VPNAVY VP-5 Mercury Capsule Recovery
http://www.vpnavy.org
VPNAVY Address

HistoryVP-6 HistoryHistory

Circa 1958

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VS-48 1945: "gone to a BAETU to pick up SB2Cs - we actually got SBW4Es built by Canadian Car and Foundry Co. - Provided by Mr. Dan FAAS, an ex VS-48 ARM3/c Aircrew, now ATC USN (Ret), to Frank Holmes VS-48 fholmes101@aol.com..." Contributed by EASTMAN, Jack G. vsnavy.org@westnet.com.au [22JUN2005]

The only one I fired at in anger - was a Russian ship. As you recall our forward firing guns were ??? don't know if they were synchronized then. Anyway circling the ship sending the code for the day & not a soul stirring aboard. Pilot says break out the guns. Two planes we raked (sp?) their forecastle with .30's. You could see the tracers dancing. That got their attention. I think they hauled up their laundry on the halyards. You have to hit them with a 2x4 to get their attention. In '58 I was in VP-6 P2V-5 Neptunes flying out of Barbers Point T.H. deployed to MCAS Iwakuni Japan flying ship surveillance off USSR/Korea measuring their radars etc. I think they were thinking about getting even because we had MIG's out every day making passes at us. I got some 35MM slides of them, forming up with us, I guess besides gunnery runs the wanted some formation flying.

This picture of Ens Anthony, he came from Adak when we came back from training in the new planes. My first hop after coming back was with him. We flew our sector but it seemed like it was in reverse. The lead plane kept getting futher away to port. He asked me where the other A/C was going, by now a speck. I said thru Beaver Inlet. He kept on finally turning to port, I got on the radar, it closed in and the rocks were coming in. I told him to 180 & get out. He did turning starboard coming out and I told him 180 again. He questioned me. I told him we made a port turn, then 180, then a starboard turn and we were headed back from whence we came. So he did a 180 & I gave him a turn to port as everything was closing in. It was open ahead on radar but closing in. I gave him a climb and we came out of the overcast on top. Immediately off our port wing a hole & Priest Rock & water. I told him that's where we want to go. Out came the dive flaps & down we went thru the opening to Dutch. That will give you some grey hairs.

Another time flying with Mr Belcher lead plane ran into weather. We are off the coast. I got one antenna out to sea and one 10 degrees starboard. We are in snow & rain the other plane close on the starboard. I'm reading the rocks (blips) & they are getting close, I look to the side and I see rocks flashing by in the snow. He says he can see. I'm clicking off the closing landscape down to 1/4 mile. I'm saying you better turn. I feel weak in the knees. I look over at the other A/C snuggled up close - next things happen fast - I cracked my canopy thinking about leaving. We made a rapid climbing turn - more like sliding up the side of a mountain & the other A/C came sliding up from under us. Then back down and leveling close to the sea. I think Mr Widmann was in the other A/C & Johnson. Mr Belcher was apologetic when we landed, asked me not to tell Mr Holmes - the secret is out. I told him what I thought of him and he carried his own chute to the loft that day.

The last hairy incident happened the day we got the false report that the war was over. Seems we got a lot of enlisted pilots & a new SENAV, a JG named Zajicer. The AP's were all trained in SBW's. We didn't have any assigned to Dutch. Anyway when they got the phony word AP1/c named Cleary & AP1/c Reese we took off and they were doing di-do's over the station till the tower calls and says cease all acrobatics & return to base. These guys came over the station in a left to right pattern , a breast over the barracks & Cleary is in first & Reese & I are second, he comes over the station almost hits the rigging of a destroyer at the pier and being used to the SBW flys it in so far and eases back on the throttle and the SBD floats. He tried it twice and we almost floated into the hangar. I finally told him we make our approaches over Hog Island or in the bay. So around the mountain and in. still went too close to the destroyer and lines up close to the ground and eases off power, started to float hauled back on the stick and stalled tail wheel first KABLOOM. We hit the gravel sliding sidewise in a cloud of dust. Looked out when the dust had settled and there sat our SENAV on a tow tractor with two tow bars. Gives him a cut & told him to get the Hell out of that A/C. Almost got "Kilt" the day the war was almost over. My log book says Sep 1st 1945 BU#36486.

Sure had a lot of fun. Flew with a lot of AP's in VJ's. Also got a lot of flight time with AP's as a radar instructor in Memphis SNB's 2 1/2 hrs in the AM and 2 1/2 hrs in the PM.

Say I just had a cataract removed from my right eye on 24 April (2000). Everything fine in a month and they'll do the other. Then I won't need those 90 year old guys with eyes like an eagle to watch the ball - but forgot where it went."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News November 1958 "...Atlanta Stages West - Page 36 to 37 - Naval Aviation News - November 1958..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1958/nov58.pdf [14AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News February 1958 "...Just 'Navy Ingenuity' - Page 16 - Naval Aviation News - February 1958..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1958/feb58.pdf [12AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News January 1958 "...Australians Train With VP-6 - Page 26 - Naval Aviation News - January 1958..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1958/jan58.pdf [12AUG2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

Circa 1957

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News December 1957 "...'Loss in Rank' A Pleasure - Page 37 - Naval Aviation News - December 1957..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1957/dec57.pdf [11AUG2004]

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Circa 1956

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News April 1956 "...LT M. L. Claude - Page 21 - Naval Aviation News - April 1956..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1956/apr56.pdf [09AUG2004]

