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Swaim Interview.pdf

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C I V I L A I R PAT R O L
"
O R A L H I S TOR Y I N T E R V I E W

WNHC 28.83=16
MR. CARL, O. SWAIM

N AT I O N ~ H I S T O R I C A L C O M M I T T E E
Headquarters Civil Air Patrol
Maxwell L~r Force Base, Alabama

C I V I L A I R PAT R O L
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM

Interview

Mr, Carl O. 8walm

Lt. Co]. Lester E. Hopper, CAP

Da<e: i0 October 198S
Location: Manteo, North Carolina

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

That

I,

.C~

O,

S

u3/~J-'A

, have this day participated

in an oral-magnetic-taped interview with /_-7-~-L~z~.~/~o/~'P-~--~... ~.4 i~
covering my best recollections of events and experiences which may be of
historical significance to the Civil Air Patrol.
I understand that the tape(s) and the transcribed manuscript resultlng
therefrom will be accessioned into the Civil Air Patrol's Historial Holdings.
In the best interest of the Civil Air Patrol, I do hereby voluntarily give,
t r a n s f e r, c o n v e y, a n d a s s i g n a l l r i g h t , t i t l e , a n d i n t e r e s t i n t h e m e m o i r s
and remembrances contained in the aforementioned magnetic tapes and manuscript
to the Civil Air Patrol, to have and to hold the same forever, hereby relinquishing for myself, my executors, administrators, heirs, and assigns all
ownership, right , title, and interest therein to the donee expressly on the
condition of strict observance of the following restrictions:

D a t e d / /~ ~'/ = 9 ~ .
/

A c c e p t e d o n b e h a l f o f t h e C i v i l A i r P a t r o l b y. .
Dated /0/~o/,~'-,~

C I V I L A I R PAT R O L O R A L H I S T O R Y I N T E R V I E W $

Civ~l Air Patrol Oral History interviews were initiated in early
1982

by

Lt.

Col.

Lester

E.

Ho[Jper,

Patrol's National Historical Cor~nittee.

C A P,

of

~he

Civil

hi;

The overall pul"pose of

these inter'views is to record for posterity the activities of
selected members of the Civil Air Patrol.

The principle goal of these histories is to increase ~.he base of
knowledge relat.~ng to the ear]y accomplishments o~ Civil A~
Patrol members who in their own uniq*/e way contributed [o ~.he
d e f e l ] s e o f o u r g r e a t c o u p ] t r y,

Certainly not of a secondary

nature is the preservation of the contributions of individuals as
<'.jv]l A~] Patrol continues its growth,

FOREWORD

Fhe ~o]lowing is a transcrip%ion of an oral rilstory ~l~t~ervl~.w
i . . e c o r. d e d o n m a g n e t i c : t a p e , S i n c e o n l y m i l ] O l ' : e m e m d a t i o n m h a v e b e e n
made, the reader" should consistently bear in mind that he is
reading a transcript of spoken rather than the wrluuen word.
A d d i t i o n a l l y, n o a t t e m p u t o c o n fi r m t h e a c c u r a c y o f t h e ~ r ~ t o . ~ m , . ~ tlon

corltalned

h e r e l n h a s b e e n I n a c [ e , A s a r e s u l t < l ~ e ] . ~ a n s c t : [ [ } r.

1 ' " 0 j ] e Z T. : , ~ t - . l i e i l ] t e r v l e w e e ' . = _ ~ p e F S O l U a l r o c o l l e c t l o l l s c ~ r a s ~ t t ~ a t t o n
a s h e r e m e m b e r e d i t . a t t . l l e t i m e o f u . h e i n t e r v i e w,

Editorial notes and additions made by Civil Air Patrol historians
are enclosed in brackets. If feasible, first name, rank or t]tles
are also provided, Any additlons, deletions ~nd cl~nges su,~sequently made to the transcrlpt by the intervlewee al"e [~oL t~]d]cared. Researchers may wish to listen to the actual interview
tape prior to citing the transcript.

SUMMARY OF CONTENTS

I n

t h i s

o r a l

h i s t o r y

i n t e r v i e w

M r.

C a r l

O .

S w a i m

recoul]ts his early experiences as a radio technician,
and his joining the Civil Air Patrol in that capacity at
Civil Air Patrol Coastal Patrol Base 16 at Manteo, North
Carolina.

He covers many of the difficulties encountered with the
use of early radio equipment. Included are many topics,
~uch as in-flight emerger,cies, arming of aircraft, bomb
dropping and tile unusual incident of an aircraft landing
by a Civil Air Patrbl aircraft.

His overall evaluation' of the value
Patrol BaBe 16 operations provides
patriotic feeling of the time.

of

the

insight

Coastal
into

the

G JI:DE ITOI~ CONTENT5
Page

Sub3ect

1

Personal Backgrounct

3

W o r k a s a C ~ v. i l ~ a n f o r B a s e o n S k y c o e A l r p o l " t
J o l l y , D l " i s c o t l a n d k ~ e' e ."~t i
-

[l

5

Building Base Radio

5

Base CoJm~]un~cat]on.~ Ofr~c:~r' F~elds

5

Allen Watkins a Manteo Ai£por[

5

J o : t n s C , A . P,

6

Work o~}ledu,e
Coor"dinac~or~ w]th Navy

7

Trailing WiFe An<ennae

8

{ F. . q u e n c y C h a n g e

8

R a d i o Ty p e s

9

P i oh i b i t l o rL o l~ A i r c r" a I. t - t o- A i ~" c ~' a 1~ t {.i[Orl][flLt

10

Area of Coverage

11

Operations O_f~]ce~" Arnet.te

12

Handling In-Fligllt Er~!ergency

14

C.ooper Crash

16

Ditching at $~.a

17

Ship Sinkings

18

Submarine Sighting

18

Atoning Aircraft

'"

19

Bomb Dropping by Overca,,sh and ~app

19

Submarines F~r'ing ~t Aiz'craft

2O

Navy t,'tights

..-.1

Emergency Lalid.ing on. Aircraft Carrier

24

Acquirihg, First "Mae We.,t.r~

~5

Rate of Pay
J

'? 5

Base and Supplies

-]

Base <'.orm~a r~d
C)veral I EvaltLat.~ol~

I-I I Cd t ] Oil

C I V I L A I R PAT R O L O R A L H I S T O R Y I N T E R V I E W

WNHC 28.83-16
Mr. Carl 0. Swaim
i0 October 1983
Manteo, North Carolina
Lt. Col. Lester E. Hopper, CAP

Number
Ta p e d i n t e r v i e w w i t h :
Date of Interview:
Location:
Conducted by:

H:

(...~i I, ~ttlapo~.=. we start off with a brlef descrlptlo|, of

little

bit

about

Carl's

background,

early

family

life,

where

youre from, where you were born.

S:

Well, I was born in Winston-Salem, and lived there until

was nine years old, I guess, eight or nine years old.
H:

When was that, Carl?

$~

I was born April 17. 1913, and we moved to Ashwill later

because of my mother's health. She died in Ashrill, And then
moved back to Winston-Salem, later. I went to school in Asherill.

I

first

started

in

radio

in

Winston-Salem,

when

I

was

about eighteen, I guess, seventeen or eighteen, I got to fooling
around with radios, you know, a man Who ran a radio shop. like we
did

back

in

those

days,

there

wasn't

too

much

o~

anything

else--just interested in it. Then I busted a lung when i was
eighteen years old and was in the hospital three years, and I was
twenty-one before I got out again, back to work. They told nle I'd
never work again as long as I lived, but I did. But after that I
went to work for a radio company in Winston-Salem. I worked for
C. R. Williams, in the parts department and general repairing,
for
I worked
trying to learn some .repairing--studying radio.
him for eighteen
111 0 l ] t h S ,

H:

When was that, Carl?

