Jun 6,1999 (Anniversary of D-Day)
I've been reading your reminiscing in Memory Lane on Wes's WV Page, and I
hope you don't mind me lending an anecdote from time to time. I see that
someone posted one of my ramblings already.
Some of you have been talking about your E&E experiences, and I would like to
offer you this. While I was at Barber's Point an Aggressor Force ran E&E and
the interrogator carried the title of Major Bush. Aggressor forces were
units set up within the military to act as the enemy for exercises and had
unique uniforms and force structure. In the aggressor force a major wore a
gold oak leaf, just as the US Army, AF and Marines. This guy was effective,
but he was in reality an airman, but no one at the time knew his real
identity. He was hated by all and feared by many during E&E. Once he made the
XO of VW-14 (or VW-16) eat cigarettes, which mightily pissed off the XO.
Since "Maj Bush" was an enlisted man and went under the title and wore the
same insignia as a regular major, the XO placed him on report for
impersonating an officer. The CO of NAS BP called the "Major" into his office
and informed him of the charges. He then asked the "Major" what was the next
higher aggressor grade. When told it was Commandant and wore two gold oak
leaves, the CO told him to buy another set and consider himself promoted. How
do I know about this? When I reported to the A6 trainer at NAMTD Oceana in
1963, one of the first people that I met was AO1 George Field, who lived next
door to me. I knew I had seen him somewhere but couldn't put my finger on
where. We held leadership and technical training every week, and about a year
later there was to be a lesson on The Conduct of Conduct (of prisoners) and a
demonstration of interrogation techniques. When I learned that George Field
was the presenter, it hit me right between the eyes. I asked George if he had
ever been at Barber's Point and had ever heard of "Maj Bush", but he
corrected me that it was "Commandant" and related the above "promotion"
incident to me. Yes, AO1 George Field was none other than Commandant Bush,
all growed up. He and I often crossed paths and were good friends for many
years, but had I known his aggressor identity up front, I don't know…
Anyone remember (?) Creech, AT2???. He was very religious. I remember
when J. V. Coley was restricted to the barracks (his bunk was under
and his Hawaiian girl friend and her sister smuggled in some booze and
were partying in the barracks one night, the four of us. Well, Creech
the MA duty that night and he heard us raising hell. He came into the
and his eye's just bulged out when he saw the women (bra & panties),
and I in our skivvies, the booze and our grin's. His mouth started
but no words came out at first. They he finally blurted out "BEGONE
JEZEBEL'S". Christ, we were rolling on the floor doubled up with
after he said that, which made him madder than hell, thinking we were
ignoring him (we were, LOL). Finally he said that if they didn't leave
immediately, taking the booze with them, he was calling the OOD. Well
finally left (minus the booze) and it took J.V. and I several hours to
laughing. Ah, them day's past.......LOL
Hey, GERM, you should remember Creech
I remember KM6BI only too well. My first QSO after getting
license was with Sophie Heinz! Remember her and her husband Ralph. The only
station manager/phone patch traffiker I remember was Dick Mann or Manns.
R.M.Mann. He was from Santa Cruz, CA. I operated from KM6BI from about the
end of '60 till the end of '61.
I remember a Coast Guard Chief who used to have a SKED with some guy in, I
think, South Africa around midnight. He would sit there B.S.ing with whoever
was in the shack with god-awful noise coming out of the 75A4. Then,
unannounced, he would excuse himself, turn on the transmitter and answer
back. All the time he had a conversation with you, his brain was listening
to the noise and filtering out the code coming from his friend on the other
side of the world! This Coast Guard Chief was in charge of a couple petty
officers who manned, or al least looked at periodically, a LORAN "C" reciever
on base line from the new LORAN "C" transmitter on Kure Island. I became
friendly with one of the petty officers, Wayne Hill from Healdsburg,CA, and
flew out to Kure once with him on a Coast Guard log flight. Wayne was also a
HAM. I kept in touch with him for a while after I got out till IBM sent him
My call today is WA8ICK and I spent many hours at KM6BI. Used to
run lots of
patches into the states and they had a KWM2, 30L1 set up also. Used that the
most as it had the station console with the phone patch built in. I still
have a KM6BI card on my wall having worked them after I got home. I worked
IV3NUN/KH4 on Midway in February on 10 meters.
