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CASU-36 | Carrier Air Support Unit Thirty-Six


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CASU-36 | Carrier Air Support Unit Thirty-Six


On 20 Oct 1942 CASU 36 was commissioned and permanently based at Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Santa Rosa to support the carrier squadrons present. Santa Rosa's 498 acres had two 7,000 x 200-ft. concrete runways plus a catapult and arresting gear system.


For the next few months, several squadrons were aboard including VT-2, VB-2, VB-11, VF-28, and VC-4.


American embroidery.



In 1939, the U.S. government sent a survey team north from San Francisco to find sites within one mile of the coast that could accommodate a 5,000-ft. runway. In the 400 miles to the Oregon border, only two sites were found -- Arcata and Crescent City. In early 1943, the Navy leased 442 acres, seven miles north of Arcata, to build an auxiliary air station.

Located 290 miles north of San Francisco, Arcata had one 6,000-ft. and one 4,500-ft. asphalt runway. Unfortunately, after the Navy opened the station, it discovered that Arcata had the third foggiest weather in the world. On occasion, fog would set in for weeks at a time. As a result, the Navy failed to achieve the maximum intended utilization of the station, but did take advantage of the situation by conducting fog dispersal experiments.


Arcata was initially planned as a base for 24 Ventura patrol bombers. The first operational unit on board, how ever, was the utility squadron VJ-2 that arrived in December 1943. VJ-2's complement consisted of five Avengers, six JMs, one J2F Duck, and one R50. In the summer of 1944, VS-71 with 11 SBDs was on board. For the remainder of the war, Arcata served as a rocket training facility for squadrons and air groups from Santa Rosa. The training was conducted by a detachment of Santa Rosa's CASU 36. In September 1944, CASU 36 had 15 F6F Hellcats. Four months later, CASU 36's aircraft consisted of 11 FM-2s, one SBD, and 12 Avengers. CASU 36's activities diminished and ended before VJ-Day.



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