Nov 16, 1999
Marvin W. Jortner Lcdr USN (Ret)

The following information is about part of my Navy career which was with the AEW Squadrons.

VX-4: I was assigned to this duty located in Patuxent River, MD in Sept 1948. I had just reenlisted after being out of the Navy for about 18 months (broken service). It was at this time that I decided I was going to make Navy a career. VX-4 had recently moved to Pax from a northern air station. At the time I was an AE3. VX-4 operated with about 12 PB-lW (B-17). I learned a lot about the aircraft and enjoyed working with senior electricians. We deployed to Florida for hurricane tracking, to Newfoundland for cold weather operations and also Goose Bay Labrador (in the winter). We also deployed to San Juan and Roosevelt Roads PR for various operations with the fleet. No, I never went to Europe with VX-4.

Sometime in 1949, a group of different ratings was sent to the
Lockheed Aircraft Factory, Burbank CA to learn all about the small
Connie, P0-lW. At first VX-4 had 2 Connies and then one of them
was sent to VW-1 (Barbers Point). I transferred to Port Lyautey in
1951 with4newP4Ms. AtthistimelwasanAEl.

VW-1 After other duty stations, including AE B school, I was at FASRON 117 and just had made Chief after arriving in Barbers Point. The Electric Shop had 6 or 7 AE1 and they were all senior to me when I was a 1st Class. This was not a satisfactory situation so I told the CO that I had a lot of experience in PB-lW and WV-2 and they agreed that if I transferred to VW- 1, it would be in the best interest for all concerned if I transferred over to the next hanger. That’s how I got back in the VW squadron duty. After a short period of time I was a crew chief on one of the WV-2. Our crew deployed to Atsugi, Japan-- Subic Bay P1 ---Guam —Singapore and we even went to Bangkok. Beside being the crew chief, I was also the crew’s cook. I turned out to be a very popular crewmember. I was with VW-l from 1954 to about 1956. Sometime in this period I was on E&E and I almost fell off a mountain trail and broke my knee. Spent a month in Tripler and returned to VW- 1.
About 1956 VW-l was moved to Guam, but I was transferred to the Barrier Squadron VW-l6. So I was again flying and working on WV-2. As you know we flew as an extention of the DEW line. Every day of the year, 24 hours, I believe we kept 3 aircraft in the air all the time. We deployed to Midway and stayed there for about 18 days and then to Barbers Point for a month. During one trip I had averaged over 100 hours airborne. In addition the crew had to keep the WV-2 in flying condition. Sometime in 1957 I was transferred to WV-l4 and continued doing the same duty. I was in Crew#20 and we flew as a crew and in most cases flew in the same aircraft. Our PPC was Commander Brady, a great officer. We had an agreement; he took care of the young officers and I, as the crew chief, would take care of the young enlisted men.

On Dec 23,1957, my crew was on a training flight, off the coast
Oahu, when all 4 engines stopped at about 1500 feet over the
water. CDR Brady and I were not flying that day. The crash killed
17 men. This was a sad day in my life. CDR Brady and I made
CAC to the families who lived on the island.

During my duty in Barrier squadrons, the powers to be sent me to Lockheed factory school to learn the electrical system for the WV-2. This after working on the plane for 2 to 3 years. Well, when I was in the class, the instructor determined that I knew more about WV-2 than he did. At my request. I was sent back to Barbers Point. It was at this time that a brand new WV-2 was to be ferried from Burbank to Barbers Point. I was able to hitch a ride back home. As we were nearing the point of no return we lost all 400 cycle power which disabled a lot of vital instruments. The PPC asked me if I could correct the problem, and I told him that I could physically change over to the spare inverter (located in baggage compartment). I needed a helper to hold the hot wires and we were successful. This enabled the pilot to continue on to Barbers Point. I just didn’t want to go back to Burbank!

Sometime in 1958,1 transferred back to shore duty and at the same time put in for LDO and made it. I was the oldest Ensign in the Navy (36 years)