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OldSalt

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core_pfieldgroups_2

  • First Name
    Quinn
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    Elliott
  1. OldSalt

    Navy -- then & now

    I could really lay a passel of Rants and no raves on this subject. But, I'll just write-Political Correctness which is always STUPIDITY has far and away reduced our military effectiveness, no matter what the dunderhead senior military and politicians may counter with.
  2. Chronology 1. T-28 B & C 2. TC-45J, C-47J, C-117D, HU-16, C131 3. C-1A 4 RA-5C, A3D, TA-4F 5. TH-1L, UH-1E 6. RH-53D 7 TH-1L, UH-1E again 8 F-14A 9. SH-3G 10 F-14A again The T-28 gig was a super opportunity to learn the Recip trade, about 120 of them in VT-2. I loved the R-1830 (C-47) best, once one became accustomed to the counterweights rattling on start up and idle. Most airframes with same engines (R-1820), T-28/HU-16/C-117D/C-1A. I trained in basic recip engines on the R-3350 in AD-1 or 2 Skyraiders, later Advanced recip training in AD-5 Skyraider. I had minimum working experience on the R-3350 but did crew a good many trips in the Lockheed P2V-Neptune, a sweet running engine when after parking I would drop down at the nose strut (as I recall) and carefully make my way to insert the landing gear pins in each receptacle. What a sound those 18 cylinders at a bit above idle made. Upon converting to ADJ Jet engine mech, RA-5C was my jet introduction-I thought it was a Beast, still do. A great amount of squadron folks had been in them for a long time, didn't know any better I thought. Beautiful airplane in flight, but a ball buster to maintain. I did enjoy high power turns, lighting the burners in and out causing the nose to slide down and up on the nose strut. I did nine years on real engines, only switched to jets so could advance in rate, recips were a dead end with no upward mobility. I appreciated helicopters more than the pure jets, their complicated machinery reminded me of the recip days. Still have no love for pure turbines-Run outside to gawk whenever a radial passes overhead, which is few and far between nowadays.
  3. Being in the Navy at he time, and many years total, I didn't pay much attention at the time to the carrier landings by C-130's. Just now however after reading this forum, I noted an interesting part of it concerning the flight engineers. For any Navy types reading they will most surely understand. If as stated the FE'S were both Aviation Machinist's Mates (Reciprocating-Real Engines) as ADR is (I looked elsewhere also and all seems to agree they were) one could find it unusual that they didn't have ADJ'S (Jet Mechs) as FE's. The Aviation Machinist's rating was clearly defined during that time period as consisting of two distinct qualifiers, Recip and Jet. A world of difference: They came from VR-24, which was still mostly a Recip outfit (C-118 and others) the C-130 was rather new to the squadron. So, the recip mechs had to train up on the jets-there was always friendly push and take between the two rates. It was always stated that it was far easier for a recip mech to learn jets than the other way around. I found that to be true in my opinion, serving with several jet mechs that had been stuck taking care of a recip, when all they had worked on was jets-they found it unpleasant. The jet types couldn't believe all those moving parts, intricately timed, numerous sparkers, magnetos, carbs, manifold pressure, prop controls and lots of other equally confusing items depending on the complexity and type engine etc tied together worked. The recip types fell in quite easily with winding it up, lighting it, and moving the throttle back and fourth, with some moving it more to excite a big bang, again depending on what engine. After all, a real engine could idle down around 550/600 rpm, try duplicating that with your whizz bang 20 foot long cigar-have to run one of those things half wide open just to sustain its life.
