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.
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)
Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942
Personnel at NAS Tillamook
Aeronautical Equipment at NAS Tillamook in 1943
Aerial Views of NAS Tillamook
Wreck of the K-71 near Long Beach, WA on November 20, 1943
Squadron Diary History - Airship Squadron Thirty Three 20 November 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
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
Those killed were:
|Preston L Girard||first row (kneeling) right-most|
|Edward T Gorski||second row (standing fourth from left|
|Gordon F Kaiser||first row (kneeling) second from left|
|Wallis H Marriage||second row (standing) second from left|
|Thomas H Ralston||not in photo|
|Thomas R Smith||second 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.
Maps of NAS Tillamook
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.
Miscellaneous ZP-33 Photographs
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.
Airship Patrol Squadron 11
Airship Utility Squadron 1
The Naval Airship Association, Inc.
WWII LTA Bases map
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