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Guppy Pilot

Guppy Pilot

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Guppy Pilot

évaluations:
4/5 (1 évaluation)
Longueur:
454 pages
5 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 27, 2011
ISBN:
9781467033206
Format:
Livre

Description

Dr. Smith went to the Naval Aviation cadet program after college and flew with an all weather squadron based at Quonset Point in the 1950s. His story takes you through the whole scenario from cadet to experienced carrier pilot with sea duty in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and the Arctic on the carriers Randolph and Saratoga before he left the navy for a medical career.
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 27, 2011
ISBN:
9781467033206
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Roger G. Smith, MD was born in Providence, RI, graduated from Brown University, served a tour as a naval aviator in the 1950s, then attended Medical School at Tufts in Boston. He has practiced internal medicine in Hillsboro, Oregon for the past 45 years. He lives there with his wife, Joan, and together they raised two daughters who have satisfying and productive lives.


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Guppy Pilot - Roger G. Smith

1-800-839-8640

© 1998, 2011 by Roger G. Smith. All rights reserved.

With the help of Rich Libby for computer assistance.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

First published by AuthorHouse 09/15/2011

ISBN: 978-1-4670-3318-3 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4670-3319-0 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4670-3320-6 (ebk)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2011916456

Printed in the United States of America

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Contents

GUPPY PILOT

WHITING FIELD

SAUFLEY FIELD

BARIN FIELD

CORRY FIELD

CORPUS CHRISTI

CABANISS FIELD

QUONSET POINT

PORTSMOUTH

NAVAL PRISON

NEWPORT NAVAL HOSPITAL

STEAD AFB

GUANTANAMO BAY

SMITH COLLEGE

USS RANDOLPH

NAPLES

CANNES

PALERMO

TARANTO

GOLFO DEL ARANCHI SARDINIA

ISTANBUL

RHODES

POINT MOSES

LEGHORN

BARCELONA & VALENCIA

USS SARATOGA

STRIKEBACK

NAS SOUTH WEYMOUTH

THE BERLIN WALL CRISIS

GUPPY PILOT

What position do you play? I had just told my father that I had enlisted as a Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD) for 5 years after finishing college in 1953, and this was his response. What do you mean, position? On the ball team, do they have you handle the ball? Well, no, actually it had never been found that I could be depended on to catch it, hit it, or throw it accurately. That was why I was a long distance runner, and not an exceptionally good one at that. I made the fifth man to fill out a cross country squad. My father had made his point. Hand-eye coordination would be essential for survival in Naval Aviation. You’ll kill yourself, and your mother will be distressed. My mother adopted the contrary view and encouraged my enlistment. Her reasons were not very complimentary to my self—image. It was already a done deal in any event. I had taken the oath. It was that or be drafted into the army for two years. Korea was then a police action, and nobody could predict if it would flare again. The truce continued for decades to be a prolonged nuisance in the Far East. For my part, I had graduated from Brown with a B.A. in English and American Literature and had no job offers. All I knew how to do, and that wasn’t marketable, was how to sit for an examination. I was reasonably good at that.

In the summer of 1953, the Second World War had been over for 8 years. The police action in Korea, signifying the reluctant resolve of America to continue a military response to the threat to human freedom, was over its active phase. The draft still demanded service of men reaching 18 or finishing school. Nobody went abroad to avoid it. Politicians did not yet find it expedient to betray America’s interest by truckling to an unwillingness to serve, and rationalize it with religious scruples or liberal dogma. Wayne Morse was still a Republican, and Mark Hatfield was Secretary of State in Oregon. Over the next ten years America would weaken from within. A discreditable and discredited philosophy that failed every time it was applied to the improvement of the human condition would be invoked over and over in thousands of variations as an excuse for not accepting the challenge of freedom and the opportunity that is America. After Korea there would be a period of relative absence of war for America and its Navy during the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower. After that the tragedy that would be called Vietnam would involve the navy in a new chapter in the great epic of civilization. The exercise for the participants is to derive the lesson of that chapter.

