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VT-3 | Torpedo Squadron 3 | CVs Enterprise, Lexington, Saratoga, Yorktown


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VT-3 | Torpedo Squadron 3 | USS Enterprise (CV-6), USS Lexington (CV-2), USS Saratoga (CV-3), HMS Victorious, USS Yorktown (CV-10)

Established as Torpedo and Bombing Squadron TWO (VT-2) on 6 July 1925.
Redesignated Torpedo and Bombing Squadron TWO B (VT-2B) on 1 July 1927.
Redesignated Torpedo Squadron THREE (VT-3) on 1 July 1937.
Redesignated Attack Squadron FOUR A (VA-4A) on 15 November 1946.
Redesignated Attack Squadron THIRTY FIVE (VA-35) on 7 August 1948.
Disestablished on 7 November 1949.

The first squadron to be assigned the VA-35 designation.



Grumman TBD-1 Devestator

Grumann TBM-1C Avenger


(Dates followed by Air Group and Aircraft type)
December 1941 - 19 February 1942 | CV-3 USS Saratoga Saratoga Air Group | TBD-1
July 1942 - 25 August 1942 | CV-6 USS Enterprise Enterprise Air Group | TBD-1
November 1942 - 30 July 1943 | CV-3 USS Saratoga Saratoga Air Group | TBD-1

July 1943 - 18 August 1943 | HMS Victorious Saratoga Air Group | TBD-1
October 1944 - 5 March 1945 | CV-10 USS Yorktown CVG-3 | TBM-1C
March 1945 - 27 March 1945 | CV-10 USS Yorktown CVG-3 | TBM-1C


The patch is part of a lot I was fortunate to acquire that also included photos and documents of an Aviation Machinist Propeller First who served in VT-3, 1940-1945. NAVPERS-553 indicates ratings held: AS, S2, S1, AMM3, AMMP3, AMMP2, AMMP1.



Theater made. Silkscreened on aircraft fabric.










Aug 1942: Operating from Enterprise (CV 6), VT-3 participated in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Nov 1942–Jul 1943: VT-3 operated from Saratoga, flying combat missions against various Japanese held islands in the South Pacific and providing air cover for American forces operating in the Eastern Solomons. When the squadron was not operating from Saratoga it was based ashore at various places, including Fiji; Efate and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides; Tontouta, New Caledonia, and Guadalcanal, Solomons.

May 1943: The British carrier HMS Victorious joined the Saratoga task force and operated with it until the latter part of July.

31 Jul 1943: VT-3’s TBFs were transferred to Tontouta on 30 July and the following day squadron personnel embarked on HMS Victorious for transfer to CONUS to reform. This ended the air group and squadron’s association with Saratoga.

25 Sep 1943: VT-3 and Saratoga Air Group were reformed at NAS Seattle. The Saratoga Air Group was reformed as Carrier Air Group THREE (CVG-3) with VT-3 as one of the three squadrons.

Nov 1944: VT-3 conducted combat operations from Yorktown (CV 10) against targets in the Philippines in support of the Leyte invasion.

Dec 1944: The squadron flew combat operations from Yorktown against targets on Luzon in preparation for the invasion of the island. While retiring from the combat area Task Force 38, which included Yorktown and CVG-3, sailed through a typhoon which sank three destroyers and extensively damaged other ships in the task force.

Jan 1945: Combat operations were conducted against targets in Formosa and the Philippines in support of the Lingayen Gulf landings on Luzon in early January. With Yorktown leading the way, Task Force 38 entered the South China Sea on 10 January. VT-3 struck targets near Saigon and along the Vietnamese coast, Hong Kong and Canton areas, Formosa and Okinawa.

9 Jan 1945: For actions against enemy targets on Formosa Lieutenant Frank F. Frazier was awarded the Silver Star.

Feb 1945: VT-3 participated in the first carrier strikes against the Tokyo area, bombing the Tachikawa Engine Factory, 16 miles from the Imperial Palace. Following these strikes the squadron concentrated its attention on Chichi Jima and air support for the invasion of Iwo Jima. This operation was the last combat action for the squadron during World War II. In early March VT-3 transferred to Lexington (CV 16) for transit to the States.



Grumman TBD-1 Devastator





Grumman TBM-1C Avenger




Roberts, Michael D. (2000). Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons, Volume 2, Chapter 4 Patrol Bombing Squadron (VPB) Histories (VPB-121 to VPB-141). Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy.




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  • 1 year later...
David Renfro

The young man on the left is my father, Kenith Botts Renfro. CPO Renfro had served 28 years and was active duty when he passed in '67. Post war, he served on the Yorktown, Saipan, Independence, Randolf. His final two cruses were aboard CVAN-65 USS Enterprise, 1964 (maiden) and 1965, with Heavy Attack Squadron VHA-7. My Grandmother had four pictures from the same photo session, different posses, she gave me the one I sill have. Imagine my excitement when I stumbled on the photo above. Thanks so much for this article, it fills in so many gaps and of course, Dad never spoke of the war.

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