7 June 1942:

Navy Patrol Squadron VP-43, commanded by Lt. Cmdr C.B. “Doc” Jones, departed Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, CA, for Alaska.  The squadron had received orders to deploy its PBY-5s the day before, had held a going away party in the Del Coronado Hotel, and departed the next morning. (Carl Amme, “VP-43 Joins the Airdales.”)

10 June 1942:

Lt (jg) Milton Dahl discovered enemy ships and installations on Kiska and Attu.

Machinist Leland L. Davis, piloting 04442 43-P-10, spotted and attacked a Japanese submarine south of Tanaga Island while on patrol.  The crew observed several bombs hits near and hull and submitted a claim for sinking the submarine. Japanese records after the war failed to substantiate the claim.

11 June 1942, KIA:

Lieutenant Commander Carroll B. “Doc” Jones, Commander, VP-43, led the first PBY bombing attack against the Japanese on Kiska. Anti-aircraft fire struck the PBY flown by Ens. James O. Clark, killing the plane captain, AMM(1c) W. H. Lansing and the second radioman, Seaman (2c) Ellis J. Keith, and seriously wounding a third crewmember.  Ensign Clark and his copilot managed to fly their damaged PBY back to Nazan Bay, where it promptly sank on landing near the Gillis (AVD-12).

14 June 1942, KIA:

Patrol Squadron VP-43 flew its last mission against the Japanese on Kiska.  Japanese anti-aircraft fire shot down the PBY flown by Ens. Leland L. Davis and his six-man crew.

Ensign Leland L. Davis, Jackson, Miss.; Ensign Robert F. Keller, Wichita, Kan.; Seaman 2nd Class Elwin Alford, Bogalusa, La.; Seaman 2nd Class Dee Hall, Syria, Okla.; Aviation Machinist Mate John H. Hathaway, Lafayette, Ind.; Aviation Radioman 2nd Class Robert A. Smith, Glen Dive, Mont.; and Aviation Pilot 3rd Class Albert J. Gyorfi, Wilbur, Wash.; all U.S. Navy.

25 June 1942:

three planes rescued crew of stranded submarine S27 from Amchitka Island

1 July 1942:

6 PBY-5 at Umnak (or ten at Chernofski?)

1 August 1942:

6 PBY-5 at Chernofski, Unalaska Island

13 August 1942:

Lt. G.W. Smith rescued from Semisopochnoi Island six surviving men of Capt. Ira F. Wintermute’s crew who bailed out from their damaged B-24D.


20 August 1942:

The squadron was replaced by VP-61

16-20 September 1942:

To Seattle, then Alameda 

17 October 1942:

Returned to the Aleutians.

1942, plane numbers 43-P-1 trough 43-P-12, call codes 17V-28V


04400 (PBY-5A) Nose wheel failure on landing in Kodiak 2 December 1942 (VP-62); repaired by Hedron. Transferred to VP-43 14 December 1942. Per DC, lost off Adak 23 July 1943 while flying with VP-61. No confirmation in FAW diaries.

04401 transferred from VP-42 to VP-43 14 December 1942

04409 43-P-?/17V  31 Aug 1942 Lt Sammy L. Coleman participated in attack on Japanese sub RO-61. Five Japanese were taken POW

04425 Damaged beyond repair in storm 20 November 1942 off Dutch harbor

04437 43-P-5 Ens. W.T. Sorensen participated in attack on a Japanese submarine RO-61 31 Aug 1942. Major repairs required after storm 20 November 1942. To Hedron 26 Jan 1943

04439 hit mountains east of Half Moon Bay, CA 1 June 1942.  Pilot and 7 on board killed. (JB)

04440 43-P-?/32V stricken off 17 January 1943

04441 participated with VP-43 in rescue of crewmen from submarine USS S27 that ran aground at Amchitka Island in the Aleutians Jun 26, 1942.  Went to A&R Seattle Nov 9, 1942.  It then went through various other units, including VP-101, VP-24, VPB-52, FAW-10. It was struck off charge at Seattle as obsolete Apr 30, 1945. (JB)

04442 43-P-10 June 10, 1942 Machinist Leland L. Davis attacked and possibly sank Japanese submarine on the surface south of Tanaga Island.

This plane ran onto beach in downwind landing 5 July 1942; was hauled off.

04444 (PBY-5) transferred to VP-61 14 December 1942

04449 (PBY-5) transferred to Comfair, Seattle

04459 missing SW of Dutch Harbor 28 June 1942 (JB, VP-41?)