S:

That must have beet] around thirty--well. I didnt do t:oo

fnucl] ~oI" a couple of years after I got. out of the l~ospItc]l. But
anyway that was tile first time I really went to a fu] I- time job,
I just went ]n ~here to learn radio, They had about six servicemen. Butt that must have been in the late thirties, '36 or something like tluat, But I stayed with them eighteen months, in the
parts department for a long time, I don't remember how long,

i

quit there and then I went to work for Hay Radio Company ]n
Winston-Salem for a while, and I stayed there thl"ough '4(;). a)L([ ~i]
41. Radio Sound Company in Winston-Salem had a contract for
sound in The Lost Colony ]]ere (Manteo), in organ maintenance and
sound work, and I was doing some 'sound work, also some organ
maintenance--Han~nond organs--but the guy that was running that,
that had the contract to furnish the' sound wit]] it. his brother
had

been

operating

it

up

until

'41,

and

in

'41

I

came

(town

fief.e--they called me up and borrowed me from Hay Radio to come
down here and install the sound equlpment for" them, His Orother
had been drafted il]to the Army

I didn't wanu co come down {~e~'e.

but I did. He told me If I'd come and stay two weeks and put the
stuff in and get it hooked up, he said someone would relleve me.
Well, he couldn't find anybody. I stayed a couple more weeks
u n t i l t h e s h o w o p e n e d , a n d h e s t ] I l h a d n ' t f o u n d a n y b o d y, s o I
s t a y e d a l l s u n ~ n e r w i t h T h e L o s t C o l o n y, a s s o u n d m a n . T h a t w a s
why I came down to start with, here.
Then at the end of the show, so many of the boys were waiting for? . . h e d r a f t , a n y w a y, y o u k n o w, a t t h a t t i m e , ' 4 1 , l i k e a l l c ) f u s , I
was too. I had an application it] for the Air Corps, but stlli
the draft was looking down my back. Some of us had been deferred, so I didn't have either one of them to come up, so I went
back and quit, and came back down here. I made friends with lots
of people on the island, it's a very friendly []lace, lots of good
p e o p l e , k i n d o f l i k e h o m e , e v e ~ ' y b o d y, y o u l i v e d i n h o u s e s a n d a t e
w i t . ] - , p e o p l e w h i l e y o u w e r e i n T h e L o s t C o l o , - , y, n o t l i k e i t i 8
n o w. b u t i t w a s j u s t l i k e o n e b i g h a p p y f a m i l y, t h e w h o l e ~ s l a n d
was. I really enjoyed it here. But I decided l'd come back down
luere because there wasn't any radio man in the whole area, and 1

g o t c o n n e c t e d w i t h J o l l y, t h a t r a n a fi l i z n g s % a t l o n d o w n h e r e .
Te x a c o s t a t i o n . A t t h e s i d e o f t h e b a c k o f t h e s h o p t h e r e , ] g o t
me some test equipment ,and decided l'd just work on radios,
locally,

to

try

to

kill

time,

and

I

enjoyed

it.

I

had

fun,

because then I had time %o fish. Then after '41 or 42'. some[.ime in that area. I reckon I stayed here seven or eight months.
w h e n t h e y c a l l e d m e f o r t h e d r a f t , t h e f o l l o w i n g J a n u a l " y. a n d I
wa.9 exal~]ined and ~ was r_.urned down because ot tl-lat lung.

H:

January 42?

$ ~ Ye s , I t h i n k , ' 4 2 . T h e n I d e c i d e d t o c o m e o n b a c k d o w n h e r e
a n y w a y, b e c a u s e I a l r e a d y h a d a s h o p s e t u p h e r e . T h e w a r h a d
been declared, you know. and so I said I'd come back down here
and stay a while. But the parts got to be hard to get, but i qot
connected with the filling station, helplng him wlth h~s sturz.
running it and one thing and another, just hanging around. Dolls9
odd jobs, there was plenty to do around here, and plenty of radio
work if I could have got parts, but as the war kept going, parts
got worse, you know, to get, so it didn't take you long to keep
up with what you could get parts.for.

I'd travel around the

country trTing 5o pick up some parts, but I enjoyed it. I just
stayed here because I liked it. I was single, no problems.
went on with this same thing until the CAP came down.

i

I
had

no intention of joining the CAP or anything when it came down

i

had no idea. ~]en they first moved out to Skycoe and set up the
base, they were putting it together, a lot of the pilots were
coming in, and a lot of them hired me to install radios and help
them with radios on the airplanes. They had their private planes
here. The first one, ,I think, was a Dr. Owens out of Asheville,
he brought a Curtiss-Robin down here, and I put a radio in it. I
think i~'s the flrst one I did. Then they had a lot or the boys
t h a t w e r e p u t t i n g i n h a m e q u i p m e n s , s t . u f t t h a t [ . h e y b Yo u p n ~ ( f o w l ] ,
and I helped them some with that. They were always short-handed.
Some of the time I helped them for nothing, and other' times they
just hired me to work like everybody else. The guy that was the

manager
with
it,

with

them,

but

I

and

had

doing,
o f

it.

after"
didn't

I

my

a

have

own

few

weeks
any

business

they

idea,

and

tried

I

didn't

stuff,

and

I

to

get

me

1.o

go

part

of

want

any

liked

what

I

was

i liked working with ,them. They were a very good buncll

p e o p l e ,

a n d

t h e y

W e r e

t r y i n g

h a r d

t o

d o

s o m e t l ] i n g

o u t

o f

!]orb-if, g. a|]d the more I worked with them, the more I began to
see, you know, what they were doing, but I still didnt j<,i{~ <nero
wl]]

le

they

set

up

'the

old

airport

out

at

Skycoe.

But

they

took

Jol ly, owning an airplane, the guy that I worked for. that owl]ed
< h e

fi l l ] r i g

fellOW

Drlscoll.

camps
Dave

s t a t i o n ,

ant/

the

Driscoll.

years.

But

h i m

here,
other'

he

Dave

a n d

that

was

flew

camp

finally

a n o t h e r
for

that

of.f

the

was

operated

flying

b o y

of

it

A l s o

government,

here

the

t o g e t h e r.

all

airport

in

a

wit]]

during
here

tl]e

their

for"

government,

t h i s
CC

days.

several

plane,

and

he also had a Stlnson Voyager, one of these bi<r gull-wing ones
And he would fly passengers to Ocracoke and stuZf like that.

I

did some work for hlm. used to ride with him some down the bank,
He

flew

e d

i n

fl y.

to

fl y i n g ,

a n d

these

Ocracoke

I

fl e w

boys

quite

r e a l l y ,
w i t h

needed

bit.

e i t h e r .

h i m
so

a

I

s o m e ,

much

But

I

wasn't

d i d n ' t
q u i t e

help,

m i n d

too

much

fl y i n g .

interestI

l i k e d

a

and

b l t

a n d

J o l l y

t o o .

I

got

well

acquainted

t o

b u t :
with

guys like Slim Geeslin, out of Charlotte, was down here originall y,

h e l p e d

t h e m

p u t

t h i s

s t u ff ,

a n d

t h e y

b r o u g h t

p a r t

o f

t h e i r

ham gear down, and Fields and two or thr, ee more.

They put the base together out of their own ham ge<~r"?

H:

5;~ Oh, tha<'s where the whole thing came out of, The government
made

us

all

do

away

with

ham

licenses,

do

away

with

all

ractlo

iicen~.es--they were c~rloelled, like everything else, pilots. But
anyway, all this equipment was brought down, parts, al]d theii own
tr, ansmitters, and receivers, and stuff that we needed, and it was
all

assembled.

that

got

me

to

I

l]elped

help

them

them
with

do

a

that,

lot

of

and

that. And
I

helped

a

the
tot

main
with

one
that.

]ust on my own at night, because Geeslin was in cl]ar'ge, he was a
good radio man and a good old ham. Geeslin was from Charlotte, -i

think. Slim Oeeslin, He's dead now, he's been dead rot several
year.s, Fields, he's still living, was still there, and the base
c o ~ m ~ a n d e r a t t h a t t i m e , w a s a v e r y n i c e g u y. H e t a l k e d t o m e
, ~ e v e r a l t i m e s , b u t I s t i l l h a d n o d e s i r e t o j o i n t h e C A P. I k n e w
what they were doing, and it was a good job, and I liked it. The
r,lore I ~een of it, the more I admired them. In fact I thought
some of them were nuts to do it, you ]<now. And I tell you the
j o b t h e y w e r e d o i F, g fl y i n g o u t o n t h a t o c e a n , } ) e c a u s e I ( ] fl o w n
enough up and down this outer' banks to know [tow fragile it. wa~:
Ive landed on the Jr, each with Driscoll. I knew it was ~Janger.ous
to do that. He did it, in the outer banks villages. But I still
helped them wit], their radios, anything I could do with them. So
they hired me, they paid me for it, sometimes they did.

And I

could work for them almost as much as I wanted to, because they
just, didn't have enough help. I knew they were having to borrow
~[uIf and put, ]t together, beg, any way they could gel :Lt. I
guess.

I don't know too much about it, but they were a nice

])uncli of guys. They really tried, and they were good. friends.
they all became good friends. We got along fine, anct I thot[gllt a
10f of them, but I had no intention of joining at all. I' ii be
honest with you.

Until Allen Watkins took over, he wan the

¢orx~ilander who helped when they started working on this base here
on the airport at Manteo, over at the new airport, they finished
]t t.hen, and took over the facilities there, and Watkins and
Fields came [o me several times, when I was ctown town, al]£[ ~_li~y
kept talking to me about it. and A] len said I want you ~n there
we need you, why don't you come on and stay with us. Well. they
] < e p t o n , a n d t h e n fi n a l l y, A l l e n t a l k e d m e i n t o i t . A n d s o I c a m e
out here. He took m]} picture and picked up all my papers for me,
and I think that wa~ just about the time they moved, ready to
move, before I joined, so I wasn't with them too long. I don't
remember exac<ly how long from then until the base closed.

