MISHAPs: 05 FEB 42 A/C: PBY-5 Location: Unknown Strike: Yes BUNO: 2304 Cause: Destroyed as a result of inability to salvage after force-landing and aground on coral. Lt(jg) Richard Bull (PPC)/Mia, ENS William W. Hargrave (2nd pilot)/Safe, AMM2 Lloyd Charles Bean/Kia, RM3 Ralph Roger Cusack/Mia, AMM2 Robert Elmo Muller/Mia, RM1 C. S. Nelson/Safe, ACM Herbert Leo Oliver(NAP)/Kia, and AMM3 Cliff Alton Sharp/Mia. Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [17JUN2001]
"...According to Pacific Wrecks - this took place at Saumlakai seaplane base http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/pby/2304.html..." Contributed by Phil Fazzini email@example.com [16APR2017]
MISHAPs: 14 FEB 42 A/C: PBY-5 Location: Unknown Strike: Yes BUNO: 2321 Cause: Destroyed by enemy action. Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [17JUN2001]
MISHAPs: 14 FEB 42 A/C: PBY-5 Location: Unknown Strike: Yes BUNO: 2309 Cause: Destroyed by enemy action. Contributed by Terry email@example.com [17JUN2001]
MISHAPs: 19 FEB 42 A/C: PBY-5 Location: Ambon (near Melville Islands) Strike: Yes BUNO: 2306 Cause: Attacked by 9 enemy fighters(part of a 72 plane formation), enemy succeeded in setting plane afire, destroying port engine and putting large holes in fuel tanks and fuselage. Pilot made a downwind landing at an estimated ground speed of 125kts, bouncing three times before landing was complete. During landing Moorer was ably assisted by Ens.Mosley who skillfully, handled the throttle on starboard engine. LeBaron manned starboard gun and returned enemy fire until it was evident the plane was sinking. Remainder of the crew prepared to launch rubber boats with utter disregard to personal danger. By this time the entire plane aft of the wings was melting and large areas of burning gas surrounded the area. Crew was picked up by SS FLORENCE D, which was later attacked by enemy dive bombers (AMM2 Shuller was killed during this attack). Pilot Lt.T. H. Moorer, ENS W. H. Mosley (Scalp wound from explosive bullet), ACM J. J. Rusak (NAP), AMM2 A. P. Fairchiled, AMM2 J. C. Shuller/Kia, RM1 R. C. Thomas (Scalp wound from explosive bullet, severly sprained or broken ankle), RM3 F. E. Follmer (Shrapnel wound-knee), and AOM2 T. R. LeBaron. Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [18JUN2001]
"...ADMIRAL THOMAS H. MOORER, USN (Retired) - Tuesday, March 13, 1990 - "Reflections on Vietnam" - Thursday, March 15, 1990 - "Panama - What Really Happened" - In August 1936 he was assigned to Fighting Squadron ONE- B, based briefly on the USS Langley I (AV-3) and later on the USS Lexington. He was transferred in July 1937 to Fighting Squadron SIX, based on the USS Lexington, and continued duty with that squadron until August 1939. He then joined Patrol Squadron TWENTY-TWO, a unit of Fleet Air Wing TWO, and later Fleet Air Wing TEN, and was with that Squadron at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, when the Japanese attacked the Fleet there on December 7, 1941. His squadron was sent to the Southwest Pacific and during the Dutch East Indies Campaign, he was shot down in a PBY on February 19, 1942, north of Darwin, Australia. He was rescued by a ship which was sunk by enemy action the same day. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received February 19, 1942, and the Silver Star Medal for "extremely gallant and intrepid conduct as pilot of a Patrol Plane during and following an attack by enemy Japanese aircraft in the vicinity of Cape Diemen, February 19, 1942..." http://navsci.berkeley.edu/nimitz/pastspeaker-1990.html [02MAR2003]
MISHAPs: 24 FEB 42 A/C: PBY-5 Location: Makassar Harbor Strike: Yes BUNO: Unknown Cause: Destroyed by enemy action.
"...My uncle Joseph Freeman Long was shot down Feb 24, 1942 over Makassar Harbor in a PBY-5 VP-22. Any other information has been sketchy at best. His story is one of great courage against all odds in the early months of the war. Please feel free to contact me if you have any background information about this group which lost all but 1 plane. Thank you. Phil Bassett email@example.com..."
"...After 55 years of not knowing exactly what happened to his uncle, Pete Lindberg Peter_L_Lindberg@notes.seagate.com, LCDR, USN-Ret was able to steer Phil Bassett to a detailed account of the shootdown in which his uncle was lost (Dwight Messimer's book "In the Hands of Fate"). Thanks!..."
MISHAPs: 30 NOV 44 A/C: PBM-3D Location: Unknown Strike: Yes BUNO: 45398 Cause: FUEL,FORCE LANDED Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [16MAR98]
MISHAPs: 12 DEC 44 A/C: PBM-3D "...My Dad's log notes that "Cracked up Y-13. Sure thought it was my number." This is a comment with a Dec 12, 1944 flight on Y-13 BUNO 45293..." Contributed by PUKL, Joseph M. c/o His Son Joseph M. Pukl, Jr. joepukl@InfoAve.Net [12MAR2001]
MISHAPs: 14 DEC 44 A/C: PBM-3D Location: B.C.L.OF US Strike: Yes BUNO: 45308 Cause: TAIL BLOW OFF AS A RESULT FROM BOMB EXPLODING. Contributed by Terry email@example.com [16MAR98]
"...3/minor, 10/no injuries ..." Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [02JAN2001]
MISHAPs: 25 DEC 44 A/C: PBM-3D Location: Unknown Strike: Yes BUNO: 45297 Cause: TAXI TEST, SANK Contributed by Terry email@example.com [16MAR98]
MISHAPs: 26 DEC 44 A/C: PBM-3D Location: PELELIU AREA Strike: Yes BUNO: 45322 Cause: LOST Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [16MAR98]
"...Dad was on BUNO 45322 that went down on Dec 26, 1944. His note in his log book was "Lost at sea, forced landing, was adrift for 14 hours, picked up by USS Chinchatigue [sic]."..." Contributed by PUKL, Joseph M. c/o His Son Joseph M. Pukl, Jr. joepukl@InfoAve.Net [12MAR2001]
MISHAPs: 23 FEB 45 A/C: PBM-3D Location: ULITHI, CAROLINE Strike: Yes BUNO: 45299 CAUSE: DEAD STICK LANDING ISL's Contributed by Terry email@example.com [02APR98]
"...Over the next several weeks, Alvin C. Cockrell escorted convoys between Eniwetok, Guam, Saipan, Ulithi, and Kossel Roads, and, when required, served as harbor patrol and air-sea rescue vessel. She carried out her first air-sea rescue mission on 23 February 1945, when she sailed from Ulithi to go to the assistance of a Martin PBM-3D "Mariner" flying boat from Patrol Bombing Squadron 22 that had been forced down by engine trouble. Underway at 1008, Alvin C. Cockrell proceeded at flank speed, guided to the scene by a "dumbo" plane overhead. She put her whaleboat over the side as she neared the "Mariner", to take off the crew and attempt to take the aircraft in tow, and soon had seven of the nine enlisted men (two had remained on board to handle towlines), and the three officers from the crew on board. While the destroyer escort Manlove (DE-36) screened the operation, Alvin C. Cockrell managed to get the plane under tow by 0910 the following day, after which time the destroyer escort set out for Ulithi. Unfortunate ly, soon after the remaining crewmen from the plane were taken on board, the towline parted. Further attempts at salvage by Manlove proved fruitless and, ultimately, the "Mariner" (one wing of which had been damaged in the initial attempt to get a line to it) had to be sunk by gunfire..." http://www.uss-salem.org/danfs/escorts/de366.htm [25DEC99]
