VB-136, 1st tour. Aircrafts BuNo and movement


At the time that the U.S. formally entered World War II, VP-41 was the squadron’s designation until 1 March 1943 when VP-41 was redesignated VB-136 to reflect its change from a patrol squadron to a bombing squadron. By April the PBY-5A flying boats had been turned in, and the squadron began refitting with the PV-1 Ventura. 


22-24 April, 1943

VB-136 CO Lt. Comdr. Haines, departed NAS Whidbey for Kodiak with 8 PV-1s:

29736 to Hedron 5/8/43; VB-136/5R2 as of 5/13
29772 to Hedron 5/8/43
29794/9V lost on 5/10/43
29803 to Hedron 5/8/43; 9R as of 5/13/43. Water- looped 6/10/43
33121/11V Stricken off 12-Apr-44 at NAS Whidbey Isl., while flying under Hedron FAW-6.  Spun-in on take-off 3 killed.
33140/3, LACMF A  (one- engine landing) 11/19/43

Arrived to Kodiak 4/23/43
From 4/30 supported invasion of Kiska (old Ventura’s )

2 May: Remaining 7 Ventura’s of VB-136 departed for Kodiak:

29847/5V, lost 5/10/43
33118/4V, damaged 10/11/43
33133/8V, lost 9/25/43



On 23 April 1943 the squadron deployed to Adak, AK and conducted searches from Umnak to Adak, with numerous missions to Japanese-held Kiska. Anti-submarine patrols were conducted in support of the pending invasion of Kiska, but results were negative. On 8 May 1943 the pace of operations changed from search vectors and patrols to one of ground attack and bombing of Japanese positions on Kiska. 


May- August 1943:

5/4/43 VB-136 moved to Adak. Searches and missions against Kiska

5/8/43: three PV-1s transferred to Hedron, 12 planes in custody. Most likely, the following a/c:
29736, 29772, 29803

5/10/43: Lt (jg) Parmenter in 29794/9V and Lt (jg) Molloy in 29847/5V lost.

Lt (j.g) Owen L. Permenter, did not return from operational search. Crew: Ens. Elton W. Cooke, Robert S. Matthews AMM3c, Ray W. McClellan S2c, Frank S. Tall AMM3c.

Lt (j.g.) Robert J. Molloy, crashed into Kuluk Bay, Adak, in bad weather while returning from rescue search for Parmenter’s a/c.
Ens Ralph G. Wingfield, John Renzow ARM3c, Robert D. Rickey AMM3c, Benedict J. Boruch AMM3c.


5/31/43: As a result of the operating experience of the past month and conferences with the Commanders of Bombing Squadrons One Thirty-Five and One Thirty-Six, Commander Fleet Air Wing Four reported by dispatch to Commander Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, Commander Fleet Air, Seattle, Commander Fleet Air, West Coast and Bureau of Aeronautics that the PV-1 airplane was not suitable for employment in the operations of FAW4 in the Aleutians, due to their lack of effective range, dangerous take off characteristics resulting in inability to take off under average conditions and other technical defects.


6/10/43 29803 (W. G. King, VB-136, NAS Whidbey Isl) ACC C Weather recon flight. This accident was described in War History of VB-136 as a demonstration of Ventura’s rugged construction:

“During instrument approach to Adak, flying at 35 ft, the radar suddenly gave an indication. The pilot executed sharp pull-up over the water, and caught one wing in the water. The plane was badly shaken up, but came through and landed safely. Inspection showed, that the entire empennage was severely damaged, all the rivets have been sheared, and the fairing alone held the structure in place”.


8/11: Eight PV-1 a/c on Adak, 4 a/c on Amchitka (VB-135 moved from Amchitka to Attu on 8/10)

8/13- all back to Adak, 10 of 12 are operable.

On 13 August 1943 the squadron put forth an all-out effort to attack the Japanese on Kiska in support of the Army landings. After the staunch resistance offered by the Japanese during the landings at Attu three months earlier, the Army requested that the Navy surface and air forces thoroughly batter the enemy before the landings commence. After several days of intense naval gunfire and bombing, ADM Kincaid, commander of the naval forces, gave GEN Buckner, commander of the Army landing forces, the assurance that the landing zones would be clear. Upon landing, the Army found that the Japanese had conducted a withdrawal of all their personnel under cover of bad weather.



8/15/-8/17/43: air support for Kiska invasion



8/24/43 29770/7V Landing accident, collided with ground. (John J. Connors). NAF Adak, no casualties, a/c is repaired and flown.


9/25/43 33133/8V crashed on takeoff from Sweeper’s Cove, Adak.  The following were killed: Lt. (jg) Hobert H. Throckmorton, Aviation Machinist’s Mate Second Class Albert G. Toth, Aviation Radioman Mate Third Class Stanley C. Eftimoff and Aviation Machinist’s Mate Franklin H. Bohannan.  A crash recovery boat picked up the copilot and radioman, Lt. (jg) Claude E. McKinney and Aviation Radio Mate First Class John A. Robers. Both were seriously injured.  The other bodies were not recovered.


9/27/43 only 6 out of 11 planes are operable.


On 1 October 1943, with the withdrawal of the Japanese forces from the Aleutians, VB-136 was relocated to Attu and employed in long-range missions into the Japanese-held northern Kurile Islands. The squadron returned to Adak for rest and refit on 10 October 1943 before returning to operations from Attu on 16 November 1943



Squadron Codes/ BuNos as of 1 October 1943 (11 Venturas):

1V 33110
2V 29775
3V 33140
4V 33118
5VR 29736
6V 29809
7V 29770
9VR 29803
10V 33141
11V 33121

12V 29814 


10/1/43:  VB-136 from Adak to Attu, VB-135 with eight PV-1s from Attu to Adak
10/5/43: 15 PV-1s of VB-139 arrived to Adak from Kodiak and join 8 PV-1s of VB-135


10/7/43 Lt (jg) Connors in 9V attempted to intercept “Betty”, but desisted due to lack of fuel. 52*13’N 170*30’E


10/11/43 29744/8R1, from VB-135. Twelve Venturas are in custody of VB-136, seven- of VB-135. 



