February 8 through February 14, 1945

Operations were continued from Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, P.I. during the week of 8-14 February. Commander G. S. COLEMAN, Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. BARATARIA, assumed control of night search operations from Lingayen as Commander Task Unit 73.2.1 at 1200 Item 9 February. With the departure of the U.S.S. TANGIER on 9 February, Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY-ONE was officially based on the BARATARIA with four crews on the U.S.S. ORCA.

Eighteen night search and offensive reconnaissance missions were flown during the week averaging 12.4 hours in length. Low visibility and generally poor search conditions continued and the number of enemy ships sighted was small. On February 10 however Lieutenant Everly W. COX and Lieutenant Glen I. PALMER both found enemy vessels west of Fornosa and delivered attacks which resulted in one escort-type ship, estimated to be of 1,000 tons, damaged and one 5,000 ton merchant ship sunk.

In compliance with orders of Commander Task Force 73 regular search operations were suspended the night of 13-14 February and four planes sent out to locate and track the Japanese Task Force consisting of 2 battleships, 1 heavy cruiser, and three destroyers which had been sighted proceeding northward toward Hongkong across the South China Sea. Two planes covered the sector between 270-280 degrees true from Lingayen out six hundred miles and two planes covered the sector between 280-290 degrees. Lieutenant Melvin H. WARNER, USN first contacted the Jap force at 0138 Item position 18-25 North, 111-20 East. At 0330 Item Lieutenant Allen J. HUTTENBERG joined him in tracking the enemy ships and contact was maintained until 0445 Item. Base was kept constantly informed of the Japs' course and speed and the information promptly relayed to all interested commands. When last seen at 0445 Item the vessels were at 19-40 North, 112-00 East and on a north-easterly course. The average flight time of the four planes on this special mission was 13.9 hours.

After putting three planes in the air in the regular search sectors the night of 14-15 February, instructions were again received to find and shadow the Nip task force which was continuing north along the China Coast headed for Japanese home waters. The planes were accordingly vectored into the desired areas and at 0215 Item Lieutenant Everly W. COX, USNR found the enemy force at 22-40 North, 116-43 East and tracked them on their north-easterly course for one and one-half hours when he broke off and returned to base.

Action highlights for the week were as follows:

February 10-11 - Lieutenant Everly W. COX, USNR searching the area north of the Pescadores Islands picked up three ships on radar at a distance of seven miles. Homing in, he found himself




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