MISHAPs: 07 MAY 45 A/C: PBM-3D Location: OKINAWA Strike: Yes BUNO: 45366 CAUSE: MECH FAIL Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [02APR98]
MISHAPs: 21 JAN 51 A/C: P2V-4 Location: 1mi. North Naha AFB Strike: Yes Deaths: 2/killed, 3/serious, 8/minor BUNO: 124227 Cause: Dicthed after take-off Combat & Recon patrol Contributed by Terry email@example.com [03APR98]
"...Crew: Pilot LCDR William R.McDowell (seriously injured), LT J. T. White (seriously injured), LT(jg) K. R. Kiddoo (minor injury), ENS W. E. Todd (minor injury), LCDR J. G. Thompson (seriously injured), ADC F. L. Gabbard (minor injury), AD2 J. H. Raby (missing), ALC W. M. Benson, Jr. (minor injury), AL3 B. G. Carter (missing), AT3 E. W. Ammons (minor injury), AT1 M. M. Iverson (minor injury), AO G. W. Wilt (minor injury), and AA C. D. Cowan (minor injury)..." Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [02JAN2001]
MISHAPs: 18 JAN 53 A/C: P2V-5 "...P2V-5 (BuNo 127744) was shot down by Chinese anti-aircraft fire near Swatow, and ditched in the Formosa Strait. Eleven of thirteen crewmen were rescued by a Coast Guard PBM-5 under fire from shore batteries on Nan Ao Tao island. Attempting to takeoff in eight-twelve foot swells, the PBM crashed. Ten survivors out of nineteen total (including five from the P2V) were rescued by Halsey Powell(DD 686). During the search effort a PBM-5 from VP-40 received fire from a small-caliber machine gun, and Gregory (DD 802) received fire from shore batteries..." APPENDIX 34 Cold War Incidents Involving U.S. Navy Aircraft http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org4-3.htm [29MAR98]
"...My Grandfather, AD2 Lloyd Smith Jr., was serving with VP-22 when his aircraft from shot down over the Formosa Straits January 18th, 1953. I was reading through the info here and saw there was a magazine that ran an article, the magazine was True, there were photos in it supposibly of my grandfather and Mclure. Can anyone help me with this? Our family never saw these pictures..." Contributed by Terri Mumley email@example.com [15SEP2012]
"...This year marks the 50th anniversary of the events that transpired in the Formosa Straits..." Contributed by WHITE, AT Sidney "Bud" firstname.lastname@example.org [22JUL2012]
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the events that transpired in the Formosa Straits. This page is respectfully dedicated to the memory of the courageous men of VP-22 and the USCG who perished and the families and comrades that they left behind.
U.S. Navy Patrol Squadron VP-22 began its third tour of operations in the Korean theater conducting shipping surveillance of the China Sea on November 29, 1952. On January 18, 1953, a Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune (BuNo 127744) attached to the Blue Geese squadron was shot down by Chinese anti-aircraft fire near Swatow, China and ditched in the Formosa Strait.
Based in Okinawa, the crew of the Neptune had been photographing a communist anti-aircraft artillery emplacement on China's southeastern coast. As the plane turned back toward Okinawa, ground fire from shore struck the Neptune behind the cockpit on the port beam.
The port engine and the port wing were on fire and the vertical and horizontal stabilizers had sustained further damage. The crew now sought any friendly field on Formosa. The port engine quit and emergency procedures failed to arrest the fires, which by this time had been sucked into the after station. At 1230 hours the crew issued an SOS and broadcast its intention to ditch the P2V. The radio transmitter key was tied down.
The second engine now began smoking and the port wing was nearing structural failure. LT Clement R. Prouhet prepared to ditch the P2V in a perilous sea state with 15-foot swells, 30-knot winds with crests running every 200 feet and a water temperature estimated at 62F. The aircraft slammed into the water fifteen minutes after it was hit by ground fire. All 13 crew members managed to get out of the sinking patrol plane.
Only one burned and partially inflatable, eight-foot, seven-man life raft was launched. AT3 Byars, wounded by the AAA and ENS Angell, the navigator, were placed in the raft. PHI McClure and AD2 Smith were last seen being washed toward shore. The remaining crew members clung to the raft, trying to keep afloat. Another VP-22 P2V, patrolling a different sector, diverted to the reported ditching position. Eventually sighting the survivors, the aircraft radioed for help and dropped a raft that could not be retrieved due to the rough seas.
The Coast Guard Air Detachment at U.S. Naval Station Sangley Point, Republic of the Philippines, received word that a Navy aircraft had gone down and were scrambled for the rescue mission. Within minutes of receiving the distress signal, a USCG Martin PBM-5G Mariner, piloted by Lt. John Vukic was in the air. Lt. Vukic was considered one of the most experienced "open sea" seaplane pilots having many PBM flight hours and had participated on the PBM open sea landing tests off San Diego.
By the time the rescue team spotted the Neptune's crew, it was 1630. The survivors had been in the water for nearly five hours. With night falling and the waves rising, officials at Sangley Point left the decision of going ahead with the rescue mission to Lt. Vukic. Lt. Vukic made the only decision he could - he landed his plane. Lt. Vukic guided the big Mariner close enough for his crew to fish out the sailors. Survivors of Crew Seven were hauled aboard the Mariner and wrapped in blankets. Many of the Coast Guard crewmen removed their Mae Wests to provide medical and other assistance more effectively to the injured Navy personnel. The PBM taxied in the worsening sea state for 30 minutes but failed to locate the missing Smith and McClure. The swells began to increase as night descended upon them. It was time to leave.
The PBM lifted off and the pilot actuated the JATO bottles to enhance climb-out. But the starboard engine suddenly quit. The dipping right wing was caught by a swell, which swept into the hull, heaved the plane upwards and caused it to cart wheel. The PBM cartwheeled to the right, crashed and broke up. Four of the rescued sailors and five of their Coast Guard rescuers died in the crash. The survivors of this second crash piled onto two life rafts. Now the Navy had two plane crews in "enemy" waters to be rescued.
