is the letter of the manufacturer. Consolidated of San Diego makes them. SOC's, called socks, are scout observation by the Curtis Aircraft mfg. Co.
A regular crew of PBY is 7, and they have accomodations for one passenger, making it eight. There is the pilot and the co pilot two radiomen and three mechanics.
Oh, yes VP the V is for heavier than air. P for patrol again. If the letters were ZP, you would know I was in a squadron of lighter than air craft - dirigibles, like the Maeon and Abiron.
We wake up by ourselves and that is one thing I like so much better about the squadrons than ships. There is no house - boatswain make strutting down the passageway yanking off covers and yelling "revoloo, hit the decks sailors." Instead the lights go on at 5:30 breakfast stops at 6:30 work starts at seven so you can arrange it to suit yourself. If you don't care for chow you sleep in until 6:30, or until such time that if you lay there any