1946 to 1950
In the January of 1946, Air Group NINETEEN boarded the Bennington for further training. On 26 February 1946 the Air Group participated in a joint Army-Navy Air Defence exercise around the Island of Oahu. Air Group NINETEEN launched a pre-dawn strike from Bennington, 150 miles at sea and haeded for Oahu at sea level to avoid radar detection. The squadrons split up into groups to strike the island from many different angles and were nearly to the target before being intercepted by the Army's fighters. During this period, though, training was marred by the loss of Ensign George Blakenship of VBF 19 on 10 December 1945.
After the expulsion of the Japanese from China in 1945, the country was thown into civil war. Although the US supported the Nationalists with material supplies, it did not get incolved militarily. The US Navy air arm was to conduct surveillance missions over the war zone.
On 18 March, Air Group NINETEEN was ordered to Pearl Harbor to board the USS Hancock (CV 19) for transportation to Saipan to relieve Air Group EIGHTY-NINE aboard the USS Antietam (CV 36). They reached Marpi Point, Saipan, 02 April 1946.
On 20 April 1946, CVG 19 joined USS Antietam and headed for Hong Kong as part of Task Force Seventy Seven.
While enroute to Hong Kong, the squadrons of the Air Group flew numerous hops; tactical training flights including groups attacks, CAP's, navigation search hops and search and attack hops in conjunction with the USS Boxer (CV 21). The Task Force arrived in Hong Kong on 01 May and enjoyed a six-day stop-over as guests of the British.
The task force departed Hong Kong 06 May 1946 and headed for for Tsingtao, China, stopping over at Okinawa, Japan for a day, 09 May 1946. Flight operations were resumed enroute to Tsingtao almost daily conducting tactical flight operations. Antietam anchored at Tsingtao, China, on 12 May 1946 for nearly a month's stay. During the stay at Tsingtao, all Air Group personnel got to visit Shanghai, beng ferryed across by either a cruiser or a destroyer.
On 04 June, the Air Group aboard the USS Antietam departed for Saipan where the Group was to disembark while the ship proceeded to Guam. Enroute the Air Group engaged in more tactical training flight operations.
On 05 June 1946, tradegdy struck Bombing-Fighting NINETEEN again, as its Executive Officer, LCDR K. Hein was killed when his plane crashed in the sea in a carrier approach mishap.
On 11 June 1946 the Air Group embarked to NAS Kobler, Saipan for a two weeks stay. While at Saipan the group flew a refresher syllabus with stress placed on field carrier landings. The Air Group also engaged in parade formation practice for the forthcoming Fourth of July liberation ceremonies at Manila, Philippines.
27 June 1946 the Air Group aboarded the Antiem, and departed for Manila, reaching the San Bernadino Straights on by the last day of June and arrived in Manila Bay 02 July 1946 aboard the USS Antietam. Upon arrival part of the Air Group flew ashore to be based at NAS Sangley Point. On the fourth of July the planes ashore flew a parade formation over Manila in conjunction with the USS ARMY in celebration of the Philippines' Independence.
The Air Group reassembled aboard the Antietam on 05 July and on 10 July, the ship left Manila enroute back to Saipan where it arrived on the morning of 15 July. Later that day, the Antietam departed Saipan for Guam, arriving the next morning before returning to Saipan 19 July.
Air operations were held aboard the USS Antietam on 22 July and were to be last three days, but bad weather cut short the last day of flight operations. 24 July 1946, the USS Antietam left Saipan, with Air Group NINETEEN aboard, enroute Guam where it anchored until the time that it was to be relieved by the USS Princeton (CV-37) on 01 August. The squadron returned to the US early August that year, ending Air Group NINETEEN's second Pacific cruise.
In the following years, like many other nations, the US faced the need to scale down its military arms. The US Navy began by placing into reserve and decommissioning many front line fighting units, including both ships and aircraft. Then, in 1947, US naval aviation faced another threat - the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) was reformed into the United States Air Force (USAF). To the usual post war political wrangling and fighting for funds, was added the premise that all air roles could be now be handled by the new USAF. On result was that many US Navy squadrons found themselves with long periods of shored based training.
