Two Typhoons From Okinawa

In the Fall of 1945, the INTREPID was in Buckner Bay at Okinawa and the weather was hot and calm. There were several other vessels in the same enclosed body of water. Most of the aircraft were on the hanger deck and it seemed like a very quite day. Suddenly, we were given an alarm of an approaching typhoon with waves as high as 70 feet. Everyone scrambled to secure all movable items on the flight and hanger decks. It seemed like in a few minutes the flight deck was vacant and the steel doors were downed locked on the hanger deck. The crew was ordered to stay below decks as the ship raced to get out of the Bay opening into the Ocean.

Shortly, we did clear the island by about a half mile when the first wave was visible on the horizon. It appeared as a wide white line at a distance. As it rolled toward us, we slowed down to meet the first wave which stopped the Intrepid while it lifted us upward and shuck everything violently. Water went over the flight deck. This was a serious storm. Within a few minutes the waves increased in height to 90 feet. The ship headed into the waves at an angle to reduce the impact of head-on collisions. The forward speed was about 4 knots to maintain steerage. When a wave was under the hull at mid-ship, the bow and stern would bow down and the expansion plates on the flight deck would cover wide gaps. We would “crash” into a new wave every few seconds and everything on the ship would shake and make noises. This continued for three days.

We were lucky the ship did not fail that test. We felt like we were comparable to a “bar of Ivory soap in an old fashion washing machine”.  The control tower was subject to wave splashes  20-to 30 feet high.

After three days, we returned to Buckner Bay to “take inventory and observe damages”. We resumed destroying floating mines in the seas around Japan for another ten days before we were given another “typhoon alert”. This time we responded quicker…got out of the Bay in shorter time and knew more about what to expect. The second was about the same as the first one, but it ended after 2.5 days. Fortunately, we saw no more rough water until December.

That is when we boarded 2000 paratroopers as guests to ride from Japan to San Francisco for Christmas leaves. On the eleven day trip we had seven days of heavy seas and hundreds of sea sick paratrooper. “What happened on that trip… stay on the ship”!!!

Story contributed by AOM3/c Keith Butterfield


The B-24 Liberator

For an amazing story about the WWII B-24 Liberator A/C …

Click below

Battle of Midway

For a dramatic and detailed video of the U.S and Japanese Naval Forces
centered on the Battle of Midway,
and then click on the Battle of Midway Video LINK

Last Vietnam Exit

The C-130 on display at the front gate of Little Rock AFB, Arkansas

This C-130A Hercules was the 126th built by Lockheed Aircraft corp. of Marietta, Georgia. It was accepted into the Air Force inventory on 23 August 1957.
On 2 November 1972, it was given to the South Vietnamese Air Force as part of the Military Assistance Program. A few years later, the aircraft would be involved in a historic flight.
On 29 April 1975, this Herk was the last out of Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. With over 100 aircraft destroyed on the flight line at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, some of them still burning, it was the last flyable C-130 remaining. In a very panicked state, hundreds of people were rushing to get aboard, as the aircraft represented a final ticket to freedom.

People hurriedly crowded into the Herk, packing in tighter and tighter. Eventually, the loadmaster informed the pilot, Major Phuong, a South Vietnamese instructor pilot, that he could not get the rear ramp closed due to the number of people standing on it. In a moment of inspiration, Major Phuong slowly taxied forward, then hit the brakes. The loadmaster called forward again stating he had successfully got the doors closed.

In all, 452 people were on board, including a staggering 32 in the cockpit alone. Using a conservative estimate of 100 pounds per person, it translated into an overload of at least 10,000 pounds. Consequently, the Herk used every bit of the runway and overrun before it was able to get airborne.
The target was Thailand, which should have been 1:20 in flight time, but after an hour and a half, the aircraft was over the Gulf of Siam, and they were clearly lost. Finally, a map was located, they identified some terrain features, and they were able to navigate. They landed at Utapao, Thailand after a three and a half hour flight.
Ground personnel were shocked at what “fell out” as they opened the doors. It was clear that a longer flight would almost certainly have resulted in a loss of life. In the end, however, all 452 people made it to freedom aboard this historic C-130.
Upon landing, the aircraft was reclaimed by the United States Air Force and assigned to two different Air National Guard units for the next 14 years.
On 28 June 1989, it made its final flight to Little Rock Air Force Base and was placed on permanent display.

