the assorted works of G. H. Spaulding


History of VP-17



VP-17 born as VP-17F


(Thanks to Bob McLaughlin and the VP-Navy web site for the following passage detailing the 1937 birth of VP-17 -- seven years earlier than we previously thought.)


A BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-17 - A Chronology - via the provided to me by the Naval Historical Center..." Contributed by McLAUGHLIN, LT Bob [09JAN2007]

U. S. Naval Aviation first saw a "Patrol Squadron Seventeen" on 2 January 1937 when VP-17F was established at Fleet Air Base Seattle, Washington. LCDR Dolph C. Allen commanded the squadron which was under the administrative control of Patrol Wing 4, Base Force. The squadron's Martin PM-1 seaplanes were tended aboard USS Thrush (AVP-3). LCDR John Perry took over command on 30 September 1937. VP-17F was redesignated VP-17 on 1 October 1937 when all patrol squadrons were removed from the Base Force and administratively placed under Patrol Wings. VP-17 turned in it's PM-1s on 17 March 1938 for new Consolidated PBY-2 Catalinas. They deployed to the South Pacific until April 1938 aboard Thrush (AVP-3). USS Teal (AVP-5) provided tender support for the squadron's seaplanes while participating in Fleet Problem XIX (Phase II). In October of 1938, LCDR Stanhope C. Ring assumed command.

Great crew discomfort was experienced at high altitudes and in northern latitudes as PBY aircraft of the period lacked cabin heaters. On 1 November 1938 VP-17 was selected to test the new electrically heated flying suits. In the first trials, at 18,700 feet, the fuses were blown out by the suits. The general opinion was that the suits were too bulky and unreliable in the cramped quarters of the aircraft. Better heating and insulation was, therefore, installed by the manufacturer in following models of the PBY. Crew comfort was improved on long cold flights.

The squadron insignia depicted a lion seal as the central figure as most of the squadron's activities took place in Alaskan waters. Approved by the Bureau of Aeronautics on 16 November 1938 the circular insignia had no letters or numbers designating the squadron. The background color was white with a black seal balancing a black bomb on it's nose and a black circular outline.

On 1 July 1939 VP-17 was redesignated VP-42 who retained the black seal insignia.



So, whatever happened to VP-42?


Squadron Logo
NAS Attu, Alaska
Name: Blue Fox
VP-17F Established: 02JAN37
VP-17 Redesignated: 01OCT37
VP-42 Redesignated: 01JUL39
VB-135 Redesignated: 15FEB43
VPB-135 Redesignated: 01OCT44
VP-135 Redesignated: 15MAY46
VP-ML-5 Redesignated: 15NOV46
VP-5 Redesignated: 01SEP48






Second VP-17/VPB-17




Re-established as Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VP-17)

on 3 January 1944.

Redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTEEN

(VPB-17) on 1 October 1944.

Disestablished on 30 January 1946.


Squadron Insignia and Nickname


None on record.


Chronology of Significant Events


3 Jan 1944: VP-17 was re-established at NAS Norfolk,

Va., as a large seaplane squadron flying 12 PBM-3D

Mariners under the operational control of FAW-5. The

squadron was relocated on 11 January 1944 to

Harvey Point, N.C., for flight training. Fitting out and

shakedown of squadron personnel and equipment

continued through 31 March 1944.

31 Mar 1944: VP-17 was temporarily relocated to

NAS Key West, Fla., for continuation of flight training

with emphasis on ASW. The squadron returned to NAS

Harvey Point on 7 April 1944.

12 Apr 1944: An advance party of 2 officers and 45

enlisted personnel proceeded to NAS Alameda, Calif.,

by train to prepare for the scheduled arrival of the remainder

of the squadron. The remainder of the

squadron personnel and equipment arrived with the

squadron aircraft on 15 May 1944. Preparations for the

transpac to Hawaii were commenced.

18 May 1944: VP-17 began departing NAS Alameda

for NAS Kaneohe on schedule with all aircraft arriving

by 31 May. No problems were encountered enroute.

While at Kaneohe the squadron operated under the

operational control of FAW-2.

1 Jun 1944: After the squadron had settled into its

new temporary quarters, it was quickly brought up to

operational status and patrols in the vicinity of the

Hawaiian Islands were commenced. Additional ASW

training was begun on 1 July 1944, continuing until

the squadron was deployed to the South Pacific.

3 Sep 1944: VP-17 deployed a detachment of five

aircraft to NAB Ebye, Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, joining

VP-21 and sharing quarters aboard the tender

Casco (AVP 12). The detachment came under the operational

control of FAW-1.

