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VB-15 | Bombing Squadron Fifteen | Disney design


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VB-15 | Bombing Squadron Fifteen

Commissioned 1 September 1943 at NAAS Creeds, Virginia

Disestablished 20 October 1945

19 May 1944 - September 1944 USS Essex (CV-9) | CVG-15 | SBD-
Oct 1944 - 14 Nov 1944 USS Essex (CV-9) | CVG-15 | SB2C-3

Aircraft: SBD-, SB2C-3 (Helldiver)






Embroidered on wool. Design by Walt Disney Studios.



On 13 January 1944 the squadron embarked in USS HORNET and remained aboard until it was transferred at Pearl Harbor on 4 March 1944. Thereafter it was under Commander, Air Force Pacific for further training until it reported for duty with USS ESSEX (CV-9) on 29 April 1944.

The squadrons initial training was in the Douglas Dauntless SBD5, but between 17 November 1943 and 13 January 1944 the transition was made to the Curtis Helldiver, SB2C-1C. The original plane complement was 36 SBDs, then SB2Cs. On boarding the ESSEX at Pearl Harbor this was reduced to 30 SB2Cs. A further change was made, between operations, at Eniwetok on 29 August 1944 when SB2C-3s were provided and their number reduced to 25. However, at this time 10 F6F-5s were nominally assigned to the squadron for nine pilots who were trained briefly as fighter-bombers and transferred on temporary orders to Fighting Squadron 15.

The shakedown on the USS Hornet was a North Atlantic "cruise to nowhere" which began on 13 January 1944 and ended 30 January 1944. After brief leaves the squadron departed Norfolk for Pacific duty aboard the HORNET on 14 February, arriving San Diego 27 February, departing 29 February, and arriving at Pearl Harbor, T.H. on 4 March. It disembarked on 5 March and remained at NAS Barbers Point through 8 March when it proceeded to NAS Pu'uene, Maui, for forward area training. This phase ended when it reported aboard USS ESSEX for duty on 29 April.


Bombing Squadron (VB) 15 combat aircrewmen and crew, NAS Pu'unene, Maui, TH, April 1944.



The squadron reached Majuro Atoll 9 May, sortied 15 May, attacked Marcus Island 19 and 20 May, spent 23 May striking Wake Island, and returned to Majuro Atoll 26 May. On 6 June it left Majuro Atoll for the Marianas Campaign. This campaign was marked by two phases, the first involving the conquest of Saipan, the second covering the recapture of Guam and the Capture of Tinian.

In the first phase attacks were made against Saipan, Pagan and an enemy convoy on 12 June, Saipan and enemy shipping on 13 June, Iwo Jima on 15 and 16 June, Pagan Island on 17 June, Guam on 19 June (fleet action also on this date). Guam and Saipan on 21 June, Guam and Tinian on 23 June, Guam on 24 and 25 June, Rota on 27 and 29 June and on 3 July. The second phase began with a sortie from Entiwetok Atoll on 14 July. Attacks were made 18 to 21 July on Guam, 23 July on Tinian, 24 July on Tinian and Rota, 25, 26 and 29 July and 1 August on Guam, returning to Entwetok Atoll 13 August. One day, 28 July was spent off Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, to load bombs.


The next campaign for control of Palau was opened with the departure from Eniwetok Atoll on 29 August. Strikes were made 7 September on Peleliu, and 8 September on Peleliu and Anguar, 9 and 10 September on Mindanao, 12 September on Cebu and Negros, 13 September on Negros, 14 September on Panay and Cebu, 21 September on Manila and enemy convoy west of Luzon, 22 September on Manila, 24 September on Cebu and shipping in the Calamian Islands in the South China Sea. The ship arrived at Kosvol Roads, Palau on 28 September and arrived at Ulithi Atoll 2 October.


The operation for reconquest of the Philippines began with sortie from Ulithi Atoll 6 October, attacks were made 10 October on Okinawa, and Nansei Shoto, 12 and 13 October on Formosa, and the Pescadores Islands, 14 October on Formosa, and 21 October on Southern Luzon and shipping in the Calamian Islands. Following this came strikes against enemy fleet units on 24 and 25 October, after which departure was taken for Ulithi Atoll, arriving 30 October.


SB2C-1C of VB-15 landing on USS Essex (CV-9) in 1944



Sortie was made from Ulithi Atoll 1 November for Manus, but because of intensified enemy activity in opposition to our advance in the Visayas, the coarse was changed and the Task group moved westward, first to a refueling rendezvous and then toward Luzon. four strikes were launched 5 November against the Manila area, followed by two more on 6 November. The force then retired, but struck again on 11 November and destroyed an enemy troop convoy attempting to reinforce the garrison at Leyte Island. On 13 and 14 November four more strikes were made on the Manila area destroying much shipping. Course was then set for Ulithi, which was reached 17 November.

On 18 November the squadron transferred to the USS Bunker Hill, and on 20 November it departed aboard that vessel for Pearl Harbor, arriving 29 November. On 1 December it left Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Bunker Hill, and on 6 December it arrived at Bremerton, Washington.





USS Essex Association




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