04466 blown ashore and destroyed 2 September 1942 in Korovin Bay

04469 Lt (jg) S.C. Raithell is missing 25 August 1942 on mail flight from Cold Bay to Kodiak via Sand Point

04470 (PBY-5) transferred to VP-61 14 December 1942

04483 (PBY-5) transferred to VP-61 14 December 1942

04486 Slightly damaged in storm 2 November 1942

04487 43-P-?/27V Destroyed 26 August 1942: Forced landing off Amila Island, damage to the hull. Tow attempted by the U.S.S. Williamson. When the nose of the PBY hit the bow of the U.S.S. Williamson, two depth charges accidentally released. Three plane crew members and one of U.S.S. Williamson are missing.

04499 July 20, 1942 Lt Roy Green crashed into a mountain side on Atka Island during takeoff killing all aboard.  In addition to Lieutenant Green, those killed were: Ens.  Joseph Segal, Weimar Neunger, AMM2c Jack Heath, AMM1c James H. Smith, H.M. Mercer and ARM3c E.R. Hulse.

04508 43-P-4 28V 31 August 1942 Lt. C.H. Amme participated in attack on Japanese submarine RO-61. The aircraft was permanently beached and salvaged after the storm 2 November 1942. The parts from 04508 were used to repair the 04492 of VP-61 which broke away from its buoy and collided with 04508 and 04486 in the same storm. Stricken from the Navy list of aircraft 14 November 1942

7289 18 May 1943 Damaged on take-off at Sitka, beached in a sinking condition, later stricken off.

7296 transferred from VP-41 to VP-43 14 December 1942. Struck a reef on forced water landing 40 miles east of Kodiak 19 July 1943. Repaired. Lt (jg) White

7297 transferred from VP-41 to VP-43 14 December 1942. Designated 28V. Enroute Dutch Harbor to Kodiak 10 March 1943 (Lt Gish) crashed to the mountain slope on NE shore of Lake Becharof, Kodiak. 8 crew killed. Stricken off the record 14 March 1943.

27 April 1943:

at Kodiak with six PBY-5As

1 June 1943:

Back to Seattle.


1 July 1943:

VP-43 was reformed at NAS Astoria, OR. CO Lt. Cmdr John A. Horton, Jr (ex-CO of Hedron FAW6).

Several Aleutian combat experienced pilots and senior aircrewmen from old VP-43, VP-41 and VP-42 were the nucleus for new VP-43. A dozen experienced pilots from two South Pacific PBY squadrons were added. The appointment of Lt. Marshall C. Freerks as X/0 of VP-43 was a large plus. Wise to Aleutian weather, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during his extensive combat experience with VP-42, Freerks was an outstanding leader and superb pilot. Jack o. "Ole" Haugen, a plane captain and experienced AMMic, USN, wrote an unofficial "The Story of VP-43" published in March 1967. From Haugen's squadron history, and in condensed form, we learn details of VP-43's preparations for its third tour and its day of departure for the Aleutians

“During this formation period and the early phase of training at Oak Harbor the squadron was under command of Lt. Cmdr. Gerald E. Pierson; a pilot with long experience flying in the Aleutians. During part of this training period the squadron also operated from NAS Tongue Point, OR. Lt. Cmdr. Pierson turned over command to Lt.Cmdr. John A. Horton, Jr. and the squadron returned to Oak Harbor to complete the training program. Misfortune first struck new VP-43 August 30, 1943 during this final phase of intensified training. A crew was practicing night bounce hops off the water. On one of these touch-and-go landings the PBY hit so hard it broke in half killing Emmett L. Covey, ARM3/c. (Paul E. Carrigan)

11-12 October 1943:

Patrol Squadron VP-43, after a short stops at Adak and Shemya, arrived at Naval Air Station, Attu, and began regular sector searches with its ten PBYs, operating from the seaplane tender Casco (APV-12). It relieved Patrol Squadron VP-61, stationed at Amchitka, which had departed for Seattle, WA.


Call signs 49V-60V


33966/49V One of two planes from the first “Milk Run” (Kuril mission 21 December 1943)

33968/50V Port engine failure near Sitka on the way to Seattle 23-24 April 1944

48388/50VR Ex-VP-61, from Hedron 1 March 1944 in exchange for 04410

33969/51V Crashed on take-off from Casco Bay 17 January 1944. No survivors. Lt (jg) Merle J. Noe, James W. Bolton. Ens. Donald A. Mattison, AMM2c Julian D. Malcolm, AMM2c Walter E. Grissom, ARM2c Abner S. Archer, ARM2c Clifford Guidry, AOM2c Leo A. Hoff and ARM2c William C. Miller.





