Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Nimitz Library
Nimitz Library

Carl William Schoenweiss Papers, 1937-1995: Finding Aid

Published in 1999

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • 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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top


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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of R. O. Blankenship in January 1997. Accession No. 97-08.

Back to Top

Related Materials

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.

Back to Top

Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Carl William Schoenweiss Papers, MS 341

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1999. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1999.

Back to Top

Subject Headings

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

Genre Terms

  • Articles
  • Correspondence
  • Logs (records)
  • Manuscripts
  • Muster rolls
  • Orders (military records)
  • Photographs
  • Reports
Back to Top

Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1-2

Black Cat Squadron VP-54, undated

Synopsis and research materials.

Box 1 Folder 3

VP-54 Drinking Song, undated

Box 1 Folder 4

[VP-54/VPB-54 Brief History], undated

Box 1 Folder 5

Carl William Schoenweiss - U.S. Navy Orders and Papers Received, 1938-1946

Box 1 Folder 6

Carl William Schoenweiss - U.S. Navy Orders and Papers Received and Sent, 1944-1947

Also includes business correspondence.

Box 1 Folder 7

Carl William Schoenweiss - Air Medal Temporary Citation, [1943]

Box 1 Folder 8

Carl William Schoenweiss - Notice of Permanent Citation of Air Medal, transmittal of, 1943

Also includes Schoenweiss' Air Force Pacific Fleet Strike/Flight Recommendation Sheet.

Box 1 Folder 9-10

Patrol Squadron Fifty-Four Request for consideration for award of Presidential Unit Citation - Nomination/Request Packets, 1943-1951

Packets include support materials. Packets differ as to contents and completeness.

Box 1 Folder 11-12

Patrol Squadron Fifty-Four - Black Cats - Description and Analysis of Operations in the Solomon Islands Area, 1943 March 11-December 1

Box 1 Folder 13

Resume of the Operations of "Black Cat" Squadron VP-54 at Guadalcanal, 1943 July 20

Box 1 Folder 14

Report...concerning...Lieutenant Commander Carl Schoenweiss, USN, 1943 July 25

Box 1 Folder 15

Patrol Squadron Fifty-Four - Flight Crew Organization, 1943 August 7

Box 1 Folder 16

Monthly Report of Patrol Plane Qualifications - Patrol Squadron Fifty-Four, 1943 December 1

Box 1 Folder 17

United States Pacific Fleet Patrol Squadron Fifty-Four - Muster Roll of Enlisted Personnel, 1943 December 1

Box 1 Folder 18

From Carl William Schoenweiss, Commander Patrol Squadron to Charles N. Hammett, Jr., 1943 December 9

Authorization to wear Air Crow insignia with three stars.

Box 1 Folder 19

Black Cats' Squadron of Solomons Relieved, 1944 August 3

Box 1 Folder 20

United States Pacific Fleet Air Force Patrol Squadron Fifty-Four - VP-54 Flight Crew Organization, 1944 August 9

Box 1 Folder 21

Carl William Schoenweiss - Awards while serving aboard U.S.S. Sicily, 1952-1958

Schoenweiss' awards from the Korean War, including Bronze Star citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and Navy Unit Citation.

Box 1 Folder 22

Carl William Schoenweiss - Commission as a U.S. Navy Captain, 1956 July 1

Box 1 Folder 23

VP-54/VPB-54 Reunions, 1970-1994

Box 1 Folder 24

"Black Cats of World War II" and Black Cat insignia in Naval Aviation News, 1972

Box 1 Folder 25

From C. E. Rosendahl to Carl William Schoenweiss, 1972 August 24

Thanks for aid with aviation research.

Box 2 Folder 1

From W. E. Scarborough to Carl William Schoenweiss, 1973 August 15

Thanks for aid with aviation research.

Box 2 Folder 2

Brief Narrative Account of a Few Specific Flights, Material Taken from VP-54 War Diary, [1976]

Box 2 Folder 3

Carl William Schoenweiss research aid for Richard C. Knott's book on the Black Cats, 1981

Box 2 Folder 4

VP-54 Scrolls, [1984]

Includes personnel names and inset maps of operation areas.

Box 2 Folder 5

William Sneed - The Great Commission: Tales to be Used in the Saga of the Great Sea Plan Tender U.S.S. Tangiers..., 1985

Box 2 Folder 6

VP-54/VPB-54 Squadron Association Inc. - Active Roster, 1990

Box 2 Folder 7

From W. R. Hobbes to Carl William Schoenweiss, 1991 November 3

Request for signature on cover.

Box 2 Folder 8

Ernest L. Kendall - Transmittal of and/or Entitlement to Awards, 1994 June 17

Box 2 Folder 9

R. O. Blankenship, compiler - From War Diary for VP/VPB54, 1995

Box 2 Folder 10

Photograph, undated

Natives in canoe approaching aircraft no. 58 set down on water.

Box 2 Folder 11

Aviators Flight Log Books, 1937-1950

Three logbooks, spanning July 1937 to November 1938, January 1941 to December 1943, and February 1944 to July 1950, respectively.

Box 2 Folder 12

Aviators Flight Log Books, 1946-1961

Three logbooks, spanning August 1946 to October 1947, August 1950 to September 1959, and July 1959 to September 1961, respectively.

Back to Top