I was discharged from the Army in 1941 and after aircraft training I enlisted in the Navy at age 21. Of course we were all consumed with anger about the attack on our country and we had great desire to avenge and protect our nation.
I was sent to boot camp in upstate N.Y. (Sampson Training Center) on Seneca Lake. After six weeks I was transferred to Memphis, TN for A School training, six mos. later I was sent to Pan Am base on Long Island, N.Y. for training on the PB2Y-3 Coronado flying boat.
Three months later I was transferred to NAS Alameda in California, there I was assigned to FAW 2 and a few weeks later I was flown out to the Marshall Islands where we supported VP-13 patrol squadron. We operated out of Kwajalein in the Marshall Atoll. It’s a small island about a ½ mile by 2 miles. Located there were Army anti-aircraft personnel with 90 mm guns for protection, also Marine fighters, Seabees and Navy, it was a very busy place. VP-13 was a patrol squadron search and patrol and support of the B-24's raiding nearby on Japanese held islands and Truk- the big Japanese naval base.
After six mos. here I was returned to NAS Alameda where I was assigned to Naval Air Transport system VR-2. I spent a few months in training and then was assigned to the Pacific operations. We flew from Alameda across the Pacific to the Philippines with staging stops at Johnston Island, Kwajalein, Saipan to Manila harbor at Cavite and Subic Bay on flying boats carrying high priority cargo and passengers. Crews were staged at each base and flew one leg at a time and the aircraft went on to Cavite where it returned to California. These aircraft were very slow, about 130 knots/140 mph. Alameda to Honolulu would average about 14 hours.
We had a crew of 10, 3 pilots, 2 navigators, 2 engineers, 2 radio operators and an orderly, five crew members were on duty at any one time. My job was flight engineer, I tended to the engines and fuel dispersion to the engines and had to coordinate fuel supplies with the navigator who was keeping a close eye on our positions on the flight track.
I always had a close relationship with Our Lord and His Mother, there were a few occasions where I talked to them.
When we heard the A(tomic) Bombs had been dropped and the War was over in August ‘45 we were all greatly relieved and thankful.
I finally was able to return home in December ‘45 to begin a new life.
Thanks again for your interest in our history and wonderful letter.