VP History ThumbnailCamera

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-6 Patch Thumbnail "...VP-6 Cruisebook to NAS Iwakuni, Japan in 1956..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [02JUL2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-6 Patch Thumbnail "...VP-6 Cruisebook to NAS Iwakuni, Japan in 1956..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [02JUL2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Correction to squadron history that gives 1959 as the year the squadron returned to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. VP-6 was equipped with P2V-5F's; ten armed with 20mm's bow and stern and a twin 50 cal crown turret. Two had the MAD configuration, stinger tail and plastic nose. In April 1956 VP-6 deployed to NAS Iwakuni, Japan. The primary task was reconnaissance flights over the Sea of Japan with occasional flights along the China coast and the Korean boundary. VP-6 returned to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii in September 1956. The squadron conducted one ready mining deployment to NAS San Diego. One P2V flew into the water and was lost on an exercise between Kauai and Oahu. When I departed in June, 1957, VP-6 was located at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii..." Contributed by Wayne R. Waters CDR USN(ret) wwaters@slonet.org..." [11AUG98]


Circa 1955

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [29MAR99]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955. Notice the "poopy suites" airing out!..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P2 Thumbnail VP-6 P2 "...Cold weather exercise at NAS Adak, Alaska early 1955..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [28FEB2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Some incidents of note: The loss of radomes, turret bubbles and MAD cones shortly after the arrival of P2V5F's in the spring of 1955. At first it was thought that the problems were related to miscalculation of stresses induced by the somewhat higher air speeds which were available. We did things such as increase the diameter of the washers on the bolts which held the clamshell halves of the radome together, etc. Later, in a conversation at the bar one pilot admitted that he has flown a P2V5F 'faster than anyone'..." Contributed by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [29JAN2000]


Circa 1954

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-6 HistoryCameraVP-6 P2V-5 BUNO: 128401 "...BE-9 October 1954 to March 1955 NAS Kodiak, Alaska deployment..." Contributed by HANSON, Palmer O. Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [12FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-6 HistoryCameraVP-6 Shop "...October 1954 to March 1955 NAS Kodiak, Alaska deployment..." Contributed by HANSON, Palmer O. Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [12FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...BUNO Assignments - October 1954 to March 1955 NAS Kodiak, Alaska deployment..." Contributed by John Sullivan via HANSON, Palmer O. Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [12FEB2003]
BE-1 128390
BE-2 128391
BE-3 128393
BE-4 128395
BE-5 128396
BE-6 128397
BE-7 128398
BE-8 128399 (Crashed on a mountain close to Anchorage in early 1955.)
BE-9 128401
BE-10 128403
BE-11 128418
BE-12 128355

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-6 Sign Thumbnail "...Entrance to the VP-6 Squadron area circa 1954 through 1956..." Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. Mwhpoh@aol.com [01APR2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-6 Barracks Thumbnail VP-6 "... NAS Kodiak, Alaska 1954..." Contributed by Glen E. Townsend gtowns33@yahoo.com [09MAR99]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-6 Ordnance Crew ThumbnailCameraVP-6 Ordnance Crew "...Ordnance Division NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 1954. Back Row: Lucas, Peterson, Scouten, Cheney, Averill, Stanley, Malecka, Guedel, Graig, Serifine, Rishry, Harris, McHathom, and Lucus, D.L...Middle Row: Lay, Mauvais, Handy, McCort, Butler, Vinson, Harden, LeFrancais, and Wheeler...Front Row: Shwards, Nettelton, Huntyly, Berhardt, Awbery, McKee, Gallagher, Hensley, Townsend, Grey, and Matt..." Contributed by Glen E. Townsend gtowns33@yahoo.com [09MAR99]


Circa 1953

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News November 1953 "...Dollar Saving Ideas Win - Page 26 - Naval Aviation News - November 1953..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1953/nov53.pdf [31JUL2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News February 1953 "...VP-6 Wins Navy Citation - Page 29 - Naval Aviation News - February 1953..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1953/feb53.pdf [29JUL2004]

VP History Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-6 Barracks Thumbnail VP-6 "... NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 1953..." Contributed by Glen E. Townsend gtowns33@yahoo.com [09MAR99]


Circa 1952

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FASRON-110, FASRON-112, FASRON-114, FASRON-117, FASRON-118, FASRON-119, FASRON-120, FASRON-885, FASRON-895, VP-1, VP-2, VP-4, VP-6, VP-9, VP-22, VP-28, VP-29, VP-40, VP-42, VP-46, VP-47, VP-731, VP-772, VP-871, VP-892 and VP-931) - Naval Aeronautical Organization OPNAV NOTICE 05400 for Fiscal Year 1953 dated 1 October 1952 is: DECLASSIFIED per Office of Chief of Naval Operations on 1 February 1965 by Op-501..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/nao53-68/fy1953-oct52.pdf [14MAR2007]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...FAW-1, FAW-2, FAW-4, FAW-6, FAW-14, VP-1, VP-2, VP-4, VP-6, VP-9, VP-22, VP-28, VP-40, VP-42, VP-46, VP-47 and VP-871) - Naval Aeronautical Organization OPNAV NOTICE 05400 for Fiscal Year 1953 dated 1 October 1952 is: DECLASSIFIED per Office of Chief of Naval Operations on 1 February 1965 by Op-501..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/nao53-68/fy1953-oct52.pdf [14MAR2007]

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

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News December 1952 "...VP Commanding Officers - Page 16 - Naval Aviation News - December 1952..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1952/dec52.pdf [28JUL2004]

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Circa 1951

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...06 NOV 51 - A Neptune patrol bomber of VP-6 failed to return from a weather reconnaissance mission over international waters off Siberia after Soviet planes fired upon it..." http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-1910/PART07.PDF [28MAY2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...06NOV51 - While conducting a weather reconnaissance mission under United Nations command...." Website: Aircraft Downed During the Cold War and Thereafter http://www.silent-warriors.com/shootdown_list.html [20FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...From 1945 to 1969, U.S. Navy aircraft were involved in a number of aerial incidents with forces of the Soviet Union, People's Republic of China, North Korea, and Czechoslovakia. These incidents resulted in the loss of eight Navy aircraft and one Coast Guard aircraft, eighty-one Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviators and crewman, and several aircraft damaged and crewmen wounded and injured. The list below, compiled from official and unofficial sources, does not include aircraft lost in direct action in the Korean and Vietnam wars, nor aircraft shot down by Chinese forces in the vicinity of Vietnam in connection with that war..." Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol2.htm [06MAY2001]

  • 6 Nov 1951 P2V-3W VP-6
    While conducting a weather reconnaissance mission under United Nations Command, this aircraft (BuNo 124284) was shot down by Soviet aircraft over the Sea of Japan off Vladisvostok, Siberia. Ten crewmembers reported as missing.

