Carl William Schoenweiss Papers, 1937-1995: Finding Aid
Published in 1999
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 341
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Carl William Schoenweiss Papers
- Dates: 1937-1995
- Size: 0.63 linear feet
- Container Summary: 1 manuscript box, 1 half-manuscript box containing 180 items
- Creator: Schoenweiss, Carl William, 1911-1996
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: Carl William Schoenweiss was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1934 and a U.S. Navy officer, serving until 1964, including duties as an aviator in World War II. The papers, consisting of flight log books, orders, citations, reports, and correspondence, focus primarily on Schoenweiss' service with Patrol Squadron 54 during World War II.
Biography of Carl William Schoenweiss
Captain Carl William Schoenweiss, U.S.N. (Ret.), born December 11, 1911 in Poughkeepsie, New York, was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from New York, graduating with the Class of 1934. He served in the U.S.S. Saratoga, Tattnall, and Quincy prior to selection for flight training school at Pensacola, Florida. He was designated a naval aviator in July 1938.
At the outbreak of World War II, he was serving with Patrol Squadron 54 in Norfolk, Virginia. This squadron , on December 9, 1941, deployed to the Pacific theater and operated from Pearl Harbor. Later, Schoenweiss served as Commanding Officer of VP-54 Black Cat Squadron, operating from Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Other aviation assignments included duty as senior multi-engine flight test officer at Naval Air Test Station, Patuxent River, Maryland, and Commanding Officer, Air Transport Squadrons 2, 6, and 8. He served as Operations Officer, and later as Executive Officer of U.S.S. Sicily during two tours of duty in Korean waters.
His shore duty included assignments as: Assistant Director, Progress Analysis Group, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; Inspector General, Staff, National Security Agency; and Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Air Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Schoenweiss' decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with two gold stars, and the Navy Unit Commendation.
Upon his military retirement in 1964, Schoenweiss joined the Virginia National Bank in Norfolk, Virginia, serving as Trust Officer until his retirement in 1976. Captain Schoenweiss' wife, Ellen, whom he married in 1936, died in 1984. Schoenweiss' second wife was Margaret Schoenweiss. According to Naval Academy Alumni records, Schoenweiss had two children, Mary Ellen and Carolyn. Captain Carl William Schoenweiss died on June 24, 1996 in Norfolk, Virginia.
History of VP-54/VPB-54
Patrol Squadron 54 (VP-54) was commissioned on November 15, 1942, and organized and trained at Naval Station Kaneoho Bay, Oahu. In February 1943, Patrol Squadron 54 was converted to a mostly night-flying squadron, referred to as a Black Cat squadron.
VP-54 was based at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, and operated from March through December 1943. VP-54's first commanding officer was then Lieutenant Commander Carl William Schoenweiss.
VP-54 actively participated in the military operations of: Guadalcanal; Munda; Bougainville; Rendova; Kula and Vella Gulfs; Savo Island; the Russell Islands; Rabaul; and New Britain. Patrol Squadron 54 counted among its duties: weather, transportation, anti-submarine warfare, rescue, radar detection, and convoy escort flights; bombing and harassing missions against Japanese airfields; anti-Japanese shipping search missions; and missions to locate, report, and attack Japanese warships and to guide Allied forces to these enemy targets.
In December 1943, Patrol Squadron 54 was replaced by VP-81. VPB-54 was created in 1944. Later that year, VPB-54 relieved VP-81 at Guadalcanal. VPB-54 participated in the battles of Saipan, Palau Island, Leyte Gulf, and the Invasion of Luzon. In February 1945, VPB-54 was relieved of its duty in the Philippine Islands.
Description of Contents
The Carl William Schoenweiss Papers, comprising 0.63 linear feet of documentation, cover the period from 1937 through 1995. The majority of the items concern Patrol Squadron 54 (VP-54) and/or Schoenweiss' role as VP-54 Squadron leader during World War II in the Pacific, including narratives of the squadron's operations, recommendations for awards, muster rolls, and orders. Later materials concerning VP-54 pertain largely to squadron reunions and publications about aviation in World War II. The collection also includes papers from other periods of Schoenweiss' naval career, such as his Korean War service aboard U.S.S. Sicily. Also found among the paper are six aviator's flight log books, spanning from 1937 to 1961, compiled by Schoenweiss.
The Carl William Schoenweiss Papers are arranged chronologically, with the exception of a photograph and Schoenweiss' aviator log books, which are found at the end of the collection.
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
The Carl William Schoenweiss Papers are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Gift of R. O. Blankenship in January 1997. Accession No. 97-08.
Related Archival Material
Additional material pertaining to Schoenweiss' Navy career and time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy may be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket (sealed until 2026) and Alumni Jacket, at Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.
Materials Cataloged Separately
No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.
Processing and Other Information
Carl William Schoenweiss Papers, MS 341
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:
"Resume for Public Relations Purposes."
U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association. Register of Alumni, Graduates and Former Naval Cadets and Midshipmen. Annapolis, Md. : The Association, 1997.
This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1999. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1999.
Name and Subject Terms
- Schoenweiss, Carl William, 1911-1996
- United States. Navy. Patrol Squadron 54
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations, American
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Solomon Islands
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, American
- Logs (records)
- Muster rolls
- Orders (military records)