PBM Mariner, R4D Skytrain, R5D Skymaster, R7V Super Constellation, C-130 Hercules
Naval Air Transport Squadron Eight (VR-8) was originally formed at NAS Patuxent River MD in October 1943. In November 1944 it began cargo and mail service to San Juan PR and Bermuda WI. in the PBM Mariner It maintained a daily schedule with the Martin PBM Mariner aircraft. Few records exist for this time period and this squadron was de-commissioned in June 1946.
After the forming of VR-11 at NAS Oakland CA, in September 1943, it moved to NAF Honolulu and although the chronology is rather cloudy, sometime during the 1943-45 period a detachment in the Pacific was designated VR-8 to support the Naval Air Transport units transiting the Pacific area, including the Martin Mars JRM flying from Keehi lagoon in Hawaii.
With the advent of the Douglas R5D Skymaster into the Naval Air Transport Service, fewer fueling stops were required to transit the Pacific and VR-8 moved to Hickam AFB with a detachment still supporting the Mars JRM flying from the lagoon until it was withdrawn from service. In Jan. 1948 the squadron was assigned to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) along with VR-3 and VR-6. This unified command consisted of all the USAF Air Transport Command and the three Navy units. This was followed by a move to Germany to supplement the Air Force in Operation Vittles supplying vital needs to the citizens of Berlin during the Russian Blockade. It was again joined by VR-6 operating into Berlin, with VR-3 operating between the U.S. and the allied controlled area of Germany. The U.S. Marines transport squadrons assumed VR-8's routes in the Pacific.
Following the lifting of the Blockade, the squadron returned to it's Pacific home at Hickam AFB and resumed its scheduled route between California and the far reaches of the Pacific. In 1957 under the reorganization of MATS, VR-8 moved to NAS Moffett Field CA along with VR-7. At this time a new command organization was established with both squadrons operating under the Naval Air Transport Wing Pacific (Westaff). Under this reorganization, VR-8 was designated the Maintenance Squadron and assigned control of all 32 R7V-1 (C121G) aircraft, and VR-7 was designated the Operational Squadron supplying trained crews to operate a diverse schedule originated by the Military Airlift Command (MAC).