A BIT OF HISTORY: "...My Dad, LT Lawrence Joseph Krell (Deceased), served with many squadron including NAF Detroit, Michigan (1935-1939), NAS Pensacola, Florida (1939-1942), VP-62 (1942), VP-42 (1942), FAW-6 (1943), VP-43 (1943-1944), VH-2 (1944), VX-2 (1944), VR-11 (1945) and VR-1 (1945) as reflected in one of his Flight Log Books..." Contributed by his daughter Larinda Pilkerton firstname.lastname@example.org [30OCT2005]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...NATS Packet - Naval Air Transport Service Command - Pacific Fleet - Sptember 1945. VR-1 photo 5, VR-2 photo's 12, 14, 15 and 16, VR-3 photo 12, VR-4 photo's 8, 9, 12, 13 and 14, VR-5 photo's 9, 13 and 14, VR-6 photo 5, VR-11 photo's 9, 14 and 15, and VR-13 photo's 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18..." Contributed by COX, Douglas C. COXMARINEINS@AOL.COM [26FEB2005]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...NATS Packet - Naval Air Transport Service Command - Pacific Fleet - July 1945..A few squadrons mentioned include: VR-2 Page 7, 10, 12, 14 and 15, VR-3 Page 14, VR-4 Page 7, 8 and 14, VR-5 Page 7, VR-11 Page 1 and 2 and VR-13 Page 7..." [06FEB2005]
A BIT OF HISTORY: NAAS Crows Landing "...Historic California Posts - Naval Auxilary Air Station, Crows Landing - History..." WebSite: The California State Military Museum http://www.militarymuseum.org/NAASCrowsLanding.html [06NOV2005]History
Photograph: Title: Crows Landing - Image Number: A92-0471-4 - Date: 1992 - Keywords: aerial - Crows Landing - historical - Description: Aerial photo, NAAS Crows Landing; Photographer: US Navy; Date: August 5, 1947 WebSite: http://ails.arc.nasa.gov/Images/Historical/A92-0471-4.html
NAAS Crows Landing, located 2-1/2 miles northwest of the town of the same name, began in late 1942 as an auxiliary air station to NAS Alameda, California. It was used to train Navy fighter pilots. Pilots of F4F Wildcats, TBF and TBM Avengers trained here first in Link and Panoramic trainers then eventually in actual planes. Later, pilots in R4D Skytrains and R5D Skymasters (Navy versions of the Army's C-47 and C-54) trained here. After the war the station was placed in caretaker status.
by M.L. Shettle, Jr.
Historical works by M. L. Shettle, Jr.
In late 1942, the Navy chose a site in the San Joaquin Valley, 71 miles southeast of Alameda, for an auxiliary air station. An 804-acre parcel of land was purchased for $86,708 and ground broken on December 1, 1942. The site was located near the agricultural community of Crows Landing, 1940 population of 363, that consisted of a gas station, country store, and a freight train stop. During con struction, the project was known as NAAF Patterson for the nearest post office, six miles to the north. After the Navy decided to include a post office on the station, the base commissioned on May 25, 1943, as NAAF Crows Landing.
On June 18, 1943, VC-36 became the first unit assigned. A detachment of Alameda's CASU 6 also arrived in support. For the next nine months, Crows Landing hosted various carrier units. These units included VC-65, and elements of CAG 28, CAG 18, and CAG 11. In the meantime, a detachment of CASU 37 replaced CASU 6 and Crows Landing was upgraded to an NAAS. Up to the spring of 1944, multi-engine patrol aircraft were based at NAAS Vernalis, 18 miles to the northwest. The Navy real ized that Crows Landing's 7,000-ft. concrete run ways would be better suited for the heavier weight multi-engine aircraft than Vernalis's asphalt run ways; thereafter, Vernalis was designated for carrier units and Crows Landing for multi-engine types.
In March 1944, the first multi-engine squadron, VPB-137 arrived from Alameda with PVs. From June to November, the station embarked on an expansion project that added housing, a hangar, and other improvements. The runways were widened from 150 to 200 ft. The station's ramp that initially was 200 x 400 ft. was enlarged by a 1200 x 200-ft. and a 1890 x 260-ft. section. In August 1944, the first PB4Y-2 Privateer squadron, VPB-118, arrived from NAAS Camp Kearny, California. In January 1945, Crows Landing added six enlisted barracks, a warehouse, and a 100-man ground training building. From February 2, to March 27, 1945, a VRE-1 Detach ment with 12 R4Ds was based at the station. VRE-1 was one of the Navy's three evacuation squadrons that transported wounded men from combat areas in the South Pacific to the various Naval Hospitals in the U.S. In addition, Oakland's VR-4 and VR-11 used Crows Landing for training throughout the sta tion's existence.