H: They moved up from ,~kycoe in Decembet; or '42,

S:

Something like that. l'm not sure.

H:

Ant[ you stayed with them until the base closed.

H:

They closed tl~e maln base in August of 43.

S:

I

Ye s , t h a t ' s r l u h t . A n d I d e c i d e d t o g o w i t h t h e m t h e n .

stayed wlth them, and most all of my tlme, we alternated,

we

w o u l d o p e r a t e o n e d a y. o n e s h i f t , a n d t h e n w e w o u l d r e p a i r f o r

a

d a y, a s h i f t o r t w o . a n d t h a t ' s t h e w a y w e w o r k e d , a l l o f u ~ ,

I

b e l i e v e G e e s l i n h a d g o n e a n d F i e l d s w a s i n c h a r g e o f i t . r e a l l y.
We had two more operators, Thatcher, who died some time ago, of
Greensboro, was one. If I remember we only had four at that
t:me, because we were short o£ radio operators, and they were
hard to get, We just couldn't find them. Most of them had left.
But anyway Id operate, and all excep5 Field~, I don't kl]ow
whet~er Fields operated at that time or not. It was between the
three of us. There were four shifts, two shifts each day

morn-

ing and night.

H:

Well, you sa~d morning. How long was a shift?

S: I went to work at four o clock ]n the rnorl~ing, arid the shil~s
would go out, at. daylight and stay out. what, four hours, something like that, and come back. But I worked from four o clock
]n t.he mornir~g until one. I did that most of the time, until one
in the afternoon.

H~ Then the second shlft would take over.
S:

The second shift would take over from one unt~I dark, Mo~;t of

t.he t . l l ~ L e [ w a s w ] t h t . h e r a I w a s o n t l ] a t s a m e s h z f t . I l i k e d i t .
H: When they weren't flying, you didn'5 have any requirement t.o
monitor any frequencies or anything like that?
f r e q u e n c i e s , o n l y.

Strlctly CAP

Swaim
S:

Strictly

been
had

here
to

C A P,
a

put

and

little

a

after

bit,

radio

we

and

1oo[)

got

all

to

in

the

the

here,

base

Navy

of

got

course,

set

tower,

up,

Of

after

the

we'd

Navy.

course,

we

we

had

to

c o o l - - d i n a t . e a l l o u ~ " r a k e - o ff s a n d l a n d i n g s w i t h t h e N a v y.

H: Was it a radio loop or landline'?

S:

It

was

a

radio

loop.

We

had

a

little

short AM

low-

powered

transmitter we made up for each one. We made them, one for. the
Navy tower and one in our--they weren't too far apart.

H:

So you could talk toeach other to cooz~dli],~te faKe-oils

landings.

S :

That's

H,'

Did your, radio control the take-offs and landings, then?

S :

Ye s . A l l

H:

~fou acu, e~] i i]<e a co~]urol tower" then

S:

We

all.

rake-offs

were

N a v y,

a

A f t e r

i t - - w e l l ,

and

control
t h e

b e f o r e

landings.

tower

N a v y

t h e y

as
i n

g o t

g o t

far

t h e r e

t o

as

coordinatlng
a n d

o p e r a t i n g

g o t

t o

p l a n e s

through
fl y i n g

o f f

o f

i t

the

o f f

o f

v e r y

mu¢:h, even before that, they had control of it, because they were
coming in here for inspections, and they had a co[r,nander, and he
stayed in here, and he flew to Norfolk every day w~tn (.~ tra~r~e~.
I thin]< he was flylI]'g an AT-6, but anyway we StlLI l-laq [.n have
COOl-"dinauiol, to get ill and out. Thell we had a shop ~n a har~gar"
w h e r e

w e

course,

r e p a i r e d

wlth

our

o u r

radio

r a d i o s ,
checks.

a n d
The

w e

worst

d i d

a

l o t

thing

o f

that

fl y i n g ,

o [

happened

to

tl]em with that particular type of equipment, they usec[ a trailing
antenna, a piece of wire, and we lost more of them than anything
else,

but

I

when

they'd

think
land.

that
The

was

done

pilots

because

wouldn

t

they'd

take

it

fail

in.

~o

pull

it

il'l

H:

Left

it

in

the

trees.

S:

That's right, or' somewhere along the runway, when they set

down, OF dragged it off someplace, but we'd ]]ave to replace a lot
of those and thei~ t.une them to get the r~ght length on them,

H:

For

S :

Well, if I remember right, the maximum was around sixty feet.

H:

curiosity,

how

long

was

that

trail?

abater

Well, that varied, because you had a frequency c.har~ge

told-way through, didn't you".;

i-I: Then you had to re-crystal everything.

S:

That

a l l

s

t h i s

right,
s t u f f .

Recrystal
I

w a s

and

j u s t

we

had

t h i n k i n g

to

t h e

cut

our

o t h e r

antennas

d a y ,

I

and

r e a l i z e

we had some Leaf at that t. lme, there was some RCA. some Li;]]<
radios in there too, primitive to what we ~ave now.

H:

Just

How

a

did

ardize

hodge-podge

you

on

a

get

a

set

package,

of

everything

in

and

out

OF

did

you

of

Let
an

rne

ask

you

something,

airplane?

Did

you

stand-

airplane

had

its

just--each

own

l"adlo and each one of them was custom?

S: Most of the planes they flew out of here were like a $t. inson,
< h e r e

w e r e

enough

in

m o r e

the

o f

dash

t h e m
panel

t h a n
or

a n y t h i n g

right

under

e l s e ,
the

a n d

edge

w e
of

it

h a d

r o o m

that

they

c.ot[id make a rack, mount the rack, In other words they were in a

racks t[l]d¢Yll¢6tt.h

housing anyway, and you could ]LiSt mount tl]e
5 h

c o n t r o l

p a n e l

i n

a

c o r n e r ,

m a y b e

o v e r

t h e

p i l o t ' s

s ~ d e ,

either that or on the observer's side. whichever one we had r'oom
for
o f

it. And
i t ,

i f

I t

there
d i d n ' t

was

a

h a v e

few
a

of

them

s u p p o r t

that

we

a c r o s s

cou](l
i t ,

w e ' d

cut

out

c u t .

pa~:t

o u t

a s

Swa i m
m u c h a s w e c o u l d t o r ' a i s e i t a s h i g h a s w e c o u l d t o g i v e h i l a ! fl o Y. ~
room f(z)r his feet.

H:

Some of the bases finally standardized anu put ~t on wh~t

looked like a board, and then they could just unhook three or
rout leads and move it from one airplane to the other', and t.h@t
way if they had an airplane down fo~" radio they c:ottld swap it,

~, Well, you could get underneath of ours and unplug it from the
back and slip it out, no problem there, and then we h~d d bench
se5 up wrJere we could yank it out and put it o~] the bench and
repair it. But, if I remember, most of OUrS we~e mOUl]ted

up

]n

fine panel, or close to ~t. They did a remarkdble job, but wlth
o n e f r e q u e n c y, a n d o f c o u r s e o n e p l a n e c o u l d n t t a l k t o t . h e o t r, e y
one, wnlch was a handicap.

H: They couldn't talk to each other?

,9~

No sit-., Nc, t under any condition.

H:

Why was that?

Fi~.,y only had one fl,.equency and they want.ed tl]em to---evident-

H~

They could, technically, but operationally they weren't

allowed. Is tl]at what you re saying?
$ ~ Ye s , i g u e s s t h e y " c o u l d . T h e y c o u l d h a v e p u ¢ a f r e q u e n c y i n
it, but I think opera, tionally was what was the cause of it. In
order to make it so the two planes were always talking to the
base, not to one another. So tl]at they could Keep them separated--also they'd know the coordinates of one, you know, against
the other.

Th~s was done for that reason, too. Because every

fifteen minutes or so they had to report ]n where they were.

We

had a map up on the wall, you know, we'd put a pin. and we d know

exactly
t.ai~ce,
own

where he was all the time, within a fifteen mznute d:~tl]e:r

I thought afterwards, the way they had it was for

safety,

arid

it

dad

work.

It

pald

off

a

couple

t :files.

of

MoSt. Of therfi were real good at this, pilots and observers,

gave

They reported where

they

pretty close coordinates to each one.
were. ']"hey knew where
they were, pretty close,

kl~

Well, one of the problems you had was overuse of the r'adJo

channel, you know, I think, all up and down the coast here, all
..AP was on t]]at one frequency

That's right. And then we had weather conditions.

Yo u g e t

out there with lightning and weather like that and you

couldn't

hardly read them. It was terrific, if they were very

f a r

S:

o ff

s l ] o Ye .

H:

What was your range? What size transmitter d:id you hove

your

base? A hundred watts, a thousand watts?