11 Sep 1944: A detachment of three aircraft was

deployed to Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, with tender

support provided by Hamlin (AV 15). The remainder

of the squadron from NAS Kaneohe joined this detachment

on 17 September 1944, bringing the detachment

total to seven aircraft. Sector searches, Dumbo

missions, mail delivery and air cargo missions to

Palau were assigned by Commander, Patrol

Squadrons, FAW-1.

 (Subsequent references are to VPB-17, suggesting re-designation

  during this period.)

5 Oct 1944: VPB-17 was reassigned temporarily to

the tender Curtiss (AV 4) in preparation for relocation

to Ulithi. Six squadron aircraft departed for Ulithi on 9

October 1944, operating temporarily from the small

seaplane tender Onslow (AVP 48) until Hamlin arrived

on 13 October 1944. The remaining six aircraft

of the squadron arrived on the same date.

Antishipping patrols in the vicinity of Ulithi were

commenced immediately.

24 Dec 1944: VPB-17 was relocated from Ulithi

back to Tanapag Harbor, Saipan. Essential maintenance

and crew rest was provided in preparation for

further deployment.

21 Jan 1945: VPB-17 was enroute to Kossol

Passage, Palau Islands. On arrival, the squadron was

provided support by seaplane tender Kenneth Whiting

(AV 14). Sector searches and antishipping patrols were

commenced upon arrival.

5 Feb 1945: VPB-17 was again relocated to Ulithi,

and based temporarily aboard the tender Chandeleur

(AV 10).

12 Feb 1945: A detachment of VPB-17 was deployed

further south aboard the tender Orca (AVP 49),

operating out of San Pedro Bay, Philippines, under the

operational control of FAW-17. A second detachment

was deployed to Lingayen Gulf, berthed temporarily

aboard the tender Currituck (AV 7). The remainder of

the squadron arrived at San Pedro Bay on 20 February

and the crews were relocated to San Pablo (AVP 30).

9 Mar 1945: VPB-17 was relocated to Jinamoc

Island, Philippines, and rejoined by the detachment

previously operating from Lingayen Gulf. The seaplane

base at Jinamoc Island was completed on 31

March 1945, providing berthing and repair facilities

ashore for the squadron.

11 Mar 1945: A detachment of eight aircraft was

deployed to Puerto Princessa, Palawan Islands. Tender

support upon arrival was provided by Pocomoke (AV

9). The detachment remained until 22 April 1945,

when it was deployed again to Lingayen Gulf, with

tender support provided by Tangier (AV 8). The detachment

of four aircraft remaining at Jinamoc rejoined

the squadron at Lingayen Gulf on 27 April 1945.

7 Jun 1945: VPB-17 deployed a detachment to Tawi

Tawi, Sulu, Philippines. This group was joined by

three additional aircraft on 14 June.

15 Jun 1945: The rest of VPB-17 remained in

Lingayen Gulf at Port Sual, Philippines, still aboard

Tangier (AV 8). Night searches and attack patrols

were conducted from this location against enemy positions

and ships until 30 June, when the remainder of

the squadron rejoined the detachment at Lingayen.

The reunited squadron was relocated aboard Currituck (AV 7).

2 Jul 1945: Eleven squadron aircraft were deployed

back to Tawi Tawi, aboard Pocomoke (AV 9). Patrols

were conducted over Balikpapan, Borneo, and


14 Sep 1945: VPB-17 was relocated to Jinsen,

Korea, operating from the tender Currituck (AV 7).

While at this location the squadron operated with the

7th Fleet for duty with the Allied occupation of Korea

and the China coast. On the 19th, part of the squadron

was ordered to move to Lungwha Airdrome on the

Whangpo River, where it was joined by the remainder

of the squadron after Currituck arrived on 24

September 1945.

29 Sep 1945: VPB-17 was deployed to Taku.

Currituck (AV 7) and the squadron staff departed, leaving

half the squadron at Shanghai and the other half

based temporarily aboard Barataria (AVP 33). The

squadron was reunited at the end of the month at Taku.

30 Jan 1946: VPB-17 was disestablished at NAS San

Diego, Calif.


