Memories, page three


At the recent mini-reunion consisting of Dick Caliendo, Jack Weber, Dick’s
wife Teresa, and myself, the usual BS flew.  Then Dick and Jack started to
play “Show & Tell”, reaching into their attaché cases and coming up with all
sorts of Pacific Barrier stuff.  I ain’t gonna tell ya about all the stuff
Jack has, but we all carried one on our Barrier Missions.  Anyway, during
that Show & Tell phase, Dick produced a COMBARPAC “Speed Key Certificate”.
Now that jogged my memory banks at the time, but that’s all it was, a jog,
and the conversation proceeded to other subjects.

Now, after several days, I have reflected, remembered the facts, and here is
my tale……………..

Chief Mc’Call at NAX5, and that Warrant Officer, were evil SOB’s.  In my
book, they were always trying to control us Aircrew Radio Operators, and
couldn’t.  It must have really “Frosted Them”, knowing the freedom we had,
especially 1st Radiomen, and that they had, at the very best, only “tangent”
control over us, although we were (in a way), under their command (so they
believed).  The Chief was always after me, wanting me to quit flying, and
come to “work for him”.  I asked him why and he said that “your always down
here anyway, sitting the circuit, so you might as well make it permanent”.
I told him that #1, I loved flying, #2, I preferred a Flight Suit over
Whites, #3, I wasn’t about to give up “Flight Skins”, and #4, I didn’t like
him.  Every time that we had this encounter, his face would turn Purple, and
he would storm out of the NAX5 Radio Shack.  I can’t help it if he made it
so easy to embarrass him in front of his men………LOL.  I found out later that
the Evil SOB went so far as to have some “Brass" at NAX5, petition the
Squadron Avionics Officer, to transfer me to NAX5, permanently, but they
would settle for a TDY assignment.  LT. Harkens, the Squadron Avionics
Officer (Mustang) called me into his office one day and told me that, and
then asked me why they (NAX5) wanted me.  When I explained, he said “The
hell with them Blackshoe’s”.  Eventually, the Chief and I ended up (alone)
in that little code room during a Deployment Radio Debrief.  He played some
“Lualualei Tapes” of me sending traffic, and said (with a smirk on his face)
“you using a Bug here Luke?, sure sounds like it to me”.  I said “sounds
like a Vibro-Plex, Blue Racer, Presentation Model to me Chief”.  His face
got purple again, but he maintained formal control, stating that I was
written up for using an “Unauthorized Code Key” on his net.  He then said
that if I persisted in using that Bug, he would see to it that progressive
discipline would follow.  Then with a smirk, he said “there is a way out of
this, why don’t you let me give you a Code Test, and if you pass, I will
issue you one of these” and he showed me a BARPAC Speed Key Certificate,
with his name on it. (I was aware that he had one, the rumor was that he and
that SOB Warrant Officer, mutually issued one to each other). I told him to
“Go To Hell” and walked out of the room and went down to the NAX5 Radio
Shack.  I was in there shooting the breeze with the guy’s for about 10-15
minutes when the Chief and that SOB’n Warrant Officer came in and accosted
me.  They challenged me to Take a Speed Key Test “Right Now”.  I knew the
Bastard’s had me trapped.  Here I was, among my peers, I couldn’t say “NO”
and save face, so I said OK! (my face was probably Purple, mad at myself for
letting the SOB’s corner me).  We went into the Code Room, the three of us
and the Chief opened a drawer in the desk and pulled out a Speed Key Case,
set it on the Table, and sat down.  Like a Surgeon, he opened the case,
removed the Bug, and plugged it into the circuit.  His witness, that SOB’n
Warrant Officer, lurking behind us like a Gloating Vulture.  The Chief began
“warming up” with the bug and I knew I was in “Deep S**T”.  He was fast, a
“Real Fast S**T Fist” to be exact.  S**Tier than Doug Payne and PJ combined
(Just Kidding).  It didn’t take a “Rocket Scientist” to figure out how the
rumor about the Chief’s CW sending prowess started, HE WAS A S**T FIST!   I
knew that I would never be able to copy him, so quickly reviewing my
options, and figuring that the Bastard’s “won this one”, I stood up, said
something to the effect that “I just wasn’t up to it that day” and left the
room, them two SOB’s laughter “ringing in my ears”.

Dick, if you hadda copy the Chief to get that “Bug Certificate” then you are
the guy I want to copy my position report when I am sitting in a 22 man life
raft, Gibson Girl TX between my legs, trying to send with Force 7 Seas
bouncing me around.  GOOD GOING & “BRAVO ZULU”

"Luke the lid"

Earles, I recently found this sight and would like to be put on the
roster.  I've found several names of guys who were AT's in VW13 when I
was there, including you, but I can't put faces to the names.

I'm sure I worked with them, and possibly you too, but the people I
definitely remember aren't registered.  Now I just need to send some
notes to see if their memories are better than mine.

I got to Newfoundland in January of 1963 and left in June of '64.  I was
an ATR3, and made ATR2 about the time I left.

I spent my last nine months TAD in Iceland on the ground crew except
when my flight crew came up, then I'd fly as an ECM operator.  The only
reason I went back to Newfoundland was to go get my temporary orders
back to Iceland.  I preferred the temporary duty in Icland because we
had rooms instead of the usual open barracks, and I got $1.00 a day per
diem.  What a deal!

I wish I could have come to the reunion, but I found out too late.
Hopefully, it will become a regular thing, and I can make the next

Thanks for taking care of this mailing list, and helping with this whole
Willie Victor project.  Being in the Navy was an important time in all
our lives, and your being here to help the rest of us remember a part of
it is very much appreciated.

Ed Lee

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