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* U.S. Navy * Utility Squadron ONE * Utility Squadron TWO * NAS Pensacola * Fleet Air Wing FOUR * Carrier Air Serice Unit SEVEN *

1950-1964: Post War Assignments

Post -World War II

Uncle John Santos in 1960    Uncle John left Tsingtao on July 10, 1948. He leftAunt Bertha(left)and her sister Elisabeth at her wedding China for duty at NAS Quonset Point In Rhode Island. Before arriving in Rhode Island he was stationed in San Diego, California Aunt Bert was a WAVE and met John while they were stationed together.   Bert and John dated for a while and then wed in 1950. Uncle John was at Quonset for two years. 



Naval Aviation after the War

Naval Avaition after the War. The years following the greatest war in history were highlighted by the problems of demobilization, organizational readjustment and an uneasy international situation not in itself related to the outcome of the war.

Demobilization was rapid. Ships were retired to a mothball fleet; aircraft were placed in storage. Shore stations at home and abroad were deactivated. Within a year after the end of hostilities the on-board figures for the men of naval aviation fell to a mere one-quarter of the World War II peak. Only a skeleton of the wartime force remained to carry new operational demands that arose before the forces required for peace could be organized.The unsettled international situation raised new, yet old, problems for the Navy. Within months fleet elements assigned to areas for the purpose of supporting occupation forces were given the additional and familiar task of supporting the Nation's policy in areas on opposite sides of the world. A task force built around one or two carriers cruised the Mediterranean and as the years passed became a fixture in that sea. A similar force in the western Pacific provided the same tangible symbol of American might and determination to support the free peoples of the world.

Organizational readjustment took place at several levels. At the top there were problems of adjusting to a new departmental organization formed by what was really only compromise agreement. At the bureau and office level there were problems of reducing staffs and of realigning the functional elements of technical and administrative units to meet new requirements. In the fleet there were problems of transition partly in size but particularly in weapons and tactics developed either as a result of combat experience or of technological advances. The introduction of jet aircraft posed special problems for carrier operations, proving once again that after the machine was developed navies had the additional problem of finding the means of taking it to sea. Superimposed were new concepts based upon guided missiles which had been introduced during World War II, but which were still in embryonic development and which required additional efforts in all areas from design through operational deployment. In all of these the degree of difficulty was increased by the need to complete the transition without even a temporary loss of combat effectiveness.

It was a period in which changes occurred at an ever accelerating rate and came to be accepted as normal. Technological and scientific advances built rapidly upon each other and almost before they could be turned to an advantage new and greater advances had been made. It was a period of constant readjustment in plans, continual adaptation in force organization, and repeated revision of tactical doctrine. There was no time to sit back for deliberate study of the lessons of war and the careful examination of the various possibilities to determine the most favorable course of action. There existed an urgency that was not lessened by the realization of the truly destructive power that was now available to mankind.

In other respects, however, the period was a repetition of the twenties. There was the same clamor for a separate air force and for a merger of the services, but this time both were successfully accomplished in the unification of three services into a single department of defense. The study of aviation and national air policy by a President's commission and a congressional committee was reminiscent of the Morrow Board and Lampert Committee of 1925. There was new agreement among the services on their respective missions and functions. There was also dispute. As the services sought larger shares of a decreasing budget old charges of duplication were raised; navies were again declared obsolete. This time the culprit was not the battleship, but the aircraft carrier. They were too expensive and too vulnerable. Their capability to perform so-called strategic missions was duplication of effort, and if they were not used in that fashion their use was too limited to warrant their existence. Carrier supporters retaliated with criticism of the newest long range bomber which was equally vulnerable, expensive, and entirely unable to live up to its billing. The Secretary of Defense canceled a carrier already under construction and the Secretary of the Navy resigned in protest. The argument raged and the whole affair seemed out of hand as it reached the fantastic situation in which one service was publicly deciding for another not only how its mission should be carried out but what was needed to do it. But the whole affair came to a halt when war in Korea provided more immediate problems and a greater national appreciation of the necessity for adequate military forces in an era when survival of the free world was at stake.

