U.S. Coast Guard Aviation History

Historic Photo Gallery, Volume 2

1942-1945 

Coast Guard's first Helicopter Detachment at Sikorsky HQ, 1943 

The first Coast Guard helicopter pilots, airmen &
 ground support personnel, 7 July 1943 at Sikorsky's helicopter airport.
Click here for a higher-resolution copy of this image.



Coast Guard Grumman flying a Neutrality Patrol over New York City

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

A Coast Guard Grumman J4F Widgeon on patrol over New York City.  The Coast Guard, along with the Navy, enforced the nation's neutrality laws after the start of World War II in 1939.



Grumman J4F in her early war paint scheme

No official caption/date; photo number 8584; photographer not listed.

This photograph is of a Coast Guard Grumman J4F Widgeon in an early wartime paint scheme.  On 1 August 1942 a Coast Guard J4F flown by CAP Henry White attacked a U-boat running on the surface off the coast of Louisiana with a single depth charge that was strapped under the wing.  The submarine crash dived but the depth charge hit and exploded near where the U-boat submerged.  After the war the Navy credited White and his crewman, RM1/c George H. Boggs, Jr., with sinking the U-166, which had vanished in the Gulf around the time of White's attack.  The credit was erroneous, however, as White and Boggs had attacked the U-171, causing no damage.  Click here for more information.



Kingfisher O2U floatplanes ready for patrol.

Original caption: 'SEA BIRDS' WITH A STING.  Wings of the fighting U.S. Coast Guard, these 'Sea Birds', pack a sting -- powerful depth charges -- for enemy submarines molesting United Nations' convoys.  Photographer at an East Coast air base, the Coast Guard planes are about to take off on convoy patrol."  No photo number/date; photographer not listed.

Four Chance Vought O2U-3 Kingfishers based at Air Station Salem prepare to depart for a patrol off the Massachusetts' coast.  Note the Grumman JRF Goose at the end of the flight line.





O2U Kingfisher at Air Station Salem, circa 1943.

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Chance Vought O2U-3 on the seaplane ramp at Air Station Salem.


Personnel of Air Station Elizabeth City

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Air Station Elizabeth City muster, probably late 1942/early 1943.  The station was under the command of Richard L. Burke.  Photo from Richard L. Burke file.



Air Station Port Angeles preheats the engines of a JRF before a patrol

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Pre-heating the engines of a Grumman JRF Goose prior to a patrol from
Air Station Port Angeles, probably late 1942/early 1943.



USS Northland with a Grumman JF2 aft

Original caption: 'The USS NORTHLAND in the icepack off of the NE coast of Greenland.: Photo dated August 1944; Photo No. 516; photo by J. E. Young.

Although this photo dates from a later year, the general placement of the Northland's aircraft would have been similar during her ill-fated patrol with LT John A. Pritchard and RM1 Benjamin Bottoms on board as part of the cutter's aviation detachment.
 



LT John A. Pritchard prepares to fly the Northland's JF2

Original caption: "READY FOR THE JOB--Coast Guard Lieutenant John A. Pritchard Jr. stands alert as his plane is readied aboard the Coast Guard Cutter NORTHLAND.  His heavy clothing stood him in good stead, when, after landing his aircraft, he was forced to trudge four miles over the icy terrain to reach the Army fliers, all of whom were suffering intensely from cold and hunger."; photo not dated; Photo No. (Rel. No.) 06-19-43 (02); photographer not listed.

LT Pritchard and his aircrewman RM1 Benjamin Bottoms perished on a rescue flight in Greenland in November, 1942.  They flew a Grumman J2F from the USCGC Northland (see next photo).  Click on their names for more information: LT Pritchard and RM1 Bottoms.



Grumman J2F departs CGC Northland

Original caption: "THE TAKE OFF: The Coast Guard amphibian plane (J2F) has been put over the side, and Lieutenant John A. Pritchard, Jr. and Radioman Benjamin A. Bottoms, ready for the take-off, scan the Greenland icebergs over which they have spent so many hours of hazardous flying in their single-engine plane.  They successfully rescued two of the U.S. Army fliers and met their death in an attempt to rescue the [sic] third flier."; no date; Photo No. (Rel. No.) 06-19-43 (03); photographer not listed.



Coast Guard PBYs on patrol over Greenland

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Coast Guard PBYs on patrol over Greenland waters.




A Coast Guard PBY in Greenland

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Coast Guard PBY at an air base in Greenland. 



Air Station Kodiak PBY and crew

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

A Coast Guard PBY and crew at Air Station Kodiak, circa 1943.



A Martin PBM seaplane

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

A Coast Guard PBM, aircrew and support personnel, circa 1943.



The rescue of the U-701 survivors.

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

A collage of photos showing CDR Richard Burke and his rescue of the surviving crewmen of the German submarine U-701, sunk off the North Carolina coast on 7 July 1942 by an Army Air Force A-29.  The men had been in the water for days before they were located and during that period 12 of the 19 U-boat survivors perished.  Burke piloted CGAS Elizabeth City's Hall PH flying boat to effect the rescue of the remaining seven.  Photo from Richard L. Burke file.



Hall PH2 conducts a medical evacuation

No caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Debarking a U-701 survivor from a Hall PH-2 flying boat flown by Richard Burke, commanding officer of Air Station Elizabeth City.  Navy Department photo; "Office of Public Relations, Hdq., Fifth Naval District, N.O.B. Norfolk, VA"; from Richard Burke collection.