U.S.S. Saratoga

Legendary A/C Carrier USS Saratoga to sail off to scrapyard in 1-cent deal

Go to:




May 1941 Suifu and back to Hong Kong

CNAC’S DC-2 1/2, May 1941, Suifu and back to Hong Kong

 This is a true story. Once again it proves what capable people can do when presented with a problem that to them is no problem at all but to just come up with a solution.

Go to:


Typhoon “Hester”

A Story of a flight of 16 AF’s (VS-21) from Guam to Iwo Jima in December of 1952, to escape Typhoon “Hester”.

Before the carrier based anti-submarine fixed wind S2 and S3, there was the AF. The AF came in 2 versions – One, a Guppy (AF2W) with APS 20 Radar for extended search and the other team player was the AF2S, with the attack APS 31 Radar, a powerful search light, depth charges and other weapons to attack possible enemy subs. This a/c was powered by a Pratt/Whitney R-2800 and reported as the largest single engine propeller plane ever built. This was always in contention because of the short lived AM (an attack plane with a 4360 engine), a crew of 4 in the Guppy and 3 in the AF2S to do what a crew of 4 would do better, in later years, with the S2 and follow on S3.

VS-21 made a 7 month WestPac cruise from Oct 24, ’52 through May 26, ’53 with a total of 18 AF type a/c and a copliment of 260 people. The CO, XO, OPS and Maint Officer flew to Guam on the USN Seaplane “Mars“, the rest of us, and the aircraft, were embarked in the USS Cape Esperance (CVET-88), a former CVE assigned to the “Military Sea Transport Service” (MSTS). We spent 3 months operating from Guam and 4 months operating from the USS Bairoko (CVE-115), we were relieved in Japan by the USMC F4U Checkerboard Squadron. We then loaded aboard the USS Bataan (CVLa-29) and returned to NAS North Island, San Diego, CA.

The Evacuation: On the dark night of Dec 29, ’52, 16 AFs departed Guam (Mariannas Islands) about 2000 hrs for Iwo Jima to the NW (an island in the center of 2 others in the volcano chain). This flight consisted of 4 divisions(4 a/c ea div) navigating with the AF2W APS 20 Radar as the skipper (CDR Calvin T. Durgin, Jr) led the flight. The 2nd division of 4 was led by the XO (LCDR Kenneth D. Oberholser), the 3rd division leader was LT Samuel A. Sparks, the Maintenance Officer, and the 4th div was led by Lt Robert B. Wightman, our Safety Officer. I was a LT at the time and flew slot position in Sam’s flight.

Weather was bad underneath but we were on top with a moon at 8000 ft. Guam toIwo is a distanceof about 930 nautical miles. Japan lies 600 miles N of Iwo. Upon arrival over Iwo Jima, weather was estimated to be a 400 ft ceiling & 2 mile visibility. The top of the clouds/overcast, however, as we could estimate was down to4000 ft, so the entire flight descended from 8000 to 4000 ft as we orbited Iwo.

There was no documented instrument approach procedure, no operational control tower (we talked to the USAF 1st LT on a VHF Flt Advisory Channel) and no approach lights for the single 7000 ft EW runway. The lights marking each side of the runway, although quite dim were nonetheless adequate. No landing lights on tail-wheel carrier planes so the approach was similar to a carrier approach, but without the LSO. He was one of our pilots on this flight. Three divisions orbited in a delta pattern as the skipper took his division of 4 thru the decent (let down) on a heading of 270 degrees, breaking out of the overcast at about 450 ft then reversed course, put his group in a right echelon, made the break over RW-9 and landed as each pilot established a 45 second interval … with no taxiway lights, the pistol grop spot lite carried, as standard equipment, in the cockpit was used to find our way as we taxied in, find a parking spot and shut down.

When the skipper, with his division arrived over the runway for the break he called the 2nd division to start their descent in the same fashion. This adoped approach went on until the 3rd & 4th divisions had landed. All 16 planes landed and shut down without a hitch. Time was slightly after mid-nite and could beer time compliments of a 12 man Air Force Station Keeper Crew. A 1st LT USAF was in charge of the detachment.

Note #1 – A flash back – One of the fiercest battles of WWII took place here from Nov of ’44 until Mar of ’45. I had two Marine Cousins in this battle and both survived, but now deceased. The 2.5 by 5.5 mile island had been honeycombed by the Japanese, over the yrs prior to WWII and the Command Post, Hospital, Airplane Maintenance and Hangars wer all under ground and could not be discerned by the Intelligence gathering groups.