Home Port Assignments


Location Date of Assignment

NAS Norfolk, Va. 3 Jun 1944

NAS Harvey Point, N.C. 11 Jan 1944

NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii 18 May 1944

NAS San Diego, Calif. Jan 1946


Commanding Officers


Date Assumed Command

LCDR Kenneth A. Kuehner 3 Jan 1944

LCDR Leeds D. Cutter 21 Jun 1945


Aircraft Assignment


Type of Aircraft Date Type First Received

PBM-3D Jan 1944


Major Overseas Deployments


Date of Date of Base of Type of Area of

Departure Return Wing Operations Aircraft Operations

18 May 1944 * FAW-2 Kaneohe PBM-3D WestPac

3 Sep 1944 * FAW-1 Eniwetok PBM-3D SoPac

Casco (AVP 12)

11 Sep 1944 * FAW-1 Saipan PBM-3D SoPac

Hamlin (AV 15)

9 Oct 1944 * FAW-1 Ulithi PBM-3D SoPac

Onslow (AVP 48)  Hamlin (AV 15)

24 Dec 1944 * FAW-1 Saipan PBM-3D SoPac

21 Jan 1945 * FAW-1 Palau PBM-3D SoPac

Kenneth Whiting (AV 14)

5 Feb 1945 * FAW-1 Ulithi PBM-3D SoPac

Chandeleur (AV 10)

12 Feb 1945 * ComAir7thFlt San Pedro PBM-3D SoPac

Orca (AVP 49)

San Pablo (AVP 30)

12 Feb 1945 * ComAir7thFlt Lingayen PBM-3D SoPac

Currituck (AV 7)

11 Mar 1945 * ComAir7thFlt Puerto Prin. PBM-3D SoPac

Pocomoke (AV 9)

22 Apr 1945 * ComAir7thFlt Lingayen PBM-3D SoPac

Tangier (AV 8)

7 Jun 1945 * ComAir7thFlt Tawi Tawi PBM-3D SoPac

30 Jun 1945 * ComAir7thFlt Lingayen PBM-3D SoPac

Currituck (AV 7)

2 Jul 1945 14 Sep 1945 ComAir7thFlt Tawi Tawi PBM-3D SoPac

Pocomoke (AV 9)

14 Sep 1945 29 Sep 1945 ComAir7thFlt Jinsen PBM-3D SoPac

Currituck (AV 7)

29 Sep 1945 Jan 1946 ComAir7thFlt Taku PBM-3D SoPac

Currituck (AV 7)


Wing Assignments


Wing Tail Code Assignment Date

FAW-5 3 Jan 1944

FAW-2 18 May 1944

FAW-1 11 Sep 1944

ComAir7thFlt 12 Feb 1945

FAW-14 30 Jan 1946


Unit Awards Received


Unit Award Inclusive Date Covering Unit Award


None on record.



Third VP-17




Established as Reserve Patrol Squadron NINE HUNDRED

SIXTEEN (VP-916) on 1 July 1946.

Redesignated Medium Patron SIXTY SIX (VP-ML-66)

on 15 November 1946.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron SEVEN HUNDRED

SEVENTY TWO (VP-772) in February 1950.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VP-17) on

4 February 1953, the third squadron to be assigned the

VP-17 designation.

Redesignated Heavy Attack Mining Squadron TEN

(VA-HM-10) on 1 July 1956.

Redesignated Patrol Squadron SEVENTEEN (VP-17)

on 1 July 1959.

Disestablished on 31 March 1995.



Squadron Insignia and Nickname


The first insignia was submitted by the squadron for

approval shortly after VP-916 had been redesignated

VP-ML-66. It was approved by CNO on 25 September

1947. The design was circular with an Indian chief central,

carrying a large bomb under his arm. The Indian’s left

hand was raised over his eyes as if seeking the enemy. The

subject of the design, the American Indian, was symbolic

of the tactical mission of the squadron, “ . . . scouting and

search with ordnance participation.” The squadron designation

was inscribed inside the design below the Indian. Colors:

 Indian, red brown flesh; tan leggings; dark brown moccasins;

white feather headdress; rising sun, yellow with purple rays;

bomb, blue with white stripes; squadron letters, brown. A

photo copy of this design was not available in the squadron




The squadron’s second insignia was

a cartoon designed eagle.

The squadron’s third insignia kept

the eagle theme but dropped the cartoon





The second squadron insignia was approved by

CNO on 11 April 1951, shortly after VP-ML-66 had

been redesignated VP-772. The American Indian was

replaced with a nautical-looking eagle wearing a petty

officer third class uniform. The bomb was under the

eagle’s left wing pointing to a submarine periscope.

The eagle, perched on the periscope, was giving a big

wink with the left eye. The insignia was based on one

of the primary missions for the squadron, antisubmarine

warfare. The white-hat eagle represents an aircraft

that had made contact with a submarine and was prepared

to release a bomb to complete the mission.

Colors: eagle, tan; beak, yellow; suit, blue; hat, white;

bomb, yellow; periscope, black; water, blue; border,

red; background, white.



