Lest We Forget

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired); Lieutenant Commander Rick Burgess, U.S. Navy (Retired)

In 1957, a yeoman—noting the middle initial "Y"—called him "Yogi," and at a subsequent duty station where there were no less than five "Bobs," the sobriquet stuck. From then on, he was "Yogi" to all who knew him, a fact that pleased the long-time New York Yankee and Yogi Berra fan.

Yogi went on to leave his mark on the Navy and the world well after his retirement. Working with the U.S. Naval Institute, he produced some of the best photographic works in the so-called "coffee-table" genre: Sharks of Steel (a companion book to a Discovery Channel program on submarines) and City at Sea (a stunning pictorial study of U.S. aircraft carriers). With his Alaska-based son, he also did several outstanding wildlife studies, including Untamed Alaska (1987), which was re-published as an anniversary edition in 1997.

* In May 1968 the USS Scorpion was lost at sea with all hands.

—Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)

VP-6

Patrol Squadron Six (VP-6) was established as Bombing Squadron 146 (VB-146) at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, on 15 July 1943. Equipped with PV-1 Ventura patrol bombers, VB-146 supported the amphibious landing at Morotai and Leyte during World War II.

VB-146 was redesignated Patrol Bombing Squadron 146 (VPB-146) on 1 October 1944. Based at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii after the war, VPB-146 switched to PV-2 Harpoon aircraft. The squadron was redesignated VP-146 on 15 May 1946 and VP-ML-6 on 15 November 1946. After moving to Whidbey Island in 1947, the squadron was redesignated VP-6 on 1 September 1948 and upgraded to the P2V-2 Neptune patrol aircraft.

With the outbreak of the Korean War, VP-6 deployed to Japan in July 1950 with P2V-3/3W aircraft and flew patrols and naval gunfire spotting missions over the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan. On 29 July, two VP-6 Neptunes destroyed a North Korean train by using rockets. On 13 August, VP-6 Neptunes sank three North Korean boats and two barges engaged in minelaying at Chinampo but three days later, however, a VP-6 P2V was shot down while attacking a patrol boat. The crew was rescued.

During a second deployment to the Korean theater, VP-6 lost a P2V-3W to Soviet MiG-15 jets over the Sea of Japan on 6 November 1951. The ten-man crew was listed a missing.

VP-6 was the only patrol squadron to be awarded a Navy Unit Commendation during the Korean War. After the war the squadron deployed to sites in the western and northern Pacific, upgrading to the P2V-5, P2V-5F, and P2V-5FS (SP-2E) in 1955, 1956, and 1959, respectively.

The Blue Sharks' last Neptune deployment was a response to the August 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident. In 1965, VP-6 acquired the P-3A Orion aircraft, deploying with its new aircraft to Adak, Alaska, in 1966. Through 1975, VP-6 made six more deployments to the Vietnam war zone, providing surveillance of enemy shipping. Transition to the P-3B was made in 1975.

VP-6 made 12 major deployments from 1975 through 1992 throughout the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. The squadron assisted in the rescue of 500 Vietnamese refugees at sea in 1979. In 1980, the Blue Sharks became the first Pacific Fleet squadron armed with the Harpoon cruise missile. In 1990 VP-6 upgraded to the P-3C Update II.5 aircraft

VP-6 was disestablished on 31 May 1993 as part of the post-Cold War drawdown.

—Lieutenant Commander Rick Burgess, U.S. Navy (Retired)

 

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