Squadron History:  VPB-11


Established as Torpedo & Bombing Squadron NINETEEN-D14 (VT-19D14) on 7 February 1924.
Redesignated Torpedo & Bombing Squadron SIX-D14 (VT-6D14) on 1 July 1927.
Redesignated Patrol Squadron SIX-B (VP-6B) on 1 April 1931.
Redesignated Patrol Squadron SIX-F (VP-6F) on 17 July 1933.
Redesignated Patrol Squadron SIX (VP-6) on 1 October 1937.
Redesignated Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VP-23) on 1 July 1939.
Redesignated Patrol Squadron ELEVEN (VP-11) on 1 August 1941.
Redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron ELEVEN (VPB-11) on 1 October 1944.
Disestablished on 20 June 1945.

Squadron Insignia and Nickname

VP-6F was the originator of the squadron's first insignia in 1933. Although official approval of the design was never requested of BuAer, defacto recognition of the new insignia appeared when it was reproduced in the 20 October 1933 issue of the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter. The design selected was the Pegasus, a winged horse from Greek mythology. To the Greeks, Pegasus represented the strength embodied in the warhorse combined with the advantage of aerial agility. Colors: white horse with shaded gold wings, on blue field inside red circular border. The same insignia continued in use by the squadron through all its numerous redesignations.

Nickname: None known.

Chronology of Significant Events

(Squadron history from 7 Feb 1924 to WWII removed as not pertinent to this website.)

7 Dec 1941: During the attack on Pearl Harbor the majority of the squadron’s aircraft at NAS Kaneohe were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. One witness to the carnage, an Army P-40 pilot, Lieutenant George S. Welch, 46th Pursuit Group, Wheeler Field, stated that the Japanese dive bombers were stacked up over the airfields in a "...regular traffic pattern around the field. They never got more than 100 to 200 feet high . . . they flew around with their pattern to the right. When they returned, they used the same formation and signals that we do — shallow left run, wiggling the wings. They would come back into formation, peel off and come down again. There was no resistance . . . so that they had a perfect pattern, and could pick out individual ships that they could see weren’t on fire and shoot at them with both their 7.7s and 30-mm cannon."

1 Apr 1942: Losses were replaced in April with new PBY-5 seaplanes from the U.S., equipped with ASE radar for spotting ships on the ocean surface. Sector searches around Oahu were begun as soon as crews could be checked out on the new equipment.

30 Apr 1942: A two-aircraft detachment was sent to Johnston Island for sector searches. Two new crews relieved the detachment each week. On 29 May the detachment size was increased to six aircraft.

20 May 1942: A three-plane detachment was sent to Barking Sands, Kauai. On 22 May the detachment was increased by three aircraft.

1 Jul 1942: VP-11 deployed to Suva, Fiji Islands. Over the next several months the squadron would be moved from Suva to Noumea, New Caledonia, Tongatabu and Espiritu Santo to conduct search and reconnaissance missions in connection with the landings at Guadalcanal and other fleet operations in the South Pacific.

13 Jul 1942: A three-plane detachment was sent to Noumea.

17 Jul 1942: One aircraft was dispatched to Auckland, returning on 19 July.

26 Jul 1942: A three-plane detachment was sent to Tongatabu, with two aircraft returning to Suva on 28 July.

1 Aug 1942: The Noumea detachment was increased by three aircraft. Tender support was provided by Curtiss (AV 4). The next day the detachment was further supplemented by two aircraft from VP-14.

4 Aug 1942: VP-11 headquarters was shifted from Suva to Saweni Beach with six aircraft, the remainder still based at Noumea. The headquarters group was provided tender support by McFarland (AVD 14).

11 Aug 1942: The Noumea detachment was redeployed with Curtiss (AV 4) to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.

7 Sep 1942: VP-11 claimed one submarine kill but a postwar review of Japanese records indicates no loss of a Japanese submarine on that date and location.

29 Oct 1942: Lieutenant F. Joe Hill and his crew spoted a surface submarine about three miles off his starboard beam. The submarine crash-dived and was below the surface when Hill dropped his two 650 pound depth charges. A large quantity of oil appeared and remained on the surface the following day. Postwar records indicate the submarine sunk by Lieutenant Hill was I-172, Lieutenant Commander Takeshi Ota commanding. I-172 was lost with all 91 hands aboard, including Rear Admiral Yoshisuke Okamoto, Commander of the 12th Squadron of the Kure Submarine Flotilla.

5 Nov 1942: VP-11 claimed a third submarine sunk but a postwar review of Japanese records indicates no loss of a Japanese submarine on that date and location.

1 Feb 1943: VP-11 was withdrawn from combat and returned to NAS San Diego, Calif., for refit and home leave.

20 Apr 1943: The reforming of the squadron was completed on this date. Aircrews flew the transpac to Kaneohe on 21 April, while the remainder of ground personnel and assets departed on transports. Upon arrival all hands undertook intensive combat preparation while simultaneously conducting patrols over the ocean in the Hawaiian area.

22 May 1943: Combat training was completed at Kaneohe. VP-11 aircrews departed for Perth, Australia, followed later by ground crew and squadron assets in transports. Upon arrival in Perth on 8 June aircrews commenced combat search and reconnaissance patrols in the southwest Pacific under the operational control of FAW-10.

9 Sep 1943: VP-11 departed for Brisbane, and then to New Guinea and Palm Island. The squadron came under the operational control of FAW-17 and relieved VP-101. Black Cat (PVY’s painted black) nighttime operations commenced in the areas around New Guinea, New Ireland, and the Bismarck Sea.

