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Dedicated to the men who manned the ships
and the embarked composite squadrons
of Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy III)
on October 25, 1944

 

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Online since June 4, 1996

BOSAMAR logo:  USS GAMBIER BAY (CVE 73)
takes a pounding 
from the IJN heavy cruiser CHIKUMA

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from the personal collection of Gilbert J. Raynor
and the U.S.S. KITKUN BAY Association

General Motors FM-2 WILDCAT FIGHTER
OF COMPOSITE SQUADRON VC-5
LANDS ABOARD USS KITKUN BAY (CVE 71)


"THE WILDCAT PILOTS WERE GIVEN A FREE HAND TO STRAFE WITH THE HOPE THAT THEIR STRAFING WOULD KILL PERSONNEL ON THE JAPANESE WARSHIPS, SILENCE AUTOMATIC WEAPONS, AND, MOST IMPORTANT, DRAW ATTENTION FROM THE STRUGGLING ESCORT CARRIERS.

SOMETIMES TWO, OR FOUR WILDCATS WOULD JOIN UP FOR A STRAFING RUN. AGAIN, A WILDCAT WOULD JOIN UP AND RUN INTERFERENCE FOR AN AVENGER. THEN, LIKELY AS NOT, IT WOULD TURN OUT THAT THE AVENGER HAD NO TORPEDO OR BOMB AND WAS SIMPLY MAKING A DUMMY RUN. WHEN THEIR AMMUNITION GAVE OUT, THE FIGHTERS MADE DRY RUNS TO TURN THE PURSUERS."

Quote, RADM C.A.F. "ZIGGY" SPRAGUE, USN, COMMANDER TASK UNIT 77.4.3 (TAFFY III)

In remembrance;
for action against the
Imperial Japanese Navy Centre Force
on October 25, 1944

 

Composite Squadron VC-68
LCDR R. S. Rogers, USN
16 FM-2
12 TBM-1C

USS FANSHAW BAY (CVE 70)

Composite Squadron VC-65
LCDR R. M. Jones, USN
17 FM-2
12 TBM-1C

USS ST LO (CVE 63)

Composite Squadron VC-4
LT E. R. Fickenscher, USN
16 FM-2
12 TBM-1C

USS WHITE PLAINS (CVE 66)

Composite Squadron VC-3
LCDR W. H. Keighley, USN
14 FM-2
1 TBF-1C
11 TBM-1C

USS KALININ BAY (CVE 68)

Composite Squadron VC-5
CDR R. L. Fowler, USN
14 FM-2
12 TBM-1C

USS KITKUN BAY (CVE 71)

Composite Squadron VC-10
LCDR E. J. Huxtable, USN
18 FM-2
12 TBM-1C

USS GAMBIER BAY (CVE 73)

 

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8 Comments
Added by Aycock
May 1, 2013

Am looking for information about my uncle, his name is Elmer O. Aycock. He was killed October 25 1944 on the St. Lo.
Added by Court A. Koep
November 1, 2013

I have historical writings, pictures and memorabilia USS Kitkun Bay & VC-5. My father (Lt. Raymond Koep, USNR) flew the Gruman FM-2. Brought aboard 3-6-44 San Diego until replaced 11/7/44 replavced by VC-91 at Pearl. I would enjoy some information on VC-5.
Court@ckoep.com
Added by doughboy
December 17, 2013

Was vc-51 on the Gambier Bay, or some planes. I know a fellow who states that he flew off ths Gambier Bay the last morning but I am not seeing his name on the roster. I know he was a Naval aviator but it isn't make any sense. He is 92 after all.

Webmaster: Gambier Bay was VC-10
Added by Anonymous
August 16, 2014

My granfather was, AMMC George H. Cole, who was in VC-65. He was killed at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He tried to put out the fire where the Kamakazie hit on the USS St. Lo. I have been to many of the reunions. This year my son, brother, Retired GMMC Kneale Franco and I, a Navy Veteran, SK3 Rae Franco-Rowe will be attending the Taffy III Reunion in San Diego.
Added by Skylar Calvin
October 6, 2014

My grandfather was LT. Raymond Anderson and was a member of VC-68 aboard CVE-70 USS Fanshaw Bay. I would love more information on his unit.
Added by Anonymous
April 5, 2015

MY DAD WAS ON THE USS WHITE PLAINS AND I SURE WOULD ENJOY HEARING FROM HIS BUDS .
DAD PASSED IN 2000 IN TEXAS OF COURSE. HE WAS 15 WHEN HE HAD MY GRANDMA SIGN HIM IN AS HE WAS 18 ..WANTED A JOB AND WANTED TO EAT TOO!LOL, TAKE ACRE ,YALL ARE THE LAST SAILORS TO FIGHT BUT I AM A REALIST AND OBAMA HAS THE WORLD ON FIRE AND HAS EVIL SO DEEP IN HIS RADICAL ISLAMIST SOUL HE CAN NOT BE TRUSTED ,PERIOD!
WE ARE DOOMED W/HIM AS POTUS, WHAT A NIGHTMARE FOR THE YOUNG SOLDIERS TODAY W/OUT A LEADER THEY WILL TRUST IS HERE FOR THEM NO MATTER WHAT. DAMN HIM TO HELL!
Added by smithtads
September 4, 2015

I have 2 different (USS Kitkun Bay) VC-5 squadron member 8x10 photographs. These original wartime photos show the entire squadron. I also have (and collect) many original wartime photos and other memorabilia concerning BOSAMAR.

My Grandfather, AMM2Cl. Joseph E. McQuade served on the USS Gambier Bay with the aircraft catapult crew. He did survive the ships sinking and just died a few years ago at age 93. He was a great man and one of my heroes.
Added by Anonymous
September 1, 2016

Ray was a VC68 4 plane division leader. I flew with Ray many times as his 2 plane section leader including Oct.24,1944 at Leyte Gulf.
We catapulted off the USS Fanshaw Bay at dawn as protection for our TBMs(torpedo bombers) on our way t Suregaro Straight where the battle had begun late the previous day. We knew nothing of the battle there but were going to do whatever we could to help. After flying for approximately 1 1/2 hours we got a radio call that our carriers were being attacked by the major part of the Japanese Fleet. We were ordered to turn around and return to Leyte Gulf to help our ships in any way we could. It took 1 1/2 hours to return.
When we arrived the Japanese fleet had withdrawn from the battle. We split into 2 plane groups and searched for the withdrawing would appreciate. My section found a Heavy Cruiser and made two straffing runs through heavy antiaircraft fire but realized that our 50 caliber guns would do little damage and we were running short of fuel so we returned to our ship.
Ray was a great guy and an expert fighter pilot. I lost track of him after we returned to San Diego. He didn't attend any of our Squadron or Ship Reunions. I would appreciate if you could fill me in.
Dick Allen e-mail dickaa@prodigy.net
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