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "06NOV51--A Neptune patrol bomber of VP-6 failed to return from a weather reconnaissance mission over international waters off Siberia after Soviet planes fired upon it..." http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/avchr7.htm

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "06NOV51--An US P2V-3 Neptune of VP-6 , shot down near Vladivostok. " http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/gustin_military/shotdown.html


    Circa 1950 - 1953
    Korean War

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron Korean War Deployments - 1950 Deployments - 1951 Deployments - 1952 Deployments - 1953 Deployments..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-korea/vp-deploy.htm [26MAY2007]

        VP-1

          Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
          Date In: 19 Aug 1950
          Date Out: 13 Nov 1950
          Patrol Area: Formosa Straits
          Aircraft: P2V-3/3W
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

          Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
          Date In: Apr 1951
          Date Out: 29 Aug 1951
          Patrol Area: Korean coast
          Aircraft: P2V-3
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

          Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
          Date In: 29 Mar 1952
          Date Out: 5 Oct 1952
          Patrol Area: Korean coast
          Aircraft: P2V-3
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

          Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
          Date In: 27 May 1953
          Date Out: 1 Dec 1953
          Patrol Area: Korean coast
          Aircraft: P2V-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-2

          Deployed to: Detachment only
          Detachment Location: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
          Detachment Date In: 1 Aug 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 2 Dec 1951
          Patrol Area: East China Sea; Yellow Sea
          Aircraft: P2V-3W
          Losses: None

        VP-6

          Deployed to: Johnson AFB
          Date In: 7 Jul 1950
          Date Out: 6 Aug 1950
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea

          Deployed to: Tachikawa AFB
          Date In: 7 Aug 1950
          Date Out: 12 Feb 1951
          Patrol Area: Korean coastline; Sea of Japan
          Aircraft: P2V-3/3Wbr>Losses: None
          Detachment Location: NAS Atsugi, Japan
          Detachment In: 5 Jan 1951
          Detachment Out: 12 Feb 1951
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Korean coastline

          Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
          Date In: 1 Aug 1951
          Date Out: 14 Jan 1952
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Sea of Japan; Tsushima Straits
          Aircraft: P2V-3/3W
          Losses: P2V-3 on 16 Aug 1951, crew rescued P2V on 6 Nov 1951, 10 KIA (combat)
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-7

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Date In: 28 Jun 1953
          Date Out: 27 Jul 1953
          Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; Yellow Sea
          Aircraft: P2V-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-9

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Date In: 27 Jun 1952
          Date Out: 16 Nov 1952
          Patrol Area: Sea of Japan
          Aircraft: P4Y-2S
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: Pusan
          Detachment Date In: Jul 1952
          Detachment Date Out: 3 Jan 1953
          Patrol Area: Inland Korea

        VP-17

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Date In: 1 Feb 1953
          Date Out: 30 Jun 1953
          Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; Yellow Sea
          Aircraft: P4Y-2/2s
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-22

          Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
          Date In: 4 Nov 1950
          Date Out: 1 May 1951
          Patrol Area: Chinese mainland; Formosa
          Aircraft: P2V-4
          Losses: P2V, 21 Jan 1951 (non-combat)
          Detachment Location: None
          VP-22

          Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
          Date In: 1 Dec 1951
          Date Out: 31 May 1952
          Patrol Area: Tsushima Straits; Sea of Japan
          Aircraft: P4Y-2S
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None
          VP-22

          Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
          Date In: 30 Nov 1952
          Date Out: 31 May 1953
          Patrol Area: North and South China Sea
          Aircraft: P2V-5
          Losses: P2V-5, 18 Jan 1953 (combat), 7 rescued, 4 KIA and 2 POW (combat related)
          P2V-5, 31 Jan 1953 (non-combat)
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-28

          Deployed to: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
          Date In: 16 Jul 1950
          Date Out: 7 Aug 1950
          Patrol Area: Foochow; Shanghai
          Aircraft: PB4Y-2S
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: NAF Agana
          Detachment Date In: Jan 1950
          Detachment Date Out: 7 Aug 1950
          VP-28

          Deployed to: Tachikawa AFB
          Date In: 1 Apr 1951
          Date Out: 9 Oct 1951
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Tsushima Straits
          Aircraft: PB4Y-2S
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: Itami AFB
          Detachment Date In: 24 Apr 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 30 Apr 1951
          Patrol Area: Japanese coast, ASW ops.
          Detachment Location: Kimpo AFB
          Detachment Date In: 1 Oct 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 13 Dec 1951
          Patrol Area: Inland Korea
          VP-28

          Deployed to: NAF Itami
          Date In: 1 Jun 1952
          Date Out: 2 Dec 1952
          Patrol Area: North Korean coast; China coast
          Aircraft: P2V-3/P4Y-2/2S
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-29

          Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
          Date In: 27 Sep 1952
          Date Out: 1 Apr 1953
          Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; Korean coast
          Aircraft: P2V-5/6
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-40

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Suisun (AVP 53), 11 Apr 1951–late 1951
          Date In: 9 Jun 1951
          Date Out: 13 Dec 1951
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Tsushima Straits
          Aircraft: PBM-5/5S
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None
          VP-40

          Deployed to: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
          Date In: 2 Sep 1952
          Date Out: 28 Mar 1953
          Patrol Area: South China Sea; Formosa Straits
          Aircraft: PBM-5/5S
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: Pescadores
          Detachment Date In: 2 Sep 1952
          Detachment Date Out: 28 Mar 1953
          Patrol Area: South China Sea and East China Sea
          Detachment Location: NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan
          Detachment Date In: 2 Sep 1952
          Detachment Date Out: 28 Mar 1953
          Patrol Area: East China Sea; Yellow Sea