Spent lots of nights after 20m folded up telling Elephant Jokes with KX6BU.
Jack "WEB" Weber
You may note that I have expanded my mailing list to include the
guys as well as the ones from VW-12, '56-'59.
This is another anecdote from my days in VW-12.
For the first year or so during my tour at Barber's Point the exchange was in
a building behind the VW-12 barracks. Sometime during 1957 the building
burned and all who were there at that time will remember the gigantic fire
sale that was held. Everything, including all the goods in warehouses far
removed from the destroyed building was sold at greatly reduced prices.
Before the exchange burned, I remember walking in one day and hearing a voice
over the PA system that made me wonder if I was hearing right. The record
counter employees often played some of the new selections over the system,
but on this particular day what they were playing was strange for the late
'50s. From the PA system I heard this:
The judge looked down at the woman in front of him and said, "I see your name
is Irene Ingersoll. Are you any relation to the Ingersoll who makes the $2
And the woman answered, "Well, Judge, it's like this. The name's the same.
The price is the same. The movement's a little different."
For that day and time, that was quite risque. What followed was even more so.
It seems that they had gotten in a shipment of several volumes of "Laff of
the Party" by Redd Foxx. I couldn't believe my ears. But, they sold a lot of
those records that day.
How about some of you others sharing your memories and anecdotes?
I remember the day the F-9F crashed into barracks. It was on
Friday, so the
barracks were empty. We all hated field day and zone inspections. What else
can I say, me too. I even hated doing them years later.
I too remember the day the F-9F crashed into the barracks.
I was in the one
next to it. Barracks that is.
How 'bout the day around noon that they closed the field so a Willie
with to all of the UHF antennas, the APS 45 radome and antenna and the center
stabilizer missing could make an emergency landing. Seems the rolled near
Kauai but managed to return to Barbers PT. and land safely. Think Lcdr
Bogdonavich was the pilot.
A hui hou
Bob Hill in Maui
Yes it was Cdr. Bogdonavich that flew the airplane that rolled
the APS45 radome which then took out the verticle stab. I had the pleasure
of flying a deployment with him after that. On my first flight in his crew
we took off from MDY. After the usual brief at level off that we could secure
from our ditching stations, the smoking lamp is lit etc he added that the radioman would stay
strapped in. I choose to disregard that as after 100 barrier flights I was
down to a routine and not ready for something different. A short time later
he walked by and gave me a chewing out like I had never had before because I
was not strapped in.
About an later he called me to cockpit and apologized for the chewing out and
explained what had happened that day when the radome came off. They lost
several thousand feet of altitude in a very steep, hi-g descent. The radioman
could not send an SOS because he was glued to the ceiling by the g-forces.
His nose was stuck in the air vent and it injured him. So after that episode Cdr Bogdonavich always
wanted the duty radioman strapped in. I have a lot of respect for people who
can apologize after the heat of battle is over. I think everyone that flew
with Cdr Bogdonavich had a lot of respect for him. He worked out and lifted
weights. He could not zip up the legs or arms on his flight suit he was so muscular. When the
radome came off it disabled the flight control boost hydraulics. He had to
put both feet on the instrument panel to brace himself while he pulled out
of the dive. Lockheed tech reps said if anyone other than Bogdonavich was at
the controls they would not have had enough strenght to overcome the severe airload caused by
the high speed dive.
If you remember the Navigators always checked their sextant by lining
on the center vert. stab. strobe. On the airplane that lost the radome the
center stab was several degrees off due to airframe twist. The Navigators
all knew which one it was.
I remember that one well. You are correct about the pilot. he did
job saving that aircraft. Good thing he was strapped in when it happened. One
of the guys that I have spoken with, maybe one on the Email list, was on that
aircraft. In fact, he debunked a story that I had heard about one of the crew
ending up in a large trash can with only his hands, feet and head sticking
out. Still makes a good sea story. By the way, a sea story differs from a
fairy tale in that a fairy tale starts with "once upon a time" while a sea
story starts with "this is no sh--"
I also have photos of it. That was something. As a matter of fact I have
written a blurb on that incident which I intend to put out in another Email.