.,:

W e w e r e r u n n i n g a r o u n d a h u n d r ge d I t h i n k , m o s t o f t h e t i m e

that I was there. We could have run more. but we didn't, I think
lOCI did it., We were only covering from Virginia Beach to Hatteras, and then they doubled back,

H:
S:

Al]d how far off shore did they go. do you recall?

No. I don't, but I think they were funning about five, s:x,

ten miles, ~omewhere~ in there. Maybe some of them ten miles. I
had quite a bit of problem with them. Our map, if I remember.
c o r r e c t l y, I ' m n o t s u r e a b o u t i t , b u t o u r m a p s w e r e t e n m i l e s , t o
the top of our control maps, but over and over again, yo~]d fiFio
theft] oll the map, Theyd ~-eport off tl~e m~p, a lot of tn~m.
H:

They either were off the map or' they were lost.

S:

That s right. I found them as far as 40 miles off shore,

H~

' ] ' e l l l ~ ~ e a b o u t o n e o f y o u r o p e r a t i n g d a y s . Yo u c a m e

four

o c l o c k i n t h e m o r n i n g . Te l l m e w h a t h a p p e n e d .

$;

Well, it was normal. It was routine, They'd take off, two

of them golng south, two of them going north, and you'd give t]]e[:~
|]ern~iss]on to take off in the morning at dawn. soon as it was
light enough for them to see, and get them out. and flier, they'({
¢o~~,e back and give you their coordinates every fifteen minutes or
whatever time it was, where they were, and they would go further.
our, to sea, Also they had a rule that each plane had to fall
back bel]ind the other one at intervals. After fifteen minutes or
so Jnt.el"vals one of them would fall behind the other one, you
know, to see if anything was wrong with the other alrplane,

All

t.he t.]me they would do this, and you d ask him i r his sister shlp
was all right, and if he saw anything, and the other one to{).
We d

check periodically wit]] them on that, which he required.

Fitz

Arnette, out of Hender.sonville was operations officer at

[.hat

pa~:ticular <ime, and up until the end, I think, and he was

p r e t t y t l ] o r o u g h , h e k n e w a i r p l a n e s , h e ] < n e w h o w t o fl y, h e k n e w
what was going on ther-e.

H:

Now your maps, was that the so-called plotting room or just

]n the radio room?

$~

Just in the radio room.

H:

Then did you sent|' them out to the plot.ring room?

S:

Ye s , w e h a d a m a p o f t h e w h o l e a r e a , a n d a l l w e d i d w a s t o

~iust keep tab of the locations, exactly of the latitude al]d
longitude, wher.e this plane was at a particular time, which was
on this plot[.ing board, but they had ar~other one ir~side too, if
they could, if they wanted to plot it. I don't know what they
used When they first started, but thelr system changed, when we

were out there, of what tl-,ey made the pilots do offshore.

The

pilots had a better method of calculating their posltions than
they

did.

when

they

first

started

down

here

it

was

kind

of

a

haphazard thing. They used buoys offshore. When I first started
working with them, they were using Dttoys. Theyd say we are at...
buoy so-ar~d.-so. They used a coast and geodetic m~p.

H:

They finally taught there r~o navigate.

S : Ye s . t h a t s r i g h t , e x a c t l y. T h e y fi n a l l y t a u g h t t i ~ e o b s e r v ers to navigate and you'd have a lot of--typical of them. I tell
you,

I

really

admired

them,

those

pilots. The

job

they

were

doing--it was risky as it could be, but you covered up for a lot
of them too, because a lot of them would go out there, and ]
know, they d get up a< four o clock in the morning, and you take
yotlr older pilots that had been flying with an obse~-ver that can
fl y < o o , p r o b a b l y m o s t o f t l u e o b s e r v e r s c o u l d fl y, b u t t ~ , e y w o u l d
r~urn .it over to the' observer and go to sleep.
quite often.

This happened

Lots of times you'd have one plane tl]a5 would

r.eport in at a certain time and say I II give you his position,
and you'd ask the other one for his position and he wasn't there,
you knew what had happened, and you'd say you check again, be
sure where you are, you're not Fight, But Father than put ].t on
oiJr plottJnLJ board and let the officer" know what happened, you
covered a lot for them like that. It was minor, it wasn't anyt.hing ser.ious, an,zt we never thought too much about it, But they
were funny--

H~

What do you mean, funny?

Tl]ey d just go out. there and go

to sleep?

el~

¢omlc.'.al, yes:

t.I~at they made,

T h e y w e r e c o m i c a l s o m e r, i m e s , J ~ J t h e r e m a r X , ~ s
They wefe a pre~Lty happy-go-lu¢}<,~: m_~f~i~ O[

people to be out there where they were in planes. But they would
crulse their patrol and turn around and come back. which was
normal, which was daily incidents and things that were just

minor, not too marly major things happened when I was operating
~i:h i:; ~xc~gt. we did have one one n~o~:.F~ir~g, ~en~. ou~ aF~CL an
example which really paid off for these two planes, one flight
W~F:I:. FJor.th and he go[. up the beach about ten or fifteen miles,
and I think he was about tell miles offshore, if I remeruDei" col-i " e c t , i y, a n d t h e s i s r. e i , - , s h i p c a l l e d a n d s a i d s m o k e w a s c o m i n g o u t
of his exhaust, and go I checked with hlm and asJ<ed him for" his
l.,]arlifoid pr.e~,sui..e and oil pressure, and h~ said it was perfectly
all right. So then I talked to Arnette, the Operatiorls officer,
ai:4[ he said t,o ]<eep a~king lqim, keep questioning him every five
minutes or go about his oil pressure and manifold pressure, and
se,~ l.t hi,~ ~l-igirle is bot:.hei-'ing him, and the sister snip fell back
and kept following him. H'e went from maybe fifteen or twenty
ffi].[]ut_.~s ii][o ills flight and conuinued on. but the smoke k~pt:
coming, so finally Arnette said uo tell him to come to the beacl~,
So we kepu check~ng with ]iim every five minutes on I~i,5 oil p~=~sure and manifold pressure, no change, nothing wrong with the
sin.plane, the pilot couldn't even see the smoke. But he came to
the beach, and then, by the time lue came to the Deac]]. we got the
lfitO]]al]iC, Dl"OWl], he was fi"Om Piedmont Corm-r~unicat. ions, I think,
of our mechanics, and he was good--one of the best,
i got
one
him

if: :.hel"e and asked him about it, and Brown asked me to

as]<

him

the same thing, and I asked ]]int, and he was all i--Ight.,

At]d
wag

~l"OWl] ~alc_-L t.O bi-ing ]]im ~t~, This wag later afte~ the Navy

flying rlght much off the base at that time. They didn't have Et
;~OLlar[l"OI] ]]@l':e, bU:. Ehey were dolrig a lot:. of flying. So he said
tu get him in here as quick as possible and let him land straight
iii,

~o I got permi~iol] from <.he Navy for him to come in,

s t i . ' a i g n t . , a n d j u s < . b e f o r e l i e l a i - ~ , - l e d I ~ . "~] " 19, " ~[ " " ~ f f w i t , i ] h i m
. ~.,<.],

aclain fur

his oil pressure, a%nd he said it was perfectly normal, but he
the
landed, got. down all right, and taxied up to the hangar to
strip where he was to'leave his air[)issue, and it cut off on

him

]ust before he got it where he wanted it, The mechanic took

<hat

aJl"ilalie dowl] aF~d t.he motor had frozen solid. The pistons
They
one solid piece of metal--that close to losing it

were
lo~t

some aii.-planes. Tliey lost some o~ them down. But I don't remem-

her but one when I was on operating duty when they lost it.,
other boys happened to be on other times.

H: Which one was that, b,_~ I?

I

,.,:

CJ

I doll t re~x*lelll])er who it was

I

,

c a n

~

t

t e l l

y o u

b u t

p

all,-[

ditched it, and he was close iF: and the Coast Girard wel]t, otlt
g o t

h i m .

N o

p r o b l e m .

T h e y

l o s t

s e v e r a l

l i k e

t h a t ,

I

h e

t h i n k .

They did lose several at sea?

H:

o°:

Ye s , I d o l l t k n o w h o w m a n y, I w o u l d n t s a y t o o m a n y o f t h e m

but they did lose some that way. They'd go down with mechanic:al
Lrouble.

H:

Were you on duty with them when t.o<per went down?

H:

9 :

That was your off day.

N o ,

H e

w a s

o n

a n

a f t e r n o o n

fl i g h t ,

a n d

]

w a s

o ff

t h a t

a f t e r -

noon, but I know when he went down. I was over on the Death whez~
t h e y

w e r e

was

just

t r y i n g

t o

cold,

and

so

g e t
the

t o

h i m .

ocean

H e
was

w a s n ' t
so

t o o

rough

f ~ r

the

o u t .

