CONTACTS: I get a lot of requests for contact points for different Black Cat squadrons and/or veterans. Unfortunately, I don't have this information. The best place to look for this is the U.S. Navy Patrol Squadrons website at http://www.vpnavy.com . This extensive website has sections on all of the U.S. VP/VPB squadrons, including shipmates, crews, reunions, newsletters, associations, links, and more. Also, try searching the PBY veteran database at www.pbycia.org . I have also put together a page of links to other sites that can be used to get info on U.S. veterans, that page is HERE. Finally, don't forget to check my Weblinks page for other possible links to other Black Cat squadron websites. (And if you know of any other squadron website, drop me a line.)
REUNIONS: If you are looking to attend the reunion of a Black Cat squadron (or any VP/VPB squadron), check the appropriate squadron section of the squadron reunion page on the www.vpnavy.com website.
MESSAGES TO/FROM BLACK CAT VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES:
This website seems to be the main Black Cat gathering point on the web. Judging from my emails, there is a need for a place where people can find out more about certain Black Cat veterans. So, if the above links don't help, send me an email and I'll post it on this page (which will serve as a "guestbook" until something better comes along). The rest of this page will be a space for you to ask questions of other Black Cat veterans (or their relatives). (Note: you should also post your message/request on the appropriate squadron-shipmate page at VPNAVY.COM.)
12/03/13: My name is Ron Miner. My father flew as one of the VP-54, VPB-54 Black Cats and perhaps was even acquainted with a parent or relative of yours. And like many of them, he passed away recently at 92.
I am trying to contact family members of other VP-54 veterans and by extension, any surviving Black Cats, to tell them about a project and ask them for any help they can offer. We are in the process of setting up a Veteran's Forum featuring these PBY crews and want to archive as much video footage as possible from a series of interviews with the vets themselves, so we are casting about in hopes of locating as many as we can. Any of you who have been fortunate enough to have listened to the tales told by a parent or relative who served know what a treasure these stories can be.
I experienced this first hand after Dad's death as we were going through some of his things and discovered a bounty of flight logs, journals, photos, and memorabilia that, up until then, we had known nothing about. We also found his collection of wartime artwork, done in places like Guadalcanal and the Solomons, that included images of planes, jungles, and even the original design of the VP-54 logo. I hadn't seen his sketches since I was a boy.
I've since written a book, "Sketches of a Black Cat," detailing the exploits of Dad as a Black Cat and celebrating his artwork. The sketches are now hanging at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in Oregon, and will be moving to a new, expanded Black Cat exhibit at the National Museum of the Pacific War~Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas in May 2014.
The book went public less than a year ago, and I have now met 4 Black Cats, two from VP-54 who knew and flew with Dad and one actually in my hometown! I've been lucky enough to speak to a number of organizations and PBY Foundations and meet so many amazing people. This has fueled my passion to do all I can to get their story out and motivate the Vets or loved ones to share their experiences or ask questions while they can. Time works against us all here, as we are losing six hundred WWII vets each day.
The Nimitz Museum and many others are interested in preserving the videos and interviews, and so I am asking for your help. Any squad members and Black Cats from other units that would be interested in participating are very welcome to contact me. We may be able to arrange interviews that don't involve travel. Any additional VP-54 information that any of you are interested in sharing is equally appreciated. - Ron Miner <-- (click for email address)
My Dad, Clyde Worth Curley, who passed 15 years ago, was a pilot with
VP-12. He was among the original pilots who flew with the squadron
on Midway, Nandi, and Guadalcanal, from its original formation in
Kaneohe to his transfer back to San Diego in March 1943 due to
malaria. He stayed in the Navy, went on to become an intelligence
officer, and among other duties, served as Asst. Naval Attache in
the early 1950's, the Embassy in Madrid, electronic surveillance
over the Soviet Union in the late 1950's out of Morocco, (VQ-2), and
chief of intelligence CINCPACFLT staff in the mid-1960's.
