Never forget those who have given ALL!

February 7, 2016

EC-121 No. 21 Intel Recon Navy AC at DaNang in March of 1969. Within a couple of Weeks, this Recon Aircraft was pulling Missions in the Sea of Japan along the North Korean Coast. On April 15th, 1969 – This Aircraft, with All 31 Crew Members was Ambushed and Shot Down by Two MiG21 Aircraft that had Vectored off the Sea Deck Into a Perfect Intercept Path and Shot This Aircraft Down. There were no Survivors. Although these Troops had spent more than Nine Months Flying Missions off of North Vietnam – The Shoot Down and the Deaths of All 31 Did Not Account for any Names on the Wall.

Aviation Machinist’s Mate Second Class Balderman was a member of the crew of an EC-121 surveillance aircraft, serving with the U.S. Navy. On April 15, 1969, while on a surveillance mission over the Sea of Japan in support of the Korean truce, his aircraft was shot down. All 31 crewmen were reported missing. He was presumed dead on May 2, 1969. Aviation Machinist’s Mate Second Class Balderman was awarded the Purple Heart and the National Defense Service Medal.

Nalderman was not supposed to be on the mission that day. As fate would have it, he filled in for a fellow crewman who couldn’t make the flight for whatever reason.

The only two bodies recovered were that of AT1 Richard E. Sweeney and LTJG Joseph R. Ribar.

Concerning this incident, someone noted “Johnny Walker was feeding the russians code cards. The North Koreans had Captured the Kryto Comm Systems aboard the Pueblo, and the Mission of the EC-121 over the Sea of Japan was compromised with the Reading of the mission status before it began. Those MiG’s were Vectored into a perfect setup, and they had never been able to pull that off Prior to the shoot down of this aircraft.

Lest We Forget – April 15th, 1969”

Another noted, “Lost Soldiers of the Cold War Were Not Common – “In The Public”. Our Recon Missions Over Russia after WWII and During the Korean War are Not Known by 98% of our American Citizens. The Reports have finally been declassified, however they are not publicized to any extent. Here’s a Real Surprise for You:


Can you imagine Americans in Russian Prison Camps, and their family members being told that they crashed at Sea – unrecovered and all the while – Being held in a Russian Gulag… I recently met one of those fellows that flew on those B-52 missions, and he confirmed the information on the above site is true.”

There are a lot of secret warriors that paid the price and no one knows about.

R. I. P.  A grateful nation will never forget you and thanks you for your service and great sacrifice!






We lost a dear friend last night.

December 2, 2015
We are sad to report that our dear friend, Burdell O. Cobb, a retired Chief Aviation Machinist Mate, Pearl Harbor survivor and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. He was an exceptionally honorable, loyal, generous-of-heart man and we will miss him dearly.  Our prayers are with his family and community and we ask you to please remember them in yours.

We thank and honor this extraordinarily great man for his service and sacrifice to our nation.  RIP, dear friend.


Burdell_closeupAR-140709802U.S. Navy photo by Theresa GoldstrandCommand Master Chief Charles Grandin, third from right, and the China Lake Chiefs Association honor retired Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Burdell O. Cobb during a flag raising ceremony June 27 at China Lake. Cobb, a Pearl Harbor survivor and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, was recently in Ridgecrest visiting family.

NAWCWD honors Pearl Harbor survivor


By Theresa Goldstrand
Posted Jul. 8, 2014 at 12:48 AM

Retired Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Burdell O. Cobb, is a Pearl Harbor survivor and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, was honored June 27 with a flag raising ceremony at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.  “It’s great to be here,” Cobb said. “Thank you. I’m overwhelmed.”  When NAWS Command Master Chief Charles Grandin learned that Cobb was visiting, he and the China Lake Chief Petty Officers’ Association arranged the honorary flag raising ceremony.  “We wanted to honor Chief Cobb for his contribution to our country,” said Grandin. “He is an inspiration to us all.”

Cobb was in Ridgecrest visiting his sister, Lorene Carter, and family. Family members included Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division employees Howard Wise, Denise Wise and Kary Thomas.  An Arkansas native, Cobb was stationed at Ford Island with the VJ-1 PBY squadron. According to a previously recorded account, on Dec.7, 1941, Cobb had just reported to duty for the 8 .m.-to-noon watch. He saw smoke from fires across the channel at Pearl Harbor and called in a fire alarm. At the same time, a wave of “low flying Japanese fighter planes strafed the area.”  Cobb fired his 45 pistol into the belly of a passing aircraft. It caught afire, circled and dove into the deck of a nearby ship. The resulting fire was quickly extinguished by the ship’s crew.

His account can be seen at:

https://aviationdave.wordpress.com/page/2/ .

Cobb was later assigned to squadron VJ-2.He served as a flight engineer in Okinawa. Cobb was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal. It is awarded for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. Cobb served with Patrol Squadron Forty-Six (VP-46) in Korea between June 27 to Nov. 19, 1950.  In 1959, following the end of the Korean conflict, Cobb was transferred to Dodge City, Kansas. He served as a Navy recruiter. After 22 years of service, Cobb retired in 1962.


