Towards the end of 1942 the two bombing squadrons in Air Group 9, VB9 and VS9, became the first in the Navy to receive the new SB2C-1 Helldiver. However, their time with the new aircraft was short, as a multitude of mechanical problems meant that there was no prospect of it being ready for Essex's shakedown, scheduled for March 1943 with Air Group 9 aboard. As a consequence, both squadrons converted in February to the older SBD. Following a merger of VS9 with VB9 in July that same year, the enlarged VB9 saw combat aboard Essex from October until February 1944, flying the SBD-5.

VB9 reformed at NAS Pasco in April 1944 and was given the job of evaluating the Grumman F6F-3 as a fighter-bomber (VFB). Operations with the Hellcat continued until September when the squadron was re-equipped with the SB2C-3. In October Air Group 9 was ferried to Pearl Harbor on Yorktown and spent the next two months training at NAS Kahului. Late December brought a transfer to NAB Ponam, Manus, followed a month later by a further move westwards to Ulithi where, on 3 February 1945, it went aboard Lexington.

Bombing Nine's first combat mission with the SB2C was a strike against the Nakajima-Ota aircraft plant, northwest of Tokyo, on 16 February. Later in the month it supported the Iwo Jima landings, and then struck Okinawa on 1 March. Five days later, at Ulithi, the air group transferred to Yorktown.
Now equipped with the SB2C-4, VB9 was again in action on 18 March when a strike was flown against the airfield at Oita, on Kyushu. The naval base at Kure, Honshu was the target on the 19th, and following these two days of attacks on the home islands the task force withdrew southwards to begin the protracted campaign in support of the Okinawa invasion. From 23 March until 10 June, apart from a short break at Ulithi between 14 and 24 May, Bombing Nine was fully engaged in this work. The squadron also participated in the sinking of the Yamato on 7 April, and in attacks on other islands in the Nansei Shoto.
Finally, with Okinawa secure, Yorktown arrived in Leyte Gulf on 13 June for a few weeks rest. A few days later Air Group 9 was relieved and transferred to Hornet for the trip home. She arrived at Alameda on 8 July. Although the Air Group was not decommissioned until 15 October, there is no indication that VB9 was assigned any aircraft in the intervening period.

  Cdr. A.T. Decker  to 9 September 1944
  Lt. T.F. Schneider  9 September 1944 to June 1945
  LtCdr. H.K. Pierson   from July 1945?


6 January 1943LtCdr. J.R. Yoho/ACRM G.T. Blalock
16 May 1944Lt. V.L. Miller(F6F)
23 July 1944Ens. J.A. Stafford(F6F)
24 March 1945Lt.(jg) M. Bailans/ACRM A.C. Powell(C---AA Okinawa)
7 April 1945Lt. H.W. Worley/ARM1c E.W. Ward(C---AA Yamato sortie)
11 May 1945Ens. J.J. Bell
7 June 1945Ens. W.R. Watson

US Navy&Marine Squadrons