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Note VP-117 NoticeNote

Note NOTICE: "...My Grandfather, John L. Summers Jr., served with VP-117 during WWII. Grandpa was also involved in two mishaps listed (VP-117 - August and November 1944). I am writing a research paper for my senior thesis about the untold stories of the Blue Raiders. If anyone from the Blue Raiders would be willing to be interviewed please contact me. Thanks you. Ashley Reynolds ashleysreynolds@live.com..." [05MAR2009]

Note NOTICE: "...I just received some Navy film showing what appears to be VPB-116 #38800 showing the crew during a high altitude mission and upon landing at Tinian (Black and White with good to excellent quality). Another film, in color, shows VD-1 31996 Calamity Jane warming up and taking off (excellent quality). I would like to collect more film copies from any individuals that served with Navy/Marine PB4Y-1 Liberator and PB4Y-2 Privateer squadrons (VD-1, VD-3, VD-4, VD-5, VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108, VP-109, VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-115, VP-116, VP-117, VP-118, VP-119, VP-120, VP-121, VP-122, VP-123, and VP-124). Thanks. Alan C. Carey acarey@austin.rr.com..." [27OCT2006]

Note NOTICE: "...I have just visited the VPB-117 log. Thank you Mr. Sheldon. As a family member of a crew member of VPB-117 it is of course more meaningful. I have enjoyed the pleasure of meeting some of you at VPB-117 Reunions and hope to be with you all again...Virginia Hixon vhixon@aol.com..." [09OCT2005]

Note NOTICE: "...Looking for LTjg Kenneth Henry. LTjg Henry was shot down in 1944 and survived.. I lost contact with him and I'm looking for him, his wife or children. He was born in Oakland, CA and graduated from Pensacola 1944. I think it was 2/44. Need to find before I go West! Thanks. Lee Stanley LEEANDPITA@aol.com..." [27APR2002]

Note NOTICE: "...Gentlemen: I represent the Stillwater Airport Memorial Museum of Stillwater, Oklahoma. For your information, our airfield was a storage and disposal site for 82 PB4Y-1's, (approximately a third of the total naval inventory of this particular type of aircraft), immediately after World War Two. Please be informed that for over the past eight years I have been writing a book about all of the 475 combat aircraft that were scrapped at Searcy Field. I am in the final stages of preparation of my book. Unfortunately, I'm lacking information and photographs concerning many of the Navy Liberators that were flown to Stillwater including: BUNO/SQUADRON: 31974 VF-4, 31986 VD-3, VMD-254, 32030 VB-103 VPB-105, 32041 VPB-105, 31991 VB-109, 32106 VD-1 VPB-197, VD-3, 32130 VB-109 VPB-121, 32133 VMD-254, 32152 VB-106 VPB-109, 32154 VB-106 VPB-109, 32156 VB-200 VPB-122, 32158 VD-3, 32232 VMD-254, 32311 VD-1, 32314 VD-1 VPB-122, 38970 VPB-103 VPB-114 VPB-117 , 46735 VPB-104 VPB-143, 65303 VB-112, VB-114, 65311 VPB-113, 65313 VPB-113, 65314 VPB-103 VPB-114, 65384 VPB-113, 65392 VPB-114, 65393 VPB-103 VPB-114, 65394 VPB-103 VPB-114, 90132 VPB-103 VPB-114, 90135 VPB-103 VPB-114, 90467 VPB-114, 90468 VPB-114, 90469 VPB-114, 90474 VPB-103 VPB-114. Any assistance you can give my organization will be greatly appreciated! Thank you. Sincerely, John L. Dienst, Curator (Emeritus), Stillwater Regional Airport Museum, 20365 Lorain Road B-7, Fairview Park, Ohio 44126...John L. Dienst Dienst@hotmail.com..." [Home Address updated 03MAR2004 | 13JAN2000]

Note NOTICE: "...Susan ShrtStff44@aol.com would like to find out more about her Dad. All she has is a few pictures. She does know her Dad served in the South Pacific area during WWII. Her father's name was John Bell from Cincinnati Ohio and eventually retired from the Naval Reserve in Alameda in the 60's.

Susan ShrtStff44@aol.com provided some pictures (might be a PB4Y) - maybe someone can identify the type of aircraft and the squadron (you will notice that one picture has the numbers "H939")...Thanks! Nevins

UPDATE "...A lot of people have been in touch regarding the postings I have sent. I am still in touch with my Dad's tail gunner and several times a month people are in touch offering or requesting information. Such fun. Here is a photo of a sign I believe belonged to VP 13 in or near the Philippines probably taken March-June 1944. It lists Rio De Janeiro 8590 New York 6720 Manila 48? Midway 1150 Tahiti 2731 Toyoko 3450 Los Angeles ---ravlosk 358? 10,530? Shanghai San Francisco and London are about all I can make out. VP-13..." Susan ShrtStff44@aol.com [04MAR2001]

UPDATE Unknown ThumbnailCamera "...I just received a letter from George Head (daeh14@hotmail.com) with a picture of George Head (right), my Dad (John Bell middle) and John P. Kelly Jr(right). This was taken in NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. George thinks they just got through playing poker and my Dad won.