Distinguished Flying Cross

See more recipients of this award
Awarded for actions during the Korean War

(Citation Needed) – SYNOPSIS: Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Burdell O. Cobb, United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while serving with Patrol Squadron FORTY-SIX (VP-46), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 27 June to 19 November 1950.

General Orders: All Hands (February 1953)

Action Date: June 27 – November 19, 1950
Service: Navy
Rank: Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate
Company: Patrol Squadron 46 (VP-46)



December 7, 2013






We Remember…

December 7, 2013



People: Stand When The Flag Passes By

April 30, 2009

veteran_the-flagThat flag is more than just a piece of cloth.

People!  Stand up and honor the flag when it passes by.  Pay your respect to it and never forget all that it stands for!  A high price has been paid for that flag… paid for by the blood and sweat of patriots.


Classic Douglas Advertisements

April 12, 2009


Above is a vintage print ad from a 1948 Saturday Evening Post. It is for “Douglas Aircraft Company, DC-6spacious comforts are yours aboard this finest air transport!” The ad consists of a black and white illustration showing the inside of the plane with the passengrers as well as a small shot of the passengers loading.

douglas-d6_around-the-world-ad1In the next hour:  5 Times Around the World! “Twice as many people fly Douglas as all other airplanes combined!”

douglas-logo-ad1You too CAN depend on Douglas!



mcdonnald-douglas_jetland_ad1965 Douglas DC-8 Aircraft Ad JETLAND MAGIC WORLD

douglas_borg-warner_ad1954 BORG WARNER AIRCRAFT ad DOUGLAS DC-7 AIRLINER


The Douglas C54 Army Transport (DC-4)

April 3, 2009

douglas-c54_transportThe Douglas C-54 (R5D) “Skymaster”

The Douglas C-54 (designated R5D by the U.S. Navy) was the military variation of the DC-4 four-engine commercial transport. It was the first four-engine transport to enter USAAF service. The USAAF accepted a total of 1,164 Skymasters from 1942 to 1947. Its maximum load capacity was 28,000 pounds of cargo or 49 passengers.

Although it served with the USAAF as a transport, the C-54 made history when it became the first “official” presidential transport aircraft (Air Force One). Known as “The Sacred Cow,” it was built in 1944 for use by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. One special feature was an elevator behind the passenger cabin to lift the President in his wheelchair in and out of the plane. The passenger compartment included a conference room with a large desk and bullet-proof picture window. President Roosevelt made his first and only flight in this aircraft traveling to Yalta, in the USSR, in February 1945. For security reasons, the tail number on the aircraft was changed for this flight. After Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, the “Sacred Cow” remained in presidential service during the first 27 months of the Truman Administration. On 26 July 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 while on board the “Sacred Cow.” This act established the Air Force as an independent service, making the “Sacred Cow” the “birthplace” of the U.S. Air Force. It was later assigned to other transport duties and was eventually retired in October 1961.

During the Berlin Airlift in 1948, every C-54 the USAF had was pressed into service to supply the isolated city. Many C-54s were later converted into litter-carrying planes for use during the Korean Conflict, returning 66,000 patients to the United States.

In later years, Douglas developed the XC-112, a pressurized version of C-54E Skymaster military transport. It had a longer fuselage, larger rectangular windows in place of circular portholes, and four 2,100 hp Pratt and Whitney R-2800-34 radial engines. After testing, this aircraft entered commercial service as the DC-6 and military service as the C-118 Liftmaster.


Designation:   Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4)
Classification Type:  Transport
Contractor:   Douglas Aircraft Company – USA

Country of Origin:   United States
Initial Year of Service:  1942
Number Built:

The C for Cargo designation for Army transport aircraft was originally introduced in May of 1924.

There were two series of C-planes, one beginning in 1924 and ending in 1962, and another one beginning in 1962 and continuing to the present day.

The word ubiquitous has been associated with a number of aircraft in wide-scale use during World War II, but the most ubiquitous of all has to be the Douglas DC-3/C-47 Skytrain. This superlative wartime transport aircraft, produced in greater numbers than any other in this category, with almost 11,000 manufactured by the time production ended in 1945, but whatever name you choose, it can be spelled ‘dependable’, for this was the secret of the type’s greatness and enduring service life.

Its design originated from the DC-2/DST/DC-3 family of commercial transports that followed in the wake of the DC-1 prototype which flew for the first time on 1 July 1933. The US Army, had gained early experience of the basic aircraft after the acquisition of production DC-2s in 1936, followed by more specialised conversions for use as cargo and personnel transports. In August 1936 the improved DC-3 began to enter service with US domestic airlines, its larger capacity and enhanced performance making it an even more attractive proposition to the US Army, which very soon advised Douglas of the changes in configuration which were considered desirable to make it suited for operation in a variety of military roles. These included the provision of more powerful engines, a strengthened rear fuselage to cater for the inclusion of large cargo doors, and reinforcement of the cabin floor to make it suitable for heavy cargo loads. Much of the bagic design work had already been completed by Douglas, for a C-41 cargo prototype had been developed by the installation of 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines in a C-39 (DC-2) fuselage. Thus, when in 1940 the US Army began to issue contracts for the supply of these new transport aircraft under the designation C-47, the company was well prepared to meet the requirements and to get production under wily. The only serious problem was lack of productive capacity at Santa Monica, where European demands for the DB-7 light bomber had already filled the factory floor, resulting in the C-47 being built in a new plant at Long Beach, California.

