"...McMICHAEL, CPO Pelham Jackson "Jack" Retired...Sadly - I must report that my Dad, CPO Pelham Jackson McMICHAEL, passed away this morning around 8:30 a.m. Dad served with VP-81, attended school at NAS Banana River, Florida, VP-32, additional training at NAS Norman, Oklahoma, FAW-6, VS-32, FASRON-821, VC-9, FASRON-41, back to school at NAS Memphis, Tennessee, VA(HM)-13, VP-24 and back to school at NAS Memphis, Tennessee. Dad will be missed. Additional information on my Dad's services can be found on In Loving Memory - Pelham Jackson "Jack" McMichael - 5/1/1924 - 4/16/2011. My sister, Margaret, created a slide show on Daddy at: Pelham Jackson McMichael Video.." Contributed by Leila McMichael firstname.lastname@example.org [BIO Updated 15AUG2011 | 16APR2011]
McMICHAEL, CPO Pelham Jackson "Jack" Retired c/o Leila McMichael... ...email@example.com "...7-9-41: Dad joined the Navy in Montgomery, AL. He was in Platoon 185 in boot camp under Chief P. E. Stein. He was in AMM School Class 16 under Chief Sweeney. He graduated circa 8-19-41 and went to A School to become an aircraft mechanic at AD3 rank. 12-7-41: Pearl Harbor was attacked and WWII began while he was still in school. 1-3-42: Dad joined VP-81 at NAS Key West, Florida working on PBY's. He had traveled by train 3-4 days to Homestead, FL, then by bus to Key West. His first job was with AP First Class Red Schiebler in the oxygen lab. 8-14-42: Dad went to NAS Banana River, Florida to train as a flight engineer on PBM's. Some pilots were training at the same time their crew was, but the crew assumed they already knew what they were doing. 11-10-42: Dad went by bus to NAS Norfolk, Virginia then to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by transport plane. He joined VP-32 in NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba working on PBM aircraft. He bought a horse named Specks while there. From there he was sent to NAS Trinidad, British West Indies as a maintenance man in VP-53. They flew mostly PBY's instead of PBM's. Jack sailed on a destroyer from NAS Trinidad, British West Indies to Miami, FL through Torpedo Alley. Then he traveled by train to San Francisco by way of Chicago. 4-12-43: Dad was with VP-53 working on PBY 5 A's that could land on sea or land. Went to San Diego for flight to Hawaii, but he was taken off the plane to let a yeoman get on board to pay those there. Unfortunately the plane blew up on the trip, killing everyone on board. Jack did not find out what had happened until he was assigned to another crew, under LT Henry P. Gausman. Jack was a second class mechanic. Hank Gausman was a good pilot and saved his crew's lives more than once through his piloting skills. Jack also had high praise for the Plane Captain, M. P. Martin, who always made sure the fuel line clamp from the pump was tightened down before every flight. [My father wanted to add a excerpt from his autobiography at this point. He wrote: We flew [from Heilo] to Kaneohe and landed in the bay there. The pilot brought the plane up to the beach and the beach crew put temporary wheels on it and pulled us up on the ramp. We left the plane and found a place to stay in the barracks. The next day when we came down, we found they'd taken the wheels out of the plane and put them on, so now we could take off and touch down on either land or water. They issued each of us a pistol with a shoulder holster. I got a 38 pistol with 5 rounds. I said, "Man, 5 rounds ain't much to go fight a war with." He said that was all they had. They couldn't send regular ball ammunition out there, it had to be metal jacketed because that was international law of warfare. The ordinance man got a machine gun. The next day we took off for Johnson Island. When we landed there, they gassed us up. I noticed they had lots of mosquitoes there. I said to the man gassing us up, "You've got some big mosquitoes here." He said, "Yes, one of them landed yesterday and I put 180 gallons in it before I found out that it was a mosquito!" I said, "Oh NO!!" We took off from Johnston Island and flew for a good while before we got to Palmyra Island (Atoll) where we landed and were gassed up again and took off for Kanton Island. From Kanton Island we gassed up and flew to Funafuti Island. We were there for three days. I dug myself a fox hole as soon as I could. Some laughed at me, but as stated earlier, my mother didn't raise a fool. They told us to go flying and we took off and were gone a long time on patrol. It was after dark when we got back and while landing, I noticed that there was a military jeep running alongside of us. I raised the hatch and asked, "What's the matter?" "He said, "Were under attack! Put that plane into revetment and get into your fox hole!" I told the pilot and he quickly guided the plane into a revetment, and we all jumped out and ran for our fox holes. I couldn't get into mine because it was full of people! I said, "This is my damn fox hole, get the hell out or move over or something!" I had dug the fox hole 6 feet long and 3 feet deep and 3 feet wide. I had intended lying down in it. There were about 5 or 6 men squatting in it, and I wiggled down in there beside them. The Japanese came over and started bombing. One plane dropped 4 bombs and scored on 4 planes including ours which we had just gotten out of moments before. Our plane was blown to pieces. The Japanese bomber knew just how far apart those revetments were and he set his invelometer to drop a bomb exactly in the center of each one of them. All he had to do was hit the center of the first one and the other bombs automatically fell in the right place. It scared the devil out of me and when it was all over, we went back around the revetment to survey the damage. Our plane was just a pile