Dive Bombers and Other Birds

Tudor Richards, USNR

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When it heading home became a sure thing that we were to head home, there was, of course, much rejoicing and, frankly, relief, and we didn’t mind when two other air groups came aboard as passengers. The trip back to Pearl was very pleasant. Most of the planes had been left behind, and so there was all the room in the world on the flight deck for sunbathing, which everyone did. We had two days in Pearl, Pearl Harbor though, unhappily, I had the duty the first full day. On the second just for luck I tried for a plane at Barber's Point after failing to get one at Ford Island, where we were docked, and, by George, they gave me an old SBD. I'd have paid a visit to SBD to Hilo and back Kauai, the only island I'd never seen close at hand, if it hadn't been that Leah Park was at Hilo, which meant, of course, that I went there and received a warm welcome.

Less than a week later we return to the U.S. 7/7/45 were in Alameda and not long after that on our various ways home for thirty days leave. I flew as far as N.Y. and got slightly delayed by a blonde before going the rest of the way home by train. A stop in New Haven to see Doug Yerxa’s mother was the only other delay.

Groton was pleasantly serene and Squam even better, Groton & Squam the precious time being nearly equally divided between the two. Nance wangled a leave of a week for Squam, so five members of the family were present. Various guests, including Joe Bradley, Chrissie Lowell and friends of Jack’s made things even better. An ascent of Morgan and Percival Mts. Morgan & Percival,
Squam Range
with Jack and then one with a picnic in Sandwich Notch were the most enterprising things we did. A late start for Sandwich Dome wound up atop West Rattlesnake, which I'd never climbed before, and the views of the Lake seemed about as perfect as W. Rattlesnake possible.

It was too absent members bad not to have a full family, but with Henry in Okinawa (our paths had crossed, possibly at Hawaii) and Ham and family in Bermuda it was hardly possible.

Well, all too soon I was headed west again, though sure signs of peace were in the air, and, sure enough, the big news came when I was on the train end of war from Boston to New York. Half expecting the papers to say all leaves were extended, as they could well have been, I was disappointed that they weren’t. Of course it was the old story when I got to San Diego—just San Diego another dive bomber pilot. I had rather wanted shore-based duty overseas in aerial photography in fighters, but they persuaded me to join another VB squadron, giving me a choice of several, however. Instead of choosing17 I picked 82 Squadron 82 hearing that the former was going to be based in the desert at Fallon, Nev., whereas the latter was going to get Watsonville on beautiful Monterey Bay, and besides few of my particular friends were back with 17. I could just as well have gone to 17 because both 17 and 82 released all men eligible for release in active duty and requesting same. None of us had to worry about points as DFC* or better being all that was necessary.

Distinguished Flying Cross