January 8 through January 14, 1945

On 8 January 1945 Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY-ONE was based on the U.S.S. TANGIER at Leyte, P.I. with a detachment of three (3) planes based on the U.S.S. HALF MOON and. U.S.S. SAN PABLO at Mindoro, P.I. In addition there were three (3) planes at Owi and one at Morotai.

The Mindoro detachment and Lieutenant Commander KAUBER who had been at Morotai arrived at Leyte on 8-9 January and on 10 January Commander N. C. GILLETTE led twelve (12) planes to Lingayen Gulf, Luzon arriving there at 1450 Item.

The heavy swells in Lingayen Gulf made landing conditions unfavorable and all pilots experienced difficulty in putting their planes down on the heaving surface of the Gulf. Lieutenant (jg) R. F. FEIST's plane, Bureau Number 46528, landed hard, buried its nose in a swell, and sank in about thirty (30) minutes, All personnel escaped and the only injury sustained by any member of the crew was by Lieutenant (jg) FEIST who suffered a painful back injury. Subsequent examination disclosed no fracture however and he is expected to return to active duty at an early date.

On 11 January, the three (3) planes which had been at Owi rejoined the squadron at Lingayen Gulf. Nine crews and ground personnel were based on the U.S.S, CURRITUCK (AV-7) and nine crews were based on the U.S.S. BARATARIA (AVP-33).

Operations were inaugurated the night of January 12-13 when three (3) planes flew searches to Formosa and the southeast China Coast and one (1) plane flew a sector of the barrier patrol around the Lingayen Gulf area. No enemy contacts were made on any of these flights.

Lieutenant R. J. HARKINS, flying the barrier patrol westward from the Northern tip of Luzon observed a survivor in a rubber life raft ten (10) miles off the Luzon Coast the evening of 12 January. After completing his patrol Lieutenant HARKINS returned to the position after daylight the morning of 13 January and again sighted the raft. He attempted an open sea rescue but the plane Bu. No. 46549 landed heavily in the large swells and sank. Word was later received that the U.S.S. TWIGGS (DD-591) had picked up all members of the plane crew as well as the occupant of the life raft, an Army pilot, and was returning them to Lingayen.

On the night of 13-14 January and again on 14-15 January the same sectors were flown by four (4) planes each night. Several radar contacts were made with unidentified aircraft near Formosa and the China Coast but no enemy shipping was seen or detected.




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