        VP-42

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Date In: 19 Jul 1950
          Date Out: 10 Aug 1950
          Patrol Area: Korean coast

          Deployed to: NAS Yokosuka
          Date In: 11–31 Aug 1950
          Date Out: 1 Sep 1950
          Patrol Area: Tsushima Straits; Sea of Japan

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Pine Island (AV 13), Aug 1950–Dec 1950
          Curtiss (AV 4), 1 Nov 1950–1 Dec 1950
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 18 Oct 1950–27 Feb 1951
          Suisun (AVP 53), 11 Apr 1951–15 Jul 1951
          Date In: 1 Sep 1950
          Date Out: 9 Apr 1951
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea
          Aircraft: PBM-5
          Losses: PBM-5, 7 Jan 1951 (non-combat)
          Detachment Location: Inchon
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 3–13 Oct 1950
          Detachment Date In: 3 Oct 1950
          Detachment Date Out: 17 Oct 1950
          Patrol Area: Korean waters
          Detachment Location: Chinhae
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 13–18 Oct 1950
          Detachment Date In: 14 Oct 1950
          Detachment Date Out: 18 Oct 1950
          Patrol Area: Korean waters; Yellow Sea

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Date In: 7 Dec 1951
          Date Out: 6 Jun 1952
          Patrol Area: Korean coast
          Aircraft: P4Y-2
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: Chinhae
          Detachment Date In: 15 Mar 52
          Detachment Date Out: Apr 1952
          Patrol Area: Inland Korea

        VP-46

          Deployed to: Pescadores Islands
          Suisun (AVP 53) 30 Jul 1950–6 Mar 1951
          Date In: 31 Jul 1950
          Date Out: 6 Feb 1951
          Patrol Area: Formosa Straits; China

          Deployed to: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
          Date In: 1 Dec 1950
          Date Out: 6 Feb 1951
          Patrol Area: Night sector searches
          Aircraft: PBM-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: Buckner Bay
          USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13), 1 Nov 1950–6 Mar 1951
          Detachment Date In: 1 Nov 1950
          Detachment Date Out: 6 Feb 1951
          Detachment Location: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
          Detachment Date In: 31 Jul 1950
          Detachment Date Out: 6 Feb 1951
          Patrol Area: Courier flights to Okinawa

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Floyds Bay (AVP 40), 26 Sep 1951–early 1952
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 26 Sep 1951–early 1952
          Date In: 30 Sep 1951
          Date Out: 2 Apr 1952
          Patrol Area: Korean coast
          Aircraft: PBM-5S/5S2
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: Chinhae
          Suisun (AVP 53)
          Detachment Date In: Sep 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 2 Apr 1952
          Patrol Area: Korean coast

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)
          Date In: 1 Mar 1953
          Date Out: 27 Jul 1953
          Patrol Area: Formosa Straits; east coast of Korea
          Aircraft: PBM-5S2
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-47

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), Jul 1950–1 Oct 1950
          Date In: 31 Jul 1950
          Date Out: 16 Oct 1950
          Patrol Area: Chosin Straits

          Deployed to: Chinhae/Inchon
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 3–13 Oct 1950
          Patrol Area: Korean waters
          Date In: 16 Oct 1950
          Date Out: 15 Nov 1950

          Deployed to: NAF Yokosuka
          Date In: 16 Nov 1950
          Date Out: 1 Jan 1951
          Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; eastern Korean coast
          Aircraft: PBM-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

          Deployed to: Pescadores Island
          Pine Island (AVP 12)
          Date In: 1 Aug 1951
          Date Out: 4 Mar 1952
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea
          Aircraft: PBM-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
          USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13)
          Detachment Date In: 26 Jul 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 4 Mar 1952
          Patrol Area: China Sea
          Detachment Location: Buckner Bay
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)
          Corson (AVP 37)
          Detachment In: 26 Jul 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 4 Mar 1952
          Patrol Area: China Sea
          1952 Deployments
          VP-47

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)
          Date In: 22 Nov 1952
          Date Out: 31 May 1953
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea; Sea of Japan
          Aircraft: PBM-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: Fukuoka
          Corson (AVP 37)
          Detachment Date In: Dec 1952
          Detachment Date Out: 31 May 1953
          Patrol Area: Sea of Japan

        VP-48

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)
          Date In: Jul 1953
          Date Out: Dec 1953
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea
          Aircraft: PBM-5S2
          Losses: PBM-5 on 30 Jul 1953 (non-combat), 5 rescued, 10 killed in the crash
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-50

        VP-57

          Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
          Date In: 28 Mar 1953
          Date Out: 27 Jul 1953
          Patrol Area: Sea of Japan; Yellow Sea
          Aircraft: P2V-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-731

          Deployed to: Buckner Bay
          USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13), 1 Nov 1950–6 Mar 1951
          Suisun (AVP 53), 6 Mar 1951–13 Aug 1951
          Date In: 7 Feb 1951
          Date Out: 13 Aug 1951
          Patrol Area: Formosa Straits; China coast
          Aircraft: PBM-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
          USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13), 13 Mar 1951–18 Oct 1951
          Detachment Date In: 7 Feb 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 13 Aug 1951
          Patrol Area: Formosa coast; China coast
          Detachment Location: Hong Kong
          Detachment Date In: 7 Feb 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 13 Aug 1951
          Patrol Area: Courier Flights

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)
          Date In: 1 Jun 1952
          Date Out: 8 Dec 1952
          Patrol Area: Korean coast; Formosa Straits
          Aircraft: PBM-5S2
          Losses: PBM damaged on 31 Jul 1952, 2 KIA and 2 WIA (combat related)
          Detachment Location: None

