Patrol Squadron 44 - From Victory at Midway to the end of the Cold War - We served with PRIDE!

US Navy History, World War 2 History, Cuban Campaign History, Navy, USN, US Navy, Naval Aircraft, PBY Catalina, PBM Mariner, P5M Marlin, P2V Neptune, P3 Orion, Fleet Reserve, Military, Navy Lodge



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VP-44 Azores Crash Report - Nov 1956
by Bill Stupka

VP-44 Azores Crash Report - Nov 1956 Newspaper Article

VP-44 Azores Crash
Nov 1956 
Complete Story

VP-44 Rota Crash
Jun 1972 

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On 28 June 1991, the Golden Pelicans of U.S. Navy Patrol Squadron Forty-Four became only an entry in naval aviation's storied past, ceasing operational service.   Deactivated at Naval Air Station (NAS) Brunswick, Maine, the squadron would not post additional chapters to its distinguished service record as an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) squadron.  

Over a period of fifty-two years of service, including World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, patrols during the Bay of Pigs, surveillance operations during the Cuban missile crisis, and hotspots all over the world, the squadron established the bench marks for excellence in patrol aviation.  Garnering seven Battle "E's" (awards for excellence), three of them consecutively in 1956-1958 and several Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophies for Continuing Excellence in ASW operations, the Pelicans established themselves as the premier ASW squadron on the east coast. In its recent history, it received five Meritorious Unit Citations.  

During WWII, it was a VP 44 plane piloted by Ensign Jewell Harmon Reid that sent a report of the sighting of the "Main Body" of the Japanese fleet as it headed toward Midway.  Frequently identified as the "single most important patrol plane contribution," that action helped to shift the tide in U.S operations in the Pacific.  And during its proud history, the squadron was recognized for many Meritorious Unit Citations and special recognition from the Fleet Air Wings to which the unit was assigned.

 Some day in the future, the warriors will gather to tell of its beginnings, and of its glorious deeds, to toast their fallen comrades, and to seek the renewed comradeship of a time when they joined arms in a common cause, when loyalty to one's country was unquestioned. 

Summaries do not satisfy the need for full understanding of what took place during the squadron history.  To fully appreciate the achievements, one should turn to the following: 

James Mills Blue Catalinas of World War II, published by Sunflower University Press, Manhattan, Kansas.
Nevil Frankel's outstanding website dedicated to all VP squadrons,, and
The Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons.
This website: --

There are numerous books about the patrol arm of the U.S. Navy identified on Frankel's website, and they can be purchased over the net.



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VP-44 History PDF

VP-44 Sets Open Sea Taxi Record

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Note:  The Following PDF Files May Require Selecting "View" in Adobe and Rotating (Provided by LCDR Raymond Myers)

LM8 Long Taxi

LM8 Long Taxi Story

LM8 Long Taxi Trip

LM8 Long Taxi Press Release - Plus


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VP-44 Cuban Missle Crisis News Article

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Flying Lessons


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