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VPB-61 | Patrol Bombing Squadron Sixty One


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VPB-61 | Patrol Bombing Squadron Sixty One


Established as Patrol Squadron SIXTY ONE (VP-61) on 1 May 1942.

Redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron SIXTY ONE (VPB-61) on 1 October 1944.

Disestablished on 15 September 1945.


Aircraft: PBY-5/5A


The only official insignia used by VPB-61 was submitted for approval on 28 June 1945, and was approved by CNO on 6 July 1945. The insignia was comprised of a cat, representing the PBY-5A Land Cats, rolling a lucky seven with a pair of dice. The cat was standing on a bomb with a pair of binoculars around its neck, signifying the squadron’s primary function as a patrol bombing squadron. There were two color themes for the cat. When northern based, the squadron painted the cat white on a black bomb; if southern based, it became black on a gray bomb.


Embroidered on twill




Colors: field, aquamarine; dice, white and gray with black dots; bomb, black (or gray) with yellow highlights; cat, white (or black); cat jowls, gray; eyes, white with lime green pupil; tongue, dull red; mouth, black; binoculars, black with yellow highlights; cap on cat, bright blue and yellow striped.



Chronology of Significant Events


19 Jan 1943: VP-61 relieved VP-42 at NAF Otter Point. After getting settled, detachments of aircraft were sent to NAF Dutch Harbor, Aleutians.


4 May 1943: Squadron headquarters were reestablished at NAF Adak, Alaska, with a detachment at Amchitka Island.


10 May–7 Jun 1943: Squadron headquarters were shifted to Amchitka Island in preparation for the invasion of Attu Island on 11 May. On 7 June 1943, the establishment of NAF Attu within one week of its capture from the Japanese brought FAW-4 bases to the tip of the Aleutian chain, nearly 1,000 miles from the Alaskan mainland and 750 miles from Japanese territory in the Kuriles.


8 Apr 1944: The squadron departed NAS Whidbey Island for its third Aleutian tour, proceeding to Yakutat, Alaska, then on to NAS Kodiak on 12 April. After reporting to FAW-4 headquarters, the squadron was given orders to report to Adak Island to attend the LORAN School and the Ordnance refresher course. LORAN, which stood for long-range aid to navigation, equipment had been tested for the first time at NAS Lakehurst, N.J., on 13 June 1942. Operators could home in on beacons during IFR flying conditions and find their home bases safely. In the inclement weather of the far northwest, this equipment proved to be a lifesaver.


22 Apr 1944: VP-61 departed Adak for NAS Attu, commencing daily patrols the next day. The patrol areas were divided into six pieshaped segments extending 350 miles out to sea.


15 Sep 1944: VP-61 began flying inshore patrols along the shipping lanes, which extended the complete length of the Aleutian chain. To facilitate the coverage over these vast distances, the squadron was divided into detachments: Headquarters moved to NS Adak, Detachment 1 went to NAF Amchitka, Detachment 2 to NAS Kodiak, and  Detachment 3 went to NAF Dutch Harbor.


10 Dec 1944: VPB-61 was relieved from inshore patrols by VPB-43. The various detachments rejoined the headquarters staff at NAS Kodiak.


11–28 Dec 1944: VPB-61 departed Kodiak en route to NAS Seattle, Wash. The last aircraft arrived on 28 December 1944, and all hands were given home leave.


1 Feb 1945: VPB-61 began reforming at NAS Whidbey Island with new personnel and equipment. With the end of the war imminent, deployment plans were delayed until the end of August, when the decision was made to disestablish the squadron.


15 Sep 1945: VPB-61 was disestablished at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash.


A PBY taxiing past two PT boats in the Aleutians, September 1943.





A PBY on patrol in the Aleutians area, March 1943, 80-G-K-8145.





Roberts, Michael D. Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons. Volume 2. Naval Historical Center. p pp 481-484.


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Great patch Rick. I have the same version machine embroidered on twill. 

Patch come with more personal items from PBY pilot VPB-61 John B. Philson















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