15 December through 21 December, l944

Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY-ONE flew fifteen Black Cat missions from Morotai, N.E.I. during the period covered by this report. These night flights averaged 13.2 hours in length and covered an average sector of 600 miles.

16 December a dispatch was received from Commander, SEVENTH Fleet stating that Lieutenant (jg) SHELLEY, who failed to return from patrol on 6 December, had crashed in Sarangani Bay, Mindanao at 0215 Item 6 December. Lieutenant (jg) Richard Wayne SHELLEY,.William Harry AUBURN, AOMB2c, and Authur James BRESLIN,.ARM2c were killed in the crash.. The following survivors, none seriously injured, were reported to be in the hands of friendly guerrillas near the town of Glan on the east shore of Sarangani Bay.

J. M. KERN, Ensign, USNR
W. B. SPRING, Ensign, USNR
STAFF0RD, Carl (n) AMM2c
MASON, Robert Lisle ARM3c
ALLEN, James Knox AOM2c

Arrangements were made with the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron of the Army to send a Dumbo PBY to Sarangani Bay on 18 December. This was done but no sign was seen of the survivors. On 19 December, however, when the PBY returned to Glan for a second attempt, MIDDLEBROOKS, MASON and ALLEN were on the beach. They were brought back to Morotai and arrangements made to pick up the remaining survivors the following day. Ensign KERN, Ensign SPRING and STAFFORD were returned to base on 20 December.

By order of Commander Aircraft, SEVENTH Fleet, VPB-7l discontinued Black Cat missions on 19 December 1944 and the squadron was placed in a maintenance and rest status. While awaiting further orders a program of ground training for all hands and First Pilot flight qualification was inaugurated.

From the commencement of Black Cat operations at Morotai on 25 November until their suspension on 19 December a total of fourteen attacks were made on enemy shipping and harbor installations by planes of VPB-71. Sunk or destroyed were three freighters (1 Fox Tare Charlie and 2 Sugar Charlies), and 4 luggers totaling 4,300 tons. Damaged were one Sugar Baker, a large oiler, one small tanker, three luggers and four barges. In addition considerable damage, the exact extent of which cannot be




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