Between late April and early May 1944, while based at NAAF Ayer, VB4 converted from the SBD-5 to the SB2C-3. After two months of training in the new bomber, the squadron, with the rest of Air Group 4, was transferred across country to San Diego from where it sailed for Hawaii, arriving at NAS Hilo in late July. Initial equipment at Hilo was some well worn SB2C-1Cs, but these were augmented from September by newer -3s. Towards the end of October the air group was on the move again, firstly to Pearl Harbor and from there by CVE to Saipan.
On 4 November 1944 Air Group 4 boarded Bunker Hill at Saipan and sailed to join Task Force 38 off the Philippines. During the first half of the month VB4 hit targets in Ormoc Bay, Leyte, and Subic and Manila Bays, Luzon. On November 17 Bunker Hill's first combat cruise came to an end and so on the 18th the Air Group transferred to Essex. Only two more strikes were flown by VB4 off Essex in November, both on the 25th against targets in Subic and San Fernando Bays. Indeed the squadron's time in combat was nearly at an end, for the increasing effectiveness of the Kamikazes led to radical changes in the composition of the CV air groups. Following a strike against Lingayen airfield, Luzon on December 16th, VB4 was put ashore at Orote, Guam and its place on Essex taken by an augmented Marine F4U squadron. While the other units of the air group continued in combat until the end of February 1945, VB4 languished on Guam. Air Group4 finally returned home, to San Diego, on 1 April.
VB4 reformed at Alameda in May 1945 with SB2C-4s and almost immediately transferred to NAAS Watsonville. Only two months later Air Group 4 was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and so July saw VB4's arrival at NAS Wildwood. There it received SB2C-5s, but again the stay was short and in early September it joined the rest of the air group at NAAS Groton. Training continued for four months at Groton and then came the next move, to Norfolk, in preparation for some more sea duty. From February to April 1946 Air Group 4 was aboard the new carrier Tarawa for its shakedown cruise to the Caribbean. Following this, Tarawa and her air group were assigned to the Pacific Fleet and the second half of the year brought visits to such ports as San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Yokosuka and Tsingtao. In November Air Group 4 went ashore to Kobler Field, Saipan, where,on the 15th, VB4 was redesignated VA1A. Boarding Tarawa again in January 1947 the air group sailed for Hawaii where, apart from a three week cruise to the Marshall Islands in February, it remained until late April. At the end of that month it was back to the mainland, the squadrons arriving at San Diego on May 1st. For the rest of 1947 and the first half of 1948 VA1A remained based at San Diego. Short cruises on Tarawa were made in September, while in October and November some weeks were spent at Seattle. March 1948 brought a new aircraft for the squadron in the shape of the F4U-4 and by May all the SB2C-5s had gone.

  LtCdr. C.V. Johnson  to 27 December 1944
      ???    27 December 1944 to February 1945
  LtCdr. H.W. Calhoun   from May 1945 to 18 July 1947
  LtCdr. J.K. Clifford   from 18 July 1947


Philippines Liberation


18 October 1944Lt.(jg) H.W. Riffe/ACMM C.M. Holt
13 November 1944Lt.(jg) A.G. King/ARM3c R.A. Smart(C---AA Manila Bay)
13 November 1944Ens. J.I. Hawkins/ARM3c G.P. Curtice(C---AA Manila Bay)
25 November 1944Lt.(jg) R.L. Deputy
25 November 1944Ens. B.N. Kinder/ARM3c D.R. Follweiler(C---AA Luzon)
13 December 1945Ens. T.D. Murphy
28 January 1947Ens. R.W. Larson
28 February 1947Ens. W.H. Temple
26 February 1948Mid. J.W. Skoos

USN/MC Squadrons