Initial production version was the C-47, of which 953 were built at Long Beach, and since the basic structural design remained virtually unchanged throughout the entire production run, this version will serve for a description of the structure and powerplant. Of all-metal light alloy construction, the cantilever monoplane wing was set low on the fuselage, and provided with hydraulically operated split type trailing-edge flaps. The ailerons comprised light alloy frames with fabric covering. The fuselage was almost circular in cross-section. The tail unit was conventional but, like the ailerons, the rudder and elevators were fabric- covered. Pneumatic de-icing boots were provided on the leading edges of wings, fin and tailplane. Landing gear comprised a semi-retractable main units which were raised forward and upward to be housed in the lower half of the engine nacelles, with almost half of the main wheels exposed. The powerplant of the C-47 comprised two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp engines, supercharged to provide an output of  l,050 hp (783 kW) at 7,500 ft (2285 m), and each driving a three-blade constant-speed metal propeller. The crew consisted of a pilot and co-pilot/navigator situated in a forward compartment with the third member, the radio operator, in a separate compartment.

The all-important cabin could be equipped for a variety of roles. For the basic cargo configuration, with a maximum load of 6,000 Ibs (2722 kg), pulley blocks were provided for cargo handling and tie-down rings to secure it in flight. Alternative layouts could provide for the transport of 28 fully-armed paratroops, accommodated in folding bucket type seats along the sides of the cabin or for 18 stretchers and a medical team of three. Racks and release mechanism for up to six parachute pack containers could be mounted beneath the fuselage, and there were also under fuselage mountings for the transport of two three-blade propellers.

The first C-47s began to equip the USAAF in 1941, but initially these were received only slowly and in small numbers, as a result of the establishment of the new production line at Long Beach which, like any other, needed time to settle down to routine manufacture. With US involvement in World War II in December 1941, attempts were made to boost production, but in order to increase the number of aircraft in service as quickly as possible DC-3s already operating with US airlines, or well advanced in construction for delivery to operators, were impressed for service with the USAAF.

As Douglas began to accumulate contracts calling for production of C-47s in thousands, it was soon obvious that the production line at Long Beach would be quite incapable of meeting requirements on such a large scale, so a second production line was established at Tulsa, Oklahoma. The first model to be built at Tulsa was the second production version, the C-47A, which differed from the C-47 primarily by the provision of a 24 volt, in place of a 12 volt electrical system. Tulsa was to build 2,099 and Long Beach 2,832 of the type, 962 of them being delivered to the RAF which designated them Dakota IIIs. Last of the major production variants was the C-47B, which was provided with R-1830-90 or -90B engines that had two-stage superchargers to offer high altitude military ratings of 1,050 hp (783 kW) at 13,100 ft (3990 m) or 900 hp (671 kW) at 17,400 ft (5305 m) respectively. These were required for operation in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre, in particular for the ‘Hump’ operations over the 16,500 ft (5030-m) high Himalayan peaks, carrying desperately needed supplies from bases in India to China. Long Beach built only 300 of the model, but Tulsa provided 2,808 C-47Bs plus 133 TC-47Bs which were equipped for service as navigational trainers. The UK was to receive a total of 896 C-47Bs, which in RAF service were designated Dakota IV.

The availability of such large numbers, in both US and British service, meant that it was possible to begin to utilise the C-47s on a far more extensive basis. The formation in mid-1942 of the USAAF’s Air Transport Command saw the C-47s’ wide-scale deployment as cargo transports carrying an almost unbelievable variety of supplies into airfields and airstrips which would have been complimented by the description ‘primitive’. Not only were the C-47s carrying in men and materials, but were soon involved in a two-way traffic, serving in a casualty-evacuation role as they returned to their bases. These were the three primary missions for which these aircraft had been intended when first procured (cargo, casualty evacuation and personnel transports). However, their employment by the USAAF’s Troop Carrier Command from mid-1942, and the RAF’s Transport Command, was to provide two new roles, arguably the most important of their deployment in World War II, as carriers of airborne troops. The first major usage in this capacity came with the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, when C-47s dropped something approaching 4,000 paratroops. RAF Dakotas of Nos. 31 and 194 Squadrons were highly active in the support of Brigadier Orde Wingate’s Chindits, who infiltrated the Japanese lines in Burma in an effort to halt their advance during the winter of 1942-3, their only means of supply being from the air. Ironically, Wingate (by then a major general) died on 24 March 1944 when a Dakota in which he was a passenger crashed into cloud camouflaged jungle-clad mountains.

