MISHAPs: 05 SEP 42 A/C: PBY-5 Location: AK, ALEUTIANS NR AMLIA ISL Strike: Yes BUNO: O4476 Cause: CRASHED Contributed by Terry email@example.com [17MAR98]
"...A safe landing was affected in open sea due to undesirable weather. About 1.5hrs later weather cleared sufficiently for pilot to attempt to take-off. Plane was loaded with 1110 gallons of gasoline, 4-325lb depth charges, crew of eight and normal cruising load for advance base operations. Take-off was started with full power and 2750rpms. Plane bounced into air with only 45kts airspeed, stalled and dropped back into water, port wing float tearing loose. Plane waterlooped to left breaking out panel of wing. Bottom was ruptured and a attempt was made to tow plane, but it was finally sunk by gunfire. Crew ok: Pilot Lt(jg). Oliver S.Glenn, Ens. J. G. Yoder, Ens. B. H. Granoski (bump on head), AP1c .E. C. Czopek, Amm1c. R. N. Wood, Amm1c. G. H. Nixon, Acrm. M. Benefiel (cut over left eye), and Rm3c. M. J. Huffman...." Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [02JUL2001]
"...Stalled on take-off & water-looped, sunk by gunfire near Amlia Isl,Ak...." Contributed by Terry email@example.com [22DEC2000]
MISHAPs: 28 SEP 42 A/C: PBY-5 Location: NAZAN BAY, ATKA ISL, AK Strike: Yes BUNO: O4477 Cause: LNDG ACC Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [17MAR98]
"...Landing was made into wind characterized by gusts and possibly Williwaws (a strong, gusty mountain wind common in high latitude coastal areas). A full stall landing was made and plane caught a williwaw inducing right drift immediately prior to touching water. Striking water in the manner resulted in a movement to the left which continued in spite of submerging of starboard wing tip float and carrying away of portion of that wing and float. After the plane was beached, the wind shifted and plane sank up to trailing edge of wing leaving engines slightly above the water. Damage: Salvage impracticable;Complete loss. Crew OK. Pilot Ens. M. E. Humphreys, Lt. F. M. Ralston, AP1c. C. R. Hickman, Amm1c. D. Cassity, Amm3c. B. E. Beddon, Rm3c. J. H. Dilger,Jr., Rm3c. R. C. Barton, and Sea2c. L. W. Ewing...." Contributed by Terry email@example.com [04JUL2001]
MISHAPs: 14 MAR 43 A/C: PBY-5A Location: NAS Whidbey Island, Washington Strike: Yes BUNO: Unknown Cause: Midair Collision
"...IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF GERALD SILAS BENNETT..." Contributed by William Silas Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org [22SEP2006]
I sent the following e-mail to Al Hall and haven't received any response. Do you suppose he didn't receive it or he is just trying to find out more information about the mishap?
As you have heard, I am looking for more information about my Uncles' mishap while he was stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington on the 13th or 14th of March 1943.
I have a certificate which was sent to his parents (my grand parents) at the time of his death. It is a standard form "signed (stamped)" by the president. It has an embossed emblem with an eagle, wings spread, feet holding arrows in the left and leaves in the right, thirteen stars overhead and a red and white stripe shield on his chest at the top of the certificate.
It reads as follows:
IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF GERALD SILAS BENNETT WHO DIED IN THE SERVICE OF HIS COUNTRY AT EDMONDS, WASHINGTON ATTACHED PATROL SQUADRON #61, 14MARCH1943 HE STANDS IN THE UNBROKEN LINE OF PATRIOTS WHO HAVE DARED TO DIE THAT FREEDOM MIGHT LIVE, AND GROW AND INCREASE IT'S BLESSINGS. FREEDOM LIVES, AND THROUGH IT, HE LIVES-IN A WAY THAT HUMBLES THE UNDERTAKINGS OF MOST MEN.
Signed Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
I also just found, today, a letter written 17MARCH1943 to his brother (my other uncle) which reads as follows:
"A P-38 Army plane was on a routine flight on a regular course and the Navy plane was on a routine flight on a regular couse. It was impossible to avoid each other and no blame was attached to either pilot. He said they were not stunting. Probably no one will ever know who was at the controls but probably Lt. Geo R. Millican USNR, San Fransisco one of Gerrys good friends"
"Names of the crew on the Navy bomber, Lt. George R Millican USNR, San Fransisco, Ensign Walter Raymond Baman USNR, San Fransisco, Ensign Gerald Silas Bennett USNR, Freeport, Maine, James B Krenciprock, Aviation Machinist 2nd Class USN Niles, Ohio and Frank Ambrose Blaia, Aviation Machinists Mate 3rd Class, USN Sacramento
Whidby Island is where he was in training and was to start out Monday for Alaska.
