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VT-5 | "Torpcats"


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VT-5 | "Torpcats"

Established 15 February 1943
Re-Designated VA-6A 15 Nov 1946

15 February 1943 | NAS Norfolk
July 1943 | TH (Territory of Hawaii)
May 1944 | NAS Alameda
August 1944 | NAAS Alameda
February 1945 | TH
April 1945 | NAS Seattle
8 May 1945 | NAS Klamath Falls

6-24 Jul 1943 | Yorktown (CV-10) en route to the Hawaiian Islands via Panama
7 February 1945 | USS Franklin (CVG-13)


TBF-1; TBF-1C; TBM-3; TBM-3E


Embroidered on twill




Hand-painted on leather






15 February 1943: VGS-30 was disestablished and personnel from the squadron were used to form VT-5 and VF-1.

6–24 July 1943: The squadron departed Norfolk, Virginia embarked on USS Yorktown en route to the Hawaiian Islands via the Panama Canal.

31 August 1943: Embarked on Yorktown, the squadron participated in a raid on Marcus Island.

5–6 October 1943: The squadron participated in a raid on Wake Island.

November–December 1943: The squadron supported the Battle of Makin and the Battle of Tarawa, and flew strikes against Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

January–February 1944: The squadron provided air support for the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign.

16–17 February 1944: Squadron aircraft flew strikes against the Japanese stronghold of Truk.

22 February 1944: The squadron participated in a raid on the Marianas, striking targets on Saipan.

30 March–1 April 1944: Squadron aircraft struck ships and facilities at Palau in the Caroline Islands. The strike on 30 March was the first time the squadron’s TBFs were armed with torpedoes in combat.

21–23 April 1944: Strikes were flown against targets on Wake Island and Hollandia in New Guinea. These operations were in support of the landings at Hollandia by General Douglas MacArthur’s forces.

29–30 April 1944: The squadron participated in another strike operation against Truk.

30 April 1944: The squadron’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Dick Upson, failed to return from a search and rescue mission to locate a downed pilot.

14 May 1944: Following a ten-month combat tour beginning in August 1943, Air Group 5 was relieved aboard Yorktown by Air Group 1 and returned to CONUS to reform on 25 June 1944.

7 February 1945: Embarked on USS Franklin, the squadron departed NAS Alameda for Hawaii, arriving there on 13 February. This was the beginning of the squadron’s second major combat tour in the Pacific.


19 March 1945: VT-5 was preparing to launch its aircraft for an attack against the city of Kobe, Japan, when the Franklin was hit by two enemy bombs from a Japanese aircraft. Fires were ignited on the second and third decks from the first bomb and the second triggered munitions on the carrier. All VT-5’s aircraft on the flight and hangar deck were destroyed by the ensuing explosions and fire. The damage was one of the most extensive experienced by an Essex class carrier during World War II. A total of 724 men were killed and 265 wounded. VT-5’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Edmands, was lost in the action. All surviving VT-5 personnel were transferred from Franklin and returned to CONUS.


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Hi Rick.


Thanks for posting those great patches. I remember one grouping from Ebay years years back of Avenger crew member items from VT-5. Grouping included another one patch (different variation)?









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Hello Rick,

I was wondering the time frame of the patch you show for VT-5? Is it from 1945, or post WW2 in vintage, and did they retain the nickname "Torpcats", if you know?


The patch Jerry posted is shown being worn by VT-5 Skipper, LCDR "Dick" Upson aboard USS Yorktown in the images below. He was K.I.A. in April 1944. Thanks for your help and for sharing your great collection!

Regards, Paul



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I intended to also post the VT-5 insignia below. Some believe the red twill is the first insignia issued, but I am not sure. The squadron's lineage might explain how the insignia changed.


VT-5 was deployed on Yorktown (CV-5) at the Battle of Coral Sea (4-8 May 1942). Due to the beating it took, the squadron was replaced by another torpedo squadron called VT-5 during the Battle of Midway (4 to 7 June 1942) in which the Yorktown was sunk.


Subsequently, VT-5 served on USS Yorktown (CV-10) April, 1943 through April, 1944. It was on this deployment LCDR Upton, above, assumed command of VT-5, serving 15 Feb 1943 to his KIA about 30 Apr 1944.


Subsequently, VT-5 deployed aboard USS Franklin (CV-13) in February-March 1945. With the post-war establishment of attack squadrons, VT-5 was redeisnated VA-6A on 15 Nov 1946.


Using Upton's service as a bench mark, the insignia shown at the top of this post could be from the first cruise aboard Yorktown (CV-5), or the third cruise aboard Franklin (CV-13).



Embroidered on twill.


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Thanks for adding that beautiful red twill "Torpcats" patch. I dug a little on Fold3.com and found a squadron history for the VT-5 organization that reformed in May 1945 (after their deployment aboard USS Franklin) and disbanded in September 1945. Apparently they retained the "Torpcats" nickname and the red twill patch, as it is illustrated therein and can be seen on their jackets in the squadron group photo.




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Great detective work. Thanks for sharing some of it here. My hunch was that the patches at the top of the post were earlier rather than later than the red twill, and this would seem to confirm it.



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