The other important role originated with the C-53 Skytrooper version, built in comparatively small numbers as the C-53B/-53C/-53D. Seven C-53s supplied to the RAF were redesignated Dakota II. These were more nearly akin to the original DC-3 civil transport, without a reinforced floor or double door for cargo, and the majority had fixed metal seats to accommodate 28 fully-equipped paratroops. More importantly, they were provided with a towing cleat so that they could serve as a glider tug, a feature soon to become standard with all C-47s, and it is in this capacity that they served conspicuously in both USAAF and RAF service during such operations as the first airborne invasion of Burma on 5 March 1944 and the D-Day invasion of Normandy some three months later. In this latter operation more than 1,000 Allied C-47s were involved, carrying paratroops and towing gliders laden with paratroops and supplies. In the initial stage of this invasion 17,262 US paratroops of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and 7,162 men of the British 6th Airborne Division were carried across the English Channel in the greatest airlift of assault forces up to that time. Not all, of course, were carried in or towed by C-47s, but these aircraft played a most significant role in helping to secure this first vital foothold on European soil. In less than 60 hours C-47s alone airlifted more than 60,000 paratroops and their equipment to Normandy.

Other C-47 variants of World War II included the XC-47C, prototype (serial 42-5671) of a projected version to be equipped as a floatplane or, as was the prototype, with convertible amphibious floats of all-metal construction, these single-step twin Edo Model 78 floats each had two retractable wheels, and housed a 300 US gallon (1136 litre) fuel tank. While this version was not built as such by Douglas, a small number of similar conversions were made by USAAF maintenance units for service in the Pacific. Douglas were also contracted to build 131 staff transports under the designation C-117, these having the airline-standard cabin equipment of a commercial DC-3, plus the improvements which were current on the C-47. Their numbers, however, had reached only 17 (one C-ll7B built at Long Beach and 16 C-117As from Tulsa) when VJ-Day brought contract cancellation. The requirement for a large-capacity high-speed transport glider, to be towed by a C-54, resulted in experimental conversion of a C-47 to serve in this role under the designation XCG-17. Early tests had been conducted with a C-47 making unpowered approaches and landings to confirm the feasibility of the project, followed by a series of flights in which one C-47 was towed by another. For take-off the towed aircraft used some power, but shut down its engines when airborne. Conversion of a C-47 to XCG-17 configuration began after completion of these tests, with engines, propellers and all unnecessary equipment removed, and the forward end of the engine nacelles faired over. This was undoubtedly aerodynamically inefficient, and contributed to a reduction in performance of the XCG-17, but it was a USAAF requirement that any production aircraft should be capable of easy reconversion to powered C-47s. Despite any inefficiency the the embryo cargo glider had a successful test programme, demonstrating a towed speed of 290 mph (467 km/h), stalling speed of only 35 mph (56 km/h) and a glide ratio of 14:1. Payload was 14,000 lbs (6350 kg), permitting the transport of 40 armed paratroopers. No production aircraft were built, however, as a result of changing requirements.

In addition to the C-47s which served with the USAAF and the RAF, approximately 600 were used by the US Navy. These comprised the R4D-1(C-47), R4D-3 (C-53), R4D-4 (C-53C), R4D-5 (C-47A), R4D-6 (C-47B) and R4D-7 (TC-47B). US Navy and US Marine Corps requirements resulted in several conversions with designations which include the R4D-5E/-6E with special-purpose electronic equipment; the winterised and usually ski-equipped R4D-5L/-6L; the R4D-4Q/-SQ/-6Q for radar countermeasures; cargo versions re-equipped for passenger carrying as the R4D-5R/-6R; the air-sea warfare training R4D-5S/-6S; the navigational training R4D-5T/-6T; and the VIP-carrying R4D-5Z/-6Z. R4Ds were used initially by the Naval Air Transport Service that was established within five days of the attack on Pearl Harbour, equipping its VR-1, VR-2 and VR-3 squadrons, and soon after this by the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Service which provided essential supplies to US Marine Corps units as they forced the Japanese to vacate islands which stretched across the seas that led like stepping stones to that nation’s home islands.

In addition to US production, the type was built in the USSR as the Lisunov Li-2 (2,000 examples or more) and in Japan as the Showa (Nakajima) L2D (485 examples).

C-47s had been involved from the beginning to the end of World War II, and that is but a small portion of their history in both military and civil service. Since VJ-Day military C-47s have supported the Berlin Airlift, Korean and Vietnam wars, to mention only major operations. It would not be too far from the truth to suggest that in the 42 years to 1982 there have not been many military actions or major civil disasters in which the enduring C-47 has not played some part.

Specifications – (Douglas DC-3/C-47A Skytrain):

Dimensions:  Span 95 ft 0 in (28.96 m); length 64 ft 2 1/2 in (19.57 m); height 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m); wing area 987.0 sq ft (91.69 sq m).