After returning home, at the end of August 1946, VF 19 was placed on reduced operational status as half of squadron was granted leave. Most of the squadrons time was spent training replacement pilots and familiarzing them with the F8F-1.
1947 saw the squadron get some more time aboard carriers. At the end of January 1947, VF 19 A spent a week aboard USS Boxer (CV 21) for carrier quailifiactions. From the end of July, the squadron were aboard USS Tarawa (CV 40) for two weeks of tactics and CAP. The air group practiced new carrier break-up and landing procedures. However, the squadron's return to Alameda was soon marred with the loss of Ensign Ahrens. During a bombing run, while pulling out of the dive, the aircraft lost a wing tip, rolled and crashed in to the ground. Ahrens had not been wearing an anti-blackout suit and apparently "grayed-out" due to excessive "G's" while recoving from the dive.
On 30 August, the squadron boarded USS Boxer for a month of inter-type excersises. Shore based training continued throughout the rest of the year, with small detactments of pilots embarking aboard the Boxer for quailifiaction in the Bearcat. The year was rounded off with the air group joining the Boxer for its Operational Readiness Inspection.
1948 got off to an incongruous start. The squadron particiapted in a gunnery competition with VF 20A. VF 19 A results were not very impressive, but bad weather prevented VF 20A from completing the competition. In February the squadron, along with the air group commander and VF 20A, moved to NAS El Centro for two weeks of intensive rocket training and night field carrier landing practice. The following month, the squadron boarded USS Boxer for night carrier landing qualifications. On the return flight, bad weather forced the squadron to stop over at NAS El Centro to group the aircraft. Tradegy struck when the aircraft of Ensigns L. W. Reiner and E. E. Holiday collided in midair. Both pilots were killed and aircraft destroyed.
April 1948, saw the squadron prepare for its first deployment since 1946. VF 19 A embarked aboard USS Boxer on 8 April. The trip to Pearl Harbour saw no actual flying. Once at NAS Barber's Point, they conducted intense training excerises, conducting many "attacks" on the nearby islands of Mlokai and Kahoolawe. Departing Barber's Point, on rejoining the carrier, the squadron commander LCDR R. W. Calland made the 22,000th landing aboard Boxer. On 25 May, the squadron assisted in the sinking of USS Salt Lake City (CA 25). The ship had been comtaminated during the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. VF 19 A left Boxer and returned to NAS Alameda on the 28 May 1948.
Towards the end of 1946, aircraft carriers were redesignated to reflect their roles. New designations included, for example, CVA - Attack and CVE - Escort. Aircraft squadron designations were also changed. For CVG 19: VF 19 became VF 19 A; VBF 19 became VF 20A; VB 19 became VA 19A; and VT 19 became VA 20A.
Also, to establish clear-cut relationships for aircraft maintenance, all CASU's and other maintenance units replacemed by Fleet Aircraft Service Squadrons. The new FASRON's organised according to aircraft types serviced. This was intended to promote higher standards and greater uniformity and efficiency in aircraft maintenance. On 1 December, the squadron adopted the FASRON system.
August of 1948 saw the air group reorganized into three squadrons of F8Fs and two of ADs, VF 19 A becoming VF 191, with VF 20A changing to VF 192, VA 19A to VF 194 and VA 20A to VF 195. A new squadron, VF 193 was established and added to the air group. This change also saw the carriers lose their assigned tail-codes - which were transfered to the air group associated the particular carrier. CAG 19 therefore retained the tail-code B.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean war, they were deployed aboard USS Boxer (CV 21) as part of the US Navy 7th fleet.
|Ensign B. R. Ahrens||18 Aug 1947||F8F-1 #94927||N.A.S. Alameda|
|Ensign Laurence M. Reiner||17 Mar 1948||F8F-1 #95458||USS Boxer||NAS El Centro, CA|
|Ensign Edward E. Holiday||17 Mar 1948||F8F-1 #95029||USS Boxer||NAS El Centro, CA|
|Apr 1946||Aug 1946||USS Antietam (CV 37)||Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat||A||China|
|Apr 1948||May 1948||USS Boxer (CV 21)||Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat||B||Western Pacific|