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VPB-146 - PATROL BOMBING SQUADRON ONE FORTY SIX
Comission Place: NAS Whidbey Island Washington

VPB-146 PATROL BOMBING SQUADRON ONE FORTY SIX

The commissioning orders for VB-146 were read by Lt Richard G. Johnston on July 15, 1943 at Ault Field, NAS Whidbey Island Washington. CFAW-6 transferred the personnel to the squadron as they completed transitional training in the PV-1. As the nucleus of the squadron was assembled, an administrative and command structure was formed.The squadron was top heavy in rank and was thinned by transfers to other units. A final organization was put in place after the commanding officer, LCDR Ralph R. Beachum, and his crew were killed on a training flight. The job of training and melding the squadron into an effective combat unit was begun with LCDR Jesse P. Robinson, Jr. as the new commanding officer. Since this was a new and "hot" plane to the pilots coming from the old faithful PBY, actual handling of the PV-1 was probably the most challenging task that faced the squadron from the outset. The usual problems and growing pains were encountered. The major obstacle was providing "off time" for the crews. The senior pilots and crewmen had come from deployments in the South Pacific(VP-12 Black Cats) and the Aleutians (VP-43 No Tumult, No Shouting) and wanted as much time with their families as possible before another  long deployment to the combat area. As a result, operations were conducted around the clock, where and when feasible, to complete the training and qualification syllabus. Training was completed by mid-November, and on 5 December the squadron flew to Alameda for embarkation in the USS Coral Sea (CVE-57) departing on the 22nd of December for Hawaii. Upon arrival on December 28th, the squadron reported to CFAW-2 at Kaneohe and on January 11th was assigned the Midway patrol with six aircraft and nine crews. On January 22nd the Johnston Island patrol and convoy coverage was assigned to five planes and six crews. These patrols lasted until April 1st. During April, rockets were installed and calibration and training were conducted. Movement orders were issued in May for the Seventh Fleet but were delayed by ASW schooling. On June 8, 1944, deployment to the Seventh Fleet was carried out. On arrival at Pityilu Island in the Admiralty Group, the squadron was assigned to the hunter-killer ASW Group. In July PBYs replaced the PVs in the ASW group. VB-146 was given 4 five hundred mile search sectors out of Pityilu. On 1 October 1944, the squadron designation was changed to VPB-146, and on 18 October the squadron was moved to Morotai and reported to CFAW-17. The squadron was assigned search sectors to north Borneo and the Sulu Archipelago,  the area over and east of Mindanao and over the central and north Celebes. In addition to patrols, strikes were made on seaplane facilities in Illigan Bay and sweeps through central Mindanao, the Celebes and the Sulu Archipelago. The PV-1 performed very well and with its speed was well adapted for single plane operations in hostile territory. The maintenance provided by PATSU ONE EIGHT was in all cases "top drawer". Their integration into the squadron was entirely due to the unit's leadership and the complete cooperation of the squadron personnel - it was a highlight of the operation. They were family and part of the overall organization.

Morotai, the forward area, was mud, mosquitoes, occasionally a python and frequently a Japanese infiltrator. There was hardly a night went by without "washing machine Charlie" overhead. In addition, there were some air raids of significant size which destroyed aircraft on the ground. On one occasion when a Japanese aircraft was shot down near our area, Captain C.B. (Doc) Jones, CFAW-17 remarked, "that crew may have given their heart to the Emperor, but we got their ass."

During the deployment at Morotai, the squadron lost 9 aircraft operationally, 6 by enemy bombing of Morotai, and  three shot down, 1 by enemy AA and 2 by friendly fighters. Three crews were lost and two personnel killed in an accident in Australia. From commissioning to March 1, 1945, the personnel losses were 27; 10 officers and 17 crewmen. On December 1 the squadron was replaced by VPB-130 and sent back to the Admiralities to run sector search into the Western Carolines. During this time all crews were given 2 weeks "R&R" in Sydney Australia. Squadron planes were used for transportation and a good time was had by all! In February, the squadron was ordered back to San Diego via Hawaii for reforming. The evaluation of squadron performance was adequately expressed by our operational commander in the Seventh Fleet - "Good luck and goodbye to a fighting outfit which will never be forgotten by the enemy or ourselves. God speed you on your way home." Max Hartman put it best about this squadron: "In my mind, VPB-146 is not a number, planes or just a squadron, but a group of men who lived closely together for many months. During this time we endured boredom and tragedy, enjoyed good times and laughed at bad times, and some of us matured while others died. Except for those who died, we did not do extraordinary or heroic things, but we all did what we were called upon to do." It couldn't have been better said.