Three Seat Military Transport, Paratroop Carrier & Glider Tug Accommodation

Crew:  Pilot, Co-pilot/Navigator (side-by-side with dual controls) and Radio Operator

The Douglas Aircraft Company Incorporated based on the DC-2 design by Donald W. Douglas

Manufacturer:  The Douglas Aircraft Company Incorporated with factories in Santa Monica (California), Long Beach (California), Tulsa (Oklahoma) and Oklahoma City (Oklahoma)

Powerplant:  DC-3) Two 1,000 hp (746 kW) Wright GR-1820-G102A Cyclone or 1,100 hp (820 kW) Wright GR-1820-G202A 9-cylinder or two 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines. One oil tank of 29.25 US Gallons (110.5 litres) was located in each nacelle. (C-47 typical) Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder two-row air-cooled geared and supercharged radial engines rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW) for take-off and 1,050 hp (793 kW) at 7,500 ft (2285 m) driving three-bladed Hamilton Standard constant speed propellers. One oil tank of 29 US Gallons (109.6 litres) was located in each nacelle.

Performance:  Maximum speed 229 mph (369 km/h) at 7,500 ft (2285 m); cruising speed 185 mph (298 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3050 m); stalling speed 67 mph (107.8 km/h); service ceiling 23,200 ft (7070 m); climb to 10,000 ft (3050 m) in 9 minutes 36 seconds; initial rate of climb 1,130 ft (345 m) per minute.

Fuel:  (DC-3 civil) Two main fuel tanks were located forward of the centre-section spar each with a capacity of 210 US Gallons (794 litres) and two auxiliary fuel tanks aft of the spar each with a capacity of 201 US Gallons (760 litres). (C-47 military) Two main fuel tanks wer located forward of the centre-section spar each with a capacity of 202 US Gallons (763.7 litres) and two auxiliary fuel tanks aft of the spar each with a capacity of 200 US Gallons (756.2 litres). Each engine was served by a separate fuel system but cross-feed permits both engines to be supplied by either set of tanks in case of an emergency. Some military aircraft had provision for a single auxiliary fuel tank in the fuselage.

Range:  1,500 miles (2414 km) on normal fuel. Range of 2,125 miles (3420 km) with maximum fuel.

Empty 16,970 lbs (7698 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 26,000 lbs (11793 kg); useful load 8,600 lbs (3904 kg); wing loading 25.3 lbs/sq ft (123.5 kg/sq m); power loading 12 lbs/hp (5.45 kg/hp).

Wing Span: 117ft. 6in.;   Length: 93ft. 10in.;   Height: 27ft. 6in.






Argentina A-4 and Douglas Flight Line Crew

March 4, 2009

douglas-crew(Dave Wilson not pictured here)

On ladder:  Burdell Cobb (Chief Burdell Cobb over Dave in Hawaii);  3rd man from left;  E.C. Pate;  the 5th man from the left (under ladder and behind 4th and 6th man) was ?? Peterson;  the 7th man from the left was ?? Cochran;   gentleman on the far right whittled some earrings out of peach seeds and gave them to Dave’s wife.  (He carved a monkey holding his tail out of the seeds.  Have you ever tried to cut into a peach seed?  It’s hard!) 

These are the only names Dave recalls.  If you can identify any of the other men, please let us know!


Employees of Douglas Aircraft

March 4, 2009

Here’s an old photo of Dave Wilson with some of his co-workers.  From time-to-time Douglas would award employees who had made suggestions which resulted in saving the company money and this photo documents just such an awards ceremony.  Sounds like a productive program that would bring about positive changes “in every company.”

Recognize anyone?  If so, please drop us a line!

douglas_employeesDave Wilson, front row, 1st man on front row, far left side.

The man to Dave’s left is Al Bell.

Gentleman on front row, center (4th man on front row) was A. P. McCullah.



August 3, 2008




Dave, on deck, heading to Guam.




(Above) Document found on Ebay from a sailors’ journey on the  Barrett.

The U.S.S. Barrett, on it’s “Final Journey”




Class/Design – P2-S1-DN3 (V-2000)

President Adams (Third)

Built 1952 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, New Jersey. Hull No. 486. O/N never documented
LOA=533’9″, LBP=499’6″, B=73’3″, D=48’11”, Draft=27’2″
Displacement=17,600 LT, Deadweight=6,898 LT, Gross tonnage=13,319
Cargo capacity: 570,000 Cu Ft., Passengers: 228, Speed=19 knots 
Machinery: Single screw, geared steam turbine, 13,700 HP. Two B&W WT boilers.
Requisitioned by the Navy while under construction and completed as a troop transport. Renamed U.S.S. GEIGER (T-AP 197). Transferred to the Maritime Administration on April 27, 1971 and laid up. Loaned to Massachusetts Maritime Academy 1980 and renamed BAY STATE. Following a serious fire vessel was scrapped in 1983.

