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WWII Patch, USN, VB-7

WWII Patch, USN, VB-7

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch
Navy Bombing Squadron 7
USS Hancock
Carrier Air Group 7
4.5 inches

VB = Dive Bomber

On 1 march 1943 there was a major re-designation of US Navy squadrons.
"A revision of the squadron designation system changed Inshore Patrol Squadrons to Scouting Squadrons (VS), Escort Fighting Squadrons (VGF) to Fighting Squadrons (VF), Escort Scouting Squadrons (VGS) to Composite Squadrons (VC) and Patrol Squadrons (VP) operating land type aircraft to Bombing Squadrons (VB). This revision also re-designated carrier Scouting Squadrons (VS) as VB and VC and as a result the types of squadrons on Essex Class carriers was reduced to three. In spite of this change, the aircraft complement of their Air Groups remained at its previous level of 21 VF, 36 VSB and 18 VTB."
Fleet Carrier Scouting squadrons:
VS-17 -> VB-7 (Air Group 17)

Citations For Award of The Navy Cross
Citation:  The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to George Alexander Reed, Ensign, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber in Bombing Squadron SEVEN (VB-7), embarked from the U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), in action against enemy Japanese forces in Philippine waters during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 26 October 1944. as Pilot of a carrier-based Bombing Plane, Ensign Reed scored a destructive hit on a heavy cruiser of the Japanese Fleet in the Sulu Sea, which contributed to its probable sinking. In the face of a severe barrage of anti-aircraft fire and the fast maneuvering of the target, he displayed outstanding skill and conspicuous unwavering courage in driving home his attack. Ensign Reed's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: May 30, 1923 at Denver, Colorado
Home Town: San Antonio, Texas

Citation: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Ralph L. A. Rhodes, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber in Bombing Squadron SEVEN (VB-7), embarked from the U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Sulu Sea in the Philippine Islands, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944. Flying to extreme range from his carrier against major units of the fleet in the Philippine Islands area, Lieutenant Rhodes pressed home his attack despite intense anti-aircraft fire in utter disregard of his own safety and scored a direct hit on an enemy battleship. His courage and skill were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 339 (June 1945)
Born: January 6, 1916 at New York, New York
Home Town: Pelham, New York

Synopsis:  The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Charles A. Robertson, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber in Bombing Squadron SEVEN (VB-7), embarked from the U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Sulu Sea in the Philippine Islands, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: September 25, 1920 at Brooklyn, New York
Home Town: Bala-Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

Carrier Air Group 7
VB-7 Bomb Squadron  (bombing)
VF-7 Fighter Squadron (fighting)
VT-7 Torpedo Squadron

History - Carrier Air Group organization, naming, and identification
The first Carrier Air Groups (as they were then called) were activated in 1937. Initially, the commander of the air group (known as the "CAG") was the most senior commanding officer of the embarked squadrons and was expected to personally lead all major strike operations, co-ordinating the attacks of the carrier's fighter, bomber, and torpedo planes in combat. The CAG was a department head of the ship reporting to the carrier's commanding officer. From July 1937 to mid-1942 Carrier Air Groups were permanently assigned to and identified by their parent aircraft carrier, and group squadrons were numbered according to the carrier's hull number. For example, the Enterprise Air Group, assigned to USS Enterprise (CV-6), were all numbered "6": Fighting Squadron (VF) 6, Bombing Squadron (VB) 6, etc. In 1942 air groups were no longer named for their carrier but were given unique numbers according to their assigned carriers' hull number (i.e., the Enterprise Air Group became CAG-6). This numbering scheme was also soon scrapped as carrier groups (now abbreviated CVGs) frequently moved from carrier to carrier. At this point, the carrier groups simply retained their number designation regardless of the carrier assigned. The first formal system for air group identification (Visual Identification System for Naval Aircraft) was established in January 1945. This consisted of geometric symbols that identified the parent carrier, not the air group. As there were just too many carriers and the symbols were hard to remember or to describe over the radio, a single or double letter system was introduced in July 1945.