1 Oct–19 Nov 1943: VP-11 was based aboard San Pablo (AVP 30) in Jenkins Bay. Night searches for surface ships were conducted, and bombing attacks on Japanese installations on Garove Island were con-ducted over several nights. On 9 October, Half Moon (AVP 26) relieved San Pablo.

16 Nov 1943: Lieutenant Jack D. Cruze and his crew were exceptionally busy during the period 1 to 9 November. They attacked Japanese facilities in the Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Sea under severe weather conditions and strafed enemy merchant vessels, barges, shore installations and wharves. On the night of 16 November they located the biggest target yet, a Japanese task force. Despite the heavy concentration of fire from the escorts, Cruze made a low-level bombing attack that destroyed a large transport in the task force. For his courage under fire and aggressive pursuit of the enemy during this period, Lieutenant Cruze was awarded the Navy Cross.

19 Nov 1943: VP-11, relieved at Jenkins Bay by VP-52, reported to Port Moresby to relieve VP-101. On 23 November Black Cat operations were commenced in conjunction with daytime attacks by the 5th Bombardment Group, 5th USAAF.

30 Dec 1943: VP-11 transferred to Palm Island, Australia, and was taken off combat operations. Routine administrative and passenger flights were conducted daily to Port Moresby, Samari and Brisbane.

10 Feb 1944: The squadron returned to Perth to conduct convoy patrols in Australian waters under the operational control of FAW-10.

19 Jul 1944: VP-11 returned to New Guinea and Schouten Islands for Black Cat night combat operations under the operational control of FAW-17. A three-aircraft detachment was sent to Woendi Lagoon, Biak.

23 Aug 1944: VP-11 continued to conduct Black Cat operations after its transfer to Middleburg Island.

18 Sep 1944: The squadron continued Black Cat operations while based on Schouten Island and Morotai until 21 September when daytime operations were then started. Daytime operations consisted of antisubmarine patrols and air-sea rescue missions in the South Pacific.

1 Oct 1944: VP-11 was redesignated VPB-11. On 6 October the squadron was stationed at Morotai with tender support provided by San Pablo (AVP 30). Air-sea rescue and routine ASW patrols were conducted daily. On 12 October half of the squadron was quartered aboard Orca (AVP 49) to provide more room for the crews.

14 Nov 1944: The squadron was relocated to Woendi with 15 aircraft. On 5 December VPB-11 was moved to Morotai, then back to Woendi on the 11th for boarding on Pocomoke (AV 9) and transportation back to the U.S.

19 Dec 1944: VPB-11 was officially withdrawn from combat and 15 aircraft and crews departed Woendi for return to NAS San Diego, Calif.

20 Jun 1945: VPB-11 was disestablished at NAS San Diego, Calif.


Home Port Assignments

Location Date of Assignment
NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii 1940
NAS San Diego, Calif. Feb 1943
NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii Apr 1943
NAS San Diego, Calif. Dec 1944


Commanding Officers

Name Date Assumed Command
LCDR Leon W. Johnson 22 Jul 1941
LCDR Francis R. Jones 11 Dec 1941
LT W. P. Schroeder (actg) Apr 1942
LCDR Clayton C. Marcy 4 May 1942
LCDR C. M. Campbell 16 Mar 1943
LCDR Thomas S. White 24 May 1944


Aircraft Assignment

Type of Aircraft Date Type First Received
PBY-5 Nov 1941


Major Overseas Deployments

Date of Departure Date of Return Wing Base of  Operations Type of Aircraft Area of Operations
1 Jul 1942 * FAW-17 Fiji Islands PBY-5 SoPac
McFarland (AVD 14)
13 Jul 1942 * FAW-17 Noumea PBY-5 SoPac
Curtiss (AV 4)
11 Aug 1942 1 Feb 1943 FAW-17 Espiritu Santo PBY-5 SoPac
Curtiss (AV 4)
22 May 1943 19 Dec 1943 FAW-10 Perth PBY-5 SoPac
9 Sep 1943 FAW-10 Palm Island PBY-5 SoPac
San Pablo (AVP 30)
Half Moon (AVP 26)
19 Nov 1943 * FAW-10 Port Moresby PBY-5 SoPac
30 Dec 1943 * FAW-10 Palm Island PBY-5 SoPac
10 Feb 1944 * FAW-10 Perth PBY-5 SoPac
19 Jul 1944 * FAW-10 New Guinea PBY-5 SoPac
19 Jul 1944 * FAW-10 Woendi PBY-5 SoPac
23 Aug 1944 * FAW-10 Middlebg. Isl. PBY-5 SoPac
18 Sep 1944 * FAW-10 Morotai PBY-5 SoPac
San Pablo (AVP 30)
Orca (AVP 49)
14 Nov 1944 11 Dec 1944 FAW-10 Woendi PBY-5 SoPac
  • Continued combat deployment in the Pacific, moving from base to base.


Wing Assignments

Wing Tail Code Assignment Date
PatWing-1 1 Oct 1937
FAW-14 1 Apr 1943
FAW-2 30 Apr 1943
FAW-10 30 May 1943
FAW-17 11 Sep 1943
FAW-10 16 Feb 1944
FAW-17 19 Jul 1944
FAW-14 19 Dec 1944


Unit Awards Received

Unit Award Inclusive Date Covering Unit Award
PUC 15 Sep 1943 1 Feb 1944

The information on this page is from the   Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons - Vol. 2 CD-ROM (which is unfortunately no longer available).

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