George told me that the picture on the flight deck is of a PBY2-3 and imagine his surprise when he first visited the squadron page and found a picture he had taken! The PPC is Ross Barney and Hugh Wikinson (copilot).

SO more of the mystery is solved. The crew picture is definitely VPB-117 and not VP-13. The flight deck picture is VP-13. The picture of my Dad at the controls is VP-13. SO, that leaves one unknown -- the outside engines. However, I am sure it is VP-13.

I am sure meeting some nice people..." Susan ShrtStff44@aol.com [20APR99]

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UPDATE "...It has been a year since I started and there have been many small bits of information come in over the last year.

Today was the topper, though! I just spoke with a member (Norm Sellman) of my father's crew. The picture that you posted last year in front of the plane H939 paid off. The picture was taken in 1945 on Mindoro, Philippines.

I have the names of the crew members for you to post. In the picture I sent, Bottom row (and forgive the spelling) Left-to-right, Joe Allred (AMM 1st Class), 3rd pilot John Jenkins, My Dad, John Bell 1st Pilot) Brad Wells (2nd pilot), ? Bowman the radioman. Left to right on the top, Bill Christianson (gunner) Norm Sellman, (2nd radioman and tail gunner and a heck of a nice guy to call me) Then Bill Piland (Ordinanceman) Francis Harrison, Aubrey Daedlow and Edgar Thompson (Machinist mate). Norm has been in touch with Joe Allred and Brad Wells and has heard some news over the years of Aubrey Daedlow. In fact Norm has pictures of the original 18 crews in 1944 for VPB-117 and he is sending them to me so I can get them to you!

This crew trained together in Camp Kearney in September of 1944. They flew PB4Ys (1). Their regular plane was numbered "481." They were a relief crew. They went to Hawaii to wait their turn. They spent about a month in Hawaii and they got the call to join VPB 117. They flew from Hawaii to Johnston(?) Island to Juiland(spelling - I am so excited I can't take the time to check my Atlas) NAS Agana, Guam and spent one day in Leyte and then off to Mindoro. Their first action was March 1, 1945. They flew 48 missions together. Their mission was to provide reconnaissance of the Japanese conveys and radio positions to our submarines. However, per Norm that got a little boring (My Dad being the aggressive type) and they would happen to wander "inland" often. Translation - flying 50 feet off the water and hitting troop trains in Saigon and Hanoi. They got hit often, lost a few engines, but never had to ditch! Norm told me my Dad gave them the choice a couple of times, stay with the plane and try and make it or swim with the sharks. Norm provided a story or two about some close calls. My father was a good pilot who took care of his crew per Norm. That is a nice thing to learn after all these years.

Norm is going to review some of the other photos I have and tell me if they are VPB-117 or VP-13. Norm is also interested in hearing from any crew members or their families.

Thanks again for your assistance!..." Susan ShrtStff44@aol.com [23JAN99]

UPDATE "...I just received the following information from the Navy: Enlisted 02/14/42. Commissioned 11/25/42. Appt AvCAD 06/11/42. 40 weeks flight training. Ratings held S2/C (v-5) Aviation Cadet. Squadrons: VP-13, Pearl Harbor and Marshall Islands, VPB-117, Philippine Islands, and VX-1. From that I should be able to figure out planes, and when I check squadron/unit histories to get some stories. Some medals: American Theatre, As-Pacific Theatre (3 stars), Phil Liberation (1 star), DFC - 1 Gold Star, Air Medal - 7 Gold stars, and Victory Medal WWII. Now the fun begins again! Thanks for your help..." Susan ShrtStff44@aol.com [10MAR98]

UPDATE "...In regard to the photo taken in front of H939. I have another crew photo that was taken by the same plane. It looks like the whole squadron possibly had their crew photos made by the same plane on the same day. The plane is a PB4Y-1. If the first two digits of the Bureau Number are 38 (38939), the plane was assigned to VPB-102. This information was obtained from the Aircraft History Card for that plane. Sincerely, Joe Palsha richardpalsha@gmail.com ..." [05JAN98]

Note NOTICE: "...My father-in-law, Jack Alianell, served in VPB-117, crew 8. He is looking for his 2nd mechanic, George C. Cotcher. Any info on his whereabouts would be appreciated. All you Blue Raider fans try to make it to next year's reunion in San Antonio! Thanks!...Bob Walko rwalko@bellsouth.net..." [14NOV97]

"VP-117 Summary Page"