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TBF Planes of VC38, VC40, VMTB-143, VMTB-232, VMTB-233 at Munda Airfield 1943


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#1 djltucker

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:17 AM

I recently came across two photos posted on another military post that I did not know existed.  Upon ordering up high resolution copies from the National Archives I made an amazing discovery - I was able to ID a TBF plane that was flown by my uncle, William R Larson of Hanks, North Dakota while he was operating from Munda Airfield from October 17 to December 27 1943.  

 

Lt William R Larson photo.jpg

 

By cross-referencing declassified Mission Reports of the subject squadrons, I was able to decipher the Plane Numbers with Bureau Numbers of the following planes in these two photographs.  I was also able to list the names of the pilots  who flew these planes.

 

Photo #1:  (right to left)

 

Photo 1 TBF Munda.jpg

 

Squadron Plane # / Bureau Plane # / Pilot Name / Date / Squadron

 

 

#129      UNKNOWN

#101      06190   Leidecker 11/10/43 VMTB-143, Daugherty 10/26/43 VMTB-232

#104      47504   Metzelaars 10/30/43 VMTB-232, Gammage 10/31/43 VC38, Harris 11/10/43 VMTB -143

#115      47501   White 10/26/43 VMTB-232, Glenn 11/20/43 VMTB-143, Bauder 9/15/43 VMTB-233

#05        24182   Leake 9/14/43 VC38, Regan 10/26/43 VC38, Draughon 11/14 & 24/43 VC38,

                           Giblin 11/10/43 VC38, Boyden 11/20/43 VMTB-233, Larson 10/2,8,9,&10/43 VC38

 

 

Phone #2 (left to right)

 

Squadron Plane # / Bureau Plane # / Pilot Name / Date / Squadron

 

Photo 2 TBF Munda.jpg

 

 

#118      24482   Yeast 11/20/43 unknown and Ranson 11/24/43 unknown

#131      47506   Morrison 10/31/43 VC38 and Leake 11/10/43 VC38

#108      06472   Bartholf  9/15/43 VMTB233, Larson 10/28/43 VC38, Webb 11/10 & 20/43 VMTB-143,

                           Dahiani 11/24/43 unknown

#130      06341   Burris 10/26/43 VMTB-232, Collura 10/31/43 VC40, Phillippi 11/10/43 VC38,

                           Ranson 11/20/43 unknown, McDonald 11/24/43 VC38

 

Plane #108 (circled in red) was flown by my uncle, Lt. William R Larson on October 28, 1943 while VC38, VC40, and VMTB-143 bombed and strafed Kara Airfield.  These TBFs were a mix of TBF, TBF-1, and TBF-1c planes.  The planes were all interchangeable between Naval and Marine squadrons based on William's Aviator Flight Log Book and the available Mission Reports.

 

Log Book Oct 1943.jpg

 

Intel Report Oct 28 1943 Page 1.jpg

 

Intel Report Oct 28 1943 Page 2.jpg

 

Photo location of crew on wing: Munda Airfield, New Georgia Island, Solomons in October to November 1943

 

Gunner Wright Pilot William Larson Radioman Wagner Munda and TBF.jpg

 

Munda Airfield after the war

Munda Airfield post war.jpg

 

William at NAAS Otay Mesa, CA

William Larson TBF at NAAS Otay Mesa July 1943.jpg

 

I unfortunately have not been able to discover the fate of these planes.  They seemed to have disappeared after being moved on to the next island - Piva Airdrome on the Island of Bougainville in January of 1944.

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Larson of Portland Oregon



#2 vostoktrading

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 08:37 PM

Great photos and research Don, thanks for sharing this information. It's great that you could find out this information about your uncle.
Jon.

#3 Garandomatic

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 05:19 PM

My dad ended up going to a WWII reenactment of the PTO while visiting my brother last weekend, and thought of me when he saw a marine staff sergeant uniform. Turns out he was with VMTB(also known as VMSB)-233 from Guadalcanal until the last days of the war. Pretty sure he was ground crew. Thought I'd chime in on your post!

#4 uplandmod

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 11:02 PM

I own a uniform from a marine who was a rear gunner on a TBM in VMSB 143. It's such an unique coat in my collection.

Like you I was able to get the names of the pilot and radioman from his plane from the unit diaries on Fold3.

Fascinating that you were able to match the names to the planes in the photos.

Great research!

LF

Edited by uplandmod, 09 October 2014 - 11:03 PM.


#5 djltucker

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 12:19 PM

Thanks for the notes.  Since I originally posted, I have some updates:

 

A couple of updates and corrections to the list of pilots:

2nd Lt. James L. Yeast and 2nd Lt. Louis T. Ranson were both pilots with VMTB-143

Damiani was a pilot with VMTB-232 - the famous Red Devils



#6 Garandomatic

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 12:50 PM

Any info in your records for a William Q Gandy?



#7 uplandmod

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 02:06 PM

Thanks for the notes.  Since I originally posted, I have some updates:

 

A couple of updates and corrections to the list of pilots:

2nd Lt. James L. Yeast and 2nd Lt. Louis T. Ranson were both pilots with VMTB-143

Damiani was a pilot with VMTB-232 - the famous Red Devils

 

The Marine uniform I own was the Rear Gunner for 2nd Lt. Yeast. 

 

LF


Edited by uplandmod, 17 February 2015 - 02:06 PM.


