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Yorktown CV-5, Munda New Georgia, 1941 GHQ Maneuvers


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#1 NAREEVES

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 11:52 PM

My dad was a Navy pilot for VS-5 on the Yorktown. He took part in the GHQ Army Maneuvers in Louisiana during September 1941 with his squadron on the Blue Team. On 1 FEB '42 he flew in the raid on Makin in the Marshall-Gilbert Islands but crashed into the sea later that day when his SBD engine died in the storm. (his was the 7th Yorktown plane lost that day) He received a bad head injury from hitting the bombsight and was not cleared to fly again. He was then assigned as XO and CO of various CASU units - The most interesting was his year (1943) at Munda Field, New Georgia Island, Solomons. He also attended the presentation of the Navy Cross to George Gay, sole survivor of VT-8, while he was CO of CASU 5.

I am interested in his fellow pilots from the Yorktown, any information about Munda and CASU 14, and the Navy participation in the 1941 Maneuvers in Louisiana. Recreating my dad's steps in the Navy has taken almost 2 years so far. I've made great progress but continue to welcome any new information, discussion or pictures that would apply to the above subjects!

:)
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#2 JagdtigerI

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 11:58 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum!
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

"If you want peace work for justice" -Pope Paul VI

Jon

#3 LRusso216

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 12:11 AM

Welcome to the forum. There is a thread devoted to the Louisiana Maneuvers with links to other places. I'm not sure how much of it concerns the Navy's involvement. Check it out. http://www.ww2f.com/...940-1941-a.html

You might try reposting this in the Information Requests area as it gets more traffic.

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Lou


#4 LRusso216

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 12:14 AM

You might also check here CASU 14 | Navy Units | VetFriends.com. You will probably have to register, but it might be worth it.

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Lou


#5 NAREEVES

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 02:35 AM

thanks! It will take me awhile to work my way around this website.

#6 SymphonicPoet

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 07:56 PM

Glad to see you here. I for one would love to hear your father's stories. Carriers, and particularly those of the Yorktown class, are a special interest of mine. I'd never heard of the CASUs before, though I guess they make good organizational sense. (Carriers need to replenish their airgroups somewhere. Why not have a group for just that purpose?) I was just reading a bit about CASU 1.

There was an interesting thread posted on ww2aircraft.net by a fellow searching for info on his father's CASU, which turned out to be CASU 31. You might take a peak at that and ask him where he got his information.

Carrier Service Unit Number One (CASU 1) - Aircraft of World War II - Warbird Forums

There were also some really great pictures on flickr from a fellow whose father served in CASU 1 late in the war and somewhat after it.

Collection: Joe Genné: a life in aviation

I hope you find what you're looking for. I look forward to hearing what you have to say and I wish you luck.

Sincerely,
David

#7 Tomcat

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:07 PM

Welcome matey, and some great information there.

If you have any other stories from your dad we would certiainly be interested.
For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost, For want of a battle the kingdom was lost, and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Robert,


#8 dgmitchell

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:49 PM

Welcome to this fine place and thanks for such a great first post. As has been suggested already, it is best to place information requests in the information request section of the forum. You will get more traffic there.

Cheers!

#9 NAREEVES

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 05:25 AM

Thanks to all for the fine welcome!

David - I have several printouts of where the CASU's (Carrier Aircraft Service Units) were during the war. So I wrote to the guy looking for CASU 31 a long time ago to see if he still needed help and never got an answer. I guess he found what he was looking for. CASU 1 - Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. By the time my dad was not allowed to fly anymore, he first went as XO to CASU 4 on Maui.

The CASU's didn't always stay in one place, especially down in the Solomons. As our forces won over new territories, working their way up to Truk from Guadalcanal, new airstrips became more important than the previous and support forces moved into the newly acquired areas.

