Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Anniversary

I'm writing this on the seventieth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and America's sudden entry into the bloodiest and most widespread conflict the world has ever known. I hope that humanity never forgets the harm that evil intentions can precipitate. I was told that co-pilot of my father's crew, Lt.(jg) Robert J. Berens was on the Iowa that morning. Several other airmen of VPB-118 were there, as well. By contributing to a secure and just America and a secure and just world we honor their memory, and we honor all veterans.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

Thanks to all those past and present of the U.S. military who have fought for our freedom, most of all to the great guys of VPB-118. May you always be remembered.

Friday, July 1, 2011

100 Years of Naval Station Great Lakes

Here’s a nice story on the Chicago Tribune site about today’s 100th anniversary of NSGL. Congratulations!

Follow-up: in the NSGL tradition, the base personnel made a “living 100”. You can see it here: Sun-Times.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering the Fallen Airmen of VPB-118

Lasater Crew (missing in action 6 May, 1945):
Lt. J.A. Lasater
Ens. M.L. Gibson
Ens. C.J. Milner
AMM2c E.W. Smith
ARM3c W.J. Hawkins
AMM3c C.W. Jacobs
AOM2c R.E. Miller
AMM2c S.C. Bryant
ARM3c D. McAllsiter
ARM3c H.F. Brockhorst
AOM3c W.L. Thornton
AMM3c R.A. Carr

McCutcheon Crew (killed in action 21 July, 1945):
Lt. L.P. McCutcheon
Lt.(jg) F. Reeve
Ens. W.E. Bucklew
AFC1c O.A. Bunkers
AMM2c A.D. Nelson
AMM3c J.N. Welch

Park Crew (killed in action 8 August, 1945):
Lt.(jg) J.R. Park
Ens. G.W. Lewton
Ens. H.L. Lowe
ARM3c E.K. Hall
S1c M.E. Hedrick
AMM3c J.M. James
AOM3c R.A. Koontz
S1c C.A. McKinney, Jr.
ACOM(AA)(T) M.M. Marice
AMM2c J.E. Piquette
S1c P. Prietz
ARM3c R.R. Reinhart
ARM3c H.J. Wartzack

Friday, March 25, 2011

Frank Van Dyke

I received the following message from Peter Van Dyke this morning:

"It's with a mix of joy and great sadness that I have to inform you that my Dad died on Wed 3/23.

"We loved him and we will miss him greatly, but his life had become a continual struggle. He was a man of great faith and the thing he wanted most was to be with my Mom again.

"I have every belief that they are together, happy and pain free.

"He was very proud of his service to his country with VPB118."

Frank was co-pilot of Crew 13/7, piloted by PPC Lt. Cmdr. Edward G. "Doc" Binning. Frank's genial personality was a great aspect of the reunions. I am glad to have known him briefly through the reunions and to have heard him talk about his experiences as a lieutenant (jg) in WWII. A comment about the photo: I suggested this rather goofy pose, which Frank undertook in good humor.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"China Ghost"

I just opened the box that came in the mail and took out my copy of China Ghost by Robert L. Perrenot, purchased on eBay last week. I haven't read this book yet, obviously, but it looks like a serious attempt to write a historical novel about what it was like to be an airman in a VPB squadron in WWII. I'll read it and give my opinion after I finish. It looks promising.

This book is copyright 2008, the year of Mr. Perrenot's death. On the last page, it says "LaVerne, TN USA 15 March 2011". I have a paperback version; it seems like maybe the hardback version came out in 2008.

[Update on 11/11/2011:]
I finished reading this a while ago. I liked the first part of the book quite a lot because it seemed like a pretty good tale of life in the U.S. Navy circa 1940's. It featured one fictitious guy's experiences getting into a patrol bomber squadron and flying off with his squadron into the theater of combat. This story squares pretty well with what I've read and stories that guys from VPB-118 have told. Without giving away the plot of the book, the second half (in my opinion) diverges from the typical experience of most PB4Y-2 crews and becomes a different kind of adventure yarn, as if flying missions in a PB4Y-2 was not interesting or exciting enough. So I have to say the last part of the book was a disappointment. That said, it WAS written by a PB4Y-2 veteran and is of interest as such. I guess if I was to rate it purely on literary/entertainment value, I would give it a two out of a scale of four while wishing it rated more.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Centennial of Naval Aviation

I just became aware of the Centennial of Naval Aviation celebrations scheduled for this year. There is a killer website devoted to it. Very cool!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Does anyone have spare copies of the book?

Happy new year, folks.

Periodically I get inquiries from family members regarding the question of availability of the VPB-118 book. For the last several years my answer has always been the same: the book is out of print and sold out. If there are any VPB-118 people out there with extra copies of the book that would like to get them in the hands of descendants of VPB-118 members, please contact me and we can go about setting up a process to take care of this need. Any help that can be given would be appreciated.

– Richard