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VB-19 | Bombing Squadron Nineteen | Air Group 19 | Bulldogs


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VB-19 | Bombing Squadron Nineteen | Air Group 19



Established as Bombing Squadron NINETEEN (VB-19) on 15 August 1943.

Redesignated Attack Squadron NINETEEN A (VA-19A) on 15 November 1946.

Redesignated Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINTY FOUR (VA-194) on 24 August 1948. Disestablished on 1 December 1949. The first squadron to be assigned the VA-194 designation.

Operational History

18–21 July 1944: The squadron's first combat sorties involved pre-invasion strikes for the Battle of Guam. It also provided support for the initial landings on the island.

SBD-5 Dauntless – Sep 1943
SB2C-1 Helldiver – 01 Apr 1944
SB2C-1C Helldiver – May 1944
SB2C-3 Helldiver – Jun 1944
SB2C-4 Helldiver – Feb 1945
SB2C-4E Helldiver – Feb 1945
SB2C-5 Helldiver – Aug 1945


July–October 1944: Squadron aircraft flew sorties against targets on Palau, Bonin Islands, the Philippines, including Mindanao and Luzon, Okinawa, Formosa and the Pescadores.


24 October 1944: Squadron aircraft participated in several major engagements during the Battle for Leyte Gulf. VB-19 aircraft flew search missions from north of Lingayen Gulf to the northern tip of Mindoro to locate the Japanese Task Force. It struck the Japanese Central Force in the Sibuyan Sea, which included the Japanese battleship Musashi. However, only limited damage was caused by the squadron's attack since its aircraft were armed only with general-purpose bombs instead of armor-piercing bombs. For his actions during this engagement Lieutenant Leonard R. Swanson was awarded the Navy Cross and Lieutenant (jg)s Stuart E. Crapser and Herbert N. Walters were awarded Silver Stars.


24 October 1944: The squadron's commanding officer, Commander R. S. McGowan, failed to return from a combat mission and was declared missing in action.


25 October 1944: The squadron participated in coordinated attacks against the Japanese Carrier Task Force in the Battle off Cape Engaño. VB-19 aircraft claimed they either sunk or assisted in the sinking of three Japanese carriers. Four Japanese carriers were sunk during the battle. Thirty-two squadron pilots were awarded the Navy Cross for their actions in this battle. They were: Lieutenants Price R. Stradley, Robert D. Niemeyer, John B. Gunter, William E. McBride, Emil B. Stella, Jack Meeker, John L. Butts, Jr., Donald F. Helm, Norman E. Thurmon, Donald F. Banker, Robert B. Parker, Joe W. Williams, Jr., William A. Wright and Raymond G. Wicklander; Lieutenant (jg)s George H. Bowen, Melvin L. Chapman, Robert E. Lee Duncan, Jr., Donald D. Engen, Arnost Jancar, Jerry B. Wilton, Webster P. Wodell, Daniel Sadler, Jr., Louis A. Heilmann, George W. Peck, Jack Scott, Stuart E. Crapser, John H. Crocker, William T. Good and Robert G. Smith; and Ensigns Leon F. Kinard, Robert W. Doyle and William H. Wagner, Jr. Two squadron personnel were awarded the Silver Star for their actions; they were: Lieutenants Donald F. Banker and Leonard R. Swanson.


5–6 November 1944: The squadron's final sorties involved attacks on Manila Bay and the successful sinking of a Japanese Heavy Cruiser on 5 November. For their actions in the sinking of the cruiser, Lieutenants Donald F. Banker and Price R. Stradley were awarded Gold Stars in lieu of their second Navy Cross.


26 Nov–14 Dec 1944: The squadron and air group were relieved by CVG-20 and were en route from Ulithi Atoll, via the Hawaiian Islands, to the States.




Read the stories of the men of Bombing Nineteen in their own words, here. (PDF download)


The squadron’s first insignia was approved by CNO on 26 May 1944. Colors for the winged lion rampant and bomb were: yellow shield outlined in black; black bomb; and a green winged lion rampant with black markings on the wings and a red eye and tongue.




The dogs riding a winged bomb was the second insignia used by the squadron, approved by CNO on 9 July 1945. Colors for this insignia were: a medium blue background; a yellow flying bomb with black markings, its wings were chartreuse with a white star on a circular blue background; yellow rockets and chartreuse machine guns with black markings; white bulldogs with orange collars; the bulldog in front had a black face with yellow eyes, black pupils, and an orange snout, tongue and lips and white teeth.


Embroidered on wool.





Other units of Air Group 19 posted on the Forum, links below:


Air Group 19


VBF-19 | "Executioners" | stork





VB-19 | no nickname known | bulldogs





VF-19 | "Satan's Kittens" | kitten





VT-19 | "Tigers" | tiger




Air Group 19's insignia incorporated the four squadron insignia mascots: stork, kitten, tiger and bulldog.




Bombing Squadron Nineteen
Roberts, Michael D. Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons. Volume 1. Naval Historical Center. p 261.


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