Carrier AirGroup Eighty-Three
Commissioned at Naval Air Station, Atlantic City, N.J.- l May,1944. Type of training
VF - Atlantic City, N.J, - 1-May to 1 July 1944.
VB - Wildwood N. J.- 1 May to l. July 1944
VT -Hyannis and Martha;s Vineyard, Mass. - 1 May to 1 July, 1944
Group training: NAAF Ayer, Mass., I July to l November 1944.
NAS Puunene, Maui, T.H. 19 November 1944 to 20 February 1945.
VBF squadron formed 1- January 1945.
Departed Pearl. Harbor 22 February 1945.
Boarded USS Essex (CV-9) at Ulithi, 10 March1945.
Commander of Air Group throughout was Commander H.T. Utter, USN, of Neville, Ohio.
The Squadron Commanders were:
VF - Commander J. J. Southerland, USN, of Miami, Florida, until 13 April 1945, when he became Commander of CVLG-23. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Commander W.A. Sampson, USN, of West Newton, Mass.
VBF - Lieutenant Commander F.A. Patriarca, USN, of Imperial Beach, Calif., until May4. He was succeeded by, Lieutenant T.H. Reidy, USNR of Highland Park, Ill.
VB - Lieutenant Commander F.A. Patriarca, USN, until 1 January 1945 when he became Commanding Officer of VBF. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Commander D.R. Berry, USNR, of Bowling Green, KY, who was killed in action on 13 May 1945 at Saeki. Lieutenant J.T. Crawford, USNR, of Memphis, TN, succeeded Lieutenant Commander Berry.
VT - Lieutenant Commander H.A. Stewart, USNR, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
14 March to 1 June 1945, a period of 79 days of which 51 were spent in combat. Along with CVLG-47 on USS Bataan believed to have been the longest unbroken period of action during the war.
In this period, CVG-83 flew 6,460 sorties from the deck of the Essex, totaling more than 24,000 hours in the air.
During this period, CVG-83 destroyed 220 Japanese planes in the air and 72 on the ground. In addition 27 planes were probably destroyed or damaged in the air and 94 on the ground.
Participated in the sinking or damaging 11 warships totaling 194,000 tons, and 57 non-combat ships, totaling 19,000 tons, were destroyed or damaged.
Chief anti-shipping strike was East China Sea engagement on 7 April in which the BB Yamato, an Agano class cruiser and four destroyers were sunk. CVG-83's planes got four sure and for probable torpedo hits and nine 1,000-lb. Bomb hits on the Yamato. One torpedo aimed at maneuvering Yamato scored a direct hit and sank a destroyer. Two 1,000-lb. Bomb hits were made on the Agano class cruiser sunk that day.
On 19 March 1945, CVG-83 participated in the first strike against the Japanese chief naval center at Kure, getting six hits on carriers and five hits on battleships anchored there.
The biggest day of air combat for CVG-83 - and the biggest for any Essex air group - came on 6 April when 69 planes were shot out of the air and one was destroyed on the ground as the Japanese put forth their first major effort to counteract the invasion of Okinawa. CVG-83's losses on this occasion were one plane and one pilot.
On 4 may, CVG-83 knocked 38 Japanese planes out of the air with no losses.
On three occasions during this cruise, CVG-83 paid visits to the Japanese Home Islands with particular emphasis on Kyushu. The air group's first blows against the Japanese were struck against southern Kyushu airfields on 18 March 1945. The same area was again visited on 15-16 April and again on 13-14 May. Nittagahara, Tomitake, Kanoya, Tojimbara and Saeki were the principal targets on these strikes.
The air group also made attacks against Minami Kaito, Kikai, Amami, Okingyerabu, Kakeroma and Tanega islands of the Nansei Shoto group.
The chief task of VG-83 during this cruise was furnishing either pre-invasion strikes or air support missions for the invasion and occupation of Okinawa. On 33 days during this first cruise, such missions were flown. The peak of the support work was reached on 20 May, when, after a special briefing, CVG-83's planes attacked enemy positions in the Shuri area which were less than 150 yards from our own front lines in what the Army termed "the closest, most hazardous mission yet attempted." The area attacked was so close to our own front lines that the Army called for air support only as a last resort after the Japanese had stalled our troops for three days and had inflicted 325 casualties. The air support mission was so successfully carried out, that no American lives were lost and our forces were enabled to advance across the ridges.
This first cruise cost CVG-83 in casualties 27 pilots and 11 aircrewmen. One other aircrewman was killed accidentally aboard ship.
Second Cruise 1 July to 15 August 1945
During this period in which bad weather frequently interfered with the Third Fleet's operations, CVG-83 flew 2,595 sorties from the Essex, totaling more than 11,000 hours in the air.
During this cruise that saw CVG-83 planes attacking the Japanese Home Islands of Kyushu and Honshu, eight Japanese planes were destroyed in the air and 35 on the ground.
Anti-shipping strikes were made against Japanese fleet units at Kure and Yokosuka, and merchant shipping especially in the northern Honshu area was attacked. CVG-83 participated in the destruction or damage of one battleship, three cruisers, one small carrier, one minelayer, three destroyers, five destroyer escorts and one gun boat, totaling 71,000 tons.
58,000 tons of merchant shipping were destroyed or damaged on this cruise. Included in this total were five railroad ferries that operated between Aomori on Honshu and Hakodate on Hokkaido and whose destruction seriously hampered the vital flow of fuel and food from Hokkaido to Honshu.
Airfields in the Tokyo area, northern Honshu, and northern Kyushu were primary targets during this cruise. Atsugi, Sagami, Chofu, Fujisawa, Hachinohe, Matsushima, Sendai, Saeki and Oita were the principal fields.
An outstanding feature of this period of the cruise was the rescue from the shores of Honshu of Lieutenant (JG) V.G. Coumbe of VBF-83. Coumbe's plane was hit by AA during an attack on Ominato Naval Base and he was forced to land in Mutsu Wan. This occurred so late in the day that rescue efforts could not be made so Coumbe spent the night on shore. The next day daring pilots of "Kingfishers" from the North Carolina landed within range of guns of the naval base nad picked up Coumbe.
During this operation, CVG-83 lost eight pilots and two crewman.
CVG-83 planes were in the air and enroute to the Tokyo area when word was received to cease operations against the enemy on the morning of 15 August 1945.
In the period 16-31 August, CVVG-83 participated in the air operations leading to the occupation of the Tokyo Bay area. Pilots and crewmen of the group were instrumental in finding several prisoner-of-war camps and dropping to them supplies of food, clothing and cigarettes.
Florida's Honorable Mark Foley entered Carrier Air Group into the Congressional Record on Tuesday, May 10, 2005, for heroism and valor and the contribution of Air Group 83 and its personnel to the defeat of Japan in the Pacific Theater during World War II.