Formal History


The following was taken from the Naval Historical Web Site. There were found to be several errors in the information presented. Those errors that were found were corrected. There may be further errors in the information presented that have not been found. Please send your corrections to Fred Schuster, Association Historian.

In a Nutshell

30 July 1943: Established as Bombing Squadron ONE HUNDRED ELEVEN (VB-111).
1 October 1944: Re-designated Patrol Bombing Squadron ONE HUNDRED ELEVEN (VPB-111).
15 May 1946: Re-designated Patrol Squadron ONE HUNDRED ELEVEN (VP-111).
15 November 1946: Re-designated Heavy Patrol Squadron (Land Plane) ELEVEN (VP-HL-11).
1 September 1948: Re-designated Patrol Squadron TWENTY ONE (VP-21), the fifth squadron to be assigned the VP designation.
21 November 1969: Disestablished.

VPB-111 (December 1944 to August 1945)

Commanding officers:
Commander James V. Barry (January 1944 to April 1945);
Lieutenant Commander Gordon R. Egbert (April 1945).
Based at (Tinian (December 1944);
Morotai ( January to February 1945);
Tacloban (February to April 1945);
Palawan (April to August 1945).

VPB-111 started as a European-based PB4Y-1 squadron. During it’s second tour of duty in the Pacific, the squadron flew PB4Y-1s and -2s.

VP-21 Squadron Insignia and Nickname

The squadron’s first insignia on record was not submitted to CNO for approval until after WWII when it was designated VP-HL-11. The design approved by CNO on 19 February1948, was that of an elephant centered in a circular design overlaid on an anchor. The elephant held a depth bomb in its trunk, a searchlight around its neck, wings on its back and a gun turret on top of its back. The elephant was apparently a common theme of the period, featured in insjgnia used earlier by both VPB-52 and 101. The “elephant” of VP-HL-11 was the Navy’s largest land-based bomber, the PB4Y-2 Privateer. It was utilized in an ASW role and equipped with searchlights for night attacks against surfaced submarines. Colors: elephant: gray’ black and white; wings: yellow turret: blackclouds: white; sky: blue; searchlight: yellow; anchor: blue and whIte. V P-HL-11 and VP-21 used the Insignia through 1952.

The squadron’s second insignia was submitted in 1953 and approved by, CNO on 10 March 1953. The motif of the design was the ‘Truculent Turtle, named after the P2V1 flown by Commander Thomas D. Davies on a record-breaking flight on 29 September 1946, from Perth, Australia, to Columbus, Ohio. The turtle was rampant in a cloud-filled night sky, searching out the adversary with a lantern in his right hand (corresponding to the searchlight on the starboard wing tip of the P2V-6), and ready to attack with a rocket carried in his left hand. In the background was a parachute mine
symbolic of the squadron’s primary mission in sea and air warfare. Colors: turtle, light green body, yellow eyes, dark green shell, lamp: black frame; lantern, light yellow; missile, red; cloud, gray; sky, blue; mine, black with white parachute; insignia border, black.

The squadron’s third insignia was approved by CNO on 17 August 1959. It was a circular patch with VP-21 at the bottom. In the patch were two playing cards, an ace of spades and a jack of spades. The squadron derived its nickname from the latter card, the “Black Jacks.” The squadron insignia was changed when it’s primary mission was changed from aerial mine warfare to anti-submarine warfare. Colors: playing cards, black and white; background red; squadron logo, black with white letters; border, black.

