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WWII Patch, USN, VP-6, Navy Coast Guard #1

WWII Patch, USN, VP-6, Navy Coast Guard #1

Product Information
WWII US Navy / Coast Guard Squadron Patch #1
USN VP-6 (USCG) early war - 1941, 1942, 1943
USN VPB-6 (USCG) late war - 1944, 1945
Navy Patrol Squadron Six
Navy Patrol Bombing Squadron Six 
Argentia, Newfoundland

The only aviation squadron operated by the US Coast Guard.
5.75 inches

Formed in late 1942, it received its first aircraft in early 1943 and commenced operations over the North Atlantic with bases in Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland. Continued operations through the end of WWII when the squadron became the basis for CGAS Argentia. During is operational period, I operated PBY-5A (24) and PB4Y-1 (4) aircraft. The PBY-5 aircraft were painted all white since they operated from snow covered bases. Not as well know or famaous as the Navy's BLACK CATS OF GREEN ISLAND in the south Pacific, the Coast Guard's WHITE CATS OF GREENLAND none the less have the distinction of being the only Patrol Squadron NOT operated by the Navy.
History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail
VP Coast Guard Style - Page 32 to 35 - Naval Aviation News - May-June 1983

VP-6 saw  action during WWII, specifically the Greenland Patrol. VP-6 flew out of NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada and later Narsarsuak Greenland. It was re-designated VPB-6 in 1944. From 1943-1946 it was Commanded by a Coast Guard Aviator, and was part of Fleet Air Wing Nine, OPCON to Commander Task Force 24, Newfoundland, and then DaRr.  MAY 8 1945 - With the cessation of hostilities in Europe and resulting surrender of all Axis submarines, the mission of the squadron was changed to ice patrols and air-sea rescue. JUN 1945 - The VPB-6 (CG) complement of aircraft was reduced from nine to six, with one spare. This came at a very bad time, as the surrender of Germany meant the return of thousands of aircraft back to the U. S., with many getting lost, and others landing on the ice.  JUL 10 1945 - VPB-6 was transferred back to the control of Commander, U. S. Coast Guard.

In March 1941, the United States Navy organized Patrol Wing Support Force, comprising VP-51, VP-52, VP-55, and VP-56 and Seaplane Tenders Albemarle, Belknap and George E. Badger. Issued on 5 May 1941, Operation Plan No. 1-41 provided that the Wing "proceed on advance base exercises [and] maintain at least one squadron based on tender(s) at Argentia." In accordance with this plan, Albemarle established Wing Headquarters at Argentia and on May 18th PBY-5A seaplanes of VP-52 commenced operations. The following week, American neutrality notwithstanding, they searched unsuccessfully for the German battleship Bismarck.

In July 1941, the Wing's name was changed from Patrol Wing Support Force, to Patrol Wing Seven (redesignated Fleet Air Wing Seven the following year). This adjustment included the renumbering of squadrons. Beginning in August, Patrol Wing Seven, in addition to convoy coverage, established a daily harbor patrol of the approaches to Argentia. It soon became evident, however, that Newfoundland's harsh winter weather would make tender-based aerial operations extremely hazardous. Consequently, efforts were begun to re-equip the Wing with land planes. Meanwhile, runway construction on the Argentia Peninsula had progressed such that by late 1941 three were available for emergency use. The new year brought change and success to Wing operations at NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada as facilities improved, new squadrons arrived and aerial reconnaissance intensified. On 1 March 1942, U-656 became the first German submarine sunk by American forces during World War Two. The attack was carried out by Ensign William Tepuni piloting a Hudson bomber with Patrol Squadron 82 (VP-82). Two weeks later VP-82 pilot, Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate Donald Mason, sank U-503 southeast of the Virgin Rocks.

Throughout 1942 and much of 1943, the principle activity of Argentia based aircraft continued to be search and rescue, convoy escort, and anti-submarine patrol. A significant change came in April 1943 when United States, British, and Canadian authorities agreed that Canada assume responsibility for the protection of shipping in the Northwest Atlantic. Thereafter, operational direction of aircraft came from the combined Royal Canadian Air Force-Royal Canadian Navy headquarters at St. John's, Newfoundland. The Wing functioned under this system until its transfer overseas in August 1943. In July 1943, Coast Guard Patrol Bombing Squadron Six (VPB-6) began training and indoctrination at Argentia preparatory to North Atlantic operations. After its commissioning in October 1943, Coast Guard Patrol Bombing Squadron Six (VPB-6) reported to its main operating base at Narsarssuak, Greenland, however, a detachment of two aircraft (PBY-5A) was assigned to Argentia; administrative control was vested in Fleet Air Wing Nine. Duties included antisubmarine patrol, convoy coverage, and search and rescue. Lighter Than Air Blimp Squadrons provided additional support during the summer and fall of 1944. When war ended in 1945, Coast Guard Patrol Bombing Squadron Six (VPB-6) duties changed to ice observation, medical evacuation, and utility missions; it continued air-sea rescue operations.

