Archive for the 'Aircraft' Category

Jan 24

How the Navy Got a Hit Recruiting Video From Van Halen

Friday, January 24, 2020 5:06 AM

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In 1986, the band Van Halen was in transition. After scoring a major commercial success with the album 1984 that included their first #1 single “Jump”, the antics and overbearing personality of lead singer David Lee Roth had become too much for the rest of the band and they decided to part ways. Critics questioned if Van Halen could continue without the charismatic Roth serving as the frontman. The announcement that the “Red Rocker” Sammy Hagar would be Roth’s replacement was met with mixed reactions from fans. So it was a surprise to many when 5150, Van Halen’s first album… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 14

Flying Beer Trucks

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 10:04 AM

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In October 1944, I was with Marine Scout Bomber Squadron (VMSB) 142 stationed on Emirau Island, 1 degree south of the equator, in the northern Solomons. We were part of the force keeping the Japanese bases of Kavieng and Rabaul isolated. Training flights in our Douglas SBD Dauntlesses plus an occasional strike was the order of the day, as we waited for the Philippine liberation campaign to begin. I had noticed a small growth on the sole of my left foot that made it painful to walk on, and also painful to put pressure on the rudder pedal of the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 2

The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19

Monday, December 2, 2019 11:08 AM

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At 1410 hours on 5 December 1945, a group of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took off from the U.S. Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a routine overwater navigational training flight. The flight leader in charge of the unit, dubbed “Flight 19”, was U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Carroll Taylor, who had amassed some 2,500 flying hours in addition to the completion of a combat tour in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Taylor and his crew of 13 airmen, some trainee pilots, were to execute “navigation problem No. 1”, described by the Naval History and Heritage Command… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 21

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 4

Thursday, November 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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When last we left my grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck was settling into life at the Oran Naval Receiving station in Algeria. This was merely a stopping off point until he moved on to Tunisia where he joined the Auk Class minesweeper USS Sway (AM-120). This blog entry picks up on 16 May 1944. Tuesday May 16th Our convoy that went to Oran was bombed and they lost two Navy ships and five merchant. Guess we rate a star. First time we saw those French and English planes got scared. Nice ships. Played ball this A.M. Our crew against the Phillies. Beat… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 7

The Coal Barge at the Cradle of Naval Aviation

Thursday, November 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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AB-2 flying boat on Coal Barge No. 214

On 5 November 1915, Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin made history when he made the first underway catapult launch from a ship, the USS North Carolina (Armored Cruiser No. 12) in the Curtiss Model F flying boat AB-2—experimental work that ultimately led to the use of catapults today. Several months before, though, trials of the device were undertaken using a less auspicious craft—Coal Barge No. 214.

 
Oct 8

The Retro Bomb

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 12:01 AM

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Author’s note: The term “retro bomb” is used throughout this article in preference to the alternate “retrorocket” which to the modern reader might cause confusion. The later term was often used at the time this weapon was in service, as a retrorocket as we know it today had yet to exist. On 24 February 1944, Patrol Squadron VP-63 scored their first victory against a German U-boat, marking almost two years of development and use of their unique weapon, the retro bomb. Two of their PBY Catalina aircraft drove U-761 to the surface and forced its abandonment off Gibraltar. Weeks after… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 3

Operation Sea Orbit

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 12:01 AM

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At the end of a six month cruise to the Mediterranean, the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the cruiser, USS Long Beach (CGN-9) and the destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), the first three nuclear powered ships of the U.S. Navy made a five month sojourn around the world. The tour demonstrated the power and ability of these ships, without taking on fuel or provisions the ships could still be battle ready when they returned to home port. As the force sailed around the world, a firepower show was performed for dignitaries of the various countries. To accommodate the dignitaries, a viewing… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 25

We All Scream For Ice Cream: World War II and America’s Sweet Tooth

Thursday, July 25, 2019 12:01 AM

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It’s late July, and in Maryland and most of the United States, this month provides one certainty: it is hot. There are plenty of ways to combat the heat, from taking a swim to just staying indoors in the relative protection of air conditioning, but there’s one form of cooling off that never gets old for me, and that’s having an ice cream. Something about that first taste always transports me – if I don’t get a brain freeze – to other sunny afternoons and happy days, and I can never eat an ice cream on a hot day without… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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