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On 4 September 1937 it was decided that number designations would be assigned to Patrol Wings of US Navy patrol aviation effective the 1 October 1937. The guidelines were as follows:-

A standard of number Patrol Squadrons was adopted in July 1939. The first digit of a Patrol Squadron designation Number became the same number as the Wing Number to which it was attached. Thus Patrol Squadrons at this point in time were permanently appointed to a particular Wing. e.g. VP31 would indicate that this was the first squadron assigned to Patrol Wing 3.

The US Navy Fleet was reorganised in 1940 and the Patrol Wings were split across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans (Pacific Fleet and Atlantic Fleet). This was the end of the concept of five only Patrol Wings.

On 10 April 1942, the Patrol Squadrons in the Pacific were reorganised from the Battle and Scouting Forces to form the Patrol Wings Pacific Fleet. On 12 July 1942, the Headquarters Squadron (HEDRON) and Patrol Service Units (PATSU) were formed.

Patrol Wings were redesignated on 1 November 1942 as Fleet Air Wings (FAW). The standard numbering system was abandoned to allow assignment of any type of aircraft to a Fleet Air Wing to allow it to perform its particular mission in its area of operation.

On 1 March 1943, Patrol Squadrons that flew from land based stations were redesignated from VP to VB (Bombing Squadrons). They had a three digit number allocated to differentiate them from carrier based bombing squadrons. 

It would appear that there were only two Patrol Wings (or Fleet Air Wings) that operated in Australia during WW2:-

A number of Patrol Squadrons were assigned to these two Patrol Wings/Fleet Air Wings while they served in Australia during WW2.


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This page first produced 22 August 2004

This page last updated 03 January 2017