CREWS OF PATROL BOMBING SQUADRON ONE FORTY SIX
LCDR Jesse P. Robinson, Jr. LT James C. Clark
LT(jg) Harris W. Wright LT(jg) Gerald S. Barker
ENS Richard H. Hendrickson Warren W. Hazelton
Harold J. Roberts Jamie E. Taylor
Vincent J. Desalvo William W. Anderson
Leslie A. Nelson Austin W. Bennett
Marvin C. Pearson Ervin V. Barnhurst
LCDR Hadley M. Lewis LT Dudley C. Walton
LT(jg) James S. Graham ENS Orville C. Rees
Harry V. Bobo Burt E. Boydston
James A. Glenn Howard C. Donnelson
Ernest Oullette Donald K. Corwin
Kenneth R. Selle Ralph J. Bogan
LT William C. Armstrong LT Emil B. Hanson
LT(jg) James E. Wickersham LT(jg) Edward B. Ash
LT(jg) Arnold M. Gibson James L. Woodward
William B. Bottoms Laurence V. Johnson
Charles M. Ferguson, Jr. Max L. Hartman
David J. Kinne Harry S. Howard
David C. Peters LT Robert W. Anderson
LT Kenneth D. Bradshaw LT(jg) Robert B. Lobbregt
LT(jg) Frank M. Mason Harry Haines, Jr.
ENS Carl M. Weil Burdelle C. Allen
Julius Schmidt Robert K. Johnson
Billie K. Clark Arthur L. Millay
Henry J. Ciz George B. Finney
LT Charles Hanley LT Herbert W. George
LT(jg) George L. Stanton LT(jg) Richard E. Hanna
James M. Burton Bonnie L. Puckett
William H. Fenner Robert G. Lininger
Daniel K. Knight Oscar Rosin
Carl L. Gilly George J. Steeples
LT Herbert C. McWilliams LT James E. Clark
LT(jg) Lloyd E. Burton LT(jg) Winfred W. Bootman
Harold J. Fleming John C. Blum
Donald W. Klier Chester M. Taylor
Frank M. Kessler  John J. Addington
Chester W. Gardner Kenneth L. Altman
LT Richard G. Johnston  LT Erling G. Olson
LT(jg) Donald A. Nowak LT(jg) William C. Anderson
Albert G. Anderson ENS Ferris L. Farrell
Leonard M. Williams Roland A. Roberts
Albert A. Charpentier Lyle L. Durant
Dennis W. Tomlin James A. Baker
Kenneth R. Marinelli LT William T. Sorenson
LT(jg) John P. Barber LT(jg) Philip E. Caron
LT(jg) Harris W. Wright ENS "L" "C" Goodman, Jr.
LT(jg) Arnold M. Gibson Jefferson D. Beck
Eugene L. Clarke Rodney C. Johnson
Leo E. Munson Thomas L. Ruth James J. Nash
Augie L. Montgomery Bud J. Taylor
LT Richard H. Hart LT Clifton E. Jackson
LT(jg) Bernard T. Schafersman  LT(jg) Johnson E. West
Lloyd G. Briggs J. W. Hastings
Robert J. Flynn Russell L. Crutchfield
John E. Anderson Chester L. Sewell
Jack E. Scott Robert E. Lee, Jr.
LT Ace L. Coulter ENS Wayne P. Dunham
William S. Hinshaw LT(jg) Kenneth T. Bretz 
Paul H. Galka Duane E. Bennehoff
  
REPLACEMENTS Leonard W. Burridge
Sidney Liswood Arden L. Luker
  
KILLED IN ACTION AND TRAINING
LT William J. Decker  LT(jg)Gordon L. Peel
ENS Theodore Thornburg LT(jg) Benjamin Lyford
Hazel Porter, Jr. Carl N. Denson
Elmer Garcia Joseph B. Berdami
Robert G. Brockman Floyd W. Johnson
John E. Andrews Wayne Stewart
LT(jg) William Taylor ENS Kenneth Ambule
ENS Robert Dunlop LCDR R. R. Beacham
George Robinson LT(jg) Neston
Francis Harrison Leo Demarco
John Kendall Peter Lavalle
Earl Layten Robert Gray
C. A. Brown
  
SUPPORT PERSONNEL
LCDR Leonard E. Nelson Jake W. Finley
LT Blackard H. McCaslin Creighton N. Bassett
LT Henry G. Elwell William F. Search
LT(jg) Edwin K. Welch Jack D. Christensen
ENS John A. Prew Edwald W. Wendorf
W. O. Elect Harry Koslosky  Paul H. Grady
  
TRANSFERRED PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF TOUR
LCDR William R. Wallis Everett E. Benson
LT Ronald F. Stultz Archie A. Barnett
ENS J. W. Riddle Richard T. Clark
Edward L. Belfoure Raymond J. Wydra

Based on code developed by Richards Consulting Group