At the opening of this era I was offended that my University offered an honorary degree at a special convocation to a man (Philip C. Jessup) whose only merit was that he had been accused by Senator McCarthy, apparently correctly, of membership in 26 Communist front organizations, and had in consequence resigned his ambassadorship-at-large. Although I was active in the campaign to make Senator Taft president, I came to realize that General Eisenhower served America well as President though I had had doubts because of his accommodating attitude toward the Russian totalitarians at the end of World War II. The country under him knew itself with pride and sureness. After that confidence would be undermined by egalitarianism, and Luddism would sap the will and strength of this great nation. The search for equality has always led down and never up. The patriotism of World War II would become an object of scorn and the organs of propaganda, the TV, radio and print press, would be increasingly mobilized in support of what would be mis-named liberalism. Back in George Washington’s day, Alexander Tyler put it succinctly:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

I had gone up to NAS Squantum, just south of Boston, one Sunday in April to enlist and take the physical. Actually I was pretty well hung over from a college party that first appointment and flunked the blood pressure test. The corpsman said, Hey, guy, you got high blood pressure. The hell I do, I replied. Either that or you’ve been out drinking all night. He could probably taste my breath. The corpsman went to his officer and soon came back with the word to report again next Sunday, this time sober. That was a lesson. I was pronounced fit the next week and took the oath. Naval aviation seemed a way of satisfying the military obligation we all had in those years that combined excitement, camaraderie, travel and the acquisition of a skill that would stand one in good stead all one’s life. That turned out to be right. There were risks that were not appreciated at the time, but I was lucky in being able to avoid them.

It was late August before I reported aboard NAS Pensacola and the Naval Aviation Basic Training Command, and joined the class numbered 37-53—the 37th class of that year for, as my orders stated, Duty involving flying. A new class began weekly comprising some 60 cadets. I had spent the summer mountaineering in the west with friends and mostly camping out. We had climbed the east face of Longs Peak, and all the summits of the Teton Range. I was in pretty good shape physically. For the next 4 months the cadets of 37-53 would live in the great Georgian brick barracks, which is still there 50 years later, and suffer through the espirit building experience, which Marine Corps gunnery sergeants know so well how to supervise. It was called preflight.

I can tell youse gennelmans is gennelmans by the gennelmans stickers on youse gennelmans cars, but youse gennelmans don’t march like no gennelmans! I can hear the drill sergeant yet. This was the system that had expanded a force of 6000 Naval Aviators at the start of World War II, and geared up to crank out 30,000 pilots a year beginning in 1942. In 1953 the system was fueling the Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard need at less than a tenth of that and turning out some Canadian and French navy pilots too. Ten years earlier, in 1942, after a 20-week preflight course at Great Lakes or Memphis or Asheville, cadets went to Pensacola for 11-15 weeks in the N3N biplane (lovingly known as the yellow peril.) They then went to intermediate training in the SNJ Texan trainer for 22 weeks. The survivors of that were commissioned and sent to advanced operational training in the fleet aircraft they would fly in their squadron. Ten years later we preflight cadets went through 18 weeks of ground school right there at Mainside Pensacola. We went to class in the morning and to physical training in the afternoon. In between we marched and stood inspection and did the military thing. We learned military etiquette, small arms use, swimming, obstacle course, boxing, wrestling, shoe shining to a fare-thee-well, and studied theory of flight, reciprocating engines, jet engines, navigation, Morse code on a blinker light, weather, aerology, military justice, aviation ordnance, aircraft identification, Navy regs, survival and much more. It was intensive and it was challenging. When it was over we graduated to Whiting Field out at Milton, Florida, some 20 miles east and settled down to learn to fly the SNJ. When girls asked what that was we told them it stood for Secret Navy Jet. J is the designator for the North American Aircraft Corp. which built it, and SN is navy code for a scout trainer. It was a retractable taildragger with a lot of power and acrobatic capability. When you got to Whiting Field you pinned a bar on your shirt and were one bar cadet after you had soloed. A cadet soloed, did small field precision training and acrobatics at Whiting, then moved on to Saufley Field for formation (nearly my nemesis), to Barin Field for air to air gunnery and FCLP, and last to Corry Field for instrument and night flying. After that he pinned a second bar on his shirt and was a two bar cadet and went to Corpus Christi for advanced training in fleet type aircraft (or Hutchinson, Kansas, for multiengine training.) A two bar cadet lived in a BOQ, not a barracks and ate in the Officers Mess, not the enlisted mess. After advanced training at Corpus Christi one was commissioned an ensign, or second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, and received his wings of gold and orders to a fleet squadron. We’ll take you there.

