MARINE UTILITY SQUADRON TWO VJ-2
DETACHMENT "A" FOR "ABLE",
BASED AT ARCHERFIELD AIRFIELD, BRISBANE
DURING WWII

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On 22 August 1944, the Aircraft Seventh Fleet Flag Utility Towing Units based at Archerfield Airfield, Brisbane were transferred to "Detachment "A" for "Able", of Marine Utility Squadron Two VJ-2. "Detachment "A" was previously based at Ault Field, Whidbey Island, Washington where it commenced operations on 20 July 1944. Detachment "A" was part of Marine Aircraft Group Twenty One, Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force.

Marine Utility Squadron Two VJ-2 was headquartered at Pityilu Airfield in the Admiralty Islands in October 1944 with Detachment "A" for "Able" at Archerfield Airfield, Detachment "B" for "Baker", the Rear Echelon at Pallikulo Airfield, Espititu Santo and Detachment "C" for "Charlie" at Turnbull Field, Milne Bay, New Guinea.

In August 1944, Detachment "A" had the following aircraft:-

1 only TBF-1
2 only SBD-5
1 only J2F-5

They were providing utility services in the Brisbane area and also maintenance services for six Flag aircraft.

In October 1944 a summary of their flight operations was as follows:-

Anti-aircraft towing 12 flights 22.4 hours
Familiarisation 6 flights 10.0 hours
Test Flights 4 flights 4.8 hours
Miscellaneous - Utility 11 flights 23.5 hours
Administrative 12 flights 29.8 hours
TOTAL 45 flights 90.5 hours

 

US Navy 7th Command Fleet area at Archerfield Airfield
where Detachment "A", Marine Utility Squadron Two was based

 

Plan showing a larger area
at Archerfield Airfield
(Click to enlarge)

 

During September 1944, Detachment "A" provided utility services in the Brisbane area and also provided maintenance services for six Flag planes.

In September 1944 one JM-1 type aircraft, Bureau Number 66607, of Marine Utility Squadron Two (Command) crashed on landing at Mackay Airfield in north Queensland as a result of a brake system failure and running out of runway. There was no injury to personnel and the aircraft was recommended to the Commander Aircraft Seventh Fleet (Logistics Section) for striking and salvage for parts. The engines were preserved and shipped to A.S.D. Espiritu Santo for overhaul.

During October 1944, Detachment "A" conducted routine flights consisting of tracking and tow flights carried out daily for the Wellington Point Gunnery School AATC (Navy). Other missions consisted of cross country flights to Mackay to transport personnel and parts to assist in salvage operations of JM-1 Bureau No. 6667 (see below). Other cross country flights were for transporting Captain Baker, USN to Rockhampton and return.

On 14 October 1944, Detachment "A" discontinued operations by order of Commander Service Force, Seventh Fleet. All Squadron gear and spare parts were crated in preparation for Movement Orders to Sentani Airfield, Hollandia, New Guinea.

Detachment A's aircraft in October 1944 were as follows:-

1 only J2F-5
1 only TBF-1
2 only SBD-5

The Command Group of VJ-2 based at Pityilu Airfield in the Admiralty Islands had the following aircraft in October 1944:-

9 only JM-1 (see photo below)
5 only TBF-1
1 only TBF-1C
6 only TBM-1C
2 only J2F-6
1 only PBY-5A

 


Photo:- Nick Shailer collection

Two JM-1 aircraft (B-26 Marauder equivalents) possibly from the Command
Group of Marine Utility Squadron Two VJ-2 based at Pityilu Airfield, which visited
Garbutt Airfield in Townsville. They were painted a dull yellow colour.

 


Photo:- NARA via Mike Furline

The above aircraft appears to be the same as the one on the right hand side in
 the above photo at Townsville. This photo is the crash of JM-1 BuNo 66608
 piloted by Lt. Roy L. Minnick at Sentani Airfield, New Guinea on 8 June 1945

 


Photo:- NARA via Mike Furline

Closeup of the nose art which appears to be the same
 as the JM-1 on the right of the above Townsville photo.

 

A typical JM-1 aircraft in its chrome yellow paint scheme

 

On 6 November 1944, J2F-5 Duck aircraft Bureau Number 00724 from Detachment "A" crashed on landing at Archerfield Airfield. The following day it was transferred to US Navy Recovery Unit, Navy Number 134, Brisbane for salvage.

Detachment "A" left Archerfield Airfield for a new location at Sentani Airfield, Hollandia, New Guinea on 16 November 1944.

 

REFERENCES

Utility Squadron Two War Diary

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Mike Furline for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 18 June 2014

This page last updated 04 April 2022