VGS-12 at Guadalcanal

I’ve continued to pursue my Uncle Herb’s valiant, if ill fated, World War II record. Delving into unpublished war records and archives, I’ve been able to trace him to his arrival at Guadalcanal in the heat of the battle. Many details are still missing and records are hard to find. If you happen to know anything about his unit, his ship, of any of his fellow Navy airmen, I’d like to hear about it.

I’ve drawn up this list based on the National Archive’s copies of the Deck Logs of the Escort Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Copahee from November 1942 through February 1943, as she carried the men and planes of Navy Squadron VGS-12 to relieve the embattled Cactus Air Force on Guadalcanal. My Uncle Herbert Hopp was among the Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber crews set ashore on Guadalcanal on Feb 1, 1943. Anyone with additional information please leave a reply below or contact me at the email address at the bottom of the list.

Muster List of Escort Scouting Squadron Twelve (VGS-12) Personnel Reporting Aboard U.S.S. Copahee, ACV-12 (Later CVE-12) on November 29, 1942, San Diego

Officers

Name, commission                                                                   Notes

  1. Hulme, John, Lt Cmdr, USN
  2. Jackson, R.W., Lt, USN
  3. Henry, G.R., Lt, USN
  4. Savage, R.L., Lt, USN
  5. Speake, G.E., Lt, A-V(N), USNR
  6. Merrick, R.C., Lt, A-V(N), USNR
  7. Maione, M.C., Lt, A-V(N), USNR
  8. Wasey, G.D., Lt, A-V(S), USNR                     Temporary duty CASU-9, Feb 2, ’43
  9. Linehan, T.E., Lt, A-V(S), USNR                   Temporary duty CASU-9, Feb 2, ’43
  10. Ruth, T.A., Lt (jg), A-V(N), USNR
  11. Timmes, F.X., Lt (jg), A-V(N), USNR
  12. Parker, N.H., Lt (jg), A-V(N), USNR
  13. Dodd, W.L., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  14. Blakley, C.E., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  15. Woodcock, M.E., Ens, A-V(N), USNR                 F4F-4 crash, Dec 29, ’42, survived
  16. Brown, C.A., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  17. Roach, T.D., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  18. Smith, W.C., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  19. Yeager, R.N., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  20. Stevens, J.B., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  21. Gibson, R.R.M., Ens, A-V(N), USNR                  ? Returned Feb 2, ’43
  22. Janney, F.W.M., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  23. Riddle, Joseph Jr., Ens, A-V(N), USNR              KIA Feb 4, 1943, New Georgia Is; Destroyer Escort DE-185 named for him
  24. Champlin, N.D., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  25. Miller, M.J., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  26. Savage, F.J., Ens, A-V(N), USNR
  27. Ensley, E.C., Ens, A-V(N), USNR

Reported aboard other than November 29, 1942:

  1. Bliss, L.A.,                                       Crashed F4F-4 fighter, Feb 1, 1943, survived

Enlisted Men

Name, Service Number, Rate                                                                        Notes

