28 January 2010
MEMO TO: MY FELLOW MARINES AND VMB-613 FRIENDS
Happy New Year to all my Leatherneck brothers, their families and our dear VMB-613 friends!
Some of you may have been wondering whether you missed receiving a newsletter earlier in the month. Well, I can assure you that you did not. The delay in publishing the newsletter rest solely with me and was the result of some unforeseen circumstances. Although my family and I are doing well, January proved to be a bad start to 2010 as I had two computers crash and a blown engine in my automobile—all within the course of the first week! Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy hearing the news contained within this newsletter and I wish each and every one of you the very best in 2010.
THANKS TO ALL: During December I received a very nice assortment of cards from various members, extending their best wishes for a happy holiday season. Your cards were greatly appreciated and I wish to express my thanks to: Nick Bozic; Ned & Betty Carmichael; Jim Garls; Charlie Knapp; Tom & Connie Lahart; Lloyd McDaniel; George & Doris McDearmon; Cal & Joy Russell; Herb & Annette Schwartz, and; Joe Waldowski.
NOTES FROM MEMBERS AND VMB-613 FRIENDS: From Troup, Texas I received a note from Dottie Roberson. Dottie reported that her husband John had bypass surgery this past April and that she had hip-replacement surgery during September. She added that both of them are now doing much better, however their new life will be at the gym—undoubtedly to make them healthier and stronger. John, most will recall, served with VMB-613 as an aircraft turret mechanic.
I received a very nice e-mail from Jennifer A. Soares, granddaughter of mechanic-turret gunner, Charles Cannato. Jennifer has been assisting her grandfather in viewing various pages of our squadron website and he asked her to write me to see if there was any way I could help him in contacting his old buddy, Homer J. Anderson. A quick check of my records indicated, as luck would have it, an address as well as a phone number for Homer. This information was passed then to Charles who will undoubtedly be contacting his long-lost buddy.
Speaking of mechanic-turret gunner, Homer Anderson, I received a letter from him in Sanatee, California. Homer reported that he and Janett are doing well and that they have had an unusual amount of rain lately, with some localized flooding. Although he did not mention hearing yet from Charles Cannato, I’m certain that he will be getting a call or a letter shortly.
During December I received two notes of thanks for assisting with the monthly newsletter—one from radio repairman Charles “Casey” Coleman in Ore City, Texas, and the second from armorer-turret gunner George Tisdale in Redlands, California. I extend my sincerest thanks to both of you Marines for your correspondence, kind words and encouragement.
Pilot, Lou Amber sends his regards and best holiday wishes to all the “VMB-613 warriors and their families.” Lou resides in Stuart, Florida and mentioned that despite the fact that it has been 62 years since he left the Marine Corps, he still enjoys and looks forward to reading the news about VMB-613 and his fellow Leathernecks. Lou can be seen in the accompanying photograph to the right with his copilot, Richard G. Spicer.
I received a surprise telephone call from pilot, Dan Haselnus. Dan is still living in Portland, Oregon and is doing pretty well. During his tenure with VMB-613, Dan served as Wayne Youngren’s copilot. Following the war, he became a dentist until his retirement from the profession. When Dan told me that he had been a dentist, I mentioned the name of one of his fellow pilots who also became a dentist—Bob Love. Dan indicated that a number of years ago he met Bob Love’s daughter, April Love, who is also a dentist at a convention on the west coast. He introduced himself to her and then stunned her with the revelation that he knew and had served during World War II with her Dad and her uncle, Bill Love. Dan was also saddened to learn of the passing in 2006 of his pilot friend, Wayne Youngren.
Kim Haddix, granddaughter of mechanic-turret gunner, Frank Haddix, also wrote to say hello to one and all. Kim mentioned how she enjoys reading the newsletter each month and she sent us the below photograph that she came across from Frank’s collection. The photograph shows a woman passing out soda and sandwiches to some of the guys in the recreation hall. I recognized this woman as one of those who accompanied and performed with Boris Karloff’s troupe that visited Kwajalein in 1945 to perform “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Does anyone recall her name or recognize any of the guys in this photograph?
From down in Dallas, Texas, I received a note from pilot Hugh “Dave” Arant. Dave only spent a month or two with VMB-613, but he sent me a page from his aviator’s flight log book which I have included below. Dave’s log book for June 1944 shows he made 12 flights that month and flew with Richard Glenn, John Riblet, Emil Pittner, Richard O’Reilly, Jack Barton and Robert Brueggestrass. All of his flights were either in H-model (BuNo 35258, 89022 and 89023) or J-model (BuNo 35203, 35208 and 35214) PBJs. Dave also sent the accompanying photograph of VMB-613’s flight line at Cherry Point and indicated that it is the photograph that was printed for the May 2010 calendar that was published by Bomber Legends Magazine.
From New Hope, Pennsylvania, pilot, Brooks Kaufman also gave me a call this past month. Brooks is doing well, although the architectural business is understandably slow right now. Brooks sent me a model kit for a 1/72 Marine PBJ. We were hoping that one of our readers might be interested in constructing it and then perhaps donating the completed model to the museum at the Naval Air Station, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania in honor of those who manned and supported the various Marine Bombing Squadrons. I ask that should anyone be interested in this project, to contact me and I will arrange for the kit to be delivered to your house.