Before he died, he began writing his memoir, and my mother has asked
me to pull together his papers and publish them for the family. If
anyone has anything to offer re these deployments, I, and my Mom,
would be very grateful. And, I would be happy to share what I have,
Thank you, Tom Curley <-- (click for email address)
2/03/13: My father, Arthur Elmo Canady, was part of VP 12 during WWII. I'm saddened to report that he passed away today at the VA hospital in Johnson City, TN. He was 92. He was very proud of his service with the squadron. May God bless those of you left. There will never be another generation like you.
Hello: My name is Michael T. Miner. My father, Lt.
Cmdr (ret) Howard Dwight Miner Jr, PBY Squadron VP54 Black Cats, died on March
20, 2011, after a brief illness. He
was 92 years old. He served in the
South Pacific having flown many rescue missions and was awarded a Gold Star.
He will be greatly missed by family and friends. If anyone served with my
father (or have relatives aware of service) and has stories and/or photos to
share, it would be appreciated. These veterans are the heroes of their
generation and will not be forgotten. With great thanks, Michael.
12/06/10: OBITUARY: Clifford M. Korsmo, a member of VPB-71, died at age 87, on November 24, 2010. During WWII he was stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Base in 1944 prior to being stationed in the South Pacific where he served as Crew Chief on a PBY Catalina ‘flying boat’ in the VPB-71 ‘Black Cat’ Squadron. Further details on his life can be obtained by contacting Karen Vigeland.
Please furnish me with info on a gentleman
called Westley Ned Dusatko....if you have any....I appreciate your help....
Sincerely, on behalf of his son, Don Dusatko.
Barry M. Heatherley
06/03/10: Hello, my name is Christopher R. Nichols and my pop - George Henry Nichols was a US Navy Photographer’s Mate who flew on PBY-5 Catalinas in the European theatre in ’42 -’44. His main role then was photographing (surveying) damage done by allied bombers to sub pens, etc... I lost my pop some years ago - he was 83.
Though my pop was not a Black Cat flier I wanted to thank all of you who were, say hello and tell you what a great site you have here as tribute to what I think is one of the greatest planes of all time. I love visiting the PBY-5 Catalina exhibits at the National Museum Of Naval Aviation next to Forrest Sherman field in Pensacola Florida with my 3rd generation Navy son - Naval Aviator & Marine Captain Eric Nichols - an EA-6B Prowler driver.
Respectfully submitted, Christopher Nichols, formerly ET2 (SW) USN ’79 – ’86
09/18/09: Hello, my name is Ray Krzyzek, my Dad (also Ray Krzyzek) was the Crew Chief of one of the Black Cats. He passed away in 1993. I remember him at times speaking about the War and Missions. One of the things that I remembered most about his stories was the mention of his Pilot .. don't remember the name but he mention that he was from New Hampshire! Dad spoke very fondly of him and mentioned that the only reason that he came back was because of the Pilot. I remember him say that there were many other pilots who were cowboys and those crews didn't return. I also remember vaguely that I think the squadron was VP-11 ... details that he didn't write down. I do remember him mentioning that the Squad was Box 4 and their planes code name was Bugs Bunny because the Japanese couldn't pronounce the B's..:-)
One of the crews names that I
do remember him mentioning was someone called Lipshitz. I think he was a
gunner. I had some old silk maps that I gave to my nephew which was contained
in a vinyl pack along with a portable radio.... to be used if they went down.
The maps showed the Luzon and Java. Prior to his deployment he did his Flight
Training in Memphis Tennessee in 1944.
If by chance anyone knows the Pilot's name or anyone one else from the Crew, I don't think there were many Pilot's flying seaplanes out of NH, any info on my Dad that you could provide would be greatly appreciative!
My Mom recently pass away and I am now chartered with being the Family Historian and would like to keep a proper journal! Thanks for your time!