Two more P2Vs arrived and dropped a raft each to the survivors. An Air Force Albatross from Clark Field and a British Short Sunderland from Hong Kong joined the vigil. Throughout the ordeal, rescue aircraft were fired upon by the Chinese shore batteries. LT Vukic retrieved one raft and was able to pick up AD1 Ballenger and A03 Brown. J. Miller and AM3 Hewitt retrieved the second raft that accommodated Prouhet, Varney, Ludena, McDonald and French. Ships were dispatched to assist. Among them, the destroyer, USS Halsey Powell, arrived on the scene after the downed fliers had been in the water for seven and a half hours.
A second Coast Guard PBM arrived after dark and dropped 34, one million candlepower parachute flares to assist the destroyer in navigating through the Chinese coastal waters. Squalls increased in intensity and visibility was now less than 700 feet. The seven survivors in the second raft had used all but one of its signal flares. The last flare successfully signaled their position for the destroyer. Eventually, as the ship approached, two swimmers from USS Powell proceeded to the raft and secured a line. As the raft was being towed to the destroyer, it broke. Finally a third attempt at securing a line succeeded. The survivors were pulled aboard and were provided with blankets, hot coffee, food, sedatives and medicinal brandy.
Meanwhile, the first raft containing Lt. Vukic had drifted to within 200 yards of Narnoy Island. USS Powell found itself in less than six fathoms of water, navigating over uncharted barrier reefs. The skipper, demonstrating outstanding seamanship, maneuvered the destroyer around the reef so that the ship sailed parallel to the coastline with less than 200 yards margin for error. Vukic, Ballenger and Brown were finally rescued just before midnight. Of the 21 men of both aircrew's, only 10 survived, seven VP-22 crew and three USCG crew.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the events that transpired in the Formosa Straits. This page is respectfully dedicated to the memory of the courageous men of VP-22 and the USCG who perished and the families and comrades that they left behind. You are not forgotten.
VP-22 P2V-5 BuAer 127744
ENS Dwight C Angell
AT3 Paul A. Morley
AD2 Lloyd Smith Jr.
AL3 Ronald A. Beahm
PH1 William F. McClure
AT3 Clifford Byars
Lt. Clement R. Prouhet - Pilot
Lt. Vearl V. Varney - Copilot
A03 Cecil Brown
AL1 Robert L. French
AD1 Daniel J. Ballenger
Wallace L. MacDonald
USCG PBM-5G BuAer 84738
Lt.j.g. Gerald W. Stuart, Copilot
ALC Winfield J. Hammond
AL1 Carl R. Tornell
AO1 Joseph R. Bridge
AD3 Tracy W. Miller
"...My uncle, Tracy W. Miller, was aboard the Coast Guard plane dispatched from NS Sangley Point, Philippines, during the Crash of CG PBM-5G 84738 on January 18, 1953. Unfortunately, he was not one of the survivors. I just happened to find your website and saw the posting of the 50th anniversary of this crash. I would really like to know if there is any information that I am unaware of re: this crash. I have lots of newspaper clippings my father saved after it happened. He said they never could find out if he died instantly or was taken prisoner. Just trying to follow up on a promise I made to my dad before he died last year, to continue the search. Thanks for any help you can give. Sincerely..." Contributed by Tammy Miller Medvetz email@example.com [16JUL2012]
Lt. John Vukic, Pilot
ADC Joseph M. Miller, Jr
AM3 Robert F. Hewitt
Officer Gabe Petre was the PPC in VP-22 from 1950-53 and was pilot of Crew 8 when one of our planes was shot down over China, ditched off of Quemoy, picked up by Sangley Point PBM and then the rescuer crashed on takeoff. Fellow Shipmate Bob Thomas said "We watched the whole scene, dropped everything we had on board to the survivors before returning to Okinawa".
Remarks from Michael Smith AO2 and tail gunner. Well, that brought back a lot of memories. They were shot in China but went down in the Formosa Straits. We were possibly the first on the scene and dropped the life rafts to the guys in the water before the rescue plane picked them up, then caught a wingtip in the swells and caught fire. Unforgettable day. I was manning the tail turret and had a strange urge to jump out and help them. Later AO Jim Hicks told me that he had the same urge so he must have been on the scene too.
Remarks from Harry Schuss: Thanks for sending---hope they never take that off the net except for updates like you did. Great bunch--Sad day--we were on the northern leg and were sent down--late afternoon--all in the water by then. We were at 1kft to 2 kft and the AF B-29s (Clark AFB) was at 10+ kft circling. MIGs were outside the pattern --a little bit up--also circling---watching for a straggler. Know there were many heroes, but one amazing guy was the Skipper of the Halsey Powell. I know the area sea charts of those days must have been woefully inadequate--but this guy--triggered by a sighting-- would go full boar toward it--almost regardless what was between then. You recall the offshore population-----. Once we thought we had a Mae West light spotted near the shore---at night---this guy went straight for it--appeared to be full blast and did not stop until he got NEAR the shore. Outstanding performance to watch from above on the radar. We talked, laughed, cheered, and admired his dedication to his job. Hope his actions were duly noted.
Bud White AT-3 VP-22
1956 - 1959
There were some added/brief notes supplied by crew or squadron personnel on VP Navy site that added some info to the incident. Some of them were a bit wrong , tho. A V Wilson --our AO1 --was one that input some--5 or 6 lines.
French (AL) and Varney (co-pilot) are still alive and could help if someone needs info. All Hands Mag had an article and pictures. It was printed about 3 or 4 months after the incident. There was also a man's magazine--pre Playboy--TRUE or that type--that wrote a pretty good article --except they glamorized it--poured a little B S on it. They also had pics. Think pilot Prouhet helped on that article. There was a pic of Smith (AD) and Mclure (PH) almost naked--behind an ox cart --walking from Swatow to Canton. We had that pic--a similar pic was in a Canton paper. We never heard from them after they got to Canton--except the leaks said they were killed in Canton.
"...CDR Roy Ludena, an old Mustang, who passed away recently..." Contributed by CDR C. Thomas Frohne firstname.lastname@example.org [11JAN2009]
It was on January 18, 1953 Aviation Ordnance Airman Roy Ludena assigned to VP-22 was manning the tail turret of a Neptune patrol bomber on a recon mission flying over Comminist China near Swatow. Being in the tail turret Roy was the first to observe anti aircraft fire aimed in their direction. The Chinese gunners were deadly accurate.
The disabled and burning Neptune was forced to ditch in the South China Sea.
The pilot with great skill made a water landing, and all the crew were able to evacuate the doomed aircraft which was dangerously close to shore. The crew radio operator was able to send a distress call, but help was many hours away.
Finally a U.S. Coast Guard PBM from Sangly Point was able to make a risk filled water landing, in order to rescue the downed crew who were suffering from hypothermia. The crew of the PBM was able to retrieve the downed crew members, but in a desperate attempt to take off, something went terribly wrong and the PBM crashed into the sea.
After many more hours in the frigid water the remaining survivors were picked up by the destroyer USS Halsey Powell. Roy Ludena was one of the fortunate survivors.
