On St. Patrick’s Day, 1942, while the defenders of Bataan stubbornly resisted Japanese invaders in the Philippines, the 123d Observation Squadron, commanded by Major Wallace J. O’Daniels since December 13, 1941, was also in a defensive mode against the forces of Imperial Japan.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the 123d Observation Squadron, at Gray Field, Washington, commenced Inshore Anti-submarine Patrol of the Pacific Coast, from Tillamook Head, Oregon up to Destruction Rock, Washington.

On March 15, 1942, the squadron established a detachment at Moon Island Airport in Hoquiam, Washington

Moon Island Airport, now known as Bowerman Field, Hoquiam, Washington (Courtesy of Port of Grays Harbor, WA)

Moon Island Airport, now known as Bowerman Field, Hoquiam, Washington (Courtesy of Port of Grays Harbor, WA)

At Moon Island Airport, which the US Army had expanded, the squadron operated the North American O-47 and Stinson L-1A Sentinel on anti-submarine patrol.  The O-47’s were also used for aerial gunnery practice in this time period.

123d Observation squadron O-47s at Moon Island Airport, Hoquiam, Washington, in early 1942.  (Courtesy Oregon ANG)

123d Observation squadron O-47s at Moon Island Airport, Hoquiam, Washington, in early 1942. (Courtesy Oregon ANG, M/Sgt Roy Wolford,)

At least 28 members of the squadron earned the American Theater Ribbon/Medal for serving as members of a combat crew on Submarine Patrol off the Northwest Coast of the United States at least once during the period from December 8, 1941 to November 10, 1942.  The squadron also received campaign credit for these operations: Antisubmarine, American Theater.

American Theater Campaign Medal

American Theater Campaign Medal

References:

123d Observation Squadron History

“Bowerman Field History,” at:  http://www.portofgraysharbor.com/airport/bowerman.php

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