Page Updated 05/15/16

The difference between a fairy tale and a US Navy sea story is; Fairy tales begin with "Once upon a time" and the sea story begins with This ain't no S#!+...

VW-1 Sea Stories

Names withheld to protect the guilty
HONEYBUCKET DETAIL (with blackmail) 12/02/05 PURPLE HEART and CRIBBAGE 02/24/06
BALUT 03/17/06 FILTHY W#!11!@ 03/30/06
LOCKJAW 04/22/06 PUCKER FACTOR of 10 05/12/06
SHARK BAIT 06/10/06 OUT of the FRYING PAN INTO the FIRE 11/28/06
NEY or NAY? 12/17/06 SUPPLY SNAFU 01/06/07
VQ-1 VW-1 MIXUP 01/08/07 GREAT BALLS of FIRE 01/09/07
SIGN Of THE TIMES 04/16/10 CAN'T WAIT 11/26/10
LASI 12/20/11 CHRISTMAS 1963 12/25/11
Guam Air National Guard (GANG) 08/27/12 Navy Wife Gone Crazy? 11/06/12
Too Young to die 03/18/13 VW-1 Death Dive 03/18/13
Don't Sweat It 05/15/16    

Excess Gas
about 19??.

This ain't no S#!+... This was passed on to me from other persons so this could quite possibly be 3rd hand or more information.

While off duty, there was a particular aircraft commander who enjoyed his San Miguel beer along with deviled eggs, beans, sour kraut and several other things that would severely affect his gastrointestinal tract. The effects of the beer would be gone prior to flight time however some of the other things consumed were still with him.

On several occasions this aircraft commander either intentionally or unknowingly would release the most putrid smells into the cockpit as the aircraft was lifting off the runway. It would bring tears to the eyes of most persons, it was hard to read and concentrate on the instrument panel. The person who related this story to me said that the aircraft commander chuckled and smiled alot. His intent then became obvious to the most causual observer.

Polite comments to the aircraft commander seemed to have no effect so the senior engineer thought of how he could cure this aircraft commander from his bothersome and distracting acts.

On the night before a mission the flight engineer prepared himself with several bottles of San Miguel, deviled eggs, cabbage and anything else that he knew would affect his gastrointestinal tract. Prior to take off the flight engineer tucked in the left leg of his flight suit into his boots, his right sleeve into his flight gloves and zipped up his suit as tight to his neck as possible. He then bloused out his right pant leg and left sleeve and waited until the aircraft was at altitude.

At the right moment he tapped the aircraft commander on the shoulder using his left hand to get his attention and then he stuck his right foot adjacent to an airconditioning duct on the fire protection panel. This caused the air to blow through his flight suit. When the aircraft commander turned around to respond to the flight engineer tapping he got a snoot full.

As related to me the aircraft commander became more civil in the cockpit.


Changing Blowers
about 1963.

This ain't no S#!+... I was an ACW on TE-6 on my second tour in '62 - '64. When I was off watch I would usually be in the forward area near the galley or in one of the siesta seats. When somebody from the cockpit needed something the Flight Engineer would flash the overhead lights and whoever was available would see how they could assist.

When a particular Flight Engineeer asked for a cup of coffee he would emphasize, "make sure it is only a half cup so it will not spill". I would cut the paper cup in half horizontily and bring it to him. We would laugh a bit then make a few comments back and forth about intelligence levels or parentage. After a minute or so I would bring him the coffee as he requested.

A bit of kidding and humor went a long way in relieving the boredom on some of these flights.

On one flight, after I brought him a half cup of coffee, I sat down on the step going into the flight station and asked him what it meant when they changed blowers. I could see him kind of light up a bit and almost hear him thinking that here is a guy who has a real interest in the workings of the connie and what a flight engineer does. He explained the whole process; why it was done, the instruments to monitor, the levers, the sequence etc. We had a regular question and answer session going on. When he finished I thanked him and as I was leaving the flight station I said that I had always thought it was when the Flight Engineers relieved each other. I could hear him mutter then shout something but the sound of the engines made it unclear as to what he said.

Several flights latter after being relieved from station, I was working ACO #1 he came back and stopped which was unusual. He asked me to explain my job for a bit, which I gladly did. I picked out a target showed how the cursor could be moved about to get the bearings to the target and then ran out the range marker to determine the target distance. Then I showed how we could send a request to the height finder radar to get altitude information. He got a big broad smile on his face, thanked me and then left me in a cloud of methane gas. I had to direct the airflow so I could recover and perform in a military manner.

Site managers comment: I will always remember the first time that I was on a flight when the blowers on all 4 engines were changed at once. The loud roar of the engines at climb power and then suddenly dead silence and the falling sensation, until the change was completed. It seemed like it took a minute or so to make the change, but probably was only several seconds. It sure gets your heart pumping.


Rigging a trawler
about 1964..

This ain't no S#!+... It was late in the mission in the Gulf of Tonkin, we had all the electronic equipment in good working order, so I left one of the other radar techs to keep an eye on things and to give me a call if anything happened that he couldn't handle. I crawled into one of the aft bunks just opposite the aft chow table to get some sleep. For a time I slept much deeper then I normally would aboard the aircraft.

Apparently the Aircraft Commander received communications that there was a Russian trawler in the gulf that they wanted to have pictures of. After being relieved from station we were to divert from our normal track back to the PI and proceed to the location of the trawler to get these pictures. I was not aware of this and was sleeping very deeply.

I was abruptly awakened by a loud sound of the engines and the rushing of air. I threw back the privacy curtain and through my sleep filled eyes I could see one of the crewmembers standing in front of the open passenger door wearing a parachute harness. A couple other crewmembers were right behind him. I tried to jump out of the bunk to get my harness and Mae West on, but my feet and body got caught in the privacy curtain and the vertical straps that would keep you from rolling off the bunk. I was in a panic, I felt trapped, I had been forgotton by my fellow crewmembers. I could not imagine how I missed hearing the ditching or bailout bell sound, that thing was loud.

After I finally got myself loose and out of the bunk I could see more clearly what was happening and felt better but still was all shook up. The crewman in the doorway was only wearing the parachute harness, he did not have the parachute attached. The other two crewmen were holding on to the ditching rope that had been attached to the harness. This allowed him to operate the camera with both hands while leaning out the hatch.

We got all the pictures needed from several different angles, we were not much above mast height of the trawler.

After that I could not sleep comfortably in the bunks anymore and started to sleep only in front of the aft passenger door, I was going to be immediatly aware if anyone was going to exit the aircraft.



about 1964.

This ain't no S#!+...Several flight crews had someone on the crew, a few of us may remember the type, who loved to mess with the new crew members on their first typhoon penetration.

Just prior to serving the main meal he would open one of the ready to eat canned vegetable soups and pour it into a barf bag, then hide the bag in the forward head just across the isle from the galley and just aft of the chow table. This head was always used by VW-1 as a pantry. He would than wait until the new crew member was seated at the chow table with his meal.

Then at the slightest bump of the aircraft he would fake barfing into the bag, making the most wretched sounds he could. He would then roll up the barf bag and place it in the isle just in front of the refrigerator. Then his "partner" would come up to the galley as though he were looking for something to eat. He would pick up the barf bag, open it, look in and say "ha hah!" than started scooping out the contents with one hand and slop it into his mouth in front of the new crew member.

Never saw one of these guys get sick, but they sure turned green, some would not eat their meals.


about 1964.

This ain't no S#!+... The junior enlisted crewmen were assigned the duties of emptying the "honey bucket" at the completion of a mission. This unpleasant task was typically rotated amongst the 5 - 6 most junior men. On one occasion the man who was assigned that task noticed, about 2 hours before landing time, the "honey bucket" had not been used. To save himself further risk of having to do this unpleasant task, he removed his flight boots and placed them in front of the "honey bucket" so that the toes were sticking out from under the privacy curtain. This made it appear that it was in use.

Shortly after installation of the boots, the 1st Flight Engineer had an urgent nature call and found that the "honey bucket" was apparently in use. He continued to check every 5 - 10 minutes and the situation never changed. While walking from the flight station to the back where the "honey bucket" was located he noticed one of the crew members with out his boots on. The engineer put 2 and 2 together and verified what happened when he pulled back the privacy curtain in front of the honey bucket.

The young man not only took a stern tongue lashing, as only a senior navy petty officer can give, but also was assigned the "honey bucket" detail on a continuing basis.


about 1965.

This ain't no S#!+... On one of the weather flights I remember something that had me quite concerned.. actually quite scared. I don't recall the name of the typhoon or where we were in reference to the "eye" but from time to time we were taking some pretty good "hits" from the wind and turbulence. Nothing that would knock you off your feet, but it sure would have made you spill your coffee.

I had no pressing duties to perform at the time. The 1st Tech was very well qualified and could handle most situations, so I turned down the lights and laid down on the floor in front of the aft passenger door to catch a couple of winks.

As I lay there I heard a heavy breathing type of sound that I had never heard before on the plane. They seemed to occur ever time the plane went through a rolling motion as it was buffeted by the outside turbulence. As I looked towards the source of the noise in the semi darkness I noticed a different light pattern that appeared around the aft cargo hatch, about head high immediately above the aft chow table. I examined it more closely and sure enough every time the plane took a heavy roll the fuselage was actually being twisted along the length of the aircraft. This caused the cargo hatch to separate from its position on the fuselage, allowing a muffled sound of escaping air from the pressurized cabin to be heard. The gap was of sufficient size to be able to see outside of the aircraft.

As calmly as I could I walked up to the flight station and caught the 1st flight engineers attention and told him what I noticed. He looked at the cargo hatch and verified what I had reported and calmly said that everything was OK and not to worry about it. But he did not want me to mention it to the other crew members so that they would have something else to worry about. After that I could never sleep at that position comfortably again.

About 37 years later at the Pensacola reunion this memory was recalled between the two of us again. The flight engineer said that he had never seen the situation before either and that it had him worried also and had kept his fingers crossed the rest of the flight. But since there was nothing that could be done about it at the time he passed it off, keeping me calm along with the rest of the crew.


about 1966.

