NAS Whidbey Island WA. 1946 Aleutian Flight Mission- Electronic Countermeasures(ECM) . Find Soviet Radars. Assemble, train flight crews for Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer Aircraft.
New information on PB4Y-2 BuNo 59645 has been added to this page. That 'new information' commemorates the crew that was flying BuNo. 59645 when the Soviets shot it down over the Baltic Sea during the Cold War. The pilot of BuNo. 59645 when it was shot down by the Soviets was named Fette. The connection that led to this addition was that Bureau Number 59645 was the PB4Y-2 Privateer aircraft in VP-107 assigned in the years 1946-48 to the author of these pages .
I also add the term RCM, for Radar Countermeasures. When South Pacific Navy flight crews flew the bomb raids beginning in 1943-44 against the war-expanded Japanese Empire, they needed to jam the Japanese radars to improve the success odds in the bomb raids.
Copyright 2013 Franklyn E. Dailey Jr.
Triumph of Instrument Flight
World War II had ended. Peace had come. The Soviet Union, a peace
signatory, began what Winston Churchill named, the "Cold War."
(For the story of how the U.S. Navy pioneered its Alaska air bases in the 1930s, go to Alaska Based Navy P2Y-1s in the left margin list of pages.) or just hit the link.
Winston Churchill, veteran British Cabinet officer in WW I, and Prime Minister (PM) with responsibilities for the British Empire in World War II, had been, along with his Conservative Party, peremptorily dismissed at the end of World War II by British voters. Clement Atlee, Britain's first Labor Party PM in many years succeeded him. Churchill came to America, the land of his mother, and gave a remarkable address at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.
The date was March 5, 1946. The locale was not a chance choice. Missouri was the home of Harry Truman, the U.S. President who had succeeded Franklin Roosevelt. Truman and Churchill had met informally while Truman was serving as Roosevelt's Vice President and had met in Europe as principals at the Potsdam Conference. Westminster is a prominent London locale. Churchill's historic address first introduced the U.S. public to the "Iron Curtain." Churchill then visited Washington for a series of talks. In "The Forrestal Diaries"(Viking Press), we find him on 10 March 1946 in James Forrestal's office. Forrestal was at that time the Secretary of the Navy and within a year he would be the first Secretary of Defense of the United States. Here is a portion of Forrestal's "Diaries" entry of that date:
"1. Russia: At three o'clock saw Churchill and was with him for an hour and a quarter. He was very gloomy about coming to any accommodation with Russia unless and until it became clear to the Russians that they would be met with force if they continued their expansion...."
"2. Task Force in the Mediterranean: He was very glad of our sending the Missouri (the U.S. battleship Missouri) to the Mediterranean but was very much disappointed when I told him that the plans to have this ship accompanied by a task force of substantial proportions had been abandoned...."
The effect of all this, at a much lower level.
So engrossed was I, fledgling pilot Franklyn E.Dailey Jr., in my effort to become a proficient Navy pilot, that a new era characterized by an Iron Curtain, and a Cold War, necessitating a military mission change from Anti Submarine Warfare to Electronic Countermeasures (ECM), hardly entered my mind.
Still, our Alaskan/Aleutian mission was not going to be ASW.
The mission was going to be ECM.
In the spring of 1946, a group of aviators and flight crewmen who had come from England, and the Azores, from the western Pacific, and from flight training bases in the United States, worked hard to form cohesive air units. The place that they gathered was the Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington. The island was located in the Puget Sound and the specific field they trained at was called Ault Field. Three PB4Y-2 "Privateer" squadrons were formed, each with nine planes, all assigned to Fleet Air Wing Four (FAW-4). This Fleet Air Wing was functioning in the North Pacific in World War II with PBY seaplanes at Dutch Harbor, and later when Attu and Kiska were retaken form the Japanese, the operation of PV-1 squadrons from Attu.
(The story of the beginning of U.S. Navy air squadron operations using P2Y-1 aircraft at Kodiak and Dutch Harbor, in the 1930s, is told in the book whose cover appears in the upper left. The PB4Y-2 Privateer squadrons' period in the Aleutians, rear-based at NAS Whidbey, beginning in 1946, is covered briefly here, and is covered in greater detail in that book. One objective in telling or retelling any part of this story here is to cover material that did not come to light until after June 1948, the author's last month in FAW-4.)
The three new PB4Y-2 Privateer squadrons were VP-107, VP-110, and VP-120. Schedules called for intensive day and night training flights to be conducted in preparation for departure from NAS Whidbey Island, Washington,. One squadron at a time, on 3-month rotation assignments, would take up forward deployment duties in the Aleutian Island chain, and be home based at NAS Kodiak. The mission would have no precedent, though no one realized it at the time. Navy patrol squadrons had a new mission. Electronic Countermeasures. ECM. It was not an announced mission, and for us it just grew slowly.
It was only later that I figured out that we were helping to define that new mission. I was assigned as a co-pilot for PPC Lt. Hugh Burris (he came from war duty at Dunkswell, England ,flying PB4Y-1s against the U-boats entering or leaving the Bay of Biscay), in VP-107, assigned to the crew of aircraft PB4Y-2 Bu. No. 59645. Our first sqadron deployment would be Sept. 1, 1946, and we would relieve VP-120 which had made its first deployment June 1, 1946. I have been fortunate that Malcolm Barker found this website, and has given me insights on VP-120 operations that corroborate (after the fact) my own notes used in preparattion of the book pictured above. Esnign Barker was not only co-piot/ navigator in VP-120, he was their Photo Officer.