#8 Johnny Signor

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 09:50 AM

VC-40 emblem

Attached Images

  • VC 40 1943_44 Insignia.jpg


#9 LuckyM

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 03:14 PM

Aircraft #129 should be BuNo 47510

 

It is good to have confirmation on the other side/bureau number combinations from another source!

 

 

 



#10 djltucker

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 07:22 PM

Thank you LuckyM for that information. 

 

I reviewed again the mission reports from VC38.  Your are exactly right - Lt. (jg)  Robert B. Giblin flew squadron plane number 129 / BuNo 47510 during a TBF mission to Juba Village area on 7 November 1943.  Additionally, First Lieutenant Garilli, USMC of VMTB 232 flew this plane on 26 October 1943 during a bombing mission to Kahili Airfield.

 

Also, since I posted this original report, I have been able to identify the exact date of this photo of TBFs at Munda Airfield.  The date is actually 26 October 1943.

 

Best Regards,

Don

Portland Oregon



#11 johnfwertz

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 12:19 PM

Hi Don,

 

Where did you find the declassified mission reports? I just learned that my grandfather, John W. Frederick Jr., was a tail gunner with VMTB-232. I'd love to try and find info about aircraft and any crew he flew with. He shipped out with the squadron from San Diego to Noumea, New Caledonia in July of 1943. That's all I know.

 

Thanks,

John Wertz

 

I recently came across two photos posted on another military post that I did not know existed.  Upon ordering up high resolution copies from the National Archives I made an amazing discovery - I was able to ID a TBF plane that was flown by my uncle, William R Larson of Hanks, North Dakota while he was operating from Munda Airfield from October 17 to December 27 1943.  

 

attachicon.gifLt William R Larson photo.jpg

 

By cross-referencing declassified Mission Reports of the subject squadrons, I was able to decipher the Plane Numbers with Bureau Numbers of the following planes in these two photographs.  I was also able to list the names of the pilots  who flew these planes.

 

Photo #1:  (right to left)

 

attachicon.gifPhoto 1 TBF Munda.jpg

 

Squadron Plane # / Bureau Plane # / Pilot Name / Date / Squadron

 

 

#129      UNKNOWN

#101      06190   Leidecker 11/10/43 VMTB-143, Daugherty 10/26/43 VMTB-232

#104      47504   Metzelaars 10/30/43 VMTB-232, Gammage 10/31/43 VC38, Harris 11/10/43 VMTB -143

#115      47501   White 10/26/43 VMTB-232, Glenn 11/20/43 VMTB-143, Bauder 9/15/43 VMTB-233

#05        24182   Leake 9/14/43 VC38, Regan 10/26/43 VC38, Draughon 11/14 & 24/43 VC38,

                           Giblin 11/10/43 VC38, Boyden 11/20/43 VMTB-233, Larson 10/2,8,9,&10/43 VC38

 

 

Phone #2 (left to right)

 

Squadron Plane # / Bureau Plane # / Pilot Name / Date / Squadron

 

attachicon.gifPhoto 2 TBF Munda.jpg

 

 

#118      24482   Yeast 11/20/43 unknown and Ranson 11/24/43 unknown

#131      47506   Morrison 10/31/43 VC38 and Leake 11/10/43 VC38

#108      06472   Bartholf  9/15/43 VMTB233, Larson 10/28/43 VC38, Webb 11/10 & 20/43 VMTB-143,

                           Dahiani 11/24/43 unknown

#130      06341   Burris 10/26/43 VMTB-232, Collura 10/31/43 VC40, Phillippi 11/10/43 VC38,

                           Ranson 11/20/43 unknown, McDonald 11/24/43 VC38

 

Plane #108 (circled in red) was flown by my uncle, Lt. William R Larson on October 28, 1943 while VC38, VC40, and VMTB-143 bombed and strafed Kara Airfield.  These TBFs were a mix of TBF, TBF-1, and TBF-1c planes.  The planes were all interchangeable between Naval and Marine squadrons based on William's Aviator Flight Log Book and the available Mission Reports.

 

attachicon.gifLog Book Oct 1943.jpg

 

attachicon.gifIntel Report Oct 28 1943 Page 1.jpg

 

attachicon.gifIntel Report Oct 28 1943 Page 2.jpg

 

Photo location of crew on wing: Munda Airfield, New Georgia Island, Solomons in October to November 1943

 

attachicon.gifGunner Wright Pilot William Larson Radioman Wagner Munda and TBF.jpg

 

Munda Airfield after the war

attachicon.gifMunda Airfield post war.jpg

 

William at NAAS Otay Mesa, CA

attachicon.gifWilliam Larson TBF at NAAS Otay Mesa July 1943.jpg

 

I unfortunately have not been able to discover the fate of these planes.  They seemed to have disappeared after being moved on to the next island - Piva Airdrome on the Island of Bougainville in January of 1944.

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Larson of Portland Oregon

 



#12 djltucker

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 02:13 PM

Hi John Wertz,

 

most of the mission reports and war diaries available are all posted on a paid site:  www.fold3.com.  I'd be happy to show you how to search the data base for WWII mission reports for  VMTB-232 in that time period.  VMTB-232 had several tours and flew in some amazing conditions.  They were the Red Devils.  If you private message me I could send you an example of a mission report with your grandfather's crew and squadron.




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