A third insignia was submitted to CNO for approval

after VP-772 was redesignated VP-17. CNO approved

the design with minor changes on 11 May 1955. The

insignia featured an eagle with raised wings, clutching

a submarine in one claw and a bomb in the other. Three

small white lightning bolts were highlighted on the

wings and a large lightning bolt slanted downward between

the upthrust wings. The new squadron designation, Patron

Seventeen was enclosed in a scroll at the bottom of the design.

The significance of the eagle was unchanged, with the

bomb and submarine symbolizing the squadron’s primary

assignment of ASW. Colors: eagle, brown body with white head;

eyes and tongue, red; beak and claws, yellow; bomb,

black; submarine, gray with black trim outline; sea,

blue; small lightning bolts, white; large lightning bolt,

yellow; background, white; trim around patch and

scroll, red; letters of squadron designation, yellow.


The fourth squadron insignia of VP-17 was approved

by CNO on 22 December 1989. The new design

featured a surface vessel and a submarine, joined




The fourth insignia

dropped the eagle theme

and more accurately represented

the squadron’s mission of

 antisubmarine and antisurface





overhead by two white lightning bolts. The top of the

design was a rainbow. The two vessels typify the dual

mission of the patrol squadrons of antiship and antisubmarine

warfare. The rainbow symbolized the squadron’s affiliation

with the “Rainbow Fleet” of PatWing-2 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii.

Colors: rainbow, red, yellow, green and blue; lightning bolts, white;

surface ship, gray; submarine, black; sea, bluegreen; border of design,

blue; letters of squadron at bottom, white on background of light blue.



The fifth and final insignia of the squadron was a

return to the third, more historic version originally approved

after the squadron became VP-17 in 1953. The

design and colors remained essentially unchanged

from the earlier version. The request for the reversion

to the earlier design was approved by CNO on 26

March 1993.

Nickname: White Lightnings, 1959–1995.






The squadron’s fifth insignia

reverted back to

the third insignia design.







Chronology of Significant Events


May 1946: VP-916 was established at NAS Los

Alamitos, Calif. The squadron came under the operational

control of FAW-4 and administrative control by

Naval Air Reserve Training (NARTU). It was another of

the 21 naval reserve squadrons established after the

war to accommodate the large number of aircrews recently

released from active duty and utilize the enormous

stocks of aircraft on the inventory. The squadron

flew the Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon and the amphibious

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina.

15 Nov 1946: All patrol squadrons were redesignated.

Regular Navy patrol squadron designation numbers

began with 1 and reserve squadron numbers

began with 5. VP-916 was redesignated VP-ML-66. The

ML designation, medium patrol squadrons, included

twin-engine medium amphibious seaplanes, as well as

twin-engine land-based bombers. Regular Navy patrol

squadrons with the ML designation were for twin-engine

medium land-based bombers only. The amphibious

medium seaplanes like the PBY-5A used the AM,

amphibian designation for regular Navy squadrons.

Feb 1950: VP-ML-66 was redesignated VP-772 during

the reorganization of Naval Aviation reserve units

in 1949, but the change did not take effect until

February 1950. During this period the number of

Naval Aviation reserve squadrons was reduced from

the 1949 total of 24 to 9.


A squadron P4Y-2 (PB4Y-2) in flight



1 Sep 1950: VP-772 was called to active duty by the

president for service during the Korean War. The

squadron relocated from its home base at Los

Alamitos, Calif., to NAS Whidbey Island, Wash.

Aircrews were given transition training for conversion

to the Consolidated P4Y-2/2S (a redesignated PB4Y-2)

Privateer. The 2S version of this aircraft featured surface

search radar. A brief lull occurred in the intensive

training cycle when the squadron paid a visit to the

fighting French in Saigon. The squadron left several

Privateers for use by the French in the Indochina war.

1–31 Jan 1951: VP-772 deployed to Iwakuni, Japan,

where VP-772 became the first activated naval reserve

squadron to participate in the Korean conflict. On 31

January 1951, the squadron began combat operations

from NAS Atsugi, Japan, flying missions over Korea,

the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the Tsushima


Jun–Aug 1951: From 12 June through the end of

August several of the squadron’s aircraft were detached

in two-aircraft elements for operations with the

night attack aircraft of the 1st Marine Air Wing at K-1

Pusan, South Korea. The detachment provided direct

support for ground operations by dropping MK-6

flares at night to provide illumination for USMC

ground attack aircraft. Although initially an experiment,

the operations proved so successful they were

continued by other similarly equipped patrol


1 Jan–Feb 1953: VP-772 deployed to NAS Barbers

Point, Hawaii, in preparation for duty in the Korean

combat zone. On 1 February 1953, the squadron

began combat operations from Iwakuni, Japan, flying

missions over the Sea of Japan, Tsushima Straits and

the Yellow Sea. The squadron was the last to fly the

P4Y-2/2S in combat. No losses in personnel or equipment

were incurred in 435 combat missions.