This ain't no S#!+... It was about 0 dark 30 at night on station about 3500 ft above the Gulf of Tonkin aboard TE-6. Off duty crew members were in bunks or siesta seats resting and waiting for their time to be on duty. The pilot had one of the enlisted crew members seated in the co-pilots position to keep him company and as an extra set of eye's to scan outside to look for anything unusual. Everything was OPS NORMAL.

The pilot noticed what appeared to him to be flasher signals on the surface from about the 7 O'clock position. The pilot called back to the radioman via the ICS asking if he could interpret Morse code coming from light signals. The radioman responded that he had never been trained in this nor had he ever tried this in the past. The pilot had the radioman come up to the cockpit to give it a try. By the time the radioman was in position to see what the pilot had seen the pilot stated that they had stopped sending signals. The flight continued as usual with no further occurrences.

After landing at Sangley Pt. at about 0930 the crew was going through the usual post flight routine. This involved reviewing the discrepancy sheet and completing flight logs, wiping off the engine oil and hydraulic fluid seepage and exhaust trails on the outside, removing the trash, the honey bucket, aircraft refueling etc. The pilots & flight engineers were doing their usual post flight walk-around inspection when it was noticed that there was a hole in one of the inspection panels on the starboard wing.

The inspection panel was removed and brought down for closer inspection by the Pilots, Flight Engineers and the Metal Smith. They could not find what caused the hole; they also noticed grooves in the hole that looked like rifling on a bullet. After listening to the radioman's story most everybody assumed that the pilot was seeing muzzle flashes and that we had been shot at. Some of the more artistic flight crew members acquired some paint and placed a purple heart below the pilot's side window.

There are some pictures out there some place of TE-6 with the Purple Heart painted on its side; I wish I knew who has them.


Thanks to Jack Gergal (66-67 TE-6) for this picture

It was determined latter that it was in fact a bullet that caused the hole. About a month latter VW-1 flight crews started drawing combat pay, and started to accumulate points towards receiving the Air Medal.


about 1958.

This ain't no S#!+... The older crew members seemed to be able to detect the naivety of a newly assigned crew member. It did not matter if the newly assigned crew member was an officer or enlisted, he was marked for some sort of prank.

On TE-4 about 1958 we had a new 2nd navigator assigned to the crew that did not look old enough to shave much less buy a beer, so the flight electrician, radioman along with a couple other crewmembers planned a prank for this young officer.

It was a well know fact that if you held up a small fluorescent lamp in certain locations inside the aircraft that it would glow every time the high frequency (hf) radio transmitter was keyed. The hf radio transmitter had sufficient power to light these lamps, up to about a foot or so away from the unshielded antennae wire. No electrical connections to the lamp were necessary, the radio frequency power from the transmitter was sufficient to ignite the gas in the lamp. Most radiomen kept one of these bulbs handy to use for troubleshooting purposes on the hf radio transmitters while in flight.

The hf radio antennae wire was routed from the transmitter through the aircraft out to the long wire antennae. The navigator's station was very near this wire routing, at this location the antennae wire was about head high.

After the 1st navigator left the new officer alone at the navigator station their plan was put into action. The flight electrician walked by the navigator's station and got the young officers attention when he said that he could make the lamp he held light up in his bare hands. After the young officer inspected the lamp closely he said "show me", and handed the lamp back to the electrician. The electrician held up the lamp, about head high, and spoke a couple magical words and said "light on". At that moment the radioman keyed the hf radio transmitter with his foot key switch and the lamp illuminated. A few seconds latter the electrician said "light off", the radioman released the foot key switch and the lamp went off.

The young officer was amazed, he wanted to try and make the lamp light which of course he couldn't. A couple other crewmen who were in on the gag tried and of course, with the radio mans help, the lamp would light up on command. They told the young officer that his voice might be a little to high pitched and had him lower the tone in his voice when he spoke to the lamp. They also said that he might not be grounded properly standing on 2 feet so they had him lifting one foot then the other. Of course the lamp would never light for him, except for a brief moment when the radioman keyed the radio to perk up the young officer's interest"..Oh! I almost got it let me try some more".

After several minutes the 1st navigator came back and rescued the young officer. Nobody ever rescued the new enlisted crew members, they were left to figure things out for themselves.


(with blackmail) about 1964.

Site managers comment: Apparently this type of "honeybucket" incident happened more then once, but the end of this version has a twist.

Honeybucket detail Thanks to Alan Hochstein (57-59) for this picture

This ain't no S#!+... The boot prank in the other honey bucket story, reminded me of my story as if they were my boots.

We had a nickname for a young Ltjg on the rice sifter for crew 4 in Marie TE`s . On every mission we flew, as soon as the Plane Commander announced "clean sweep down of the aircraft", Ltjg "honey bucket" (name with held) would head for the honey bucket. It was as if the "sweep down" announcement was an immediate laxative for him. The clean sweep down announcement was made when we were within 20 minutes or so of landing.

I had taken my boots off and was sleeping in one of the aft bunks while we transpac'ed back to Sangley. Just before the Aircraft Commander made the "sweep down" announcement some of the guys placed my boots behind the privacy curtain in front of the honey bucket so that the toes were sticking out from under the privacy curtain. This made it appear that it was in use.

I woke up when the Aircraft Commander made the "sweep down" announcement. My crewmates gave me the quiet sign as I was loudly grumbling and looking around for my boots, sure enough here comes the culprit, Ltjg "honey bucket". His attempt to make use of the honey bucket was thwarted when he noticed the boots poking out from under the privacy curtain. A few moments later he was needed back on the flight deck to complete his part of the landing check list. As luck would have it, Ltjg "honey bucket" later saw me putting my boots on, he had a fit and I caught HELL.

As you know, the junior enlisted men had to empty the honey bucket, and woe be it to the guy who used it for other than an extreme emergency.

Usually though we would pay the Filipino guys working at the dump 5 pesos to dump and clean it for us, but just removing it and carrying it down the stairs could make you gag.

But there is a God in heaven, and all things come to those who wait.

A few days later on the same deployment we were way up north in the Gulf of Tonkin near Haiphong heading East. As we approached the 12 mile limit of China, I as the CIC Tactical Coordinator, called the pilot on the ICS to advise him to turn back to our western barrier run.

There was no response. Called again, no reponse. Third time, same thing.

Then the ECM operator started screaming at me that we had multiple fire control radars locked on us. I threw off my headset and ran up to the cockpit, there was Mr. "honey bucket" sound asleep in the pilots seat, nobody was in the co-pilots seat. I grabbed him around the neck with my left hand and started slamming his head against the cockpit window and reached down and started turning the auto-pilot control to the right to get the hell out of there. I could see lights below on the mainland as we banked away.

We got away and back on station with no other incidents. After the flight he took me aside and said "I don`t see any reason to mention this to anybody, do you?" I said "no, and I don`t see any reason for you to be using that honey bucket again either, do you?" And he never did on any of the missions I flew after that. I never did tell anybody about that episode until a couple years ago at the reunion.

Don`t suppose it would have done his career much good, sleeping on watch during a combat mission.


Purple Heart and Cribbage.

Site managers comment: Because only a small handful of men assigned to VW-1 received the Purple Heart, many will be able to determine the name of the person involved here.

The subject was taken from a song probably none of you remember. Part of it goes:

His ship was sailing,
Her heart was cold,
For she had listened to,
A Tale A Sailor Told.

I have a tale. It is FACT... You know how some of these things are SEARED in your brain and ~ try as you might to suppress them, they still surface. I have been struggling for over 30 years to suppress this, to protect the individual involved, but try as I might ~ it just MUST be related or you KNOW I won"t be able to sleep. Here"s what happened; but first let me say that you CAN and MUST believe it when a sailor begins it with

"This ain't no S#!+..." After I was wounded in Viet Nam, I was med-evaced to Guam for surgery & recovery, since my family was there. Also, they were short handed, so they could check me out of the hospital on a daily basis, to run the shop, then return me for overnight care. What guys, eh? The Chaplain, being fairly new to the island, was trying to care for his flock and get acquainted. So ~ ~ ~ he'd come by in the evening to visit. I told him I loved to play cribbage and he said he'd like to learn, so I undertook the task of "ministering" to him over a cribbage board. Now, I could hardly shuffle, due to an injured hand, had to lie on my side, due to wounds on the left, from heel to head ( but mostly the back & buttocks) But I was still able to SHOW him the basics, calmly explaining the rationale for certain plays, how to count etc. Progress was slow, but being the patient soul that I am, I persevered.

Eventually he got to the point where he could count on his own, etc., but was frustrated because he NEVER could win. Again, being the tender heart that I STILL am, I would often "throw" a game, just to make a person feel good. In this case though, I thought, why should I give an OFFICER a break, regardless of the fact that he was a chaplain. So I didn't & he NEVER won. BUT - - - he kept on "daring" me to play him. Out of the goodness of my heart, I would acquiese & he would again go down in flames. BUT - - - the one that is PERMANENTLY seared in my mind is the ONE hand where I really had a chance to "overwhelm" him, & did so. In order not to SHAME him, I won"t use his name, though I will tell you he lives in Texas. Let"s use the initials J.F. & hereinafter refer to him as J. I, of course, will be G.

Both at the end of 1st street, G. dealt.
J. 3 3 4 4 J K
G. 3 3 4 4 Q Q
Naturally J tossed the J K & G tossed the Q Q.
Cut card was a 5.

J led 3, g-3(6 for 2), J-3 (9 for 6), G- 3 (12 for 12).
J-4 for 16, G- 4 (20 for 2), J-4 (24 for 6),
G-4, (28 for 12)and last card for 1.

J pegged for 12 and with the 20 hand was really elated with his 32 total.
G pegged for 29 & had a 20 hand.
Crib was 17 ( even had the right J) for 66 total.
So: I went from 1st street to 4th street in ONE hand.

