February 22 through February 28, 1945

Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY-ONE concluded its current period of Black Cat Operations from Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, P.I. during the last week of February. Twenty-seven offensive reconnaissance missions (night) averaging 12.5 hours in length were flown during the week which included five effective attacks on enemy shipping and three on land targets. The squadron was relieved by Patrol Bombing Squadron TWENTY-EIGHT at the end of the month.

On and after 22 February the squadron's search sector was changed to 500-350 degrees true from Lingayen by order of Commander, Task Force 73 for the purpose of avoiding the prevailing unfavorable weather in the outer extremities of the northern sectors and to take maximum advantage of the approaching period of bright moonlight. Admiral WAGNER further directed that the squadron should consider attacks on shipping as its primary mission and search as secondary, reversing the previous doctrine and specified that sectors should be varied as dictated by weather predictions and information on the location of enemy shipping reported by other search groups.

Returning from patrol the morning of 25 February, Lieutenant Michel G. EMMANUEL passed to the east of Luzon and at 1250 Item made a forced landing at sea 20 miles from the seaplane base at Mindoro. His plane was successfully towed in without damage and without injury to the crew and he returned to base the following day.

On 28 February despatch orders were received from Commander, Task Force 73 to have seven planes report to Commander, Task Group 73.6 and Commander, Fleet Air Wing TEN at Leyte by 1 March for duty as the Leyte seaplane search squadron. In compliance with these orders four planes departed from Lingayen on 28 February and preparations wore made for the remainder of the squadron to follow as soon as maintenance and repair work in progress could be completed.

Action highlights of the week as fellows:

February 22-23 - Lieutenant Michael G. LOEHR attacked a medium freighter (Sugar Baker) which he found near the coast south of Swatow, China. The ship was anchored or lying to when the attack started but immediately got underway. Visibility was less than 500 yards and on his bombing run Lieutenant LOEHR found himself slightly off course and without sufficient time to get back on the target. As the result, his string of two 250 lb. and two. 500 lb. bombs fell astern of the ship by 75 feet with no visible evidence of damage.




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