of metal. The gas tank had blown up and burned everything. I picked up a piece of the propeller, put it in my pocket. I still have it today. The ordinance man said, "Boy I wish I had thought about grabbing that machine gun." He was like the rest of us and got out so fast that he didn't think about it.] Daddy added that the PBY's had to go out at night because they flew so slow that sometimes they could get shot down. To avoid being shot down at night, they ran the right engine 200 rpms slower than other. That would throw the Japanese "big ears" off and they would miss on the right. He said that they eventually lost 9 aircraft of the 15 they had. They lost so many planes his squadron was replaced with another. They flew back to Kaneohe Island in Hawaii and turned in their guns. He returned the same 5 rounds of ammo he was issued and was really glad he didn't have to use them. 7-2-44: From MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii Jack was put on U.S.S. Barnes, an aircraft carrier to NAS Alameda, California. From there took a train, then a bus to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington where the squadron was reforming. Transferred to FASRON. 4-15-45: Dad was a student in NAS Norman, Oklahoma, for Combat Air Crew (CAC) "B" school. 7-4-45: Dad went to Naval Air Gunnery School at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. He was trained on 3 different machine guns: 30, 50 caliber and 20 millimeter. 8-4-45: Dad was transferred to the NAS Jacksonville, Florida where he joined FAW-6. He was put on the PBY planes. Successfully tested for and became first class. Because of illness, he was made Master of Arms in the barracks. 12-31-46: WWII officially ended. 5-10-47: Jack's time was up and he left to try civilian life. 7-4-49: Dad re-entered the Navy in Montgomery, AL. Would not let him come back in as first class, so he re-entered as second class. Sent to Naval Operating Base in Charleston, SC on permanent shore patrol. 8-30-49: Dad transferred to VS-32 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia working on TBM's (torpedo bomber by Martin). He had only worked on seaplanes, but he had to learn about this carrier plane fast. Became first class again and the Commander's Plane Captain. Met Gene Manken from Washington state. While there he met Lavelle Estes, his future wife. He married her on August 4, 1950. April 1951 the squadron transferred to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island. From 9-51 to 11-51 his squadron, VS-32 went on a Mediterranean cruise with the 6th Fleet. He was hanger deck Petty Officer. They visited Gibraltar. 2-19-52: They went on a cruise to Puerto Rico which lasted to March of the same year. Then the U.S.S. Oriskany had to go around the Horn because it was too wide for the Panama Canal. They offered the men to serve on board during the journey, but warned them it would be hazardous. They stopped at Guantanamo Bay, where he found out that his horse Specks had died. On 6-16-52: Dad was initiated into the reign of Neptune Rex. The trip around the Horn was dangerous. They had welders working night and day repairing the ship. After they made it around the horn safely, he got his Mossback card on 6-29-52. 10-31-52: Dad was in FASRON-821 in NAS Sanford, Florida. 1-5-53: Dad's first child was born, daughter, Leila Melinda, in Orlando, FL at the Air Force Base. 6-10-53: Dad was in VC-9 in NAS Sanford, Florida, AJ Squadron working on atomic bombers. They used reciprocating engines to deliver payload and jet engine to escape. They went on a cruise to the Azores. 3-15-54: During that trip second daughter, Rebecca Ann, was born in Orlando, FL at the Air Force Base. 6-28-54: Dad was in FASRON-41 (formerly FASRON-821) NAS Sanford, Florida. 12-5-54: Dad was in VS-26 working on S2F's at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. These were carrier-based submarine hunter/killer aircraft by Grumman. 11-31-55: Dad went to Electronics "A" school at NAS Memphis, Tennessee. Afterwards he transferred to Mech "B" School. 3-10-56: Dad's third daughter, Margaret Jean, was born in Memphis, TN. Afterwards Dad was transferred to NAS Chincoteague, Virginia where VA(HM)-13 became VP-24. 10-17-56: Dad was in VP-24 working on P2V's These were land-based aircraft with both reciprocating and jet engines by Lockheed. Some were adapted for flight off carriers. VP-24 went on a cruise to Malta for 5 months. 5-3-59: Dad was deployed to NAS Keflavik, Iceland. 8-28-59: Dad's fourth child, a son, Philip Jackson, born in Blowing Rock, NC. 10-4-59: Dad went back to NAS Chincoteague, Virginia. 1-5-60: Dad went to AD "B" Instructor's School at NAS Memphis, Tennessee. From 2-12-60 he taught airplane mechanics on both jet and reciprocating engines. January 1961 he took the test to be a Chief Petty Officer. Went to Chief leadership school 3-1-61 in Pensacola, FL. He remembers James A. Mann, an officer. 6-1-61: Dad returned to NAS Memphis, Tennessee as an instructor. Taught until 4-1-63 when he retired and went into the U.S. Naval Reserve where he served 10 years. Served as Caldwell County's Veterans Service Officer (in Lenoir, North Carolina) from 1966 to 1977. 3-22-82: Dad's first wife "Val" died of pancreatic cancer. 2-28-87: Dad married second wife, Billie Sue Barlow McMichael. She takes good care of him. Jack McMichael is a member of the American Legion Post 29; VFW Post 5381; Disabled Veterans of America, Chapter 6; Fleet Reserve Association, Branch 60; The Retired Enlisted Association; Nat'l Association for Uniformed Services; The National Chief Petty Officers Association; and the PBY Catalina International Association, to name a few..." [UPDATED 14AUG2020 | 19SEP2010]
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