Flight time and flight experience marked some of our pilots for selection as Patrol Plane Commanders. The remaining officers would share duty as co-pilots and navigators. The latter would also deal with the increasingly technical orientation of the new mission requirements. These men (I was in this group) had not been trained for these new mission requirements, but the experience they were about to gain would form the basis for training future men and women who would become the specialists that we not only did not have but did not even realize were missing. New billet requirements were being defined on the job.
For some of us, the operational flight experience that we gained in 1946-48 in the Aleutians came while we were really still learning to fly. At the Navy's patrol plane flight training bases at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Hutchinson, Kansas and then at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS, auxiliary to Pensacola) North Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, I had added to my small number of flight hours. These hours came as copilot and as navigator in the Navy's PB4Y-2 Privateer aircraft. When I arrived at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, my flight log showed that 404.6 flying hours had been accumulated in single engine, twin-engine and four-engine planes at six Navy air bases, all in training. I was now beginning operational flying for the first time.
Here are just a few more details on the PB4Y-2 aircraft in which my operational training had been conducted and in which I was now assigned for "real" flying. The Privateer with a single tail (technically, a single vertical stabilizer which supports the plane's rudder) had evolved from Consolidated Aircraft's famed Liberator with its four engines and twin tails. The "Y" in PB4Y-2 was the Navy's alphabet designation for planes manufactured by Consolidated (which later became Consolidated Vultee Aircraft, short named Convair), and the "P" indicated a patrol plane.
The Liberator, as originally configured for the U.S. Army Air Corps was, in Navy shorthand, a PB4Y-1. Both the 4Y-1 and the 4Y-2 were heavily defended with dual .50 cal. guns in nose and tail turrets, and crown and belly turrets. The Liberator engines had superchargers to take her to altitude. Significant changes were made to convert the Liberator to the Privateer and the Navy's 1944 intention was to optimize the new model as the best land-based, long range, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft that airframe, engine and electronics technology could create.
The Navy design, the PB4Y-2, in addition to the change to a single tail from the Liberator's twin tails, added twin .50 cal. turrets in the waists to replace the Liberator's single gun waist blisters. I do not recall that our flight crews on Aleutian duty ever fired one of those guns. To provide the same stability and rudder steering action of the twin tail Liberator, the Privateer needed a single high vertical stabilizer/rudder combination. Although both the Liberator and the Privateer were equipped with four Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines, design engineers had removed the Liberator's engine superchargers and replaced them (a weight replacement, not a functional one) with two stage blowers so that sustaining a 14,000-foot Air Traffic Control (ATC) assigned altitude clearance in a PB4Y-2 became a challenge whereas the Liberators regularly flew missions above 20,000 feet. The weight saved was quickly used up in other additions to the Navy patrol version of the aircraft. (with 'superchargers, piston engines employ air compressors to increase the mass flow rate of air into the cylinder which then can 'burn' more fuel and keep the engine producing more horsepower as an aircraft gets into higher altitude's more rarified air)
At NAS Whidbey, we inherited some of the North African based PB4Y-2 aircraft that made their World War II debut late in the European conflict. These had had their engine cowl flaps opened up so that the inside of the nacelles (nacelles are the front fairing that curves from vertical to horizontal, a sort of housing around a rotary aircraft engine) would stay cooler in the local desert heat. There were also screens in the engine intakes to keep sand out of those desert-based aircraft. For Alaskan deployments, a retrofit was issued to redesign those desert cowl flaps so that they would snug down to the nacelle and keep heat in for cold weather flying. The desert sand screens were removed. Conceding that the Privateer could not climb above weather as surely as the Liberator, when it was in the "soup" the Navy Privateer was the better instrument flight aircraft.
One feature that endeared the Privateer to its crews in Alaska was its hot wing anti-icing system. For this hot wing, the Privateer paid a weight price in the form of a heat exchanger, but for Aleutian flying it was a godsend. The result was an all weather aircraft, equipped with the best in flight instruments, radio and radar, and a P-1 (Bendix) autopilot. (Other manufacturers, like Sperry, who pioneered them, made autopilots. Bendix was a competent 'second source' for many automation components and joined the early ranks of computer manufacturers.)
The sight gauges for the main wing fuel tanks were on the forward side of the bulkhead that separated the bomb bay from the forward main cabin. They were on the port side of the hatch that led to the bomb bay. These were not electronic indicators or repeaters but old fashioned vertical glass tubes containing real aviation gasoline, the level of which told the crew the amount of fuel remaining. Most flight crews were always careful about gas fumes. Still, I have seen pilots take a Privateer off a runway and from my observer's position near the runway have seen the flash as a cigarette lighter was used to light a cigarette while the wheels were coming up. It always seemed to me that a plane should be at altitude in level flight and then at least a "smell" test should take place before the "smoking lamp" was lighted. In crew discipline according to our training, after leveling off and having the plane captain check for fumes, the pilot would announce that the "smoking lamp" was lighted and most pilots would add an oral precaution to be especially careful. We have read about a plane earlier in this story that seemed to always have "fumes." Thankfully, the Privateer was pretty good in that respect.