        VP-772

          Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
          Date In: 31 Jan 51
          Date Out: 3 Aug 1951
          Sea Patrol Area: Yellow; Tsushima Straits
          Aircraft: P4Y-2
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: K-1, Pusan
          Detachment Date In: 12 Jun 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 3 Aug 1951
          Patrol Area: Inland Korea

        VP-871

          Deployed to: NAS Atsugi, Japan
          Date In: 1 Dec 1951
          Date Out: 7 Jul 1952
          Patrol Area: Sea of Japan
          Aircraft: P4Y-2S
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: Kimpo AFB
          Detachment Date In: 12 Dec 1951
          Detachment Date Out: 7 Jul 1952
          Patrol Area: Inland Korea

        VP-892

          Deployed to: NAS Iwakuni, Japan
          Curtiss (AV 4) thru 30 Dec 1950
          Pine Island (AV 12), Dec 1950–mid-1951
          USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), 18 Oct 1950–13 Apr 1951
          Suisun (AVP 53), 11 Apr 1951 – Late 1951
          Date In: 13 Dec 1950
          Date Out: 9 Jun 1951
          Patrol Area: Yellow Sea, night patrols
          Aircraft: PBM-5
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None
          1951 Deployments

          Deployed to: NS Sangley Point, Philippines
          USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13)
          Date In: 1 Mar 1952
          Date Out: 12 Sep 1952
          Patrol Area: China Sea
          Aircraft: PBM-5S/S2
          Losses: None
          Detachment Location: None
          1953 Deployments

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol squadrons in the Korean War - Naval Aviation News, July-August, 2002 by Rick Burgess..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IAX/is_5_84/ai_90332255 [29MAR2005]

    Because most of the combat action of the KOREAN WAR took place over the Korean peninsula, the bulk of the Navy's aerial contribution to the war took the form of carrier-based tactical aircraft. For Navy patrol squadrons (VP), the war was fought primarily on the peripheries of the main front, mostly in sea-control and sea-denial missions, and other roles such as mine hunting.

    The Korean War was one hot spot of many along the Asian landmass attracting the attention of VP squadrons in the early 1950s. The broader Cold War was in full chill. The Soviet Union had tested its first nuclear weapons in 1949, and its large submarine fleet presented a credible threat to the Navy's carrier and amphibious task forces. Also in 1949, the Communist Chinese People's Liberation Army forces had pushed the Chinese Nationalist forces off the Asian mainland across the Formosa Strait onto Formosa (now Taiwan). French colonial forces in Indochina were embattled by an increasingly strong Viet Minh force led by Ho Chi Minh. From the Bering Strait to Singapore, Navy patrol planes had much to monitor.

    Although the U.S. Seventh Fleet's carrier task forces were committed to the Korean area of operations, the fleet still was charged with the protection of Formosa. The fleet was able to maintain routine surveillance of the Formosa Strait with patrol aircraft, which made it impossible for the Communist Chinese to launch a surprise invasion of the island.

    In the Korean area of operations, VP squadrons participated in the blockade of North Korea, keeping merchant shipping and fishing fleets under surveillance and deterring hostile submarine activity. In addition, patrol aircraft hunted and destroyed mines, dropped flares for air strikes, and conducted weather reconnaissance and search-and-rescue operations.

    At the beginning of the Korean War, Pacific Fleet VP squadrons were equipped with three heavily armed aircraft types. Martin PBM-5/5S/5S2 Mariners were the only flying boats in active patrol squadrons (the P5M Marlin had not yet entered service.) Seaplanes were increasingly being displaced by land-based patrol bombers, such as the four-engine Consolidated Privateer P4Y-2/2S/2B, a holdover from WW II; and versions of the new twin-engine Lockheed Neptune (P2V2/3/3W/4/5), successor to the post-WWII PV-2 Harpoon patrol bomber.

    The Pacific Fleet was equipped with only nine VP squadrons in June 1950, having disestablished four squadrons in the first half of the year. VP squadrons were based at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington; NAS North Island, San Diego, California; and NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. They deployed to NAF Yokosuka, Japan; NS Sangley Point, Philippines, Philippines.; NAS Kodiak, Alaska; and NAS Agana, Guam. By the end of 1950, seven reserve VP squadrons were activated, five of which were assigned to the Pacific Fleet. By the end of 1951, two more active duty VP squadrons were established in the Pacific Fleet, and two more reserve squadrons were activated to augment them. NAS Alameda, California, and NAS Seattle, Washington, accommodated some of the new squadrons. Only one Atlantic Fleet patrol squadron, VP-7 at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, was deployed to the war zone, arriving less than one month before the truce on 30 June 1953.

    When the war broke out in 1950, Fleet Air Wing FAW-1 at Guam controlled squadrons deployed to the western Pacific. In July 1950 FAW-1 moved to Naha, Okinawa, to control patrols over the Formosa Strait using one land-based and one flying boat squadron. FAW-6 was established at Atsugi, Japan, to coordinate patrols in the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan. Eventually the typical strength of FAW-6 included three land-plane squadrons and two flying boat squadrons, as well as two squadrons of Royal Air Force Sunderland flying boats. These command structures remained in place throughout the war, except during a short period when they were relieved by FAW-2 and FAW-14, respectively.

    Only eight patrol planes--PBMs assigned to VP-46 and the squadron it was relieving, VP-47--patrolled the Far East when the North Korean invasion began, while VP-28's PB4Ys were deployed to NAS Agana, Guam. Soon, VP-47 was regrouped and retained on deployment, VP-6's P2V-3s arrived at Johnson Air Base near Tokyo, Japan, and VP-42's PBMs staged at Iwakuni, Japan. VP-28 staged to NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan and began daily patrols of the Formosa Strait and the coast of China. Other squadrons rotated in turn, and also deployed to far-flung bases and anchorages such as Hong Kong; the Pescadores, Buckner Bay and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan; Tachikawa and Itami in Japan; and NAS Kodiak, Alaska and Shemya in the Aleutians.