Commander Frank Erickson

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Then-Commander Frank Erickson, Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot No. 1, in the cockpit of a Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly.


Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Commander Frank Erickson poses with a Hoverfly.  Click here for a higher-resolution copy of this image.




The Coast Guard's first three helicopter pilots

The first three U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilots.


Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Stewart R. Graham at the controls of a HNS-1. 
Photo provided courtesy of John Redfield.


Commander Stewart R. Graham, Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot 2

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

A close-up of Stewart Graham, Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot No. 2.


Coast Guard Helicopter Detachment at Air Station Brooklyn, 1944

Original caption: "Officers assigned to the Coast Guard Air Station, Floyd Bennett; Left to Right Front Row: O. Smeder; Mike Davison; Bud Fisher; Geo. Girdler; English; Gus Kleisch; Bill Prindle; Robertson and Stew. Graham."  Photo dated 19 July 1944.
Photo No. 208-4 Confidential [Declassified]; photographer not listed.




Aerial view of Air Station Brooklyn

No official caption; photo dated 10 July 1944.
Photo No. 207-4 Confidential [Declassified]; photographer not listed.

An aerial view of a general muster at Coast Guard Air Station Brooklyn.


The front cover of a helicopter training manual

Original caption: "The HELICOPTER is man's newest type of vehicle.  It's an extremely strange gadget.  Consider it thoroughly if you intend to operate it.

Front cover of a Sikorsky helicopter training manual.


A photo of the personnel of the Army Air Force's Training Command and their guests at Wright Patterson AAFB

"MAJ. SANDUSKI & VISITORS F.F. IND"; 2139AB (18 NOV 44) 4G861-4

Written on the back: "GEN. Frank E. Lowe, U.S. Army; CAPT. Wm. Kossler, U.S. Coast Guard; COMDR. Frank Erickson, U.S. Coast Guard, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Nov. 18, 1944."; official USAAF Photo (by AAF Training Command)



Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

Original caption: "Christening of the Helicopter at the Capitol, April 30, 1945."

Scanned from page 61, Capitol Page School's The Congressional, Volume IV, 1945.



Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

No caption.

Scanned from page 60, Capitol Page School's The Congressional, Volume IV, 1945.



Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Stewart Graham at the controls of an HNS while hoisting the helicopter's designer, Igor Sikorsky, during a demonstration in 1944.  The early hoists were made from parachute harnesses.



Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Steward Graham describes the operation of a HNS tail-rotor to cadets at the Coast Guard Academy.



Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Early hoist demonstration.



Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Early helicopter landing tests on board the USS Cobb.




Sikorsky HNS-1 Hoverfly

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Early helicopter landing tests on board the USS Cobb.



A Grumman aircraft placed on board the icebreaker USS Southwind, CG.

No official caption/date/photo number; photographer not listed.

Commissioning of USS Southwind, CG, on 15 July 1944.  Eastwind and Southwind were designed for operating with a seaplane on board as well as being well armed and capable icebreakers.  Their aircraft were instrumental in defeating the Nazi presence in Greenland in 1944.


Coast Guard icebreaker Eastwind in 1944

Original caption: "CR 97 USS EASTWIND 24 JUNE 1944 SAN PEDRO, BAY PORT BEAM."  Originally marked as "Confidential," since declassified. 

Note the fairly heavy armament as well as her Grumman JF-2 and associated aircraft handling equipment amidships.



Eastwind's airplane handling crane lowers JF2 into the water.

Original caption: "AG-CR #99
89. AIRPLANE HANDLING ARRANGEMENT, PORT
WESTERN PIPE & STEEL CO. OF CALIF.
San Pedro Shipbuilding Division
San Pedro, Calif.  October 7, 1944."

The aircraft handling crane on board the Westwind, just as it was on her sister ships Eastwind and SouthwindEastwind's JF-2 played a prominent role in the capture of a German vessel in Greenland waters one week after this particular photo was taken.


Eastwind's Grumman amphibian returns to the ship.

Original caption: "U.S.C.G. Eastwind scouting patrol plane returns to ship to report sighting Nazi ship."  No date; Photo No. A-7 3-7; photographer not listed.

On 14 October 1944 Eastwind's Grumman JF-2 located the German weather ship Externsteine trapped in the ice along the Greenland coast and led directly to its capture.  The amphibian was piloted by ENS Joseph "Little Mac" McCormick with LCDR Harold Land acting as his observer.  Click here for more information on this arctic combat mission.


Donald B. MacDiarmid with cigar

Original caption: "Commanding Officer of a Coast Guard Patrol Squadron in the Far North, Commander D. B. MacDiarmid, of . . .Clifton, Mass., keenly observes the maneuvers of PBY flying boats all while puffing a cigar that is as inevitable as Prime Minister Winston Churchill's.  Coast Guardsmen are serving all over the globe.  They man cutters and destroyer escorts clearing combat waters of enemy subs, land fighting forces on beaches, and fly patrol planes to protect convoys."; no date; Photo No. SC #49; photographer not listed.

D. B. MacDiarmid championed the use of seaplanes and became the leading expert on their operation.


Air Station San Diego in 1945.

Original caption: "San Diego, Calif. Air Station 11th District Taken 1945 [sic]".
No photo number/photographer not listed.

"Merry Xmas 1944" is written on the photograph. 
A Martin PBM on the flight line with her beaching gear attached. 


 

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Volume 3 (1946-2000)


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