President Hayes (Third)

Built 1952 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, New Jersey. Hull No. 487. O/N never documented
LOA=533’9″, LBP=499’6″, B=73’3″, D=48’11”, Draft=27’2″
Displacement=17,600 LT, Deadweight=6,898 LT, Gross tonnage=13,319
Cargo capacity: 570,000 Cu Ft., Passengers: 228, Speed=19 knots 
Machinery: Single screw, geared steam turbine, 13,700 HP. Two B&W WT boilers.
Requisitioned by the Navy while under construction and completed as a troop transport for use in the Korean War. Renamed U.S.S. UPSHUR (T-AP 198). Continued in Navy service until transferred to the Maritime Administration on April 2, 1973 and simultaneously retransferred to the Maine Maritime Academy and renamed STATE OF MAINE

President Jackson (Third)

Built 1952 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, New Jersey. Hull No. 485. O/N never documented
LOA=533’9″, LBP=499’6″, B=73’3″,D=48’11”, Draft=27’2″
Displacement=17,600 LT,Deadweight=6,898 LT, Gross tonnage=13,319
Cargo capacity: 570,000 Cu Ft.,Passengers: 228, Speed=19 knots 
Machinery: Single screw, geared steam turbine, 13,700 HP. Two B&W WT boilers.
Requisitioned by the Navy while under construction and completed as a troop transport for use in the Korean War. Renamed U.S.S. BARRETT (T-AP 196). Continued in Navy service until transferred to the Maritime Administration in March 1973. Loaned to New York State Maritime College 1973 and renamed EMPIRE STATE V, later EMPIRE STATE.




U.S.S. Barrett, used as a troop transport during Korean War


Naval Air Station, Norman, Oklahoma

July 3, 2008

The following letter was written to David Wilson, Dave’s father in 1954 by Capt. Johnson, Commanding Officer.  Dave had just reported to the Norman Oklahoma Naval Air Technical Training Center for training.

Dave Wilson


Original, and very rare Norman NAS patch

norman-banner_nas A rare Naval Air Station banner




Two Ships in the Sea…

July 2, 2008



…a natural, classic beauty

Sara, Dave’s wife, lived in Memphis, Tennessee, as part of a very large, loving family.  She was blessed with two brothers, one older and one younger, an older sister along with two younger sisters.  Her father worked for the Southern Railroad for over 30 years for about a dollar a day. He had two brothers who also worked for the same company, also for over 30 years.  In addition to his job with the railroad, he was also a barber, cutting hair for a quarter (that’s 25 cents, folks) to supplement their income.

Sara (left) never knew what was to be… who was about to sail into her life!  

…a sailor was soon to rush into her life and sweep her off her feet.  


Sara grew up in Memphis.  That is where they met – in a funny kind of way.  It couldn’t have been ‘just chance or an accidental meeting.’  It had to have been a match that was just meant to be written in the stars, no doubt. This is their beautiful story.


Sara worked at Robinson’s Department Store in downtown Memphis while finishing high school at Messick. She continued working there after she graduated. Memphis was filled to the brim with sailors because of Millington Naval Base but Sara would never date any of them. They were “here today… gone tomorrow” she said. But she had a friend who was dating a sailor and had a friend by the name of Herman Mills. Because he was such a mannerly , nice guy, she made a rare exception, leading Herman and Sara to begin double-dating with their friends. Soon after, Herman left for Guam and wrote to Sara almost every week.  In one of his letters, he requested that she send him a pin-up picture of her for his locker.  Having just returned from a vacation at the beach with her older sister, Sara obliged and sent him one of the photos.  Dave was stationed in Guam at that time and happened to catch a glimpse or two of this beautiful pin-up posted in his fellow sailor’s locker. The beautiful girl it featured caught his fancy.  He wanted to meet this girl.  Dave was soon transferred to Memphis and asked Herman for Sara’s phone number, telling his friend that he wouldn’t know ‘anyone’ there.  Being the good buddy that he was, Dave generously offered to stop by and say hello to Herman’s beautiful friend.  (Herman wasn’t thinking straight, it seems!)

Sara, talking on the telephone to Dave

Dave called Sara at work and invited her to lunch.  Using sympathy as his weapon, he told her that he was new in town, didn’t know a soul and that Herman, his friend, had given him her number.  Trust, established; sympathy, successful; his plan, a slam-dunk. She accepted that invitation!

Dave, photo taken on one of their first dates.


When Sara stepped outside to meet this mysterious sailor who came out of nowhere, he was leaning against the showroom window, looking quite dashing. She walked up, asking if he was Dave and he replied yes, he was!  They went to Kay’s Drive-In for lunch and then Dave took her back to work. He quickly called again and asked if she would go to a movie. Sara agreed and picked a movie called Napoleon, which Dave did not enjoy – he hated it!  It was obvious that he was bored. But despite the awful movie, he called her once again.

Kay’s Drive-In, where they had their first date.

Dave and Sara on one of their first dates, at her parents home.


On the next date, they decided on a nice drive and took some pictures, including the one above.  Later they went on a double-date with one of his buddies and a friend of hers. After the date, he went to Sara’s house to meet and visit with her family.  Dave was comfortable and seemed to feel right at home.

