Page Updated 10/08/08
Copy of this 20 page article from the scrap book of Lyle Fisher VW-1 1961 - 1963.
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COMNAVMARIANAS        November 30, 1962
By Bill Sullivan, JO2


DOUGLAS M. BUGGE, AG3, traces the feeder bands of Typhoon Karen on one of the radar consoles.

"While people sleep, the typhoons creep." That's the way one man described the progress of typhoons in the tropics.

Guam and her people, now digging out of the devastation caused by the worst typhoon in her history, can well be grateful that there is a group here on the island which provides warning of the approach of such storms. The men of Early Warning Squadron One are constantly on the job sounding the alarm in an effort to protect Guam and the inhabitants from the ravage of a typhoon.

At 1800 Thursday, November 8, a VW-1 Super Constellation took to the air from the runway at NAS Agana. Her mission: to investigate the progress of Typhoon Karen, which was then located in the vicinity of Truk in the Caroline Islands. Flying south from Guam with her crew of 7 officers and 16 enlisted men, the radar made contact with the typhoon at 1930. From here on, all electronic gear aboard the aircraft was in use to garner every possible shred of information about the typhoon. Why? So that everyone in its path could be warned in time to save lives and property.

Men on the radar consoles tracked the typhoon from every direction as the aircraft circled the storm. All the information was relayed to CIC. From here, critical data was compiled such as wind velocity, direction of movement over the surface of the earth, and every other bit of information, no matter how small, which might even remotely be valuable in the future.

ROBERT GLATTFELDER, AT2, (left) AND G. E. McDONALD, AT1, (right) tune the radar gear at the master panel.

The cooperation among the members of the crew was hardly less than magnificent. Every man had a job to do, and every man did it at the right time in the right way. Without this spirit of cooperation and efficiency, VW-1's mission would hardly be possible.

Operating with a total complement of only 60 officers and 400 enlisted men, the warning squadron is responsible for weather reconnaissance of some 6,000,000 square miles of the Western Pacific, extending from Wake island on the East to the China mainland on the West; from the North Pole south as far as the Equator. With an area this large to cover, the squadron has a safety record which is almost incredible. They have never lost a plane or a man on a reconnaissance flight.

Life aboard a reconnaissance aircraft is very similar to that aboard a submarine in many respects. Space is limited and at a premium; yet some of the best food served in the Navy is prepared aboard the aircraft while it is in flight. It is especially noteworthy since the crew includes no commissarymen. The meals are prepared by the men who happen to have the least to do at a given moment. During the flight, the members who are not actually on watch can be found doing all the things you'd find them doing aboard ship. Some are busy repairing gear which may have broken down during the flight; others are reading, writing, having coffee, or just catching a few minutes of well deserved sleep before going on the next watch.

ENS JOHN EASON navigates the plane during the Typhoon Karen reconnaissance mission.

While some men rest, the watch is at work. Various bits of information are obtained and logged, certain trends and characteristics of the typhoon are compiled. With this information in the hands of Fleet Weather Central/Joint Typhoon Warning Center back on Guam, adequate warning can be given the residents of the area over which the typhoon is expected to pass.

We are all familiar with the destruction wrought by Typhoon Karen just three weeks ago. We were fortunate enough to have had ample warning of its approach so that preparations could be made. It is frightening to imagine what the death and property toll would have been if we had not been prepared!

CROSSROADS extends its congratulations and "well done" to the men of VW-1 for another job done in the highest tradition of Naval service to country and humanity.