"...Swatow, China, January 1953, P2V ditching, PBM crash and rescue or Remembering "Big John" Vukic..." WebSite: http://uscgaviationhistory.aoptero.org/images/Swatow_China_Jan53_P2Vditching.pdf [13MAY2008]
In 1953, we were stationed at the Coast Guard Air Detachment, Philippines on Sangley Point U.S. Naval Station, with two PBM-5Gs, a Grumman Albatross and a Grumman Goose. Our two primary missions were SAR (search and rescue) with and for the Navy and logistic and administrative support to five isolated Coast Guard manned Loran A stations in the Philippine archipelago. Three of the Loran stations had jungle airstrips for the Albatross and two of the Loran A stations required water landings and we used the PBM-5G's.
We scheduled our logistic flights with mail, movies, fresh food and repair parts, flying to each Loran station each day of the five-day week. Occasionally our logistic routine was interrupted with a Navy, U.S. Air Force or Philippine SAR incident.
January 18, 1953 was a quiet Sunday afternoon in quarters, when I received a phone call to scramble a rescue PBM. I asked, "how come you're calling me, I don't have the ready crew duty?" I was told that "Big John" Vukic had flown the SAR PBM-5G No. 84738 to the coast of Red China to rescue a navy P2V crew in a life raft off Swatow.
Lt. John Vukic, in PBM-5G No. 84738 located the P2V crew in a half inflated life raft floating along the Red Chinese shore near Swatow. "Big John" or "John the Greek" was one of the most experienced "open sea" seaplane pilots having many PBM flight hours and had flown with Captain MacDairmid on the PBM open sea landing tests off San Diego.
With no friendly surface vessel near and with daylight hours getting short, Big John made the decision to make an open-sea landing to rescue the P2V survivors in the half inflated raft.
The open-sea landing was successfully accomplished and the navy P2V crew picked up. Four JATO rockets were installed and an open-sea take-off started. Full take-off power, on the step, the JATO rockets fired and the right engine quit cold. The PBM cartwheeled to the right, crashed and broke up. Now the Navy Admiral, in command, had two plane crews in "enemy" waters to be rescued. A navy destroyer was to arrive after dark.
Meanwhile back at Sangley Point Naval station, a second PBM-5G No. 84722 at the head of the seaplane launching ramp was being loaded with case after case of million candle power parachute flares.
With Lt. Frank Parker as co-pilot, LTJG Charles Fischer as third pilot and navigator, we took off for China into the sunset. I can't remember much about the navigation but we had Loran A charts and some old British Admiralty charts of the Chinese coast and we located Swatow.
Communicating with the Sangley Point Naval station Rescue Co-ordination Center, we were able to contact the navy destroyer that arrived on scene. We homed-in on the destroyer and they picked us up on their air search radar. We were now in a solid stratus overcast on the Chinese coast. The on-scene destroyer put us in a GCA type racetrack pattern and it was now dark. The destroyer was maneuvering in shoal waters along the rocky Chinese coast and was not too happy with their old British Admiralty charts. The on-scene-commander in the destroyer asked us to drop two parachute flares at a time, when requested, to light up the area to assist them in their navigation and to assist in locating the survivors from the two plane crews. the destroyer crew did a fine job and after several hours was able to locate Lt. Vukic, his chief flight mechanic and several crew members from the navy P2V. Because all the operations were classified and from different commands other than Sangley Point Naval Station, we were never able to talk to the destroyer or P2V crews afterwards.
I left Lt. Parker to fly the GCA pattern with one of the radiomen in the cockpit and I went aft to the waist to help the ordnanceman uncrate and drop the parachute flares. After about four hours in the GCA race track pattern and dropping 34 flares, we returned to Sangley Point Naval Station, landed in the dark, tied up to a buoy and tried to sleep until dawn, when the VP-40 beaching crew took us up the ramp. It was a long night, 11.3 hours.
Things were pretty sad at Sangley Point. We were glad for Lt. Vukic, his flight engineer and the P2V flight crew members that were saved, but very sorry to lose Lt. Stuart the co-pilot and four Coast Guard crew members and the P2V crew members that were lost. The failure of the PBM right engine on take-off was later believed to have been caused by the separation of the flexible fuel line from the firewall to the pounding engine when hitting swells on take-off.
"Big John" felt very sorry and responsible for the crew members he lost on that unsuccessful take-off. The PBM-5G No. 84738 crew members were awarded the Coast Guard Gold Life Saving Medal, 5 posthumously. We later asked Coast Guard headquarters (7,000 miles away) for permission to wear the Navy China Service Medal. This request was forwarded to the navy which said "no" as we were not in China long enough to qualify. This may be correct for those of us who made it back from China, but those who died in the crash have certainly been there long enough to qualify, 39 years?
I wish I could talk to members of the navy P2V and the navy destroyer that did such an outstanding job of rescuing the downed flight crews.
"Big John" died a few years ago, but I'll always remember him as we TransPac-ed PBM-5G No. 84738 together, worked and flew together, and were off Swatow where No. 84738 crashed and sank. John later told me when he was swimming around in the cold dark Chinese waters and trying to signal the rescue destroyer, that he could hear the other PBM grinding around above the overcast and dropping the parachute flares that lit up the area like daylight. I wonder what the local Chinese thought was going on that night.
Commander Mitchell A. Perry, USCG (Ret)
"...Ordeal at sea - Wings of Gold, Fall 2001 by Schultz, Melvin Ray..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3834/is_200110/ai_n8962334 [29MAR2005]
Semper Partus - Always Ready, the U.S. Coast Guard's motto - has seldom been demonstrated more heroically than on January 18-19, 1953. The ready crew of the USCG's PBM-SG tried a daring rescue of a VP-22 P2V Neptune crew which had been shot down off the coast of China. As is often the case with oral histories, versions of the events of those days vary somewhat.
The P2V was assigned to make a single photo pass of reported Red Chinese gun emplacements in the Swatow area. The Neptune was cruising at 1,000 feet, heading toward the Formosa Straits. As it broke from cloud cover, ground fire erupted and the P2V was hit behind the cockpit in the flight compartment on the port beam and elsewhere..
The plane headed toward low lying clouds with the port engine losing fuel and aflame, the port flaps and landing wheel gone, the right engine smoking and the vertical and horizontal stabilizers air conditioned by a large holes. The crew opted to reach a friendly field on Formosa (Taiwan). Fires had been sucked into the after station of the aircraft which emergency procedures failed to quell. The plane radioed an SOS and ditching messages at 1230 and the radio operator tied down the key.
The pilot, LT Clement R. Prouhet, managed to ditch the P22V in 15-foot waves with crests running every 150 feet and wind blowing at 30 knots. All 13 crewmen successfully evacuated the aircraft but only one burned and partially inflatable eight-foot, seven-man liferaft was launched. AT3 Byars was wounded by the AAA and ENS Angell, the navgiator, was deathly seasick. They were placed in the raft. PHl McClure and AD2 Smith, tragically, were last seen drifting toward shore in the heavy seas. The remaining crew members clung to the sides of the raft, buoyed by their Mae Wests.
Another VP-22 P2V diverted from its station to the site and spotted the survivors, radioing for help as it dropped a raft which, unfortunately, could not be retrieved.