Perhaps this is as good as time as any.
Sometime during the latter part of my tour in VW-12 there was a bizarre
accident. This is the story as I remember it. A WV with a crew from one of
the other squadrons was enroute to Midway and could have been lost if not for
the heroic effort and cool head of the PC. Somehow, during the flight, cabin
pressure rushed into the upper radome causing it and the 10 foot orange peel
antenna to depart the aircraft. When it did, it ripped out wiring and took
several UHF blade antennas as well as the long wire. The radar antenna
impacted the center vertical fin and hung there for a while, throwing the
aircraft into a nose up attitude. The aircraft climbed from about 9000 ft to
about 13000 feet before the antenna, along with the center fin, fully
departed the aircraft. The plane rolled to one side and started a rapid
descent. The PC, Cdr Bogdanovitch, unlike many pilots, always kept his seat
belt on when flying. This probably saved the aircraft, as he was able to
recover at about 2-3000 feet. During the ordeal aircrewmen were thrown all
around the cabin, injuring some. Several had minor injuries. The aircraft
safely returned to NAS BBP, but with great damage. Rivets were popped out all
over the aircraft, and later investigation by Lockheed revealed that the wing
dihedral had actually increased by a few degrees. Immediately after it
landed, aircrewmen with the ever-present Navy can-do spirit volunteered to
fly the aircraft to Keehi Lagoon to the service facility. However, cooler
heads prevailed and the aircraft went nowhere. Lockheed determined that the
WV was repairable, but the proposal was deemed too expensive. With "can-do"
alive and well, the Navy decided to repair it themselves. After countless man
hours the radome, antenna, and center fin were replaced, rivets were
replaced, and required rewiring was completed. Only the increased dihedral
remained. After the rework was complete, the bravado was gone and they
essentially had to order a flight crew to test fly it. My understanding is
that it was a few knots faster than any other WV.
There is one rather amusing sea story that circulated after this incident. As
I stated above, I have been informed that it didn't happen, but it still
makes a good sea story. It goes like this: When the squadrons were formed,
nearly all the ACWs were first termers right out of training. There were,
however, a few who had changed their rates, and two of these were ACW1s. One
of these was Bob Allwine, but I don't remember the other one's name. For some
reason, the other PO1 was death on the lower rated ACWs and was always riding
them some kind of hard. He wasn't very well liked, to put it mildly. The sea
story was that he was in the center aisle when the incident happened, and he
was thrown up to the overhead and there the G forces kept him pressed. A
large galvanized steel "shitcan" also floated down the aisle and settled
right under this guy. When the aircraft was righted, he fell butt first into
the can, with only his head, hands, and feet sticking out. The crew left him
in the can and when the aircraft landed at BBP, a couple of the men he had
been hounding carried him off for God and everybody to see. He was much more
mellow after that.
I don't remember the F9F crash, but, as I earlier wrote to Dick Hackett,
remember other crashes. There was an Air Force trainer that crashed on
landing and went up in a big fireball on the runway. I was pre-flighting when
a P2V had a runaway vari-cam and went in on final. All aboard died. Some of
our crew members didn't want to fly that day, but I took comfort in the low
probability of a second crash from the same station on the same day.
Obviously, the odds played out for us.
Does anyone remember the F6F Hellcat that stalled and crashed on
to BBP? It hit just beyond the trees adjacent to our ramp. I was
at the time and saw it happen. The aircraft was painted overall red - it was
target drone, although there was a pilot aboard at the time. I don't
what happened to him. This was probably in 1960.
Yes. He jumped out of cockpit, was stung by many wasps/bees and broke
ankle jumping off the wing to try and run for it.. GD Payne
My First Gooney Bird Encounter
by Norm Babcock
After several months at Barber's Point, Hawaii, I finally attained
Flight Crew status, and was on my way to Midway Island for the
first time. I'd heard the gooney bird stories from those who had
gone before me, and to be honest, thought most were somewhat
embellished, although I had been in the Navy long enough to learn
that Navy men seldom exaggerate when relating their personal
Right. Pressing on....
