In September 1943, at NAAS Fentress Field near Norfolk, VB8 converted from the SBD to the SB2C-1. Time for familiarisation with the new aircraft was short, however, as at the beginning of October Air Group 8 sailed aboard the new carrier Intrepid on her shakedown cruise. Following the shakedown and a further month at Norfolk, ship and air group sailed for the Pacific via the Panama Canal. Intrepid reached Pearl Harbor on 10 January 1944 whereupon Air Group 8 went ashore to NAS Puunene, where it remained for two months of further training. Back at Pearl on 14 May, and now equipped with the SB2C-1C, VB8 boarded Bunker Hill which then sailed for Majuro to join Task Force 58.
VB8's first period in combat began with strikes on the Palaus, on 30 and 31 March, and then Woleai in the Carolines, on 1 April.Later that month the squadron supported the landings at Hollandia on the north New Guinea coast and ended the month with two days of strikes on Truk. After a month's rest at Majuro it was back to sea in early June to support the Marianas operation. The squadron's opening strikes were flown against Tinian on June 12. Saipan, Guam and Pagan were also hit that month, while on the 20th VB8 was one of four SB2C squadrons which participated in the dusk attack on the Japanese Fleet in the Philippine Sea. July brought further strikes against Guam and then it was again the turn of the Palaus, on the 26th and 27th. Two days of strikes against the Bonins in early August brought the second period of combat to a close. VB8's third period started early in September with another two day visit to the Palaus. A fourth visit to those same islands was made on the 17th, but most of the targets hit during the month were new as, for the first time in the War, the fast carriers launched a series of strikes against enemy bases in the Philippines. At the end of September VB8 became the last squadron in the Task Force to convert to the SB2C-3 model. It took its new aircraft into action in October, first against Okinawa and then Formosa. The final strikes were flown against the Philippines on October 18th and 21st, but by then Air Group 8 was exhausted and Bunker Hill was detached from the Task Force to pick up a replacement (Air Group 4).
VB8 returned eventually to the West Coast in December and reformed at Alameda on 1 January 1945. Ten days later it moved to NAAS Watsonville where it remained for four months, training on the SB2C-4. In May a further move saw it once again at NAS Puunene for two months. At the date of the Japanese surrender, 15 August, the squadron was en route for Saipan where it was based until late in September. On September 24, Air Group 8 boarded Bennington and spent a month cruising off Japan in support of the occupation. Following a visit to Tokyo Bay the ship then sailed for San Francisco. VB8 was decommissioned at San Diego on 23 November 1945.

  LtCdr. R.L. Shifley  to 2 May 1944
  LtCdr. J.D. Arbes  2 May 1944 to 23 November 1945

VB8's combat cruise on Bunker Hill, from March to October 1944, was probably the hardest made by any carrier bombing squadron in WWII.


11 January 1944Ens. R.S. Wright
31 March 1944ARM3c T.O. Pikkarainen (C---AA Palau; pilot, Ens. R.S. Benshimol, rescued)
29 April 1944Lt.(jg) A.A. Foote/ARM3c E.C. Browder (C---AA Truk)
29 April 1944ARM3c C.V. Heighton (C---AA Truk,died of wounds)
8 June 1944Ens. A. Scopelitis/ARM2c A.C. Dills
19 June 1944Ens. R.S. Benshimol/ARM2c H.L. Schacht (C---AA Guam)
19 June 1944Ens. W.H. Ransom/ARM2c C.E. Polk
19 June 1944Lt.(jg) P.I. Touw/ARM2c W. Hanmer (C---EA Marianas)
20 June 1944Lt.(jg) R.E. Sterling/ARM1c H.W. Ashton
20 June 1944Lt.(jg) J.O. McIntire/ARM2c R.M. Varmette (C---EA Jap. Fleet)
20 June 1944Lt.(jg) C.D. Smith/ARM1c K.E. Bartlebaugh (C---EA Jap. Fleet)
9 September 1944Lt. A.D. Jones/ARM1c W.L. Oliver (C---AA Davao)
21 September 1944Lt.(jg) R.D. Horne/ARM2c L.B. Stinson (C---AA Manila Bay)
12 October 1944Lt.(jg) P. Newman/ARM2c W.E. Carr (C---AA Formosa)
12 October 1944Lt.(jg) H.S. Sharp/ARM1c J.R. Langiotti (C---AA Formosa; both POWs, but later executed)
13 October 1944Lt.(jg) P.L. Evanoff/ARM2c J.F. Jenkins (C---AA Formosa)
11 July 1945Lt.(jg) T.H. Kelly/ARM1c D.A. Messier
11 July 1945Ens. W.O. Gudjohnsen/ARM2c J.Q. Gustason
18 July 1945Ens. H.M. Strong/ARM2c G.W. Brogan

USN/MC Squadrons