Contributed Short Stories
Time Frame Early Korean War
Capt Tom Coleman, a rated pilot and Our Squadron Intelligence Officer, went with our crew on several sortie's. On one particular sortie, I had Tom occupy the left seat of our RB-29. I was an instructor pilot so it did not matter to me which seat I was in. We were approaching Korea in the Wonsan area and were at sea level plus 50 feet to avoid enemy radar. We had targets in Wonsan that were heavily guarded. We observed a Sampan, headed outbound, loaded to the gills with military supplies. The crew wanted to shoot it up, but I said “No lets blow it over and give the guys a chance.” We maintained about 50' and pulled up right before passing over as we would have made contact with it's sails. It blew over and the tail gunner, Brooks, confirmed it. Back we went, down on the deck as we went on to our assigned target. After compleating the photo run we reversed course and exited Wonsan and headed back out to sea to go North to Hamhung Harbour. We made another pass on the way out of the area at about 50' and sure enough there were numerous dingies of some sort all around and the ship had bellied up. We got pics before and after. We noticed the sampan was on it's side and the crew was scrambling for anything that floated. It was loaded with ammo and other munitions. This was the first time Tom had been on a low level with our crew, or any other crew. Tom being a seasoned pilot reacted like all of us did. It was our job.
Tom never did stop talking about that even when I visited with him when he was at March AFB, later The Pentagon, and then after retirement in Tucson. In the later years, the many times that I visited Tom in Tucson, where I was training 4 Mexican pilots, we would visit and reminisce about that sortie. He was especially pleased that we were able to decommission 3 different supply trains that day. WOW, what a guy. Tom was our Sq. Intelligence officer and his flying was limited due to the work load that he had and he did it without complaint and he did an outstanding job of it. Excellence was Tom's forte. He would jump at the chance to go on a sortie. We made about 5 together, as I recall.
I have never met anyone like Tom Coleman. He was a great crew member and a true gentleman. He nicknamed me "Mule Train" on Oki because when I arrived I brought a 78 speed record (before tapes, disks etc) of Frankie Lanes "Mule Train" with me and had the club band play in one Saturday night. They had to repeat it several times that evening. AFRS somehow found out about it and broadcast every hour to the person that had the record "Mule Train" to please call. Some time later I took it to the station and they made a copy and played it. They had so many requests for it that they played it for 24 hours. McCully and myself had a loud speaker system that we played every morning to wake up the other guys in huts around us to make roll call and we would play it. There was an Afro-American platoon that marched by each morning on their way to chow and, as the music played, they outdid themselves with a parade type set of moves in formation right in front of our area. The turnarounds, healies and maneuvering they did was unbelievable. It should have been filmed for the archives.
Time Frame Early Korean War, Yokota AB, and later Flashback
The flower Sisters performed every other week and I believe on Friday. There rendition of China Nights has gone around the world. They were the best thing about the Korean Conflict that I know. Michiko was the piano player. Bass fiddle was Mando. Kayolio banjo as was Dori and Minia Yokos. Guitar, J. Yamanota, instrument not visible. They were great .
|In about 1984, My youngest son Kipp, now a Commercial, single/multi engine and instrument flight instructor, was building up time to go with the airlines. Anyway he and a schoolmate, whose mother is Japanese, went to Japan for the summer and he went to a Japanese School. I went over to pick him up and bring him back on Military Space Available.
After I was there for about a week the family took us all out to dinner at a Karaoke Club. The uncle was an English teacher in the system up close to Misawa. Anyway, his English was about like my Japanese. Very limited. He was singing American songs of the time and was he proud of himself. I found the tape China Nights . I asked them to play it and they did. I got up and started off, Shee e naow youra etc etc and it brought the house down. After dinner, the Uncle took me to a Japanese Night Club that had entertainment, singing and music, all being American songs. He got up and said something and all of a sudden I found myself with a mike in my hand and did it again and again and again. You would have thought it was Frank Sinatra. Man did the booze come to the table. The uncle got so drunk that I couldn't even see him. It took me two days to sober up. The next two day's, when walking down the street, almost all of this small little hamlet natives shouted out to me, "Ohio Singer China Night." The whole town must have been there.
The Seattle earthquake Wednesday (February 28, 2001), reminded me of a similar situation at Yokota A.B. about February 1951. Our crew had flown a night photo flash (40 Photo Flash Bombs) mission over Sinuiju, Manchuria and we returned about 7am. By the time we were debriefed and back from Recee Tech, after following our pictures and receiving the report to the quarters, it was about 1130 hrs and I went to the mess hall for lunch. I joined a table of about 6 others from the 91st plus the Catholic Chaplain, Father Alfonso. All was quiet and all of a sudden the building started swaying and the light fixture's hanging from the ceilings were swinging back and forth. Some pictures hanging on the walls fell off and coffee was spilt on the tables. Even the mashed potatoes were mish mashing around. Hey Padre, I shouted. How about saying a prayer. He said its to late for that as we all exited the mess hall rather rapidly. We returned to our table after about 15 minutes and it was a disaster. The ceiling had caved in and our lunch was completed outside. Tea anyone?
Subject: Unidentified RB-29 (second try)
When I saw some of the recent additions to Chuck Stone's web-site, I was reminded of an incident at Johnson AFB in the Fall of 1950. Earl, you might remember this as it involved Capt Mike Moffet. On page two of some photos from Bill Sutton, there is a picture of a "tin bender" Wibur Schuster. It is next to a color shot of Mike Moffet. The plane in the picture was assigned to our crew when it came in from overhaul at Tinker. I can not remember the number and although I have several pictures of it, the number doesn't show. Anyway, Mike Moffet was test hopping this plane after the brakes had been worked on and he was racing up and down the runway and then applying max braking. On the third run, the brakes failed and it went sailing off the end of the runway and into a field. As it left the runway, it went through a barbed wire entanglement, then into the dirt. The nose-wheel collapsed and the barbed wire wound up in the props and thrashed the fuselage and thoroughly shredded the de-icer boots. It just happened that several of our crew were returning by train from a 24 hour pass, and there we saw our plane with its nose in the dirt and the tail sticking up in the air.
|The picture of Wilbur Schuster was taken while it was being repaired. (Note there is no nose wheel or nose wheel doors in the picture.) The tin-benders had their work cut out for them, and I got some OJT on replacing de-icer boots. Do any of you remember this incident?
Note: Photo of Bill Schuster.
Can you identify the number for this aircraft?
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