On May 1, 1942 comissioned at Ewa Field as Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 233 (VMSB-233). Nicknamed "Bulldogs" or "Rainbow".
On May 22, 1943 reorganized as Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 233 (VMTB-233) for releasing aerial torpedo attacks or mining missions.
On September 16, 1943 lost TBF Avenger 06452 pilot 1st Lt.
Edward Albert Croker (pilot POW, 2 crew MIA) on a bombing mission against Ballale Island.
On February 14, 1944 at night, thirty TBF Avengers
from VMTB-233 (twenty-eight with two spares) were scheduled to participate in a aerial mining mission against Simpson Harbor off Rabaul. Three did not get off with only twenty-seven proceeded on the mission. The formation was divided into three groups. "Group A" led by Major Coln with nine Avengers, "Group B" led by Captain Milling with eight Avengers with one aborting the mission and "Group C" led by Captain Voyles with ten Avengers. Over the target, diversionary raids were conducted by a PV-1 Ventura over Vunakanau Airfield and B-24s
bomb Rabaul. As the Avengers approached the target area, the Avengers were targeted by searchlights and intense anti-aircraft fire. At 4:15am,
"Group C" was the last over the target area, approached at an altitude of 6,000' to 7,000' then dove down to 600' flying from east to west, crossing Crater Peninsula north of Mother Volcano then over the mouth of Sulpher Creek over the eastern edge of Simpson
Harbor. Each aircraft was to release their aerial mine at a speed of less than 180 knots / 207 mph at an altitude of roughly 600'. Six were lost including TBF 24264 pilot 1st Lt. James W. Boyden (3 MIA), TBF
47506 pilot 1st Lt. Hugh L. Cornelius (2 POW / 1 MIA), TBF
06311 pilot 1st Lt. John F. Bartholf, Jr. (3 MIA), TBF
24340 pilot 1st Lt. Robert William Sherman (2 MIA, 1 POW), TBF 25327 pilot 1st Lt. James L. Fowler (3 MIA) and TBF 25316 pilot 1st Lt. Alonzo N. Hathway, Jr. (3 MIA).
War Diary VMTB-233 1 February 1944 Through 29 February 1944" pages 53, 80-82
History of Marine Corps in World War II pages 200 (January 30, 1944 late afternoon strike by 18 TBFs from VMTB-233 sink water tender Iwate Maru 2,984 Tons), 464 (VMTB-233 squadron summary)
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