The Privateer could carry four self-sealing fuel tanks in the bomb bay, adding an extra 1200 plus gallons of aviation gasoline (avgas). With the wing tanks holding nearly 2400 gallons, the plane could top out just under 3600 gallons. For Aleutian flying, that gas capacity was the second best feature (after the 'hot' wing) of our PB4Y-2s. Its Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines used 100/130-octane aviation gasoline. We always carried the four bomb bay tanks and except for local familiarization "fam" flights, they were always topped off before we departed any base.
The Privateer also carried ECM (electronic countermeasure) equipment, originally installed as an adjunct to its ASW mission. This ECM equipment, an "extra" in ASW warfare, turned out to be the key to our future missions in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Our country had taken an increased interest in the Soviet Union and our forward flight area covered an important part of the Soviet geographic frontier. There is more detail on ECM equipment in the book.
Our crew's first flight from our U.S. base at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington to our deployment base at NAS Kodiak, Alaska gave us an inkling of the challenges to be faced in flight to the north. The immediate objective, to keep the plane and its crew aloft successfully, came fully home to me when I held the yoke on my first operationally deployed Privateer over Vancouver Island in 1946. Hugh Burris, the PPC (Patrol Plane Commander, the pilot in the left seat), informed me that he was going aft to see whether our #4 engine would have to be feathered. It had been giving hesitation indications accompanied by puffs of white smoke. The yoke is a multi-engine pilot's "stick." It is a stick with the bottom half of a circle attached to its upper extremity. It enables the pilot to control the position of the aileron and elevator flight surfaces. Rudder foot pedals control the rudder. The copilot of a dual control aircraft has flight surface controls identical to the pilot's.
Our aircraft had staggered up to just a 2000-foot clearance over Vancouver Island's rugged mountain range. We had had to maintain our takeoff configuration of half flaps all the way from Whidbey Island, Washington just to keep airborne. We were on instruments. The plane's allowed peak gross weight for takeoff was 65,000 pounds and we had taken off with about 67,000 pounds. As Material Officer for the squadron, I had personally allowed the over weight condition because a Naval Air Station based R4D (Navy designation for the Douglas DC-3) that was assigned to carry some of our squadron gear to Kodiak was down for maintenance. I did the "Weight and Balance" calculations and our aircraft was balanced OK but that did not tell the full story. What struck home to me with force in those moments was that Lt. Hugh B. Burris, USN, trusted me to fly the plane while he went back to look at a smoking (white smoke), sputtering Pratt & Whitney (P&W) R-1830 engine. As it turned out, the master cylinder's piston rod had failed. Burris made the decision to turn back, though he did not feather the engine because we were getting some useful power on #4 until just over the end of the runway on our landing flare out at Whidbey. At that point, the engine quit with a big puff of black smoke as fire engines raced down the runway behind us. Whidbey ceiling 700 feet, visibility 1 1/2 miles. My PPC out of a World War II Liberator squadron at Dunkeswell, England was one cool cookie. I was lucky to be flying with him. Our Navigator was Ensign Orville Hollenbeck, USNR, another very intelligent, serious and likable man. We were also blessed to have an experienced plane captain (crew captain) in Aviation Chief Machinist Mate (ACMM) Sellers. If any of the other crewmembers felt fear, it was not evident to me.
Ours had been the last plane in our squadron to leave for Kodiak. Navy 59645 was our number. Our hangar spaces at Whidbey had been vacated and another squadron had moved in. I strode back into our little family's living quarters, a half Quonset Hut, in flight suit and harness, holding my chest pack parachute under one arm. I was not expected home. After all, I had departed very early that morning on three months deployment. My wife Peggy looked at me and nearly fainted. She had never seen all that gear before and she assumed that I had parachuted from the plane.
There was a QEC (Quick Engine Change) for the R-1830 on an A-frame at NAS Whidbey and in a couple of days we would be on our way again. But, we took a different route, and again did not make it to Kodiak.
Pilot Burris, copilot Dailey, navigator Hollenbeck and plane captain Sellers joined in readying their plane for the second attempt to catch up with the other eight planes and crews of VPB-107 which had already arrived at NAS Kodiak, Alaska. The distress at finding our plane overloaded, needing half flaps, staggering over the mountains of Vancouver Island, Canada, with an engine spitting smoke, changed our flight planning for the second attempt. We were still overloaded. But we would now exit NAS Whidbey Island as the patrol plane we were designed to be, by flying low out through the Straits of San Juan de Fuca to the great Pacific Ocean. We had decent weather, about 1500 feet overcast, we passed Victoria B.C. on our starboard with Port Angeles, Washington to port. We saw the ferries that made regular trips between those two cities. After clearing the Strait, we turned northward just off the coast and over the water. Vancouver Island was on our starboard side, and we proceeded thence along the Queen Charlotte Islands, to a position off Annette Island, and there began the over water transit across the Gulf of Alaska direct to Kodiak.