Following his review of the December newsletter, aircraft mechanic, Carmine Nasta gave me a brief call to say hello and to tell me he enjoyed seeing Dave Danser’s photograph and hearing about him. Dave, of course, was a pilot and VMB-613’s executive officer. Carmine added that he recalled Dave’s athletic ability, and he vividly remembers Dave working out on the gymnastic equipment that set up between the barracks on Kwajalein.
Pilot, Vern Beggs, seen to the right, sent us an e-mail last month from Inverness, Florida with his best wishes one and all. At the time, Vern was busy writing out Christmas cards, and while doing so, he set his mood back to 1945 by listening to the music that is available to all on our squadron website.
I received a cheerful holiday card from Davey-Ellen Bayer, daughter of squadron photographer, Dave Snider. Davey-Ellen, who resides in Pinecrest, Florida is doing well and she enjoyed the recent holidays with her grandchildren who were visiting from their new home in Belgium. Davey-Ellen sends her best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy New Year. Davey-Ellen’s Dad is pictured in the accompanying photograph to the left.
AVIATOR’S LOG BOOK ENTRIES: This past month, I received and inquiry as to whether I had a listing for the various “Character of Flight” codes that were recorded in flight log books (see the 5th column in Dave Arant’s log book on page 3 of this newsletter for an example). I did have the listing, but it brought up a question as to why some entries were made in black pen while others were made in red pen. VMB-433 pilot, Bill Parks informed me that any entries made in red indicated that the flight was made during nighttime, while those in black were daytime flights. As for the various “Character of Flight” codes, a complete listing is provided below for any who may not recall but would like to know:
A Training (Regular Students)
B Training (Reserve Students)
C Training (Qualified Pilots)
D Reserve Flying (Not Extended)
E Familiarization and Practice
P Photographic and Mapping
W Emergency and Relief Work
Y Night Flying
TAPS: It is with sadness that I report that James DePasque passed away on November 1, 2009. James served as an aircraft mechanic with VMB-613. This information was passed to my by James’ daughter, Judy. Judy also mentioned that her Dad’s wife, Rose had passed away earlier in the year. To Judy, and the entire DePasque family, we extend our most humble condolences on their loss this past year and hope that they may find solace with the knowledge of our thoughts and prayers for them, and for James and Rose.
PHOTO FLASHBACK: The below photographs are provided for the enjoyment of those without Internet access and show various personnel, scenes, and locations.
Lieutenant Colonel George W. Nevils.
Nick Bozic gets a trim from Charlie Maglaras.
Island Chapel on Kwajalein.
Major Baker's PBJ-1C following his successful water landing near Key West, Florida on February 29, 1944 after his aircraft developed a runaway propeller and he was unable to jettison a 2,000 pound dummy torpedo.
An aerial view of Naval Air Station Boca Chica with its three runways clearly evident. The buildings on the right center served as workspaces and quarters for those assigned to the base.
On July 25, 1944 one of VMB-613's pilots made a "wheels up" landing at MCAS Cherry Point. Although there were no serious injuries and damage to the aircraft was slight, the aircraft was seriously damaged a short time later when a shackle on a crane that was being used to hoist the aircraft suddenly broke.
MB-164 taxies from the flight line prior to taking off on a nighttime instrument flight. Flights such as these made VMB-613's pilots very proficient in flying with nothing more than instruments and their search radar.
Squadron turret mechanics at work in VMB-613's Turret Shop.
The garage provided the facilities for the maintenance and repair of the various types of vehicles used by the squadron.
OLD ASSOCIATION BUSINESS:
1. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this newsletter through correspondence and telephone conversations. Your efforts are appreciated and make the newsletter more informative and interesting to all of our members.
2. Now is your chance to order some VMB-613 memorabilia items. These items also make great gifts for children and grandchildren of members, and are an excellent way to proudly display our squadron heritage. To the right are four items I currently have in stock. All prices include shipping. At the top is our license plate frame, priced at $5. It is constructed from red plastic and has gold lettering proclaiming “U.S. Marine Corps” and “VMB 613 WWII.” The popular VMB-613 ball cap is shown next and is priced at $12. On the bottom left is the VMB-613 pin which is one-inch in diameter and mounts with a clutch-back fastener. This pin can be ordered in either a pewter finish (shown) or a gold-plated finish with a hand-painted VMB-613 insignia and is priced at $5.50. Last is an official squadron patch. This felt and embroidered patch is six-inches in diameter and is an exact reproduction of VMB-613’s insignia that was used on Kwajalein. They are an excellent value at $7 each.
3. Remember, donations made to the VMB-613 Association are tax-deductible for individual federal income tax returns to the extent permitted by law. Our appreciation is, as always, extended to those who have contributed in this manner, as each gift helps to preserve our proud Marine Corps aviation heritage.
NEW ASSOCIATION BUSINESS:
1. Thanks once again to those who paid their annual dues to maintain their membership. Members who have paid their dues during December and January will find a laminated membership card enclosed with this newsletter. As membership dues are paid for the 2010, I will include laminated membership cards in future editions of the newsletter. Checks for membership dues in the amount of $20 should be made out to the “VMB-613 Association” and forwarded to me.
2. Members wishing to contact me via telephone are asked to call anytime on the weekends, or after 6PM (Eastern), Monday through Friday as I’m at work earlier each workday. My contact information is provided at the header of this newsletter and I may also be reached anytime by e-mail at: email@example.com
Robert J. Yanacek
M/Sgt, USMCR (Ret)