NAS Quonset Point, RI

Uncle John transferred to NAS Quonset Point for the first time in 1950. Not much is known about his first tour here other than he attended school at Beavertail CIC in Jamestown Rhode Island. The history of Quonset Point has been closely associated with war for more than 150 years. The British ship "Armada" went ashore on the north shore of Quonset Point in 1780, loaded with supplies for the British Army and Navy. The land comprising Quonset Point was bought by the State of Rhode Island in 1892 and in 1937 a large portion of it was donated to the Federal Government.
Within this area, the state established a "Camp Ground" for use by the State Militia and later by the State National Guard. Here a recruiting office was opened during the Spanish-American War; here also, the First Rhode Island Regiment, U. S. Volunteer Infantry was quartered before entering that war. During the war with Mexico and again during the First World War, Quonset had a part to play in the mobilization and training of men for war.   
The Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island is located on a cape on the west shore of Narragansett Bay, approximately ten (10) miles up the bay from Newport and twenty (20) miles down the bay from Providence, Rhode Island.
On June 7, 1938, a Naval Board headed by Rear Admiral Hepburn was authorized by Congress to study the need for, and location of new bases on the East Coast. Quonset Point was selected
and in May, 1940, $24,204,000 was asked of Congress by the Navy to finance the project. Construction was begun on 16 July 1940 upon a tract of land of approximately 996 acres (including Hope Island) to which was added an area, made by hydraulic fill,
Officers Club at Quonset Point
of approximately 260 acres, making a total of 1256 acres. Subsequent to the deactivation of the former Naval Construction Training Center at Davisville, a total of 492 acres was transferred from that activity to the Naval Air Station, making the present area of the station 1,748 acres. Operations began early there because neutrality patrol hangars were the first structures erected. The station was placed in active operation as an air base on 1 October 1940 with the first squadron reporting on 18 October 1940.
Officers Club at Quonset Point
Commissioning ceremonies with Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Ralph Bard, and five admirals as guests, were held on 12 July 1941. Commander A. C. McFall, who had assumed command about ten days before, gave the order "Hoist your colors" and the flag was officially flown for the first time from the flag pole in front of the Administration Building.
After his tour was over at Quonset Point, Uncle John transferred to NAS Memphis for further training 

NAS Memphis, TN

Uncle John transferred to NAS Memphis for the first time in 1950. NAS Memphis. The Naval Air Station (NAS) Memphis was originally conceived in 1942, emerging from beginnings as Park Field, an Army Signal Corps Aviation School used to train pilots and ground crews for service with the Allied Forces during World War I. When commissioned as a Naval Reserve Air Base (NRAB) on 15 September 1942, the primary mission of the base was to train aviation cadets to pilot proficiency for action in World War II. On 1 January 1943, the NRAB was redesignated as a Naval Air Station. After his time at Memphis, Uncle John Transferred to San Diego California

FAETUPAC, FASRON 12, and FASRON 701- San Diego, CA 

FAETUPAC.jpg (62653 bytes)Uncle John Tansferred to NAS San Diego to the Fleet Airborne Electronics Training Unit Pacific. FAETU's were established in the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets to train airborne early warning crews in the theory, operation and maintenance of their equipment. These training detachments fulfill a squadrons' need for continuous training and indoctrination to keep pace with the increasing complexity of modern technological advancement. Every conceivable training device available is used to facilitate and expedite the transition from old to new. Naval Air Station, North Island is part of the largest aerospace-industrial complex in the Navy. It includes Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Outlying Field Imperial Beach and Naval Air Landing Facility, San Clemente Island. The complex's 5000 acres in San Diego and 130 commands bracket the city of Coronado from the entrance to San Diego Bay to the Mexican border. North Island itself is host to 23 squadrons and Miramar patch 1950-60's75 additional tenant commands and activities, one of which, the Naval Aviation Depot, is the largest aerospace employer in San Diego. Only seven years after the Wright Brother's first flight, a Curtis airplane landed on North Island. That same year, 1910, North Island became the birthplace of naval aviation when Navy Lieutenant Theodore Ellyson was transferred there to receive flight instruction from the Curtis Aviation Camp. North Island was commissioned a naval air station in 1917. On August 15, 1963, the station,  was granted official recognition as the "Birthplace of Naval Aviation" by resolution of the House Armed Services Committee.  Uncle John Transferred from FAETUPAC and was assigned to two Squadrons while in San Diego FASRON 12 and FASRON 701