Munda, New Georgia was especially interesting - the Japanese built their airstrip there under the cover of palm trees, but we soon discovered what they were up to. The Marines had a terrible time whacking thru the jungle and trying to get their trucks and equipment through the mud on their way to Munda. Often the Japanese snipers would hide up in the palm trees and attack them, much like stories of Guadalcanal. On 5 August, 1943, our troops finally secured the airfield and my dad arrived that same day to start up CASU 14. I don't know if he arrived from Espiritu Santo, but I more suspect he was transported by sea from Guadalcanal. "Washing Machine Charlies" harrassed the men every night, interrupting chow and sleep. My dad had to dig his own fox hole, which might seem ho hum to many, but for a pilot this was uncharted territory! Between the constant strafing and bombing, my dad saw several men killed. Conditions were hot, muggy, rainy, and miserable. The men took atebrin in their water to ward off malaria and the atebrin turned their skin yellow. The slightest nick or cut usually flared into infections. The Australians sometimes sent up mutton as a treat, but our fellas didn't find it a treat at all and were suspicious that it was actually some other kind of mystery meat. Somewhere in Guadalcanal or Munda, my dad met Nixon and there is reportedly a picture of them together, although I haven't been able to find it. Pappy Boyington and the Black Cats spent time at Munda. By then the Seabees had built better quarters, a hospital and even an officer's club and things were looking up!

The above is about all the information I know about Munda back then. I did find one guy who was enlisted and sent to Munda. His group landed on the beach a couple of miles from the field and it was a few days before the group could move up to the airfield. His memories are not clear enough now to give good dates or details. Olive Drab website actually had the best information about Munda and the drive to take it. Now I'm hoping someone here can add to what I know so far.

Also, I've scoured the 1941 GHQ Maneuvers information quite a bit but there is next to nil about the Navy's participation, although I did find a picture of the Navy's planes parked at the civilian airport in Lake Charles. From what I'm told, the air strip the Navy used (on the Blue Team) was next to a high school. VS-5 set up their tents on the high school football field, which turned out to be a soggy mess with the rains and the tents were soon ankle deep in water. It was a short walk to the air strip. If anyone knows where this could be back then in 1941 I'd love to hear about it!

Open to all questions and hoping for some contributing info as well!
Nancy

Edited by NAREEVES, 11 October 2009 - 05:34 AM.

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#10 SymphonicPoet

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 08:53 PM

My grandfather talked once or twice about snipers. He's mentioned stripping the leaves off palm trees with machine gun fire in order to flush snipers out. (Granting that I think they were pretty happy if the snipers made the journey in about the same way as coconuts: a long and precipitous fall.)

The South Pacific was just hell everywhere you turned. Which runs sort of counter to my intuitive understanding of South Pacific as a child. Thank you. I'm enjoying your Dad's stuff already. And again, good luck.

#11 NAREEVES

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 01:34 AM

David - this is why it is taking me so long (2 years) to get my dad's story done! I get interested in everyone else's stories.

So now tell me - where, when and with what outfit was your grandfather involved?

My husband and I just toured the Hornet CV-12 in Alameda, Calif. It was a good way for me to get a feel for what my dad's life was like on a carrier. He spent over 2 years on the YOrktown CV-5 - 1 JAN 1940 - 1 FEB 1942 when he had to ditch his plane. Yorktown's ADM Fletcher had him sent over to the Louisville and they had better medical facilities for his injuries. The SBD-3 Bombsight whacked many an aviator. One lost an eye. This was before they had shoulder harnesses in the cockpit. I believe the harness came not too long after that. My poor dad was devastated not to fly again and leaving the YOrktown. But he made the best of it. He served on New Georgia, Russell Islands and Green Island in the CASU's after that. After he got out of the Navy in 1945, he began flying again in private planes and then had his own glider school in Colorado.

Ask away if you have questions!
Nancy

#12 NAREEVES

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 01:36 AM

PS - My dad's roommate for two years on the Yorktown is credited with the first hit on the Battleship Yamato. A fabulous, highly decorated pilot.

#13 Skipper

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:28 AM

Wow , this introduction thread is getting interesting already! Thank you for joining up.

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