I'll tell you, that really DOES embed itself in your memory.
It had to be told ~ before I get to the old age home & start to imagine things.
But you can take this one to the bank.
After all, it was told to you by a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the worlds largest nuclear NAVY.

Thanks to G (63-66 & 70-72) for these pictures



This ain't no S#!+... Some of the enlisted flight crewmembers would engage in initiations of new flight crewmembers as a "right of passage". These initiations would usually be performed on the naive or those who had never been a part of a Navy flight crew. The type of initiation or prank changed from time to time, one of these is as follows.

Early in 1964, the enlisted flight crewmembers of crew 6 were assigned the task of scrubbing down the outside of the aircraft to remove dead paint and get the aircraft looking good again. The crew looked very non-military in old "T" shirts, cut off dungarees, swimsuits, flip-flops or tennis shoes during this activity.

As the cleaning was going on the older flight crewmembers were telling their usual tall tales of the various deployment liberty sites or of incidents that had happened on the various missions that VW-1 flew. A very young newly assigned crewman was enthralled with hearing all these tales and let them know that he looked forward to experience these things first hand.


The older flight crewmembers asked the newly assigned crewmen if he wanted to become a "Part of the Crew", to which he replied emphatically "YES". "Well!" the older guys said, "then you will have to be initiated into the crew". "OK!", was the young mans instant response. "what do I have to do?". "You'll just have to wait until we get to the P.I. and then you will find out, we are scheduled to go in the next couple of days", was the reply.

When the majority of the crew had assembled at one of Cavite City bars close to Marie TE's they proceeded with the initiation. They bought a balut from the bartender and told the new crewmember that all he had to do was eat it.


A note to the uninformed:

The balut is an unusual Filipino delicacy, which is a fertilized egg that contains a partially developed duckling, which is eaten after being boiled. The balut is a very nutritious snack food, which most Filipinos appreciate. However, non-Filipinos generally take a bit of convincing before taking their first bite

To read more about the balut click here, but this is not for the squeamish.

Our young man just looked at this large egg that had been placed in front of him, he did not know what was in the egg and naturally was not told the proper technique of eating a balut. He just cracked open the egg like you normally would and dumped the contents into the bowl provided. He poked at the limp duckling to ensure that it was not alive. After receiving assurance from the Filipino bartender that this was a delicacy he picked up the embryo by a leg and held the limp dripping embryo over his head, threw his head back, stuffed it into his mouth, quickly chewed it up and swallowed it. Several of the older crewmembers turned green and had to leave, one or two of the guys left as soon as the balut was cracked open, baluts have a smell that is all their own. They had expected him to refuse to eat the balut and tell them all where to go.

To the chagrin of the older crewmen our young man enjoyed the balut and ordered another, which he promptly ate and enjoyed. He was often seen (from a distance) eating baluts on subsequent deployments.

A couple of the men on other crews also enjoyed baluts and brought them on the aircraft to snack on during a mission. This would usually only occur once, then the crew chief or aircraft commander would inform the individual that this was not an acceptable practice. This was usually put in stronger terms, as some of our association members can attest to.

To those who have tasted the balut they say that it tastes, appropriately enough, like duck. It also tastes like duck liver. Some say that it tastes like crab meat



Filthy W#!11!@

This ain't no S#!+...I guess it was about 1964 maybe '65 We had an AT3 as our first radioman who was very good at his job on the aircraft. He had been up and down from 1st to 3rd class a couple times but was a well experienced radioman. He also took over duties of cooking the main meal on most of the missions in VW-1 especially if steaks were a part of the meal. In fact most of the officers would request that he offer his services as cook.

However there were certain other aspects about him that earned him the first name of Filthy followed by his last name. His last name was fairly common. For some intervals of time while he was in the sqaudron there were probably 2 or more others with the same last name. But if you mentioned Filthy W#!11!@ everyone new who you were refering to. Occasionally he was referred to as Filthy W#!11!@ the animal, to add emphisis.

While on an early liberty, several of us including Filthy W#!11!@ had had a couple San Miguel's at Sonny's Bar in Cavite City. The group of us decided to leave Sonny's and walk down the street a short way to the U A bar (Ugly American).

A note to the uninformed:

The streets in Cavite City were very heavily used not only Jeepneys but also a lot of foot traffic, street vendors, dogs and kids playing and relieving themselves in the streets. They were pot holed in many places and usually filled with rain water and other things. Just let it be said that the streets were generally very dirty, and did not have a pleasent smell.

As soon as we exited Sonny's bar and were hit by the bright sunlight Filthy W#!11!@ got sick and lost his lunch and San Miguel in one of the pot holes. The group of us just stood by and cajouled Filthy W#!11!@ urging him to hurry up and calling him a "2 beer Charlie". Filthy W#!11!@ composed himself, wiped his mouth with his hands and said "Oh S#!+" and reached down into the pot hole fishing around for something. "What are you doing?" we yelled. At about the same time he found what he'd been looking for, "I lost my false teeth" said Filthy W#!11!@ and promptly popped them back into his mouth.

A couple of us promptly lost our lunch.

I ran into Filthy W#!11!@ many years latter and he had said that he finally got himself squared away, made 1st class and retired and was working for some electronics company. Some years after that I heard that he had died.



This ain't no S#!+... Back in Late 1960 we were flying one of VW-1's aircraft from Guam to LASH (Lockheed Aircraft Service Hawaii) so that it could go through one of its major inspection cycles by Lockheed. Upon turning over this aircraft we were to make an acceptance inspection of TE-12, which had just finished one of its major check cycles and get it ready to return to Guam. These flights were flown with a minimum flight crew plus a Radar Tech. so that a decent acceptance inspection of all aircraft systems could be made.

The flight from Guam to Hawaii with a refueling stop at Wake Island is a very long, boring flight in a Willy Victor. As I recall about 20 hours or so of flight time plus the time to do the post flight inspection, refuel and preflight inspection. During the flight I along with the other crewmembers ate our box lunches or snacked on what ever was available from the "pantry." Once or twice we turned on the radar to check on the weather ahead. These activities were interspersed with several short naps I had no real sleep.

We landed about mid morning at Honolulu International, did the customs inspection thing, turned over our aircraft to LASH and were in our Air Force transit quarters by noon.

We were free until the next morning when we would begin the acceptance inspection of TE-12. Several of us gathered in the room I was quartered in and tried to come up with what we should do for the rest of the day. We tossed around going to the chow hall for lunch (in retrospect the sensible thing to do), the bowling alley, swimming pool, Px, downtown, etc.

While the discussion was going on one of the guys broke out a fifth of CC. while trying to arrive at a consensus. I am not sure how many more jugs were opened, I only remember waking up the next morning on a bare mattress still in my flight suit and not feeling or looking well.

I barely made it to the bus on time that was to take us from our quarters to LASH to begin the acceptance of TE-12. While the Pilots were doing some of the paper work for the acceptance inspection I wandered into the lunch room of LASH to get something to eat thinking that would help me feel better, I had not eaten since before landing the previous day and was getting hungry. The only thing that was available were a few gedunk machines, so I tried to fill up on what ever looked the most filling.

In short order we were out at the aircraft parked on the tarmac to do a preliminary inspection for anything obvious. I had just gotten up to the Navigators station when I felt the urge of losing my meager breakfast. I rushed to the aft hatch with my hands clasped over my mouth and around my jaw to keep it closed. I made it down the passenger ladder onto the tarmac and let loose; my mouth flew open with great force.

When I finished I tried to compose my self and discovered that I could not close my mouth. Pushing on my jaw with my hands did not help and only made the back of my jaw hurt. The 1st radioman looked at me and said that I needed to see the Nurse, which I did, but she said that this required attention from a Dentist. I was transported to the Air Force medical facilities, lost the rest of my breakfast on the stairs to the 2nd floor. An Air Force Dental Officer promptly noticed that my jaw was dislocated and promptly fixed me up. What an immediate relief. The Dr. warned me to be cautious because my jaw muscles were stretched and would require some time to return to normal.

I was transported back to LASH just in time for the crew to go to lunch. I had a good lunch, felt much better, and took a good ribbing from my fellow crewmembers.

After lunch we got back to the aircraft to begin getting the aircraft ready for a test flight the next day. The first job was to hang all the parachutes and harnesses back into their proper position. I looked at the job ahead, yawned and CLUNK! my jaw locked open again. This time it hurt. I was transported back to the Air Force medical facilities and placed in a dental chair. The same Dental Officer attended to me but this time there was some delay.

While I was in the chair, hurting badly, he gathered his staff, got a human skull from somewhere. He held up the skull exercising the jaw and illustrating to the rest of the staff what had happened to me. He discussed all the cartilage locations and possible damage that could result from this injury and what could go wrong. All the while I am laying there pointing to my jaw and trying to get him to fix me up again, but the only thing I could really say was agh agh. (Try talking with your mouth open). He finally finished his training using the skull and then applied it to me. Again there was immediate relief. He then warned me, quite sternly this time, that the next time they would have to wire my jaw shut for a month or so until the muscles returned to normal. He also said that they would have to remove a front tooth or two so that I could get liquid food in my mouth.

I had an immediate fear of dislocating my jaw while in flight. I immediately and for many years after had the habit of clasping my hands over my jaw and the top of my head to suppress a yawn or sneeze.

I was quite young at the time and this was my first experience with hard liquor. I learned my lesson the hard way.


Pucker Factor of 10.

This ain't no S#!+... in 1964 on an R&R trip from NAS Agana, Guam to Tachikawa, Japan, and return.

The aircraft was TE-00 attached to VW-1. This pucker factor of 10 took place less than a year after TE-00 made a tail wheel landing at NAS, Atsugi, Japan, without a tail wheel. (And that's another sea story.)

Anyway, we were flying brown baggers, sea baggers, and dependents to Japan for R&R leave. After deplaning our passengers at Tachikawa, we took off for Atsugi and other ports of call for five days. We returned to Tachikawa to pick up passengers and their baggage. Let me tell you, mate, they had some baggage! We normally haul between 90-95 passengers and a crew of 8. For weight and balance figures we would guestimate each S.O.B. (soul on board), at 180 lbs. That's 103 S.O.B's @ 180 lbs = 18,540 lbs. That 180 lbs. was to cover that persons' weight and his or her baggage. Well, friend, they put a load of hibachi pots in the forward and aft. baggage compartments, along with hi-fi stereo equipment.

