January 15 through January 21, 1945

On 15 January 1945 Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY-ONE was based on the U.S.S. CURRITUCK (AV-7) and the U.S.S. BARATARIA (AVP-35) both at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, P.I. Operations during the week consisted of night searches to the southeast China Coast and Formosa of which eleven (11) were flown and night barrier patrols. There were fourteen (14) missions of the latter type.

No enemy contacts were made on any of the barrier patrol flights and the only enemy shipping sighted by the search planes was a group of four (4) vessels found by Lieutenant Glen I. PALMER, USNR in the Pescadores Islands the night of 21-22 January.

Increasing difficulty was experienced in maintaining the squadron’s aircraft as the result of operating from the water and on 21 January only six (6) of the thirteen (15) planes present at Lingayen Gulf were in commission.

On 21 January Lieutenant Richard J. HARKINS, USNR, Ensign Morris 0. PARKER, USNR, Ensign Nathan J. BRAUN, USNR, and Crew 13 returned to the squadron. They had been picked up by the U.S.3. TWIGGS (DD-59l) after unsuccessfully attempting an open sea landing and rescue on 13 January.

Lieutenant (jg) Walter B. LEVY, USNR, returning from patrol the morning of 21 January sighted a survivor in a rubber life raft thirteen (13) miles bearing 3600 True from the Lingayen seaplane anchorage. He circled and dropped float lights and the U.S.S. HALFORD (DD-480) was homed in to pick up the occupant of the raft.

Action highlights for the period were as follows:

January 16-17 - Commander Norman C. GILLETTE, Jr., USN, dropped a pair of 100 lb. incendiary clusters on the Japanese Seaplane Base at Toko, Formosa from eight hundred (800) feet altitude after first illuminating it with a flare. One direct hit was scored on the congested hangar and shop area. A large hangar burned furiously with a series of explosions which spread the flames to adjoining structures. When last seen only the walls of the hangar were standing with the interior entirely gutted. Meagre but fairly accurate anti-aircraft fire was encountered and three (3) search lights swept the sky unsuccessfully for the attacking plane.




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