10/11/34: 33118/4V wheels-up landing on Shemya, hydraulic system failure (Lt. Brooks).  Was repaired and flown back to Attu on 11/9/43 with the crew of 3V stricken the same day (see below, 11/9/43). Flown by Comdr. Haines to Adak for overhaul on 11/13/43. As of Dec 1943- X12 of Hedron

10/13/43 Twin- engine single-tail bomber dropped bombs on shore installations and Alexai Point runway. NAS or AWS did not notify the FAW-4 about impending raid. The Army radar detected the bomber 25 min prior to arrival, but only one P-40 got in position to make one attack. 


FAW-4 Diary:

10/13/43: ten Betty’s at 1950W make a high level bombing attack on the Massacre Bay area of Attu. No damage to Wing equipment or personnel, since most of the bombs fall in the bay. 11 AF fighters airborne, but failed to intercept.


10/14/43 12 Venturas of VB-136 and 7 Catalinas of VP-43 are dispersed to Shemya in anticipation of further enemy raids on Attu. VB-136′  PV-1s will maintain their presence on Shemya until 11/13/43

10/16/43 29744/8V was flown to Adak for major repairs

10/17/43 six Venturas back to Attu

10/20 all back to Attu


10/21/43: 29740 to VB-136 from VB-135; 8VR (replacement for 8V/29744)


10/24/43 29775/2V Lt.(jg) Dinsmore made contact with “Betty” Lat 52*20’N Long 167*50’E course 260*. Five passes were made, several hits scored, but no damage appraised

10/26/43 2V 29775: complete failure of port engine, landed successfully


10/28/43: VB-135 with operable 4 planes was relieved of duty by VB-136. Three PV-1s transferred to Hedron.


11/1/43: VB-136 planes codes are 1 trough 12, BuNos as above, except 5V (now is 29737/5R2)


11/9/43: 33140/3V(Lt. Samuel Dinsmore) engine failure after takeoff at Shemya, was destroyed in one- engine crash landing in tundra, one man received slight abrasion, a/c stricken off the record.


11/10/43: Only 10 operable planes. 33118/4V is indefinitely out of commission at Shemya; requiring major overhaul.


11/16/43: Lt. H. K. Mantius in 29737/5R2 (former VB-135) flew from Attu within 30 miles of Paramushiro; beginning of Empire Express.

12/6/43: 11 Venturas in custody. 33110/1V was left behind in Attu.


12/10/43 Squadron was relieved of duty by VB-139 and moves from Attu to Adak.

2V Lt Brooks
4V Cdr Haines
5V Lt Morrison
6V Lt Mantius
7V Lt Arnold
8V Lt Reynolds
9V Lt C. B. Nelson
10V Lt (jg) Connors
11V Lt (jg) Larson
12V Lt R. K. Nelson

All aircrafts were transferred to Hedron, FAW 4 upon arrival

12/13/43: Adak-Seattle via Umnak, Kodiak, Annette: 2,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,12,X10V (BuNo 29795), X12V (BuNo 33118), and 50V (PBY-5A BuNo 33968)

Lt. Mantius in 6V remained in Adak due to mechanical failure till 12/16/43

12/14/43: 9V and 7V both made single engine landing immediately after take-off from Umnak, following starboard engine failure on each plane. Both planes must have engine change before they can be flown again. Due to the limited facilities of the NAF, Umnak, new engines and mechanics must be sent from Adak.

12/15/43: 12V (Lt. R. K. Nelson) remained in Kodiak due to damaged stabilizer

12/16: X11 added to the unit to be transferred to Seattle. It was flown by Lt. Arnold from Adak to Umnak for ferry to Seattle.

Lt. C. B. Nelson and crew ordered to proceed from Umnak to Seattle via Naval Air Transport Service.

12/18/43: Lt Mantius in 6V detained in Cordova due to weather.

12/24/43: with 6V (Lt. Mantius), VB-136 delivered all the planes to Hedron/Seattle, and now in the process of reorganization. All officers and men of the former personnel have been detached and ordered to new billets, except for 5 patrol plane commanders and 5 co- pilots, who will be retained in the squadron. Most of the detached VB-136 personnel include those who participated in the joined Army- Navy B-24 training program at Adak, who have been ordered to further B-24 training.

Squadron Codes/ BuNos:

1V 33110 This a/c was transferred to Hedron and remained in Attu until October 1944. Dubbed “Pip Squeak”, on 23 October it was flown from Attu to Whidbey Island by Lt (jg) L. Patteson of VPB-135
2V 29775 
3V 33140 lost 11/9/43

4V 33118 As of Dec 1943- X12 of Hedron

4VR 29806 as of 11/17/43.

5V 29794 lost 5/10/43 

5VR1 29736 replacement from Hedron as of 5/13/43. 

5VR2 29737 as of 11/1/43. Ex-2V of VB-135

6V 29809

7V 29770 

8V 33133 lost 9/25/43 

8VR1 29744, transfer from VB-135 on 10/11/43. Five days later (10/16/43) flown to Adak for major repairs.

8VR2 29740, transfer from VB-135 on 10/21/43.

9V 29847 lost 5/10/43

9VR 29803  transfer from Hedron 5/13/43,. Water-looped June 10 (W. G. King)

10V 33141
11V 33121
12V 29814