Crew 99, U.S. Navy PB4Y-2 "Privateer" Patrol Bomber Squadron VPB-118

Information recounted here was obtained from the VPB-118 book, "The Old Crows, VPB-118, The History of Navy Patrol Bombing Squadron 118." Most of the crew names were compiled by James Pettit. Crew photo courtesy James Pettit of VPB-118.

The Browne crew.

PPC Lt. Robert F. Browne

The Browne relief crew of VPB-118 consisted of:

(Back L-R) Patrick H. McHood AOM2c (bombardier/bow turret), Fred O. Koski ARM2c (1st radio), Ens. John K. Ellis (co-pilot), Lt. Robert F. Browne (PPC), Ens. Frank M. Crosson (co-pilot), Palmer E. Collins AMM2c (plane captain), Aldo Zordan AOM3c (3rd ordnanceman).

(Front L-R) Eric G. Leistner AMM2c (2nd mechanic/port waist turret), Richard L. Landis ARM3c (3rd radio/starboard waist turret), Andrew G. Hansen ARM2c (2nd radio), John R. Trappett, AOM3c (1st ordnanceman) and George Vermich AMM3c (3rd mechanic/tail turret, not in picture)

According to the VPB-118 book, “The Old Crows, VPB-118, The History of Navy Patrol Bombing Squadron 118," The Browne crew arrived around 8/23/1945 as a relief crew. However, Richard Landis pointed out in correspondence to this site that they actually arrived on August 3, 1945 and they left Okinawa for the mainland on November 18, 1945.

Dick Landis graciously sent us a copy of his flight log. The Browne Crew flew patrols with planes 59461, 59451, and 59499.

In Dick Landis’ own words:

“Our crew – ‘Browne’ also landed on Okinawa Aug 3, the same day the Burge Crew arrived. On Aug 7th we sank two ‘sugar dogs’ in southwest Korea. Also were fired on by Jap destroyer. Aug. 7th was the last active patrols looking for Jap ships.”

“On Aug. 7th 1945 my best friend, Mike Hedrick was killed in this incident. We had been in radio school together then on Okinawa in VPB-118. I think of him to this day. Our youngest son is named Michael Hedrick.”

“Our crew had taken off just after Mike’s crew.”

“... my last few days with Mike Hedrick were on the 4th & 5th of August. The crews’ tent was about 10 ft. from ours and I kept going over in the afternoon a few times waiting for the crews to return. The only good thing to come out of it is that I have been in touch with the Hedrick family.”


Copy of log book sent to us by Richard Landis in fall, 2007.

Dick and Mike Landis (leftmost) at the fall, 2007 VPB-118 reunion. If you are one of the others in this photo please contact us and we will update the caption.