REDTAIL BIRDS


The following are a series of emails concerning the “Redtails” on H-21's of the 22nd and 24th Heli Sqdns.

(Were there any others?) The ones in Alaska had a big red stripe on the rear half but not the whole tail.



Vern Dander - Got the following from a member of the 610th AC&W list:
From: Genesan_Tech_Rep

Hi Vern, I had a nice ride on the Redtail H-21 from Unishima (Det 19 610 AC&W Sq) to Itazuki on July 1, 1958. Any chance it was one of your flights?


I also flew the Redtail from Goose Bay to Fox Harbour (Det 3 622 ACW Sq) in March 1957 and Fox Harbour to Goose Bay. Here we also we received frequent H-21mail and food trips. We were near the end range of flight for the H-21. One trip they had heavy head winds and sat down for the night. It was so cold the lettuce froze making it useless. The next day they flew to the site.
I have some pictures of the Redtail at Unishima and Fox Harbour. Let me know if you'd like copies.
Gene Smith, Pasadena, CA
/////////////////////////////////


Sent the following in response:-

> Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 18:44:52 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Vern Dander
> Subject: Redtail birds
> To: Gene Smith
>
> Hi
>
> On being the pilot on your early July '58 flight, I'd not be a candidate because my records (hotel bill in Tokyo) show I arrived later in the same month.
> > Would appreciate anything you can provide in the way of photos and write-ups on remembrances of experiences riding with us for our 24th website. 
>
> Although I haven't seen anything specific proposed on creating a page on the Goose Bay support operation (believe that was a different squadron; the 24th being the one in the Pacific), today I got an e-mail indicating a new source has come up (scrapbook of a pilot who was stationed at both locations) which may trigger some interest. Consequently, anything you have along the same lines for Goose would also be appreciated. My experience on these things is that the start out with a few photos and tidbits and that prompts others to make the search, and pretty soon it gets to be pretty robust (suspect the 610th site started out the same way and it's become a gold mine).
>
> Assume you were a tech rep. Which company?
>
> Vern Dander

----------------------------------
KV
Didn't realize you'd started a site on the 22nd. Looks pretty good so far.
However, based on the word passed around by some quarters (they shall go unnamed), my understanding was the PRIMARY mission of that unit while at Goose was to haul SAC VIPs out to moose hunting camps. That being the case (and of I'm not saying it is), I can understand why the SAC Colonels were so jaundiced about committing

any H-21 to other, less important ventures.

Although there were a lot of mooses in Japan, finding them wasn't very difficult; you just had to walk out the base gate.

Regards

Vern Dander

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--- kyron hall wrote:

Hi guys,
Don relayed your email on the H-21 flights.

Never heard of any “moose” trips while I was there. Those SAC weenies were too scared to ride in a helicopter. The Rescue guys did a lot of fishing tho. I never knew it until after I left Goose or I'd been with them.


I was in the 22nd Heli Sq at Goose Bay in 1959. I know of Fox Harbour and the other sites we resupplied, Cartwright, Hopedale, Cape Makkovik and Spotted Island. If you check out our website usafhpa.org you will find a page on the 22nd that I started with pictures from me and Jerry Haynes.
>
I would accept and appreciate any pictures and information you could provide.
Thanks,
K.V. Hall, unit Historian, USAFHPA

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Those of us at Det 3, Itazuke will remember Monti Marusek who would "catch a few coins" on payday and head downtown to "catch a moose".

 

Vern, Thanks for resurrecting that memory....Grant Mackie
---------------------------------


Howdy KV,

 

I was one of the "late" arrivals at the goose - I believe the order to shut down the 22nd came within a month of my arrival. I only got one or two flights to Cartwright before the mission was handed over to Okanagan.  So, I got to fly in the L-20, the SA-16 and even one trip to Hopedale in Okanagan's H-34. When those of us who hadn't been there long enough to be reassigned stateside were farmed out around the base I became the assistant POL officer and did my flying in the SC-47.

 

I'll send the pictures to you if you give me a mailing address. I'll probably remove them from their frames to save postage (the 4 of them must weigh 10 pounds).

 

I have a number of memories from my time at Goose - Wayne Worrell cooling his over-ripe open cans of tuna in the snow outside the 2nd floor window (was he your roomie?); the RCAF Officers Mess; our "O Club"; the Base Commander having the sand covered with asphalt containing grass seed; the billiard table downstairs in the "Q"; and, the Kingston Trio singing "Get Charlie Off the MTA", "I'm So Broke Up, I Just Want to Go Home!", and "Hang Down Your Head Tom Doolie", sometimes on 4 or 5 record players at the same time, at max volume, almost in perfect synchronization after a late night return from the Club.