We circled Midway a time or two upon our arrival, and one thing was
certain...Midway really was a jewel in the Pacific, at least from
the air. Two small islands surrounded by what seemed to be a crystal
clear lagoon, and the deep blue of the ocean beyond the reef. There
was what appeared to be a natural channel cut through the reef, and
judging from the water color, quite deep. That explained how large
ships where able to dock at Midway, something I'd wondered about.
Common lore had it that the islands were completly ringed with
coral, but I knew Midway had been a base for ships and submarines
during the war, and had to have some kind of access.
After landing, we checked in at the hanger, and were told that it
would be a day or two before our first barrier flight, and that we
should take the time to get squared away, find the chow hall, our
barracks, and generally make ourselves at home. One thing which I
looked for, and found, were the bullet holes in several buildings,
which were purported to be the result of the attack on Midway. Just
seeing them made the history of WW2 in general, and Midway in
particular come a bit more alive.
After finding my bunk, and wandering around the immediate area to
get oriented, I decided to find a quiet spot on the beach, and work
on my tan. A beach wasn't hard to find, nor was it far away (inside
joke, Midway is VERY small), and I was soon dozing in the hot sun.
After a bit, I had the feeling someone was watching me. I squinted
again the sun the best I could, to see if I could spot whoever might
be watching me, although I couldn't think of a single reason why
anyone would bother. Nope, no one within my limited field of vision,
and because I knew I was being silly, didn't bother to rouse myself
enough to take a better look.
After yet another five or ten minutes, I was convinced I was being
watched, and took another squinty-eyed look around. But this time I
tipped my head back to check out the sky, and nearly jumped out of
my skin. I was suddenly eyeball to eyeball with a pair of curious
gooney birds, who had evidently wandered over to check me out.
Maybe they thought I looked a lot like a beached whale or something,
and represented a free buffet.
I instantly froze, mainly because I didn't know if they were
aggressive or not, (they aren't) and would peck at my eyes and face.
I was surprised at their size. At a distance, they look like
seagulls, and the eye could be excused for assigning a seagull-like
size to them without a nearby visual reference. In reality, they
are a fair sized bird...a little larger than Canada Snow geese.
After a few minutes of our mutual staring, they both tipped their
heads back so their beaks were nearly straight up, and extended
their necks, so that they were nearly belt buckle high, had I been
They then made the sound I was to hear many, many times during
the next couple of years. It's a sound which is impossible to
describe, and no other animal I've encountered makes one quite
like it. It's a coo, a trumpet, and an owl hoot all rolled into
one, but drawn out, and trailing off. It's a soft sound, plaintive,
as if the birds were giving vocal expression to memories of
incredible tribulation and loss. It was the saddest sound I'd
They eventually became bored with me, and waddled off with that
side-to-side gait which looks painfully awkward. With all the
wisdom of my 17 years, I decided I liked gooney birds. They were
cool, and their antics would provide great stories in the future.
Later, I liked them a tiny bit less when I learned that they
could ground a Willie Victor, and did on many occassions.
The technical stuff: The following is what I remember, and should
not be the basis for bar bets.
Gooney birds are a member of the albatross family, and in fact are
called "Black-footed Albatross". They are found, as far as I know,
only on Midway Island, although I think there is a species found
on other Pacific Islands. Once hatched, and can fly and hunt,
(generally when they are a year old), they leave the island, and
spend the next seven years at sea. When it's time to breed, they
return to Midway, and the females build a nest on the exact spot
they were hatched. If a road or hanger has been built during those
seven years, not to worry...build the nest there anyway. Which
explains the nest in the middle of the road leading to the hanger.
People were worried the mother gooney would get run over, and so
the plan was made to edge the nest to the side of the road a few
inches each day, while "mom" was gone to find food for herself.
The plan worked perfectly, the mother gooney bird seemed to notice
nothing amiss. We congraulated ourselves on how bright we were,
and rested on our laurels, thinking the mission was accomplished.