04/28/09: Hello, My name is Dale M. Ilavsky, Sr. from Cleveland, Ohio. I am the son of Martin S. Ilavsky from Cleveland, Ohio. My Dad flew in US Navy PBYs, Black Cat Squadron VPB 71, Air Crew PBY-5A and PBY-6A, Samar Philippines, from 1942 - 1946. He was a AMM 2/C, the head mechanic who rode in the tower. My Dad passed away at the age of 85 on 4/28/2008. I have my Dad's flight log - 1942 to 1946, and his photo album. In his photo album is an article on the rescue of the Navy bomber crew from the escort carrier USS Shipley Bay, the pilot was Lt. John Evans. I also have a picture of the VPB 23 PBY crew that saved 65 survivors off the sunken cruiser Indianapolis, and a photo of Crew 8 (VPB 71) taken at Samar, Philippines. The last PBY-5A Catalina my Dad flew with was Aircraft No. 64036. He loved his time in the Navy and the PBY. I would like to make contact with anyone from Squadron VPB 71, or their families. You can contact me, Dale Ilavsky, at home: 216-267-6192, or cell phone: 216-509-7598, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from you. Thank you, Dale Ilvasky, Cleveland, Ohio
01/20/09: Hello, My name is Eddie Wideman and although I have no relative that belonged to a Black cats squadron I am doing research for a project was hoping for an interview with a Black Cat veteran. I will conduct the interview using email or over the phone. If you are interested please send me an email at email@example.com. or Call me at (407)-876-1702 (Orlando, Florida) and let me know the preferred time for interview. Also, The sooner I am contacted the better.
Hello. My father Howard D. Miner, served on the VP-54 BlackCat squadron
under Lt Carl Schoenweiss and LCDR Kenneth Sanger. I am interested in
contacting anyone that served with my father and has information to share of
their time in the service. Thank You,
Michael T. Miner Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
10/13/06: My father served in World War II, flying the PBY with the VP-52 Black Cats. He was credited with sinking a battleship
at Wewak. His name was Robert Dilworth, and he died on October 7, 2006. He received many medals, including the Silver Star.
He received full Military Honors at his funeral on Tuesday. His last request of me was to contact the Black Cats and notify them of
reunions late this year in California, New Mexico and Washington. My father was interviewed by the Discovery Channel and you
can see that interview at various times of the month on the Military Channel. It was a series called "Birds of a Feather" and called
the "Black Cats".
06/04/06: I am looking for anyone that served with my
father,(Dallas L. Tucker). He was with the VP-12 squadron. I have some pictures with the
names, Hildewiy, Sho(a)yea, Cassidy and Cami(e)l. Any help in locating some of these and
other people would be greatly appreciated.
Email Address: email@example.com
02/12/06: Hello, All Black Cat veterans and interested....
I'm looking for personal stories regarding specific raids, incidents, missions,
experiences depicting Black Cat operations. I'm working on a book for publication and
would welcome photos of crews, individuals, the PBYs, of course, and things like log
books, journal entries, extracts from letters home, articles, official reports, documents,
etc.... If you have a question, drop me a note... Cheers, Lou
L. B. Dorny, Commander, U. S. Navy (ret.), Seattle email address: NPO21@msn.com
06/28/05: To begin with I want to thank all associated
with the history of the PBYs and of the men who flew/maintained them. I add my personal
thanks for your service to the USA. My Uncle (John Koons) was a member VP-91. His
PBY 5 went down enroute from Oahu to San Diego on 5 Mar 43. I have the MISHAP
REPORT from the VP-91 History but I am asking if anyone might have known him or have any
information prior to this incident. I am attempting to make a scrape book of his history
with the PBYs. I am very greatful for the information that I have found for it
allows me to know who my uncle was and the type of personnel he served with.
