Head-on view of PB4Y-2 Privateer with airmen walking in front

Paul Diederich (Crew 14) photo courtesy of Steve Diederich

The last year of WWII, 1945, saw the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Allied blockade and military drive on the Japanese Empire, the atom bomb, and the surrender of Japan. Patrol Bomber Squadron VPB-118 of the United States Navy played little-known but crucial roles in this drive to Allied victory – fleet protection, destruction of enemy picket ships, scouting, mine-laying, and support to other units. But their most notable activity is hinted in their plane's monicker: the Privateer. The Privateers of VPB-118 and other patrol bomber squadrons were the bane of Japanese shipping in the Korea Strait, Yellow Sea, and East China Sea – scuttling many thousands of tons of crucial supplies plundered from Asia by Japan and raiding the enemy at harbors and peninsulas. These activities contributed greatly to the blockade of Japan, thus sapping Japan's ability to wage war. VPB-118 was the first squadron to fly the PB4Y-2 or "Privateer" – in fact they trained on the Privateer before it was at all known to the rest of the world. This is our tribute to our fathers' squadron.