Coast

b u t

i t

Guta~d

¢ o u l d n ' < . g o g e t h i m . Yo u d f r e e z e r. o d e a t h i n t w e n t y m i n u v. e s o r
less.

H~

Hyper, thel"mia,

Yo u d i d n ' t k n o w t h e w o r d b a c k t h e . n .

worked just the same.,

$ :

Well, they ,.°,topped i~ after :.hat.. They wouldn t let them

go out there when it was that ~'ougl], They c~rtc~lled :.lie t llg]itS
when the ocean wa~ rough as i1. was at. that. t.ime, anct o'old, They
c o u l d n ' t
get

to.

g e t

That

t o
s

t h e m .

the

only

T h a t
one

s

t h e

we

o n l y

lost.

We

o n e

I

were

K n o w

t h e y

real

lucky.

c o u i d n ' ~

H:

~:

Yo u s a i d t h e r e w e r e s e v e r a l t h a t d i t c h e d a t s e a t h o u g h ,

I don't ]<now how many they

Ye . ~ , t h e y l o . ~ t ? . , o m e a i r. p l a [ , e s .

ditched at sea.

~ :

.

TlJat '~ orle oJJ the lJa~:.l tl)Jn~s I ]]ave to l!::ind, c~nd I'm ~: ~rJ~ ~~

I' 11 find it when I gelz to read the

3-:~'-

i

$-2 rel:,,:,:"~-~, that

l~<,~l:..ly qot but ].t ,~ difficult to piece that together

S:

Well,

I

don't

]<now.

I

only

know

one,

I

know

they

did

lose

soine more, t.hey ]of:t. some airplanes, but I don't ]:now how many or
anything.

The one that you were on duty for.. why dorl't you tell
l i t t l e

b i t

a b o u t

i t .

He knew that his motor was quitting, and he WaSh'i_ far off.
in

fact

it

was

" '

off

Kitty

Hawk,

arid

he

knew

that

he

wa,~

havjl]g

i m 3 t . O F t Yo u ] } l e , a n d h e g o t j u s t a s c l o s e i n a s h e c : o u l d . H e
coming

He

to the base.

got

just

as

close

in

as

he

could

to

, ,t .
.
. i ; ~.r : : . y H a w k ::'-<.... s. t ( - : u a r d ° . . . .~ t . i O,f J a n d ] ' .J e .s a i. d h e w a s q o j n : : l 1 o
. ,~
to

Pl:

ditch

it

and

he

wd f-:
t 1-: e
have

ditched.

Did l-:e live you a Mayday <,r someth:ng?

S:

No,

he

just

told

me

that

he

was

having

trouble

with

the

all--plane, and he was afraid he was going to have to ditch it,
and I kept talking to him, and I told h~s sister shlp. She knew
w h a t

w a s

h a p p e n i n g

t o

h i m ,

t h a t

h e

w a s

g o i n g

t o

d i t c h

i t .

t o

watch it, so he knew, where he was, aiLd stayed wit]': l]i[n. ,9o they

jtz,e,t. dit.c.hed i[: and they go: out. The Coast G,:ard was watch.:ng
thern

all

the

time,

tdo.

They.

already

had

a

boat

a

time

Jr:

the

They knew he was coming down.

H:

It's

amazing

how

cool

a

pilot

is

at

like

that,

water",

S:

It Is, it's just-- They were not fettled, at all.

H~

I've only l]ad one serious emergency l~ke that, Carl. and

every once in a whlle I think back about it. and I a:ay you had t~-~
be out. of your mind to be tl]at easy-going. The p~'lmer on the
airplane that I fly is inside the cockpit, and I switched tal.ks
and threw on a booster pump, and a shower of gas 3ust came shooting out my primer, all over my lap and everything else, and I was
in a bad weather situation, and all I told the tower was--I
happened to be within reasonable distance of an alr'port--I said I
need clearance for a straight in, I have a minor fuel problem.

S:

These boys were amazing, the ~ay t,l]ey nl:~el"atc, d 1~:.

The/

i--ea]ly su~'-prised me. 1'il be honesL with you. if--tl~e /~irst ride.
i [,ook with them, a~ter they'd been flying a while, the ~il"fi:t
test flight I made, radio test flight, was in a Cessna, and I was
sure

the

plane

would

fall

a p a r t . Yo u

know,

just

rattled

all

o v e r, j u s t f a l l t o p i e c e s . I t s o u n d e d l i k e i t . Yo u k n o w, t h a t s
the way it was, and they were flying tl]at thing.
flying it on patrols

They'd been

Well. all the airplanes are like this. ar~

I got to thinking they'll ]]old together, i guess. But th~ l<~ng
equipment that they had back in those days--people today who are
not old enough to know what radio equipment we hacl. can't lmag]~¢
what we fooled with, what we were fooling with,

H:

Just to reverse this, I flew back in the forties and didn't

fly any more until the seventies, and the biggest, problem I had
when I started flying again was that all the darn radio equi[Jmen[
drove [rle crazy.

S:

I k n o w. I k n o w w h a t y o u m e a n .

H:

That was too complicated.

S:

That s why you got with us, because you kept--well I've ]~;ept

up

w~th it for years, because I've been in the con~tJunications

business since that was .over, As soon as two- way r, adio calfl~ iI]~
I wel-lt into--I got a Motorola and General Electric service station, and I had a Motel"ale and I just sold it in the past year,
heY.e,

1: ha t ' ,t~; a ] ] i ' ,,'e

$ o w e g r, e w u p w i t h l : . w o - w a y 1 , . a d i o ~ ,

tire, p~lots and

clone--sold cormnun~cations equipment, to police,

fOUIt¢¢FI ¢OtU]tles

st.u]~f of that type xor years. We worked ori

here, so we had to keep up, pretty well wlth it, Dut back then it
was pr-imit ive.

H: Let me as]( you. When these guys went out, they flew an area,
or did they fly

dlorlg

w i t ] ] a c o n v o y, o r h o w d i d t h e y d o

i t '?

~;: Well, they f~ew, no tl~ey flew an area. They would 9o OUL
like five miles or something and would fly down the outer bt.~F~]<s
for

five

miles

out.

What

they

were

flying,

really,

the

thing

that they were flying and the course that they were on was the
, ~ l ] i [ } p l l q g

l a n e s ,

T h e

s h i p s

w e r e

c o m i n g

j u s t

a s

c l o s e

t o

s h o r e

a s

tl]ey could come, because you could see, watch tankers golng up
and down this coast, and they flew just out. beyond that shipping
lane where submarines could be within torpedo dlstance of the
shlps.

Yo u c o u l d w a t c h t l ] e b o a t s . , T h e b o a t s w e r e a l w a y s o u t

t h e r e , n i g h t a n d d a y.

H:

Did you ever see any of them get sunk out there?

S: Oh, yes. I saw tl]em from the shore. I know of two. i s tooct
over if-, that old casino on Nag's Head one night in tne w~nter
time when it was col(I, and ]~e was right close to shore, a[id I saw
one of those tankers clo up just like a i~recracker'. ~nu. you coulu
see the men flying out of it, and the oil bt[t"r'llF~Cf OFi top OI tile
war..el", The Coast Gua/d went out with them. They'd go out tl~ere.
But there was a lot of them. I saw ~wo or three Dlow up, 3u~t
sr_.anding looking, I mean we were just standing there talking,
looking out the window. PeOple don't realize how hot it was here,
and CAP did a world of good. I began to really admire them

afterward,

after

I

got

with

them,

because

I

knew

they

were

doing--ir_'s the only thing we had. They'd call in and say they
saw a submarine, when I was on duty and we had a teletype to the
Navy in Nor~ol.k, and .Id call the Navy and tell them they had
seer] a subl]]arlne, wnlcn is wl]aE we were supposed to do. ai,c[ w~,e.~e
] t w a s . t h e l o c a t ] o n o r i t . a ~ ; c t t l ~ e N a v y s ~ ] ( T l s o r r y, t h e r e ' s o r ~ e
PBY [-lying and he's off Florida someplace. From b'Ior'lda to above
Norfolk, they had one PBY flying at a time. They covered that
whole coast. We had no protection. We didn't have nothing. And
if the planes didn't help them, the Germans could come on in any
time they wanted to. They didn t know how little we did ]-,ave.

H: }~il-lally they put some bombs a[~<i c[ept;] c~-~arges on these }~[t..~
airplanes.
. @ : W h e n t h e y t o o k u s i n t h e A i r F o r c e . I f I r e m e m b e r c o r r e c t l y,
they came down here and, I don t remember who came, one of the
Natiol]ai Con~anders came down.

H:
~

I t w o u l d h a v e b e e n E a r l e J o h n s o n , p r o b a b l y.

