strain of the forward momentum, and the TBF lurched to a rapid stop with the tail hook still attached.
I had made my first carrier landing. And it was perfect. Deck crews hurriedly disengaged the hook and I was cleared for immediate take-off. I gunned the engine and pushed the throttle forward to gain lift-off speed.
I went on to complete successfully all eight of my required carrier landings and take-offs. The intense training and practice we put in at Jacksonville paid-off.
As each of the pilots in my flight felt their way into the groove that day, one after another, I think only one received a wave-off. He came in too high in relation to the deck. To pass the wave-off signal, the LSO simply waved both paddles over his head. That wave-off signal had the force of military law. Instructors had pounded that point home to us during training.
One of our pilots, K.J. Wilson, went AWOL. He shacked up with a local girl in a Chicago hotel room for several days—and nights. The MPs burst in on them. K.J. was manacled and sent off to the brig.
He came close to a full court marshal The Navy’s major investment in wartime pilots, a special need for torpedo plane pilots, and K.J.’s strong desire to get overseas and serve—all combined to save him.
After Chicago, K.J. hurried home to Oklahoma on leave where he married Betty, a very pretty and very popular brunette.
Three of us spent a night on the town in Chicago before leaving Glenview NAS. We covered the loop and then some. My only memory of that uproarious night is one south side club where we must have spent hours drinking watered-down bourbon and listening to the great trombonist J.C. Higgenbottom and his band. Every table, every bar stool, every square foot of floor space was filled. His Chicago jazz turned everybody on.
When I pulled out of Chicago on a train headed for Oregon, I carried written orders to report in thirty days to the Commanding Officer, Marine Air Wing, Pacific, headquartered in San Diego. From there, I anticipated shipping out as a replacement pilot for a squadron operating in the South Pacific.
During my time on leave that summer, I spent some precious hours with my Grandfather, Jim Dewey. In his late