USS Ward (DD-139)
Sunken HA.19 (Japanese Midget Submarine)
Medal of Honor Recipient John W. Finn
- Squadron 14 History:
- VPB-197 was a Patrol Bombing Squadron of the U.S. Navy. The squadron was established as Patrol Squadron 21 (VP-21) on 1 September 1938 at FAB Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, under the operational control of PatWing-2.
- Re-designated Patrol Squadron 45 (VP-45) on 1 July 1939 due to the reorganization of patrol squadrons, VP-21 was re-designated VP-45 and assigned to PatWing-4 shortly after its return from the US with new aircraft.
- Re-designated Patrol Squadron 14 (VP-14) on 1 December 1939, re-designated Patrol Squadron 26 (VP-26) on 15 April 1941. VP-14 was re-designated VP-26 and relocated to the recently completed facilities at NAS Kaneohe Bay. The squadron maintained the VP-26 designation for only a few months and on 1 July 1941 it was re-designated VP-14 again.
- Pearl Harbor Attack
- 7 December 1941: Prior to the onset of the Attack on Pearl Harbor the squadron had launched three aircraft for routine patrol. Squadron aircraft 14-P-1, flown by Ensign William P. Tanner, spotted a Japanese midget submarine at the entrance to the harbor and assisted the USS Ward in sinking the intruder. The Japanese plan had been to drop off the midget submarines 5 miles (8.0 km) to 10 miles (16 km) from Pearl Harbor, passing through the entrance to the harbor 20 minutes before sunrise. They were to surface when the air attack began, shoot both torpedoes and then depart the harbor. Lieutenant Naoji Iwasa, whose midget submarine had been released by I-22, was sunk by Ward and Ensign Tanner. Iwasa had tried to follow the tug Antares through the harbor entrance while Antares had a barge in tow.
- During the attack on Pearl Harbor seven of the squadron’s aircraft were destroyed on the ground and three were badly damaged. While surprised by the attack, ground crews strove to save their aircraft, pulling them from burning hangars. Despite his wounds, Aviation Ordnance Chief John W. Finn was credited with shooting down an attacking Japanese aircraft, one of the three shot down at NAS Kaneohe Bay that day. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery under fire and for leading the efforts to save the remaining squadron aircraft.
- Re-designated Patrol Squadron 14 (VP-14) on 1 July 1941, re-designated Patrol Bombing Squadron 14 (VPB-14) on 1 October 1944.
- Re-designated Patrol Bombing Squadron 197 (VPB-197) on 2 December 1944 and disestablished on 1 April 1946.