For most of the way, the ceilings and visibility for this flight were much better than the ceiling and visibility we had for our first attempt. We had one spectacular land view after another. Abreast of Annette Island, we picked up an airways path to Kodiak. "Annette Airways, this is Navy 59645, heading for Kodiak." Burris climbed the plane to our assigned westbound altitude of 8,000 feet. There in a rare Gulf of Alaska atmosphere of Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited (CAVU) condition, we could see the Alaskan coastline to the north as it etched out the entire Gulf of Alaska. The Privateer is not a speedy plane, cruising about 160 knots, so crossing the Gulf to Kodiak would take about four hours if the prevailing westerlies were not too strong. And they were not on that day.
Just about on schedule, as we were getting our letdown instructions to Kodiak from Air Traffic Control (ATC), the Peninsula leading to the head end of the long chain of islands that would be our patrol region came into view. In that first sighting, we could see not just Kodiak Island, but the Naval Air Station Kodiak and its airfield. And its runways, a short one about North-South, and a longer one burrowed into the steep hills to the west. Clouds shrouded those steep hills, typical clouds that one sees around mountains. Hanging there, part of the decoration.
Then, in moments, like a beautiful mirage, fog rolled in and the whole scene simply disappeared. Kodiak had gone "instruments." We made a low frequency radio range approach. At the Puffin Island marker beacon, no runway was visible from the cockpit, so Hugh Burris executed a missed approach pull-up to the left and elected to proceed to our alternate at Elmendorf Field, the Army Air Base at Anchorage Alaska. I copied down our revised clearance to Anchorage.
Navy 59645 and its flight crew were now going to learn first hand why Anchorage, Alaska contained the alternate airport of choice for destinations at the east end of the Alaska Peninsula. (The island of Shemya and its long runway would become our preferred weather alternate at the west end of the Aleutian chain.) Proceeding northward, we made our checkpoints, mostly low frequency radio range stations or non-directional beacons. I recall Kenai and Homer as two of them. Elmendorf weather foretold an instrument approach there. The allure of that area for pilots, we would soon learn, was that it was rarely below minimums even though it did not boast outstanding weather for its ground inhabitants. During the outbound procedure turn on our instrument approach to Elmendorf, we broke under the overcast at about 2800 feet. It was raining but the visibility was good. We came on in and Burris made a beautiful landing. Eleven men had been 10.4 hours on their second attempt to deploy to their new operational base at Kodiak. That place began to seem elusive, and indeed even when we did get there it still threw challenges at us.
In the next illustration, the reader can see that the procedure turn is a prescribed maneuver in a low frequency radio range approach typical of the era. "High cone" denotes the start of the outbound leg away from the airfield and "low cone" denotes passage directly over the radio range station toward the airfield. "Low cone" sets cockpit eyes straining to see evidence of an airfield that should be directly ahead a defined number of miles or fractions thereof. Miles translates to minutes and seconds in the cockpit of an aircraft.
In most letdowns for this cockpit crew, the pilot in the left seat would make the instrument approach while the copilot would peer ahead and advise the pilot when he could clearly see the field. Then the pilot would "go contact" and make the landing while the copilot would go back to the gauges (pilots used the jargon "gauges" to mean instruments) to be prepared if anything went wrong and the plane had to make a pullup. For Kodiak, "pullups" or "go-rounds" had to be in progress long before the aircraft arrived at the edge of the instrument runway.
Illustration 12-Radio Range Letdown Chart (from the book)
It took another take-off, and another instrument approach back into Elmendorf, before we were finally aloft on a flight that led to an instrument approach and actual landing at NAS Kodiak, Alaska. On that approach, after passing the Woody Island marker in the soup, at the Puffin Island marker we broke underneath the clouds and finally saw our new home's instrument runway ahead, with PB4Y-2 #59645 in a position to land with wheels and flaps down. We had begun our odyssey on September 1, 1946 at NAS Whidbey Island Washington and had arrived at our Kodiak, Alaska destination on September 11, 1946.
We were airborne 2.3 hours for the engine-failure flight over British Columbia mountains on 1 September 1946. We logged 3.4 hours on a test flight of our new #4 engine at Whidbey on 5 September, and 10.4 hours on our second attempted flight to Kodiak on 7 September. The 10.4 hours included the run to our alternate at Anchorage, Alaska (Elmendorf AFB). Then, we were airborne 1.8 hours on the first flight out of Elmendorf for Kodiak during which air traffic control (ATC) turned us back, and finally spent 2.8 hours on the flight that actually got us from Elmendorf to Kodiak. Total flight time, NAS Whidbey to NAS Kodiak, was 21 hours.
So much for the fast pace of the aviation era. That was not an unusual sequence in Alaskan flying in the 1940s.
For my own new challenge of flying Alaskan weather, the focus had to be in the cockpit. Things were never going well enough on the flight deck to suit me. Fortunately, other officer and enlisted contemporaries with whom I became associated in Fleet Air Wing Four (this designation had evolved from the earlier nomenclature, PatWing Four) adapted more quickly and began to work our operational missions while I was still adapting to the instrument flight challenge.
Illustration 13 is a photo taken in the Aleutian skies with a fringe of "fair weather" Cumulus clouds in the background. It is borrowed from the book shown at the very top of this page.
Illustration13 -Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer (from the book; this a a plane flown by VPP-1, a photo squadron I helped introduce to Big Delta Field near Fairbanks, AK, for Alaskan photo mapping assignments.