  1. Alfred, Robert Leo, 356 19 10, ARM1c, USN                                      b
  2. Allison, Paul Marrius, 630 10 69, ARM3c, V-6, USNR                    b
  3. Alston, Elmer Speirs, 660 20 03, Ptr3c, V-2, USNR
  4. Amos, Stanley Luther, 375 97 27, AMM2c, USN
  5. Anderson, Merwyn Duane, 316 52 76, AMM1c, V-6, USNR
  6. Andrews, J.D., 359 99 00, Matt1c, USN
  7. Anyzeski, Edward Joseph, 207 26 26, S2c, USN                                 b
  8. Ayres, William Matthew, 261 68 60, ACM(AA), USN
  9. Bailey, Horace Edward, 658 38 19, AMM3c, V-6 USNR
  10. Bailey, Robert Barker, 654 21 36, AMM3c, V-2, USNR                      a
  11. Baker, Charles Mervin, 372 03 30, AMM3c, V-6, USNR
  12. Barisic, LeRoy William, 632 53 38, S2c, V-6, USNR                            a
  13. Bass, Herbert Cecil, 382 82 69, S2c, USN
  14. Benson, Kenneth Alva, 368 56 49, EM2c, USN
  15. Berken, Fredrick Weston, 414 39 56, AMM3c, O-1, USNR                a
  16. Bland, Edward Francis, 262 51 10, AM2c, USN
  17. Blazina, Jack William, 414 38 17, S1c, O-1, USNR
  18. Bowersock, George Edward, 371 81 14, EM1c, V-6, USNR
  19. Boyda, Joseph John, 243 47 17, AMM2c, USN
  20. Bozarth, Walter Bruce, 664 01 13, AOM3c, V-2, USNR                      b
  21. Bradley, Herman Horace, 257 95 29, ACRM(AA), USN
  22. Brittain, Jack Irvin, 625 38 00, S2c, V-6, USNR                                  b
  23. Brown, Stanley George, 393 47 56, S2c, USN                                       b
  24. Browning, Joseph Lant, 336 75 37, AM3c, V-6, USNR
  25. Brubaker, Edward Hugh, 283 24 43, AM1c, USN
  26. Brumbaugh, Jack Ross, 382 02 24, ACMM(AA), USN
  27. Burkhead, Jesse Lenard, 287 43 27, AMM3c, USN
  28. Bush, Lawrence Steven, 372 47 16, S2c, USN                                       b
  29. Butterfield, Forrest Dee, 316 69 64, AMM3c, USN
  30. Buzek, Albert Emil, 625 37 97, S2c, V-6, USNR                                   b
  31. Buzek, Julius Rudolf, 625 37 99, S2c, V-6, USNR                                b
  32. Byrd, Edward Milton, 265 67 61, Matt3c, USN
  33. Cain, Percy Joseph, 120 05 41, S1c, V-6, USNR                                         Jan 25, ’43 broke arm in laundry dryer
  34. Carney, James Patrick, 620 07 02, ARM2c, V-2, USNR                     a
  35. Carper, Jack Lee, 648 12 94, S2c, V-3, USNR                                       a
  36. Cate, Basil Holbert Jr., 360 56 57, S2c, USN                                         b
  37. Clark, Floyd Lee, 385 85 91, AMM3c, USN                                          a
  38. Cline, Carl Jack, 656 27 68, AMM3c, V-6, USNR
  39. Cline, Hobert William, 266 41 65, AMM3c, USN                                a
  40. Conlon, Albert Joseph, 600 23 92, S2c, V-6, USNR                            b
  41. Cooper, Roscoe Lee, 625 38 29, AS, V-6, USNR
  42. Cox, Chester William, 664 15 22, AMM3c, V-6, USNR                       a
  43. Cox, Worth Austin, 632 79 47, S2c, V-2, USNR                                   a
  44. Danielson, Donald Lowell, 654 76 51, S2c, V-6, USNR                        b
  45. Day, William Henry, 272 91 72, S2c, USN
  46. De Spain, John Spencer Jr., 351 03 71, S2c, USN                        Feb 3, ’43 returned, lost liberty card
  47. Dial, Adwin Winston Jr., 360 04 67, ARM1c, USN                              a
  48. Duo, John Edward, 647 07 66, S2c, V-6, USNR                                    b
  49. Flannery, John, 336 54 44, S1c, V-6, USNR
  50. Freeman, Kearney, 644 04 49, AM3c, V-2, USNR
  51. Fries, Gene Earl, 321 70 07, ARM2c, USN
  52. Funk, George Arthur, 368 55 42, AMM3c, USN
  53. Gardner, Marvin LaDell, 660 00 94, AMM3c, V-6, USNR
  54. Garner, Leslie Moore, 261 82 23, AMM3c, USN                                 a
  55. Glassett, Roy George, 664 55 40, S2c, V-6, USNR                               b
  56. Goodwin, Glen Marven, 350 00 15, AMM3c, USN
  57. Goold, Jack Everett, 316 87 90, S2c, USN
  58. Gorman, John Patrick, 610 40 67, ARM3c, V-2, USNR                       a
  59. Gorshek, Frank, 299 41 23, AOM1c, USN
  60. Gunn, Max Clellan Jr., 202 02 82, AOM2c, USN                                 b
  61. Hadsell, Herbert Orion, 234 23 87, EM2c, USN
  62. Hakenewerth, Herbert Peter, 337 71 16, ARM3c, USN                        a
  63. Halajian, Harry George, 316 67 53, AMM2c, USN
  64. Hall, John Gunter, 316 50 98, AM3c, V-6, USNR