With 108 people onboard ready for taxi on this HOT August day, with only 4,000 ft. of runway, and 500 ft. of overrun at each end, giving us a total of 5, 000 ft. After engine run up, we pulled onto the duty runway, opened the pilots sliding hatches, looked over the wings, and put the propellers in reverse, backed up 400-to 450 ft. of the overrun. Now we have approx 4,850 ft. of runway for takeoff.

The chief was at the engineers' panel, a CDR. in the left seat and a Lt. in the right seat. I was the back-up engineer. The pilot called for B.M.E.P. 1-5-0. All gauges looked OK. Then, he stated max power, and released the brakes. Well, I had been in C-121-J/EC 121K type aircraft for the past 7 years, and never saw manifold pressure @ 59.5 inches and only 230 odd B.M.E.P. at 2900 rpm. We rolled down that hot runway at a low rate of speed. I thought the pilot would never call 50 knots. I looked up at the markers going by, and thought someone should call abort. We continued the takeoff roll what seemed like 5 minutes. I do not remember V-1 or V-2 being called out. I looked out of the windshield at a high chain link fence at the end of the runway. Many Japanese kids were climbing up the fence to get a good look at this big bird trying to take off.

I looked down at the B.M.E.P. gauges, (still low), and then back at the kids on the fence. The kids knew we had a problem and jumped off the fence like rats from a sinking ship.

At that time, I dove down to the 260 station. When I hit the deck, the pilot pulled the nose up hard. I felt the nose gear coming up at the same time. When I felt a positive rate of climb, I returned to my station. I know we had to blow off shingles and the tree limbs for a few hundred feet.

Well, my friend, we held max power for about 4 minutes. Then the pilot called for METO power for climb out and not a word was said but " METO power- set."..

Note: No one said a word during climb out. The flight station was silent except for asking for power settings. We shifted to high blower and continued to climb. When we reached cruise altitude, the CDR. asked me to go to the N.A.T.O.P.S. and double-check our V-1 AND V-2 speeds at the time of takeoff. For you non-airdales, V-1 is the speed an aircraft can reach, have an emergency, and still have enough runway left to stop on. V-2 speed is the minimum speed the aircraft can lift off.

After flying the EC-121 K for many hours, you get used to heavy gross weights, and a lot of drag (ray domes, tip tanks, and antenna wires.) When you get into a C-121-J, (less weight and less drag,) the C-121-J was like a sports car with a lot of horsepower.

After re-computing our gross weight, and higher runway temp, dew point, vapor pressure, guess what GRANDPA PETTY BONES, with only 5000 ft. of runway we should have bought the farm.

Only due to two outstanding pilots am I here to tell this sea story.

P.S. We made many R&R trips back to Tachikawa, Japan. For the passengers' return trip, we would pick them up at Atsugi, which had a 10,000 ft. runway.


Shark Bait.

This ain't no S#!+... My friend, who was also my neighbor in Navy housing on Guam, asked me if I would like to go fishing with him. He stated that the Wahoo, (large saltwater fish as big as a medium sized man), were selling for a buck a pound undressed at the Agana fish market. Me being a sky devil, not afraid of sky or water; (Note: I was the survival training officer for N.A.S. operations department, and first Flight Engineer on the station C-121J, 131659), said " I would just die to go fishing with you".

Well, about a week later my friend stated that tomorrow was the day. We left out of Agana Boat Basin at approx. 4:00 or 4:30 a.m. with a 16 ft Runabout with a 30-33 horsepower OMC engine, a new gas tank that would hold about 20 or 25 gallons and a load of survival equipment. (No radio, no loran, just a wet compass.) As we headed out to sea, I thought of Frank Cushing and his son that were lost at sea from Two Lovers Point. They washed ashore in the Southern Luzon, P.I, 1400 miles and many many days later, alive and in good health. You can read all about that episode in his book, "Father and Son Against The Sea". We had looked for them for days back in 1965, while I was in VW-1, (1964-1966.)

Anyway, back to my sea story. When we left Agana Basin, we made a right heading past the lights on Hospital Point, then took up a new heading to open sea. We ran at cruise power until day light, (approx. 2 hours). I looked behind me in the direction of Guam and nothing but rolling swells. (No Mt. Lam-Lam, nothing.) We started fishing with some expensive lures. I think they cost about 10 - 15 bucks back then. Well, let me tell you, we were trolling for about 5 minutes and Wham! A strike! We had two lines out and would take turns fighting the fish. It would take about 10 minutes of fighting to get the fish along side to gaff it. In the meantime, the man not fighting the fish, would get green in the gills from sitting in the boat, just bobbing up and down. As soon as the fish was aboard, we would get underway with the fishing lures in the boat, until we felt like fishing again. We needed time to clear our heads. Anyway, we caught so many Wahoo that we could not move in the boat. We took up a heading for Guam and the sea state picked up on the return trip. We would head down a swell at a high rate of speed and then up the swell at a snails pace. The swells were about a quarter to a third of a mile from tip to tip. After approximately 2 hours, we could see Guam on the horizon. That definitely made us feel better. But the closer we got to Guam, the swells got closer together and started to white cap.

When we made it to Agana Basin, the inlet was breaking with big waves. The skipper stated that we didn't have enough fuel to make it to Apra Harbor; we were going to ride the boat in like a surfboard.

We put on our May West's, looked to the Heavens, did an Omni Omni ADF, and set max power on the next roller going into Agana Inlet.

Well, let me tell you, mate, we were riding that wave in like the big boys in Hawaii, when all of a sudden the wave slipped out from under us, the prop came out of the water at max power, and the boat slid down the wave and grabbed the water. At that point, with the torque and thrust of the engine on the stem of the boat, the engine ripped itself off the transom. When the engine decided to leave us, it knocked a hole in the bottom of the boat. As the engine was sinking, it pulled the steering cable out about 6 ft.

The wave dumped us out in the white sea foam with the engine 6 ft. below us,,,,, we tried to lift it aboard, but could not get it in the boat. At this time, I said to the skipper, "lets abandon ship and swim the 50 to 75 yards to the rip rap at the break water." The skipper said we would stay with the ship. Well, the next wave came in and took us out to sea in a New York minute. Now we are sinking and the Skipper cut his hands pulling on the steering cable that was still attached to the engine.

With the wind and current taking us farther out to sea, and the boat taking on water, we were in a world of doo doo. After about an hour, we are a few miles west of Guam. We have shot off many flares in hopes that someone on the beach would see us, and the boat is now under water. (All but a foot of the bow is under water, that being due to an air pocket.). All of our fish are floating on the surface and the sharks are having a field day. The skipper and I have our feet inside the bow trying to stay away from sharks.

Low and behold, we saw a helicopter on the horizon at Anderson A.F. B. We shot a flare, maybe two or three, only to see the chopper turn towards N.A.S. Agana.

With the sharks swimming around us, and the helicopter going away from us, we were a little depressed. I was thinking of Frank Cushing on a raft, drifting to the P.I. If that helicopter would just return, we just might make it home tonight.

About 40 minutes later, coming from the Island, was the chopper. We fired another flare and he made a turn toward us. When he got closer, maybe a half-mile, we lit a smoke flare to let him know the wind direction,

When it was close enough to see the lift operator, I realized I knew him. He worked for me in operations at N.A.S. He motioned for us to leave the bow of our sunken boat that was keeping the sharks at bay. I shook my head "NO", You come in and pick us up. He shook his head no, and waved us to him.

Well, the horse collar was approximately 10 yards from us. I let go of the bow and made the most powerful breaststrokes known to man. By the way, didn't I say earlier that I was the survival P.O. at N.AS operations? (We would go to Apra Harbor in a 20 man life raft and jump over the side, while the marines in a crash boat with M1's would shoot any hungry sharks wanting to feed on us. ) We would be picked up by the chopper in a horse collar. ALL DONE BY THE BOOK. RIGHT! When I reached the collar, I threw my right arm into ft and pulled my legs up above my head, holding onto the cable with my legs. But I was not going anywhere. I looked up through the rotor wash and motioned with my thumb (Pick me up). The lift operator motioned to me to get into the collar the right way. I wanted my body as far up that cable as possible. But, he was not moving until I put both arms through the collar and held onto the cable. With a few choice words, I complied with his request After I was onboard, I said THANK YOU!

Now for the skipper to be picked up. The pilot would not come in any closer, so it was swim like Tarzan to the collar, and he put his legs above his head, above the sharks, and was brought onboard the chopper.

Oh, and by the way, I had told my wife if I wasn't home by 2:00 p.m. to call S.A.R. How true that was- The chopper dropped us off at N.A.S. operations for debriefing and name, rank and serial number, one man, the skipper from VW-1, and the first mate from N.A.S. Now 7 p.m. mind you, the boat is about 15 or 20 miles out to sea, and the skipper contacted the skipper of the N.A.S. Crash boat to go out and tow his boat in. I guess the die marker in the water led them to the bow sticking out of the water. Anyway, they towed the boat in with engine dangling below it all the way to Apra Harbor. We were there to retrieve the remains. I'll bet you can imagine how embarrassed I was on Monday morning at quarters. For the next few weeks, I received in the guard mail, books on survival at sea, and books on shark sense.. Man did I take a ribbing on getting into a harness. Like the saying goes; All is well that ends well. Oh, also, the skipper got his boat back, took it to Agana, where they sank the engine in a fresh water barrel, then, blew the water out, got her running again. They repaired the hole in the bottom and fixed the steering. He stopped by the house and said, "the rig is sea worthy again. When will you be ready to get under way?" I told him that I thought I would stick to the air where it was safe, but thanks, anyway.


Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire

After reading on the comments page of how TE-6 had been moved to VQ-1 and was shot down by North Korea in 1969. I remembered hearing on the news of a Willy Victor being shot down, but had no idea it was TE-6. This brought back memories of something that happened while I was a crewmember on TE-6 during the 1st half of 1962, so

This ain't no S#!+... I had been aft to the honey bucket and was coming back up front, as I passed the Radioman's station he asked me if I had ever seen the coast of Red China, of course I hadn't, maybe in a picture. He told me to look out his window, talk about up close and personal, It was right there and we was low.

I did not have any idea of why we were there, but somehow I knew we shouldn't be. I was just an AE-3, the only station I had was the galley, and my job in the air was to take care of the coffee and food and change a light bulb ever now and then. I didn't think I came under the need to know rule, but I sure wanted to know now. The next thing I heard was that there were two bogies at such and such position and closing fast. I could tell we were changing course and beginning to climb. The skipper told us to take our ditching stations; mine was one of those on the floor next to one of the radarscopes with seats belts and all. We also had put on our Mae West. The skipper came on the PA system and told us that if we were shot down and taken prisoner we only had to give our name, rank and serial number, because of the Geneva accords, this was scary, but nothing like what he said next.

The President of the United States would disavow any knowledge of us being in the area, this sure made you feel warm all over. The old Willy Victor was no match to get away from 2 MIG fighters. As we continued it was very quiet, after what seemed like forever, we were told that the MIGs had turned and went back.

We just thought we had problems, some more was added on. We couldn't get clearance to land at Taiwan, the State Dept got in the game as we circled around, but the end results was we were not allowed to land, something about causing an international incident. The skipper said we would have to divert to the Philippines.

There was some question about having enough fuel. After the flight engineers figured it all out we got the good news. They THOUGHT we had enough fuel, but it would be close. It felt like we had just jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. As we drew close to the Philippines, 2 jet fighters came out to escort us in, I guess to get our position in case we went into the drink. We landed and as we were taxiing into the parking ramp the engines began to shut down one at a time. I think we were running out of fuel, but I didn't ask, I think I was afraid to know, I know the pins went into the landing gear very quickly after we stopped.

Needless to say it was San Miguel time at Marie TE's.

Site managers comment: This is not the same TE-6 that was shot down by the N. Koreans in 1969. Old TE-6 (BuNo 135749) had been transferred out of VW-1 in 1958, then was acquired by VQ-1 as a WV-2Q and given the tail code number PR-21 in 1960. TE-6 at the time of this story was (BuNo 145930)


This ain't no S#!+... I was the crew chief on TE-5, "THE GOOD GUYS", as we were known back then. One of my duties was to ensure that we had an adequate amount of flight rations for our mission. But NS Sangley Point had horrible flight rations. Couldn't say too much good for their mess hall either. But they had signs posted saying "Every effort will be expended to win the Ney award for NS Sangley Point". The Ney award, remember, was for food services ~ different categories such as large mess afloat, Small mess afloat, Shore based in different size bases etc.

NEY Award

Ney was the name of the Admiral who advocated improvement in quality, cleanliness & all other aspects of the food service in the Naval services. Probably a supply type, but I can't be certain, but the appreciation was such that the competition was fairly strong & the award was named after him."

Well, my electrician & I put our heads together & KNEW we could come up with something. We went into Cavity City & paid a guy to create a plaque.

It featured a picture of a fist in the "Thumbs Down" position and the words NAY Award. "Presented to NS Sangley Point Galley."

We had him display it in his window for some time before we took possession. Word was that the food services officer went to the shop & tried to get hold of it. Don't know what ever happened to it.

I thought my electrician had it, he theorized that one our Ltjg's got it (or that I had it). I had the pleasure of the purchase but never had custody. Just don't know, but I wish we had it for the raffle.

At any rate, Sangley NEVER got the Ney, to my knowledge.

Site managers comment 10/21/11: Look what turned up at the 2011 reunion.


Supply SNAFU

This ain't no S#!+... Crew 5 was tasked with a double fix, terminating in Cubi, with follow up tracking. For some reason, We had to get another aircraft commander, I believe ours was attending a conference in Atsugi.

Anyway, a senior Cdr from crew 6 got the privilage & we launched on schedule. Did the first fix and while about to complete the 2nd, the co-pilots gyro horizon went kaflooey. Okay.... Completed the assignment and headed for Cubi. About that time, the pilots gyro ALSO went out. Well, we got the stock numbers, part numbers etc. & messaged Cubi that we'd NEED the parts IMMEDIATELY upon arrival.

Touched down around 0430. Fueled & started to work off gripes while my trustworthy AE, went to supply for the parts.

We worked away till about 0930 - 1000 ( most of the crew was sleeping) and the mech & I had work on 2 engines, the AM had some gripes ~~~ but the AE had not returned with the parts.

As I worked, I saw, coming across the ramp, a 'dragging' AE. He came up to the plane & I climbed down to find out the problem.

He said they'd told him he had to go to Subic. Got the duty driver & went. After a lengthy search, they sent him back to Cubi. A search for the parts ensued, and he was told he had to return to Subic.

Did the drill again. When sent back to Cubi, he was told, "we'll try to get you the parts, but we can't do anything till we have a UR."

When he dragged back to the plane & told me, I went ballistic. I believe I levitated across the ramp & stormed into supply. The supply chief asked if he could help me & I snappily replied, "NO !! I want to talk to that guy in there", indicating the supply officers office.

I stormed in and I was livid. I told him, "listen here, you don't jack my men around for 4-5 hours, then come in with a stupid request. We provided you the information way in advance of landing and we need our parts NOW."

He started to respond and I cut him off with, "I don't have to listen to you, I have a SENIOR CDR. who will talk for me and I'm going to get him NOW !!!"

I started out and the chief said. "here's your parts. They were over here by the bulkhead & we overlooked them." I grabbed both cans and lit out, with visions of making 2nd class the hard way dancing in my head. I was glad we'd be airborne in a few hrs.

Alas, such was not to be. We got a message to remain at Cubi Pt. and establish a det. and fly the storm from there.

The aircraft went out on the mission, some of us stayed behind to sleep, etc; with a Lt (jg) as Det. Duty Officer. About an hour or so after take-off we received a message from the plane saying that a piece of electronic equipment (nothing crucial to the mission) had failed & would need to replaced when the aircraft returned.

We were apprehensive to go to supply so we prevailed on our Lt (jg) to go to supply for us.

He came back chuckling and said the supply officer asked what squadron he was in & he said VW-1. The supply officer said, "thank God. I had a run in with VQ-1 yesterday and I never want to see them again."

Was I grateful? You know it.

From one of the Crew 5 "Good Guys"


VW-1 VQ-1 Mixup

I really enjoyed the sea story written by one of the Crew 5 "GOOD GUYS". It brought back memories of how many times I suffered from Cubi Point Supply!

I never was assigned to VW-1 but knew many of the guys, I was in VQ-1 a couple of times and would run into a couple of my VW-1 buddies here and there around the Western Pacific. As befitting my age, I want to throw another sea story in the mix that involves both VW-1 and VQ-1.

This ain't no S#!+... I remember in the early 60s (probably 1964) we had a project that came up, I think PR-23 was the aircraft of choice. Prior to take-off from Atsugi, (at night) the number 2 on the nose number was painted out and the PR on the tail was replaced with TE. The crew also had "bogus" orders listing VW-1.

This was great until they landed at Cubi Point for a "RON" and you guessed it, the real TE-3 was sitting on the ramp! I wasn't there but I'm sure there was some head scratching!

That night the "bogus" VW-1 crew headed into Olongapo by the sea and after a festive night, the crew came back to the base, unfortunately, after curfew. The Marines at the gate dutifully wrote them all up.

It was several months later a bunch of report chits finally made their way to Atsugi. The VQ-1 skipper at that time was a great guy and after letting everyone involved know that this was a "NO NO", nothing else was said.

Take care my VW-1 friends.

Site managers comment: I wonder what sort of ordeal the crew of TE-3 went through before the discovery of the "bogus" TE-3 crew came to light.

Great Balls of Fireball_lightning

St. Elmo's fire

is a popular name for so-called coronal discharge, which frequently happens during thunderstorms. Unlike lightning, coronal discharge is much less spectacular and less transient in nature. It looks like a blueish flame or glow engulfing tall sharp objects, such as powerlines, roof pinnacles, chimneys, and lightning rods. Unless the electric field is extremely strong, the glow is only visible at night, but can still be heard during the day as a hissing or crackling sound.

This ain't no S#!+... It was probably about 1960 or '61 that this was related to me by a radar tech that has since passed on. He told of how they were operating with elements of the 7th. fleet as a cold front was moving through the area of operation. The closer the front came to the track of the aircraft the more intense the lightning became and "St. Elmo's Fire" set the nose, wings and propellers of the aircraft glowing and throwing fire. My friend related that during this time the radar performance was greatly degraded.

He started to perform various tests of the radar, power output level, receiver sensitivity, etc. and could find no cause for the poor radar performance. The poor radar performce was thought to be caused by the St. Elmo's fire, but the powers to be refused the request to move the aircraft's track to a safer and possibly more productive area.

As the radar tech continued his checks, he flipped one of the control switches on the radar control panel at the same instant that the aircraft took a direct hit on the nose from a bolt of lightning which caused a ball of fire about the size of a basketball to come tumbling out of the cockpit, half bouncing or floating down the isle towards him. He felt a state of panic as his first thoughts were "What the H--- did I do to cause that".

As this ball of fire rolled down the isle, making a snapping and crackling sound, the crewmen who were in the forward area and the galley dove and squirmed to get out of its path.

When the ball of fire got to the radioman's position it exited out the side of the aircraft, apparently on to the wing and then disappated. Most everyone on the aircraft was quite concerned and did not know if the aircraft was damaged in anyway. They called into the fleet and reported a lightning strike and aborted the flight. No one was injured and my buddy did not mention any damage or problems with the aircraft's electronic equipment.

This was later determined to be "Ball Lightning" a very poorly understood phenomena of lightning. You can check Ball Lighting article from Wikipedia or do a web search on ball lightning, you'll be provided with many links. Wikipediaa also has an about St. Elmo's Fire.


A similar situation was revealed to me by a flight engineer who stated that St. Elmo's fire occurred several times on some of the flights he was on. This portion of the story may not have happened in VW-1, it could have been on the North Atlantic Barrier with VW-11.

"Ball Lightning"

"Reportedly takes the form of a short-lived, glowing, floating object often the size and shape of a basketball, but it can also be golf ball sized or smaller. It is sometimes associated with thunderstorms, but unlike lightning flashes arcing between two points, which last a small fraction of a second, ball lightning reportedly lasts many seconds. There have been some reports of production of a similar phenomenon in the laboratory, but some still disagree on whether it is the same phenomenon."

The St. Elmo's fire would usually start around the windshield wipers and give a similar vortex or eddy pattern that rain water would show. The pilots would cause the aircraft to slip sideways in the air or operate the windshield wipers which would usually cause the St. Elmo's fire to slip off the windshield area down the side of the aircraft and leave the aircraft via the static discharge wicks or other sharp points on the aircraft.

On one occasion the 2nd pilot was the only pilot up front when the St. Elmo's fire started to appear and grow in size around both wipers. The flight engineer suggested to the 2nd pilot that he operate the wipers to "roll off" the steadily increasing charge. The 2nd pilot either didn't hear the suggestion or was fascinated with what he was seeing.

When the St. Elmo's fire got sufficiently large to join in the middle it broke through the metal on the edge of the center windshield and became a ball of fire that my friend was able to duck as it passed by him at the flight engineers station.

The ball of fire rolled down the whole length inside of the aircraft and exited with a very load bang at the aft end near the honey bucket. No one was injured nor was there any damage to the aircraft or its equipment.


Navy wife shopping

This ain't no S#!+...Back in about 1964 or so my ladies bowling team had finished bowling in Agana one morning and on the way home we stopped at the Navy Exchange because my husband needed some razor blades.

Always being the obedient wife that I am I started looking for razor blades. There on the end cap of an isle were hundreds of boxes of Shicks (I thought). It was also the noon hour so the exchange was full of sailors on their lunch hour. As I was fumbling thru the boxes looking for Gillette blades and grumbling about them carrying nothing but Schick blades I noticed all my bowling girl friends had disappeared to another isle and they were laughing along with a bunch of sailors.

Seems as I was in the Sheik condom bin.

Oh well needless to say I rushed out, quite red faced with embarrassment, without buying any razor blades. My husband now uses an electric razor. It brings back good memories of Guam


Sailors Inginuity
about 1961

This ain't no S#!+... It was late in the flight involving an exercise with the 7th fleet somewhere off shore of either Okinawa or Japan. My watch had ended and the 1st tech (young 3rd class) took over while I crawled into one of the bunks across from the aft chow table. I left word that I was to be awakened in case of any problems with the radar systems. I slept very well.

I was awakened by the 1st technician after about 2 hours of sleep, he wanted me to look over what he had done to keep the radar running while I was sleeping.

While I was crawling out of the bunk he explained that the radar system had shut down shortly after I had turned in. He and the other technicians went throught their troubleshooting procedure and determined that the radar was overheating and shutting down on a high temperature. When the temperature probe was bypassed the radar worked OK. Further examination of the radar system revealed that the fan motor used to cool the cooling fluid had failed, this motor was not included in the spare parts package in the aircraft.

The 1st tech and the other techs rummaged through the trash cans and gathered up all the used coffee cups, cut out the bottoms and taped them together to form a long tube, about 8 feet long. A floor hatch near the radioman's position was removed to allow access to the forward baggage compartment from the passenger cabin. One end of the tube was attached to an airconditioning duct at the radioman's position down through the floor hatch into the baggage compartment where the liquid cooling unit was located. The cooled air was directed into the radiator of the cooling unit.

The flight was continued normally, except to caution the rest of the flight crew about the open hatch.

The Plane Commander had us remove the temporary tubing so that he could show others what was done to keep from aborting the mission.


Sign Of The Times
about 1964

This ain't no S#!+.... We operated from various bases, & Atsugi was a good one.

VRC-50 was stationed there. They were a COD outfit (& for the non NavAv folks COD is Carrier Onboard Delivery). They delivered mail, personnel, parts, medicines & other needed things to carriers operating within range of Atsugi, and they also deployed to other bases in the Phillipines, Okinawa etc. to perform the same functions, staying within range of the fleet. Even took submarine people & things for transfer to subs, as well as for the smaller ships too.

Anyway, I guess SOME folks may not have hankered for a flight in a smaller plane NOR for landing on or departing from a carrier, seated facing rearward & not able to see a thing. (Don't think I'd care for it either).

On the side of the VRC 50 hanger, way up on the side (you had to climb one vertical ladder, walk across a roof area & climb another ladder to reach it) they had their slogan in LARGE letters, 2 1/2 to 3 ft. high YOUR FRIENDLY ENEMY

Crew 5, being the 'Good Guys' got an idea. We went up there, one man distracted the security guard with conversation while 2 others climbed up & checked it out & measured everything.

Returning to Guam, my metalsmith (Jordan) prepared ONE letter.

About a month later, we were again in Atsugi & we repeated the 'operation' with the two daring souls Jordan & one other) climbing up & affixing the letter.

When the personnel showed up for formation, they were greeted with the slogan 'YOUR FRIENDLY ENEMA. All those driving by could also see it. The C.O. was a tad upset, as I understand, but they NEVER caught the perps. Crew 5 'Good Guys' struck again. I had a good crew.


Can't Wait
about 1967

This ain't no S#!+.... While on a transpac flight returning to Guam from one of our deployment locations, our flight crew heard about our chief flight engineers dilemma.

Our chief who had apparently been in communication via mail or the Navy's autovon phone system had told her that he was in such a condition that when he returned to Guam that she had better have a mattress strapped on her back when they met after the aircraft landed.

She had responded that he had better be the first off the plane.

I do remember the chief barging from the flight station to the aft passenger door before the wheels were chocked, he got off the aircraft first.

By the time I got off the aircraft the chief and his wife were gone.


Swimming Qualifications
about 1967

This ain't no S#!+.... Most of the single guys in VW-1 would do most anything to get to the deployment areas. Some guys would go through some devious means to get and remain on a flight crew. After all liberty in the Philippines, Okinawa, or Japan offered a wider variety of activities then Guam.

One of the qualifications for being an air-crewmen in VW-1 was that you were required to meet minimum swimming qualifications. Our radioman on crew 4 could swim like a rock. But was able to finesse his way through part of the qualification testing which was done at the NAS swimming pool.

The hardest test for most guys was swimming the length of the pool underwater upside down and then splash the water with your hands before you surfaced, take a breath and repeat until you reached the other end of the pool. This was the method used to simulate swimming under burning oils or fuel.

When our radioman's presence was required during a muster he would be there but was able to sneak back into the shower room before the actual testing. I believe that he would get in a group of several guys that would run in and out of the restroom, 4 or 5 guys going in but 1 less would return or 1 more would return if his presence was required in the pool area. I am not sure if there was a conspiracy or if our radioman was just lucky. He would stay in the shower room during all the testing and remain wet.

During the helicopter pick-up drill in Apra Harbor we had to get out of the life raft in our Mae West and swim out about 25 yards to be picked up by the helicopter and dropped off on land. Our radioman looked pitiful trying to swim, he couldn't even kick his legs, but he eventually made it out to the designated spot for pick-up. It should have been obvious to the most casual observer that this guy was no swimmer, but nobody ever questioned his ability to swim, I will admit that several of us junior flight crew members knew.

Being on a VW-1 flight crew was on the top of the list for most us, a few of us would take unusual measures to make it.


about 1970

This ain't no S#!+... Over the years in the Navy I had spent most of my career working with the R3350 aircraft engine. Class C schools at NAMTD, P5M squadrons, WV-2 squadrons, Instructor duty, Crew Chief School along with more R3350 instruction, I even worked at the Wright Factory in Woodridge, N. J. tearing down and rebuilding the R3350. I had one tour of duty as a recruiter which had nothing to do with the R3350. I also went to flight engineer school and qualified

After arriving at VW-1 for my second tour of duty I was assigned as the Power Plants Chief. Because of the squadrons schedule with its weather commitments and operations with the Seventh Fleet our shop personnel were spread out all over the Pacific. On more than one occasion there were only 2 men in the shop. In order to keep our aircraft engines in good repair I had to get my hands dirty and ruined several sets of khaki uniforms.

Because of my past and continuing hands on experience, I felt very confident in my knowledge of the R3350.

Something came up, I don't remember what, when ADR1 R.K., a flight engineer, came into Power Plants to ask me about it. I stated what I knew to be a fact and he told me I was wrong. I INSISTED I knew what I was talking about & he said something to the effect "Chief, I'll bet you a BOTTLE of Chivas Regal you're wrong".

Well, I told him I didn't drink BUT that I'd take the bet. He left and I started checking bulletins and service changes & - SURE ENOUGH, there had been a change while I was on recruiting duty.

That evening I walked into the package store which was right close to my house. As I walked in, there was a tub of miniatures and RIGHT ON TOP was a Chivas Regal.

I snapped it up.

Next morning, at quarters, I asked J.E. AFCM to have the engineers 'stand fast' after dismissal, and I instructed PP to do the same.

I went over and said; "when a Chief is WRONG, he admits it. R.K. and I had a discussion and I looked it up & R.K. was RIGHT. We also had a wager, didn't we R.K."?

He 'smirked' and said "yes, chief, we did" and I asked "can you tell them what it was"?

He said "a bottle of Chivas Regal" whereupon I jumped in & said "I'm here to pay off" as I pulled the little one from my pocket.

R.K. said; " I meant a FIFTH" to which I responded "that's WHY I'm chief."

I related the story at the VW-1 San Antonio reunion in April 2000, as I gave R.K. 'another' miniature, just in case.