Preflight cadets in Pensacola on a Sunday

Navcads Yantis, Parker, Naggs,

Marr & Sevick in Pensacola

There was a story I learned years later about one of my boyhood heroes who was a Naval Aviator, Ted Williams. He had had combat experience in World War II, taking time out from his extraordinary career with the Boston Red Sox, and eager not to lose such an asset, the Navy had shipped him back to Pensacola to do flight instructor duty before the end of the war. The drill was that pilots completing the syllabus went into a pool at Pensacola until they received orders to a squadron, and were then awarded their wings and commission and sent to duty. When the war ended abruptly in August 1945, there were no more squadrons to assign pilots to. The squadrons were rapidly decommissioned and the pilots headed home, but the training command was still cranking out pilots until there were a thousand guys in the pool waiting their commissioning and wings. What to do with them? Some admiral had the bright idea of administratively discharging the problem by assigning a hundred flight instructors to take 10 students each out for a half hour flight, find them unsatisfactory, and wash them out. Ted Williams was assigned this duty. He made a phone call to a friend, and then went to call on the Admiral to ask him to change his order. The admiral was at first pleased to meet the famous ball player under his command, but when he learned what was being requested, and already embarrassed at what he saw he had to do, he expressed some anger and told Captain Williams that a Marine Corps captain does not make suggestions to a Navy rear admiral that he change his orders. Is that understood, Captain? Yes, sir, Admiral, replied the left fielder, unimpressed, but if I don’t call Walter Winchell back in half an hour he is going to tell the story on the radio and use your name. A thousand guys got their wings and commissions, and I knew of some of them who flew in Korea. Ted Williams was not a man to tolerate fools or injustice. Neither was his friend, Winchell. Remember him? Hello, Mr. and Mrs. North America and all the ships at sea, let’s go to press! This is Walter Winchell.

A friend from Massachusetts has written to me about Ted: About twenty years ago, The Jimmy Fund had a fundraiser honoring Ted at the Wang Center. I got seats way up in the third balcony with a friend and we listened to Pesky, Dom DiMaggio, Yaz and other notables told Ted stories, but best was from Senator John Glenn, the astronaut who also was Ted’s commanding officer in Korea. Glenn said his hot-shot pilots would go in low on bombing missions and Ted would go in even lower before pulling out, just to be very sure he hit his target. After one such mission Ted returned after a successful run with the tail of his jet scorched from the blast. Glenn said he was his best pilot, fearless, steady, but had one flaw—he was a Republican! (Sen Glenn failed to realize that with that remark he characterized himself as soiled goods.) Glenn was a disappointment and later a disgrace as a Senator. He claimed a joy ride on a NASA mission as a political payoff from LBJ.

The day we all assembled at Preflight cadet barracks we underwent the change to military life. We were issued khakis, and outfitted with uniform clothing from the skin out. My most vivid memory of that is being introduced to the concept of boxer type undershorts. Good-bye Fruit of the Loom and no more rash. It wasn’t just clothing, but how to behave. There’s only two kinds of sailors that whistle, we were told, Fairies and bosuns, and none of you is bosuns. That was before the Navy went p.c. and allowed sexual fantasy to be confused with peoples’ birth characteristics. One of our cadets was Len Clother from Buffalo, N.Y. He went through the group while we were selecting bunks and chatted with the rest of us while we were moving our belongings in. He then proceeded to tell us all where we came from on the basis of his voice and accent. It was a virtuoso performance. Some wondered if he had discovered a list of names and hometowns and memorized it. O.K, he said, If any of you are from Brooklyn, I can tell you where you live within 6 blocks. None of us was from Brooklyn. Later we visited another group of cadets some weeks into their training and one of them was a Brooklyn boy. There was no opportunity for him to pre-screen this group and he repeated his identification of home states and communities. The difficulties he did have were with guys who had lived about the country in various places and this he acknowledged. The Brooklyn lad he did spot within the prescribed 6 blocks. I lost track of Len after Preflight and do not know where this voice and accent artist performed in later days. One of the guys tried to fool him by imitating the accent of a Maine woodsman, but he spotted the phony immediately, and said, Talk like you usually do.