PBM-SG, USCG's SAR plane from Sangley Point, Philippines, arrived at the scene at 1630 with LT John Vukic the pilot. Darkness was approaching, the weather and sea conditions the same. Vukic landed between crests and taxied toward the raft. The sea was driving the survivors toward the propellers of the seapane so Vukic backed off for a second approach which positioned the aircraft so that rescue lines could retrieve the raft and men.
The survivors were wrapped in blankets and put in bunks, an action that was to prove fatal for some as their Mae Wests were removed so that medical treatment could be applied. The PBM taxied for 30 minutes in an unsuccessful effort to find Smith and McClure. The swells were increasing in size so Vukic decided to launch.
All seemed well and at 50 knots the JATO (jet assisted takeoff) bottles were fired. Simultaneously, the starboard engine failed, the dipping wing was caught by a swell and the swell smashed into the hull of the aircraft, causing it to cartwheel, explode and hit the water burning. The occupants were ejected from the aircraft into a burning oil slick.
Killed by the impat were copilot LTJG Stuart, ATC Hammond, AO I Bridge, AT I Tornell and AD3 Tracy Miller of the PBM crew. Missng were Angell, AN Beahm, AN Money and Byars from the P2V crew. Two VP-22 Neptunes arrived overhead the scene, droppping rafts while a USAF Albatross from Clark Field and a British Sunderland from Hong Kong joined the vigil.
Throughout the ordeal rescue craft were fired upon by shore batteries. LT Vukic retrieved one raft and picked up ADI Ballenger and A03 Brown. JX Miller and AM3 Hewitt retrieved the second raft which became a refuge for Prouhet, Varney, Ludena, McDonald and French who was badly burned. The rafts could not join up due to the sea state.
The destroyer USS Halsey Powell proceeded to the scene at flank speed and by time it arrived, the flyers had been in the water for nearly eight hours. A second USCG PBM arrived after dark and dropped 34 one million candlepower parachute flares to assist the destroyer in navigating through the rocky Chinese coastal waters and in locating survivors.
Squalls were increasing in intensity while visiblility had lowered to 700 feet. With the help of signal flares from one raft the downed crewmen were sighted. Two swimmers from the ship secured a line to the first raft but the line parted during towing. On a subsequent attempt an ensign from Powell, stripped to his scivvies, swam a line to the raft containing French who was unconscious and delirious. The connection was made and the raft towed to the destroyer where it was tethered as the survivors were brought on board. Meanwhile, the second raft had drifted to within 200 yards of Namoy Island. Powell was now in six fathoms of water, navigating over unchartered barrier reefs. In an exhibition of outstanding seamanship, Powell's CO maneuvered the ship around the reef, proceeding parallel to the coastline with less than 200 yards margin of error. The three occupants on this raft were rescued. A search continued for the missing men but was unsuccessful.
Of the original 21 personnel, 10 survived the ordeal - three USCG and seven Navy personnel. Six men were killed in the two crashes. Five were missing. Two of the missing were rumored to have made it to an island. A British businessman allegedly saw American prisoners in Canton in January or February 1953. A press report claimed two or three fliers were captured and taken to Swatow where they were forced participants in an anti-American parade. It was also rumored that the men were placed in bamboo cages from which they attempted to escape, were caught and beheaed in the Swatow town square.
All USCG personnel were awarded that service's highest honor, the Gold Life Saving Medal. The enlisted members of both crews were inducted into the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor on November 11, 1997.0
Readers are encouraged to submit names of enlisted combat aircrewmen from all wars to Wings of Gold so that they can be considered for induction into the prestigious and growing Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor on board USS Yorktown near Charleston, South Carolina.
"...Peril on the sea - Wings of Gold, Spring 2000 by Schultz, Melvin Ray..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3834/is_200004/ai_n8881378 [29MAR2005]
It was Sunday, January 18th, 1953 and Crew Seven of VP-22 was in a P2V Neptune at 1,000 feet patrolling off the China coast heading toward the Formosa Strait. They were to make a single photo pass over reported Red Chinese anti-aircraft emplacements in the vicinity of Swatow. The crew was about to break out the box lunches when all hell broke loose. Ground fire from ashore struck the Neptune behind the cockpit on the port beam.
The port engine was aflame and losing fuel and the port wing was on fire, its flaps gone. The radar was out, a main landing wheel gone, the vertical and horizontal stabilizers air-conditioned by one and two large holes, respectively. The crew now sought any friendly field on Formosa. But the port engine quit, emergency procedures did not arrest the fires which had been sucked into the after station and at 1230 the crew issued an SOS and said it would ditch the P2V. The radio transmitter key was tied down.
The second engine began smoking, the left wing was about to fall off and the fires were still burning. LT Clement R. Prouhet preapred to ditch as the waves rose to 15 feet in the 30-knot winds with crests running every 200 feet. Water temperature was estimated at 62F. The aircraft slammed onto the sea fifteen minutes of ter it was hit by ground fire. All 13 crewmembers managed to get out as the patrol plane sank.
Only one burned and partially inflatable, eight-foot, seven-man life raft was launched. AT3 Byars, wounded by the AAA and ENS Angell, the navigator, deathly seasick, were placed in the raft. PH1 McClure and AD2 Smith were last seen being washed toward shore. The remaining crewmembers clung to the raft, trusting their Mae Wests to keep them afloat.
Another VP-22 P2V, patrolling a dif ferent sector, diverted to the ditching position, eventually sighted the survivors, radioed for help and dropped a raft that could not be retrieved due to the rough seas.
A U.S. Coast Guard PBM Mariner based at Sangley Point, the Philippines arrived at the crash site at 1630. The pilot, LT John Vukic, assessed the sea and wind state as darkness approached. The survivors had been in the water for nearly five hours.
Vukic landed successfully between crests and taxied toward the raft, ensuring the propellers weren't endangering the survivors. The third effort at securing a rescue line worked. Survivors of Crew Seven were hauled aboard the Mariner and wrapped in blankets. Many of the Coast Guard crewmen removed their Mae Wests to provide medical and other assistance more effectively to the injured Navy personnel. The PBM taxied in the cresting waters for 30 minutes but failed to locate Smith and McClure. The swells began to increase as night descended upon them. Vukic decided to take off.
The PBM lifted off and the pilot actuated the JATO bottles to enhance climb-out. But the starboard engine suddenly quit. The dipping right wing was caught by a swell which swept into the hull, heaved the plane upwards and caused it to cart wheel. The PBM exploded and struck the water, burning. All hands were blown from the Mariner into a burning oil slick. Those who had removed their Mae Wests had extra difficulty. Only ADC J. Miller and Radioman French recalled exiting the aircraft, French, vividly, to this day. Killed by the impact were copilot LTJG Stuart, ATC Hammond, AOl Bridge, AT1 Tornell and AD3 Tracy Miller of the PBM crew. Missing were Angell, AN Beahm, Airman Morley and Byars from Crew Seven.