  65. Handt, Ferdinand Ernest, 304 89 71, AMM2c, V-6, USNR
  66. Hansen, Martin, 320 64 23, ACOM(PA), USN
  67. Haverty, John Robert, 265 67 99, AMM1c, USN
  68. Hendrick, John Allston, 212 64 00, ARM3c, USN
  69. Herzing, Ivan John, 652 15 42, AOM3c, V-6, USNR
  70. Holm, Rolland Larall, 632 38 20, RT2c, V-6, USNR
  71. Hopp, Herbert Albert, 664 09 50, AMM3c, V-2, USNR                     a     Feb 4, ’43 TBF-1 shot down New Georgia Island, survived
  72. Houghton, Claude Jr., 654 20 55, AMM3c, V-6, USNR                       a
  73. Hurst, Harold Wayne, 356 82 79, AS, USN                                           b
  74. Jensen, Jewel Mansfield, 638 49 93, S2c, V-6, USNR                         b
  75. Johnson, Jack Alfred, 632 77 30, S2c, V-6, USNR                                b
  76. Kading, Floyd Earl, 291 51 68, BM1c, USN
  77. Kissinger, William David, 620 07 27, AOM3c, V-6, USNR                 a
  78. Knowles, James Aaron, 604 83 81, AS, V-6, USNR                             b
  79. Knox, Donald Phillips, 383 12 97, S2c, USN
  80. Kolodzie, Burnell Vern, 414 38 34, S1c, O-1, USNR                            b
  81. Lamper, Joseph Henry, 368 53 75, AMM2c, USN
  82. Lancaster, Floyd Donald, 670 32 31, S2c, V-6, USNR
  83. Lauth, Andrew L., 664 43 86, S2c, V-2, USNR                                     b
  84. Lipton, Harold Joseph, 654 21 88, AMM3c, V-2, USNR
  85. Lowe, William Durley, 295 81 76, AOM3c, USN                                  b
  86. Lugger, Robert Joseph, 612 25 52, S2c, V-6, USNR                              b
  87. Machen, Paul Edsel, 604 19 51, S2c, V-6, USNR
  88. MacLeod, Kenneth Roderick, 375 24 73, AMM2c, V-6, USNR
  89. Madison, Perry Jr., 630 57 07, Matt3c, V-6, USNR
  90. Mallendick, Leland, 410 33 74, ARM2c, V-1, USNR
  91. Manning, Virgil Clarence, 381 49 03, S2c, USN                                     b
  92. Mayer, Herbert Theodore, 664 10 27, AMM3c, V-2, USNR
  93. McCall, Joseph Roscoe, 268 24 41, AMM1c, USN
  94. McKloskey, Joseph William, 243 59 34, AMM2c, USN                       a
  95. McDonough, Thomas Martin, 350 17 33, SK2c, V-6, USNR
  96. McFarland, Richard LaVerne, 316 88 14, ARM3c, USN                      a
  97. McKnight, Samuel, 630 54 80, Matt3c, V-6, USNR
  98. McReynolds, Donald Eugene, 385 67 90, Y1c, V-6, USNR
  99. Mendoza, Epitacio Ponce, 633 47 25, S2c, V-6, USNR                        b
  100. Merritt, Sheldon Slavens, 654 03 96, AMM3c, V-2, USNR
  101. Milsap, Furman, 657 03 22, Matt3c, V-6, USNR
  102. Mims, Cleo, 637 13 77, Matt3c, V-6, USNR
  103. Morse, William George, 311 82 25, ARM2c, USN                                a
  104. Munnick, Adrian Robert, 654 20 25, S2c, V-6, USNR                          b
  105. Nash, Clayton Henry, 618 28 09, AMM3c, V-6, USNR
  106. Neiswender, Jesse Anthony, 664 04 02, AMM3c, V-6, USNR
  107. Neuberger, Clifford Roy, 316 65 45, AMM2c, USN
  108. Norman, James Edward, 411 20 61, S1c, O-1, USNR                           b
  109. O’Brien, John Lou, 376 40 41, AMM3c, USN
  110. Owen, William Murrel, 626 20 50, ARM3c, V-6, USNR                    a
  111. Parker, Glen Irving, 321 37 93, S1c, USN
  112. Parsons, John Beach, 382 00 19, AOM1c, USN                                   b
  113. Patrick, Don Rayburn, 356 25 40, AMM3c, USN
  114. Paulk, Dempsey Earl, 274 82 85, S2c, USN                                          b
  115. Peek, Charley Clay, 356 77 05, S2c, USN
  116. Poe, Archie Lee, 644 33 85, S2c, V-6, USNR                                        b
  117. Popplewell, Theron Ord, 351 06 16, S2c, USN
  118. Porter, Raymond Wayne, 625 11 22, S2c, V-6, USNR                        b
  119. Powell, W.B., 630 12 48, S2c, V-6, USNR                                            b
  120. Prather, Charles Henry, 604 60 35, S2c, V-3, USNR                         b
  121. Pratt, Cecil R., 372 46 60, S2c, USN                                                      b
  122. Pucci, Alfred, 647 80 60, AMM2c, V-6, USNR
  123. Ray, John Elmer, 625 07 70, S2c, V-6, USNR                                       b
  124. Reed, Lonzo Calvin, 670 52 72, S2c, V-6, USNR                                   b
  125. Repine, Harry Edgar, 664 66 54, S2c, V-6, USNR                                b
  126. Ribero, Henry, 183 25 00, ACMM(PA), USN
  127. Roberts, William Bruce, 359 87 81, AOM2c, USN                               b