Crows Landing's isolated location prompted the Navy to run 10 liberty buses a day to Modesto and Patterson. Navy men were allowed to use the swim ming pool at Patterson High School. In June 1945, the station's complement stood at 27 officers and 185 men -- squadron personnel added an additional 245 officers and 1220 enlisted men. Available billeting accommodated 268 officers and 2116 men. Patrol squadrons that passed thought the station during the war included VPB-115, VPB-122, VPB-101, VPB-103, VPB-107, VPB-133, VPB-140, VPB-118, and VPB-108. The PV operational training squadron, VPB-198, also spent time aboard. Patrol squadrons were supported by PATSUs 8-2, 8-4, 8-5, and 8-7. Other units that operated and trained at Crows Landing were VJ-12 and ABATU 105. By war's end, the station was valued at $4 million.
Crows Landing decommissioned on July 6, 1946, becoming an OLF to NAS Alameda, California and later NAS Moffett Field, California. In recent years, the Navy maintained a perma nent detachment at the field that supplied crash equipment and refueling services for Naval aircraft from the stations in the area. With the closing of Moffett, the Navy turned Crows Landing over to NASA's Ames Research Center in 1993.
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...VR-8 History..." http://navymats.com/VR-8.html [01JUN2002]
Naval Air Transport Squadron Eight (VR-8) was originally established at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland in October 1943. In November 1944 it began cargo and mail service to San Juan PR and Bermuda WI. It maintained a daily schedule with the Martin PBM Mariner aircraft. Few records exits for this time period and the squadron was disestablished in June 1946.
After the establishment of VR-11 at NAS Oakland, California in September 1943 it was moved to NAF Honolulu shortly thereafter and although the chronology is rather cloudy, sometime during the 1943-1945 period a detachment in the Pacific was designated VR-8 to support the Naval Air Transport activity on several islands including Guam. In November of 1946, these detachments and VR-11 were combined and the VR-8 designation affixed. The assumed the maintenance and suppoirt of Naval Air Transport units transiting the Pacific area, including the Martin Mars JRM flying from Keehi Lagoon in Hawaii.
With the advent of the Douglas R5D Skymaster into the Naval Air Transport Service, fewer fueling stops were required to transit the Pacific and VR-8 moved to Hickam AFB with a detachment still supporting the JRM at Keehi Lagoon until it was withdrawn from service. In January 1948 the squadron was assigned to the Military Air Transport Service along with VR-3 and VR-6. This unified command consisted of all the USAF Air Transport Command squadron and the three Navy units. This was followed in June 1948 by a move to Germany to supplement the Air Force in Operation Vittles supplying vital needs to the citizens of Berlin during the Russian Blockade. It was again joined by VR-6 operating into Berlin, with VR-3 operating between the U.S. and the allied controlled area of Germany.
Following the lifting of the Blockade the squadron returned to it's Pacific home at Hickam AFB and resumed its scheduled route between California and the far reaches of the Pacific. In 1957 during the reorganization of MATS, VR-8 moved to NAS Moffett Field, California along with VR-7 under command of the newly established Naval Air Transport Wing Pacific Division MATS.
At this time VR-8 was assigned custody of all aircraft from both squadrons and sole responsiblity for their maintenance. Although having a cadre of flight personnel it bacame the "Maintenance Squadron" of the Wing. VR-7 operating as the "Operational Squadron". In early 1963 the squadron began the enormous task of retireing the Super Constellation and accepting the new Hercules aircraft. This took place simultaneously until all R7V-1 aircraft had been displaced.
In January 1967 this proud group of dedicated men sadly dis-established a truely memorable portion of Naval Aviation history. During it"s two life times its aircraft and men had served and flown over two major oceans, with various types of aircraft - flying and maintaining enviable records wherever it was called upon to serve. A well deserved spot in Naval Aviation history should be opened for the squadron whose motto was "We Carry The Load".
"VR-11 Summary Page"