Note #2 – We totaled 16 pilots with 40 enlisted crew members and spent the 30th & New Year’s eve there. Some had bunks, some slept on tables and a few slept on the deck of the Operation/Crew Quarters/Mess Hall building of about 3500 sqft. Our Maintenance crew in this squadron, under LET Sam Sparks, was highly efficient. We returned to Guam on New Years Day in beautiful CAVU weather. No aircraft engine problems going or returning.

Note #3 – To my knowledge there are only 2 pilots still living that took part in this flight. Paul Sengir, a retired United Airline Captain, who lives in CA, and yours truly. As for me, I plan to live on until I die … YEAH!

Note #4 – There is an AF2S in the Naval Air Museum with VS-25 markings on it. VS-25 was a sister squadron to VS-21 and in the next NORIS Hangar. VADM Jim Stockdale, now deceased and a long time POW of the N Vietnamese, was a LT in VS-25, as I recall, before going to Attack Squadrons in the A4s.

Note #5 – Usually in an-all-out effort to evacuate a mass flight of a/c from the onslaught of a Hurricane or a Typhoon, very little if any damage is ever incurred on the evacuated base. Just double secure put them in a hangar & batten down is safer than evacuation flights. I was also involved in an Evac one time form HAS North Island in San Diego – probably the only evac from that base – ever. On that evacuation flight, 2 planes were lost and 1 pilot was killed – the base was not damaged.

CAPT Floyd H. Brown, USN (Ret)


Eiffel Tower … He’s Gone West

FW: Do you remember this? – Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 14:21:25 -0700

Remember the fighter pilot who flew through the Eiffel Tower… He’s Gone West…

In the spring of 1944 Bill and his P-51C, the ‘Berlin Express’ were near Paris when the scene that is immortalized in the artwork by Len Krenzler of Action Art that leads this article took place. Bill had followed this Bf109 from the bombers he was escorting when most of the German fighters left. The two planes had been in a running dogfight. The German pilot flew over Paris hoping that the heavy German anti-aircraft artillery would solve his problem and eliminate Overstreet and the ‘Berlin Express’, though Bill managed to get some hits in at about 1500 feet. The German’s engine was hit, and Bill stayed on his tail braving the intense enemy flak. His desperation undoubtedly growing, the German pilot aimed his plane at the Eiffel Tower and in a surprising maneuver, flew beneath it. Undeterred, Bill followed right behind him, scoring several more hits in the process. The German plane crashed and Bill escaped the heavy flak around Paris by flying low and full throttle over the river until he had cleared the cities heavy anti-aircraft batteries.

William ‘Bill’ Overstreet, Jr., a former Captain in the U.S. Air Corps, passed away recently at a hospital in Roanoke, VA.

He famously flew his plane beneath the Eiffel Tower in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, lifting the spirits of French troops on the ground

In 2009, he was presented France’s Legion of Honor

William Overstreet Jr. died recently at a hospital in Roanoke, Virginia, at age 92 – according to his obituary, but there was no indication of the cause of his death.

Before the ceremony, Overstreet had previously said that, if he lived long enough to receive the Legion of Honor, he would be accepting it in memory of his fallen brothers.

In particular, he wanted to pay tribute to a friend, Eddy Simpson, who died fighting the Nazis on the ground so his comrades, including Overstreet, could escape.

After the award was pinned to his lapel, Overstreet said: ‘If I said, “Thank you,” it wouldn’t be enough,’ before adding: ‘What more than “thank you” do you need?’

He was born in Clifton Forge, Virginia in 1921 and after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Air Corps as a fighter pilot.  By February 1942, he was a private and sent to California for flight training; here, his instructors prepared him for the unexpected mid-flight by cutting the engine as he landed.

Remembered: Overstreet was presented with France’s Legion of Honour in 2009

He was always humble. Whenever the press interviewed him he said, ” I didn’t do anything … we were a team.”


Carrier Operations

This is truly history in the making. The aircraft being launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier is a UAV. The Navy has been developing this aircraft for almost 15 years,and now it is here. Pilotless and controlled by people on the ship. Amazing. The “pilots” are the guys on the deck with the flight controls strapped to their arms

 Go to

Entertaining Royalty on the Randolph

” The USS Randolph put on an air show for the King and Queen of Greece, and it wasn’t the sort of thing that pilots extend themselves beyond the range of their capabilities to do, but simply the work of the ship’s squadrons in their everyday missions.

