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VT-15 | Torpedo Squadron 15


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VT-15 | Torpedo Squadron 15


Aircraft: Grumman TBF/TBM 1C Avenger


Embroidered on wool.

Perhaps no group had as much luck at being in the right places at the right times than Carrier Air Group 15 (CAG-15).  They first deployed on USS Essex (CV-9) in May 1944. When they were relieved seven months later, in November 1944, they had amassed an incredible record of achievement and fought in two of the largest naval battles of the Pacific War.  Air Group 15 was to figure heavily in twenty-three major engagements, including two full-scale naval battles. It was to destroy battleships, carriers, and troopships, and more airplanes than any other group had ever destroyed. It was to neutralize a dozen enemy bases, send scores of cargo ships to the bottom, destroy docks and dumps, gun emplacements and supply depots by the hundreds. It was to move twice as close to Japan as any other carrier group had ever been to set the record for enemy aircraft shot down in a single day, produce the leading Navy ace of the war, and win glory and medals for all its survivors.The fighter squadron, Fighting 15, destroyed 312 enemy aircraft in the air and an additional 348 on the ground. The number increases by more than 300 including probable losses and damaged enemy aircraft. Twenty-six pilots became aces in the Fighting 15. Their leader, David McCampbell, was the Navy’s Ace of Aces. McCampbell finished the war with 34 kills including nine in a single mission, for which he earned the Medal of Honor.

Bombing and Torpedo 15 also shared in the collection of accolades. The two attack squadrons destroyed 174,300 tons of enemy shipping. They also played a major role in sinking the super battleship Musashi and the carrier Zuikaku, the last surviving carrier from the attack on Pearl Harbor, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. Every member of Torpedo 15 received the Navy Cross for actions during their tour of duty. What Carrier Air Group 15 did in those seven months of 1944 is unparalleled. Beyond their impressive kill scores, the unit took part in the two largest naval battles in history: the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944 and the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944.


For the whole group, losses were: Pilots: 43 killed or missing and 12 wounded. Crewmen: 29 killed or missing, and 13 wounded. Of the planes, 77 were lost and 301 were damaged. For these losses what did Air Group 15 do in retaliation? In the air: 312 planes positively destroyed and 33 probably destroyed and 65 damaged. in its seven months of duty the group sand thirty-seven cargo vessels, probably sank ten more, and damaged thirty-nine, each of more than 1,000 tons capacity and some of them very big ships indeed. The total tonnage of enemy merchant shipping positively sunk was 174,300, the equivalent of about twenty-three American Liberty ships.


To Air Group 15 fell the honor of first attacking the Bonin Islands, and Iwo Jima, 600 miles from Tokyo. Also, the group was first to hit Mindanao, the Visayan Islands, Manila and Formosa and the Ryukyu Islands. When A.G. 15 attacked the Bonins, the Essex approached closer to Japan than any other U.S. surface vessel had come since the war began. Later, in November, the Essex and A.G. 15 were to come even closer when they first attacked Japanese bases on Okinawa where American troops have since landed.

It is quite safe to say that no other unit or element of the Navy saw quite as much action in the naval battle of October 24-25 off the Philippines as did the task group to which A.G. 15 was attached.

For this was the only carrier task group that participated in both days of the fighting.


VB-15 and VT-15 aircraft on the Essex, turning into the wind, May 27th, 1944 just before the Marianas campaign.
The light carrier is San Jacinto (CVL-30) and the Essex-class carrier is Wasp, (CV-18).



Officers of Torpedo Squadron Fifteen (VT-15) aboard USS Essex (CV-9). Photo taken at Majuro Atoll sometime between 15 and 19 May 1944.
About half the men in this picture would earn the Navy Cross in October–November 1944, and at least three of them (Otto R. Bleech, Edwin S. Filipczak and Paul E. Southard, Jr.) would be killed in action in 1944–5.



Men of Torpedo Squadron Fifteen (VT-15) aboard USS Essex (CV-9). Photo taken at Majuro Atoll sometime between 15 and 19 May 1944.









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  • 2 years later...

This insignia is also identified as being from VT-15.


Painted on leather.






Insignia and Decorations of the U. S. Armed Forces. Revised Edition December 1, 1944. National Geographic Society. p 180.



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  • 1 year later...
Salvage Sailor

Aloha Jim,


Different squadrons.  The VT designations in WWII were Torpedo Squadrons, later they were training squadrons (1960ish to present)


Your VT-15 fits in here -->>  VT HT ATG BTG Naval Aviation Training Squadron Patches


Great photo of the jacket, we didn't have a training squadron VT-15 posted yet.

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