Great quantities of beer were consumed in celebration, not that it
usually took much of an excuse to down great quantities of beer
while at Midway island. Unless you had to fly, of course.
In due time, the baby was hatched, and to our amazed eyes, the
mother gooney would patiently herd her chick into the center of the
road, to the exact spot the nest had been, before she would feed
it. So we drank great quantities of beer to console ourselves
since we'd solved only part of the problem.
The fun stuff: Gooney's were considered to be not all that bright.
And if empirical data was any indication, they weren't, not even
by bird standards. It could be said of gooneys: "They sure ain't
no crow." (You'd only say this, of course, if you believe crows
are really smart birds.)
I have seen with my own eyes a gooney walk along the top of the
hanger, come to the edge, walk right off said edge, and plumment
like an arrow straight into the tarmac below. It evidently never
occured to the gooney en route that it had wings, and at 32 feet
per second per second, built up sufficient airspeed to fly out of
the impending crash before hitting the ground. They never showed
signs of serious injury..but they always looked around with a
quizzical look as they tried to regain their composure. They would
then waddle off, sneaking looks at other gooneys to see if they
noticed the faux pas.
Gooneys were wonderful and graceful flyers. Very pretty to watch
as they wheeled over the water looking for some morsel to eat.
The bad news is that the transition from waddling to flying, and
vice versa, was less than equally graceful. To begin with, the
gooney was a large bird, and had a minimum airspeed requirement to
get airborne. Unlike other birds, where a little hop, and a flap
of the wings suffices to do the job, the gooney had to run into
the wind with wings flapping like mad, waddling its little heart
out to get sufficient airspeed for takeoff. Gave a whole new
meaning to "beating feet".
The primary problem was that the gooney bird didn't always know
which direction the wind was coming from, so it could run into it.
What this resulted in was several tries in random directions,
until strictly by chance, a takeoff heading into the wind was
found. After each abortive attempt, the gooney would pause for a
moment with that quizzical expression, as if to say, "What's up
with that? It worked yesterday!" Even the most jaded person would
have to laugh as dozens of gooney birds tried to all take off at
once, each with his/her idea of the best direction to run...er,
Landings also posed problems. Some aviator must have had gooney
birds in mind when he coined the adage, "Any landing you can
walk away from is a good one." Gooney birds never "landed" in the
strict sense of the word. Each landing was a semi-controlled
crash. A typical one might go something like this:
"OK, on final, looking pretty good....feather back a little to lose
airspeed, drop the gear.....5 feet...4 feet..3 feet...oops...role
in some rudder, one wing is too high...no no no not that much...
push the feet straight out in front to cushion the landing....
attempt to fly backwards...ARGH.. STILL TOO MUCH AIRSPEED!...
FLAPS! FLAPS!!!..FLA" (end of cockpit recording)
The feet would dig into the sand, which caused the bird to pitch
forward onto its head, and essentially roll it up into an
undignified ball of feathers, usually accompanied by a cloud
of sand to mark the spot.
This is a true story primarily for those of you who served in Argentia,
Newfoundland, but I think you all will get a little humor from it.
Those of you who went through AT(A) School back in the '50s will remember how
graduates got their assignments. BUPERS sent down a block of billets with no
names assigned. The honor man of the graduating class was given his choice of
those billets. Everyone else drew a slip of paper from a hat, each having a
single letter on it which corresponded to a billet. All the available
billets, with corresponding letters, were written on a chalk board. The
second man in the class standing then either kept the billet selected from
the hat or he could request a trade by saying, for instance, I have C and I
will trade for F, J, or R. He would then trade with the first to accept his
offer, or keep what he had if no one holding those billets wanted to trade.
So it went through the class, with each person allowed only one trade, until
everyone was assigned. One young man in our class had some choice billet, but
when it came his time he said, "I have D and I'll trade for M." Well, hands
shot up all over the place, because M was a VW squadron in Argentia. He was
happy as could be. After we were dismissed we asked why in the world he
traded, and he said, "I've always wanted to go to Argentina." SURPRISE!!
