Pearl Harbor and the “Day of Infamy”

Part I:

In the early hours of Sunday, December 7, Japanese submarines of an advance expeditionary force launched five midget subs they had piggy-backed from Japan. Each two man 80 ft sub was armed with two torpedoes and an explosive charge in the bow for suicidal raming. All five subs and all of their crews,  except one man were ost. One was lost at sea; one was sunk outside the Harbor by USS WARD; one entered Pearl Harbor through an open submarine net and was sunk when it was rammed by USS MONAGHAN. The fourth could not steer properly and beached on the windward side of Oahu, its surviving crew member becoming the first Japanese prisoner of war. It is unknown what happened to the fifth submarine, but it is believed to have been sun during the raid.

0342 – USS CONDOR, on routine mine-sweeping patrol, spots the periscope of one of the midget subs in restricted waters off the entrance to the Harbor. USS CONDOR’s skipper thinks the sub is probably one of ours that strayed into a restricted area by mistake. Nevertheless, since he has no guns or depth charges himself, he sends a message to the captain of the destroyer USS WARD on patrol nearby.

0500 – Two reconnaissance planes take off to scout Pearl Harbor and Lahaina Roads, Maui.

0600 – The first wave of 183 planes is launched.

0630 – USS WARD observes a submarine trailing the supply ship USS ANTARES into the Harbor and sinks her. The commanding officer sends a message informing the fleet commander.

0706 – Two army privates, manning a mobile radar station in the hills above Opana Point, contact a lone aircraft but are not alarmed. However, soon afterward they receive signals of many more approaching planes so they report to the Officer at Fort Shafter who decides it is a formation of Army B-17s expected in Hawaii that day or aircraft from the USS ENTERPRISE and tells the soldiers not worry about it.

0748 – The first Japanese bombs land at Kaneohe Naval Air Station.

0755 – Hickam Air Field and Wheeler Air Field are hit simultaneously.

0757 – The cruiser USS RALEIGH is the first ship in Pearl Harbor to be hit, taking a torpedo in her port side. Within seconds, USS UTAH takes two direct hits and USS HELENA is hit by a torpedo directly midship. Her clock stops at 0757.

0800 – As the band plays the national anthem and the flag is being raised, the decks of the USS NEVADA are strafe by attacking planes. Not one member of the band or the Marine Corps color guard is hit but thee flag is in shreds.

0805 – Bombs begin falling in Honolulu. Roads leading to Pearl Harbor are strafed and three civilian employees on their way to work are killed. On a local radio station, announcer Webley Edwards repeats over and over, “This is not a maneuver…this is the real McCoy!”. At Hickam Field, three civilian firemen are killed and elsewhere city and plantation firemen are frantically battling blazing fires

Later assessments show that shells fell in 40 locations in the city; 68 civilians were killed, others were seriously wounded or hurt by the explosions, fires, and falling debris.

0850 – The second wave of 167 planes reaches Pearl Harbor and is met by a concentrated screen of anti-aircraft form from Americans finally able to mobilize and attempt retaliation.

After 0800 – The 12 B-17 bombers expected earlier at Hickam Field arrive to a scene of chaos and confusion, and an angry swarm of Japanese Zeros. The American planes had been disarmed to lighten the load and so have no means of defending themselves. However, though under ferocious attack, all manage to land safely.

Soon after, 18 dive bombers from the carrier USS ENTERPRISE arrive and are greeted with hostile fire from both Japanese nervous Americans. Thirteen of the planes finally land at Ford Island and ewa,  but only nine of them are undamaged. The survivors are refueled and take off a 1210 to join a vain hunt for the enemy force.

Between 0800 and 1100 – At Hickam and Wheeler Fields, aircraft, conveniently grouped together on the runways are devastated by enemy bombs and strafing. On the windward side of the island at Kaneohe, seaplanes on the ground are smashed an burned and personnel slaughtered in deadly strafing.. Of an estimated 394 planes at Oahu airfields that morning, only 11 fighter become airborne.

At Pearl Harbor, the devastation continues. Waters around Ford Island are covered with violently flaming oil slicks engulfing wounded men trying desperately to reach safety. Heroic acts are common place as small boats brave the burning sea to rescue the dying.

1000 – The last planes of the second wave depart to return to the Japanese carriers which have now edged 40 miles closer to the scene of battle.