I am a retired E-9 from the US Army and have served with elite special forces units. I am getting a feeling of how my Uncle might have felt serving with PBY crews. I think you PBY veterans will understand this. Thank you again and GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
BRIAN E. SAGER email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
06/25/05: This is Lt. Cdr. Frederick (Bud) Linden of VP 81
Black Cat Squadron - Atlantic 1942-43 and Pacific 1943-late 1944 - stationed at Henderson
Field in Guadalcanal Munda Bouganville and other Solomon Islands. Would like to make
contact with anyone from that squadron or their families. Thank you, Bud Linden, Vero
please email at: email@example.com
03/06/05: I am searching for any VP-11 squadron members
that might remember my father Vernon G. Wilson AOM. If any one would happen to remember
him, or have any stories or info of the VP-11 during WW ll in any of their missions, I'd
greatly appreciate hearing from them. Dad died suddenly years ago before all his grand
children were born. Besides stories Dad told me when I was young, I believe it is
paramount for his family to know anything more I can find out about Dad and his VP 11
squadron. I've found my father in some of Carl Atwood's photos that are posted. Thank you
in advance. J. Vernon Wilson
03/05/05: My dad was a Black Cat pilot and like alot of other "Black Cat Kids", I'm also looking for any info on my dad's time flying the flying boats. My cousin found this website (www.vpnavy.com/fasron102_1955.html) and sent it to me. There may be some info here for some of your other contributors. Question: is there anyone left who might have known my dad? He was at Pearl on 7 Dec 41 and lost most of his squadron. He, like so many others, didn't talk much about the war, so I don't have alot to go on. We lost my dad way too early (Aug. 70) to cancer at the age of 57, so I'm trying to find as much about his career as I can. Tim Harschutz firstname.lastname@example.org
12/23/04: I am looking for anyone who might have known my
grandfather, Robert Henry Smith. He served on the USS Brooklyn in the late 1930's, was on
the USS Tangier at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, and with VPB-71 in 1945. He was hit and
lost a leg at Mako Harbor on a Black Cat mission on the night of Feb 28, 1945. His pilot
on that mission was A.O. Turner. Thanks in advance for any help. Dave Haworth
05/15/04: I'm Nancy Jones, daughter to Clayton (Clay) A Paulding, Navy Pilot 1942-1954. He flew PBY-5 and other aircraft. We have many photos and flight books. Looking for any info and contact with any who knew him. Son, Jeffery is currently serving in the Marines and very interested as well. Cordially, Nancy email email@example.com
08/14/03: I would like to communicate with anyone who served with Robert A. Ferreira, my half-brother. His nickname was "Blackie". He was based in Australia for a time as a gunner on a PBY. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Richard Crumpton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
06/22/03: Gordon B. Kennington is my dad, and is still an
active 85-year-old in central New Hampshire. He flew Black Cats in WWII from Australia and
New Guinea. He mentioned Sepik River once, and I may have a photo of him standing on the
bow of a PBY -- surrounded by New Guinean natives. Since he's never talked about the war,
the only information I've heard is oblique (downed pilot rescues, night vision selection
process, takeoffs from heavy swells, etc.). He flew for Hawaiian Airlines after the war --
then to Douglas Aircraft Company and retirement from USNR as Commander. I'd
like to videotape some of his recollections, if someone can recall his participation(s),
or can start my search of his squadron-mates. VP-11 rings a distant bell -- from my teen
years. I located his flight logbook from this site, and Moresby is mentioned -- on my
Wolfeboro, NH 03894
10/27/02: I am wondering if anyone remembers my father Robert (Bob) Dooley. He was an aviation machinist mate first class. He graduated from Boot Camp in San Diego, 1942, then was stationed on Bougainville in '42-'43. He worked on Black Cats in Squadron VP-81 under Commanding Officer Lt. Commander Eugene P. Rankin. Later he was stationed at Alameda Naval Air Station in 1943-46. He passed away in July, 1999. Please contact me if you remember him. Thank you, Tom R. Dooley <email@example.com> , (650)631-5788
02/20/02: We need some help identifying what appear to be
a former Black cat fuselage now on display in our museum. Local lore has it that this was
one of two USN aircraft that collided near Colleambally (New South wales) ca, 1943, the
other machine having been totally destroyed at time of collision. You can see an image of
it at http://home.st.net.au/~dunn/ozcrashes/nsw79.htm
Intriguingly, it has "SHIP 1730" impressed into a cockpit bulkhead and
this (presumed) serial number does in fact coincide with PBY-5A Bu.Aer. # 48368. As luck
would have it the history cards for # 48368 is missing together with several others in
this range. The airframe by the way is still painted black over all with the US stars and
stripes visible on both sides of the nose. Does anyone recall a Black cat being lost over
inland Australia during the war?
Mark Clayton (Director) Australia's Museum of Flight
489A Albatross Road, HMAS Albatross
Nowra, New South Wales, 2540, Australia
Work Voice: 02-44241920
Work Fax: 02-44241999
02/17/02: I am searching for information regarding a Lt.jg
Jim A. E. Wilson. He was my uncle. He was a PBY pilot reportedly in the Black Cat Squadron
during WW II. He was stationed in the Pacific. He never spoke much about the war or his
experiences. I believe he enlisted before the war and was on active duty prior to Pearl
Harbor. He once joked about dropping torpedoes out the window of the aircraft and during
the early parts of the war taking boxes of maggots aboard flights as a first aid measure.
My uncle died in 1969 when I was serving in Viet Nam. I am interested in learning of his
assignments, his aircraft , campaigns and missions he may have been involved in. Any
pictures would be appreciated.
I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Mailing address is Tom Kearns, 55266 Bryson Rd., Darrington, WA 98241. Telephone (360) 435-8167 W ( 360) 436-0384 H.
02/10/02: I am the 58 year old son of a former black cat
pilot, Thomas (Stu) S. White. He was a life-long naval officer and retired as a Captain in
1965. He was stationed at Ford Island during the Pearl Harbor attack and was out on patrol
that Sunday morning. His squadron then was sent to the Aleusian Islands. After that he
went to San Diego to start and head (I think) a new squadron. This group fought from New
Zealand north through the rest of the war. I have a Legion of Merit medal of his from the
war, but know little else as he did not like discussing the war and died at age 60.
(1911-1971) Could you post a note to anyone who knew him so I could talk to them about my
father? Thank you in advance for this kindness.
Thomas S. White, Jr.
Home: 1440 N. Lake Shore Drive, Apt 18ab, Chicago, Illinois 60610 (312-664-7130)
Office: Thomas White International, Ltd. 440 S. LaSalle St. Suite 3900, Chicago, Illinois 60605 (312-663-8300)
01/28/02: Hi, my dad is Commander Donald R. Dixon (ret). He flew PBY's in WWII. He is still alive and has a log book from a pilot that flew with my dad. My dad promised to get it to his family after the war, but didn't. My dad feels terrible... The pilot was killed on a flight. His name is Z. S. Lewall AMM. My dad was an AMM also. My dad's number is 619-469-9366. He is mentioned in the book "The Hands of Fate". He was the pilot the brought the plane out of the spin with Highland (I think Highland was the pilot).... Can you help me contact any of Lewall's family? Please! I myself spent four years in VQ-2, flying as a Russian Linguist from 76-82. Thank you,
11/12/01: I'm helping a family in search of squadron members whom may have served with their family member. His name is Wesley Battles (SN#03291354), an Aviation Ordanceman in VP-11. His plane was a PBY called "Pistol Packin Mama" in Con Air 7 Fleet Task 73.1. The plane was downed near New Guinea. The family members have mentioned the ships USS Halfmoon (AVP-26) and USS San Paplo (AVP-30), and a friend of Wesley's by the name of Carl Atwood. Anyone knowing Wesley or having information about him (especially during his MIA incident) would be greatly appreciated. Date of MIA was given as April 5 1946.
Dawn Koosman (RDKOOS@msn.com)
11/03/01: My father, Walter Ellsworth Shinn, was a pilot
in the Black Cat Squadron. I would love to get more information from anyone who may have
known him, or might have photos. He always spoke very fondly of his time in the squadron.
He went on become a commercial airline pilot, and upon retirement, continued to fly
seaplanes for Chalks Internation Airways, that still flys seaplanes out of downtown Miami
to the Bahamas.
