The Training Flight I Would Never Wish to Experience Again

by Joseph Pasquinni AD-3

I became interested in airplanes through my older brother, eight years my senior.  I was building rubber band powered models in grade school.  Currently I’m in a radio control airplane club.  Our flying sight is at the Valley Forge National Park located northwest from Philadelphia.
training flight 3I attended Benjamin Franklin High School because it offered a fantastic course in aircraft engine theory and maintenance.  Contained within an enclosed court yard was a world war one Jenny and a Stearman.  We were allowed to occasionally start the Stearman with the use of its inertia starter.
This course prepared me well for joining the Navy reserves at Will Grove Naval Air Station.  I was seventeen.

Well finally, this brings me to being drafted into active and a group of us sent to North Island, San Diego.  I went through the beaching crew, Gunnery school and assigned to a Fasron outfit.  Then I asked to be assigned to VP 46 going to Japan and my request was granted.

training flight 2Some of VP 46 personnel were shipped over to Japan on two seaplane tenders.  We were told these two ships were converted from destroyer escorts to sea plane tenders!  You go figure.

After arriving in Japan, a couple of weeks passed and I was assigned to a flight crew.  Next thing I knew, we were flying the well-known (By Mariner/Marlins) patrols around Korea.

One of the older newsletters, dated March 2005, contained an article written by a member of our squadron, William Bryant.  To quote him, he wrote – “One of our pilots, after returning from an eleven hour flight landed about 50 feet to high on a slick morning, and the starboard engine tore loose still spinning its propeller.  The hull was sliced and the plane sunk with depth charges in the bays.”

training flight 1Guess what!  I just happened to have pictures of that plane, even when it was retrieved from the bottom of the bay.  Also, I used one of its engine cowlings after dropping a cowling while doing an engine check on some other PBM while in the water.

Mr. Bryant also wrote about our skipper losing power on one engine while off the Coast of North Korea.  The crew threw everything that came loose overboard including two depth charges and made it back to South Korea.  There they landed safely in a river and taxied to some U.S. Army Post.  An engine was sent there, the crew installed it and returned to Iwakuni Japan about a week later.  I remember talking to one or two members of that crew about their experience.

CoverMore on this article and more are found in the Spring 2014 MMA Newsletter.

A Scary Start to Deployment: By Philo Lund (Lt JG – 1954 and Jerry Robertson
Navy Air Medal – 62 years later By Alan Ingram
Saga of a Few PBM-SA’s By Richard W. Palmer
The morning of January 14, 1945 by S. H. Prince, Ens.U.S.N.R.
Squadron Member Receives Medals 69 Years After War Ends by Ginger Brashinger
Strength of the PBM Mariner Hull by E.C. (ED) Stalder Arm 2/c V.H.1.
The Training Flight  by Joseph Pasquinni AD-3

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