R.K. told me a few weeks ago that he STILL has the 'original' bottle on hand.


TE-5 to LASI in NYC for rework
Dec. of 65:

This ain't no S#!+... We were to take TE-5 to LASI in NYC for rework. They had moved it out of Keehi Lagoon (later moved it to Singapore).

Anyway, we had some 'known' problems with the plane, but what ones don't have em?

The schedule went like this. Refuel at Wake, refuel at Barbers Pt., Refuel at North Island and fly to Jacksonville for a weather conference. (They were beginning to think P3 or 130's, at that time). From Jax we were to go to Warner Robins, drop off someone for some reason, go to D.C. & drop off Lcdr H (our squadron Maint. Officer) and someone else for a conference, then on to JFK. (still Idlewild at the time, I believe).

One of the problems we had with the plane was a leaking landing gear selector valve. You 'tinker' with those ONLY when you have them on a hydraulic test bench. Unbeknownst to us, our metalsmith did some wiping and 'adjusting' (tightening) before we left.

Approaching Wake about 0400, descending and called for the checklist. Flaps to 30 (or whatever) and when they went down, the port gear dropped and locked ~ the gear handle 'froze'. So here we are, circling & circling. Can't get the port gear up & can't get the other gear down. Worked thru the maint. manuals, and finally called Guam & asked for tech assistance. Really don't know whether we got any help or not BUT, for whatever reason they raised the flaps & began to climb. Rechecked the gear handle & it worked. Brought the port gear up & cycled the gear ~ all was well.

Anyway, we landed, serviced, inspected & proceeded.

At Barbers Pt., we lowered the gear before the flaps & all was well.

Going into S.Diego it screwed up again so we diverted to Pt Mugu since they had Connies there. Arriving at Mugu, they foamed the runway and we were preparing to dump fuel when, lo & behold, we got the gear working again. Don't know why we didn't land & at least get it 'drop checked', but instead we reversed course and landed at N. Island.

Discussed flying 'slowly' across country, gear down, but decided to forego that.

All went well to Jax, to Warner Robins & to D.C.

Arriving NYC. we were put in the stack & 'someone' again grabbed the flap handle & we were in 'trouble' again. We left the area while we worked it out, raised the flaps &, as the pressure bled off, we again were 'operational' and proceeded to re-enter the stack, work our way down and landed.

NOW : Lcdr H (our squadron Maint. Officer) had family in NYC. He was coming up, after his conference in D.C. to visit family & return with us. Therefore, he had left Guam with 3 'cardboard' 'suitcases' of 5th's of booze. He asked me to hide two & he'd get them from me in NYC.

I put them into the cavity behind the galley. Customs never looked there. Got to NYC & I HAD FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT THEM.

Next morning, I remembered & another guy & I caught a cab to LASI facility. TOO LATE. They had started to strip things out & among the first to go was the galley. Of course NO ONE knew what had happened to the 'Christmas Cheer'.

When Lcdr H (our squadron Maint. Officer) arrived, I had some explaining to do. Well, they got our return A/C ready,~ seems like it was TE-6. We again had to land at D.C & pick up some personnel. Flying to China Lake, we caught up to a slow eagle, buzzard or something & crunched the lower radome. We shored that up with a mattress & 2x4's & continued to N. Island. It was determined NOT to take it on to Guam, but there would be approx a 10 day delay before installation. VR-32 landed right behind us with a PR (VQ-1) bird. Since Christmas was so near, it was decided WE would take the plane to Atsugi & the VR folks could have Christmas at home. We proceeded toward Hickam AFB, for whatever reason.

Enroute, we developed an oil leak on # 2 & a hyd. leak on # 4, the pilots gyro horizon went out, the co-pilots was acting up & the auto pilot quit. We contacted the AF maint. ahead of time. They met us, but told us they didn't have a cowling man to open the engines. I jumped on the stand, opened it up (#2) & found the leaks & fixed them. On # 4, I opened it, found the hyd leak, but they said they had no hydraulicsman available right then. I asked for a Bonnie Wrench which was provided & I tightened several fittings. They 'couldn't stand fire bottle while I lit off # 4 to check it, said they had to have a fire truck standing by. I was plenty frustrated by this time. I climbed up to the cockpit, made sure the brakes were locked, looked out to see the prop was clear, lit it off, climbed out & inspected the 'leaks' under pressure. ok'd them & shut down the engine. The electrician they sent out, an E6, said "I've never worked on this type A/c." I assured him that a schematic was a schematic, a resistor was a resistor etc., & finally had to remove both gyro horizons (one screw to loosen & a cannon plug). He didn't know 'how' to cage the gyro on the auto pilot, so I did that & removed it.

Next morning, they told us their auto pilot person had not been available, so that wasn't fixed. and they had gyro horizons there for us to install. BUT they wanted us to sign that they'd expended 26 man hours on the plane and said it wouldn't be in an 'up' status till we did. Mr. Lcdr H (our squadron Maint. Officer) was in the maint. office with me & he unloaded on them. Made it clear that HE was the VW-1 maint officer, that he had DOWNED the plane and that he was changing the status to 'UP' ane we would proceed to Midway & get it repaired by NAVY people who knew what the hell they were doing. We had refueled, so we'd have had to dump if we simply went to Barbers Pt. (where we should have gone in the first plane- in my opinion) Got it repaired at Midway, stopped at Guam. proceeded to Atsugi & they sent the R 7 up to get us.

We got home Christmas Eve. I transferred out in early Jan so never again heard about Mr. Lcdr H (our squadron Maint. Officer)s booze. They figured the cause of the gear dropping was because the AM HAD worked on the selector valve & that, with the gear in the UP position, when the flaps actuated, a system surge released the port uplock and pressurized BOTH SIDES of the selector valve.

And a Merry Christmas was had by all ~ which 'might' fit as the title.

Oh ~ at a VW-1 reunion (Fuller group) in Jax, I asked Mr. W one of our pilots during that trip, if he remembered the flight and he assured me he did. He was flying for an airline at that time (about '97) maybe a wee bit off on the year.


Christmas of 63

Each Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, I get to relive Christmas of 63.

This ain't no S#!+... We launched on a storm on the 24th. Tried to get back into Agana but the winds were too much. After 5 attempts & getting no closer than 30 ft. to NAS Agana's runway, we diverted to Sangley Point in the Philippines which was what, 900-1100 miles away?

I had friends at Sangley that I got to see, but I really wanted to be in Agana. Our son was almost 2 & I wanted to be there for Christmas. Our pilot: Lcdr J. B. R. had a daughter 3 years old that he wanted to 'enjoy' during her first 'aware' Christmas, but alas.....

Coming back via the storm on Christmas Day, the winds were at 90 degrees to the runway and gusting to about 60-65. We touched, we slewed to stbd, we slid & 'WHIPPED' back around & rolled out. I looked across the aisle to the navigator, seated in the siesta seat & asked the ashen faced individual; "can you believe it, Mr. C."? He could only shake his head. No words.

So we then got to the flight line & were checking over the A/C. I was on the stbd wing as we watched TE-4 approach. Lcdr A. brought it in, still dumping fuel as it came over the fence, hit & slammed it into reverse. I cringed. I could 'hear' an explosion, which happily never came.

My FE, ADR1 F. W. was seldom sober, but right then I believe he was glad he was ~ but he announced his intentions of 'strengthening his spirit'. The 2nd FE, L. L. decided to join him.

I arrived home, my son ran to greet me ~ but he wasn't nearly as happy to see me (nor was my wife) as I was to see them.

She didn't understand the 'possible' dangers, so I didn't bother to tell her, as she would have insisted that I quit flying (which I wasn't about to do, and besides, I still had to pick up the 'Good Guy' patches I'd ordered in Atsugi.

Ah yes. the good ol days. (daze?)


Guam Air National Guard

This ain't no S#!+... November '62 storm clouds are building. Standing behind the barracks, feeder bands could be seen coming in from the SE. Typhoon Karen was on her way. Flyaway plans were being layed for all a/c on the island. Crews were anticipating where they might be deployed. Some were off to PI. Wow, tomorrow well be sipping San Magoo at Mary T's. Some to Okinawa where Naminui awaited. The rest to Atsugi and the comforts of Sagami or a short train trip to Yokohama China Town was a great liberty. Hey do you remember that bar where the Ko sisters worked? Well that's another story.

Still to be decided was where crew one would be off to. You've got to be kidding!

It was not a crew decision obviously. TE1 was towed across the runway to the big hangar where the F8s and AD4 s were housed, to sit out the storm which was now well on its way and strengthening.

Rain and winds gusting as the afternoon routine continued, we made chow call and set into the barracks having no idea what was in store on the ground. As aircrewmen we of course knew what a typhoon was like up there on the inside which sounds exactly opposite. As nightfall came the winds were increasing from "damn this is rough" to "jeez, how bad will it get". Of course the lights went out and rain damn did it rain. We've all seen it rain on Duva but this was like solid water falling or maybe even going up or at least sideways. Soon the water was flooding the floor of the barracks.

Very few even tried to sleep, how could they, this the most dangerous thing we had ever encountered. Things were banging into the doors and shutters and the wind noise had grown to a roar. We were comforted to know the barracks were more than typhoon proof and that thankfully proved to be true. The wind came from the west at first and we could hear the gravel in front pounding as it was blown into the end of the barracks. The water grew deeper, maybe 6 inches or more threatening to enter the lockers. Someone was making the rounds talking to people and taking notes. He said he was going to write a book. Sure hope he did, it would be a Duzie. Sometime during the night the Eye passed over us. We learned later one of our crews was above us on a penetration. Rapidly calm! It was eerie! Yea, you know it, we all went outside to see whatever. Stuff blown everywhere, lots of debris but not much destruction from what we could see yet. Shortly the wind picked up again. Wow, it's coming from the other way. We knew that, right. Within minutes the tempest was on in full. Would you believe there was a pinochle game going on?

All of the gravel that went that way was now coming this way. My ol' 51 Chevy parked out back was catching hell. Top winds of 212mph according to Stars and Stripes banner headlines. Wind roar ebbing to calmer decibels. Sun coming up, maybe time for a few Z's.