  4. I have a very fine book on the B-36, quite large it is, like the aircraft-several times pilots are quoted as stating the B-36 was the most "overpowered" aircraft they had ever flown-some had fleeted up out of B-29's and indicated that the B-29 could be sorta iffy at times power wise. As a boy in far North West Florida on the farm (NavalAviationCountry SNJ'S by the dozen) I saw many Peacemakers, medium altitude to waaay up there (only recip aircraft I have personally seen leave a contrail). They were always flying east to west or verse vici, many times one engine would be feathered. A trademark, the sound, only from the B-36, a drone, gaining in clarity, heard for miles, announcing the approach of a BIG bird. I have a cassette about the Bird, it shows the engineer station on takeoff-when the FE advances the throttles, that distinctive great drone brings back the memories. I also was greatly surprised at the FE being officers-the aforementioned book states many of them were freshly minted from Sergeants-IronAss Lemay. I wandered around a Living/Active B-36 in or around 1955 at Eglin, Armed Forces Day, what a day that was for a farm boy with love of airplanes. Then the one in AF Museum, one at Chanute before they cut it for transporting, and the XC-99 at San Antonio (twas shamefully derelict in early 90's). I recall there was an outfit in Texas that wanted to put the one at Carswell back in the air in the 70's (may still have a sticker from them) until the Air Force squashed the idea. Similar to the bug that wanted to crawl around the world-that was an "Ambitious Idea"! In addition to lots of Spark Plugs, the aircraft's corncobs carried a lotta cylinders (168). Good thing everything ran well on 115/145 or whatever avgas in the early days-no mixed fuels.
  5. Larry Fascinating story of military aviation history-all the active duty types that I encounter are completely dumbfounded when told that indeed Enlisted Men flew military aircraft. Since this is a C-130 thread, perhaps someone with the know how could come up with a site dedicated to the Enlisted Pilot, Army/AAF/Navy/Marines/Coast Guard The stories out there like yours are legion, if they aren't told, and seeing as the Officers wrote most of the history, it will be lost. I have written to various entities, down through the years, many are always crowing about the Tuskegee Airmen, telling them there is another just as Rare facet of military aviation,that is virtually completely ignored-the Enlisted Pilot. One could wonder it the Marine NAP was just showing that he could perform the servicing duties alone to folks that he knew would be greatly impressed. I have many interesting stores along the line of yours-including many instances in WW11 of Shore Patrol accosting NAP sailors and Marines on liberty for impersonating officers by wearing pilot's wings. The navigators-In an aircraft ferry squadron I was in for a short time (VRF-31) they would hire a Gunnery Sergeant navigator on occasions for long distance deliveries. To me it is foolish to have Air Force and Navy flight training together (if they are still doing that) both services lose their identity and special camaderie established over many many years of doing it they own way! At Mildenhall there was also a Lt/Lcdr up from the NAP ranks via the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) program Arthur Beatty, but of course Sir by me-Good officer and pilot he was. The Constructive Time gained by re-enlisting 3 to 6 months early surely made it shorter to the 20 year mark-I think that has been sent to Davy Jones Locker now. I climbed in to the officer ranks via the LDO aviation maintenance program just shy of 16 years-I made sure to remain a Temporary officer, also retiring as a permanent Master Chief and temporary Lcdr. I always thought the Air Force was wrong in not allowing folks to climb up without a college degree. Anyway, the Army Air Force in WW11 had its very own famous NAP, a combat veteran, inventor extraordinary and genuine colorful character, had a book written by a General about him, as well as mentioned many times in the General's own biography
  6. Sourced up some info on him-enlisted in Navy 1937, flight school 1940, designated NAP in late 1941. In 1943 commissioned as a LTJG. Flew with a "Black Cat" PBY outfit in the Pacific. Flew in Berlin Airlift, and was in VR-24 in Morocco, and then Naples, Italy. Retired 1957-flew with a University for some 14 years, then Southwest Airlines. Snapshot of his career, states 10,000 hours military and 19,000 plus civilian hours-if true that's a bunch. Joined the Great Majority in June 1987.
  7. Mr. Marine C-130! Henry Wildfang went through the Aviation Cadet Program in 1941/42-designated a Naval Aviator/Second Lt of Marines. Served in transport squadrons in combat areas and perhaps the PBJ (B-25) in Pacific. After release from active duty in 1946, he resigned a Major's commission and enlisted-reenlisted after almost 90 days as a Master sergeant and designated a Naval Aviation Pilot. Appointed to WO-1 (Naval Aviator) in 1960-most interested folks know his history including Khe Sahn and Gray Eagle award as the senior Naval Aviator on active duty. Gunner Wildfang is one of the Few/Several NAP'S I have found that came into the NAP program through the back door so as to say. Already completed flight training and being experienced pilots with no Officer billets available, they could thread the needle back in by going into the NAP ranks. I have found some that were allowed in via this route After the NAP program was shut down in 1947-just that they didn't go through flight training as NAP'S!
