I got a request today, from someone looking into the possibility that the Coast Guard may have flown “Hurricane Hunter” missions in the Western Pacific in the ’60s. Maybe a reader can help solve a mystery?
Hope you can help me.
I am an aviation writer, author & historian looking for US Coast Guard historical information, to confirm other historical information associated with the “USCG Western Pacific Logistic Support Air Group” at Barbers Point and specifically their detachment in Guam between 1960-66.
I made my original request to the Command PAO at 14th District (Hawaii) in January 2021. I rec’d a response directing me to the Pacific area Historian (Dr. Rosen) in early February 2021. I sent a immediate request to this historian with no Joy (and no response to date). I went back to the 14th Dist. PAO in March asking to be connected to someone else or other help with my request – with no response to date.
I‘m very frustrated that I can’t get anybody from the USCG Hawaii to respond to me. They all can be that busy (?)
Background to Request
I am writing a comprehensive book on the history of aircraft that have flown into tropical cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones) for reconnaissance, surveillance and research purposes since before WWII to today.
I am currently drafting a sub-sub-section on typhoon reconnaissance in the 1960s, and then specifically about the period 1960-66 during the establishment and initial operations of the “Joint Typhoon Warning Center or JTWC” based in Guam at the time.
Not generally known is that that the JTWC was hit with a number of serious issues that hampered their typhoon forecasting mission right from the start. One of the major issues was the unavailability of dedicated typhoon reconnaissance aircraft. Given the lack of available TR aircraft, the JTWC sought and received approval to task (any) “other” US Gov Military aircraft within the Western Pacific to provide augmentation typhoon tracking support towards their typhoon forecasts and warnings. Thus, according to Navy, Air Force and JTWC typhoon tracking records, there were additional “other” aircraft occasionally utilized for the typhoon tracking mission.
It’s in this area where I suspect that US Coast Guard aircraft participated in tracking of typhoons for the JTWC.
Example: according to JTWC records; in 1965 a C-123 aircraft provided a typhoon radar tracking report to the JTWC during Typhoon Della (13-19 October 1965) on the 13th half way between Kwajalein and Wake Islands. The only C-123B in the Western Pacific were with the US Coast Guard.
Specifically the “USCG Western Pacific Logistic Support Air Group” detachment in Guam.
The USCG C-123Bs in Guam supported Western Pacific LORAN stations with logistical resupply. Their main area of LORAN resupply was within the area of the Trust Territories of Pacific Islands (TTPI) or what is now known as Micronesia.
With regards to the 1965 typhoon radar tracking report to the JTWC, this report’s position was right in the middle of the USCG C-123B’s operating area supporting LORAN stations.
Additionally; according to the USCG Western Pacific Logistic Support Air Group’s (online) mission statement;
“….the unit flew a variety of missions and carried a wider variety of cargo. In regard to the former, they engaged in search and rescue and law enforcement missions. After seismic events they flew earthquake assessment and tsunami warning patrols in addition to bringing supplies to stations that may have been disabled by such events. They also flew typhoon patrols and helped in the evacuation of those in the storms’ paths ….”
I’m particularly interested in the highlighted phrase “….They also flew typhoon patrols ….”
“typhoon patrols” is a WWII term for conducting “hunting” missions or flying synoptic weather patrols looking for low pressure fronts and areas of disturbed weather – that would develop into typhoons….. that would subsequently generate additional reconnaissance flights to track the storms, providing forecaster data to support storm forecasts and warnings.
The issue at hand here is that the US Coast Guard, historically, is not known for having “ever” conducted aerial typhoon reconnaissance or typhoon tracking missions.
SO – my request to the 14th District and the area Historian is; Did the USCG Western Pacific Logistic Support Air Group fly into Western Pacific typhoons
If the WESTPAC USCG Air Group did, this is new historical information and needs reporting.
Do you have any direct contact with anybody that can help me ?
Do you know any members or organizations that encompass members of the USCG Western Pacific Logistic Support Air Group that served in the 1960s that can advise me ?
Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.
P-3 Publications, Nova Scotia, Canada
I flew the C-123B out of Guam in 69-70 and was involved in Disaster Preparedness including joint exercises. I don’t recall any specific tasking for Typhoon missions but we would have done so most likely in conjunction with our normal logistics flights. On one flight which was a special Logistics flight to supply Loran Station Anguar in advance of a pending Typhoon, I flew into the leading edge of the storm landing at Anguar in high winds and rain. Although the Navy WC-121 aircraft of VW-1 were primarily tasked with Typhoon Investigation, penetration and tracking we would forward any weather observed in conjuction with normal operations to the JTWC in Guam.
I would suggest contacting the Coast Guard Aviation Association who should be able to assist you in the info you seek.
Coast Guard Aviation Association
PO Box 940
Troy, VA 22974-0940
Cecil T. Loter
CDR USCG Ret.
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