 

Yes, I was fortunate to be selected to fly a distance record in the H-43. Mine was "distance around a closed course". I completed some 653 miles around a 12 mile course just east of Mono Lake, in California. I don't consider my self eligible for a "claim to fame" as I allowed my membership in the AFHPA to lapse some time ago.

 

Keep Kickin',

 

Dick Coan


Good evening Vern,

Yes I was a Tech Rep for the Bendix Radio Div, Bendix Aviation Corp later Bendix Field Engineering Corp with assignments to sites with Bendix Radars. Fox Harbour, Labrador (1957-58) was on the FPS-14 a Gap Filler. The 22nd supported the site. Then to Unishima, Japan (1958-59) on the FPS-3 Radar. The 24th supported the site. Then to Subiriyama, Japan (1959) on the FPS-3 Radar. The FPS-3 Search Radars replaced the early radars installed at the end of WWII and enabled closing many older CPS and TPS radars sites.


I have 14 pictures I'd like to send to send to you and tell you a little about it. Eight are in Labrador and six in southern Japan. I'd like to send them in separate emails as attachments, that way I can bore you with details and it will be easy for you to have the picture file to use as you desire.

 

Good Evening K.V. Hall,

I have your CC of the email you sent to Vern. I left Labrador in 1958, before your arrival, but know all the sites you mentioned. Cartwright was the Squadron and the others were detachments out of Cartwright.

 

As I told Vern, I will send the pictures as separate messages and you are welcome to use whatever you desire.

 

I was told that Fox Harbour was near the range limit of the Helis. Was that true? At times, in winter, we went many weeks without support via Helis and if it was to long an SA-16 would do an airdrop .I enjoyed reading your web site's 22nd story.

 

God Bless America and ALL our Military people,

Gene Smith

Pasadena, CA

--------------------------

Good day KV,

I have seen the web site you mentioned. If you go to http://www.pinetreeline.org/gap/gap2.html

 

It has all the Gap Filler sites. Click on Fox Harbour and then click on Photos and then click on 9. Assorted Photos 1957. There are all of my pictures.  

Or go to http://www.pinetreeline.org/gap/photos/pgffh-57.html

to go direct to my pictures.

I'll send you the pictures I think appropriate for logistical support of the site with comments.

 

Regards,

Gene Smith

Pasadena, CA

I never realized the fact so many aircraft had redtails. It appears all had something to do with rescue. And added duty to support remote facilities, I guess a useful need to maintain flying proficiency.


Why the "Redtails"?

 

However in 1955 when I was station at Sado Shima, Japan we had a Helicopter med-evac with yellow bands.

 

=================

Redtails had more to do with being rescued than rescuing; i.e., they were easier to see if you crashed.

In those days, reliability was not that great, especially since we were using engines that for the most part were built for use on fixed wing aircraft and we were running them at settings that were normally only used for take-off and/or max loads on the fixed wings. Consequently, they tended to crump much earlier; as I recall the one we used on the H-21 had an early "hours of concern" around 90, and if you got through that point OK, you could expect to get about another 150 without a problem. I think 300 was when you pulled it even if it was running ok. Reliability didn't turn the corner until they developed small jet engines.

Yellow striped birds were all rescue dedicated. Ours (redtails) weren't although we'd pull rescue work as required. Actually, rescue birds got in the taxi business to; had to in order to be considered useful to the local commanders who had a lot to say how well you were supported.

Vern
---------------------

Gene,

The engine used on the H-21 was an upgraded version of the Wright R-1820.  To give you an idea of the various
versions and their use on various aircraft, check out URL:
http://www.kensaviation.com/engines/R-1820.htm>

Never had an engine failure in an H-21, myself. Believe we had one "burp" going into a site while I was at Itazuke, but the pilot was able to get it down on the pad without mishap. Good thing too, since the pad was built into a site that was on a ridge where if you missed it, it was quite a roll to the bottom.

If we'd gone down in the water in the Straits of Tsushima in winter, we wouldn't have latest very long
(if we could have gotten out without getting hit by a thrashing blade).  We carried water survival suits, but
unless you had them on when you went in, chances weren't too good you could get them on while in the
water.