Chronology of Significant Events

30 July 1943: VB-111 was established at NAS Norfolk, Va. Half of the personnel from VP-201 formed the cadre of the new squadron. The next day a new commanding officer was designated and all personnel began relocating to NAS Oceana, Va., for training in the Consolidated PB4 Y-1 Liberator patrol bomber. Operational control of the squadron came under FAW-5.
15 August 1943: Six crews were sent to San Diego, California to pick up half of the squadron’s allotment of aircraft. After their arrival the crews completed their familiarization training using auxiliary fields at Chincoteague, Va., and Cherry Point, N.C.
1 October 1943: The squadron received its orders to deploy to St. Eval. England under the operational control of FAW -7.
4 November 1943: VPB-111 transferred to Port Lyautey, French Morocco, under the operational control of FAW-15, to guard the western approaches to Gibraltar.
8 February 1944: The squadron had its first contact with the enemy on this date, carrying out one attack on a German U-boat. Postwar records indicate no enemy losses on that date.
2 March 1944: Over a period of four months, sections of three aircraft at a time were transferred back to S1.Eval, England,
under the operational control of FAW-7.
By 13 July 1944, the entire squadron was gathered at St. Eval in preparation for its return to NAS Quonset Point, R.I.
14July1944: The first section of three aircraft departed England for the U.S., arriving on the 19th. The last section arrived at NAS Quonset Point on 23 July 1944. The squadron began a training program that was conducted through 19 August 1944.
20 August 1944: The first section of VB-111 aircraft began the transit across the U.S. to the West Coast, with the last section arriving at NAS Camp Kearney, Calif. on the 22d. The squadron came under the operational control of FAW-14. A brief period of training for South Pacific operations was undertaken through the end of September.
24 September 1944: VB-Ill personnel (13 officers and 102 enlisted) boarded Makassar Strait (CVE 91) for transportation to NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii. Aircrews began the TransPac on 1 October 1944, with the last section arriving on 5 October 1944.
29 November 1944: VPB-111 was given combat indoctrination training under operational control of FAW-2
through the end of November. On the 29th. the squadron received orders to transfer to the combat zone at NAB West Field, Tinian. The last section of aircraft arrived on 1 December 1944, and the squadron came under the operational control of FAW-1. Strategic long-range searches were conducted from that location through the middle of January 1945.
5 January 1945: Two squadron PB4Y11s, flown by Lieutenant Howard E. Sires and Franklin B. Emerson, spotted and attacked a midget submarine two miles southwest of Chichi Jima. The submarine was sunk using 250 pound G.P. bombs and strafing with 50-caliber guns.
15 January 1945: The squadron and its headquarters were relocated to NAB Morotai under the operational control of FAW-17, with a detachment of four aircraft at Tacioban Air Base, Leyte. Philippines, under FAW 10. Long-range reconnaissance missions and anti-shipping patrols were carried out from both locations.
1 February 1945: VPB- 111 began transferring personnel and assets to the Tacloban Air Base from Morotai. By 6 February 1945, the entire squadron had been relocated, with a detachment of four crews at McGuire Field, Mindoro. Long-range reconnaissance missions and anti-shipping patrols were carried out from both locations.
17 March 1945: The Mindoro detachment rejoined the squadron at Tacloban to prepare for the upcoming invasion of Okinawa. Interdiction cover patrols for TF 58 en route to Okinawa began on 21 March 1945.
11 April 1945: VPB-lll relocated to Palawan Army Air Field. On 1 May 1945, the squadron received several new PB4Y-2 Privateers as replacements for its worn-out PB4Y11s. With its new and refurbished complement of aircraft, the squadron commenced a series of daytime strikes on targets along the Borneo and Malaya coasts. On one such mission against the enemy installations at Singapore, two squadron Privateers were teamed up for an attack. One of the aircraft was badly damaged during its bombing run. and the second, flown by Lieutenant (JG) Romayn F. Heyler. flew through heavy enemy fire to protect its withdrawal from the area. During the escape from the target area a squadron of enemy fighters attacked the Privateers. Lieutenant (JG) Heyler’s crew managed to shoot down one fighter and damage several others while escorting their squadron mates safely back to base. For his heroic actions while protecting his comrades Lieutenant (JG) Heyler was later awarded the Navy Cross.
7 July 1945: A detachment of five aircraft was sent to Mindoro, Philippines. for a two-week tour of duty, returning to Palawan on 20 July.
27 October 1945: After a brief period of stand down for maintenance, the squadron began the transit back to NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii, and from there to the u.S.
24 November 1945: VPB-lll concluded its transit from the South Pacific to NAS New York, where crews were given leave. Over the next three months many of the wartime personnel were discharged from military service to civilian status.
1 March 1946: VPB-111 began a period of postwar reforming and retraining of new crews at NAS New York.
June 1946: The squadron was designated an Atlantic Fleet Antisubmarine Warfare Squadron.
3 January 1949: VP-21 deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for training. One squadron aircraft crashed at Patuxent River, Md., killing two crewmen.
28 June 1950: The squadron received its first P4M-1. VP-21 was selected to be one of the few Navy patrol squadrons to fly the new Mercator.
15 July 1951 Thru 22 July 1952: The entire squadron went on a 6500
mile flight. Stops at Pensacola, San Diego, Alameda (a formation flight of the entire squadron), Seattle and return to Pax. River. All aircraft completed the 6500 mile flight with only minor problems.
21 October 1952: The squadron gave a demonstration of the P4M-l’s capabilities to CNO and BuAer officials, which included minelaying to show the bomber’s ability to carry 13,000 pounds of mines in an internal bomb bay.
February 1953: VP-21 replaced its P4M-l Mercators with P2V-6 Neptunes, carrying the latest equipment for minelaying and ASW, a steerable nose wheel and reversible pitch propellers.
May 1954: Home Station was changed ftom NAS Patuxent River, MD, to NAS Brunswick, Maine.
1 August 1958: The squadron’s primary mission was changed from aerial
minelaying to antisubmarine warfare.
8 July 1958: VP-21 deployed to RNAS Halfar, Malta. During the deployment, the squadron participated in the Lebanon Incident from 15 July to 1 October 1958. VP-21 and VP-10 provided ASW coverage to the Sixth Fleet during the crisis.
1 January 1967: Six VP-21 aircraft deployed to Rota, Spain, relieving VP24. On 6 June to 23 June 1967, the Rota detachment deployed four aircraft to Souda Bay, Crete, for advanced base operations during the Arab-Israeli conflict.
21 November 1969: VP-21 was disestablished at NAS Brunswick, Maine.