On July 11, 1946 the Chief of Naval Operations(CNO) directed the disestablishment of all CASU's and other maintenance units and their replacement by Fleet Aircraft Service Squadrons by 1 January. The new FASRON's were to be of three kinds according to aircraft types serviced, and were designed to promote higher standards and greater uniformity and efficiency in aircraft maintenance.

Not much more is known of the two FASRON squadrons as I find more information I will post it. Uncle John left San Diego and transferred to NAS Pax River.

NAS Paxtuxent River, MD

Patuxent River Naval Air Station was born of an effort to centralize widely dispersed air testing facilities established during the pre-World War II years. Spurred by events of W.W.II, the consolidation effort was swift, and the farming operations at Cedar Point, Maryland, were replaced by flight test operations within a year after ground was broken in 1942. Rear Admiral John S. McCain, then chief of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, called Patuxent "the most needed station in the Navy" during the commissioning ceremony on April 1, 1943. By mid-August 1943, Flight Test, Radio Test, Aircraft Armament and the Aircraft Experimental and Development squadrons were in place at Patuxent River. By the end of 1944, the station had formed the Service Test, Electronics Test, Flight Test and Tactical Test divisions. The Naval Air Test Center was established as a separate entity on June 16, 1945, organizationally dividing the test and support functions. During W.W.II, hundreds of combat experienced pilots arrived at Patuxent to test airplanes. The evolution of the Navy test pilot began with rainy day discussions between those seasoned veterans and aeronautical engineers. Formalized classroom instruction started in 1948 with the establishment of a Test Pilot Training Division. The test pilots not only flew the proliferation of U.S. airplanes built for the war effort, but were given opportunities to examine enemy aircraft as well. Captured airplanes such as a German Focke-Wulf 190 and Doring DO 335A and Japanese Kate and Tony were test-flown, and findings on their vulnerabilities were passed to fleet pilots. Radar fire control, radar tracking, airfield lighting and instrument landing techniques were developed and refined at Patuxent. The first U.S. all jet-powered airplane, the XP-59A was flight tested here in 1944. The FR-1 Fireball, a carrier-based fighter which combined a conventional engine and a General Electric jet engine, and the FH-1 Phantom, the first Navy all-jet airplane to operate from a carrier, were tested at Patuxent in 1945. The first U.S. test of the adaptability of jet aircraft shipboard operations was conducted by the Naval Air Test Center in 1946 when Lieutenant Commander James Davidson flew an FD-1 aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1947, Commander Turner F. Caldwell piloted a Douglas Skystreak D-558-1 to a world's speed record - 640.663 miles per hour. The race was on, and over the next few years, speed and altitude records fell as rapidly as they were established. Captain W.V. Davis, director of the Flight Test Division, became the first Navy pilot to exceed the speed of sound on Nov. 7, 1949. Test pilots were exposed to ejection seats in 1949, barrier engagements in 1951, and a simulated angled deck on the USS Midway in 1952. The Korean War, from 1950 to 1953, intensified efforts at Patuxent. Pax was faced with developing jet aircraft and at the same time improving existing conventional weapons for the war effort. The challenge grew as jet aircraft routinely eclipsed the speed of sound and airplane cannons were supplemented with guided missiles. Several airborne early warning squadrons operated from Patuxent in the 1950s. Among them were VW-2, VW-11, VW-13 and VW-15. They patrolled the Atlantic Ocean along the DEW (Distant Early Warning) line. NATC's increased responsibility for development as well as pure testing was acknowledged as early as 1951. Rapidly advancing technology forced changes in test techniques and in the organizational structure. In 1953, the Tactical Test Division was merged with the Service Test Division. The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School was established in 1958. The Weapons Systems Test Division was established in 1960 through the consolidation of the Armament Test and Electronics Test divisions. This nation's great space adventure started with the selection of the original seven astronauts in 1959. Four of the seven were TPS graduates. In 1961, former Navy test pilot Alan Shepard became the first American in space. A year later, three test pilots from Patuxent became the first Americans to orbit the earth. Uncle John was stationed at Pax river until 1955 when he took orders to Barbers Point in Hawaii