The uniform we were issued was an officer type with hats and caps and not sailor suits. We wore shoulder boards with a fouled anchor insignia. We had khaki for daily wear and blues for dress and a Navy blue greatcoat. We also had wash khaki slacks and shirts with a black field scarf (necktie). Our Marine Corps drill instructors took us in hand organized us into a military formation. It was nowhere near so bad as portrayed in some movies. I think they were amused at dealing with college boy types who had a certain self-confidence that the typical marine recruit may lack. All of us had at least two years in college. The college graduates like me were a minority who had opted for the cadet program rather than an OCS commission first in order to be sure of getting a flying billet. The OCS graduates at that time who were physically qualified for flying were being selected for Pensacola one out of three. We were organized into watches and assigned duties as MOD (mate of the deck) with some trivial duties, which nevertheless must be performed according to strict rule. We were introduced to marching in formation with traditional Parris Island phraseology, Hup, lop, tree, fo, your other left, Cadet! Now line up alphabetical by rank according to height. Can you feature a group of 30 of us in B Section trying to comply with that one? We at least were all the same rank. Seniority comes later. Even among ensigns there is little distinction. I can recall someone saying later on that there is no such thing as seniority among ensigns, but of course, there is.

Once standing in formation the sergeant called out, No talking in the ranks. I can see who’s talking in the ranks. I have eyes in the back of my head! A disguised voice promptly intoned, Potato head. Nobody confessed, of course, and we spent an extra hot hour marching up and down in formation on the grinder. We took turns being leader and calling the cadence. One cadet in his turn varied the routine phraseology to, Hippety hop, section stop. We all suffered together for that indiscretion too. There were demerits assigned for lapses in discipline and you couldn’t afford too many of them or you would wash out. Inspections of person and kit were made every morning before marching to breakfast. Those of us who did not shave yet were compelled to do so anyway and spit shines were graded for quality. George Parker, who eventually joined the Marines, and who was killed in a collision with a mountain later on, did the best spit shine, and we all envied his expertise and took lessons from him, but none of his students ever equaled the master’s touch. Before morning formation and the march to breakfast we had calisthenics.

After a morning of classes we often saw a movie. The movies were of two types’ instructional and motivational. The former included such need to know items as night blindness (look to the side of what you want to see and use the rods not the cones in your retina), vertigo, venereal disease (We will all always remember about that sorry sailor who meets the girl in the bus station), and field stripping the .45 pistol. The latter were such as all 26 episodes of Victory at Sea, GCA Approaches (Nan two six victor, you are on course and on glidepath.) and, best of all, Carrier Deck Crashes. I don’t know what has become of that 20-minute film, but it was the single most popular film the Navy ever made for pilots. Aboard ship we played it over and over again on foul weather days. We had all the approaches memorized and would shout gleefully in unison, for each one. Some of them were combat damaged planes and some were pilots who had just made a mash of their approach. The finale was the one where an F6 just passed all the wires and came right up the deck toward the island and hit and killed the cameraman with the film still running. We cadets, and later we ensigns, would sit on the edge of our chairs and holler, Here comes the guy with the end of his wing sliced off, and Here’s the one that wipes out the LSO platform, and Here’s the guy that lands in the catwalk and cartwheels into the drink! knowing full well that, if we screw up, it will be us on the film the next generation of cadets is hollering for. The sequence was memorized and later aboard ship when flight ops was canceled and the skipper said it was movie time in the ready room, the cry would go up, "Russo, get us Carrier Deck Crashes before the other ready rooms do." And he would have to run to the ship’s film library for it to please his officers while a sailor from each of the other 3 ready rooms was after the same thing for his pilots. Russo would have liked to get a private copy of that film to sequester it somewhere, and the rest of us would have been smart to obtain a copy to put on videotape, if only we had known what technology would bring in a few years.

Right after lunch was aircraft recognition training in a dark room. It was hard not to close your eyes when the lights go out after lunch. We had been on the go vigorously since 5. I had grown up with recognition pictures all over my bedroom and made plane models all through the World War II, so this was dessert for me. A silhouette would be flashed on the screen for an instant and a cadet’s name called. Meteor, Sir! Vampire, Sir! Bear, Sir! MIG 17, Sir! You could know them cold but if you blinked for a moment you could be lost. One cadet in that position whipped out his dog tags and read off his own name and number, Sir! This was considered quick thinking in an emergency and drew him a reprieve and another shot at it, but it would never work again.