The spot where the planes landed on Peuget Sound is right in sight of the house where Judy's (my aunt) friend lives at 10119 Radford Avenue, Blue Ridge, Seattle, Washington"
I also found today a letter written by Gerald Bennett at Whidby Island and dated 12MARCH1943 to his grandmother and aunt which reads as follows:
Dear ones at Moosehorn,
Just a line to thanki you for your letters, and to let you know that I am moving on to a new address which is Ens. Gerald S. Bennett, VB-135 C/O Fleet Post Office, San Fransisco, Cal.
This is beautiful country out here-wish you all could look at it. Just like Maine but things are so much bigger - mountains, trees, letc. Makes me feel at home tho.
The flying is coming along fine. We will probably see some action before too long.
Hope you are all well- much love to my dear Ga and Aunt Rena and everyone.
If you can add any information to this or put me in touch with someone who knew Gerald at the time I would appreciate it. I was 9 years old at the time of his death and he was my hero.
I would also like to give all the material I have related to my Uncles service to your foundation or museum if you are interested.
William Silas Bennett
MISHAPs: 08 OCT 43 A/C: PBY-5A Location: AMLIK ISL, AK Strike: Yes BUNO: O8113 Cause: HIT REEF OFF SHORE & SANK Contributed by Terry email@example.com [17MAR98]
"...Plane was forced down by failure of the starboard engine, when a rubber self sealing fuel line to starboard side of cross-feed valve came loose. The fuel line had become soft near the end of the piece. This probably caused the line to work loose from the fitting. It is not known weather this was inspected at the last sixty hour check. After temporary repairs, an attempt was made to beach the plane. This was necessitated by hull damages resulting from the landing in a rough sea with swells of fifteen to twenty feet. While taxiing, plane struck a reef and sank. Damage:Recommend Strike. Crew and passengers OK. Pilot. Lt. Jesse B. Holly A-V(N) Usnr, Co-p: Lt(jg). D. G. Sliger Usn, Ens. H. K. Sowles Usnr, Acmm. D. Cassity (AA) Usn, Amm2c. J. I. Armstrong Usn, Rm1c. A. M. Micthell Usnr, Rm2c. J. C. Butts Usn, Aom2c. J. M. Deem Usn, Amm1c. F. E. Silva Usnr, Amm1c. D. P. Finn usn, AP1c. L. Peterson Usn, and Capt. Ruddell USAAC..." Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [28JUL2001]
MISHAPs: 01 MAY 44 A/C: PBY-5A Location: Aleutians Strike: Yes BUNO: 48398 Cause: Crashed while attempting to fly through an area of bad weather at low altitude on return leg of sector name as designated on search plan. Recommend strike Crew Missing: Pilot Lt(jg) Grover Frederick Heidlage A-V(N) USNR, Ens Philip R. Dering A-V(N) USNR, Ens Robert Warren Smith A-V(N) USNR, Amm2c James Coleman McDowell USNR, Amm3c Joseph F. Daniels USNR, Rm3c Louis Edward Palmer USNR, Rm3c Oliver Louis Kihl USNR, and Aomb2c Hugh Edwin Morrow USNR. Contributed by Terry email@example.com [08AUG2001]
"...failed to return from patroling sector 9. Requested permission to return to base because of bad weather at position Lat. 52-42 N Long. 169-36 E. Permission was refused. All special rescue searches were negative. Lt(jg) Heidlage and crew were lost. For your information, I flew as a replacement AOM with this this crew 29 April 1944. 16 June 1944 Lt. F,A. Woody & crew failed to return from special search conducted for missing plane of Bombing Squadron 135. Special searches failed to find missing plane or crew. I don't have the BuNo of this PBY, These planes carried a crew of 8..." Contributed by CLAYPOOK, AOM1 Kenneth firstname.lastname@example.org [26AUG2001]
MISHAPs: 16 JUN 44 A/C: PBY-5A Lt. F. A. Woody & crew failed to return from special search conducted for missing plane of Bombing Squadron 135. Special searches failed to find missing plane or crew. I don't have the BuNo of this PBY, These planes carried a crew of 8..." Contributed by CLAYPOOK, AOM1 Kenneth email@example.com [26AUG2001]
"...I believe that 48427 is the missing buno from the VP-61 16-Jun-1944 mishap..." Contributed by Thomas Bass firstname.lastname@example.org [07SEP2010]
MISHAPs: 16 APR 45 A/C: PBY-5A Location: Crescent Harbor, Wa Strike: Yes BUNO: 46483 Cause: Aircraft while executing a night landing under favorable operating conditions had successfully landed when the nose wheel doors, which were closed but had failed to lock, opened causing the plane to go down by the bow to an abrupt stop:"Strike" Crew OK Pilot Lt. Elmer Todd USN, Lt(jg) John A. Whitney USNR, Amm2c Raymond H. Martin USNR, Rm2c Thomas J. Crook USNR, and Amm3c Frederick G. Fiore USNR. Contributed by Terry email@example.com [18AUG2001]
"VP-61 Summary Page"