  128. Robertson, Peter, 311 10 01, AM1c, USN                                               b
  129. Rodgers, William Wilson, 262 30 39, EM1c, USN
  130. Rose, Richard Dale, 553 00 80, S2c, V-6, USNR                                   b
  131. Rubio, Catarino Garcia, 632 04 79, S2c, V-6, USNR
  132. Russell, Claude, 184 60 20, OC1c(T), USN
  133. Russell, Gilbert Lee, 664 12 14, AMM3c, V-2, USNR                           a
  134. Rymal, Douglas Ernest, 633 65 58, S2c, V-6, USNR                             b
  135. Sanders, Harold William, 604 34 04, S2c, V-6, USNR                         b
  136. Santo, William Louis, 633 65 63, S2c, V-6, USNR                                b
  137. Schindler, William Edward, 360 44 24, AMM3c, USN                         a
  138. Schroeder, Cletus Kenneth, 291 45 71, SK3c, V-6, USNR
  139. Scott, Samuel Spencer Jr., 604 68 37, AS, V-6, USNR                          b
  140. Selditch, Aaron, 405 03 04, PhM1c, V-6, USNR
  141. Selman, Obie Earnest, 625 39 63, S2c, V-6, USNR
  142. Shear, Harrison Melvin Jr., 662 93 66, S2c, V-6, USNR                       b
  143. Showalter, Glenn Ellerd, 283 32 22, Y3c, USN
  144. Shull, Quinten Burl, 628 45 49, S2c, V-6, USNR                                    b
  145. Simandl, Leonard James, 360 00 36, ARM2c, USN
  146. Sims, Joseph, 224 22 05, PR3c, USN
  147. Slason, John L.C., 382 55 89, S2c, USN                                                  b
  148. Slatinsky, Robert Vincent, 337 01 91, TM1c, USN
  149. Squire, Creighton Gail, 664 13 58, AM3c, V-2, USNR
  150. Stackhouse, Frank Allen, 664 46 57, S2c, V-2, USNR                           b
  151. Stamps, Gerald James, 356 76 15, S2c, USN                                           a
  152. Steadman, Charles Jesse, 633 43 26, S2c, V-6, USNR                           b
  153. Stovee, Robert Harold, 633 45 49, S2c, V-6, USNR                              b
  154. Sweet, Richard Myron, 233 86 10, AMM1c, V-6, USNR
  155. Tate, George Norris, 616 55 63, AOM3c, V-6, USNR                            b
  156. Taylor, Aubrey, 616 54 81, AMM3c, V-6, USNR
  157. Taylor, D.L., 360 56 94, Matt2c, USN
  158. Thiessen, Raymond Edwin, 414 45 48, S1c, O-1, USNR
  159. Thompson, Donald Wesley, 664 16 82, AMM3c, V-2, USNR             a
  160. Thompson, Laurel DeVane, 386 17 87, S2c, USN                                 b
  161. Thornburg, Raymond George, 662 43 46, AM3c, V-6, USNR
  162. Thoryk, William James, 283 10 40, PR2c, V-6, USNR
  163. Trabucco, Joseph, 380 70 89, AM3c, USN
  164. Turner, Clarence Norman, 604 35 63, S2c, V-6, USNR                        b
  165. Venema, Robert Frederick, 636 09 76, AM3c, V-2, USNR
  166. Vilarino, George, 382 58 96, AMM3c, USN
  167. Walker, James Zebedee, 355 73 34, ACMM(PA), USN
  168. Wallace, Ralph Vance, 604 55 15, S2c, V-6, USNR                               b
  169. Walters, James L., 272 85 80, S2c, USN                                                b
  170. Walters, Paul Kenneth, 382 56 77, S2c, USN                                         a
  171. Wampler, Maurrice Achel, 654 23 06, AM3c, V-6, USNR
  172. Waskow, Howard Robert, 300 52 78, AM3c, USN
  173. Wells, Clarence William, 624 51 04, S2c, V-6, USNR                           b
  174. Wenzel, John Gaarden Lynn, 654 31 77, S2c, V-6, USNR                     b
  175. Wesner, James Edward, 414 40 34, S1c, O-1, USNR
  176. West, George Irven, 393 17 94, SC2c, V-6, USNR
  177. West, Scott Gray, 274 21 46, ACMM(AA), USN
  178. Whitehead, Everett Lewis, 622 06 45, AMM3c, V-6, USNR
  179. Whitehead, James Hershel Franklin, 553 52 07, S2c, V-6, USNR      b
  180. Whitley, Riley, 624 07 88, S2c, V-6, USNR
  181. Wiggins, Richard Irving, 238 79 42, AOM3c, USN                                a
  182. Williams, Fred Lee Jr., 630 22 51, S2c, V-6, USNR                               b
  183. Williamson, Allan Harold, 382 59 80, AOM3c, USN
  184. Wilson, Carl Jr., 604 84 08, AS, V-6, USNR                                           b
  185. Wilson, Milton, 616 52 03, ARM3c, V-6, USNR
  186. Wilson, Paul Hubert, 662 42 62, S2c, V-6, USNR
  187. Windham, Lee Hermese, 721 64 94, S2c, V-6, USNR                            b
  188. Woodfill, Lyle Thomas, 410 67 44, S1c, O-1, USNR
  189. Yirak, Rudolph Lawrence, 279 70 29, AOM2c, USN                             b

