Thursday, July 20, 2006

April 12, 1955


Since I am unable to be here in person to give you a running commentary on these pictures, please read each explanation before seeing each roll. Note that explanation no II comes on a different page than nos. I & III.

I hope you enjoy them.

P.S. They’ll be along in a few days (I HOPE!) Don’t read the explanations till you get the film—it’ll spoil it.

I This first roll is mainly an introduction to Corry Field, showing you something of how the other half lives. The scene opens with a shot of the door of the building in which I live. These barracks are just like the ones at Mainside; only those were yellow & these are green (not shown).
Looking down the street toward the hangers (up one block) & the main gate stand Corry’s two water towers, which are about as inconspicuous as a hippopotamus in a bird bath. Now comes a quick switch to the field itself, where we see a taxiing J, then up into the sky to see one flying over.

I can’t tell if the next shot is a J or an R4D (DC3 like we rode to Chicago). No explanation is needed for the next few, which were just taken at random. Again, due to my inability to see microscopic details, I can’t tell if those two white splotches are planes or not.

Next I give you a view of some of our planes, all lined up—imagine them all in the air at the same time. The yellow thing is a Search & Rescue helicopter—the building in back is the administration building. Behind that are the gym (white bldg.) & PX. The next big building is the enlisted men’s barracks. Notice how much it looks like the ones at Mainside? Then comes the power plant & the two water towers. The hanger prevents seeing our batts. More whirly-birds.

The guy wandering all over the J is pre-flighting it. Every time we go out on a hop, we have to check the plane over very carefully to make sure a wing won’t fall off in flight. Last Friday the side of a J fell off at 5,000 feet—it didn’t crash, but I’ll bet the pilot & student (one of my classmates) were plenty shook

Now comes the half taken at home

III Before showing this roll, turn the projector over on its side. The guy who took these for me held the camera wrong & everything came out sideways.

This is the parade at Mainside. The reason everyone’s wearing blues is that someone was making a procurement movie ("You too can be a NavCad") & everyone had to wear them—I think you get a flash of their rig (the photographers’) in the background. I haven’t the vaguest idea who the little girl belongs to. Look close—here comes the band. We’re passing in review. Thank god this wasn’t a sound movie; dig that marching.

Comes two or three feet I loused up—it’s supposed to show the Florida Boondocks—I took it through a fence. The road runs all around the base & is made of that red clay I’ve mentioned before.

The plane landing is an AD—though you can’t tell from this distance. Now comes the wrecked planes—I still wonder if it was accidental that so much film was ruined. Oh, well.

That’s an R4D landing. Finally, all these J’s belong to BTU-4—just shows how many planes we’ve got around here.

II More Corry Field. First, we get a scenic view of the field itself—a grey Dempster Dumpster (where we dump trash); a yellow gas truck—the hanger is the one next to the one where I spend most of my time. This is the one where they repair J’s. All the cars belong to instructors.
These gas trucks hold 3,000 gallons & have to be refilled at least twice a day There are three of them. The one photoed is just gassing a plane.

That squat, serpent-like plane is a Search & Rescue PBY—I’ve got more shots of them somewhere.

My roommate is in the SNJ taxiing past a parked PBY. I think the next PBY is taxiing, but I can’t tell without a projector. It gets pretty hairy on those taxi ways at times. The little red thing in the corner is a fire wagon—we’ve got them all over the place. We need them.

The big plane with its nose in the hanger is the R5D we take on all our trips. They haven’t found out what was wrong with that engine; they finally changed it but it still a large part of its time in
the hanger.

Those S&R helicopters are the weirdest looking things. Notice the side saying "REMOVE CHUTE’—that’s for picking guys out of the water; with your chute still on, the wind from the blades will billow out the chute & blow you away (they could chase you all over the ocean & never catch you).

Ah yes, next comes yours truly—first thing I’m doing is pre-flighting the plane—next I’m "helping" them fill one of my gas tanks. If it seems like I’m taking a long time getting in, I was. Havin’ a devil of a time with my backpads (I use them so I can reach the rudder pedals). The guy who took these for me got his finger in the way for about five feet, during which time I’m starting the engine. Se my instructor in the back—poor guy. And away we go! There are two different planes taking off into the wild blue yonder—one of ‘em’s me—I’m not sure which one.

That's it for now.

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