3/28/45 15 new PB4Y-2 were assigned to the squadron with 6 used PB4Y-2 for training purposes. The 6 used planes were transferred to VPB-115 by the end of May.
59745, 7/19/45- emergency landing at Yakatat en route to Shemya from Whidbey Island via Anchorage and Adak.
August 1945: 18 crews and 14 Privateers. As of 8/3/45: 2 a/c transferred to HEDRON,12 planes in custody.
VPB-120 squadron call codes (tail codes) assigned by the Fleet Air Wing Four: 81-100.
The codes of the aircraft flown by the Squadron in August: 81- 95. The 93V (BuNo 59710) remained with Hedron through the month of August and did not participate in Kurile missions.
BuNos and known corresponding tail codes (squadron call codes):
59646 6-8/45, wrecked in Atsugi, Japan 1/14/1952
59704 95V 6-8/45 wrecked in Atsugi, Japan 1/14/1952
59710 93V 6-12/45 Hedron; no Kurile missions flown. 6-12/45
59716 92V 6-12/45
59741 91V 6-12/45 filmed as “Bouncing Betty” in 1958 movie “The Lady Takes A Flyer”
59745 90V “Black Sheep” 6-12/45
59807 89V 6-11/45
59809 87V? 6-11/45
59816 86V 1-11/45
59819 6-12/45 restored in VPB-120 colors, on display at Pima Air & Space Museum, Tuscon, AZ
59821 84V 6-12/45 wrecked at NAS Kodiak 7/22/1947
59838 81V 6-12/45
All BuNos and corresponding squadron codes were confirmed by the photographs. Analyzing their sequence it is logical to propose that
59827 was 82V
59823 was 83V
59819 was 85V
59646 was 96V
I am in continuous search for the photos of the Aleutian Privateers to prove this hypothesis!
Six bombing and strafing missions were flown before the end of the hostilities:
8/3: 82V Davis, 83V Marlin, 81V (59838) Reynolds, 84V Doyle
8/5: 83V Marlin, 86V (59816) Noyer, 91V (59741) Chandler, 92V Hofheimer
8/7: 84V Doyle, 88V MacLean, 94V Edwards, 95V Kisssling
8/12: 81V(59838) Reynolds, 82V Davis, 83V Cook, 84V Doyle, 87V(59809?) Courtney, 88V Chandler, 92V Hefferman, 94V McElnea. Two bombed Kurabu Zaki, three were diverted from mission to cover Task Force and provide anti-snooper patrol, two were recalled back to base
8/13: 83V Marlin, 89V(59807) Trust
8/14: Four Privateers flew the final Kurile mission, an anti-shipping sweep. 94V Edwards was over the target at 1300W, 84V Doyle- at 1312W, and 81V (59838) Reynolds- at 1338W. It is unclear whether any targets were attacked, since all planes were recalled to base due to the surrender of Japan at 1340W. The fourth plane, 87V (59809) Chandler, did not make it to his target area before receiving the call to return.
8/17: Sector searches
89V Cook (initially scheduled to fly 85V)
8/18: Sector searches (VPB-122)
8/21: Sector searches
72V McGerry (VPB-122)
8/22: Sector searches
67V Daves (VPB-122)
8/23: Sector searches
68V Curtin (VPB-122)
8/24: Sector searches
69V Little (VPB-122)
Two successful photo missions to the Kurils were flown by VPB-120 in August after the surrender of Japan:
8/24 86V Trust
8/25 92V Doyle
Both missions were flown from Onekotan south to the limit of range. On the first mission, approximately 400 vertical and oblique photos of Onekotan, and oblique photos of Shasukotan, and Harumkotan were obtained with 20" and 8 1/4" focal lens F-56 cameras. Additional 50 oblique photos were made with K-20 camera, all from the altitude between 200 and 1,000 feet.
Two small surface crafts were sighted in the bay north of Otomari Zaki during both missions. Another DD or DE making estimated 25 knots was sighted by 86V crew. No attempts were made to contact or identify the shipping due to the nature of the missions.
Two more photo missions were flown in September. Excellent vertical pictures of Kurile chain from Paramushiru to Shimushiru were obtained during September 3 mission.
8/25: Sector searches
65V Bruneau (VPB-122)
8/26: Sector searches
68V Word (VPB-122)
8/30: Sector searches
65V McCrery (VPB-122)
86V Trust (originally scheduled to fly 85V)
On September 27 six Privateers were stripped off armament, bomb bay tanks and armor for the purpose of transferring of the Staff of Commander North Pacific Force from Adak to Kodiak. On September 29 the squadron was flown from Shemya to Casco field, Attu. 30 September five disarmed aircraft, carrying 52 Navy personnel as passengers, departed Attu for Adak arriving the same day.
Early aircraft of VPB-120:
59357 4/45, 6-7/45 crashed 8/13/45 while with Hedron FAW6
59366 3/45, 6-7/45
59372 3-4/45, 6/45
59617 4-5/45 Miss Milovin (while with VPB-116/121)
59704 6-7/45 wrecked in Atsugi, Japan 1/14/1952
Flown by Donald Barker's crew in 1946 (per Malcolm Barker's flight log):