In the afternoons there was sports run by Lieutenant Bustard. That was his name. We altered it among ourselves. The guy had been a fitness buff since forever, perhaps even before his cadet days. He had been shot down over North Korea, and fitness had saved his life. He ran away from his would be captors, and got to where he could be rescued by the chopper and returned to his carrier, the Valley Forge. He slept in clean sheets instead of rotting in a POW camp, and he believed in fitness. A more ardent devotee of the gymnasium one could not imagine. His favorite exercise for us was the 10 K run with more punishment for the group in the second half of finishers. We boxed, wrestled, climbed ropes, swam and did the obstacle course. There was a cadet named Taylor from Iowa who had never swum, and despite a valiant try, never learned. He was a sinker. I don’t think he could float in the Dead Sea. He’d jump in the deep end bravely, come half way back up and couldn’t get to the surface but had to shinny up the barber pole they passed down to him. He dropped out of training. Some of our treats were going to the range to fire the .38 revolver and the M1 rifle. I was disappointed with my accuracy. I hadn’t fired before. Later in air-to-air gunnery, I had to work at it to qualify, but there the secret is balanced flight, and keeping the ball in the center (i.e. not skidding the airplane and flying smoothly). The Navy wanted to know which of their prospective pilots was one hell of a natural shot. It wasn’t me. We swung from a parachute from the top of a tower and learned how to roll on hitting the ground. We sat in a cockpit of the SNJ with an engine running and on signal unstrapped and dived into a net where the wing should have been. The best ride was the Dilbert Dunker which scared the less proficient swimmers. In that cockpit we rode down a rail into the water where it inverted. You had to hold your breath and unstrap and swim clear while upside down. I loved that, but I had been swimming since I was 5. Later on when I did ditch a Navy plane at night, it stayed right side up.

Dilbert dunker

Another treat in Preflight was the day aboard the Carrier. The training carrier in those days was a CVL, a flight deck built on a cruiser hull, CVL 26, USS Monterey. She was based at the main pier at NAS Pensacola and went to sea only to conduct flight operations for the qualifying cadets half to three quarters of a year ahead of us and in those days also for cadets coming back from advanced training at Corpus Christi in fleet type aircraft as well. We saw qualifying in the SNJ and also in TBM Avengers. The day aboard the carrier was orientation and morale building. I don’t think any of our guys had doubts about being able to learn to do it. None of us had been aboard a carrier before though we were full of films about it. Even this rather little carrier was BIG. Her flight deck was only 622 feet long. Her World War II record of achievement was displayed prominently on the side of the island. USS Monterey was one of the Cowpens class, ordered 9/9/40 and commissioned 6/17/43. She fought all through the last part of Victory at Sea. In those days carriers were named for battles where Americans had distinguished themselves in the defense of freedom. Other ships of her class were Belleau Wood, Cabot, Bataan, San Jacinto (President Bush’s ship) and Langley. This was the second Langley and was later sold to France. This second Langley was also originally planned to be named Crown Point like the Leyte Gulf. There has yet to be a USS Crown Point. The first Langley (CV 1) was America’s first carrier, and was sunk by the Japanese off Java in early 1942 while ferrying aircraft to Java in a futile attempt to stop the invasion of the Indonesian archipelago. It had been launched as USS Jupiter (AC 3), a fleet collier, in 1912, and had been built for $1.5 million. In 1922 it was converted into a carrier for $25 million more. She was 542 feet long and had a maximum speed of 14 knots. Her propulsion machinery was turbo-electric. She was nicknamed the Covered Wagon. LT V. C. Griffin made the first take off from her deck on 17 October, 1922 in a Vought VE-7SF (single seat fighter.) Nine days later, under weigh off Cape Henry, CDR Geoffrey Chevalier (Naval Aviator #7) made the first landing aboard in an Aeromarine 39B. He had 5 hooks dangling from the axle beam of his landing gear to catch cross wires which dragged sandbags, like Ely in 1911. Nowadays more and more carriers are named for politicians. What is too bad about that is that a politician who was elected to serve a constituency has by the time a carrier is named for him become useless to that constituency and is now a boss and not a servant.