Two more P2Vs arrived and dropped a raft each to the survivors. An Air Force Albatross from Clark Field and a British Sunderland from Hong Kong joined the vigil. Throughout the ordeal, rescue aircraft were fired upon by shore batteries as well as by enemy aircraft. LT Vukic retrieved one raft and was able to pick up AD 1 Ballenger and A03 Brown. J. Miller and AM3 Hewitt retrieved the second raft which accommodated Prouhet, Varney, Ludena, McDonald and French who was badly burned. The rafts never did join despite courageous efforts.
Ships were dispatched to assist. Patrol aircraft continued the watch and were relieved by fresh crews after 10 hours of flight time. The destroyer, USS Halsey Powell, traveled at flank speed to the site, arriving when the downed flyers had been in the water for seven and a half hours.
A second Coast Guard PBM arrived after dark and dropped 34, one million candlepower parachute flares to assist the destroyer in navigating through the Chinese coastal waters. Squalls increased in intensity and visibility was now less than 700 feet. The survivors in one raft had used all but one of its few signal flares. The last one successfuly signalled their position for the destroyer. Eventually, as the ship approached, two swimmers from Powell proceeded to the raft and secured a line. As the raft was being towed to the destroyer, it broke. A third attempt at securing a line succeeded. Stripped to his skivvies, an ensign from Powell swam a line to the raft with French on board who was unconscious and delirious. This raft was tethered to the ship. The survivors were pulled aboard and provided blankets, hot coffee, food, sedatives and medicinal brandy.
Meanwhile, the first raft had drifted to within 200 yards of Namoy Island. Powell found itself in less than six fathoms of water, navigating over uncharted barrier reefs. She had to back off from a near grounding. The skipper, demonstrating superlative seamanship, maneuvered the destroyer around the reef so that the ship sailed parallel to the coastline with less than 200 yards margin for error. The three men in the first raft were finally rescued from the treacherous shoals just before midnight. The search went on for the missing well past that.
Coast Guard survivors were returned to Sangley Point. The Navy crew was taken to Naha, Okinawa. Of the original 21 men, 10 survived, three Coast Guard and seven Navy. Six men were killed in the two crashes. Five were missing. Two of the missing were believed to have made it to the island. Rumors had them in Canton in February 1953. A press report claimed that two were captured and taken to Swatow and eventually killed.
All Coast Guard personnel involved in this episode were awarded the Gold Life Saving Medal. The enlisted members of both crews were inducted into the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor aboard USS Yorktown in Charleston, South Carolina in November 1997.
(Editor's Note: CAPT Schultz oversees the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor. He leads the effort to seek out aircrewmen deserving of induction into this prestigious organization, such as the men described in this article. The following is from a letter by Thomas V. Mullen who was an earlier inductee into the Roll of Honor. His remarks reflect the pride of his achievement and of his fellow Enlisted Combat Aircrewmen.).
"I must tell you how much 1 appreciate all that you did for me. You will never know how much I was in heaven. Nothing ever happened to me that was really exciting until now. My children and grandchildren really were very proud of me. They put me on a pedestal and brag to everyone. I thank you with my whole hear"
"...I'm interested in hearing from any one that might have additional information about this mishap...Ken email@example.com..." [15FEB2005]
"...Rescue off China - Crash of CG PBM-5G 84738 January 18, 1953..." WebSite: Check Six http://www.check-six.com/Coast_Guard/Rescue_off_China.htm [29JAN2005] Rescue off China
Crash of CG PBM-5G 84738
January 18, 1953
|Martin PBM-5 Mariner|
Forty-one Martin PBM-5 Mariner seaplanes were used by the Coast Guard during the 1940s and 1950s for long range Search and Rescue missions in the U.S. and overseas. These aircraft each had a gross weight of 51,330 pounds with 2,670 gallons of fuel. Range was 2,240 miles at at cruise speed of 127 mph. The PBM was powered by two R-2800-34 18-cylinder Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp engines which produced 2100 horsepower each at take-off.
During the Second World War, the Navy tasked the Coast Guard to develop off-shore rough sea landing techniques for use in rescuing downed naval aviators and to pull survivors from the sea. The Martin patrol bomber became the aircraft of choice for this job. It was a big lumbering seaplane that could tolerate a lot of landing and take-off abuse in high seas. It also became the experimental aircraft for JATO (Jet Assist Take Off), a help for getting airborne in difficult conditions.
An officer, a former enlisted pilot, worked the problem throughout the experimental program and became one of the most experienced rough sea handlers in aviation history. His name was John Vukic and this experience was to pay off some years later.
From 1945 to 1969, U.S. Naval aircraft were involved in a number of aerial incidents with forces of the Soviet Union, People's Republic of China, North Korea, and Czechoslovakia. These incidents resulted in the loss of eight Navy aircraft and one Coast Guard aircraft, eighty-one Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviators and crewman, and several aircraft damaged and crewmen wounded and injured.
|Navy P2V-5 Shot Down|
U.S. Navy Patrol Squadron VP-22 began its third tour of operations in the Korean theater conducting shipping surveillance of the China Sea on November 29, 1952. Less than two months later, on January 18, 1953, a Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune (BuNo 127744) attached to the squadron was shot down by Chinese anti-aircraft fire near Swatow, China and ditched in the Formosa Strait.
Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune
The Coast Guard Air Detachment at NS Sangley Point, Philippines, received word that a Navy aircraft had gone down and were scrambled for the rescue mission. Aboard the PBM were: Lt. John Vukic, Pilot; Lt.j.g. Gerald W. Stuart, copilot; and crew members ADC Joseph M. Miller, Jr., ALC Winfield J. Hammond, AL1 Carl R. Tornell, AO1 Joseph R. Bridge, AD3 Tracy W. Miller, and AM3 Robert F. Hewitt.
A line up of PBM's at the seaplane ramp at NS Sangley Point, Philippines
While enroute, Lt. Vukic intercepted a radio message stating that survivors had been sighted in the water, but that they were unable to pick up the rafts or any of the survival equipment which had been dropped to them from planes circling overhead.
The crash site was located, however upon a surface survey, Lt. Vukic found that the winds were running at 25 to 30 knots, seas were 8 to 15 feet high and steep with crests approximately every 150 to 200 feet moving with a speed estimated at 15 knots.
Several passes were made over the survivors who by this time were on a life raft which was only partially inflated. Four of the survivors were hanging on over the side of the raft. Noting the condition of the survivors and their perilous position, and not having any information on the arrival time of surface vessels in the area, it was determined that, in order to save the survivors, a landing was necessary despite the hazardous conditions of the sea and the fast approaching darkness.
Lt. "Big John" Vukic
According to the pilot, Lt. "Big John" Vukic, after arriving on scene, he noted that the seas were running 15-feet. Even though the survivors managed to climb into a raft he thought they must have been suffering from hypothermia. He decided to attempt an open water landing. With darkness setting in, he landed near the survivors. His crewman managed to pull these men on board while other crewman prepared a jet-assisted packs for each side of the aircraft to use for a short take-off. While the Coast Guard crew rescued all eleven in the raft, two other Navy crew, in a separate raft, were swept ashore and captured by the communist Chinese.