An important global challenge had developed in 1945-1946. Although passive electronics equipment was aboard patrol aircraft by the latter months of World War II as an adjunct to and an assist to the anti-submarine warfare mission, the use of these aircraft primarily for such electronic surveillance missions was begun with no established protocols. The junior pilots just reporting to squadrons had little or no training in procedures for such missions. The pilots already there had no new mission training and very little briefing. It was not formally or informally apparent, therefore, to the officers and petty officers that U.S. Navy aviation patrol missions in 1946 were in a change period, with day to day adjustments as part of a new kind of conflict. That conflict became known as the Cold War. One author titled his piece on the subject, "Protracted Conflict." He had it right. We knew what our immediate flight objectives were and we knew from our briefings that these were often based on what the previous patrol, yesterday, had adduced. Flight routes and altitudes were part of a "try it, and then we'll see from your results what to do next." I did not as I completed operational training in PB4Y-2 aircraft at Pensacola's North Whiting Field have any inkling that my impending Aleutian flights were a part of missions in flux for all U.S. military forces in 1946.
Aleutian missions took us frequently across the 180th meridian, so crews took a short break to celebrate, and I have a "certificate" to prove it.
1944-45, VP patrols out of Luzon, in the Philippine Islands just retaken by MacArthur.
Let us go back in time to the retaking of the Philippines in WW II, and the years 1944-45. Squadron VPB-119 was flying radar countermeasures, RCM, flights out of Luzon, and Paul Deatherage, pictured below, was an Aviation Radio Technician 1/c, who sometimes manned the counteasures equipment on PB4Y-2 BuNo. 59411. His son, Dave Deatherage provided these next three photos, the first a collage.
A PB4Y-2 "Privateer" from VPB-119 flies radar countermeasures mission out of Luzon in the Philippines in WW II.
Patrol Plane Commander Lt(jg) John Fette USNR, and his radar countermeasures aircrew, assigned to PB4Y-2 BuNo. 59411 of VPB-119, flying from Clark Field on Luzon in the Philippines in World War II. Paul Deatherage occasionally flew with this aircrew.
A Sad Sequel for PB4Y-2 BuNo. 59645, and Pilot Navy Lt. John Fette and crew. (see names on the monument plaque below)
"I'm sending you better pics. The one I sent you with the plaque I had taken from the net just throw it away. Here are those I took during my first visit in 2005. You can see the monument much better here, the pictures are mine (Alessandro Nati Fornetti) and of course you can put them on your website.
The monument is along the shore in Liepaja, Latvia, exactly at 56°30'33.50"N, 20°59'28.23"E."
In italics above, is the first paragraph of an e-mail, sent to me on 01/18/2012, by Alessandro Nati Fornetti, a publisher in Italy. The entire "connection" that Alessandro Fornetti was able to make between a plane shot down over the Baltic Sea in 1950, and a plane I had flown as the assigned plane for my crew in the Aleutians June 1946-Oct. 19, 1947, was a total surprise to me. And, at first, to Alessandro. My last flight in 59645 was a memorable night flight from NAS Miramar (southern California) to NAS Whidbey Island (Washington State) and the log book remarks show "instruments, moderate icing." Flying in the left seat was Lt. Allan LaMarre. We had taken a 'five on top clearance' and the cloud layer buildup, as we got over Oregon, had forced us up to 12,500 feet. The aircraft began to wallow, lose heading and altitude. I checked the pilot, and he was slumped over. I took the controls and obtained a descent to 7,000 feet from Portland Approach Control.. Al had anoxia. He had passed out. The oxygen at 7,000 feet slowly brought him back and he resumed control for our landing at Whidbey.
My flight log book shows no flights in 59645 after that date. It was a tired bird by then, and I suspect it was flown back to rear base overhaul. From that date forward until June 3, 1948, PB4Y-2 BuNo. 66277 was the aircraft I flew most of the time.
In April 2005, Alessandro Fornetti and girlfriend traveled to Latvia. While there, Alessandro discovered a monument, and took the beautiful pictures below. In early 2012, Alessandro discovered this web page ,and learned that I had been a co-pilot of PB4Y-2 BuNo. 59645, just two years before that plane, now assigned to another Navy squadron, had returned to Port Lyautey, Morocco, to begin a fateful journey to Wiesbaden, Germany, and there to get airborne on its final flight.
(Malcolm Barker, another NAS Whidbey Island Privateer pilot, separately from me, had just made the "connection" between an event in Latvia Iin 1950, and the plane to which I had been assigned as copilot for most of my three Aleutian tours. (The first tour my PPC was Lt. Hugh Burris, the second tour with a PPC named "Junior" Johnson, and the final tour with PPC and Commanding Officer of VP-107, CDR Edward T. Hogan USN. ) more about Ed Hogan, near the end of this page
Here, a sequence of three photos taken by Alessandro Nati Fornetti in 2005, to mark his discovery of an event of 1950 that Latvians cherished, so they marked it with conspicuous care, on its 50th anniversary.
This monument, erected at Liepaja, Latvia, dedicated in 2000, to mark the 50th anniversary of the date that a U.S. Navy flight crew in PB4Y-2 Privateer, BuNo. 59645, was shot down over the Baltic Sea by Soviet fighter planes in 1950. 2005 Photo by Alessandro Nati Fornetti.
Next another photo taken by Alessandro Nati Fornetti, again in 2005, showing the bronze figure at the top of the monument at Liepaja, Latvia.