Other than my adventure shedding a left main gear at Brady, only know of two Det 3 major accidents. Both
occurred before I got there; one is pictured in the set of Suburiyama photos on the 610th website, and the
other was where Bill Johnson tried to do a roll at one of the southern sites. In latter case, the cables
controlling the rear rotors failed internally and the rear end decided to do its own thing. Fortunately,
when it happened they were low over the water and close to the beach. Everyone got out, although I
understand after swallowing some seawater.

Didn't know all this when you hitched a ride, did you?

Vern
--------------------------------
-

-- kyron hall wrote:

> What Vern said.
>I started flying H-21's in 1957 when they were still fairly new. By the time I got back in 21's in Alaska in 1968 the engines had been overhauled so many times that the pistons weren't sure which hole to go in. If you got over 150 hours you were on borrowed time. I had 3 engine failures in six months in 68-69. Of course the good old chip detector warning light always came on, but usually AFTER the engine quit.
> Attaching a picture of Goose Rescue Squadron H-21. Has red tail but also the yellow rescue stripe. Sometimes your got the redtail Plus the yellow stripe for Rescue. If your flew helicopters in any outfit, you always had the capability of making a rescue of some sort.
> Gene, jpg's are OK. Checked out your pics on the pinetree site.

From Gene:


My first "helicopter" ride was from Goose Bay to Fox Harbour, Labrador. For whatever reason we flew straight east to the Cartwright site before heading south to Fox Harbour. The attached picture was taken from the helicopter as we flew over Cartwight.We didn't stop at Cartwright Air Station, 922 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, and flew direct to Fox Harbour Air Station, 922 AC&W Sq, Det. 3, APO 677.




This picture is of the helicopter on the helicopter Pad at Fox Harbour. Notice the Airmen's dress. The site was casual with most wear civilian clothes. The uniformed officer was Capt. Paul D. Gromo the site commander. Paul dies two years ago (2004).

------------------------

The attached picture is of Fox Harbour as we approached. I didn't have the best seat to view the site but did get a piece of it. This is Fox Harbour Air Station, 922 ACW Sq Det. 3.


This picture is of an SA-16 bringing in supplies. They would land in the harbor and we would go down the hill to meet them. It is infrequent that we saw the SA-16s. Several times the helicopter couldn't make it to the site for extend periods so the SA-16 would make air drops when the harbor was frozen.

--------------------

This picture is taken from the helicopter Pad looking toward the only building at the site. Notice the helicopter shadow so it had to be getting later in the day. I'm not sure if it was this trip but one trip close to Christmas, Goose Bay sent us Christmas trees and you guessed it they forgot the mail and movies. The Christmas trees we tossed in anger along side the helicopter Pad and when I left the following June the remains were still there. Trips were less frequent during the winter. One period was so long the Airmen got tired of showing the same movie and showed it backwards.


.


Another trip they couldn't make the full trip with the strong headwinds so they set down for the night. They were carrying lettuce which froze overnight. It was a disappointment to have to discard the fresh vegetable the following morning when they resumed the flight to the site.


-----------------------------------

This picture is the helicopter landing at the Fox Harbour Site's helicopter Pad. We would get to see many of these sights as the helicopter was our primary support for fresh food, movies and mail.


--------------------------------------


This picture is of the L-20. I don't recall if there were more then one flight to Fox Harbour by this type plane. Notice the locals with their boats at the plane. We hired them to take there boat out to meet the sea planes and bring in the cargo. There was a small platform out there to tie up to.


This ship made its way into the harbor with a cargo of fresh meat. But it had been caught in an ice flow for a long time causing the meat to spoil. It was unloaded from the ship and dumped into the harbor. That is Capt. Gromo.

 

Before I forget it, there is no Fox Harbour at this location today, it was recently renamed St Lewis.

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I was called back to Goose Bay for a meeting but when I got ready to return to Fox Harbour there were no scheduled helicopter. Sharp Company was trying to build a water line to the lake as the past winter the site water hole froze solid. They hired a Bush Pilots to take them back and forth. This day they had a trip scheduled so I bummed a ride with them. Clayton Hudson (sp) was the pilot. When he came down out of the clouds we were over water (ocean) much to his surprise. He headed back toward land and then flew around trying to figure out when we were. The clouds were down to mountain tops as we flew along until we were in a boxed in canyon, a thrilling u-turn. The pilot finally figured out where we were and landed at a small village before continuing on to Fox Harbour.



