KITS 08/2023

VC-93, Lt.(jg) Robert Sullivan, USS Petrof Bay, Okinawa, April–May 1945

VC-93 was established on February 23, 1944 and

its personnel was first to be trained aboard the

USS Matanikau (from October 14, 1944). During its

cruises off the Californian coast, this ship trained

1,332 pilots in the following months until June

1945. VC-93 replaced VC-76 aboard USS Petrof

Bay on March 10, 1945 and sailed from Guam on

March 21 to prepare for the Battle of Okinawa as

part of Task Unit 52.1.2. VC-93 pilots supported the

Marines first in the capture of the Kerama and

Keise Shima archipelagos and then in the main

operation on Okinawa. Beginning on April 13, the

pilots then focused on neutralizing Japanese

airfields on the Sakashima Archipelago, from

which the Kamikaze pilots were taking off. By the

end of their mission on May 26, VC-93 pilots had

destroyed many enemy aircraft on the ground

and shot down 17. Two of these kills were credited

to Lt.(jg) Robert Sullivan. For her next mission,

VC-93 sailed aboard USS Steamer Bay on June

10, 1945 and, as part of the 3rd Fleet, assisted

in the neutralization of Japanese airfields in

the Sakishima Gunto Archipelago beginning

June 14. This was followed by a return to San

Diego and the end of the war. VC-93 aircraft

operating from aboard USS Perof Bay bore the

distinguishing symbol of a four-leaf clover on the

vertical tail surfaces and on the upper right and

bottom left wing halves. The all-blue livery was

complemented by a photographically documented

symbol of Sullivan’s first kill on the right side

below the cockpit. It is uncertain whether it was

also on the port side.

VC-14, USS Hogatt Bay, November 1944

Composite Squadron 14 was established on

October 12, 1943 and deactivated on October 1, 1945.

Its history is associated solely with the escort

carrier USS Hogatt Bay, which was commissioned

on January 11, 1944 and, after a necessary test

cruise and one transport mission to and from

Pearl Harbor, took aboard VC-14’s equipment and

personnel. Training flight operations followed

from March 26, with the first landing aboard

August 2023

USS Hogatt Bay conducted by Captain William

Vincent Saunders. The ship embarked on her first

operational tour on May 1, 1944 and was assigned

to Task Unit 16.14.6. VC-14 pilots subsequently

conducted anti-submarine operations and air

cover for destroyers in the Western Pacific area

until late November. They were then replaced by

VC-88 on board and VC-14 did not see further

operational deployment. This Wildcat is shown

here in its late service form on the USS Hogatt

Bay. Of interest is the Judy inscription on the right

side of the engine cowling, as well as the nonstandard appearance of the ENCLOSURE RELEASE

stencil on the right side below the windshield. The

pilot’s name is difficult to read in the available

photographs, it might be Lt.(jg) Newburn.

INFO Eduard