4 Feb 1953: VP-772 was augmented into the regular

Navy and redesignated VP-17. Toward the end of the

Korean War the decision was made to augment all of

the nine reserve patrol squadrons activated during the

1950 to 1951 time period as part of the regular Navy.

The redesignations did not require changes in tail

codes or home bases.

1 Aug 1953: The squadron returned from its Korean

deployment to a new home base at NAS Whidbey

Island. Immediately upon return, the squadron began

conversion to the Lockheed P2V-6 Neptune. VP-17 was

the last West Coast patrol squadron to fly the P4Y-2.

Apr 1956: VP-17 deployed to Naha, Okinawa.

During this deployment the squadron was redesignated

VP(HM)-10 on 1 July 1956, one of only two

such squadrons in the Navy. VP(HM)-10 was the only

Heavy Attack Mining squadron on the West Coast.

Shortly after its return from Okinawa, the aircrews

began transition training to the P2V-6M, which was

configured for firing the Petrel air-to-surface turbojet


Apr 1957: The squadron’s P2V-6M aircraft were

transferred to the reserves and replaced with P2V-5Fs.

Transition training commenced immediately in preparation

for the pending WestPac deployment.

19 Aug 1960: The squadron deployed to NAS

Kodiak, assisting the Navy Hydrographic Office in

compiling information on the Arctic Ocean and conducting

ASW training in an adverse weather operational


20 Oct 1961: VP-17 deployed to NAS Kodiak,

Alaska, with a detachment at Adak. During this period

the squadron participated in tests of the Regulus missile

with Grayback (SS 208).

9 Jan–May 1963: VP-17 returned to NAS Kodiak,

Alaska, for joint exercises with Sea Frontier forces and

the Canadian Maritime Air Command. On 10 January

1963, the squadron incurred it first aircraft accident in

over eight years. A squadron SP-2H crashed into a

mountainside while attempting a wave-off at Kodiak.

Five of the crew survived but seven lives were lost. In

May 1963, the squadron was called upon to assist in

breaking up an ice jam in the Yukon and Kuskokwim

Rivers which was causing a great deal of flooding.

Several planes were sent to bomb the jam with 500-

pound bombs.

27 Apr–Aug 1964: VP-17 relieved VP-6 at NAF

Naha, Okinawa. In August the squadron provided

ASW coverage for the task groups moving into the

South China Sea after the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis.

Dec 1964: The squadron began rotations of threeaircraft

detachments to Kodiak, Alaska. In that same

month, Detachment 2 assisted the Army Corps of

Engineers in breaking up ice jams on the Klatina and

Copper rivers during subzero weather conditions.

Mar 1965: VP-17 received a new look. A white

lightning bolt on a blue background was painted on

top of the vertical fin and propeller spinner domes on

all squadron aircraft.

9 Jul 1965: The squadron deployed to MCAS

Iwakuni, Japan, maintaining a detachment at NAF Tan

Son Nhut. The deployment marked the first deployment

of the squadron to a combat zone since the

Korean Conflict.











 A squadron SP-2H in flight, 1966.


15 Sep–Dec 1966: VP-17 deployed to MCAS

Iwakuni, Japan, for two and one-half months’ of duty

in support of operations interdicting gun runners off

South Vietnam coastal waters. On 5 December 1966,

the squadron relocated from Iwakuni to Sangley Point,

R.P., with a detachment at Tan Son Nhut airfield, South

Vietnam, for support of Market Time missions with the

Seventh Fleet. VP-17 was relieved at Sangley Point,

R.P., by VP-42.

9 Nov 1967–Mar 1968: VP-17 deployed to NS

Sangley Point, R.P., with a detachment in Cam Ranh

Bay, South Vietnam. Following the seizure of the intelligence

ship Pueblo (AGER 2) by the North Koreans,

VP-17 participated in a mission from 14 January to 11

February 1968 to provide an ASW patrol net for elements

of the Seventh Fleet in the Sea of Japan. On 4

March 1968, a Vietcong unit mortared the detachment

at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base. One squadron aircraft was

heavily damaged, but no VP-17 personnel were injured.

The squadron was relieved at the end of its tour

by VP-50.

