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Carrier Air Service Unit 32 | CASU 32 | Ecenpac


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Carrier Air Service Unit 32 | CASU 32 | Ecenpac


During 1943-1945 CASU 32 was attached to ECENPAC and based at Kahului, Hawaii. The nature of its mission necessitated its men being deployed throughout the theater.


Silkscreened on aircraft fabric.



Behind those air fields and the vital role they have played in Pacific warfare, is the story of two Navy outfits that came, full fledged, from our secret councils of war. They were the CASUs and the Acorns.

When the fast paced and swiftly moving war descended upon us in December 1941, squadrons in a complete unit, proved to be too immobile it became quite evident that the old system of squadron operation would not be feasible. Whenever the squadrons embarked, or when they disembarked, there entailed shifting large groups of men and tons upon tons of material needless waste of manpower and time. This also proved to be the case whenever an aircraft carrier made port for any length of time and when it was still necessary for the pilots to continue their flying to keep themselves and airplanes in top combat condition. Men and material had to be shifted from the ship to the air station to maintain these aircraft.

The squadrons were cumbersome arrangements of aircraft and men, and something had to be done about it in a hurry. And as always, the Navy came through with the answer.

Compact maintenance units were formed, called Carrier Aircraft Service Units (abbreviated to CASU) and Patrol Aircraft Service Units (abbreviated to PATSU). As the names imply, the CASUs were primarily for the purpose of maintaining carrier type of aircraft; the PATSU handled the maintenance of patrol type of aircraft, usually the large PBY Catalina flying boats and the Lockheed PV Venturas. Fundamentally the two units were the same.

The nucleus of the CASU was made up of all the aviation ratings of the Navy: Aviation Machinist's Mates, Aviation Machinist's Mates with special jobs and designations such as Propeller, Instrument, Carburetor, and Hydraulic; Aviation Radiomen, Aviation Radarmen, Aviation Radio Technicians, Aviation Electricians, Aviation Painters, Aviation Ordnancemen, Aviation Metalsmiths, as well as the usual General Service ratings necessary to all naval establishments such as Yeomen, Storekeepers, Machinist's Mates, Cooks, Bakers, et cetera. The officers, both Regular Navy and Naval Reserve, are specialists in aviation. The Commanding Officer is usually a designated Naval Aviator.

Duties of the CASUs can be divided into three complete main groups: the supply and maintenance of active combat squadrons, the supply and maintenance and training of squadrons heading overseas, and the setting up of an aircraft pool in the forward area from which actively operating combat squadrons and aircraft carriers may draw replacement aircraft to replace their losses in combat.

When first conceived, the CASU was a complete unit in itself in that it had all the men and material to completely set up an operating air station on some island in the forward combat area. This system proved itself very well, but many headaches arose in the execution of the duties of maintaining an airfield, setting up and maintaining living quarters and messing facilities, keeping all trucks, jeeps, and other rolling stock in operation. All this in addition to the upkeep and maintenance of aircraft on the air strip. Further, while the CASU's mobility proved itself to be far greater than the old squadron system, when it came to island hopping the CASU offered many of the old headaches encountered under the squadron system.

The CASU was streamlined down to the point where the squadrons found themselves when their groundmen were taken away. Composed only of personnel Officers and men and hampered only by the carrying of their personal effects, the CASU found itself to be highly mobile, just what the Navy wanted when it started out. Island hopping proved to be very easy they could be on their way to a new station as fast as they could drop their tools.

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