P i " . O ] : , a ] z , l y, f ! " ( ) J Y l Wa s h i n g t o n , a n d h e m a d e a s p e e c h t o u s . a n d

told us that we were outlaws. That's the first thing he said,
i'll never forget it. He said you are all a bunch of outlaws,
you've been outlaws. If a German catches you, they'll shoot you,
~e
]-,ecru. - .... y e n l ' v e g o t n o p r o t e c t i o n w h a t s o e v e r . A n d w e w e r e ,

theo-

retlcally we were, and he said that they were going to take us ill
the Aiy Forge and send an ordnance crew. And they too]< us in tl]e
Air Force and they sent an ordnance crew down here and they put
bon~bs on and racks,. @nd the soldiers in the o~dnanc~ c:ew <oo]~
the bombs off when the planes came in,

H : D i d y o u h e a r a n y o f t h e p i l o t s , w l ] i l e y o u w e r e o n d u t y, t a l k
about dropping bombs or anything?

Swaim
$:

Ye ~ , .

. d . d , . ~ o r n e o f t , h e m g o t ~ , " . ,-, '. , . . i t , e d ~ b O L t t . i l [ ,.. I F ~ r fl e-r f J D o t , .
I i
,

M a t " , v i n O v e t . . c a ~ h w a s a n o b s e r v e r, a n d I ] ) e l ] e v e h e w a ~ fl y i n g w i t } ]
a fellow Sapp, but one morning on early patrol, he said he saw
aubmar~rie and they had the bombs with them then, butt evid,~nt, ly
when he first saw it, Z'II never forget, MarviIi called ir~ al-Kt
said: I see a subrnarirle, and Arnette was in the radio room w-lib
me at that particular time, standing behir, d me.. arid he called ii]
al~d ~aJd: I see a s~jbmarine, can I drop my bomb? I said: Marl,
y o u ' r e o u t t h e r e , n o t m e , a n d A r n e t t e s a i d , Ye a h , w h a t ' s h e d o i n g
out there? And he did..

H:

5i

He dropped it.

H e d r o p p e d i t a n y w a y, b u t h e a s k e d m e

could, he was so excited.

H~

S:

Yo u d o n ' t r e m e m b e r w h e n t h a t w a s .

No. He was so excited I won't forget him,

He won't f oFgei:.

that, either.
H:

S:

We at least ]<[iow (Dl]e

They dropped some.

O~ thel]] clot

.dropped.

I know they did, when I

was on, they

dropped some.

H:
8:

S o m e . O n e ' ? Te n ?
i d o n ' t ] < n o w. Yo u t a k e t w o p l a n e s d r o p p i n g f o u r D o m D s . H e

was suL, merglng, but before tl~e end of <he Lhlng, they got to
w h e r e t h e y w e r e s h o o [ ~ n g b a c k , y o u k n o w.

H:

They were?

What did they do?

H:

I h a d n : ' t h e a r d <a b o u t t h a t .

$~

,_,tt]_,m~til]e lay out therewith a gun on deck, a cannon, and

the

plane came close he'd shoot at him,

H:

Do you remember anybody specifically got shot?

S: No. Nobody got shot. They got to stay away from them, TlJey
got. to watching them, and if they didn ~ submerge, they wouldn't
go close enough I:o them, They knew this was golng to happen, and
the litst il]cident of this began to happen to them when the Navy
p u t t h e i r p a t r o l o n . Yo u s e e , b e f o r e w e q u l t , t h e N a v y c a m e d o w n
l ] e Ye w i t h a s q u a d r o n , a n d t h e y t o o k o v e r o u t b e y o n d w h e r e t h e C A P
was.

They went to sea. They'd go out forty to fifty miles o~

m o r e t o ~ e a . Yo u p ~ - . o b a b l y k n e w a b o u t t h e m .

H : Were riley PBY S, or what?

~ No, they were ftylng small, looked like trainers. They called
them t~e Sugar Squadron, that was their code name, was Sugar, and
I'] i never forget, tl]em, But they came down here and they had a
squadron of them, there was two of them, an observer, open cock0it.~, a]-~d t.hey cut our range down to f~ve or six m~les anc[ to
good weather, only good weather flying before the end of it, At~d
they would go t.o sea when they went out

H:

I hadn't heard that.

S : Ye s .

I don't.]<now how long it was, maybe a month or two

months before we quit, the Navy was flying, they went off at
daylight just like we 'did. They took off at the same time. clawn.
and came back about the same time, That s where oui" o)o~-([il1,~t]on
£fOt

t.Oget.her,

'FhaL was

.alol~g

at:.

the

]aSL. A,]O

wheh

the

~;eotl]el"

was bad they'd take over the inside convoy if the oceal-,, wao too
r o u g h f o r t h e m t o fl y, b e c a u s e t h e y s t o p p e d t I ~ e m a f t e r t h e y l o s t

them. t, hey stoppe<t them J]~.om [).yirtg ilt }.ea]. l.oui.gtt <:oktt ,.4~,~ttir~:t ,
extremely cold.

H:

were you

Well, what about your living conditions? Where

to

living during that perled of time? Oh, befcDre I get

that,

aircraft

tell r,]e the story a].-,ottt the guy that landed on the
carrier.
a.

Oh ye~
[ ~ _ e w a s ~ 7 ~ 11 c c ~ n v o y a r i d t h e y a i " e r - a d ] . o : : ; i l e r J c e
y{,u
k n o w, w h e [ ~ t h e y a r e o n c o n v o y. T h e y ' c [ g o o u t a t l d p i e ] < t i ~ b l n t j ~
COI]]]Fi([

Lip the coast

t~lOil]g

t 11 t O N o r f o l k , w i t h t h e b a s e ' s c a r r i e r

and three destroyers, I believe, with them. We knew fl..or~i the
or.hal base~ at. Morehead City that they were coming, you know,
They'd bring them up to Hatteras, and we'd go down and meet them
~1

Ha|.:teJ"a~ ai-td escot-t t h e r n u p t h r o u g h h e F e . A n d u s u a l l y t t i e y + d

do

:it iil the moFll:ing,
g@

dllC__[

If i[ was in the

t < hem arid ];)r ] i-uit

t - b o . r, t u p h e ) : " e

tll()Ktlirl<.[ I.:]]ey'([ tfo d(,%.qri
Wotll<J

clflt[ []].~, F|eXt gii)t..la(.l]'(2)l't

come Ol+l ]n and they'd go back out. They had to leave the

es:cot+t

before they could break radio silence and say they wer-e

cornlrlg

in, you know. 7'he next bunch would go out and pick them up and
t a k e t h e r, l t o N o r f o l k , u p t o Vi r g i n i a B e a c h . B u t a n y w a y, t h e y w e r e
e s c o r t i n g t h e m b a c k u p t h a t w a y, a n d u n d e r n o c o n d i t i o n c o u l d

they bt.'eak t"a([ic) silelnce., al]d they couldn't fly over' the col]roy
under

any cond~ t i on, oval" any sh 1 p.

'-['hey had

t.o

st(~y

within---they'd ci~-cte once in a while, and then ~l,/ aloha side ()I~
~Vty+-

t hern.

but we didn't hear al~ything ft:)m him. I dl£il-i't ]te~l-

ti-~ing

about it at. all, and or course we weren't expecting

thing,

someradio, unless he came ashore. If lie had trouble or
he would have come ashore and then called in, but nothing

tt~ing

any-

happened, and then ,the sister" ship called when she started to
and
was
"] - .~
catr'ier'
landed ot~ the
tur, n t..c.k
alGd she said he had
+

safe.

H:

Who w~ls that?

S : T h a t w a s t h i s g u y, i ' m t r y i n g t o t h i n k a t h i s n a m e , P a u l
telling hie his name a while ago,

H:

That was the Canadian?

H:

Why (lid he land on the carrier'?

S:

Well he said he was having trouble. His motor was running

bad. skipping, I don"t know whether It was bad enougb that he
would have had to land i~, I guess :it was, But he said it. was
rr~il]or, It. was something he. c:ould have fixed if he l]ad had it. o,-~
the ground, I remember that. But the carrier was watching him
and heard him, and the captain pulled the nose o[ the carrier
i n t o t h e w i n d , n o t h i n g s a i d , b u t h e k n e w w h a t h e w a s a ~ . ~ k : L r, c l
~ o h e s e t d o w n o n i t , E e w a s p l a l ] n i r t g , ) 11 s e t l l j r j ( j o o w ~ ~ o n
fixing the airplane and taking off anct coming on it,, you

L:)J-.
it
k n o w.

Then when he sat down on it, that was it.

a r e a l g o o d s t o r y. D o y o u r e m e m b e r a b o u t w h e n t h a t

~

No, I dont.. It. was along the latter part, I'd say wire, in

the last two months or so of the base operation

because you~--

cai"rier~ were coming back beat up, you know, this one was. bat-.t le-scarred.

H:

Yo u d o n t r e m e m b e r t h e n a m e o f t h e c a r r i e r ?

S: No. I don't, But they were battle-scarred,

I think he said

the whole front end of' this one was knocked out.