Bases and Aircraft

Home Port Assignments


Location Date of Assignment
NAS Norfolk, Va. 30 July 1943
NAAS Oceana. Va. 01 August 1943
NAF Port Lyautey. F.M. 04 November 1943
NAS Quonset Point, R.I. 23 July 1944
NAS Kaneohe. Hawaii 05 October 1944
NAB Tinian 01 December 1944
NAB Morotai 15 January 1945
NAB Tacloban, Philippines 01 February 1945
AAF Palawan 11 April 1945
NAS New York, N.Y. 24 November 1945
NAS Atlantic City, N.J. 23 May 1946
NAS Patuxent River. Md. 11 May 1948
NAS Brunswick, Maine 26 May 1954 to 1969

Aircraft Assignment


Type of Aircraft Date Type First Received
PB4Y-1            Aug 1943
PB4Y-2            May 1945
P4M-1            June 1950
P2V-6              Feb 1953
P2 V-5F            Aug 1953
P2V-7S            Dec 1957
The P2V-7S was redesignated SP-2H in 1962.

Aircraft Assignment


Type of Aircraft Date Type First Received
PB4Y-1            Aug 1943
PB4Y-2            May 1945
P4M-1            June 1950
P2V-6              Feb 1953
P2 V-5F            Aug 1953
P2V-7S            Dec 1957
Major Overseas Deployments

Aircraft Assignment

Date Of Departure Date of Return Wing Base of Operations Type of Aircraft Are of Operations
01 October 1943 03 November 1943 FAW-7 St. Eval PB4Y- 1 NorLant
04 November 1943 01 March 1944 FAW- 15 Port Lyautey PB4Y- I Med
02 March 1944 13 July 1944 FAW-7 St. Eval PB4Y- 1 NorLant
24 September 1944 27 October 1945 FAW-2 Kaneohe PB4Y- 1 WestPac
01 December 1944 14 January 1945 FAW-1 Tinian PB4Y-1 SoPac
15 Jan 1945* 05 February 1945 FAW-17 Morotai PB4Y-1 SoPac
15 Jan 1945* 05 February 1945 FAW- 10 Tacloban PB4Y- I SoPac
06 February 1945 10 April 1945 FAW-l0 Mindoro PB4Y-1 SoPac
11 April 1945 27 October 1945 FAW-10 Palawan PB4Y-2 SoPac
28 April 1947 14 May 1947 FAW-5 Argentia PB4Y-2 NorLant
03 January 1949 26 February 1949 FAW-5 Guantanamo PB4Y-2 Carib
21 April 1949 02 August 1949 FAW-5 Argentia PB4Y-2 NorLant
1952 1952 FAW-15 Port Lyautey P4M-1 Med
Jun.1953 Nov. 1953 FAW-5 Malta (Luqa) P2V-6 Med
Jun. 1954 Nov. 1954 FAW-3 Malta (Hal Far) P2V-6 Med
01 August 1955 01 December 1955 FAW-3 Malta P2V-5F Med
08 July 1958 07 December 1958 FAW-3 Malta P2V-7S Med
2 Mar 1960* 01 August 1960 FAW-3 Sigonella P2V-7S Med
2 Mar 1960* 01 August 1960 FAW-3 Keflavik P2V-7S NorLant
04 June 1961 06 November 1961 FAW-3 Argentia P2V-7S NorLant
27 Oct 1962* 26 November 1962 FAW-3 Lajes SP-2H NorLant
27 Oct 1962* 03 December 1962 FAW-3 Argentia SP-2H NorLant
05 January 1963 01 June 1963 FAW-3 Sigonella SP-2H Med
29 April 1963 01 June 1963 FAW-3 Souda Bay SP-2H Med
01 April 1964 01 June 1964 FAW-3 Argentia SP-2H NorLant
01 May 1964 01 June 1964 FAW-3 Guantanamo SP-2H Carib
20 August 1965 01 February 1966 FAW-3 Rota SP-2H Med
20 August 1965 01 February 1966 FAW-3 Keflavik SP-2H NorLant
01 April 1966 18 April 1966 FAW-3 Bermuda SP-2H Lant
1 Jan 1 967 29 June 1967 FAW-3 Rota SP-2H Med
05 June 1967 29 June 1967 FAW-3 Souda Bay SP-2H Med
15 October 1967 15 April 1968 FAW-3 Sigonella SP-2H Med
20 February 1969 26 June 1969 FAW-3 Sigonella SP-2H Med
* The Squadron conducted split deployments to two sites during the same date
Wing Assignments

Aircraft Assignment

Wing Tail Code Assignment Date
FAW-5   01-Aug-43
FAW-7   01-Oct-43
FAW-15   04-Nov-43
FAW-7   02-Mar-44
FAW-5   23-Jul-44
FAW-14   22-Aug-44
FAW-2   05-Oct-44
FAW-1   01-Dec-44


FAW-5 HC Apr-47
FAW-3 HC 26-May-54
  LH 01-Jul-57

The squadron was assigned the tail code H.C. on 7 November 1947. The squadrons tail code was changed from HC. to LH in 1957. The effective date for this change was most likely the beginning of FY 1958 (1 July1957).

Unit Awards Received
Unit A ward Inclusive Date Covering Unit Award
NUC 02-Dec-44 31-Jul-45
AFEM                   24-Oct-62 31-Dec-62