Patrol Squadron Memorial
Veteran’s Memorial Park Pioneer Way
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|The Airmen Named on the Memorial|
|THE WHIDBEY PATROL SQUADRON MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED TO ALL UNITED STATES NAVY PERSONNEL WHO SERVED IN NAVY PATROL SQUADRONS BASED AT NAS WHIDBEY ISLAND AND TO THE MANY WHIDBEY AIRMEN WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN VP OPERATIONS. WE HONOR THEM ALL|
When the Whidbey Patrol Squadron Memorial committee first began to consider the daunting task of creating a memorial in Oak Harbor, Washington, one of their first concerns was the intended scope of the memorial. Should it memorialize all the personnel in all the U.S. Navy patrol squadrons? Or should it be more localized to honor just those who served in patrol squadrons based at NAS Whidbey Island? The committee envisioned a wall as part of the memorial with the names of airmen who had died serving their country in patrol squadron operations. It was decided that the memorial should concentrate on those who served and those who died in NAS Whidbey-based VP squadrons. Committee members began the research necessary to gather all the names of those whose sacrifice would be remembered on the wall. It was expected to be a huge task since the names needed would date back to World War II, and there would be large numbers of fatalities from that period alone.
It soon became apparent that there is no central repository of the names of those who died in VP operations. It was expected that the Naval Personnel Command or the Naval Safety Center or the Naval Historical Center or the Naval Archives would have that information on file and easily retrievable, but such is not the case. Even the Naval Safety Center has no records of aircraft mishaps that include the names of those who died.
Not only is there no central source of information on those who died in VP operations, there is also no reliable source of all the aircraft mishaps that led to those fatalities. The memorial committee, which took on the name “Whidbey Patrol Squadron Memorial” committee owing to their chosen scope of the memorial, was faced with the realization that it was up to the committee itself to generate the names of the airmen who should be honored by the memorial. Thus began a time-consuming search that continued for several years to create an accurate list of names that would appear on the WPSM wall. To a man, the WPSM committee members pledged that the memorial would only list the names of deceased airmen if the committee could guarantee that it had absolutely correct information including dates, ranks/rates and the spelling of the names. This information was to be carved in granite. Inaccuracies could not be permitted.
Before long, the WPSM committee realized that the wider the scope of the research they were doing, the less likely it would be that the final product would be error-free. There was absolutely no way to identify all of the VP fatalities over the sixty-plus years of Whidbey-based VP operations, let alone doing it with any accuracy. In order to ensure 100% accuracy, the committee was forced to narrow the scope of its research to cover only P2V mishaps. They wanted to include other aircraft types, and were encouraged by veterans of other squadrons to include other aircraft types, but the inconsistencies of the information available to the researchers made a larger scope impossible to achieve.
The list of names on the Whidbey Patrol Squadron Memorial wall only includes fatalities from P2V operations, but the memorial itself is dedicated to all who served in the NAS Whidbey Island VP community, and particularly to those who lost their lives. The dedication statement above in blue on gold is carved into the Memorial wall.
Among Those Lost in P2V Operations
Whidbey Patrol Squadron
Memorial is sponsored by the Patrol Squadron Two