This picture is at that village and all the natives that came out to meet us expecting a different Bush flight with a doctor. As you can see the bay had water on it and Clayton wasn't sure if the ice was thick enough to land. There were pine trees marking a landing area. Clayton said they should have picked up the trees if it was unsafe to land. But in case it was to thin to get out and remove the tree, Open the doors and get ready to jump out if we go through the ice. When the water hit those skis it sounded like ice hitting the plane, I had my door open and ready to jump. As soon as it stopped I was out and away from the plane. Obviously there was no reason to distrust the ice.


 

And so was my first and last flight with a Bush pilot.


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This picture is of Major Yamanoguchi the JASDF Commander and me, Gene Smith, as I was ready to leave Unishima on July 1, 1959.


This helicopter came to the Unishima Air Station, 910 AC&W Sq Det. 19, the day I was scheduled to leave. It will be my final ride on any helicopter. I believe there were some USAF Brass to be taken back to Itazuke, they were here for the turnover of the site to JASDF and I bummed a ride with them.

 


--------------------------------------------

I will meet up with the HC-21s again when I'm assigned to Korea K-6. K-6 was at Pyong Taek, Korean Army Base with an ROKAF radar site attached, I was the Tech Rep with the Air Force Advisor Group at the site. The Army was a helicopter organization. While I was there 1960-1963 the pilots were rotated to Vietnam and came back with stories of that war. K-6 was named Camp Humphery in 1961/2 while I was there. CWO Humpery was well liked at the base and O Club. While he was flying in Korea something happened to his helicopter and it cut itself in two killing all on board.


--------------

When I was assigned to Unishima Air Station, 610th AC&W Sq Det. 19, I was taken from Itazuke by LSM boat. While I was assigned to Unishima it was very infrequent that a helicopter visited the sit. Most support was via LSM or AKL ships.

 

Attached picture is the LSM beached at the site to unload vehicles and drums of fuel.



-------------------------------

Good evening Vern,

Nope, I sure didn't know about the margin of error when I hitched a ride on the H-21.


While I was in Japan, After Unishima and Subiriyam sites I went to Tachikawa to work at Pacific GEEIA Region on contracts (GEEIA = Ground Electronic Engineering Installation Agency). Bendix had these little contracts to do site surveys to write up the installation Instruction and bill of material for various electronics. Contracts were short, go to the site figure out where and how to install and then back to Tachi to complete the package. I had so many trips the US Embassy attached foldout pages for visas , exit and entry stamps.

 

One job was a Runway Supervisor. This was a shed alongside the runway. Seems F-100 pilots were landing without putting there wheels down. There was a klaxon in the F-100 to alert them but it went unnoticed and made so much noise they couldn't hear the tower, so I was told no first hand knowledge. The Runway Supervisor was equipped to shoot flares across the runway in case an F-100 was coming in with wheels up. This was in 1960 so I got to visit Air Bases all over the pacific, Guam and west. These contracts are where I learned to hitch rides with any thing going my way. Some were C-130, C-124, C-54 and C-47. Most were hauling cargo and none were outfitted to haul passengers. Needless to say I burnt out on that rather quickly.


I was at Kunson Korea, having a few in the O Club and the Captain was trying to convince me to join the Air Force. I mention I was going to go to Base Op and look for a ride to Tachi. He said he was going there and I could go along. It was a C-47, we got on and engines started and shut down. A Mech came on board and I heard banging in the cockpit. Engines started again and shut down. We were told we could get off and stand clear of the plane to smoke. Engine started and fluid just ran from the plane. More banging and engine started, no leak and off we went.

 

I'm too old for that craziness now but loved every minute while I lived it.

 

I almost got a T-33 ride to take parts and fix a radar but it got canceled. While at K-6 the Radar Maintenance Officer was Capt. Miller and he had a buddy (Capt. Owens) at Tachi that flew the T-33 to Air Fields to evaluate their landing assistance. He sure made a lot of trips to Osan AB to bring us Kobe beef steaks. We always met him with martinis in hand. I guess you couldn't get away with things like that today. Capt. Owens is the only person I know that got grounded by a Playboy Magazine. He got an infected paper cut from the magazine.

 

I guess you guys have many stories of your life in the Air Force.

 

Gene Smith

Pasadena, CA

----------------------------- 


Good Evening Gentlemen,

Don't know if you saw this but thought you may be interested in this new site.

Regards, Gene

 

Just in case there are any folks from the 36th Air Rescue Sqdn at Tachi,
we've put up an Air Rescue Museum website at www.airrescuemuseum.org.
Comments, criticisms and snide remarks accepted.

Bob Ryan