-4 area was free of snow and aerial mapping of the petrolium reserve was commenced.

During this deployment, on 2 September 1948, the designation of Photographic Squadron ONE (VPP-1) was changed to Patrol Squadron SIXTY ONE (VP-61).

In early September, when weather over the NPR-4 was poor, VP-61 assisted the U.S. Air Force Alaskan Air Command in a photographic mapping project in the vicinity of Fairbanks and the Richardson Highway.

By the end of September 1948, with snow covering most of the NPR-4 region and poor photographic weather prevailing over most of Alaska, VP-61 was ordered to return to its home port in California. Squadron aircraft departed Alaska for N.A.A.S. Miramar by way of the inland route--Edmonton, Canada, Great Falls, Montana, and Salt Lake City, Utah. Ground personnel and equipment were returned via Military Air Transport Service via Kodiak and Seattle. All personnel and aircraft had returned to their home base by 28 September 1948.

Attachments: N.A.A.S Miramar sign, Big Delta Air Base sign, and a PB4Y-1P Liberator showing cameras in open bomb bay.


Pilot LT Arthur G. Elder (LCDR Retired)
Flight Line Navigator (Unidentified)
Photographer AF1 Cornelius J. "Red" Haggarty (LCDR Retired)

PB4Y-1P aircraft where taken on 15 July, 1948, on the same flight as the photo discussed above. These were taken on a flight over the Alaska Range, between Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaskabr>
SD1, SD4, and SD3 over the Alaska Range
SD4 and SD1 over a glacier in the Alaska Range
SD3 over a glacier in the Alaska Range

In addition to surveying the Naval Petrolium Reserve FOUR, VPP-1 was ordered to assign a detachment of aerial survey personnel for temporary additional duty with Medium Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-ML-4) to assist this squadron to accomplish the aerial surveying of Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska. This detachment consisting of 8 officers and 18 men trained and experienced in aerial photographic reconnaissance and aerial surveying, was detached from VPP-1 at the end of March 1948 and reported to VP-ML-4 (later VP-4) at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington for further deployment to Annette Island, Alaska.

P2V-2 of VP-ML-4 (VP-4) configured for photographic mapping, showing clear nose for flight line navigator station.

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...." [16JUN2000]
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Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The origin of VP-61 may have been as indicated. At NAS Alameda, California 1939, however the VP-61 which is covered in this web site was commissioned as VD-5. In WWII last serving in the pacific at NAS Agana, Guam. The squadron left NAS Agana, Guam in 1946 and went briefly to NAS Alameda, California and then to NAS North Island, San Diego, California. In early 1947 they went to NAS Miramar/MCAS Kearny Mesa. Sometime at the end of 1946 VD-5 was redesignated VPP-1 and still operating with PB4Y1Ps and continued to be stationed at NAS Miramar. In 1951 they were redesignated VP-61 then redsignated VJ-61. With the arrival of the AJ2P it was redesignated VAP-61. The squadron was composed of PB4Y1Ps, AJ2Ps and of course the SNBs. One more small item the squadron patch or logo came into existance in the early 1950s. There was a real Goose kept in a pen very near the old nose hangar we moved into then. That goose was named VIP and could make more noise than the aircraft. PS-old VIP was much harassed by everyone at all times day and night especially the mid watch on the flight line..." Contributed by PARKER, LCDR Joe W. Jr. Retired helenjoepar@webtv.net [09MAR2002]

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