Often, Dave would go to Arkansas to visit with his own family.  He tried to spend as many weekends with his parents as he possibly could.  This created a problem though.  Sara continued to date and when Dave would call her only to find her out with another, it didn’t sit well with him.  But she was not one to sit home and wait for ‘anyone’ to call.  She didn’t need to sit home either!  Her date book was always full and it just wasn’t her nature.

Dave was sent to California for training and he asked Sara to marry him.  They had only known each other a few short months.  Her heart might have been saying YES, but her head said NO!  She told him she wasn’t ready for that but that she would wait for him to return.  During that period of time, they both chose to not really date many others.

One day, Dave sent her a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses with a card that said, “I love you.”  He had received new orders.  He picked her up and drove her to work.  They said their goodbyes and Sara went into the store.   She promptly announced to her fellow workers and sister, Geneva, who also worked there, “he’s gone” and she fainted dead away! Her sister immediately thought this sailor had dumped her and began saying, “Where is he, I’m going to kill him!”

Dave drove for a full day until he couldn’t drive any further.  He knew he wanted to marry her and he would not take no for an answer.  He turned around, driving back to Memphis as fast as he could go to marry his gal.  In the meantime, Sara spent a miserable day crying and upset, not believing he was actually gone.  And then the phone call came.  The next night, he called her at the store and told her, “We need to get married and I will be there soon!”  Sara said, “I don’t have anything for a trousseau” to which Geneva said, “You can have mine!”

The beautiful bride at her quickly arranged wedding reception.

The good looking couple with Sara’s mother, Icy, who looked to be in shock.

The next day, Sara and Dave went to Hernando, Mississippi and they were married by a Justice of the Peace.  it was raining when they went in but when they tied the knot and walked out, the rain stopped and a big rainbow appeared.  Sara felt like it was a sign from God, blessing their marriage and life ahead together.

They spent their honeymoon in the mountains with Dave’s parents… not the ideal way to spend a honeymoon but at least they were together. Dave left after that weekend for Hawaii.  It was March, 1955 and in July Sara was flying to Hawaii to join her groom.  There was a transportation strike going on at the time, and she had no idea what to do.  She said, “I must have looked like a deer in headlights.”  A lady at the San Diego airport noticed her, approached and asked her if she had nobody to meet her there.  Sara expressed her need to get to Oakland to fly on to Oahu, having no idea how she would get there.  The kind lady took her to her car, whereby her daughter and son drove Sara all over the city of San Diego sight-seeing.  They drove around showing her the home of stars and Grumman’s Chinese to see the footprints in cement, taking pictures of her which they later, so kindly mailed to her.  Then they took her to the airport to catch her flight.  They were wonderful, generous people.

At the end of the flight, Dave was waiting anxiously for Sara at the airport.  He had worried all day that the older car he bought would not impress his new bride.  But Sara only had eyes for him.  She didn’t care what he was driving.  All she saw was HIM!  And so it was with the two ships sailing in the sea…

Oh… and yes, unfortunate for Herman… there was a “Dear John letter” written.  Herman, most likely, second-guessed his decision to publicly post Sara’s pin-up photo in his locker after receiving that letter.

One day, while still in Hawaii, Dave ran into a buddy from Guam who wondered what had happened to the girl Herman Mills was writing to.  Dave said, “She’s standing over there.  I married her!”

Dave & Sara, at the Memphis State Fair.

Check back often!  More to come.


Memphis NAS Millington

July 2, 2008

More (pictures & stories) to come – PLEASE CHECK BACK OFTEN!



Dave, before joining the Navy




More on Dave



Dave attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas for a short period of time, selecting Liberal Arts as his major, before entering the Navy.

Postcard of the Memphis Aircraft Repair Line

NOTE:  I will be writing an interesting story about the planes shown on the above postcard.



Enlisted Mens Quarters – Millington Naval Base

Memphis Naval Air Station-men peeling potatoes



Dave’s Memphis Operators Permit


(altered for privacy/security purposes)

(back of permit)




The following reference letter (below) from G.R. Luker, Captain, U.S.N., was written to Dave’s parents in 1955, praising his efficiency and performance – finishing first in his class.

NOTE:  The following recommendation letter was one of several written for Dave’s benefit by Charles F. Baldwin, LT, USN, Assistant Maintenance Officer. Mr. Baldwin was a Navy pilot. ANYONE who has any information about this man is asked to please email Dave. He would like to get in contact with him, if possible or find out what happened to him.  Any information would be appreciated.






The Early Years…

June 30, 2008

This will be an ongoing post, which I will add to on a regular basis, sharing with you the life of David Wilson from an early age until present.  There is much to share!  So please visit often!

Dave, as a baby, being held by his “Aunt Grace.”