Primary information source: deck logs of U.S.S. Copahee. Other information from various sources as available.

Notes: (a) transferred to Cactus Air Force, Guadalcanal, Feb 1, 1943; (b) transferred to U.S.S. Nassau (ACV-16), Feb 2, 1943

Send additional information or inquiries to: tom[at]thomas-hopp.com, or leave a comment below.

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes medical thrillers, natural disaster novels, and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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13 Responses to VGS-12 at Guadalcanal

  1. 1942 USS Wasp CV 7 and USS Hornet CV 8 along with USS North Carolina BB 55 and 10 other warships were escorting transports carrying the 7th Marine Regiment to Guadalcanal as reinforcements.

  2. Vona Palmer says:

    My dad was Charley Clay Peek

  3. Vona Palmer says:

    Tom, I’m sorry but I do not have any information at all. My Dad passed away in 1987. My Mom is 82, on Hospice care & not doing well at all. I was just hoping I could find information on either of them from searching the Internet. I really didn’t expect to find anything, so this brought a smile to my face I had to share it with my sister & my 2 children. Thank you for this information & I hope others can post with more history. I’ll be watching 🙂

    • Tom Hopp says:

      Thanks, Vona. It’s not surprising that you have little information. Most soldiers and sailors kept their thoughts to themselves regarding service in wartime. Your father deserves a place of honor though, for having served his nation. I’m doing my best to bring the sacrifice and commitment of the men of VGS-12 to the public eye.

  4. Derekk says:

    Hey my grandpa is Lynn A. Vance he was on Guadalcanal and many other islands. He turns 90 this year and he’s still kickin! I can ask him for info or stories. My grandma and I are trying to do something special for him this year and since he was also on the back side of the island when Pearl arbor was bombed we are thinking of viseting it. If anyone else has any good suggestions of memorial spots to go that would be very much appreciated.

    thanks, Derekk

    • Tom Hopp says:

      Derekk, give my regards to your grandpa. If he served on Guadalcanal then he was involved in the crucial struggle in which American heroes turned the Japanese Empire’s string of victories around to become a string of defeats.

  5. Jonathan P. Alter says:

    My papa, Lt Allan C Alter USN transitted aboard the USS Copahee in early April 1945 to Pearl Harbor. He went aboard another ship on April 18th.

  6. Tom Hopp says:

    Thanks Jonathan. Sounds like your papa was headed for the Battle of Okinawa. My father was a Seabee there.

  7. Kurt Stauffer says:

    I have collected Naval Aviation material for 30 years and recently acquired the Naval Aviators Flight Logbook to Joseph Riddle Jr. I have scoured USN war diaries and haven’t found out much about he action he was killed.

    Kurt

  8. Kurt Stauffer says:

    I just checked his log and your uncle and another crewman ( last name Owen ) are listed as Riddle’s crew. The TBF-1 he normally flew is shown in the log as # 00492 .

    Kurt

    • Tom Hopp says:

      Thank you very much, Kurt! There has been some confusion over the serial number of Riddle’s plane. This solves the mystery! The wreck lies somewhere on New Georgia Island. Keep a tight grip on that log book. It is the book of a hero who gave his life in a successful attack on an Imperial Japanese destroyer. He had a destroyer christened in his name the next year, the USS Riddle.

  9. Johnny Signor says:

    Hello Mr Hopp, I am an avid researcher of WW2 military aviation unit emblems and am wondering if you possible have an image of the VGS-12 design if there was one ?

    I would greatly appreciate a reply , thank you !
    Johnny

Comments are closed.