"There was a 15-foot sea and a 25-mile wind," Vukic remembered about the take-off. "Everything was rolling very well and I thought it was in the bag. And so I fired my JATO bottles to help my plane get airborne. Suddenly the plane lurched to the left." He saw the left wing float rise above the sea but the port engine seemed to be losing power. He quickly decided to ditch and made for the crest of a wave with the plane's hull. "My seat suddenly broke and that was the last thing I knew."
The PBM slammed back into the sea and broke up. Once again the Navy survivors were back in the water, at least, the seven that survived this crash. Vukic managed to escape as well and inflated a raft. He pulled two surviving Navy crew in with him. He said "We were so cold we didn't care who got us, just so they had a fire to keep us warm." Two others of his Coast Guard crew, Aviation Machinists Mate Joseph Miller and Aviation Mechanic Robert Hewitt, also managed to escape before the PBM sank.
These men were eventually rescued by the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Halsey Powell (DD 686) later that night. In all, 10 survivors out of 19 total (including five from the P2V) were rescued by Halsey Powell .
U.S.S Gregory (DD 802) and U.S.S. Halsey Powell (DD 686)
During the search effort a PBM-5 from VP-40 received fire from a small-caliber machine gun, and U.S.S Gregory (DD 802) received fire from shore batteries. But the other five Coast Guard and four Navy crewmen perished. Apparently some of these nine men escaped the sinking PBM but were captured by Communist Chinese forces and executed as spies.
The entire crew of the PBM-5G 84738 earned the Gold Lifesaving Medal. The five that died in the line of duty, earned the medal posthumously.
The Gold Lifesaving Medal
"...VP-22 Reunion in Las Vegas Feb 10-12, 2003. Four survivors of the fatal VP-22 P2V-5F Neptune that was shot down January 18, 1953 by Chinese anti-aircraft fire near Swatow, China and ditched in the Formosa Straight. Pictured (left to right) are Roy Ludena, AO3; Cecil Brown, AO3; Vearl Varney, Lt.; Robert French, AL1. The men were honored at the recent VP-22 ALL Hands Reunion held in Las Vegas and each was presented with with a 50th anniversary print by Jeff Cultice that depicted their CE7 aircraft and the Coast Guard PBM that crashed trying to rescue them. MAGRUDER, Donald (Mac) firstname.lastname@example.org..." Contributed by FORNEY, AW3 Larry email@example.com [27FEB2003]
Mishap Crew 12 "...Top Row: ATAN G. A. Knochel, AT2 J. D. Norris, LTjg (Pilot) D. E. Russell, ENS (Navigator) C. D. Oliver, LTjg (CoPilot) J. L. Krefting, and AD3 K. E. Johnson. Bottom Row Left to Right: AL2 L. Baltazar, AL2 A. G. Sanderson, AD1 R. J. Helms, AOAN H. J. Ellis, and AOAN J. H. Franks..." Contributed by LILLEY, Delbert B. Lilley118@hotmail.com [24FEB2003]
"...18JAN53 A US Navy P2V-5 (BuNo 127744) of VP-22 was damaged by Chinese anti-aircraft fire over Swatow China, but was able to ditch in the Formosa Strait. Eleven of thirteen crewmen were rescued by a US Coast Guard PBM-5, under fire from Chinese shore batteries on Nan Ao Tao island. Attempting to takeoff in 8-12 foot swells, the PBM crashed. Ten survivors out of nineteen total (including five from the P2V-5) were rescued by the destroyer USS Halsey Powell (DD 686). During the search effort a PBM-5 from VP-40 received fire from a small-caliber machine gun and the destroyer USS Gregory (DD 802) received fire from Chinese shore batteries..." Website: Aircraft Downed During the Cold War and Thereafter http://www.silent-warriors.com/shootdown_list.html [20FEB2003]
"...I am writing a story of the shoot down of the VP-22 P2V-5A on 18 January 1953 off Swatow and am seeking information. Anyone wishing to tell me their version, or have specific knowledge never before released, please contact me. Also, I need data on cameras carried aboard. K-20 (?), K-38 (?), K-40 (?). The last was a borrowed camera and probably about two feet square buried in the belly for vertical shots from altitude. The -38 was likely installed in the liferaft locker on the port side for oblique shots. You tell me. Thanks for any assistance...Tom Beard firstname.lastname@example.org..." [29JUL2001]
"...While cleaning out a storage loft in my garage this morning I found my collection of "Canacao Clipper" newspapers from my days at NS Sangley Point, Philippines. On the front page of the January 23, 1953, issue is the following article...I have tried to copy the article exactly as printed including the references to "PV2" and some syntax errors. The original article includes a photo of the three Coast Guard survivors at the Sangley Infirmary..." Contributed by Mel Davidow email@example.com [30MAY98]
Vol. 4, No. 3
U.S. NAVAL STATION, SANGLEY PT.
23 JAN., 1953
NAVY PLANES LOST
PV2 Patrol Plane Forced Down In Sea; Sangley Coast Guard Rescuers Crash.
At an 8:30 a.m. Wednesday press conference held in the Station Infirmary, the heroic story of how a Sangley Coast Guard crew attempted to rescue survivors of an Okinawa based Navy PV2, shot down off the Coast of China, and also crashed in the attempt was related by the pilot of the PBM, LT John Vukic.
Several high ranking Navy and Coast Guard officers were present at the conference as well as various press representatives from Manila. Key figures present were LT John Vukic and Joseph M. Miller, ADC, both survivors of the double tragedy. Another survivor from the six man crew, Robert F. Hewitt, AD3, is undergoing treatment at the infirmary, but was not available for comment.
According to CAPT W.H. Snyder, Commander Coast Guard Section Philippines, the first report of the PV-2 being in distress was received here at approximately 12:30 p.m. Sunday. This was assumed to be the last distress signal from the PV2, which was later determined to have been forced down after been fired on and damaged by gunfire from Communist shore batteries.
A Coast Guard PBM rescue plane was dispatched immediately from the Sangley Coast Guard Air detachment, and ordered to proceed to the scene of the crash at maximum speed. Other commands also received the message and alerted their facilities to the rescue.
Upon arriving at the scene LT Vukic related that other planes were already in the area and had dropped life rafts to the survivors. All operations were being coordinated from Coast Guard Headquarters at Sangley Point. The water was reported by LT Vukic to be extremely rough for landing. With the coming darkness, Lt Vukic was instructed to makea landing at his discretion. The landing was uneventful and 11 survivors who were clinging to one raft were taken aboard. They had been adrift in the water approximately 4 hours and were unable to come aboard unassisted.
In the meantime, planes overhead relayed to Sangley an accurate on-the-scene account of the rescue attempt.
After the survivors were taken aboard pilot Vukic stated that take-off conditions were extremely hazardous due to the rough sea. Jet assists were used in the take-off but a damaged fuel line leading to the port engine caused a shortage of power which allowed a wave to hit the hull of the plane causing it to crash.