Between commissioning in 1956 and the Barrier becoming operational
every aircrewman made one or more training and familiarization flights to the
designated divert fields in the Aleutians: Kodiak and Adak. I personally made
two such flights and both were memorable.
On the first we had RAdm Sutherland, COMBARPAC, on board. We departed our
first stop, Alameda, for Alaska, and just beyond the point of no return we
lost our APS-20 radar. Chief Hanchak and I worked feverishly to repair it to
no avail. We were under pressure to repair the radar before we reached the
Aleutians, as no one was looking forward to approaching Kodiak and especially
Adak without the benefit of the radar. We were popping a 20 A circuit breaker
on only one of the three phases. Our troubleshooting reached a point where we
needed to test the bank of rectifiers in the High Voltage Power Supply, but
we had no way of testing them on board and we had no spares. On a scheduled
stop at Elmendorf AFB for Adm Sutherland, we took the opportunity to test the
rectifiers. We asked for transportation to a shop and I was designated to go.
We told the Air Force driver that time was of the essence, so he took off -
across the parking ramp. Now this was a SAC base and the truck wasn't
authorized to be on the ramp. A sentry stopped the truck and demanded
authorization passes. Well, the driver had his, but of course I didn't. The
next thing I knew I was spread-eagled on the cold ramp with the cold muzzle
of a carbine at my head until the sergeant of the guard arrived. That was
scary. It was a while before I convinced them I wasn't a spy or saboteur, and
we were sent on our way with both an escort and a stern warning not to come
back that way. The tubes checked good and we left Elmendorf no better off,
radarwise, that when we landed. We finally determined that the most probable
cause was a filament transformer in the HVPS. When we arrived at Kodiak we
checked with FASRON (the AIMD of its time) and found that they had a spare
HVPS. Thankfully the APS 20E in the WV used the same HVPS as the APS-20B in
the P2Vs. We removed the faulty unit from our aircraft and delivered it to
FASRON for a swap. While George Klapan and Dean Martin were drawing a good
unit the shop chief directed his men to put the faulty unit on the test
bench. Chief Hanchak cautioned the shop chief that we were popping a 20A
breaker on one phase and asked if his bench was adequately fused. He almost
indignantly asserted that of course it was. At least three times the shop
chief was cautioned, but to no avail. When the unit was installed and power
applied, smoke poured from the wiring bundles all over the test bench. The
bench control panel was destroyed as was much of the bench wiring. While the
shop chief was fuming and cussing we took our good unit and quietly slipped
out. We had the radar up for Adak and the Navigator and PC breathed easier.
I'll relate the 2nd round robin adventure at a later date.
Did any of you have any memorable flights?
Lee Kalsch just sent a photo holding what looks like an APS-20 Radar
Thyratron and it reminded me of this story. The original CO of MATRON 2
(later AIRBARSRON 2) had a yeoman that was bit of a flake. People tended to
razz him, but he must have been a good yeoman because the CO put out the
word, "Don't f--- with Flash!" Flash was a collector. At one time he
collected rocks, any rocks. While walking along a street he may pick up a
handful of gravel and add them to his collection. Another time he started
collecting vacuum tubes. Each day or so he would stop at the Electronics shop
and pick up any old tubes the guys saved for him, and he would add them to
his collection in his locker. One day he was in the radar shop and saw a
Hydrogen Thyratron. Now this is a serious vacuum tube, I'm guessing about 14"
high and about 6" in diameter. Flash got so excited that he almost had an
orgasm right on the spot, and he asked if any of those ever went bad, and if
so please give it to him. Everyday he would go by at least once and check on
"the tube." This was normally a turn in item, but finally one day they gave
Flash his prize. He was ecstatic. Rumor had it that he slept with it the
first three nights. Who needed a Teddy?
Lee and His tube
That's the Klystron Tube out of the APS20.
I sent one home but it has dissapeared over the years.
Was surprised to see that article about the F9F crash at Barbers
Pt. I and a
young airman by the name of Karl Volskis were stationed in VR-21 at that
time. We had just left the barracks after getting cleaned up for chow, and
were heading for the Gedunk when that plane came over our heads. I imagine
we were less that 100 feet from the handball court when the plane hit it.
