U. S. Coast Guard Units

VP-6 Patrol Squadron SIX (CG)
VPB-6 Patrol Bombing Squadron SIX (CG):

The little floatplanes attached to the Greenland Patrol's ships had demonstrated the value of the airplane in arctic search-and-rescue work. On Aug. 6, 1943, Patrol Bombing Squadron 6, a Navy unit manned entirely by Coast Guardsmen, began operating from BLUIE West 1 and Argentia. Bombing 6, commanded by Coast Guard CDR D.B. McDiarmid, was to earn a reputation as one of the busiest and most effective in Coast Guard aviation history. Like every other Coast Guard unit in Greenland, Bombing 6 had to "do a little of everything." Its 12 PBY-5A Catalina's searched for U-boats and German weather stations, escorted convoys, delivered mail, reported on the movements of the ice, and, on several dozen occasions, guided rescue parties to crashed Army and Navy aircraft. By November 1944, Bombing 6 had flown 638,998 miles in 6,325 flying hours, searching more than 3 million square miles of ice cap and ocean.

A Coast Guard PBY of VP-6 at Bluie West 1, Greenland - (NAVY 1503)

Passed by Naval Censor

Used by

VP 6 & VPB 6:


AS Voldish, VP6 (CG) NAVY 1503


Patrol Squadron SIX (CG) (VP-6 (CG))
designated on 1 October 1944
Patrol Bombing Squadron SIX (CG) (VPB-6 (CG))

Home Port


Base Code



NAF Narsarssuaq
Navy 1503



N61 11 W45 25

3.10.43 - 10.7.45





3.10.43 - 10.7.45





July - Aug 1944

Blank V-mail: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year VP-6 USCG

Official Business cover from VP-6 (CG) canc. U.S.Navy (7.7.1944)

Official Business from USCG Unit 50 VP-6 (CG) Base Detachment
Navy 103 (= Argentia, Newfoundland) canc. U.S.Navy 1.7.1944)

Chronology of Significant Events

5 Oct 1943

VP-6 (CG) was established as a Guard squadron under Navy operational control at NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, relieving VB-126. Squadron personnel had actually been arriving since 23 July 1943, by NATS. Upon arrival they commenced training and indoctrination in cold weather operations. The squadron's home port was Narsarssuak, Greenland, code name Bluie West-One (BW-1). Upon establishment it came under the operational control of CTF-24, and administrative control of FAW-9. Personnel matters continued to be handled by Coast Guard Headquarters. The squadron flew the PBY-5A Catalina, with ten aircraft (one designated as a spare), 22 officers and 145 enlisted, including eight enlisted pilots. Operational flights began on 13 October 1943, after the first three PBY-5A Catalina's arrived at Narsarssuak. Two of the squadron's nine operational aircraft were detached to NAS Argentia. These aircraft and crews were rotated frequently to allow maintenance and repair work to be done on the other seven. At Narsarssuak all the squadron's aircraft sat outside and all maintenance, refueling and arming took place in the open regardless of weather conditions because it was found that moving aircraft from warm hangars to the cold outside resulted in condensation and subsequent freezing in fuel pumps, controls and instruments. Herman Nelson F-1 portable heaters were needed to warm the engines and the aircraft interiors before starting. Crews were relieved every 12 months, with relief crews staggered every four months. The U.S. Army provided aerology support and daily weather briefings.

May 1944

By early 1944 the field at BW-1 was becoming crowded with aircraft making emergency landings while enroute to Europe. The squadron complement of aircraft was also increased at this time, from 10 PBY-5A Catalina's to 12. This did not add to the overcrowding at the field, as most of the squadron's aircraft were dispersed to remote bases.

Jul - Sep 1944

A detachment of two aircraft was sent to the Canadian Arctic to furnish ASW, air cover, reconnaissance and search and rescue for vessels entering the Hudson Bay. Patrols covered northern Labrador, Baffin Island and Cumberland Island. No Navy or Coast Guard ground support was available to these crews, despite the frequent bad weather operations flown by the detachment. Existing Army advanced facilities were utilized when available. The Catalina aircraft had no interior heaters, nor did the crews have heated flying suits. Several crews came down with frostbite during operations.

Jul - Aug 1944

A detachment of two aircraft was sent to RAF Base Reykjavik, Iceland, operating in conjunction with the RAF Coastal Command, to provide coverage and air support to vessels conducting operations against the Germans in waters off northeastern Greenland.

1 - 30 Nov 1944

The detachment at Argentia was increased to three aircraft. Two more aircraft were sent to work with the RAF Coastal Command at Reykjavik.

Dec 1944

Six aircraft remained at NAF Narsarssuak, with the other four at NAS Argentia, until April 1945. The squadron then increased the Argentia detachment by one aircraft.

8 May 1945

With the cessation of hostilities in Europe and resulting surrender of all Axis submarines, the mission of the squadron was changed to ice patrols and air-sea rescue.

June 1945

The VPB-6 (CG) complement of aircraft was reduced from nine to six, with one spare. This came at a very bad time, as the surrender of Germany meant the return of thousands of aircraft back to the U. S., with many getting lost, and others landing on the ice.

10 July 1945

VPB-6 was transferred back to the control of Commander, U. S. Coast Guard.

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Update: 5.8.2005