Air Group/Wing historical composition
Air wing composition has changed continuously and no two air wings are configured exactly the same.
WWII - Typical air group composition at the beginning of World War II consisted of approximately 90 aircraft:
    * 1 bombing squadron (VB) composed of 18 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers
    * 2 fighter squadrons (VF) composed of 36 Grumman F4F Wildcats
    * 1 scouting squadron (VS) composed of 18 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers
    * 1 torpedo squadron (VT) composed of 18 Douglas TBD Devastator, TBF or TBM torpedo bombers

During the course of the war in the Pacific the compositions of the air groups changed drastically. The scouting squadrons were disestablished by early 1943 and the number of fighter planes was increased continuously. Typically in 1943 an Essex class carrier carried 36 fighter planes, 36 bombers and 18 torpedo planes.

By the end of WWII, a typical Essex air group was over 100 aircraft, consisting of :
    * 2 fighter squadrons of 36 F6Fs
    * 2 dive bomber squadrons of 36 SB2Cs
    * 1 torpedo squadron of 18 TBM Avengers

USS Hancock (CV/CVA-19) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress and first governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Hancock was commissioned in April 1944, and served in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning four battle stars. Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA). In her second career she operated exclusively in the Pacific, playing a prominent role in the Vietnam War, for which she earned a Navy Unit Commendation. She was the first US Navy carrier to have steam catapults installed.
She was decommissioned in early 1976, and sold for scrap later that year. 
from wikipedia

CV / CVA-19
The aircraft carrier USS HANCOCK CV-19, the third vessel of the United States Navy named in honor of the famed statesman, John Hancock, was launched on January 24, 1944, at the Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, MA. She was formally accepted into the Navy on 15 April 1944. The carrier was destined for the Pacific Fleet. Commissioned 15 April 1944; De-commissioned 9 May 1947; Re-designated CVA-19; 1 October 1952 Re-commissioned; 15 February 1954 First steam catapult installed; May 1954 De-commissioned; 30 January 1976 Broken up 31 January 1976.
WWII - Oct. 10, 1944 to Aug. 15, 1945
Philippines, Iwo Jima, Japan 1944-1945. Damaged by explosion 21 January 1945. Damaged by a Kamikaze 7 April 1945. Awarded Navy Unit Commendation; Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Service Medal with five battle stars; American Area Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Philippine Liberation Campaign Ribbon (two stars); Republic of the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation Badge.
Scorecard WWII
723 enemy planes destroyed 17 warships sunk 31 merchant ships sunk 10 enemy planes downed by ships guns 221 shipmates either killed or missing in action.

Service history - World War II
After fitting out in the Boston Navy Yard and shake-down training off Trinidad and Venezuela, Hancock returned to Boston for alterations on 9 July. She departed Boston on 31 July en route to Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and San Diego, and from there sailed on 24 September to join Admiral W. F. Halsey's 3rd Fleet at Ulithi on 5 October. She was assigned to Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan's Carrier Task Group 38.2 (TG 38.2). Hancock got underway the following afternoon for a rendezvous point 375 nmi (690 km) west of the Marianas where units of Vice Admiral Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force 38 (TF 38) were assembling in preparation for the daring cruise to raid Japanese air and sea bases in the Ryūkyūs, Formosa, and the Philippines. Thus enemy air power was paralyzed during General MacArthur's invasion of Leyte. When the armada arrived off the Ryukyu Islands on 10 October 1944, Hancock's planes rose off her deck to wreak destruction upon Okinawan airfields and shipping. Her planes destroyed seven enemy aircraft on the ground and assisted in the destruction of a submarine tender, 12 torpedo boats, 2 midget submarines, four cargo ships, and a number of sampans. Next on the agenda were Formosan air bases where on 12 October Hancock's pilots downed six enemy planes and destroyed nine more on the ground. She also reported one cargo ship definitely sunk, three probably destroyed, and several others damaged. As they repelled an enemy air raid that evening, Hancock's gunners accounted for a Japanese plane and drove countless others off during seven hours of uninterrupted general quarters. The following morning her planes resumed their assault, knocking out ammunition dumps, hangars, barracks, and industrial plants ashore and damaging an enemy transport. As Japanese planes again attacked the Americans during their second night off Formosa, Hancock's antiaircraft fire brought down another raider which crashed about 500 yd (460 m) off her flight deck. On the morning of the third day of operations against this enemy stronghold Hancock lashed out again at airfields and shipping before retiring to the southeast with her task force. As the American ships withdrew a heavy force of Japanese aircraft roared in for a parting crack. One dropped a bomb off Hancock's port bow a few seconds before being hit by the carrier's guns and crashing into the sea. Another bomb penetrated a gun platform but exploded harmlessly in the water. The surviving attackers then turned tail, and the task force was thereafter unmolested as they sailed toward the Philippines to support the landings at Leyte.