19 Jul 1969: VP-17 deployed to MCAS Iwakuni,

Japan, relieving VP-1. During the deployment

squadron detachments flew from bases at NAS Atsugi,

Japan; Misawa AFB, Japan; NAS Agana, Guam; NS

Sangley Point, R.P.; NAF Cam Ranh Bay, RVN; and UTapao

AFB, Thailand. The squadron was relieved by


3 Aug 1970: A squadron P-3A, ZE-06, BuNo.

152159, exploded in flight after takeoff from Nellis

AFB, Calif. The plane crashed near Searchlight,

Nev., with 10 crew members aboard. There were

no survivors. The cause of the accident was never


24 Oct 1970: VP-17 deployed to NS Sangley Point,

R.P., under the operational control of FAW-10 and TU

72.3.2. Detachments were maintained at U-Tapao,

Thailand and Taipei, Taiwan. Ninety-three Market

Time patrols were flown along the coast of South

Vietnam. The squadron was relieved by VP-48.

13 Jan–Aug 1972: The squadron deployed to NAF

Naha, Okinawa, with a detachment maintained at NAS

Cubi Point, R.P., from 9 April through 23 April.

Numerous Market Time patrols were flown during the


19 Apr–2 Oct 1973: The squadron deployed to

NAS Cubi Point, R.P. On 2 October 1973, VP-17 flew

the final Market Time combat support patrol, which

marked the end of over 10 years of daily surveillance

flights by patrol squadrons in the South China Sea during

the Vietnam conflict.











 A squadron P-3B flying over Brewton (DE 1086) during an antisubmarine exercise, 1974.



10 Dec 1974: VP-17 became the last patrol

squadron to deploy to Naha Air Base, Okinawa.

29 Apr 1975: VP-17 provided operational support

in Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of

Americans from Saigon, South Vietnam.

May 1975: The squadron became the first patrol

squadron to operate from the newly constructed facilities

at Kadena Air Base, Koza, Okinawa. Their relocation

to the new base took less than two weeks without disruption

to the squadron’s operational mission. During

the deployment the squadron conducted operations

throughout the western Pacific, the South China Sea and

the Indian Ocean. These operations included surveillance

patrols for Vietnam refugees and support in the recapture

of the hijacked merchant ship SS Mayaguez. On

12 May 1975, elements of the Khmer Rouge seized the

cargo ship Mayaguez in international waters. One VP-17

aircraft suffered slight damage from enemy fire during

the successful action to rescue the crew.

12 Jul 1976: A VP-17 P-3 aircraft visiting Nairobi

demonstrated U.S. friendly ties and support for Kenya

during her crisis with Uganda. Ranger (CV 61) and her

escort ships of Task Force 77.7 operated off the coast

of Kenya to deter military operations by Uganda

against Kenya.

Mar 1977: Three aircraft and four aircrews deployed

to NAF Midway Island to participate in Pony

Express operations in conjunction with the U.S. Air

Force, an intelligence gathering operation on Soviet

missile launches.

May 1990: During deployment to Adak, Alaska, the

White Lightnings sent a detachment on a SAR mission

to locate a stranded Norwegian expedition at the

North Pole. After locating the group, food and medical

supplies were dropped.

Aug 1990: VP-17 deployed detachments to Panama

to take part in drug interdiction operations called

Operations 90-43 and 90-46.

10 May 1991: VP-17 deployed to NAF Diego

Garcia, B.I.O.T., with a detachment at NAF Kadena,

Okinawa, and Masirah, Oman, to support UN maritime

sanctions against Iraq following Operation Desert


Jun–Nov 1993: The squadron began to transition

from the P-3C UI Orion to the P-3C UIII. During the

squadron’s September to November drug interdiction

deployment to Panama, the squadron’s acoustic operators

were given ample opportunity to test their new

equipment on the P-3CUIII.

31 Mar 1995: VP-17 was disestablished after compiling

a record of 24 years and 161,000 mishap-free

flight hours.