AEWRON VW-16 and AEWRON VW-12- NAS Barbers Point, HI

    Uncle John arrived at Barbers Point in 1955, he was first assigned to AEWRON-VW-16 and then VW-16 was folded into AEWRON VW-12 known as "Barrier" Squadrons They flew patrols from Midway Island, but were based at NAS Barbers Point. The Naval Air Station comprised 3,693 acres of land was located on the coral plains 25 miles by road from Honolulu. The station was near the point named for the unfortunate Captain Henry Barber of the British Brig "Arthur", which was wrecked during a tropical storm on the coral reef in 1769. Hawaiian legend hints that the area occupied by the air station may once have been the floor of that coral reef--and that the station on this foundation may, as Hawaiian name (Long Cape) implies, hang suspended over the fathomless sea.  Under construction just two months before the Pearl Harbor attack and commissioned on 15 April 1942, was now one of the Navy's largest air stations. The story of its rise from the wilderness of coral and tangled brambles to an efficient military power-house in the space of a few months, is one of the sagas of American productive genius. During WWII, the station became one of the busiest air bases in the world, handling more take-offs and landings in a 24 hour period than known of any other air field. Training squadrons maintained a pool for replacement of carrier pilots. Carrier Aircraft Service Unit 2, which was based at this station, contributed greatly to the war effort by servicing planes assigned to the USS LEXINGTON, YORKTOWN and ENTERPRISE. Air groups from the USS HORNET, SARATOGA and ESSEX were based at this station for changes, modifications and extended training before rejoining their ships. British Fighter Squadrons from HMS VICTORIOUS came to the station for night flying refresher training. At the termination of the war, carrier airplanes were pooled at this station, while the "MAGIC CARPET" carrier fleet returned personnel to the Continental United States. As the war neared its culmination, the 250 man station had grown to over 4,000 personnel. Upon the declaration of Armistice in 1945, Barbers Point assumed the role as a rapid demobilization center. Over 6,000 personnel transitioned through the station en route out of the military during the next 365 days. As 1947 neared its completion, the base strength had dipped to 378 personnel. The future of NAS Barbers Point as a military installation seemed tenuous, at best, as post-war budget constraints trimmed excess personnel and facilities. NAS Barbers Point's immediate future was solidified in 1949, as it assumed the support role for all aviation operations in the Leeward area. In addition, the Marine Corps Air Station at Ewa was incorporated into the boundaries of NAS. In April of 1950, Patrol Squadron Six (VP-6) arrived to NAS Barbers Point from NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., bringing with it the first Neptunes to the islands. Operational tempo increased with VP-6's arrival, as other maritime patrol squadrons lined up to claim their stake in NAS Barbers Point's future. As the war in Korea began raging in 1951, Barbers Point again became a critical staging area for supplies and equipment, soldiers, sailors and forward deploying squadrons. The United Nations additionally tasked the air station to provide a support area for deploying cargo and personnel. The additional missions required additional manpower; subsequently, personnel strength jumped to nearly 800 Sailors. Additional facilities were built, and base housing increased to support the growing support staff. By the end of the conflict, the station had gained fame for fully meeting the support challenges set forth, by acting as the primary source of aviation units of the fleet operating force. In 1956, Airborne Early Warning Squadron Two (AEWS-2) transferred to the station. AEWS-2's mission included the extension of the continental air defense Distant Early Warning (DEW) line further into the Pacific. By mid-1958, the staffs and crews of Airborne Early Warning Wing, Pacific, and Commander, Barrier Force, Pacific staked claims at NAS Barbers Point. Commander, Fleet Air Hawaii and Fleet Air Wing Two followed suit by moving headquarters from their Ford Island locations. With its move in 1950, VP-6 had laid the framework for the air station's operational and training mission roles for the entire VP community. New construction included additional bachelor officer quarters (BOQs), enlisted barracks, over 1,000 new housing units, a special weapons and jet engine test site, a survival equipment shop and numerous other support facilities. With state of the art equipment, and cutting-edge facilities, NAS Barbers Point took on the role as one of the most modern VP facilities in the Naval community. Uncle John remained at Barbers Point until 1957 when he transferred back to NAS Millington in Memphis TN