On 18 October, she launched planes against airfields and shipping at Laoag, Aparri, and Camiguin Island in Northern Luzon. Her planes struck the islands of Cebu, Panay, Negros, and Masbate, pounding enemy airfields and shipping. The next day, she retired toward Ulithi with Vice Admiral John S. McCain, Sr.'s TG 38.1.  She received orders on 23 October to turn back to the area off Samar to assist in the search for units of the Japanese fleet reportedly closing Leyte to challenge the American fleet, and to destroy amphibious forces which were struggling to take the island from Japan. Hancock did not reach Samar in time to assist the heroic escort carriers and destroyers of "Taffy 3" during the main action of the Battle off Samar, but her planes did manage to lash the fleeing Japanese Center Force as it passed through the San Bernardino Strait. Hancock then rejoined Rear Admiral Bogan's Task Group with which she struck airfields and shipping in the vicinity of Manila on 29 October 1944. During operations through 19 November, her planes gave direct support to advancing Army troops and attacked Japanese shipping over a 350 mi (560 km) area. She became flagship of the Fast Carrier Task Force (TF 38) on 17 November 1944 when Admiral McCain came onboard. 
Unfavorable weather prevented operations until 25 November, when a kamikaze roared toward Hancock, diving out of the sun. Antiaircraft fire exploded the plane some 300 ft (90 m) above the ship, but a section of its fuselage landed amid ships, and a part of the wing hit the flight deck and burst into flames. Prompt and skillful teamwork quickly extinguished the blaze and prevented serious damage.

Hancock returned to Ulithi on 27 November and departed from that island with her task group to maintain air patrol over enemy airfields on Luzon to prevent kamikazes from attacking amphibious vessels of the landing force in Mindoro. The first strikes were launched on 14 December against Clark and Angeles Airfields as well as enemy ground targets on Salvador Island. The next day her planes struck installations at Masinloc, San Fernando, and Cabanatuan, while fighter patrols kept the Japanese airmen down. Her planes also attacked shipping in Manila Bay.

Hancock encountered a severe typhoon on 17 December and rode out the storm in waves which broke over her flight deck, some 55 ft (20 m) above her waterline. She put into Ulithi 24 December and got underway six days later to attack airfields and shipping around the South China Sea. Her planes struck hard blows at Luzon airfields on 7–8 January 1945 and turned their attention back to Formosa on 9 January, hitting fiercely at airfields and the Tokyo Seaplane Station. An enemy convoy north of Camranh Bay, Indochina was the next victim, with two ships sunk and 11 damaged. That afternoon Hancock launched strikes against airfields at Saigon and shipping on the northeastern bulge of French Indochina. Strikes by the fast and mobile carrier force continued through 16 January, hitting Hainan Island in the Gulf of Tonkin, the Pescadores Islands, and shipping in the harbor of Hong Kong. Raids against Formosa were resumed on 20 January. The next afternoon one of her planes returning from a sortie made a normal landing, taxied to a point abreast of the island, and disintegrated in a blinding explosion which killed 50 men and injured 75 others. Again outstanding work quickly brought the fires under control in time to land other planes which were still aloft. She returned to formation and launched strikes against Okinawa the next morning.