David Wilson was born in Cain in the 1930s and lived with his parents, a brother and sister in a small but close-knit rural Arkansas community.  He grew up surrounded by many relatives and friends.  Local travel was by foot, by horse or horse & buggy in the early years.  Dave’s grandmother lived to be 99.6 years and only road in an automobile a handful of times.  She never set foot on an airplane.  Dave’s father was a dog trainer and trader. People would travel from all over the United States to buy his top-trained hunting dogs.  Many times, he would get letters only addressed to “the dog man” – and those letters never had any trouble finding their way to him.  These folks hunted or raised much of their food, kept gardens, canned, tanned hides, churned their butter, dipped their water from an artesian well and made their lye soap… life was simple, but hard.  I will be writing much more on these folks and their life in Crawford Co., Arkansas.


Dave’s young mother, Bessie.


David & Bessie, Dave’s parents, as a young couple.


David, Dave’s father, as a young man.

It is unclear what he is holding.  (It appears to be a badger or skunk… your guesses are welcome!)


David (Dave’s father)


Dave (early school days)


Dave (on the right) with his father and siblings.


The chicken house.  (Dave on right)


A humble, but festively decorated tree & gifts, one crisp Christmas morning.

(Dave on the right, little sister Lucille front/center, & younger brother Curt on left.)



Dave, as a young pre-teen.


Dave (above), as a young teen.  “Check out that leather!”


Dave, in High School.  Makes you think “James Dean” a little bit, doesn’t it?


David, Dave’s father (above)


“A pretty smooth character…”  Elvis WHO?


As the song goes…. “Everyone’s talkin’ ’bout the sharp dressed man….!”


Dave (right) with his father.  Preparing to butcher a hog. (Click to enlarge)


Dave, after joining the Navy, on the USS Barrett to Guam



David, at the artisian well.



NAS Barber’s Point, Hawaii

June 19, 2008


What a beauty Dave married!”  He had his own personal pin-up girl!

Sara says, “I was terrified of all those little rock crabs running around on the rock. I told Dave to hurry up and snap the picture because they were scaring me. That was why there was no smile for the camera!”   (Photo of Sara was taken on Ewe Beach in Hawaii)

Dave:  “In my ‘work attire’ in front of Chief Burdell Cobb’s house.”

 Chief Burdell & Melva Cobb


Chief Burdell Cobb is 89 years old –at date of this post:  July, 2008, and is a survivor ‘hero’ of Pearl Harbor. He said he actually used his pistol to shoot at the Japanese airplanes flying overhead on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.  Chief Cobb said that he saw horrible, unspeakable things that day.  He was Dave’s Navy Chief on Oahu and was a handsome man of great integrity.  Melva, a jewel, had lovely red hair and was quite a looker herself.

When Sara joined Dave in Hawaii, they had no place to live because there was nothing available. The year was 1955 – Oahu was a less modern island and still a territory – not yet a state.  The Cobbs generously opened up their home to them.  Chief Cobb said, “…come on to our house – you can move in right now!” They moved their children out of their bed for them.  Dave and Sara were extremely grateful and relieved. They state that while staying with the Cobb family, they especially enjoyed their 3 fine sons.  The youngest boy had just learned to talk.  The two families had many fun beach parties, with lots of great food, good company and home-made ice cream.  One afternoon, while all gathered at the beach, Melva was caught up in a large wave that spun her around and around until she finally lost her bathing suit top.  They all had a big laugh over that one!

The women also enjoyed shopping together on the island.  Melva was a wonderful cook. The Cobbs and Dave and Sara quickly became close friends, and through the years have remained their wonderful friendship. Dave and Sara agree that there are no finer people on the face of this earth than these two dear people.

When Sara and Dave finally got housing, they moved into the home duplex directly behind the Cobbs – what luck!  One day, Sara – a young, jittery bride – went into a panic when Dave brought home a guest for dinner with no notice.  She went through the back yard to seek advise from Melva and without hesitation she gave Sara their “already prepared dinner” which fixed her dilemma.  What an angel she was that day and every day, as she extended such kindness to this young couple.

It was hard for them to say goodbye when Dave was transferred, but luckily the Cobbs eventually moved to Gentry, Arkansas which allowed them to keep in closer contact with each other.  Eventually, Burdell, with Dave’s help, was able to hire on at Douglas Aircraft and they were together once again.  The Cobbs traveled quite a distance, just a few years ago, to attended Dave & Sara’s 50th Anniversary celebration.  It made the event extra special that they were there, just as they were in the beginning!


Dave was stationed at  NAS Barber’s Point, Hawaii as part of the Air Bourne Early Warning VW-1 Squadron One from March, 1955 to September, 1956.  Sara flew from Memphis on American Airlines (Flight 657) to LAX (Flight 655) to Honolulu, Hawaii for $86.68 on July 1, 1955 to join him.

Dave Wilson as a young sailor


 The mile marker for the Post VW-1 Squadron On


This is the Official VW-1 patch for Barbers Point. The original one did not have the writing or “VW-1 on it (that was added later).  The Squadron name was the “Vanguards.” When the Squadron moved to Guam, its mission was changed and it became the “Typhoon Trackers.

Postcards & Pictures of Barber’s Point:

VW-1 Squadron One (Photo from the internet)


This was the VW-1 Squadron One area.  The Navy housing was across the street.

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David Wilson