Preflight cadets visiting the carrier Monterey

Cruisers were named for cities in World War II days and Monterey was going to be USS Dayton (CL-78). There still is no USS Dayton. There have been some strange things happen in naming ships. Cunard Lines built a great ship in the days between the world wars and proposed to name it Queen Victoria. Officials went to King George V and asked him for permission to use the royal name. Misunderstanding their intention, he exclaimed in answer to their request to name it for a Queen, Oh, Queen Mary will be so pleased! And Queen Mary it was. Monterey was with Admiral Radford’s northern carrier group (with Enterprise and Belleau Wood) by Thanksgiving 1943 when she made her appearance in the Pacific war. It was at the invasion of the Gilberts. One of the Navy’s great aces of the war, CDR E.H. Butch O’Hare, for whom the civil airport in Chicago is named and a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, was lost in night combat under still-debated circumstances at that invasion. He was a pioneer in night carrier operations. Like Jimmy Thach, his first CO, he was a natural fighter pilot. Those of us who were not naturals admired those men enormously. The Monterey served at Tarawa, the Philippine Sea, and Okinawa, all of which actions had navy carriers named for them later on. We watched air operations from the after deck of the island near Pri-Fly where the Air Boss (a commander and usually the third ranking officer aboard) roosts to direct flight ops. The planes fly out to the ship from Barin Field and call in to Pri-Fly by radio. Foxtrot-Corpen (The flag for the letter F is Foxtrot, a red diamond on a white field, and Corpen is the magnetic heading into the wind.) is run halfway up the signal hoist and the planes are told, Your signal is Dog, and so they orbit at low power in the dog circle. When all is ready on deck, the carrier comes into the wind for air ops, Foxtrot Corpen is two blocked, and the orbiting planes are informed, Your signal is now Charlie.

Down they come in echelons of 4, pass by the starboard side at 300 feet, and break left at 30-second intervals. As each plane passes abeam the stack, now dirtied up (gear and flaps down), the pilot calls the LSO who now runs the show, Four one, one eighty, gear down, flaps down, hook down, all down. As he rolls into the groove, the carrier having in the interval sailed out from under him, the LSO picks him up with paddles "Power, 41, Power, Power, skidding, that’s got it, hold it, Roger! Cut! And the first cadet of the day is aboard with number four wire. As the barricade is dropped flush with the deck, the deck crew rushes to reposition his hook as he rolls back. As soon as it is up, the pilot has re-trimmed to go. The taxi signal director gives him Brakes, then 1 finger turn up, then two finger turn up to bring him to full power straining at his brakes, and with a sweeping arm gesture, Launch em! He’s down the deck and off the bow clawing for altitude before he can imagine that he has done his first carrier landing. The bullhorn from Pri-Fly calls, Clear Deck! As soon as he touched, the LSO with just a glance back at him to see he’s safe, and a grumble to his talker who writes a comment in the book Slow on entry to the groove but a passable correction. (Really very high praise) The LSO directs his attention to the next one now in the groove 30 seconds behind the first, who gets his Cut!" as number one is off the bow and the barricade is up again. There are 11 wires on the Monterey. They cut you for number 2 wire. If you are short, you taxi up to number one. If you are shorter still, you fly into the spud locker. (The stern of the ship below the round down of the deck is called the spud locker.) If you float the wires past 11 you end up in the barricade, 3 rows of cables that elevate out of the deck to catch you so you don’t carry forward into parked aircraft if there are any further up the deck. You get the barricade and you wreck the prop and engine with sudden stoppage. You get a down for the effort. The cadets do 6 landings. They do 6 in a row. Mess up on number 5 and start counting again. We were told about a cadet who screwed up big time and ended up landing in the water, but salvaged his situation by getting out of the cockpit with all his survival gear and starting it all going as fast as he could, and by the time the plane guard destroyer was alongside to rescue him he not only had his raft and Mae West inflated, but had had a fishing line over the side, had rigged his canopy for a sun screen, deployed shark repellent, and was making fresh water with his solar still, some of which he presented to the destroyer captain, who found it potable. They gave that cadet another try and he did well at the next opportunity.

Saturday was anticipated as the day the ACRAC (Aviation Cadet Recreational Activities Center) was open. We didn’t go to the O Club until we got to Corpus Christi as advanced cadets. The ACRAC was a place to drink beer and meet cadets from other classes. Our class and another were selected to host the women students from Gulf Park College in Gulfport, Mississippi. These girls were not allowed to date Air Force officers from the nearby Keesler AFB but their chaperones’ perception was that Naval Aviation cadets were gentlemen. An act of congress had not yet endowed us with that encomium, but we were certainly closely supervised and that was even better. The girls were bussed to Pensacola twice a year for a dance and a weekend out on the beach the day after the dance. The cadets of the senior class which was about to go to Whiting Field to begin flight training came around and required a dollar from each of us in the two classes selected to be escorts for the Gulf Park girls. This was placed in the pig pool, and was eventually awarded to the cadet adjudged to have had the most unfortunate draw in girls. The pity was that knowledge of the award became public, and a further pity was whoever came

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