Next below, a photo of the plaque on the Liepaja Latvia monument, honoring the U.S. Navy flight crew of PB4Y-2 BuNo. 59645, shot down over the Baltic Sea by Soviet fighter aircraft, in 1950. Photo taken by Italian publisher Alessandro Nati Fornetti. Flight crew names are clearly visible.
Back to the Aleutians, 1948, completion of my ECM duties as a pilot in VP-107 and a happier event.
Next, two photos as U.S. Navy patrol plane squadron VP-107 (aka VP-H/L7 and VPB-107 at various times), returns from deployment at NAS Kodiak AK, to NAS Whidbey Island Washington's Ault Field on June 3, 1948 in a 7 hour flight from Kodiak. This had been the author's third deployment with that squadron and shortly after I received orders back to the East Coast for PG School. Both PB4Y-2s in the photo belong to VP-107, and the one on the right from which the author has just deplaned, is PB4Y-2 Bureau Number 66277. This photo is in the book. My log book also has a pasted-in-paper, with Squadron seal imprinted, affirming that I was a designated PP:C for this type aircraft.
Above, the author, after deplaning from PB4Y-2 Bu.No. 66277, after it landed at NAS Whidbey I. returning from NAS Kodiak AK. The aircraft is the one on the right in this photo, taken by the author's wife, Mrs. Franklyn E. Dailey Jr. ('Peggy'-now 92 years young.)
Pilot Franklyn E. Dailey Jr. meets his sons, Frank III (right) and Michael (left), on the ramp at Ault Field, NAS Whidbey I. Wash., after the return flight from his last deployment to NAS Kodiak AK in PB4Y-2 Bu. No. 66277, June 3, 1948. This photo was also taken by the author's wife, Peggy.
This ends some details here on Privateer deployments to the Aleutians 1946-1948. The book pictured at the top of this page contains a more detailed account of those deployments. There is an Order Book link under the cover picture. The only aircraft identified in my book by Bureau Number for Aleutian deployments was 59645, although when that plane was down for maintenance I did fly other Privateers on operational flights.
How World War II advanced the art of instrument flight.
If I had maintained strict chronological discipline, the next paragraphs would have come before my own experience flying Privateer aircraft BuNo. 59645, touched on above. In writing of the advent of instrument flight, the main theme of my book, I covered Operation Bolero which involved B-17s being flown to Britain for the war effort, and having a P-38 on each quarter, tagging along. Such operations and then operational bomb flights over Germany, forced pilots to become instrument skilled as a byproduct of their missions.
The military patrol plane and bomber pilots of World War II, and their advanced design aircraft, with almost no recognition at all, had revolutionized long duration flying under instrument conditions. That was not their objective. They had to get there, and they had to get back. Getting back was often complicated by damage from hostile flak or from enemy fighter plane engagements. Adding to the complication for many of those missions was a home base in England under solid cloud cover often extending right to the ground. So, now add a side trip to an "alternate" landing field, often a strange landing field. The pilot flight skills contributing to advances in the art of aviation have been largely obscured because those advances were secondary to military objectives. I have not seen even belated recognition for performance these men and women claimed no credit for. Their sheer numbers and the scope of the training systems that prepared them, helped propel civil aviation into a 50-year period of unprecedented growth covering the last half of the twentieth century..
By 1941, on the North Atlantic rim, patrol plane pilots from bases in the Azores, England, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and the New England States had begun flying countless monotonous hours that included minutes and seconds of bravery and terror. Takeoffs and landings were more than likely to be on instruments. Add fuel and pilot exhaustion in malfunctioning or AA-damaged aircraft systems, a terminal destination below aircraft landing ceiling and visibility minimums, and the record of triumph over adversity is an enviable one. U.S. Army, Navy and Coastguard airmen and their British and Canadian counterparts from Coastal Command made impressive contributions to the Anti Submarine Warfare effort against the U-boats. Many paid with their lives. When Admiral Doenitz ordered his submarine commanders to stay surfaced in groups for passage across the Bay of Biscay, he equipped his U-boats with AA guns and ordered anti-aircraft gunnery resistance to our ASW aircraft. The heavily armed Liberators would go in guns blazing during a depth charge run. Many times both aircraft and submarine combatants met their end.
This record is summarized well by author Clay Blair. In Volume II (1942-1945) of Hitler's U-boat War, author Blair writes, "But with the perfection of centimetric-wavelength radar, which was installed in big four-engine long-range bombers such as the B-24 Liberator, the B-17 Flying Fortress and the British Halifax, land-based aircraft vaulted to top rank as U-boat killers. According to Alex Niestle (a published German scholar), "they sank unassisted 204 U-boats and 30 more in cooperation with surface ships, a grand total of 234, nearly a third of all German losses at battlefronts.....All told, Allied warships were involved in 282 U-boat kills." For the entire statement, consult Blair's "Afterword," headed by the line, "Finally, a few words about the aircraft as a U-boat killer." This appears on page 710 of of Blair's Volume II.
What is not stated in those excellent war histories, simply because it was taken for granted, was that the military pilots of the ASW aircraft flying out of the British Isles, Iceland and Greenland, Canada and the Azores built up extraordinary instrument flight experience. A great deal of this experience would be fed directly back into the U.S. airline industry. Notwithstanding the attraction of airline flying, some of those pilots enjoyed military life and when given an opportunity to go "regular Navy," for example, chose that option.
