United States Navy USN Blimp Squadron 33 
Air Ship Squadron 33 Blimpron-33 Blimp Hedron 33 ZP-33 Detachment 33 in World War II Two WWII Tillamook.


K-ship of USN Airship Squadron 33 at Tillamook, Oregon.

Also known as Blimp Squadron 33, Blimpron 33, Hedron 33, or ZP-33, the squadron operated from Tillamook, North Bend, and Astoria, Oregon; Shelton, Quillayute, and Eureka, Washington; and Del Mar, 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."

Early Construction at Naval Air Station (NAS) Tillamook:

01 02 03 04 05 06
07 08 09 10 11 12

Ceremony at NAS Tillamook on December 7, 1942:

01 02 03 04 05 06

Personnel at NAS Tillamook:

01 02 03 04 05 06
07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14

Aeronautical Equipment at NAS Tillamook in 1943:

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08

Aerial Views of NAS Tillamook:

01 02 03 04 05 06
07 08 09 10 11 12 13

Crash of K-39 at Quillayute, WA on January 4, 1944:

01 02 03 04
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:

Killed in the crash were:

Thomas H. Ralston, Thomas R. Smith, Wallis H. Marriage, Edward T. Gorski, Gordon F. Kaiser, and Preston L. Girard when USN blimp K-111 crashed into the hills above Avalon. Machinists Mate Ernst Jarke survived. His eye witness account of the crash contradicts the official USN report.

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.

Squadron Diary History - Airship Squadron Thirty Three, October 1944: 23 October 1944, Memorial services for the officers and men killed in the crash mentioned under entry of 17 October were held in Hangar "B." See also: NAST Homepage.

More Hangar Construction Photographs:

01 02 03 04 05 06
07 08 09 10 11 12

Maps of NAS Tillamook:

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08

Miscellaneous ZP-33 Photographs:

01 02 03 04 05 06


Read the ZP-33 Squadron Diary (this is a large 16 MB pdf file).


Unless otherwise mentioned, the photographs on this page were provided by Christian Gurling at the Tillamook Air Museum.


Contact: don.kaiser@gmail.com

Airship Patrol Squadron ZP-11
Airship Patrol Squadron ZP-14
Airship Utility Squadron ZJ-1

The Naval Airship Association, Inc.