Upon arrival in the Southwest Pacific, Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY-ONE lost little time in getting into action. At Manus, Commander Aircraft, SEVENTH Fleet directed the squadron to conduct Black Cat operations as landplanes from Morotai, Netherlands East Indies, with a maximum of ten planes present at any one time, the remainder basing at Owi and effecting rotation between the two bases as required by rest and maintenance requirements. Operational control was under Commander, Fleet Air Wing SEVENTEEN.
Black Cat patrols wore begun the night of November 25 searching for enemy shipping in the sea lanes and harbors of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, Borneo, and Celebes, and were continued until December 19. It soon became apparent that the Japs had diverted their shipping to the west of Borneo and beyond the effective range of the Catalinas. In spite of the scarcity of water-borne targets, the squadron succeeded in sinking or seriously damaging over 13,000 tons of shipping in the brief period of operations from Morotai and in addition made seven effective attacks on decks, shipyards, warehouses, and other land objectives in enemy-held harbors. A total of eighty-seven Black Cat missions were flown from Morotai.
During this same period the squadron loaned two PBY-5As and two crews to the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron of the THIRTEENTH Army Air Force. These planes and crews were used to provide Dumbo coverage for Army strikes, principally in the Philippines and Borneo, and for special rescue and evacuation missions. Between November 25 and December 4, thirteen such missions were f1own. All of these flights were made with one
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