By late 1944 and 1945, the B-24 became available in Navy models, first as the PB4Y-1 externally like the Liberator, and then the PB4Y-2. It was in the PB4Y-1 over the North Atlantic that my first Alaskan Patrol Plane Commander (PPC) attained his early instrument flight experience. In Alaska, two years later, he would be confronting north Pacific rim deployments, particularly flight in the Aleutians. For him, this involved a second major tour with long periods of instrument flying. At our deployment base, NAS Kodiak, Alaska, he and I as his copilot, first flew operational missions in the PB4Y-2 aircraft. That aircraft's main configuration changes from the 4Y-1 model have been covered earlier.
For the first two (1946, then 1947) three month tours north to our advanced base at NAS Kodiak AK, our VP-107 Commanding Officer (CO) was Cdr. "Hank" Heselton. For the final tour, our CO was Ed Hogan. Ed and I shared 'seat time' in PB4Y-2 BuNo. 59645 and we partnered well in the cockpit. Ed and I joined up again while in the Washington DC area on shore duty, so managed to get some flight time together in the JRB, the Navy version of the D-18 Beechcraft. He and I had our closest call ,not in the Aleutians, but in a whopper of a storm that hit NAS Brunswick, GA, just as we took off for Anacostia. Details are in the book. So, I got to know and admire this man. I have just one memento with his signature on it.
CDR Edward Thomas Hogan U.S. Navy
DOB: January 4, 1918.....DOD: August 21, 1981
Married Mary Louise Hall on August 15, 1943 (she was an Army nurse from Louisville, Kentucky; they met in Australia during the war)
May 1938: Graduated from Milliken University, BS in Administrative Engineering.
July 5, 1938: Seaman, 2nd Class USNR
November 3, 1938: took oath as an Aviation Cadet
September 30, 1939: Became Naval Aviator
November 1, 1939: Received single-engine pilot's license
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Between these red dotted lines, Lindsay Garrison adds more information on her grandfather, naval officer Ed Hogan. See below these listings of Ed Hogan's assignments.
March 1941: Ensign E.T. Hogan, USNR to USN
April 5, 1941: Ordered to Office of Naval Intelligence. (ONI)
April 11, 1941: Reported to ONI, Washington D.C.; subsequently assigned to U.S. Embassy, London, to work as Naval Observer.
May 10, 1941: Added assignment for flight duty with Royal Air Force Coastal Command, Lough Erne, Ireland.
May 10-15, 1941: Instruction, familiarization flights in PBY Catalina Aircraft for RAF pilots in Ireland, for patrol and anti-submarine duty.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
December 1941: Reassigned to Pacific Fleet, saw "considerable action" against Japanese.
October 21, 1944: Based at NAOTC Jacksonville as LCDR USN; ordered report to NAS Hutchinson, KS.
1945: Completed advanced training in Hutchinson, KS. daughter, Marsha, born.
1947: Completed advanced patrol plane training at NAS North Whiting Field, Florida
1947: Completed general line school in 1947 at Newport, R.I.
Oct. 3, 1947: Appointed Commanding Officer of VP-HL-7 at NAS Whidbey Island, WA under FAW-4
March, April, May 1947 squadron deployed to NAS Kodiak, Ak
(VP-H/L7 became VP-27 in '48) still home based at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington under FAW-4.
March 19, 1948: son, Patrick, born in Seattle.
Feb. 1949: Deployed with VP-27 to Kodiak, Alaska.
July 1, 1949: Detached from duty as C.O. of VP-27
April 1, 1950: appointed rank of Commander USN
1950: Completed a guided missile course at Ft. Bliss TX
1951: daughter, Debbie born
1951-1954: overseas duty in Korean War; family remained in Mobile, AL.
1954- June 1955: Commanding Officer Airborne Early Warning Squadron Three (VW-3) on Guam Island in the Mariana Islands.
1955-1960: Exec. Officer, AIRDEVRON One (VX-1) Squadron based at NAS Boca Chica, Key West FL.
Feb. 1 1960: Retired from Navy.
Feb. 1960: Moved to Dallas, TX; employed as an engineer for Texas Instruments (whose equipment he'd been testing in the Navy while serving with VX-1.)
Fall 1961: Enrolled in courses toward a Masters in Mathematics at SMU, paid for by the Navy.
1968: Lived in Austin, TX; worked as "engineer/scientist" for Tracor, Inc.. (First of two listings for Ed Hogan , a life outline)
Now from a second e-mail from granddaughter Lindsay Hogan Garrison, more on Ed Hogan from an earlier part of his naval career.
Hi Frank, (02/17/2012)
It's so great to hear from you! I really enjoyed reading your additions about the fate of the particular plane (PB4Y-2 BuNo. 59645) you and my grandfather, Ed Hogan, once flew - how neat that Mr. Fornetti sent you those pictures. It adds another thread to the fascinating tale you weave about the evolving change in mission strategy during the Cold War. Thanks so much for sending this along -my family and I certainly appreciate it!
I've been looking through my grandfather's papers for anything about that mid-air re- fueling you mentioned. I haven't found anything about that specifically yet, but I will definitely keep looking.