Fhey d go into

Norfolk for repairs

h ~ T h a t . ~ a r. e a t l n s e ~ - . e s s i n g s t . o r y, i h a d n t . l ~ e a r d
before. I've got to follow that one up,

S: Follow that one up and talk to--have you talked to Allen
Watkins?

8i tf I l'emember, he hit th~ ce ling when riley woulda't let l-~]m
o ff . A n d t h e y h a d t o g o u p t h e r e a r, d d i s a s t e r, h i e . r, t t e p l a n e , t , ' : , , K ~
iL apa,:,t

al]d JDrJh(]

it }:.,a~::k.

H: They had to go to Norfolk and disassemble

the

airplane

to

bring it back'?
,g:

Ye s : Ye ~ , , ~ J r, T h e y w o u l d n ' t l e t : h i m fl y i t . o f f o f t h e r e ,

H:

Do you know wl]at kind of airplane it was'?

$~

it. was a Stinson. Same type they were rly:ng. Most of the

o n e s t h e y h a d h e r e w e r e Vo y a g e r s , m o s t o f t h e o n e s t h e y w e r e
flying, Some other types here too, there were Stearmans here. I
remember that one, because I remember Watkins hit the ceiling
because he couldn't get off of it. He could have got o~f, but
t h e r e w a s a N a v y r e g u l a t i o n , y o u k n o w, y o u d o n t ¢ l o t l " ~ ] : _ ~ : - - - n o ] ~ o d y
does it.
H.~

~h] they wouldn't leu him off. How about any other' little

incidents, amusing or otherwis.e, that occurred during that perlod ?

S: Well. let's see, not too many unusual incidents. I know
tl:at there were some. of them that landed on the beach.

Ti-tey'd

see something they war]ted or something so would r'o]] :t In. wI:ich
was strictly agalr~st /egulations and dangerous as heck. bLit t:}~,-,y
would do it. Arld down at Hatteras, because a Jot oI stufl was
washing ashore, dead people, Germans. and stuff l lke that.

In

fact, I think the first Mae West they got from some of that stuff

We didn't

down there that washed ashore off of Germans or--,
have any Mae Wests.

H:

Ye s , t h e fi r - s t , o n e s y o u g o t , t h a t ' s t h e w a y y o u g o t t h e m . Yo u

got

them off of bodles.

$:

Ye s , I k n o w t h e y l a n d e d d o w n t h e r e a n d g o t s o m e o f t o f

bodies.

The first ones we ever had, the first four, I thirlk, I

ev~Y ,gaw here came )ff of dead Germans on the beach. But that's
w h a t I s a y, t h e y w e r e o u t t h e r e w i t h o u t a n y p r o t e c t i o n w h a t s o ~ v e l "
f n l " . a l o n g l ; i m e . Yo u r e a l l y a d m i r e d t h e m , N o b o d y r e a l i z e s t h e
good they did.

I mean there's I]o way of saying it.

becau~.~e

<]i~y had l]ot.]lJi~g <o figl~< with, and i know the Germans kJ~ew <!,:is.
but t]ley knew they had yadios, and they dJdFJ't ]<hO}~' wFi,-iL el~ WL, S
C Ohl i []g,

H{

~]at did you do in your spare time?

S:

Ran my radio shop.

H~

YOU l';ali your radio shop .in town,

~;:
we~

And also I was helping Jolly w:it!~ his f~lling ~tatiorl,
running

the

filling

station,

and

he

was

in

the

He

plumbing

business at that time, too, T1~e filling station wa~ juBt a ~ide
line, ,~o I kind of worked with him, We kept the filling station
helped
going.
We had a boy working in ther'e, and I kind of
m a n a g e i t w h e F, h e w a s g o n e , a n d h e d i d t h e s a m e , a n d I

Fan a

radio shop in the back side, with what parts I could get,

Like I

told you, you knowi [.,u])es and stuff was so hard to get, you jL.L~}',<
patched up whatever

yOU

could,

,~orflet:ihles

I had two ca" <hl'-ee

dJstl'~i]]utca"s fl"om Riehmor~d and Norfolk that. would save me a few
tubes, and I'd go up al]d pick them up, oi-~ tl-~e side, al-ld S%LIfl~
like that, That's the only way I could do it,

H: Wl]at were you, a tech sergeant or sornething like that at
time?

8:

Ye~, .....

all radio operators were t.echnical sergeants

w a s $ 7 p e r d a y.

H~

$ 7 p e r d a y, T h a t ' s r i g h t , Te c h n i c i a n s g o t p a i d a l i t t l e

bit

better than the rest of them,

~:

It. was $7, Pilots got $8, I think.

H: Regular ground people didn't get paid that rnuch,

:fi~

N o , w e h a d s e v e r - a ] d i f : f e r e n t - - I t l - J : [ n k $ ,,| ~ ]
.

fca-

a gu,!:~l--d of
,

something,

H..:

mechanics and

$4 or $5, The thr.ee key people were pilots.,

radio operators, radio technicians,

$...

Yo u ~ e e , i t . w a s p e r f e c t l y n o r m a l t h a t n o n e o f t h e r a d i o

wanted to operate, I didn't, I hated operating, They did

rfle n
t.. 0 0,

They'd rat.her fix r-adios, but that's ,what I wanted.

H:

~i

But they made you take your turn at operatir~g,

Ye , ~ : ~ o m e b o d y h a d t o d o i t , s o w e j u s t a l t e r n a t e d i n d o i n g

it that way to keep it from being so monotonous,
: -e
s
N o w , j u s t . a c o u p l e o f g e n e r a l rlU~.,.,tion,

How wel 1 do

yOtl

t h i r, k t h e b a s e w a s e q , u i o P e d w h e n i t ; g o t . u p h e r e , _ a t . t . l - , e l l ~ a i [ ~

]),~ $ e

t'Ii

at. Manteo?

Fj~

I thii-~k vel"y good, vel~y well equipped.

fac.ilities, as far as I could see,

I tllink we had good

H:

Where

did

you

get

that

Did the gove~nmer~t ,jl~ve :it

facility?

t o y ) u ?

The government did, up lie]re, they

~ The gover.nmer~t boug'ht it.
bu i I t ~ t.

Well.

i meant iike your" Cools and your tei~c equlpm~::~Jt

things of that nature. Did you get tl~em out of the Army?

We got it from Fort Eustis.

H:

S :
w e

But

that

was

Oh, yes.
g o t

a l

toward

the

tail

end

of

it.

Well, all tl~e time that we wexe in l_nmre, ]

I

o u r

~ u p p l l e s ,

r a d i o

s u p p l i e s

o u t

o f

F o ~ t

Norfolk.

It:

So you got pretty well supplied.

S;

They

flew

up

there

and

got

it.

There was a plane went up

t ] ~ e f - e a l m o s t , e v e r y ( l a y.

H~ YOU i-eally dic[n't have any shortages once you got st¢~rt, ed
u p h e. r e.

I

$

No. Not after" we got straightened out down here.

tt~e

wllole CAP had trouble.until after we got over here,

t i l l

t h e

b a s e s

g o t

s e t t l e d

d o w n .

B u t

a f t e r "

w e

g o t

i n

t h i n k
~ealt/,

h e r e

didn't have too much o~ a problem. I didll't sce ruuc'.i:. We i~a(1
real good set-up hei:.e. We even had a .mess hall and a cook
breakfast.

]j!

Now that mess ]]ali, did they sel~ve three meals a day or

two or what?

Swailn
I don't think so. I don t bel~eve they did, I l~ever

ace

a i ~ y t h J < ~ g b u t . b r e a k f a s t , t h e r e . T h a t ' s a l l I w a s ] l ] t e Ye s t e d

in,

because tl]at would be usually four o'clock ]n E~]e mut~nlng,

and

S:

t.hen

the pi]ot.~ would eat. and the crews as they came Ln would

eat.

H

WS,o i-'an the l"est.aurant.? Civilians?

S:

Ye s , H a d a l a d y, M r s . D a v i s , h e r e o n t h e i s l a n d , w a s c o o k

and <.oak ca~"e of t]~e whole thing. In fact she fed The Lost
c o ~ o n y, t h e v e a ~ i w a s h e ~ - e w i t h T l - ~ e L o s t C o l o n y. s h e ~ [ ~ d ( I ~ , : . :
whole cast ]n ht~.~." house, .@he turned he~ livlng zoom and dinii-:~!,~
room anct all Into a mesas na[i and her ]<~<cnen a~d l)art ol anotl]eF
l"oon, ~he hacL a r~wo s%ory house, big two story house right down
on Main Street, and she served us all our meals, I ate throe
filial6 a day with hot, she sel"ved every one of us for $5 a week.

H:

$5 d week.

5 ~ Y ~ , ~ ~ i Y ~ l } ] ~ e o m e a l s a d a y.

7'he wh{j]e cast u£ ]']~ i,ost <'<,~,~,--

n y. C a n y o u i m a g i n e ?

