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When the new squadron numbering system was introduced in July 1939 all of the 21 U.S. Navy Patrol Squadrons were renumbered. Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4) thus became Patrol Squadron 22 (VP-22), identifying it as number two Squadron under Patrol Wing Two.

VP-4 was flying PBY-3's when its designation changed to VP-22.  During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, VP-22 was based on Ford Island. Seven of their aircraft were destroyed and others damaged. 

After the attack on Pearl Harbor VP-22 received twelve PBY-5's and moved to the Philippines in January 1942. They were assigned to Patrol Wing Ten where they were involved in the defence of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) together with VP-101 and VP-102. Three of the four Patrol Squadrons in Patwing 10 were decommissioned due to heavy losses. The remaining aircraft and equipment and personnel were absorbed into VP-101. This included VP-22 which had run out of aircraft by 3 March 1942. They relocated to Perth, in Western Australia. 

Lieutenant Thomas Moorer was assigned to VP-22 flying the Consolidated PBY Catalina out of Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. On 7 December 1941, he was one of the first pilots to take off in his PBY.

Moorer's PBY-5 Catalina (#18, BuNo. 2306 - ex-22-P-4) was shot down north of Darwin near Bathurst Island, on 19 February 1942 during a Japanese bombing raid. He was unfortunate to be the first victim of the large Japanese force. His Catalina was attacked by nine Japanese "O" Type fighters near the northern tip of Bathurst Island. Lt. Thomas Moorer was forced to crash land the Catalina into the sea. The crew, including 4 wounded men, were then rescued by the freighter Don Isidro, which was later attacked and beached near Bathurst Island. He was rescued by the RAAF four days later. Moorer was one of the wounded and received a Purple Heart.

VP-22 was decommissioned on 18 April 1942. LCDR Frank O'Beirne was the Commanding Officer of VP-22 at that time. Lt. Doyle Donaho was the Executive Officer and Lt. Thomas Moorer the Flight Officer.

Lt. Moorer returned to the US in mid 1942. He went on to retire as U.S. Navy Admiral Thomas Moorer. He was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from July 1970 to June 1974 and Chief of Naval Operations from 1967 to 1970. He died on 25 February 2004 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD aged 91 years.


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This page first produced 23 August 2004

This page last updated 02 September 2018