  8. Don, Pomeroy flew the two C-117D Super Gooneys and the one C-47 (sometimes two aboard) we also had two C-45's assigned-I don't recall him every flying one of those. We hauled mostly cargo and personnel, with some vip's moved in the C-47 on occasion. As I recall a fellow named Stanley was the boss of the C-131 a Lt Commander-that aircraft was in a world of its own, explicitly for the use of the Commander Naval Forces Europe in London, at his every wish and beckon. It had its own personally assigned E-8 and E-9 for maintaining and crewing it-the Master Chief taxied it wherever it needed to be positioned. ( yes maintain, they performed almost all the work on it). Us sailors did lots of polishing of the "bird" therefore didn't appreciate its presence much. It would have been a rare occasion for Pomeroy to have flown on it, could have, I just don't recall any such event. Larry, I'm thinking there were around 12-15 Nap's in 1969-I can come up with 10 easily. The last four Marine NAP's retired the same day in January 1973-Master Gunnery Sergeant's Joseph Conroy, Robert Lurie (17,600 hours), Leslie Erickson, and Patrick O'Neill. Last Coast Guard NAP Master Chief John P. Greathouse retired February 1979 (14,000 plus hours). Leland Pomeroy, Merton Jackson, Ralph Carr, Kenneth Milburn, and R. K. Jones were active Navy NAP'S. Ralph Carr was the only Senior Chief, rest being Master Chief's. Ralph Carr and Merton Jackson in 1967 made undoubtedly the US Military's last all Enlisted Crew flight, ferrying a P3A from East Coast to West Coast-Carr was Pilot in Command. All Enlisted Crews were not out of the norm much of the early periods of NAP history, but by the 1950's were something to behold, as was rare by then. There was an all enlisted combat crew during Korea, PPC Patrol Plane Commander was a First Class Petty Officer NAP (E-6) flying the PB4Y Navy single tailed B-24. In 1955 there were around 600 NAP'S onboard-that year some 321 were commissioned, that cut down the numbers significantly, from then on it was just a matter of time for the era of the NAP to end. That end was in January 1981 when my Friend Master Chief Robert K. Jones (13,000 plus hours) went on the retired list. He had been the NATOPS evaluator for the C-131 worldwide, anyone requiring a "check ride" flew with him. Pomeroy was a Senior Chief part of that time, he was advanced to Master Chief during my tour at Mildenhall.
  9. I recall that fine morning, I arrived early to pre flight my trusty C-47 (R4D-6)-as was soon evident, the Hercules had just departed for places unknown. I was Ships Company of a small Naval Air Facility (NAF) permanately stationed at Mildenhall. The Air Force was all in a tizzy, as seemed to be their way quite a lot-then I found out what had happened. The tizzy worked itself around to being absurd in my and my Shipmates opinion-we had to place "check stands" and anything or something big in front of our aircraft when we ran them up The presumption I suppose that us Enlisted types were going to "copy cat" the C-130. Eventually things calmed down and returned to normal, at least for us. I have a local newspaper in my collection that alludes to perhaps the RAF put him in the water. I also saw one commenter commented about F-100's from Lakenheath being at Mildenhall-At one point, indeed they were, many were in the Navy Hangar (hardest working bunch of folks I had seen in a while-that is until I was in F-14s) until the resurfacing was completed at Lakenheath. However, I do not recall if that was the time when the C-130 incident occurred. As an interesting aside we had a Genuine Enlisted Pilot at Mildenhall-an E9, Master Chief Petty Officer Leland Pomeroy, a Naval Aviation Pilot, not to be confused with a Naval Aviator, the officer type. I flew many hours with him, many of them he was Pilot in Command-One time with a full Navy Captain as copilot, the Chief was in charge in the aircraft. A Rare and exciting series of experiences, flying as his Crewman. He retired with around 10,000 flight hours-had been a pilot since 1943
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