Monday, November 11, 2013

Military Monday: Happy Veterans' Day!

Air Force Lt. Fred Pape in Honolulu, Hawaii, probably September 1952
This photograph of my father, Frederick Henry Pape, in his Air Force uniform, was taken in Honolulu, Hawaii.  It may have been taken in September, 1952, when Dad helped ferry a B-26 from McClellan Air Force Base outside Sacramento, California, to Japan.  Dad said the trip took 11 days.

Dad sat on the right side in the B-26 with the pilot to his left.  He only had a LORAN for navigation, and that is why they followed a B-29.

On the first day, it took 14 hours to get from Mather to Hickam Air Force Base on Oahu.  Dad said it was terribly hot and they were down to their shorts inside the plane by then.

They wanted to stay in Honolulu an extra day, and got their wish.  The B-29 leading the group had left but came back when Dad's B-26 burned up a magneto. The B-29 circled around taking photographs of Hawaii while it burned off fuel before landing.

Their next stop was Johnston Island, which is only about a mile long.  "The only thing to do there was fish," said Dad, so they left the next day.  The next stop was the island of Kwajalein, where they overnighted.

The next stop was Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.  They were there five or six days because the pilot of the B-29 had a girlfriend there.  Dad remembers traveling around in a "Guamanian Cadillac" - a jeep.  He says that eventually the Guamanians imported Fords to use as police cars to ticket speeding servicemen.  He also remembers "hot closets" - a light bulb in the closet that gave off enough heat to dry clothes that would otherwise stay damp in the humid climate.  Dad also said the air field on Guam was unique, at the edge of a cliff.

Finally, they flew into Tachikawa Airfield in Japan the next day.  They had flown over with hard noses with machine guns on them, but in Japan, the hard noses were swapped for plexiglass noses with bombsights.  Dad said they brought brand-new B-26s that had been in mothballs to Japan, but flew old B-26s in Korea - "good thing we had good crew chiefs."

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

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