    As the North Korean invasion pushed south, VP-6's Neptunes were used on three occasions to provide naval gunfire spotting for United Nations warships on the western coast of South Korea. The squadron's P2V-3s, armed with 20mm cannon, bombs and rockets, also launched many attacks themselves against North Korean targets along the northeast shore.

    On 29 July 1950, two crews destroyed a railroad train with their rockets and guns. On 13 August, crews sank three boats and two barges engaged in minelaying near Chinnampo, and damaged two surface craft near Wonsan. One VP-6 Neptune was damaged in the attack. An attack on a patrol boat near Chinnampo on 16 August was fatal to another VP-6 aircraft, which ditched after taking fire. The crew was rescued by the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Kenya. Patrol planes were prohibited thereafter from undertaking attack missions over Korea. VP-6 became the only patrol squadron awarded the Navy Unit Citation during the Korean War.

    Patrol planes--PBMs, P2Vs and Sunderlands--were used extensively in mine hunting, particularly in the harbors of Inchon and Wonsan. This tedious activity required the PBMs to fly low and slow, close enough to detonate a moored mine with machine gunfire, but high enough to avoid the mine's explosion. P2Vs dropped depth charges to wipe out magnetic mines.

    In 1951 VP squadrons were pressed into another role, this time over land, dropping illumination flares in support of air strikes. Known as Firefly missions, they helped deny the night to enemy supply movements. Admiral Arthur W. Radford suggested the use of P4Y-2 Privateers as flare ships to replace the more vulnerable R4D Skytrains in illuminating targets for Marine Corps F4U-5N Corsair and F7F-3N Tigercat night hecklers. One P4Y from VP-772 was modified For the mission and proved highly successful, and three more P4Ys from VP-772 and VP-28 were assigned as "Lamp Lighters" (later operated by successive squadrons). During a typical mission, the P4Y would rendezvous with four attack aircraft, search for truck convoys and illuminate the targets for the attack aircraft.

    Although United Nations forces were successful in maintaining air superiority over most of the Korean peninsula, lumbering patrol aircraft had a few encounters with enemy aircraft. A VP-42 Mariner was damaged on 11 May 1952 by a MiG-15 fighter over the Yellow Sea, and on 31 July 1952 a VP-731 PBM was seriously damaged by gunfire from a MiG-15, which killed two crewmen and injured two others.

    Flights off China and the Soviet Union, far from protective cover, were more dangerous. VP-28 P4Ys were attacked over the Formosa Strait on 26 July by an F-51 Mustang in North Korean markings, and on 20 September and 22 November 1950 by MiG-15s, all without result. A VP-42 PBM was lost to unknown causes in the southern Formosa Strait on 5 November. On 6 November 1951 a VP-6 P2V-3W was shot down, with no survivors, by Soviet fighters near Vladivostok. On 18 January 1953 Chinese antiaircraft batteries shot down a VP-22 P2V off Swatow. A Coast Guard PBM-5G picked up the survivors but crashed on takeoff, resulting in the loss of 11 fliers, including 7 from the P2V. The survivors were rescued by a Navy ship. Further such aircraft incidents and losses occurred in the years after the Korean truce.

    One daring P2V crew amazingly survived a series of eight or nine intentional overflights of the Soviet Union's Kamchatka peninsula between April and June 1952. A VP-931 P2V-3W--modified with special electronic intelligence equipment in its nose and flown by a handpicked crew--flew in radio silence over the peninsula at 15,000 feet in search of military installations. When military sites were detected, an Air Force RB-50 flying above and behind the P2V photographed the sites. The snoopers were intercepted on two missions by Soviet MiG fighters but apparently never were fired upon. Fortunately, the recently declassified operations never required the services of the Air Force SB-17 rescue plane assigned to the missions. This VP-931 (later VP-57) crew also performed a daring search and rescue flight in July 1953 over Vladivostok harbor for the crew of an RB-50 that was shot down by Soviet fighters. A U.S. destroyer rescued one of the crewmen.

    Land-based patrol planes saw greater use than flying boats in the Korean War, proving to be more efficient. In Korea, land-based patrol planes flew 12 sorties for every 9 flown by flying boats.

    As with U.S. forces in general, patrol aviation maintained a high level of presence in the Far East after the Korean War. Its operations increasingly focused on peripheral reconnaissance of the Soviet Union and China, particularly surveillance of the growing Soviet submarine force and vigilance against Chinese sabre-rattling against Formosa.

    U.S. Navy Patrol Squadrons in the Korean War

    Squadron    Aircraft    Tail Code    Home Port


    Circa 1950

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...USS Suisun (AVP-53) (Squadron(s) Mentioned: VP-6 and VP-46)..." WebSite: http://ftp.metalab.unc.edu/hyperwar/USN/ships/dafs/AVP/avp53.html [09JAN2006]

    On 26 April 1950, Suisun sailed to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, where she loaded VP-6 and ferried it to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. She departed there on 12 May for NAS Agana, Guam but was directed to Yap Island and arrived there on 28 May. The next day she steamed to Koror, Palau Islands, and thence to NS Sangley Point, Philippines. Next, she called at NAS Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, Marianas Islands and NAS Agana, Guam, before returning to NS Sangley Point, Philippines on 2 July. The next day she sailed for Buckner Bay, Okinawa. The Tender arrived there on 5 July. She serviced and fueled aircraft of VP-46 until 16 July when the planes flew, and the ship sailed, to the Pescadores Islands to begin operations from that base. From 17 July to 20 October, Suisun and the squadron were assigned to the 7th Fleet.