H:

G o o d e a t : ~ n g , t o o , p r o b a b l y.

S:

Ye s . I t w a s n ' t t o o b a d t o o . W h e n I c a m e d o w n h e r e I b o a r d e d

[oI"

$5 a week for. a roo:~ and $5 a week to eat. Couldn't beat it:.

H:

How well do you feel the base was managed?

8~ We]], I Loll Y~:,~4
<rouble with Watkins.

H:

After I went in it, several of

them ha<t

What it was. I don't know,

M o s t b a s e s d i d , b y t h e w a y.

8: And a lot of the pilots had trouble witch him, ! know it.,
I knew about it. I heard there were a lot of grlpes, and ~cut-

t l e b u t t
he'd

a b o u t

get

on

s h o u l d n ' t

H :

D o n ' t

i t ,

a n d

a

them. And

t e l l

t h i s

w o r r y

l o t
I

o f

don't

t h e m

w o u l d

g e t

o n

know,

I

like

Watk~ns--well,

felt

h i s

b a c k ,

a n d
I

s t u ff .

a b o u t

It's not going any place,

i t

]Dad. I take ]t out.

i~:

I liked All(~n. i te. ll you, Allel] was [Jice to m(+'.

h a d

a

m i n u t e s

t r o u b l e .

H e

t a l k e d

t o

m e ,

w h e n

I n~+~v~

t h e y

t a l k e d

l , l e

]rlto joining this base, I never had any pressure on me whatsoever, Any
t h e m ,

time,
y o u

overslept,

even

k n o w,
arid

he

one
i f

time

t h e y

never

I

overslept,

d i d n ' t
said

s h o w

one

he

u p ,

word

to

was

really

rough

o v e r s l e e p i n g ,
me

about

it.

on

a n d

I

Because

I

think he ha<l the fee!ii-i<f ]-le had talked Iil¢ il-l<O ]T ait<t [['[fl ].iik*[!e
g o , y c , u k n o w, ~ L o o .

b~]t
be.

] f ] ] e c l . S d l C [ s o m e t l ] i r, g .

WtllC]] [[

A l l e F J w a ~ .q o. o d t -o

to

m .e ] - ~ w a s 3 ~ s [ . a s n i c e

r ~ , t h e , ~ s . l i ~ . . . ~ '. o ~ l l d
,
.

I don't Kn(Jw. I lleve~ felt Fec_fl[L~ented olin

was
have

jr:

some

him,

I

felt.

fz~ee

t.o

talk

to

alLythl~,g whll~ 1
h~m,

and

we

didn't

any. there Wa~'1"L't any ral]k on us, you know like us, as fa~"
t h a t ' s

as

wlth

wotlidll't,

c o n c e r n e d ,

i t

w a s

n o

r e g i m e n t a t i o n ,

l i k e

i t

w a s

w i t h

of them, who got to feel this way. But WatJ<ins did have his

pl-o]31ems, There was some dissention, in the base. Allen wds kind
o f , + + ~ p l ~ y b o y u y p e . I k n e w h J . m b e f o ~ - e ] L ~ < : a l r + e ( : I O W i ~ l l e . r e , l J t [ : w, : i , ~
i J : { ( - - ; ) : ~ e e n ~ b c ~ l - o , ~ . t h d ] + J e m a r r i e d i n t o + : ~ w e a l t h y f a m i l y, s o h ~ + + £ 1 ~ w
airplanes, ar~d stuff ~ike tl~at, you all ~<now a].Jout i1.

H:

Ye s , w e ' v e m e t t h e m b e f o r e .

That wasn't the same name, but

you know.

S:

Ye s .

But

I

likec~

.him.

I

got

along

good

with

him,

I'

ii

admit

it, arid no pro.blel~~s. I neve~~ had dny proDlelr~ wlth h.tr~'l, dor~'t
] < fl o w w | ] / , h e . j u s [ i l ] e v ~ g a v e t i l e ~ l ] y. H e s e e m ~ ; d t o < a J < e

k/l](J

~:~ i ]]<i['tg to file,

H:

Well, aside from that apparen<ly ~t was run pretty well.

t,.[

S:

I d say it was.

I'd say it was very effi-

cient.

H: They {nade their flights c~nd all the stuff

] ike they w~:i e

suppose(i co. and thats tr~e bottom ~ ~ne.

L = ; : ' ] ' h a [ . s r l g h t . ' ] ' h a t s w h a t I w o u l d s a y. H e r a n a t l g h t s } ~ i p .
He did t]]at, no question about it. Arnette was a good operations
officer, We had very little radio trouble, I mean. where they'd
q u i t i n fl i g h t , o r a n y t h i n g l i k e t h a t . T h e y w o u l d g e t n o i s y, b u t
w e ' d c h e c k t h e m o u t a n y w a y, t h e y g o t p e r i o d i c c h e c k s r e g a r d l e s s .
And we didn't have too much of that,, except fo~ antenna problems,
of them, if one of them went {off the a~r, y<,~
h a d h a p p e n e d t o fi l m . r i g h t o ff t l ~ b a t , 111 n e t y
problems, but some uther technical stuff, our

percert< oz
trdnsni] t ter s,

didri't ever need it. We were in good shape. We

b u i l t

t.ra]-,smit.ter, like we helped them with first, and used
w h o l e d u r a t i o n o f t h e C A P, b u t w e h a d t w o m o r e u n i t s

i t

t h l s
t h e

that we

could have put together.

H:

Good stand-bys.

$~ They were laying out in parts. All we had to do was assemble
the parts, receivers and stuff that the boys had brought down al]d
jt~st left, among themselves.

H: Well, what's your personal overall evaluation of the relative
worth of what was done down here?
CI,

....: I t h i n k t h e y d i d ' ~ r e m a r k a b l e j o b ,

~i

But as far as what the CAP did, not particularly this base,

but the organization as a whole, I think was a good idea, remarkable, and I think they dJ.d a good job of it. The volunteers, the

p e o p l e

t h a t

v o l u n t e e r e d

t h e i r

t i m e

t o

d o

i t ,

i t

a m a z e d

y o u

s o

much., that they volunteered from all kinds of occupations, about
every occupation
c o u l d

i m a g i l ] e

We had .doctors, po]itlcians, and everybody you
h e r. e ,

y o u

k n o w,

t h a t

h a d

v o l u f ,

t e e r e d

f o r

thil~g, and they did a wont~e~-fu] job---|~o cluestlol-I aDo<it tlhat

t I , i s
'i-~!ie

[2~hlbllc w]l] r-lever know how good they did do. I know they did.

I hope some day they'll read a book.

H:

$:

Yes.

Well,

there's

some

way

you

could,

because

after

tllat

we

thougl]t, well, the general said to us whet, we did this. you KItOW,
you should never tell anybody, you were dolng thls, and tlJen 3us[
forget i t.

war~t

.I-t: Well. during that period of time, of course, they didn't

their

<o scare the general public by how close the war' was o~]
doorstep.

S :

Ye s .

w e r e

So

t o l d

~oom.

kept

everything

pretty

n e v e r

We

they

t o l d

i t .

a s ,

t h a t

that's

y o u

it.

d o n ' t

Nobody

A n d

f a r

r e p e a t
ever"

i t . .

knew.

quiet.

l i k e

u s

a s

A f t e r

y o u

If

saw

you

o p e r a t o r s ,

l e a v e
a

t h e

1 ,

w e
a d l o

suDmat"~L~~e,

1~]Jey d ask you, but nobody ever knew.you saw one. And I mean fo~
years, nobody'd ever tel 1 it, because there was[~'t any use to do
]t, They saw tl]em, There s no question about that, Some of them
saw whales they thought were submarines, and then parts of ships
t h a t

w e r e

more

about

she

was

base
the

in

s u n k .
it

A l l

i n

because

a l l ,
she

oper,at~ons.

operated

physical

within

t h a t

was

She

was

a l l

with

can

itself. All

operations,

s

I

k n o w.

it

all

the

give
I

was

w~th

the

you

D o t

way

some

and

t e l l

tl]rougl],

idea

connected
pilots

c a n

of

with,
the

how

y o u
and
th,~

as fal-' as
~1~p]~,~es

dI-~d stuff.
i

H :

W e ' l l

l e t

y o u

i n

o n

a .

l i t t l e

s e c r e t .

F o r

t h e

m o s t

p a r t ,

t h e

radio people knew more about what was going on on the base tha|~
al]ybody else, They were pretty much on top of it.

S : Yo u k n e w e v e r y t h i n g g o i n g o n , T h e r e w a s n o t m u c h y o u m i s s e d ,
These

little

things

that

came

up,

and

things

that

are

never mentioned, odds and ends.

i-i:

Well, I think we (tot a good interview Ev.,rybodv has their,

own version of it, and you put all the~e together and you COlTie .~p
with a complete s<o~y