PATROL SQUADRON SIX RECEIVES "WELL DONE" FOR ACTION IN KOREA
Contributed by Leland Moore
VP-6, the "Blue Shark" squadron which returned to its home base at Barber's Point naval air station last week, carried out operations in the forward area for seven and one-half months. The squadron received praise for its action from Admiral Radford, Vice Admiral Sprauge, and Rear Admiral Henderson.
The squadron flew convoy escorts, armed reconnaissance patrols, and search and rescue missions.
Cdr. A. F. Farwell, USN, commanding officer of VP-6, was awarded the bronze star medal for meritorious service in the Korean area.
A purple Heart was awarded to J. C. Oberg, aviation chief machinist mate, when he was wounded by enemy anti-aircraft while flying over ground targets in Korea. Chief Oberg was the only casualty in the squadron during its tour of duty at the front.
On their return to Barber's Point, Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet, sent his congratulations to "the officers and men of VP-6 on their performance of duty in Korea."
Vice Admiral Thomas L. Spargue, Commander Air Force Pacific Fleet, dispatched this message to the "Blue Sharks":
"Welcome home to a great squadron and may you enjoy a well earned rest. Your performance of duty in the combat area has been outstanding. You have superbly demonstrated the vital complementary role played by naval land based aircraft in fleet operations. Congratulations and well done."
When VP-6 left the forward area, Rear Admiral G. R. Henderson, Commander Fleet Air Japan sent the following message to the squadron:
"Farewell to Farwell and company. May the officers and men of VP-6 fare as well in future duty. COMFAIRJAP extends his deepest appreciation for a difficult assignment well done."
Early in the war VP-6 bombed bridges and tunnels in communist occupied territory, and destroyed enemy freight trains by rocket fire.
In the Yellow Sea the squadron attacked all enemy shipping it could find that was large enough to carry supplies or troops.
VP-6 lost one of its P2V "Neptune" bombers when it was hit during a strafing run by small arms fire
from an enemy vessel near Chinampo. The plane had to be ditched in enemy waters, but all crew members were rescued by a British navy cruiser.
VP-6 holds the record for hours flown in one month for navy patrol squadrons. In October it logged 928 hours flying time. The average time flown by the squadron during its tour of duty was 690 hours per month. This average is exceeded only by VP-46, which also recently returned from Korea.
Lt. (JG) R. J. Sullivan, USN, of Seattle, Wash., said that during night patrol flights, enemy radar stations could be detected on the radar equipment in the planes. It was possible for crews to see communist radar actually tracking their planes, he said. This had a nerve-wrecking effect on flight personnel, the lieutenant stated, because they knew the enemy had their location, and that it was possible for them to send out fighter planes to intercept the "Neptunes". However during flights like this they were never attacked.
North of Wonsan and American destroyer struck a mine which crippled the ship and wounded several of its crew. A plane from VP-6 stood by to protect the destroyer for two hours until a flying boat came in to evacuate the wounded men. The "Blue Shark" squadron operated from bases in Japan. A spokesman for the squadron said they received splendid co-operation from the Air Force. He added that the Japanese people were extremely helpful.