Hancock reached Ulithi on 25 January where Admiral McCain left the ship and relinquished command of the 5th Fleet. She sortied with the ships of her task group on 10 February and launched strikes against airfields in the vicinity of Tokyo on 16 February. On that day, her air group, Air Group 80, downed 71 enemy planes, and accounted for 12 more the next. Her planes hit the enemy naval bases at Chichi Jima and Haha Jima on 19 February. These raids were conducted to isolate Iwo Jima from air and sea support when Marines hit the beaches of that island to begin one of the most bloody and fierce campaigns of the war. Hancock took station off this island to provide tactical support through 22 February, hitting enemy airfields and strafing Japanese troops ashore.  Returning to waters off the enemy home islands, Hancock launched her planes against targets on northern Honshū, making a diversionary raid on the Nansei-shoto islands on 1 March before returning to Ulithi on 4 March.

Back in Japanese waters Hancock joined other carriers in strikes against Kyūshū airfields, southwestern Honshū and shipping in the Inland Sea of Japan on 18 March. Hancock was refueling destroyer USS Halsey Powell (DD-686) on 20 March when kamikazes attacked the task force. One plane dove for the two ships but was disintegrated by gunfire when about 700 ft (210 m) overhead. Fragments of the plane hit Hancock's deck while its engine and bomb crashed the fantail of the destroyer. Hancock's gunners shot down another plane as it neared the release point of its bombing run on the carrier.
Hancock was reassigned to Carrier TG 58.3 with which she struck the Nansei-shoto islands from 23–27 March and Minami Daito Island and Kyūshū at the end of the month.

When the 10th Army landed on the western coast of Okinawa on 1 April, Hancock was on hand to provide close air support. A kamikaze cartwheeled across her flight deck on 7 April and crashed into a group of planes while its bomb hit the port catapult to cause a tremendous explosion. Although 62 men were killed and 71 wounded, heroic efforts doused the fires within half an hour enabling her to be back in action before an hour had passed.  Hancock was detached from her task group on 9 April and steamed to Pearl Harbor for repairs. She sailed back into action 13 June and left lethal calling cards at Wake Island on 20 June en route to the Philippines. Hancock sailed from San Pedro Bay with the other carriers on 1 July and attacked Tokyo airfields on 10 July. She continued to operate in Japanese waters until she received confirmation of Japan's capitulation on 15 August 1945 when she recalled her planes from their deadly missions before they reached their targets. However planes of her photo division were attacked by seven enemy aircraft over Sagami Wan. Three were shot down and a fourth escaped in a trail of smoke. Later that afternoon planes of Hancock's air patrol shot down a Japanese torpedo plane as it dived on a British task force. Her planes flew missions over Japan in search of prison camps, dropping supplies and medicine, on 25 August. Information collected during these flights led to landings under command of Commodore R. W. Simpson which brought doctors and supplies to all Allied prisoner of war encampments.

When the formal surrender of the Japanese government was signed on board battleship Missouri, Hancock's planes flew overhead. The carrier entered Tokyo Bay on 10 September 1945 and sailed on 30 September embarking 1,500 passengers at Okinawa for transportation to San Pedro, California, where she arrived on 21 October. Hancock was fitted out for "Magic Carpet" duty at San Pedro and sailed for Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands on 2 November. On her return voyage she carried 4,000 passengers who were debarked at San Diego on 4 December. A week later Hancock departed for her second "Magic Carpet" voyage, embarking 3,773 passengers at Manila for return to Alameda, California on 20 January 1946. She embarked Air Group 7 at San Diego on 18 February for air operations off the coast of California. She sailed from San Diego on 11 March to embark men of two air groups and aircraft at Pearl Harbor for transportation to Saipan, arriving on 1 April. After receiving two other air groups on board at Saipan, she loaded a cargo of aircraft at Guam and steamed by way of Pearl Harbor to Alameda, arriving on 23 April. She then steamed to Seattle, Washington on 29 April to await inactivation. The proud ship decommissioned and entered the reserve fleet at Bremerton, Washington.

Price: $175.00 $155.00

Product Code: PatchUSN.007.VB7
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