PHOTOS AT IWAKUNI JAPAN SEPTEMBER 15, 1950
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The giant Martin "Mariners" of Fleet Air Wing Six operating from this aircraft tender have finally hit the Jackpot. Close to 8,500 hours of constant patrol flying payed off for the Air wing when Ensign Lee Houcins, USN, of 563 F Ave., Coronado, Calif., a 24 year old patrol plane commander of Patrol Squadron 47, spotted "a pretty long line of specks in the water." The "specks" proved to be 26 mines guarding the entrance to Chinnampo harbor, just twenty miles southwest of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. Houchins and his crew plotted the location of the field and then destroyed four of the "specks" before a rapidly rising tide covered the rest. THE NEXT DAY another plane of Fleet Air Wing Six was "on station" as the ebbing tide revealed the target. Lcdr. Robert L. Donley, USN, Coronado, Calif., and his crew went right to work and blew up seven more of the mines in a little over 35 minutes. Lieutenant Commander Donley, who has ten years of flying experience and wears the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with one gold star for Aleutian action with Patrol Squadron 42 in the last war, said "They are not hard to explode if you hit them just right, but you've got to hit them from a respectful distance. When they go up their splash sometimes goes a lot higher than we're flying. IN SUCCEEDING sorties, the flying boats of Fleet Air Wing Six destroyed 19 mines of the field and the seven left were carefully plotted and are not now considered a menace to United Nations vessels operating in the area. Lcdr. Randall T. Boyd Jr. of South Weymouth, Mass., still holds the "P" boat record for mine destruction with his tag of six mines in 30 minutes last Saturday in the Chinnampo area. Boyd, executive officer of Patrol Squadron 47, set his record despite very bad weather during his entire flight. "The water was so rough up there we only saw the mines in the trough of the swells. I had to make my runs parallel to the waves." Said Boyd describing the action. He added, "We had our own private shooting gallery up there while the mines lasted." THE GIGANTIC flying boats of the U.S. Navy Squadrons 42 and 47 and the Royal Air Force Squadrons 88 and 108 have again proven the value of having patrol aircraft with a mobile base and no need for landing strips. To date they have destroyed 38 mines and recently they have been plotting the mine fields they discover, and after crossing off the mines they destroy, dropping the chart to the deck of a mine sweeper operating in the area.
INFORMATION ABOUT VP SQUADRONS:
The first three are a few of the squadrons serviced by the Curtiss, others can be found on the VP Home Page.
I visited the Curtiss web page and found it very interesting. I wish I could contribute to it, but I never knew any of ship's company. We were flying PBY5s which was strictly a sea plane, so when we were not flying, the plane was tied up to a buoy the ship had set out. When on the water each plane had to have a minimum crew in order to get airbourne in an emergency. This consisted of a pilot, a mechanic and a radioman. The remainder of the crew was aboard the ship. I liked staying on the plane as we had bunks and a hot plate for cooking so I volunteered most of the time. I would take a sleeping bag up on the wing to sleep on. That worked out ok except when it rained.
Best of luck in your endeavor
TOP PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY FRANK BREITENSTEIN
(AF-1 WITH > VP-47 1950-1953).
THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO THE CREW MEMBERS AND SUPPORT CREWS OF THE SQUADRONS SERVICED BY THE USS CURTISS
I was attached to Vp_91 1942 and1943 and we operated from the Curtiss at Espritu Santo's. Sorry but I can't remember the exact dates. go to the following site www..vpnavy.com/vp91.html and keep scrolling down until you come to the Scarbrough Collection two pics of the crew I was in, I am third from the left ( Metcalf) For more info email PBYCAT@JUNO.COM ( George Winter) He was also in VP-91 and he is the Editor of UP_FLOATS. George is very knowledgeable about the Catalina Flying Boats. Bill Holeman a good friend of mine thought this info might be helpful, Bill is an ole Curtiss Sailor.
Sidney R. Metcalf
14215-123 Pecan Park El-Cajon, Ca. 92021
THESE FLYING BOAT PHOTOS BELOW, COLLECTED FROM THE INTERNET.