With the arrival of Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY-ONE at its new base at the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Day, T.H., the second phase of the present cruise began. Training activities were continued with emphasis on Anti-submarine Warfare and Gunnery, but a considerably heavier schedule of operational patrols was maintained. Between September 5 and October 16, the squadron maintained a detachment of six planes and nine crews at Midway which flew regular operational patrols and engaged in Gunnery training.
On October 8, Commander GILLETTE, on the outward leg of what was to have been the last patrol from Midway before returning to Kaneohe, was compelled to make a forced landing at sea 150 miles from base, due to a major fuel line failure. In the landing the plane broke in two and sank. Ensign Milton GURVIS, Navigator, and a passenger were trapped in the plane and lest their lives. The other eight members of the crew were found in a rubber life raft by searching planes of VPB-7l later the same day and were picked up the following morning with only minor injuries by the USS LITCHFIELD (DD-336), which had been dispatched from Midway.
In anticipation of departure for the combat zone, ground training at Kaneohe emphasized Survival, Escape and Evasion Techniques, and a review of the recognition features of enemy ships and planes with particular attention to the new types.
The squadron's stay in the "Paradise of the Pacific" lasted approximately ten weeks. Early in November orders were received from Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet via Fleet Air Wing TWO to report to the SEVENTH Fleet, and on November 10 movement to Manus in the Admiralties was begun, staging through Johnston and Kwajalein Islands.
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