OCT 5 1943 - VP-6 (CG) was established as a Guard squadron under Navy operational control at NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, relieving VP-126. Squadron personnel had actually been arriving since 23 July 1943, by NATS. Upon arrival they commenced training and indoctrination in cold weather operations. The squadron's home port was Narsarssuak, Greenland, code name Bluie West-One (BW-1). Upon establishment it came under the operational control of CTF-24, and administrative control of FAW-9. Personnel matters continued to be handled by Coast Guard Headquarters. The squadron flew the PBY-5A Catalina, with ten aircraft (one designated as a spare), 22 officers and 145 enlisted, including eight enlisted pilots. Operational flights began on 13 October 1943, after the first three PBY-5A Catalinas arrived at Narsarssuak. Two of the squadron's nine operational aircraft were detached to NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. These aircraft and crews were rotated frequently to allow maintenance and repair work to be done on the other seven. At Narsarssuak all the squadron's aircraft sat outside and all maintenance, refueling and arming took place in the open regardless of weather conditions because it was found that moving aircraft from warm hangars to the cold outside resulted in condensation and subsequent freezing in fuel pumps, controls and instruments. Herman Nelson F-1 portable heaters were needed to warm the engines and the aircraft interiors before starting. Crews were relieved every 12 months, with relief crews staggered every four months. The U.S. Army provided aeronautical support and daily weather briefings.
AUG 6 1943--The little float-planes attached to the Greenland Patrol's ships had demonstrated the value of the airplane in arctic search-and-rescue work. On Aug. 6, 1943, Patrol Bombing Squadron 6, a Navy unit manned entirely by Coast Guardsmen, began operating from BLUIE West 1 and Argentia. Bombing 6, commanded by Coast Guard CDR D.B. McDiarmid, was to earn a reputation as one of the busiest and most effective in Coast Guard aviation history. Like every other Coast Guard unit in Greenland, Bombing 6 had to "do a little of everything." Its 12 PBY-5A Catalinas searched for U-boats and German weather stations, escorted convoys, delivered mail, reported on the movements of the ice, and, on several dozen occasions, guided rescue parties to crashed Army and Navy aircraft. By November 1944, Bombing 6 had flown 638,998 miles in 6,325 flying hours, searching more than 3 million square miles of ice cap and ocean. On the afternoon of Feb. 13, 1944, LCDR John J. McCubbin's Catalina, on a routine flight just west of Cape Farewell, happened upon a British Navy trawler, HMS Strathella. The little ship had been disabled by a damaged shaft bearing in a storm on the North Atlantic convoy run a month earlier, and its radio had burned out; the Strathella's crew had almost died of thirst and starvation. McCubbin contacted the cutter Modoc, which took the stricken trawler in tow for Greenland. When the British crewmen sighted the Modoc they sent a semaphore signal: "We one and all owe our lives to you. You did a masterpiece of work. Someday, perhaps we will be able to show our appreciation".
JUL/SEP 1944 - A detachment of two aircraft was sent to the Canadian Arctic to furnish ASW, air cover, reconnaissance and search and rescue for vessels entering the Hudson Bay. Patrols covered northern Labrador, Baffin Island and Cumberland Island. No Navy or Coast Guard ground support was available to these crews, despite the frequent bad weather operations flown by the detachment. Existing Army advanced facilities were utilized when available. The Catalina aircraft had no interior heaters, nor did the crews have heated flying suits. Several crews came down with frostbite during operations.
JUL/AUG 1944 - A detachment of two aircraft was sent to RAFB Reykjavik, Iceland, operating in conjunction with the RAF Coastal Command, to provide coverage and air support to vessels conducting operations against the Germans in waters off northeastern Greenland.

11 aircraft were assigned to and operated by the only aviation squadron operated by the USCG: Patrol Squadron Six (Coast Guard) [VP-6(CG)], later designated as Patrol Bombing Squadron Six (Coast Guard) [VPB-6(CG)], headquartered at NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. The squadron also operated approximately 25-30 PBY-5A aircraft. At the close of hostilities (VE-DAY) in Europe, the USCG reverted to control of the Dept. of Commerce and the assets of the squadron became the basis for CG Air Station Argentia. The above will be included in a forthcoming publication titled: "THE WHITE CATS OF GREENLAND". A play on the words that described the U.S. Navy's THE BLACK CATS OF GREEN ISLAND, a war and world away from that famous Pacific unit.

Price: $125.00

Product Code: PatchUSN.006.VP6CoastGuard.v1
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