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Newsletter VP-91 Alumni Association Newsletter

"Up Floats"
Contributed by George B. Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net

Letters and Memories!

George B. Winter pbycat@bellsouth.net

In a phone call from Tony Mascolo he reminded me of his near accident. One night he was towing one of our planes across the runway and the tow bar broke. He came across the runway and told the tower about the problem and told him to give him a GREEN light so he could cross the runway. About the time he came back with a new towbar he looked to the tower and saw a GREEN light, and started to cross the runway. So happens the GREEN light was for one of our planes doing some night bounce, and just missed each other. He believes the pilot was LT Odgen and he started to chew Tony a new you know what and Tony told him to get on the tower operator.

I have some new information about VP-91, Oct 1942 sent to me by Jim Sawruk. John Lundstrom (Note WW 11 history writer) reviewed VP-91 's history on internet and noted we were missing a key contact. It is for the night of 25/26 Oct 1942 when Lt. Glen E. Hoffman located and attacked Admiral Nagumo's carriers at the Battle of Santa Cruz. During this moonlight attack, Glen and his crew dropped 4 bombs against Nagumo's flagship, the ZUIKAKU, which was near missed by one of the bombs. He successfully escaped by drooping an illumination flare to blind the gunners. Because of this attack. Admiral Nagurno personally turned the fleet around and had the carrier aircraft defueled as he thought he was falling into a trap. This is an extremely unusual action by a Japanese Admiral and it is noted as such.

Another piece of information sent by Jim Sawruk is the Oct 14 1942 when a PBY located the task force containing carriers SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO three (3) A6M ZEROs from the ZUIKAKU intercepted it and shot it down. At least some of the crew must have survived the initial downing as the ZEROs then STRAFED it on the water. The ZERO pilot's names are given and I have looked up what happened to them. None of them survived the war with 2 lost in combat and -I in a flying accident. The one lost in the accident is the same fellow who shot down Tom Moorer and his crew in the Java Campaign, Moorer later became CNO.

For the 15th of October 1942, the Japanese claimed to have shot down 3 PBYs if viewed individually but we know only 2 were lost. It appears that 2 ZUIHO ZEROs started the action at 0655 (TOKYO Time) and they claimed 1 PBY. They were joined by 4 SHOKAKU ZEROs who claimed the action was over by 0715.

PBYCIA REUNION _ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Sept. 30 to Oct 4,1998. Howard Johnson Hotel and Convention Center, 15 Hotel Circle NE, Albuquerque, NM 87123.Our own Glen and Leo Marie Dawson will host this reunion. THE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA so make your plans to attend.