1300 – All but 29 planes are safe aboard the Japanese carriers. Japanese pilots and personnel aboard the ships in the armada are ecstatic. They can not believe the completeness of the surprise, their incredibly low casualty rate, and the absence of any effective resistance. They are sure they have dealt a death blow to the American military structure. The Japanese commander of the air attack urgently recommends that the planes be refueled and allowed to return and attack again. but Fleet Commander Hagumo refuses.

1330 – The Japanese task force turns and heads for home.

Part II: President Roosevelt’s Address

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United State4s of America was suddenly and deliberately  attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of States a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

  • Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack on Malaya.
  • Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
  • Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
  • Last night Japanese Forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
  • Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation. As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fat that our people, our territory, and ou interest are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, as state of has existed between the United States and Japanese Empire.”

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The WWII Liberty Ship JOHN W. BROWN


A Memorial Museum Ship Dedicated to the Men and Women Who Built, Sailed and Defended the Wartime Liberty Fleet.”

This ship is one of only two surviving Liberty Ships from the great fleet of over 2,700 identical ships which were the cargo carrying keys to Allied Victory in World War II. Two-thirds of all the cargo that left the United States during the war was shipped in Liberty Ships. Two hundred of them were sunk by enemy action, but there were simply so many of them that the enemy could never hope to sink enough Liberty Ships to close the sea lanes, and the supplies got through!

The JOHN W. BROWN looks now almost exactly as she did towards the end of World War II. Despite her grey paint and many guns, she is not a warship, but a merchant ship. The BROWN was built by the government and was under the control of War Shipping Administration. This ship and her many sisters were operated under what was known as a general agency agreement, by almost 90 different American steamship companies, which were paid by Uncle Sam to manage the ships. The cargo they carried and the ports they visited were entirely controlled by the government.

The JOHN W. BROWN was run by a crew of 45 civilian merchant seamen and her guns, entirely defensive in nature, were manned by 41 naval personnel assigned to the ship. They were known as the “Naval Armed Guard.” All American merchant ships carried Armed Guard gunners during the war. The gunners of the JOHN W. BROWN shot down at least one enemy plane at the invasion of Southern France in August, 1944.

This ship can carry almost 9,000 tons of cargo, about the same as 300 railroad boxcars. Liberty Ships carried every conceivable cargo during the war – from beans to bullets. Some, like the JOHN W. BROWN were also fitted out to carry troops as well as cargo. Around 500 soldiers at a time could be carried aboard this ship. She saw duty in many Mediterranean ports during invasions and steamed in convoys that were attacked by enemy aircraft and submarines, but was never seriously damaged by the enemy.

After the war the JOHN W. BROWN was loaned by the government to the City of New York, where she became a floating nautical high school, the only one in the United States. The ship served in that capacity from 1946 to 1982, graduating thousands of students prepared to begin careers in the merchant marine. During that time the BROWN was lovingly cared for by her students and instructors, making her reactivation by her many volunteers that much easier.

The JOHN W. BROWN has been rededicated as a memorial museum ship. She honors the memory of the shipyard workers, merchant seamen and naval armed guards who built, sailed and defended the Liberty Fleet.

There are some fifty old navy ships located all around our coasts as naval memorials, but only three merchant ships are living, steaming memorials, whose all volunteer crew have returned them to operating condition in order to show visitors just how it was to operate a World War II era merchant ship. These men and women, most of whom are themselves veterans of the shipyards merchant marine or armed guard, are convinced that this is the best way to rekindle the American Spirit that saw this country through the dark days of World War II. The JOHN W. BROWN is one of the best examples of how America united can accomplish any goal!

All JOHN W. BROWN volunteer crew members, have no paid staff, and ask visitors to enjoy their visit and ask that they please be generous in their donation. It is pointed out that generous donations will help continue the restoration process aboard this piece of living American history.

The JOHN W. BROWN now provides Self-Guided Tours and reminds tour groups to remember that this is a working cargo ship, not a cruise ship.  There are fifteen areas that are provided for Self -Guided Tours.

The JOHN W. BROWN is now located at Pier C, 2220 S. Clinton Street, Baltimore, MD, and is open for tours on Wednesdays & Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. Questions? – call the ship at 410-558-0646 or email the Museum at .

SUNOCO generously supplied the fuel for the 1994 voyages of the S.S. JOHN W. BROWN

This Editor is proud to have retired from the SUNOCO Oil Refinery in Marcus Hook, NJ

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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 …

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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

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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.

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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

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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 …

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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 …