For this demonstration we towed a sled 150 yards astern which was to be the target for the jets to attack with their rockets. The feature attraction was to be a finale where two AD 6s from VA-176 would dive-bomb the sled to extinction. They boast they can carry externally the bomb load a B17 carries internally (4800 lbs). They both had a 5000 lb bomb on the center station and 1000 pounders on each wing.

It was a warm day with no wind at all. Airplanes don’t lift so well when it is hot and humid, and the carrier had to make all the wind there was by steaming at 33 knots. They catapulted all the jets and then started the 2 ADs from all the way aft. CAG flew the first one and barely made it off the box. He sunk out of sight and came staggering up into view again shouting – “Don’t launch him, Don’t launch him”, into his mike, but LTJG George Ormond was on his way, and couldn’t hear the call.

With canopy open, full power, he followed his leader down the deck. He had a plane that was just out of check and hadn’t been run up. Abeam the island he backfired twice and that was enough power loss to deprive him of flying speed off the bow. He knew he didn’t have it as soon as he began to settle. No time to salvo his load, he jigged to the right to get out of the onrushing carrier’s way, and landed wheels up.

The carrier turned hard to port to miss him. As we rushed by, there was George climbing out of the cockpit of his sinking AD, saluting the King and Queen, and not watching for the Angel to come and get him so its downwash surprised him and blew him arise over teakettle into the water. They got a sling around him in no time and moments later he was deposited back on deck, soaking wet but unhurt. The M.C.  announced, “LTJG Ormond, arriving“, just as he was some big shot, but the fun wasn’t over. As CAG was groaning for altitude with his heavy load, the Banshees streaked in against the target sled one by one and nearly every one of them hit it.

CAG was an experienced dive-bomber pilot from the Korean War. He wanted to get to 10,000 ft just like we had done at Duck Target back on Padre Island out of Cabaniss Field, but he was climbing very slowly on such a hot day.

When the jets were done he was only up to 6000 ft. He and the Air Boss argued back and forth for a while. The royal couple was getting restive with nothing happening. CAG compromised on 7500 ft for his start down.

Commander Fidel, the ship’s XO on the one M.C. announced to all of us that now we were going to see the biggest explosion the Navy could make which would blow the sled to smithereens. And we all watched the little dot CAG made in the sky as he opened his dive brakes and started his run.

The sled did not evaporate in a colossal blast. What happened was anticlimactic. CAG had neglected to flip the little toggle switch to arm his bombs in his haste to start the non-standard run. The bombs hit near the sled all right … they just went “phut phut phut“, as they hit the water. No one said a thing. The one M.C. was turned off. The Air Group Commander’s embarrassment was acute, and he didn’t visit the air group pilots in their ready rooms, for several days to come.”

Former Randolph crew member, Gil Hartman, AN, V-1 Division received this first person account

from Doctor Roger G. Smith, a former “Guppy” pilot in VAW-12.

Doctor Smith added … ” Gil … I love you guys from the flight deck crew. Randolph had a very fine and safe flight deck. Ensign Santivasci ran the catapults superbly. I think he was a mustang officer. This was a hilarious story at the time … and sad to say … Captain Ormond died down in Jacksonville a few years ago. (Actually he died in Utah, but he lived in JAX.)

Story used with permission of the USS Randolph Association

No Place for ‘sloppy’ workmen …

Go to:


Mastering the Harpoon & Taming the Neptune

Before the Navy P3 “Orion” Land based Patrol Plane, which revolutionized Air Anti-Submarine Warfare and a product of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, there were two other notable land based VP aircraft, by Lockheed, worth mentioning. These two aircraft in the order of production and service in Naval Aviation were the PV-1 & 2 “Harpoon” & the P2V-1, -3, 3W, 5, 5F and the P2V-7 Neptune.

For the complete story on the Harpoon, go to …

For the complete story on the Neptune, go to …

Never seen before Kamikaze attack

A film never seen before about a WWII Kamikaze attack on one of our ships.
A Kamikaze attack in 1945 … this clip gives you a feel for what it was like in the gun turret…Go to …

Vietnam Wall

This is really sobering. Click on the link and find the city you went to high school and look at the names. Click on the name and it will give details of the death.

Go to:

What you may not have known about the Ford Motor Company

Go to: