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WWII Patch, USN, CAG-1 Carrier Air Group One

WWII Patch, USN, CAG-1 Carrier Air Group One

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch
Navy Carrier Air Group One
3 3/8  x  4 1/2 inches

USS Langley (CV-1/AV-3) was the United States Navy's first aircraft carrier, converted in 1920 from the collier USS Jupiter (AC-3), and also the US Navy's first electrically-propelled ship. Conversion of another collier was planned but canceled when the Washington Naval Treaty required the cancellation of the partially-built battlecruisers  Lexington and Saratoga, freeing up their hulls for conversion to the aircraft carriers CV-2 and CV-3. The Langley was named after Samuel Pierpont Langley, an American aviation pioneer. Following another conversion, to a seaplane tender, Langley fought in World War II. She was so badly damaged by Japanese bombing attacks that she was sunk by her escorts on 27 February 1942.

She was assigned to Aircraft Scouting Force and commenced her tending operations out of Seattle, Washington, Sitka, Alaska, Pearl Harbor, and San Diego, California. She departed for a brief deployment with the Atlantic Fleet from 1 February-10 July 1939, and then steamed to assume her duties with the Pacific Fleet at Manila arriving on 24 September.

On the entry of the US into World War II, Langley was anchored off Cavite, Philippines. On 8 December, following the invasion of the Philippines by Japan, she departed Cavite for Balikpapan, in the Dutch East Indies. As Japanese advances continued, Langley departed for Australia, arriving in Darwin on 1 January 1942. She then became part of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM) naval forces. Until 11 January, Langley assisted the Royal Australian Air Force in running antisubmarine patrols out of Darwin.

Langley went to Fremantle, Australia to pick up Allied aircraft and transport them to Southeast Asia. Carrying 32 P-40 fighter planes belonging to the United States Army Air Forces 49th Pursuit Group, she and a convoy departed Fremantle on 22 February. Langley  left the convoy five days later and delivered the planes to Tjilatjap (Cilacap), Java.

In the early hours of 27 February, Langley rendezvoused with her anti-submarine screen, destroyers Whipple and Edsall. At 11:40, about 75 mi (121 km) south of Tjilatjap, nine twin-engine Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" medium bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service's Takao Kokutai, led by Lieutenant Jiro Adachi, attacked her. The first and second Japanese strikes were unsuccessful, but during the third, Langley took five hits and 16 crew members were killed. The topside burst into flames, steering was impaired, and the ship developed a 10° list to port. Unable to negotiate the narrow mouth of Tjilatjap harbor, Langley went dead in the water, as her engine room flooded. At 13:32, the order to abandon ship was passed. The escorting destroyers fired nine 4 in (100 mm) shells and two torpedoes into Langley, to ensure she didn't fall into enemy hands, and she sank.

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. [3]  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.

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

Price: $95.00

Product Code: PatchUSN.001.CAG1
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