10/09/01: My father was a radioman in the Blackcat squadron... his name is Lenoard Dimminger. He is alive and well and now living in the Russian River area of California. I am his youngest daughter and would love to send him some information from anyone that may have been associated with him during that time of his life! He was in squadron VP-52 in the year of 1942-43. He was deemed the "radio/radar/airgunner" and the crew was called "crew dog's". The pilot's that he knew and flew with were.."Miller, Arbuckel, Weaver, Lloyd, Flenniken, Suthlerd, Kellerman." They were based in Brisbane,Australia, but he joined the squadron at Samari New Guinea. Lt. Pattison and Lt. Tollison were also members of his "TEAM"....
please e-mail me at....firstname.lastname@example.org
10/07/01: Searching for anyone who knew Lt. FORREST A. ROBY. As I understand it he was a pilot aboard a PBY in the Battle of Midway. I believe he was assigned to VP-44 Patrol Squadron. Anyone knowing anything about him or was aquainted with him, please contact his nephew at email@example.com or his friend, firstname.lastname@example.org Thank You.
08/28/01: I am looking for anyone who might know aviation machinist mate Arthur Montoya. He was in VP-12 at Henderson field Guadalcanal. If you have any information or any type of photograph with him in it please contact Daniel Montoya (grandson of Arthur Montoya) at Shibby132001@yahoo.com.
Daniel Montoya <email@example.com>
08/27/01: My great uncle was Rear Admiral Thomas A. Christopher. He often spoke of his fun times in the Pacific with the Black Cat Squadron. If anyone has any information about him please contact us. Thank you.
22 Acropolis Avenue
Londonderry, NH 03053
PHONE: 603/437-7143, E-FAX: 603/687-4637, Mobile: 603/490-5891, E-mail: SEMedia@msn.com
07/13/01: I am looking for anybody that may have served with my father Lt. Gibson (Pat) M. Pattillo who was a Black Cat pilot. He was photographed in front of two different planes Little Sister and My Kitten. Crewmembers named in the photographs are: Phil Johnson, Bruce Smith, David Leslie, Frank Bryant, Dean Leatherman, J. Sheehy, E.C. Taylor, Phil Phillips, Jack Raceley, O. L. Willaford, George Billiauris, Jason Crawley, Rob(?) Reber. Some of the pictures may have been taken on the following islands: Makiu, Mijuro, Johnson Island. He is supposed to have flown a rescue flight that recovered Major Frank Hoffecker a downed Marine pilot. If anyone remembers anything about Dads time with the Black Cats I would greatly appreciate hearing from them. Sincerely,
Mark Pattillo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
07/05/01: My Dad was rescued by a PBY Catalina off Halmarhas July 13, 1944. He is trying to find some of the crew who saved him and his buddies after their B-25 was shot down. He remembers the names Lt. Jg. Favorite, Lt. Jg.C.D. Reeves and an Army man named W.B. Wallen. Any suggestions on how I might find these men would be appreciated. Thanks.
06/20/01: I am interested in researching the flights of RAAF Catalina BPY 5a (amphib) - A24 381 - which post war, crashed on Lord Howe Island. Any information on this aircraft would be appreciated. My e-mail - email@example.com
06/19/01: Greetings all, My father, Lyman W. Griswold( LTjg) celebrated his 84th birthday on 18 June. He was a member of VP-11 in the South Pacific and has fond memories of his days as a Black Cat pilot. His family never tires of his recollections, especially the Sepik river rescue. I pass his greetings to all the remaining Black Cats and their families.
SSG David C. Griswold ,
Taegu, S. Korea
05/18/01: In Australia at the moment, around Sydney where
I live, there's a lot of media attention being given to a black 'Panther' that's supposed
to be living wild in the bush. (Panthers are not native to Australia.) One of the rumours
going around is that a pair of black panthers were brought to Australia during WWII by
U.S. service men. They didn't want to shoot them when they left Australia after the war so
they released them and they have been breeding since. I was wondering if any veterans have
heard of this rumour and can advise me if there is any basis to it. Being the 'Black Cats'
I thought you guys may know. Regards,
05/04/01: My name is Jack W. Ottinger III. I am looking for information on my grandfather (Jack W. Ottinger), who was in squadron VPB 52/48. I also want to help any other guys/relatives out there that might have been in his squadron, as I have a lot of info on the squadron that may be of use to others.
|Jack Ottinger III||Judy Ottinger (Jack Ottinger I's wife)|
|Elgin, IL 60123|