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CASU-54 | Carrier Aircraft Service Unit Fifty-Four | and an explanation of what a CASU did


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CASU-54 | Carrier Aircraft Service Unit Fifty-Four


CASU-54 was based at NAS Fallon, Nevada, 1943-1945.


Silkscreened on aircraft fabric.






What is a Carrier Aircraft Service Unit?

CASUs ran in various sizes depending on whether they were formed to maintain 45 planes, 90 planes, 180 planes, 270, or the big 360-plane outfits. They had a standard complement of officers ranging from 16 to 89 and enlisted men from 16 to 89 and enlisted men from 185 to 1,500. There were scores of CASUs operating on islands in the Pacific and a few large units operating in the continental United States, such as this one. CASUs in forward zones were eventually designated as CASU(f) - Combat Aircraft Service Unit.


The No. 1 job of the Carrier Aircraft Service Unit was to maintain and repair planes. It may have been on some little atoll in the Central Pacific, a comparatively luxurious rear base like Espiritu Santo, or at an air station in continental United States. Most of the CASUs however, were based on islands and their job was to keep the squadron's planes flying.


A CASU was organized into eight divisions.

  • Engineering division includes personnel lo operate everything from the machine shop to the photo and propeller shops.
  • Flight Division personnel comprise line engineering crews, parachute loft, fueling crews, and tractor men.
  • Ordnance Division rearms aircraft guns, loads bombs and torpedoes, and keeps the plane's armaments operating.
  • Communications division installs, checks and repairs all radio gear and handles secret and confidential mail.
  • Under the First Lieutenant come birthing and messing, maintenance of buildings and grounds, carpenter shop, fire and air raid security, damage control, and maintenance of a garage for care of CASU vehicles.
  • Sixth division, Supply and Disbursing, was responsible for procurement, custody, issuance and accounting for all materials required for operation of the CASU. It inventories incoming and outgoing aircraft, maintains storerooms for handling material needs of squadrons and the CASU, maintains office records and handles disbursements. The storeroom has sufficient stock to furnish all upkeep requirements for repairing any type of aircraft under the CASU's charge.
  • Personnel and Medical divisions comprise the remainder of the CASU's extensive organizational structure.


CASUs based in the continental limits of the country may have had additional duties not required of those on island bases. Besides training men to make up crews for
maintaining carrier-type planes, to be organized later and sent out as CASUs to work on carriers,they also serve as mustering points for squadrons which will man new carriers.


CASUs on advanced Pacific Islands ran into the same kind of rugged living conditions as front line troops. Long hours of night work repairing carrier-type planes, sleepless nights filled with bombings, cold food, disease, casualties, foxholes-all or these arc a daily chapter in the kind of warfare they ran into.


Many units landed right behind the Marines and had to build their bases from scratch before they could start maintaining planes. Their problems were much different from those confronting CASUs operating on the continent.


A few of the jobs a CASU performed, whether on the mainland, or at a remote station:


  • Maintenance of aircraft in flying condition is the No. 1 duty of CASU anywhere, whether in a well-equipped machine shop or at an airfield captured from the enemy. Supply of aircraft parts so planes can be repaired and put back in the air to fight, requires an efficient set-up in a CASU. All parts from wheels to propellers or tires must be carried in the CASU's stock room.
  • Refueling of planes was a task assigned to the CASUs flight division, which also takes care of line engineering, parachutes and tractor crews.
  • Training of fighting personnel went on even at advanced bases. Gunners reviewed recognition films so that they can recognize friendly planes when they appear. Entertainment of squadron personnel also fell upon the island-based CASU.
  • Flight division of a CASU was charged with fire prevention and firefighting, along with fueling and maintaining airplanes.
  • Messing, berthing and service of personnel of air units based on an island was another responsibility of the CASU.
  • Service units provide the pilots with line shacks, ready rooms, slit trenches or bombproofs, whenever the need arises. At continental stations their task has additional responsibilities.
  • Health of a squadron's personnel is important, so CASUs provide medical and dental care and look after sanitation problems wherever they may be based.
  • CASU ordnance crews rearm aircraft when the plane finishes a mission or returns to its station after a gunnery run. Some service units operate their own training schools to keep men up on newest developments in engines or ordnance.


Even the commonplace ready room is an activity looked after by the CASU if it is on an advanced base or a station where such is not already provided.


To establish clear-cut relationships for aircraft maintenance, on July 11, 1946 the Chief of Naval Operations directed the disestablishment of all CASU's and other maintenance units and their replacement by Fleet Aircraft Service Squadrons by 1 January. The new FASRONs were to be of three kinds according to aircraft types serviced, and were designed to promote higher standards and greater uniformity and efficiency in aircraft maintenance.




Geographic Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft: 1943-1945.

Naval Aviation News. September 1, 1944. pp 12-21. "CASU".



What is a Carrier Aircraft Service Unit


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