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News July 1950 "...Daughters Give A Watch - Page 12 - Naval Aviation News - July 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/jul50.pdf [20JUL2004]

    History

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News May 1950 "...VP-6 Licks Snow Problems - Page 31 - Naval Aviation News - May 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/may50.pdf [20JUL2004]

    VP History ThumbnailCamera

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "BLUE SHARKS off the Red Coast Collier's, October 28, 1950, Page 15 through 17, By John Conneer Collier's War Correspondent Contributed by Glen E. Townsend gtowns33@yahoo.com [10MAR99]

    BLUE SHARKS
    off the Red Coast
    Collier's, October 28, 1950
    Page 15 through 17
    By John Conneer
    Collier's War Correspondent
    TOKYO--AT AN air base in Japan, a Navy briefing officer was laying down the law to a group of pilots. "There will be no more firing at ground targets," he said grimly. "If there's to be any more shooting from now on it will be with cameras only. Or does anyone here want a court-martial?"

    Thus ended a strange and wonderful chapter of the Korean war-a chapter which saw big, sleek, long-range patrol bombers, intended mainly for antisubmarine work, going out every day to wage war almost in the style of fighter planes: swapping angry bullets with beached Communist patrol boats, blasting railroad trains, bombing bridges from low altitudes. For the pilots of this Navy squadron, that kind of action was a lot letter than spending long hours, aloft looking for submarines that weren't there.

    The squadron was one of the Navy's Blue Shark outfits-flying the shark-nosed, blue-hued P2V Neptune Patrol Bomber, successor to the clumsy, night-camouflaged Catalina which was called The Black Cat in World War II.

    Born to the fleet between the wars, the Neptune built up its reputation overnight in 1946 with the famed Truculent Turtle's spectacular nonstop flight from Australia to Columbus, Ohio-a performance that helped the Navy prove it had the longest-range two-engined bomber in the world. Although it is primarily a sub hunter and killer, the P2V has undertaken a wide variety of chores in Korea, watching the movement of Communist shipping, doing the spotting for warship gunnery, shepherding convoys into port and guarding the landing beaches during amphibious operations-acting, in short, as the eyes of the United Nations forces in the battle area. For this task, the Blue Shark is equipped with the latest radar equipment for peering through darkness and clouds.

    But in addition to its electronic eyes, the P2V packs a powerful punch: rockets, bombs or torpedoes, and both 20-millimeter and .50-caliber guns. A full salvo of its rockets is equal to nearly three times the hitting power of a destroyer broadside. The Blue Shark crews, yanked out of a scheduled six-month training stint to patrol the Korean battle area, were initially ordered to attack any worthwhile target they saw in enemy territory, in a move to step up their proficiency with that imposing array of weapons. They cheerfully obeyed.

    Lieutenant Commander R.L. (Stretch) Ettinger, of Medford, Oregon, a six-foot five-inch giant who builds hot rods as a peacetime pastime, led the way. Ettinger hadn't fired in anger since his patrolling days of World War II and no one had yet felt the fiery bite of an attacking Shark, when one hot July day he saw a freight train steaming south out of Chongjin. He alerted Lieutenant Bill Pressler, of West Palm Beach, Florida, flying another Shark behind him, and then whipped down after the freight. Four rockets caught the string of cars dead middle and lifted two of them clear of the track in a slow, high roll. Then Ettinger called to his wingman: "Hot Rock, I want that engine. Get it for me."

    VP-6 History article
    Collier's John Conner rides the copilot's seat of a P2V Neptune. Conner was a World War II combat correspondent in the Marines

    Hot Rock came in steeply, spitting fire and lead. The engine boiler erupted as he swept overhead. For good measure, Pressler dropped a bomb on an undamaged railroad line on his way home, leaving a twisted loop of tracks to mark his passing.

    As the air offensive against North Korea gained momentum, the Sharks, restricted largely to coastal patrols, tackled everything floating that had an enemy gun on it.

    Lieutenant Commander E. B. Rogers, of Sumner, Mississippi, squadron executive officer, got into a cove one day to check on an island that looked suspiciously like a camouflaged boat. As he approached it in a shallow dive tracers came up to meet him.

    "lt looked as if someone was firing at me from a rock and from behind a tree," he said. "I made my run with rockets and 20-millimeters and came back for another. This time two of the 'rocks' let me have it and when I fired back eight more opened up. No matter where I turned I seemed about to get shot down.

    "I got two of the boats at the waterline with rockets and then got out of there-with my skin whole and six holes in the plane."

    VP-6 History article
    Navy ordnance men load rockets on a P2V. Hard-hitting plane also totes machine guns, cannon, torpedoes, and bombs.

    The next day that same plane was shot up so badly that it had to ditch in the sea near Japan- thus ending the shooting exploits of the hard-flying Blue Sharks.

    Ensign Bill Goodrnan of Fountain, Minnesota, and Lieutenant Commander Wylie Hunt, of San Diego-a World War II veteran who was shot down during the Battle of Midway and captured by the Japanese-were flying partners that day. Hunt, in the lead and out of Goodman's sight, made a rocket attack on a camouflaged gunboat off Chinnampo and maintained his course south toward Inchon. Goodman came on behind a few minutes later and, without knowing it had already been attacked, made a pass at the same vessel.This time the North Koreans were ready. They met him with fire coming down and going away. The top turret gunner. Chief Machinist's Mate Houston Rhodes, of San Diego, saw the tracers coming up as Goodman climbed.

    "Pilot from top turret-sir, we've got fire in the starboard engine."

    VP-6 History article
    Comdr. Arthur F. Farwell, who heads the Japan-based Blue Sharks, is shown with a chart of North Korean plane insignia.

    Goodman gunned his plane up to 1,000 feet, feathered the right engine and hurried out to sea to get away from the coast and capture. A P2V can fly on a single engine if it's light enough, and as this one headed home, its crew pitched everything loose out through the deck hatch.

    The other engine began to smoke. Rhodes, an old hand who had escaped from the sinking carrier Lexington in World War II, called the pilot again. "Mr. Goodman, we'd better think about ditching. That burning wing is going to buckle."