Home Port Assignments


Location Date of Assignment

NAS Los Alamitos, Calif. May 1946

NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. 1 Sep 1950

NAS Seattle, Wash. 3 Aug 1951

NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. 1 Aug 1953

NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii 1 Dec 1968


Commanding Officers


Date Assumed Command

CDR Richard Gilman 1946

Unknown 1948–1950

LCDR Donald D. Nittinger 1950

LCDR James F. Hayward 9 Jun 1952

CDR Robert L. Dahllof 11 Aug 1952

CDR F. W. Snyder Jul 1953

CDR A. A. Allemand Jan 1955

CDR E. L. Plowman Aug 1956

CDR J. P. Wheatley 19 Apr 1958

CDR R. Larson 24 Apr 1959

CDR C. B. McKinney 29 Apr 1960

CDR W. J. Pressler, Jr. 21 Apr 1961

CDR D. E. McKinley Apr 1962

CDR W. O. McLean 18 Feb 1963

CDR Robert H. Lenson 3 Feb 1964

CDR Robert J. Sadler 10 Dec 1964

CDR Leland A. Holdren 5 Aug 1965

CDR Milton O. Paul 14 Dec 1966

CDR Don L. Wuethrich 13 Dec 1967

CDR C. R. Behnken Sep 1968

CDR Robert E. May 21 Nov 1969

CDR John M. Quin 4 Dec 1970

CDR Harley L. Stuntz III 3 Dec 1971

CDR Willaim H. Ketchum 8 Dec 1972

CDR Godfrey A. Rettig 10 Jan 1974

CDR Earl T. Maurer 8 Nov 1974

CDR Russell K. Schulz 12 Dec 1975

CDR John C. Murphy 15 Dec 1976

CDR Robert S. Richmond 16 Dec 1977

CDR Ronald W. Martin 3 Nov 1978

CDR Gene M. Bowman 16 Nov 1979

CDR Richard P. Munro 16 Nov 1980

CDR Francis J. Ferry Dec 1981

CDR Dunbar Lawson, Jr. 30 Nov 1982

CDR Thomas T. Verhoef 10 Mar 1984

CDR Richard McAdoo 14 Jun 1985

CDR Robert White 23 Jun 1986

CDR Daniel L. Baas 17 Jul 1987

CDR Hugh N. McWilliams 15 Jul 1988

CDR John E. Fink 6 Jul 1989

CDR Charles A. Jedlicka 18 Jul 1990

CDR Gerald K. Stair 30 Jul 1991

CDR James J. O’Rourke 29 Jul 1992

CDR George G. Brown 14 Jul 1993

CDR Robert J. Quinn 10 Jun 1994


Aircraft Assignment


Type of Aircraft Date Type First Received

PV-2/PBY-5A May 1946

P4Y-2/2S 1949

P2V-6 Aug 1953

P2V-6M Sep 1956

P2V-5F Apr 1957

P2V-7S (SP-2H) Dec 1959

P2V-7 Dec 1960

P-3A Dec 1968

P-3A DIFAR Sep 1972

P-3B TAC/NAV MOD Jun 1978

P-3C (MOD) Jan 1986

P-3C UI Nov 1990

P-3C UIIR Jun 1993


Major Overseas Deployments


Date of Date of Base of Type of Area of

Departure Return Wing Operations Aircraft Operations

Oct 1950 Oct 1950 FAW-4 Saigon P4Y-2S WestPac

1 Jan 1951* 3 Aug 1951 FAW-6 Atsugi P4Y-2S WestPac

12 Jun 1951* 3 Aug 1951 FAW-6 Pusan P4Y-2S WestPac

1 Jan 1953 10 Feb 1953 FAW-2 Barbers Pt. P4Y-2S WestPac

Feb 1953 1 Aug 1953 FAW-6 Iwakuni P4Y-2S WestPac

Sep 1954 May 1955 FAW-6 Iwakuni P2V-6 WestPac

Apr 1956 Sep 1956 FAW-1 Naha P2V-6 WestPac

1 Sep 1957 11 Mar 1958 FAW-6 Iwakuni P2V-5F WestPac

18 May 1959 20 Nov 1959 FAW-4 Kodiak P2V-5F NorPac

19 Aug 1960 16 Dec 1960 FAW-4 Kodiak P2V-5F NorPac

20 Oct 1961 16 Mar 1962 FAW-4 Kodiak P2V-5F NorPac

9 Jan 1963 15 Jun 1963 FAW-4 Kodiak SP-2H NorPac

27 Apr 1964 1 Oct 1964 FAW-1 Naha SP-2H WestPac

9 Jul 1965* 1 Feb 1966 FAW-6 Iwakuni SP-2H WestPac

9 Jul 1965* 1 Feb 1966 FAW-8 Tan Son Nhut SP-2H WestPac

15 Sep 1966 5 Dec 1966 FAW-6 Iwakuni SP-2H WestPac