The pilot must have been trying to hit the handball court if possible,
because in the next block was the Gedunk, and being almost noon, the place
was geting pretty full of sailors for lunch. Anyway, you can imagine my
surprise finding this in the website.
See you at the reunion.
As I read all of the stories, all of the memories, good and bad come
flooding back. I can assure you that the good outnumber the bad. The
fun we had unloading ships, the fact the the ACW's in the crew were the
slaves as we were all kids, junior in rank and totally impressed with
the salty mechs, techs and even the Electricians. I spend almost 40
years in the Navy and the greatest single leadership decision I ever saw
was when someone in authority decided to send two ACW's who elected to
turn in their flight skins to duty on the DER's rather than transferring
them back to the states. Future evidence of good leadership was the
assignment of these two folks to work the communications links between
the connies and the tin cans as we flew over them. After the first
experience above 40N of 45 ft. swells with a 44 ft. mast, not a single
member of the squadron turned in their skins in. Interesting concept in
leadership. Would probably not fly in today's politically correct
Navy. Has anyone heard from an AL C by the Name of J.C. Caroline. He
was the senior enlisted man in crew 6, VW-12 and refused to change his
rating when the decision to phase out the AL's were made. If they ever
make a movie of the real Navy, it should feature the AL's. I don't
recall anyone of them that had not been busted at least 3 times, all of
them were un believable with a speed key and made every attempt to send
faster than the filter center could copy. They taught me to drink
Canadian Club mixed with orange kool aid on the cat walk between the two
in-flight barracks. Does anyone remember LtJG Simmons leaving the
registered pubs in the in flight mess, notifying the Plane Commander of
his mistake after we entered the taxiway, being informed that we would
continue to taxi, warm up and take off and if he and the pubs were not
aboard, his ass was grass. The JG, grabbed the ditching rope by the
bitter end, jumped out the after hatch. Since the line was 25 ft. long
and the deck was 12 feet away, he hit head first, knocked himself out.
We sent someone to get the pubs, drug him into the aircraft and flew a
16 hour mission. He never woke up, went to the head or anything. Think
he was so afraid of the PC that he would not get out behind the
curtain. Again lots of stories, lots of memories. It was a real good
outfit. Thanks for being their. Thanks for the memories.
I had mentioned a second memorable Alaska Round Robin. Here it is.
On the second trip we were scheduled to follow the normal 6-7 day flight plan
to Alameda, Kodiak, Adak, and back to Barber's Point. Enrollee to Alameda we
lost our #1 engine. We weren't concerned, though, because a replacement
should have been readily available. Wrong! We were stuck at Alameda for a
week while we awaited an engine from Barber's Point. A week in San Francisco
would usually be great, but since we left home expecting to spend only 1 week
with less than ideal liberty locations, we quickly ran out of money and clean
clothes. The new engine required 10 slow hours, so we filed a flight plan to
AS Higby Island, WA, via a circuitous route to overfly the hometowns of two
crewmembers (don't remember who they were): Casper, WY and Billings, MT.
Before reaching Whidbey we lost a supercharger on #1 engine. The crew changed
it upon arrival and we prepared to proceed to Kodiak the next morning. On
takeoff we had a fire warning light - in #1 engine. We returned to Whidbey,
tightened a stack clamp, and again took off for Kodiak. After passing the
point of no return we lost a jug on, you guessed it, the #1 engine. When we
arrived in Kodiak we had to order a cylinder and wait for it. Our PC got on
the Ham radio and convinced the skipper that since we had been gone so long
that it would be best if we took the next available aircraft directly back to
Barber's Point, even though it was a long over water flight with no divert
fields. Another round robin aircraft wasn't due in for three days, so it gave
us some time to explore. A group of us elected to climb the mountain adjacent
to the flight line. It was a beautiful, enjoyable, and cold climb. When we
reached the summit we walked along the top ridge, enjoying the scenery of
green mountains and deep blue lakes. Off to one side of the ridge was an
iced-over lake. Now this was May, but a Kodiak sailor told us that in July
they would swim in that water. Brrr!! When the replacement aircraft reached
Kodiak it had a smoking #1 engine. After consultation, it was decided we
would take it. As you may recall, the runway was relatively short and ran
downhill into the prevailing winds, but in that direction there was Old Woman
Mountain. Normal procedure was to takeoff toward Old Woman and, when
airborne, execute a severe turn to clear the mountain. Because of the long
flight we had to take a full load of aviation fuel. That, coupled with a full
crew, made it imprudent to attempt a takeoff into the mountain. That meant
that we had to takeoff downwind, uphill, on a short runway, with a full load
of fuel and crew, out over the cold bay, with a sick #1 engine. There was a
crash boat on station on the bay, just in case. You can believe there was a
lot of puckering during that takeoff. We were very relieved to get airborne
safely and complete this 14 day "one-week" trip, tired, broke, and smelling
of dirty clothes.
