Dive Bombers and Other Birds

Tudor Richards, USNR

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For some reason we were the first flight at Squantum to get any "advanced" instruction. This came after several hours of soloing, and darned if I didn't get "Shorty" himself as instructor. “advanced”
He showed me how to do spot landings, made flipper, or very steeply banked turns, get into and out of spins as well as improve my emergency landing procedure. Most of all, however, "Shorty" liked to spin, which were the only maneuvers I didn't care for at all. spins Certainly it was very easy to raise the nose of the plane and chop throttle and, after it lost flying speed and stalled, to put it in a spin one way or the other with the rudder, then recover not by yanking on the stick, as would seem logical, but by pushing forward on it and kicking rudder opposite to the turn of the spin, thus putting the plane in a normal dive, from which anyone could make a recovery. Too many of these in a row, however, was just too many, and while I never got sick in the air, too many of Shorty’s spins one time caught up with my lunch just after a landing and a hasty retreat to the nearest convenience.

Between dual flights we soloed, and were allowed a considerable area of sky over Boston Harbor, from Deer Id. to Nantasket. solos over
Boston Harbor
The extremely irregular shoreline together with the scattering of mostly drumlin islands made these flights almost scenic tours. Making simulated emergency landings on the various islands was quite exciting.

One or two advanced instruction hops were with an ensign “fresh out of Pensacola,” but “Shorty” gave all final “final” checks. I remember having some trouble with my spot landings, which were made at the intersection of the runways, but in the end “Shorty” gave me an “up.” That was on Dec. 5. We were due to be sent south Dec. 8 and had as much leave as there was time between our final check and that date, in my case only a long week-end.

News of Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941
Pearl Harbor
came when Phil Field, a Squantum “classmate” and I were playing handball in the garage at home, Ma interrupting us with the “bombshell.” We received no call and reported to Squantum the next morning as scheduled. Our orders were unchanged, and after listening with hollow stomachache to the president’s speech, we started mostly in twos and threes in private cars, for N.A.S. Atlanta, Georgia. being allowed three days travel time. What with some of the boys washing out and others dropping to the flight behind us we were down almost to our original number. The final roster included “Mert” Barstow, “Art” Bishop, “Nick” Fanelli, “Phil” Field, “Tom” Flynn, “Fred” Howes, “Jack” Kellerher, “Dave” Kersting, “Hal” Lanyon, “Mack” (John) MacIves, “Mack” (John) MacGillivray, Roy Merchant, “Bill” Millward, “Bud” Moore, myself, “Bill” Ryan, John Tucker, “Bob” Hiller, “Hap” (Harold) Langstaff and “Harry” Wheeler. Cavas and Tully had washed out; John Rigby, Bob McLaughlin, and “Ed” Siezega had been dropped to the flight below us, but eventually caught up with us at Atlanta and again at Jacksonville. Howes and Siezega were the only others to wash out further along the line than at Squantum, which meant that 84% of the original group of twenty-five got all the way through, a seemingly high average. How many were eventually killed in flight operations I may never know. So far I’ve heard of only one, Lanyon, who was killed in an accident rather than in combat.

* Became headmaster at New Hampton School eventually. George Foote was also at Squantum then but in another class. Knowing how to fly already he breezed through, much later turning up in Dublin, then Hopkinton.