33974/55V attacked by a “Betty” 21 Oct 43 (Lt (jg) G. M. Violette)

33975 damaged in forced landing due to bad weather 4 Oct 1943, sent to Seattle for major overhaul


34017/57V Crashed 31 March 1944, Lt Wyman, Ens. Anthony M. Moriarty, copilot; Ens. Raymond O. Rozuk, AMM2c Arvo A. Ranta, flight engineer; AMM2c LaVere M. Ryther, flight engineer; ARM2c George L. Huschka, radio operator, ARM2c Armstead S. Hardee; and AOM2c Charles L. Olson.

33978/58V 19 Oct 43 Lt N. P. Wyman landed short at Shemya, major damage to the plane, no injury to the crew. Recommended as a strike.

33999 crashed in bad weather near the crest of a ridge at Pysht, WA 4 October 1943, Lt (jg) Charles H Essig and seven crew killed: Ens. Edgar E. Anderson, Ens. John A. Erdwing, ARM3c Richard J. Buschle, ARM3c Ray Highsmith, Jr., ARM3c Garland W. Knight, ARM3c Bernard J. Lauer and AMM3c Hillard Mullenix.  Two survivors.

34029/58VR as of 28 Oct 1943. One of two planes from the first “Milk Run”

34019/59V Burned on the ground in a fire during routine check 28 Oct 1943


34021 to Hedron. New 59V as of 31 Oct 1943. With Hedron FAW4 as of September 1944.

34024 to Hedron

34029 to Hedron. New 58V as of 28 Oct 1943. One of two planes from the first “Milk Run”

20 December 1943:

Lt.Cmdr. Horton and Lt(jg) Riedel flew the first PBY mission over the Kuriles. Eight more missions (about 30 sorties) were flown, all by VP-43, except for one flown by three planes of VP-62 on 4 February 1944. As of 17 February,1944, all PBY’s were removed from Kurile missions. The navigators from VP-43, however, continued to fly Empire Express missions with VB-139 while the rest of squadron flew sector patrols. Ensign Robert “Bob” Janson was scheduled to navigate for Lieutenant Moore (VB-139) with the primary duty of assist and check out Ens. Mitchell F. Lambert, a navigator on temporary duty with VP-43. Both were killed in a crash after take-off from Casco Cove 25 March 1944.

20 February 1944:

Lieutenant Marshall C. Freerks assumed command of VP-43 from Lt Cmdr John A. Horton, Jr.

Lt. Freerks had been the squadron executive officer and was a veteran of the Aleutian Campaign.

14-23 April 1944:

VP-43 was relieved by VP-61 

20 May 1944:

Lieutenant Commander Shelby O. Cole assumed command of VP-43 at Ault Field, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, WA.  The squadron was in the process of preparing for its third deployment to Alaska.

August 1944:

15 PBY-5A’s are permanently assigned to VP-43:
















11 October 1944:

VPB-43 arrived at Adak to relieve VPB-62.

6 Dec 1944:

Patrol Squadron VPB-43 discontinued sector searches from Attu with its PBYs in preparation for departure to relieve VPB-61 stationed on Amchitka, Adak, Dutch Harbor and Kodiak. This resulted in all searches from Attu being conducted by PV-1s. It brought to a close the use of PBY on patrols west of Attu. The PV-1 crews assumed the responsibility. The PBY crews, now based on Amchitka, Adak, Dutch Harbor and Kodiak, were responsible for conducting inshore patrol and patrolling over convoys.  The move ended an era when the PBY crews served on the front line of the war.

25 July 1945:

Ten VPB-62 crews arrived at Naval Air Station Adak to replace VPB-43 crews. The squadron took over from VPB-43, which had operating out of Adak with detachments at Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and Amchitka. Patrol Bombing Squadron VPB-43 had transferred its PBYs to VPB-62 on 1 August and its personnel had begun departing, beginning 21 July, for Naval Air Station Sand Point in Naval Air Transport Service aircraft.

29 August 1945:

Commander, Fleet Air, Seattle, announced that the Chief of Naval Operations had decided to decommission VPB-110, VPB-112, VPB-43, VPB-61 and VS-48 on or about 1 September 1945.

10 September 1945:

The Navy decommissioned VPB-43 at Naval Air Station, Seattle, WA. Lieutenant John D. Seal served as its last commander.  The squadron had been reduced to cadre strength.