This story sounds very familiar to me. I was the 2P (co-pilot) LTJG,
was CDR Frederick J. Streig, and the navigator was LTJG Bob Grossman. I
think we stayed in Kodiak for a week and everyone ran out of money while in
SFO. I don't remember any of the other crewmembers aboard. I am sorry to
say I will not be able to attend this year because of a prior comittment.
I retired from Eastern Air Lines in January of 1990 after I went on strike
the previous year and we are having our annual convention at that time.
Hope you all have a great time. Gary Deskin, LTJG, VW-12 1956-1959
I've been putting this off for too long. I meant to write earlier and make a
couple of points that come to light every time I visit the WV Page.
Concerning Checkpool 34. I was there when that incident took place. I
believe the PPC was Cdr Dow at the helm and Ltjg/Lt Schneiderwin as
co-pilot. After the landing gear sheared at lift-off and tore the starboard
horizontal stabilizer and elevator off, they immediately started to dump
fuel and commenced their evaluation of the situation. I recall there
comments about not being able to control the aircraft manually. Ltjg
Schneiderwin was a good sized man and it was beyond his capability as i
recall. It seems that tha autopilot was the only means of control. I believe
that after they finally landed, it was discovered that the APS-20 antenn was
directly fore and aft. This i believe resulted in a change in the SOP
Manual, requiring the antenna be positioned fore and aft for landings. Seems
that this was what saved the aircraft from destruction.
I had test flight duty at Midway when the aircraft was repaired and recall
the debates that developed concerning whether the aircraft was safe to fly.
i recall flying it on one of it's test flights, but don't remember if it was
the first one or not.
I was also there in the flight crew barracks the night Checkpool 16 went
into the obstacle at the end of the runway. That was a night that nobody
could forgrt if they were there. I remember there were an awful lot of 40oz
bottles of Canadian Club consumed the rest of that night and morning. I had
a barrier flight that next morning and we had to dump the superchargers as
we taxied by the hulk of that bird. It's a shame, that one didn't need to
On a different note, I don't know if anyone remembers Cdr Wasliewski,
his wife is a Real Estate Agent in Bath, ME. I don't know if he is living or
deceased. Some other names have come to mind since our last conversation. My
PP was Lt Bill Giberson, my 2nd Engineer was ADR2 Bob Firth. Old minds have
trouble remembering and mine is getting old. Some other names that come to
mind are ADR1 James Heaton, ADRC Al Whaley, ADR1 (No first name) Dalzell,
ADR1 (No first name) Gustafuson, the last three were instructors in the
Flight Engineer Training program.
That old mind is teetering tonight, but I may think of others as
passes. Hope you all have a grand time at the renuion, wish I could join
Raymond "Skip" Wolf
How many of you can remember coming off a Barrier Mission and being
report immediately to the Midway Harbor Master for duty??? Yep, being
"Airdales" we ended up in the holds of Cargo Ships playing Stevedore. This
practice didn't go on too long, for our Captain from BBP went to MDY and
told the Midway Captain that "His Aircrews were NOT unloading any more ships
for NAVSTA Midway.
Bet I don't get 5 people that remember doing that.
Luke The Lid