There is quite a collection of material, all from the history project he was working on when he died. I don't remember if I mentioned it to you, but in the late 1970s, Ed began working on writing a history of US Naval Aviators involved in the "secret war" - referring to the U.S. military's aid and intelligence efforts for and with Britain before formal declaration of war in December 1941. This was all part of Ed's work as a "Naval Observer" with the Royal Air Force (RAF) Coastal Command for the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence in 1940. It was part of a critical turn in the fight against the Nazis, strengthening Churchill's forces considerably as the British Navy was struggling against the German U-boats and warships; the American PBY Catalina pilots, including Ed, working with the RAF at that time in fact played a crucial role in the search, identification, and sinking of the German warship Bismarck, long heralded by historians as a major turning point in the war. However, as Ed began writing about it, these U.S. Naval Aviators were never recognized for their involvement, because disclosing their missions "could have placed them in jeopardy of charges of violation of the U.S. Neutrality Act," given that war had not yet been officially declared at the time of their service.
One portion of Ed's focus in this project was the role of the PBYs they flew then - the Navy sold the UK several PBYs in 1940 (Lend-Lease), and part of Ed's job with the RAF was to teach the Brits how to fly them (while also collecting & reporting info for the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence about the war effort, so FDR could know what he was getting into should America decide to enter the war). He wrote about the plane's great range & how its' 22-30 hour endurance gave the British an enormous advantage in surveillance & reconnaissance, and that the first operational use of radar was on a PBY. I found one document where he mentions the fact that adding wheels to the fuselage later in WWII "ruined the excellent capabilities" of the PBY by cutting its' range by 1/3 or more. So, it's possible that he also wrote something about his involvement in trying to maintain the plane's range after that modification by refueling in mid-air, but I haven't come across anything like that yet.** I'm happy to scan & send anything I find that you might be interested in.
Anyway, thanks again for sending the updates. My family and I had a great time reading them. I hope you are doing well!
All the best, Lindsay Hogan Garrison **
**Ed Hogan told Frank Dailey of the effort made from an Aleutian base to refuel a PBY from a PB2Y Coronado (4-engine Consolidated seaplane) in the air, to give the PBY gas to get to Paramashiro and back. Ed never spoke a word to Frank Dailey, his co-pilot in a VP-107 PB4Y-2 Privateer while on Aleutian duty ,about any clandestine naval intel work that he, Hogan, had done while attached to the U.S. Embassy in Britain before the entry of the U.S. in World War II.
Some personal reflections on Aleutian flying by Franklyn E. Dailey Jr. Capt. USNR (Ret.) comment always welcome
The Aleutians, along with some Search & Rescue missions over cruel waters or grim terrain, was a challenge for pilots and aircrews.. Always "all weather." "Strength Five Bartows please!" "Tower, please report runway braking action." "You have it GCA!" Fortunately, some others in my new environment had a better appreciation for what was happening and eventually, I caught on.
65 years have now passed since the men of the first "tours of duty" following the end of World War II patrolled the air over ocean waters in their attempt to obtain the earliest possible knowledge of activities that might someday lead to confrontation with the United States. In the North Pacific, if we allow two years for a Whidbey Island serviceman's tour of duty, more than 25 sequential "tours," with complete changeovers of personnel have occurred. This spans a period begun by the last man in my squadron to go home in 1948 to the first man or woman to join a new millennium squadron at NAS Whidbey in a deployment rotation. With two or three squadrons at a time in that rotation, and nine planes per squadron, each squadron with 250 men and women, the rough calculation suggests that 20,000 of our military personnel have kept "watch" in the Pacific on just this one mission. Countless, boring flight hours have gone into thousands of logbooks. Death and tragedy have struck at takeoff, at landing, and during those long, long patrol hours. the Privateers had excellent flight performance records.
Or, consider the families involved. Almost three generations of U.S. service families are represented. Only the quiet sense of accomplishment shared by those who served and those who remember those who served, constitute the reward. Navy patrol squadrons at NAS Brunswick, Maine with forward bases in Iceland, have matched that achievement over the North Atlantic. And Connies (Lockheed Constellation aircraft) in the Dew Line along with U.S. Air Force interceptors in revetments along our coasts, always ready to scramble, have been another major part of these most obscure of all missions. All this has transpired for just one objective, to keep from getting surprised.
An important step in the organization of our defense forces occurred when the United States Air Force became independent of the United States Army. Long before this formal separation took place, as far back as World War II and earlier, the operational capability presented by the Army Air Corps segment of our armed forces was projected as an air force. I have not made any effort to examine any nuances in capability and acknowledge the possibility that I might occasionally have used out of date nomenclature in this story.
Eleven U.S. Presidents have gone to Congress 55 times seeking support of military budgets that include the aviation mission requirements that developed right after World War II. The aviation component of those postwar budgets have been presented, as budgets are designed to do, as a component of military activities "going forward." Interestingly, the budget battles that have found a President and a Congress in sometimes bitter and always well chronicled debate are sometimes better remembered than the operational activity those budgets supported.
Our preoccupation with Congress and budget confrontations tends to obscure what our Department of Defense budgets provide in forward areas. Partisan political battles make us weary. It is almost understandable that we then take so little opportunity to learn what constant vigilance means to our country and to the men and women who serve it.