Ten men survived the second crash were divided into a party of three and a party of seven on different rafts. They were picked up later that night between 8 and 9 p.m. by the destroyer USS Halsey Powell. During the time they were in the water they had fired flares in hopes of attracting rescue parties. "At no time while we were in the water did we ever feel that we wouldn't get out of it", said LT Vukic. The crash survivors stated that they received the most excellent treatment aboard the destroyer. Transportation was arranged to the return of the PV-2 survivors to Okinawa. The survivors of the PBM crash were returned to Sangley Pint Tuesday.
A further extensive search for any survivors was carried on in the area but was abandoned Monday night when all possibilities had been exhausted.
In commenting upon the double tragedy, CAPT W.H. Snyder stated that it was his belief that there would have been no survivors had not LT Vukic taken the calculated landing risk. He went on to say the rescue attempt offered new hope and raised the morale of the survivors.
It was pointed out at the conference by CAPT Snyder that LT Vukic is considered one of the most experienced off-shore pilots in the world. Sometime ago he conducted extensive official experiments in this type of operation and was cited for meritous service in this performance of duty. [30MAY98]
"...18 Jan. 1953--P2V-5 from VP-22 shot down by anti-aircraft fire near Swatow, China..." http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq56-1.htm [26DEC97]
"...In regard to the Fall 1997 Foundation article 'To the Brink and Back': As an aviation ordnanceman first class, I was a member of VP-22 and a flight-crew member, though not on the ill-fated plane. VP-22 was operating from NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan and tasked with patrolling Formosa and up to Korea. When the P2V-5 Neptune (with nose, tail and upper-deck turrets, and the large wingtip fuel tanks) was shot down, all the crew members got out of the plane safely and into life rafts...Subsequently, a Coast Guard PBM Mariner from Sangley Point was dispatched, landed in the water and picked up all crew members. On takeoff from the water, the PBM crashed, and the seven crew members were lost. CDR Ashley, V. Wilson, USN (Ret), Virginia Beach, Va..." [FOUNDATION Volume 19 Number 1 Spring 1998 Page 6] WEBSITE: http://www.naval-air.org/ [25APR97]
MISHAPs: 31 JAN 53 A/C: P2V-5 LOCATION: Okinawa, Japan DEATHS: 11 BUNO: 127751 CAUSE: 26-47N 128-18E. On return to base the weather was marginal VFR-IFR, the plane gave a 100mi. position report and estimated over base at 1915. When the aircraft failed to appear, intensive SAR measures were started. The wreckage was found the next morning, about 45-50miles. from base on a sheer hillside at 1000-ft level up a 12-1300-ft cliff. Crew killed: Pilot: LT(jg) D. E. Russell, LT(jg) J. L. Kreeting, USN (co-pilot), ENS C. D. Oliver, USNR A (navigator), AD1 R. J. Helms (Plane Captain), AOAN N. J. Nellis (ordanceman), AOAN J. H. Franks (ordanceman), AL2 L. Baltzar (radioman), AL2 A. G. Sanderson (2nd radioman), ATAN G. A. Knochel (2nd radarman), AT2 J. D. Norris (radar observer), and AD3 K. E. Johnson (2nd mechanic). Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [Updated 06OCT2003]
"...Okinawans Aid P2V Rescue - Page 15 - Naval Aviation News - May 1953..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1953/may53.pdf [29JUL2004]
"...Searching for any information concerning my Father, Robert John Helms. Dad served with VP-22 Crew 12 that went down on January 31, 1953, on a mountainside at the northeast end of Okinawa. Would appreciate any information concerning him. I am also looking for a VP-22 patch...Bobby Helms email@example.com..." [05OCT2003]
MISHAPs: 27 JUN 79 A/C: P3 LOCATION: NAS Cubi Point, Philippines TYPE: Engine Failure/Fire SRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 05 BUNO: 154596 CAUSE: Pilot/VMC Air
"...I am looking for info on LT(jg) T.J. Madigan (see VP-22 Mishap 27 JUN 79). If you check out VP-28's Mishap 22 JUL 57 you may start to get the picture. I have also tried to get a hold of Mike Rafferty, but no prize yet. Bob was right, that was Ahern's best. Any time you can walk away, or in our case swim, it's a good landing..." Contributed by P.J. Madigan firstname.lastname@example.org [11APR2007]
"...It was 20 years ago today 26 Jun 79 (27th in NAS Cubi Point, Philippines) that VP-22 lost QA 06 while attemting an emergency landing in NAS Cubi Point, Philippines and the loss of 5 Shipmates of mine. We cannot forget them. Thoughts and prayers are with them..." Contributed by Jim Lee, AOC Ret email@example.com [26JUN99]
"...Aircraft BUNO: 154596 departed NAS Cubi Point, Philippines at 0709 local time for an eleven (11) hour surveillance flight. Aircraft integrity and negative torque system checks were completed and aircraft continued to climb on course. At 0714, altitude approximately 6,000 feet. A loud bang was heard accompanied by severe vibration throughout the airframe. The off duty Flight Engineer informed the Flight Station that the NR4 prop had departed the engine. Fire warning sounded on NR4 engine. NR4 engine was secured TAW Natops and the HRD discharged. Visual indications were that the fire was not out and the alternate HRD was selected and discharged. At that time, the NR3 engine was observed at 110 percent rpm, turbine inlet temperature of 1202 degrees centigrade, and the associated power lever was traveling violently fore and aft through the alpha range. Fire warning sounded on NR3 engine and the engine was secured with the E-Handle. The airframe vibration diminished, NR3 engine was observed to be torching and windmilling at low rpm. However, the fire warning went out. The aircraft then rolled to the right approximately 60 degrees right wing down and 10 degrees to 15 degrees nose down. Power was reduced on engines 1 and 2 to regain control of the aircraft. The pilot leveled at 2500 ft, declared an emergency, and was given vectors to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines dumping of fuel was initiated and aircraft was descended to 100ft in preparation for immediate ditching. Approximately 15 to 30 seconds after the landing gear was lowered, the aircraft began to roll to the right, full left aieleron and rudder were applied with no apparent results. Aircraft BUNO 154596 impacted the water 15 degrees right wing down, 3 to 5 degres nose low 1400 yards from runway 07 at 0724 local 27JUN79..." Contributed by Paul Waeghe, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org [27FEB98]
"...I was TACCO on the P-3 VP-22's crash-qualled Subic Bay June 27th, 1979. I still stay in touch with Mike McNally who was, along with myself, one of the last non-mission commander qualified TACCOs..." Contributed by Robert C. Myer email@example.com [21JAN99]
"...The QA-6 crash 20th anniversary came and went without Mininav getting to see any old honkers, but it WAS celebrated in style. I've accumulated an e-mail address book of everyone who responded to my posting on the VP-Navy site..." Contributed by Robert C. Myer firstname.lastname@example.org [17DEC99]
MISHAPs: Early 80's A/C: P3 LOCATION: PI DEATHS: Unknown Strike: Unknown BUNO: Unknown CAUSE: Unknown Contributed by Bob Smith, Ed.D. (CPO USN-RET) Robert-E.Smith@CNET.NAVY.MIL [03NOV2000]
"VP-22 Summary Page"