    But only when he heard that his radioman had contacted the base did the plane commander finally order: "Stand by to ditch."

    The plane stayed afloat ten minutes. The crew timed her from their rubber rafts and then saw her slide under in a sigh of steam. In ten minutes more Hunt was circling overhead, signaling: "The British are coming."

    Six hours later, just at dusk, a British cruiser and destroyer picked up the plane crew.

    VP-6 History article
    Getting ready for a mission. Lt. Comdr. R. L. Ettinger (in cap) checks engine with crew member as others file aboard.

    Back at the air base the next day the bad news arrived. Admiral Joy, chief of the Navy's Far East Command, had celebrated the first loss of a Blue Shark with an angry order. It was passed on at the preflight briefing, "No more shooting." With their expensive radar and other equipment, the P2Vs were just too valuable to lose that way.

    The patrol missions aren't as exciting as they used to be for the Blue Shark squadron. In fact, they're pretty dull (in World War II, American pilots flew an average of 1,800 hours of patrol for every enemy sub sighted; in this war the hours of fruitless searching are even longer).

    Nevertheless, in their painstaking patrols, the Neptunes may be doing noble duty by heading off submarine trouble before it starts. The squadron's leader. Commander Arthur F. Farwell, Jr„ of Pensacola, Florida, knows how effective air patrols can be.

    After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Farwell commanded a squadron whose slow flying boats were assigned the dusk-to-dawn antisubmarine watch from Cape May to Cape Hattera on the coast of the United States. Radar was crude in those days and Farwell's planes were not permitted to use flares because they would be illuminate American shipping as well as German conning towers. So the Catalinas hunted and dived in the dark and the rate of reportable sinkings was low. Yet from May to June in 1942, the number of submarine sightings was cut down from 105 to three in the area.

    "We were doing a lot of good but we didn't realize it until the statistics came in," said Farwell. "Then we knew our ventures had not been in vain. I think the same may be true today."..." Contributed by Glen E. Townsend gtowns33@yahoo.com [10MAR99]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00XXX50--...VP-6 relocated from Whidbey Island to Barbers Point, arriving there on Lei (May) Day of 1950. The first squadron sent into the Korean war, arriving in Japan during the first week of July, 1950, we first flew out of Johnson (a base for transport aircraft), then Tachikawa, and from November of that year Atsugi. We flew both P2V-3s and P2V-3Ws and saw a bit of combat in the early days of the war, losing one plane, shot down by a North Korean PC boat, but recovered the crew (including Dick Colley, another AL, who suffered burns from the encounter). The squadron rotated back to BP in February of 1951, followed by a quick trip to Alameda to pick up new aircraft. Some five months later we were back in NAS Atsugi, Japan for our second tour, which ended in January or February, 1952 (the memory is a bit hazy). It was during this tour that we lost a plane and crew near Vladivostok. On board were Gus Jurek, then an AL2 and "Rags" Raglan, an AL1, both good friends, as was P.R. Foster, the Crew Chief Contributed by Charles Pomeroy charlesp@coffee.ocn.ne.jp

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00XXX50--In early 1950, Patrol Squadron SIX (VP-6) arrived from NAS Whidbey Island, Washington with the first P-2 Neptunes in Hawaii. Other patrol squadrons would follow VP-6's lead in the ensuing years to establish Barbers Point as the major ASW aviation center that it is today..." http://www.navy.mil/homepages/vp-47/basehist.htm

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "28JUN50--KOREA--ARRIVED: 28JUN50 DEPARTED: 16JAN52 TAIL CODE: BE AIRCRAFT: P2V-3" http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/koreaob.htm

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00JUL50--VP-6 was based at N.A.S. Barber's Point, (T.H., then) and did two tours to N.A.S. Asugi (Japan) July - December 1950 and 1951, where our mission was anti-submarine and shipping surveillance patrols in the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan. Photos of merchant vessels helped in development of intelligence reports of cargo bound for Korean ports. Radar vision of the pregnant-looking P2V-3W was 250 miles, in good conditions (including sufficient flight, or target, altitude). It was in the later part of our 1951 tour that Judd Hodgson's crew was lost to a Soviet Mig fighter attack, justified by Russian diplomats as our intrusion into their (twelve mile) territorial waters off Vladivostok. Our 1952 "overseas" tour was at N.A.S. Kodiak. One of our patrol routes covered oil pipeline development out of Pt. Barrow, Alaska, but most were triangular courses touching Nome and the international date line near the Komandorsye Islands, or overnighting at Adak Air Force Base, then looping around a thousand mile course nearing the Pribiloff Islands and back to another dreary night at Godforsaken Adak's transient quarters. Many GCA approaches were required - the Navy had little use for ILS, mostly because permanent installations are required, while GCA could be set up virtually anywhere from an operations shack on wheels (and jacks). Fishing was big around Kodiak, and one photo I have shows Scott Carpenter trying for deep water halibut off of Special Services' "My Boat," a modified WWII torpedo boat. None of us had any idea, then, that Scott would serve with the first group of astronauts. Photography was great, on good days, and my choice of a Special Services (read: Entertainment and Morale) projects were (1) a King Crab Feast, and (2) a VP-6 1952 yearbook. Photos were solicited from all squadron members and from the Base photographers. A printer in Hawaii produced a book for each squadron member, much like high-school annuals..." Contributed by Nick Neufeld rneufeld@impulse.net

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "01DEC50--NAF Atsugi (Japan) was formally commissioned Dec. 1, 1950, and Patrol Squadron Six became the first unit to operate from here..." http://www.navy.mil/homepages/comnavfor-japan/nafahist.htm

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I would like to give you a correction on you history of VP 6...The name Blue Sharks was hung on the squadron in 1950, you can verify that by a Colliers Mag. article "Blue Sharks off The Red coast" by John Corner, a Colliers war correspondent. The article was published Oct 28 1950..." Contributed by Richard L Myers hlmyers@aol.com


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