5 Dec 1966* 1 Apr 1967 FAW-8 Sangley Pt. SP-2H WestPac

5 Dec 1966* 1 Apr 1967 FAW-8 Tan Son Nhut SP-2H WestPac

9 Nov 1967* 29 Apr 1968 FAW-8 Sangley Pt. SP-2H WestPac *

9 Nov 1967* 29 Apr 1968 FAW-8 Cam Rahn B. SP-2H WestPac

19 Jul 1969 20 Jan 1970 FAW-6 Iwakuni P-3A WestPac

24 Oct 1970* 29 Apr 1971 FAW-8 Sangley Pt. P-3A WestPac

29 Oct 1970* 29 Apr 1971 FAW-8 U-Tapao P-3A WestPac

24 Oct 1970* 29 Apr 1971 FAW-8 Taipei P-3A WestPac

13 Jan 1972 1 Aug 1972 FAW-1 Naha P-3A WestPac

19 Apr 1973 1 Nov 1973 PatWing-1 Cubi Point P-3 DIFAR WestPac

10 Dec 1974 10 Jun 1975 PatWing-1 Naha P-3 DIFAR WestPac

2 May 1976 10 Nov 1976 PatWing-1 Cubi Point P-3 DIFAR WestPac

Mar 1977* Dec 1977 PatWing-1 Midway P-3 DIFAR WestPac

Jul 1977* Dec 1977 PatWing-1 Agana P-3 DIFAR WestPac

15 Nov 1978 30 May 1979 PatWing-1 Cubi Point P-3B MOD WestPac

9 Jan 1980* 10 Jun 1980 PatWing-1 Agana P-3B MOD WestPac

8 May 1980* 10 Jul 1980 PatWing-2 Barbers Pt. P-3B MOD NorPac

10 May 1981 10 Nov 1981 PatWing-1 Cubi Point P-3B MOD WestPac

5 Aug 1982 1 Feb 1983 PatWing-1 Agana P-3B MOD WestPac

1 Feb 1983 22 Apr 1983 PatWing-10 Adak P-3B MOD NorPac

1 Nov 1983 May 1984 PatWing-1 Cubi Point P-3B MOD WestPac

10 May 1985 10 Nov 1985 PatWing-1 Cubi Point P-3B MOD WestPac

4 Dec 1986 10 Jun 1987 PatWing-10 Adak P-3C (MOD) NorPac

10 May 1988 10 Nov 1988 PatWing-1 Cubi Point P-3C (MOD) WestPac

10 Dec 1989 10 Jun 1990 PatWing-10 Adak P-3C (MOD) NorPac

Aug 1990 Aug 1990 PatWing-2 Panama P-3C (MOD) Carib

10 May 1991 10 Nov 1991 PatWing-1 Diego Garcia P-3C UI IO

1 Nov 1992 15 May 1993 PatWing-1 Misawa P-3C UI WestPac

Sep 1993 Nov 1993 PatWing-2 Panama P-3C UIIIR Carib

5 May 1994 10 Nov 1994 PatWing-1 Diego Garcia P-3C UIIIR IO

* The squadron conducted split deployment to two sites during the same dates.



Wing Assignments


Wing Tail Code Assignment Date

FAW-4 BH†/ZE‡ May 1946

FAW-2/PatWing-2§ ZE 1 Dec 1968


† The squadron was assigned the tail code BH when it was called to

active duty on 1 September 1950.

‡ The squadron’s tail code was changed from BH to ZE in 1957. The

effective date for this change was most likely the beginning of FY

1958 (1 July 1957).

§ FAW-2 was redesignated Patrol Wing 2 (PatWing-2) 30 June 1973.



Unit Awards Received


Unit Award Inclusive Date Covering Unit Award

NUC 1 Jan 1967 31 Mar 1968

MUC 1 Nov 1970 20 Apr 1971

17 Nov 1970 22 Nov 1970

2 Mar 1972 15 Dec 1972

8 Dec 1981 8 Jan 1982

(Det) Spring 1970

(Element) 22 Apr 1975 7 May 1975

12 May 1975 16 May 1975

RVNGC 8 Mar 1965 25 May 1967

1 Aug 1969 30 Sep 1969

2 Nov 1969 31 Jan 1970

3 Sep 1970 21 Nov 1970

VNSM 28 Sep 1966 1 Mar 1967

9 Nov 1967 29 Apr 1968

(Det) 13 Jul 1965 3 Oct 1965

NEM 8 Dec 1978 6 Jun 1979

21 Nov 1979 10 Jun 1980

10 May 1981 20 Oct 1981

AFEM 4 Aug 1964 1 Oct 1964

1 Oct 1966 6 Dec 1966

1 Jan 1968 28 Feb 1968

(Element) 29 Apr 1975 30 Apr 1975

NAVE 1 Jul 1974 1 Apr 1976

KSM 1 Feb 1951 3 Aug 1951

HSM (Crew 17) 6 Aug 1981

(Element) 29 Apr 1975 30 Apr 1975


















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