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USN Blimp Squadron 33 Air Ship Squadron 33 Blimpron-33 Blimp Hedron 33 ZP-33 Detachment 33 in World War II Two WWII Tillamook.
K-ship of USN Airship Squadron 33 at Tillamook, Oregon
K-ship of USN Airship Squadron 33 at Tillamook, Oregon.

Also known as Blimp Squadron 33, Blimpron 33, Hedron 33, or ZP-33, the squadron operated from Tillamook, North Bend, and Astoria, Oregon; Shelton and Quillayute, Washington; and Del Mar and Eureka, California between December 1942 to September 1945.

Lieutenant Commander Emmett J. Sullivan was the first Commanding Officer of ZP-33 from December 10, 1942 until March 14, 1944 when he was promoted to Officer-in-Charge, Fleet Airships Pacific Training Unit (FAPTU) based at Naval Facility Del Mar, CA. Because of his LTA knowledge and experience with K-ships, magnetic anomaly detection (MAD), and crew training, in May of 1944, Emmett Sullivan was named the Squadron Commander of ZP-14 which made the first transatlantic crossings by non-rigid airships (K-ships), conducted anti-submarine warfare (ASW) at the Straits of Gibraltar, and performed mine-spotting, minesweeping, and escort missions in the Mediterranean Theater.

Sullivan chose another ZP-33 officer, Lt. E. W. Steffen as Operations Officer for ZP-14. Back at Tillamook, Lt. Cmdr. William R. Peeler succeeded Sullivan as Commanding Officer of ZP-33 on March 14, 1944.

K-87 at Quillayute, Washington

The two USN photographs of K-87 shown above were taken at Quillayute, Washington. The date was possibly September 8, 1944 when, according to the ZP-33 Squadron Diary, “pilot Lt(jg) Suhr, took 61 of the personnel from NAS Quillayute on short flights aboard the K-87.”

Construction of Naval Air Station Tillamook (NAST)

Aerial view of construction Aerial view of construction Scale model of hangar components Construction Erected truss haunches March 23, 1943 July 28, 1943 July 28, 1943 photo photo photo LTA Hangar photo photo photo photo photo photo photo photo February 23, 1943 photo photo photo photo photo photo NCP40 Hangar B north door tower February 9, 1943 July 1945 Setting forms for door pockets June 7, 1943 photo Drainage ditch photo photo photo photo

Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942

Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942 Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942 Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942 Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942 Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942 Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942

Personnel at NAS Tillamook

August 25, 1944 August 25, 1944 August 25, 1944 photo photo photo photo photo photo ZP-33 Moffett Field January 1943 Enlisted Mens Mess Hall December 19, 1944 photo September 1944 February 9 ZP-33 Squadron Personnel 1944

Aeronautical Equipment at NAS Tillamook in 1943

June 8, 1943 June 8, 1943 June 8, 1943 June 8, 1943 June 8, 1943 June 8, 1943 photo photo

Aerial Views of NAS Tillamook

photo photo photo photo photo photo November 14, 1944 photo photo photo photo photo

Wreck of the K-71 near Long Beach, WA on November 20, 1943

K-71 wreck K-71 wreck

Squadron Diary History - Airship Squadron Thirty Three November 20, 1943 - Unable to reach her home base or auxiliary bases due to heavy weather and lack of fuel, the K-71 made a forced landing on the beach 2 miles north of Long Beach, Washington, to an emergency landing party. After approximately 10 minutes on the ground, the ship became unmanageable because of strong gusts of wind, which resulted in the starboard propeller hitting the sand. Both engines were out and the ship ripped to prevent it from being blown to sea.

Crash of K-39 at Quillayute, WA on January 4, 1944

K-39 wreckage K-39 wreckage K-39 wreckage January 7, 1944 K-39 wreckage

Squadron Diary History - Airship Squadron Thirty Three, January 1944: 4 January 1944, The K-39 landed to an emergency landing party at Quillayute, Washington and while attempts were being made to mast the airship, shifting winds caused it to roll and kite bending both propellors and necessitating cutting both engines. Heavy gusts then tore the lines from the handling party and the hauling-in line from the winch of the mast. The airship became airborne, out of control, and ripped.

Crash of K-111 on Santa Catalina Island, CA on October 17, 1944

Crew of K-111

Those killed were:

Preston L Girardfirst row (kneeling) right-most
Edward T Gorskisecond row (standing fourth from left
Gordon F Kaiserfirst row (kneeling) second from left
Wallis H Marriagesecond row (standing) second from left
Thomas H Ralstonnot in photo
Thomas R Smithsecond row (standing) third from left

San Diego Union, Thursday Morning, October 19, 1944: Five Killed When Blimp Crashes at Catalina Los Angeles, Oct. 18 (U.P.)--Discovery of the bodies of two more crewmen trapped in the smoldering wreckage of a U.S. Navy blimp which wandered off its course in a fog and smashed into a Santa Catalina Island hill tonight brought the total of dead to five. Five other crew members were injured, three critically, navy officials said. Names of the dead and injured were withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Los Angeles Times, Saturday Morning, October 21, 1944: Sixth Dies as Result of Catalina Blimp Crash Raising to six the death toll in the Tuesday night crash of a Navy blimp on Catlina Island in a fog, Lt. Thomas H. Ralston, U.S.N.R., whose widow Joan Ralston resides in Solana Beach, died yesterday of his injuries. Four others have so far survived their injuries.

Unconfirmed encounter with a Japanese sub off Cape Lookout
by L. Ron Hubbard in PC 815, and K‑33 and K‑39.

Lt.L.Ron Hubbard and Lt.T.Moulton in 1943 Sub chaser PC 815 ZP-33 Diary Excerpt

Maps of NAS Tillamook

Runway map Approach Zones Booklet Holding Area Newport Outlying Field NAST map Taxi Landing Taxi Take-off

Hangar A Fire

On August 22, 1992, a fire destroyed Hanger A at the Tillamook Naval Air Station. The hanger was used for storage of, among other things, 135,000 bales (7,600 tons) of dry straw. It's unknown how the fire started. The hanger was totally destroyed.

Hanger A fire August 22, 1992 Hanger A fire Remains of Hanger A in 1992 Remains of Hanger A today

Miscellaneous ZP-33 Photographs

Enlisted Mens Barracks Barracks NAST blimp at night Proposed ZP-33 patch Approved ZP-33 patch Blimps in Hangar B, 1944 photo K-71 NAST blimp NAST Tower Quarters A and B for commanding officer and base surgeon Base hospital Headquarters and Barracks photo Preparing K-Ship for sub patrol April 1945 R5C crash at Newport,OR photo Last blimp from Tillamook Blimp delivers equipment to the USS Hornet for the Doolittle Raid Blimps outside Hanger A ZP-33 blimp in front of Neakhanie Mountain ZP-33 blimp in front of Neakhanie Mountain ZP-33 Patch

Read the ZP-33 Squadron Diary (this is a large 16 MB pdf file).

The photographs on this page were provided by Christian Gurling at the Tillamook Air Museum.


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