USS Constellation CVA 64

Uncle John again transferred to Memphis Tennessee from Hawaii and was there for two years. He then accepted orders to Headquarters, 3rd Naval District and then USS Constellation. He commissioned her into the U.S. Navy in 1961. The "Connie" as she is affectionately known was built at the New York Naval Shipyard as the second ship in the Kitty Hawk class of aircraft carriers, Connie was commissioned on October 27, 1961, under the motto "Spirit of the Old, Pride of the New." She has been home ported at Naval Air Station North
Island in San Diego since July 1962. Just like the original CONSTELLATION, America's newest and best Navy ship was immediately put to the test. In response to North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964, CONSTELLATION departed from a scheduled port visit to Hong Kong and was the first U.S. warship to launch strikes against North Vietnamese vessels and bases. She has remained on the forefront of U.S. Foreign Policy ever since and is still serving on Active service today.    According to the family, John served on the old USS Constellation sometime early in his career. However, I have been unable to find anything to confirm this in his service record. This does not mean that he did not go on Temporary Duty there. Uncle John was on Temporary assignment to Norfolk for two months in 1939. Also Uncle John was on Temp duty at Newport Rhode Island just after Boot camp in 1936 while waiting for assignment to Avaition radioman school. It was a common practice then as it is now to assign sailors to temporary duty while they are awaiting further assignment.

Old USS Constellation

Old USS Constellation in Newport RI
On June 16, 1933 a Navy Department order placed Constellation in a decommissioned status for preservation as a naval relic. Although numerous surveys were conducted and estimates given for the cost of restoring the vessel as a national historic shrine, no decisions on the ship's fate were taken. On May 21, 1941, Constellation was designated "relief flagship" of Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. With King's appointment as Chief of Naval Operations at the beginning of America's involvement in World War II, Constellation continued in this capacity under Vice Admiral Royal Ingersoll, and alternately, as relief flagship of Battleship Division Five. Because the Atlantic Fleet was a large force conducting operations over thousands of miles, Admiral Ingersoll was frequently away directing operations from far-flung naval bases. Use of Constellation for the Admiral's living quarters and for coordinating the fleet's vast communications network allowed the designated flagship, the cruiser Augusta, not to be burdened with such tasks while being actively engaged. Constellation's World War II skipper was Lieutenant Commander John Davis. A retired officer recalled to active duty, Davis had been awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Spanish - American War. Following World War II Constellation left her berth in Newport for the last time, and was towed to the Boston Navy Yard to be placed in "ordinary" (the equivalent of a steel ship being put in "mothballs'). In 1954 Constellation, thought by many to be the namesake frigate, was moved to Baltimore in a "floating dry-dock" for restoration and preservation as an historic shrine by a private, non-profit patriotic organization.


Uncle John transferred back to NAS Quonset point and was attached to VS-32 for duty he remained there until 1964.  Air Anti-Submarine Squadron THIRTY TWO (VS-32) was commissioned in
VS-32 utilized the S-2F Tracker Aircraft
April 1950. The squadron initially flew the TBM AVENGER under the command of LCDR Thomas B. Ellison and was based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Norfolk, Virginia. In 1951 the squadron moved to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island. VS-32 transitioned to the Grumman S-2F TRACKER  in 1954. In 1964 Uncle John retired from the Navy with  28 years of service to our country, he remained in Rhode Island for the rest of his life raising his family. He passed away on September 3, 1984.


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