Somehow we made it the squadron area to greet who knows what. Hard to imagine how some things were destroyed and what seemed to be fragile made it through. The remainder of the island was almost totally destroyed. Weeks before their power and water were back on. Civilians ate in our chowhall for that time. Mostly debris everywhere. Wow, flares and smoke bombs and all sorts of stores scattered everywhere. Now you know that we wouldn't set any of these off but some one did, I'm guessing ground personnel. The avionics quonset hut was Ok, but the AE quonset was crushed. It was said that because we had windows and they did not. Go figure. Lots of work details picking up trash. Sweeper trucks and magnet trucks going over the runway so we could get off to take up the chase. Karen was heading away and it was up to Crew One, now unofficially designated as the (Gang) Guam Air National Guard, to take to the air as VW-1's premier crew!

Sleep soundly shipmates! The dauntless crew of the "Captains Gig" is on duty tonight.

"Typhoon Tom"

Crew one Radio '62--'63 Love y'all!

Memory fails. If anyone can add to this account please let us know.
Google it! See yall!


Navy Wife Gone Crazy?

This ain't no S#!+... This happened to my wife about 1964. Our housing quarters were directly across the street from the VW-1 squadron office area. She could look out the window of our living room and watch morning quarters.

Early one morning while still in her night clothes and doing the family laundry out on the lanai she noticed a shrew come scurrying out from under the washing machine. She grabbed up a broom and shooed it out the screen door and started chasing it across the yard trying to beat it to death. She didn't become aware of how far she had chased it until she noticed several of the VW-1 sailors across the street watching her and chuckling. That is when she realized that she had chased the shrew around the side of the house almost to the front yard.

She has often wondered what the sailors were thinking about that crazy "brown baggers" wife and what she was up to.



This ain't no S#!+... I WELL REMEMBER MY FIRST FLIGHT IN VW-1!!! I was an ATC on my first flight as an Electronics Crew Chief.

We were loaded with full fuel tanks and taxied out to the active and after a run-up we taxied into position for takeoff from Agana.

Those four Wright 3350 compound engines roared to life and we rolled down the runway.

Before the flaps and gear were up we had a fire warning light in zone 2 of one of the inboard engines. That's when all hell broke loose.

The first flight engineer chopped the mixture on the other inboard and feathered the inboard with the fire warning. There we were with both inboard engines providing virtually no thrust. Now we were low and slow with a very heavy airplane. The Plane Commander and Co-pilot were straining at the controls and losing altitude. The crew chief called "Ditching Stations". Mine was the outboard Port "siesta seat" and as I looked out the port window I could see the rotating anti-collision light reflecting off palm trees.

Moments later the crew chief announced "WE are Going IN" and I glanced out the window and saw the anti-collision light reflected off water.

I heard the second engineer who was standing behind the First Engineer and behind and between the pilots in a very loud voice say "I AM TOO YOUNG TO DIE" and popped the feather button on the feathered engine, pushed all mixture controls and throttles to the firewall as the first engineer screamed "you are over boosting" as he was pulling back on the throttles To which the second engineer answered "I'll boost them past the forward radome."

As those big engines screamed into life the aircraft slowly returned to level flight close to the water. We wallowed around for a bit until all four engines were producing maximum power. Slowly we climbed upward to maybe 500 feet and cleaned up the gear and flaps. The power was reduced to METO and we began to access the damage.

Site managers comment

This crew must have had a guardian angel to keep them airborne.

It also sounds like the 1st enginer needed some more training.

We knew that all four engines had been over boosted and over sped so we were not going to proceed anywhere but Agana. We climbed to a decent altitude and dumped fuel until the plane was safe for landing.

After landing we were all relieved and parked the plane. All four engines were changed and the plane flew again for some years. For some reason I can not remember the tail number.


VW-1 Death Dive

This ain't no S#!+... Sometime in 1967, I was flying with crew 4 (On TE-4) somewhere in the Pacific. I can't remember if we were on our way to fix a storm, flying from Guam to the P.I. or flying low level looking for a low pressure area. As my story will reveal, for some reason I thought we were flying low level at about 1,000 ft.

Site managers comment

In 1958 while flying as a radar tech. in a WV-2 out of NAS Glenco on a local touch and go training flight a similar situation happened to me.

I had previously been instructed to check the aft cargo baggage compartment for AV-Gas fumes or anything else out of the ordinary, after take-off. As I finished my inspection and had just finished snapping in the latches I stood up at the moment the pilot nosed the aircraft down to take evasive action to avoid a collision with another aircraft.

The act of standing at the moment of the dive launched me into the air and for what seemed like several minutes I became weightless and was suspended about six inches off the deck.

I remember floating and then rotating in midair until I was horizontal, I looked over my shoulder and I could see that my head was just a couple feet above ACO #3. Luckily for me the pilot pulled out of the dive quite gradually and I hit the radar console very lightly and rolled down into the seat

I don't recall being scared ... probably too young and dumb..

I had just stood up from my 1st tech station at about mid plane and facing starboard where there was an altimeter mounted. Just as I was getting ready to go towards the front of the plane, the plane went into a very steep dive, forcing me to grab something. I reached for the Parallel parachute bars directly above me, which ran pretty much through the whole CIC section of the plane and I ended up looking right at the altimeter. Never had I ever heard the engines on the plane scream like a dive bomber and I was frozen in place by the pull of the centrifugal force. I had to hold on hard. Thinking that we were flying at 1,000 ft. I saw the large hand on the altimeter race around to zero in about 4-5 seconds. It was at this time that I faced death and pretty much kissed my butt goodbye. Not being able to do anything to save myself, I faced the inevitable death. I braced for impact and certain death, but the altimeter kept sweeping thru zero altitude and impact, and my brain asked how can this be? Then I saw the little hand of the altimeter pointing to the 9,000 ft. mark, (great relief at this point) but the large hand kept sweeping at the same rate and the engines were still screaming loudly until we passed the 8,000 ft. mark. Then the plane started leveling out still losing another few hundred feet.

I have to admit that this is probably the scariest moment of my life, and I made it worse by not reading that damn altimeter right. There were about 26 crew members on board that plane that day, and most had no idea how many feet we dropped, except for those who had altimeters at their station. Of course everybody wanted to know what had just happened. The word came back that plane had come out of autopilot and dove. It took the pilot just seconds to get control, but it seemed like forever. And forever, I will never forget.

Just like that, 26 lives could have been lost into thin air, and nobody would have known what happened.

A true fact: I never used the honey bucket, NOT EVEN THEN!


Don't Sweat It

This ain't no S#!+... We had completed a rare daytime position fix of a typhoon that was just beginning to cut across the Philippines. We had originally departed from Sangley Point but the weather kept getting worse there so we turned east and headed for Guam after our last fix. For the aerographer and the weather officer, the work was done and they could sit back and relax as the aircraft droned on to Guam. Behind us a bright orange sun hovered just above the horizon. Ahead the darkening sky of evening.

The Weather Officer, a older sailor who had worked his way up the ranks to Warrant, had only a few weeks left on his tour. Just after we turned eastbound he stuck his head into the bubble window installed for the weather crew to get a better view of sky and sea. He looked back toward the setting sun, admired its beauty and began to sit up again but something caught his eye. It was a brown line coming off of number 2, the inboard engine on the port side. It was oil streaming straight back from the humming engine.

The Warrant Officer clicked his mike and calmly informed the cockpit, "Flight... Metro, we have oil coming out of number 2."

The Flight Engineer was an experienced Chief Petty Officer used to minor annoyances from the aircraft. He clicked his mike and replied with one word, "Roger."

The 19 other crew, listening in on the common communication line, thought that was that. It wasn't.

"Flight... Metro, it is a lot of oil." The line went quiet as the sun touched the top of the water.

Seconds passed and then a hiss as the Flight Engineer clicked the mike button. "Number 2 is running fine." Another click was followed by silence. Nineteen sets of ears perked up. Several minutes passed and just before the crew had started to forget the brief conversation between Weather and the Flight Engineer, there was another click on the circuit.

"Well Chief, I think you could come back and take a look."

A couple of seconds passed.

"Yes, sir," came back the tardy response.

The sun was half submerged below the horizon and sinking fast.

Site managers comment

Flight engineers typically treated events like this nonchalantly... probably to keep other crew members calm


The chief slide back his chair, unbuckled his belt and pushed up from his seat then turned, exited the cockpit, passed slowly by Radio and Navigation then the galley then on past the radars and finally arrived at Weather, near the tail of the plane.

"Take a look Chief," the Warrant Officer said as he pushed his chair back to give the Engineer room to lean into the bubble window.

The Chief bent and leaned into the bubble, then looked forward to number 2 and said, "hmmm" then turned and looked west to where the sun had just disappeared under the horizon and I think he said, "ahhhh" and may have smiled just a little as he viewed the fading orange horizon.

He stood up and turned to head back to the cockpit. The Weather Officer's question stopped him. "Well, what do you think, Chief?"

"I think it will be dark in a few minutes and you won't be able to see it anymore."

The Flight Engineer eventually feathered that engine but a few hours later, we landed on Guam, fueled the aircraft, topped off the oil tanks and cleaned the oil off the bottom of the plane. It was a dark, clear night and the stars were pretty.


Balut information.

The balut is a fertilized duck egg that has been incubated between 16 - 19 days; it contains a healthy living embryo. The balut is boiled for about 20 minutes (which kills the embryo and halts further development) and can be eaten as a snack food, or kept refrigerated up to one week for latter consumption.

For the non-Filipino, you must be open-minded, have an adventurous spirit and a desire to explore the unknown, these are essential to enjoy a balut. A combination of saltiness and tartness, softness and crunchiness, a sensation of sweetness, the degree of resistance to the bite, the viscosity and stickiness are the rewards to your palate.

The further into the incubation period that the embryo is allowed to develop the less viscous the contents and the features, feathers, beak and webbed feet, of the young duckling become more obvious.