ALASKAN, ALEUTIAN HISTORY OF SCOUTING SQUADRONS
At the time of its commissioning Lieutenant Commander Carman Hawkins, A-V(N), USN, was appointed Commanding Officer of Scouting Squadron 49.
On or about 16 May 1943, the Kodiak patrol sectors were taken over by Scouting Squadron Seventy, and Scouting Squadron forty-nine was transferred Westerly on the one of the routine patrols heretofore covered by Scouting Squadron Forty-Nine. The latter unit then continued to conduct one inshore patrol using Kingfishers, whereas the bombing detachment provided coverage on the remaining patrol with Catalinas.
Early headquarters for Scouting Squadron Forty-Nine at the Naval Air Station, Kodiak, Alaska, accounted for fourteen officers as pilots, including the Commanding Officer, one A-V(s) officer serving in the capacity of Administrative Executive Officer and about seventy enlisted personnel. Five Kingfishers on floats and about four Kingfishers on wheels were employed for carrying out operations assigned to this command.
The squadron officers maintained their own mess and all meals were prepared under the supervision of an officer, although this detail was rotated among all the officers.
The enlisted personnel received adequate meals at the Station Mess hall near the hangar and also conducted a mess in the hangar.
The Squadron offices were located on the second deck of the spacious hangar and in addition to the usual offices there was a ready room for pilots.
All the squadron planes were stowed in this hangar each night under ideal working conditions. Planes were fueled from gasoline pits on the ramp and excellent conditions existed for beaching of seaplanes.
Recreational facilities at the Naval Air Station, Kodiak, Alaska, added much to the moral of the squadron and within the hangar there were available such indoor courts as tennis and badminton courts which were used by all men during leisure hours.
ADVANCED BASES FOR DETACHMENTS
A detachment of about five polots and about fifteen enlisted men were stationed at Sand Point, Alaska and four kingfishers on floats were employed to carry out operations at this advanced base.
AFOGNAK, ALASKA: NAVAL UNIT
A detachment of Scouting Squadron Forty-Nine was located at Afognak, Alaska, where four Kingfishers on floats were operated from Afognak Lake, located on Afognak Island. The usual complement consisted of four pilots and about ten enlisted men.
The food was very good and all personnel were messed at the Naval Unit's mess hall. Laundry service was likewise available.
Regular delivery of mail added to the morale of the crew and generally living conditions were very satisfactory.
All repairs and checks were handled at Kodiak Base. As no hangar space was available all planes were beached each night.
DUTCH HARBOR, ALASKA: NAVAL AIR STATION
The Naval Air Station at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, was the headquarters for Scouting Squadron Forty-Nine from 19 May 1943 to 14 December 1944. During this period there were approximately fourteen pilots, including the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer and other department heads, one A-V(S) officer who acted as Administrative Executive Officer as well as Personnel and Material Officer, and about sixty-five enlisted personnel. Seven Kingfishers on floats and two Kingfishers on wheels were employed for carrying out operations assigned to this command.
The officers belonged to the Naval Operating Base Officers' Mess at Dutch Harbor and enjoyed the mess facilities and the enlisted personnel had adequate meals served at the Station Mess Hall.
The squadron offices were spacious and modern and were located in the hangar. All squadron planes were stowed in a large hangar each night and during inclement weather and maintenance crews worked there on th eplanes under very desirable conditions. Squadron planes were fueled from gasoline trucks.
ADVANCED BASE, OTTER POINT, UMNAK,
After arrival of the squadron at Dutch harobor, Alaska, a detachment was set up at Otter Point on Umnak Island, Alaska. A detachment of four pilots and about eighteen enlisted men were stationed there, rotating duty with the squadron personnel at the main base. Four Kingfisher on wheels were employed at this advanced base to maintain daily patrol operations and to carry out other assigned duties.
A combined Ship's Service, soft drink fountain, barber shop and station gymnasium occupied one building called "Madison Square Garden" and it proved adequate for all purposes of recreation. There was a small but cozy officers' club and mess where all squadron officers had their meals. The enlisted men were members of "The Enlisted Mens' Club" the only such club in the Aleutian Chain, and took great pride in this club, which was managed by the enlisted personnel of Otter Point Naval Air Facility.
Emergency supplies were available from the Army Air Corps although the Navy maintained a small supply depot on this base.
In brief, inclement weather interspersed with violent winds and heavy fog and snow storms limited the days of sunshine and interfered with flying operations.
The following incidents taken from the Squadron War Diary are indicative of the type of operations other than routine patrols and utility work:
Many emergencies have arisen during winter months wherein small craft have been reported adrift or overdue at their destination. Assistance has been rendered by this command in locating such craft and obtaining position reports for ships in distress.
DECOMMISSIONING OF SCOUTING SQUADRON FORTY-NINE
Arrangements were inaugurated to withdraw this squadron from the Aleutian Islands under a plan whereby Catalinas from a Patrol Bombing Squadron Detachment together with a detachment from Scouting Squadron forty-eight were to take over all operational duties. On 12 December 1944 the detachment from Scouting Squadron Forty-Eight relieved this command of operations.
In compliance with dispatch instructions to commence concentration of aircraft and personnel of this command at Naval Air Station, Kodiak, Alaska preparatory to movement of the entire unit to Seattle for the decommissioning of Scouting Squadron Forty-Nine, six planes left Dutch Harbor, Alaska for Kodiak, Alaska on 19 November 1944 and two more planes departed on the following day. Five planes and its crews remained at Dutch Harbor, Alaska to continue operations pending the arrival of the relieving squadron detachment from Scouting Squadron Forty-Eight and on 14 December 1944 these planes departed for Kodiak, Alaska.
When concentration at Kodiak, Alaska was completed the squadron consisted of eighteen pilots, one non flying officer, eighty-eight enlisted men and thirteen aircraft composed of eight OS2U-3's and five OS2N-1's.
On 24 December 1944 all personnel and aircraft had arrived at Fleet Air Seattle from Kodiak, Alaska and decommissioning was started. All planes were safely ferried to Seattle without any accidents or losses and all non flying personnel were transported to Seattle via Naval Air Transport Service in an expeditious manner. All aircraft were turned in to the Aircraft Delivery Unit at the Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington, all supplies brought from Kodiak or Dutch Haarbor were turned in to Supply Department and all personnel received orders from Fleet Air Seattle for transfer to new duty.
Scouting Squadron Forty-Nine was officially decommissioned at the Naval Air Station Seattle, Washington, under the supervision and with the assistance of Commander Fleet Air Seattle on 31 December 1944.
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WWII Units in Kodiak