Discussion (Comments)

This is a Discussion area , where you can add your Comments. Your questions and remarks on anything related to VB/VBP-104 or this website, are welcome here on the Discussion page. The most recent Comments appear at the bottom, so to see the latest Discussion just scroll down. If you’d like to offer an article or photos, please contact us so that we can add it for you as a Post. Anyone interested in writing articles or posting photos or other documents is warmly invited to contact us.

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30 thoughts on “Discussion (Comments)”

  1. My late husband was in Crew 2 with Paul F Stevens. His was LTJG John R McKinley, Jr. He was co-pilot/navigator.. He passed away in November, 1988. I went to several of the reunions starting with Keystone, CO in 1980. I really enjoyed meeting all the men and their families, and hearing all the recounts of their exploits. You could tell they were all still deeply affected by their time in the Navy and still mourned all those who did not return. Thank you all for your service and dedication.

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  2. My uncle Charles Arnett was in the 104th crew 22, he and the rest of the crew went down in May of 45. There is a crew picture in this site, it’s very out of focus. I’m looking for someone who might have a clear crew picture. And I’m also looking for any information on crew 22. I want to put as much as I can find for my children so he’s forgotten for what he did for us.

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  3. My father, Carl K Thorp was a pilot (crew 7) on the tour that lasted from late ’44 until Spring ’45. He is still alive and living in Glenwood MN, recently celebrating his 95th birthday on 4 July. We still have time for stories along with viewing many silk maps, log books and the squadron tour book with pictures of all the crews and action. We talk about flying from Morotai and the Philippines. He is doing very well and quite coherent, although partially deaf which he blames on the overhead 50’s!

    Don Thorp
    San Diego

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  4. I received this via the VPB-104 website Contact form:
    “One of the squadron members passed away this year of age related causes. Dow Gothard (November 10, 1921 – March 9, 2016). He was my father in law and a very good man.”

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  5. I would like to include additional photos, stories and letters for a 2nd edition of my book, Above an Angry Sea. The updated version is due to the publisher by late July.

    Sincerely,

    Alan C. Carey

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    1. My understanding is that you’re requesting that readers of this website share their stories and/or photos here so that you might include them in your next edition. Is that correct?

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  6. Hello,

    Two of my books on PB4Y operations that I wrote are going to republished as 2nd editions. Any help you can provide to add additional 104 history would be wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Alan I have a copy of your book Above An Angry Sea and it is a good reference on the operations and covers the timeframe of the second and third tour of Screaming 104. The best reference book I have on the squadron is Low Level Liberators by Paul F. Stevens from 1997. This is a self published book by Stevens, the Crew Two Captain on the second tour.

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    2. Hello Alan,

      I’ve been interested in the same history. My uncle was a member of the 104 during both of the Presidential Unit Citations and (I’m not military) it appears he was highly decorated, as I’m sure most of the men are in this unit. His name is George W. Gruner and was a bombardier and gunner and quite an inventor as the Navy took two of his inventions and used them for the war effort.

      His medals, from what I can see, are the two aforementioned Citations, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 7 Air Medals, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, WW II Victory Medal along with his Air Crew Flight Wings. When my uncle passed away I was left with all of his Navy photos, medals, uniforms, etc. He and I were extremely close while I was growing up and I would like to help in whatever way I can.

      Thanks a lot and please feel free to contact me.

      Clark Beattie
      831-479-0679

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  7. Hello, my name is Dave Calhoun and my mom’s uncle, Robert Miller was a radio gunner in Crew 1 piloted by Cmdr Whitney Wright in the second tour of VPB-104. Does anyone have any information such as Aircraft # for Wright’s PB4Y-1? Any photos would be welcome. I remember seeing a photo of the crew with the nose of the aircraft in the VPB-104 logbook Uncle Bob showed me as a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dave,

      Hopefully someone more familiar with the second tour will respond, but meanwhile you might try the links here to explore other sites because the info was pretty scattered when I researched the first tour a bit and created this website to share what I’d found.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks John, I was able to find some people online with some more information, I have a PDF file of the Second Tour Cruise Book June 1944-June 1945. This is the book I was referring to. I also found a couple of photos of aircraft from the first tour that I will upload.

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  8. I have run across references in the USAF Maxwell AFB archives to VPB-104.

    Apparently it was hosting several Ferret/radar hunting missions for Field Unit 13, of Section 22, General Headquarters South West Pacific in the period of Feb 20, 1945 thru June 23, 1945.

    This may have been flying an operational mission with the following “Hunter-killer” ferret A/C

    42-100271 SB-24J LADY JUNE XIIIBC 868BS

    Or it may have been using Section 13 Ferret radar hunting/jamming gear and flying either or both Kiwi scientists ER Collins and RS Unwin.

    The two record reference mention 13th Air Force Ferret flights 56 through 117 in that period, some fraction of which involved VPB-104.

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    1. The 42-100271 Lady June crashed on Jan 14 1945. There were no survivors. My
      uncle was 1st Lt. Charles MacNulty the bombardier. Does Trent have any
      additional information on the flight that he referenced?

      Charles MacNulty (posted here by John)

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  9. I’ve updated the post about Crew 12 with an Action Report and Pilot Log excerpt. Please contact us with anything you’re willing to share, including stories you may have been told by former 104 members or their friends & family.

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  10. Any Information Sought:
    Lt. JG Eugene V. Erskine, co-pilot for Lt. Richard Jameson in VPB 104 during WWII. They were shot down on or about late May, 1945 in the Pacific. No bodies were recovered.
    Any information about him or his crew is sought by his brother Robert, ex Sgt.,combat medic in Europe, WWII.
    Please contact us with any information you can provide or resources you can suggest.

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    1. Thanks Trent šŸ™‚

      Sorry it took me a while to get your comment online. I’ve been offline at Big Sur. Anything further you’d like to share will now go on immediately.

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    2. Lt. Jameson was a fighter, there for battle. My father, Kenneth Ray McHenry was his top pilot in the plane with him and was killed during an attack on a small island radar installation Feb 19, 1945, which the soldiers had nicknamed Borodina. A sub had just discovered this installation a few days before and it was a threat to the force that would invade Iwo Jima. They didn’t want to run into the Japanese fleet. He was hit in the spleen by 20 mm antiaircraft fire and died in the hospital on return. In his letters to my mother, my father never really talked about war. As I understand it, they had a mission one day, rested the next, and then fought again a day later. There were no quarters so they slept in a tent on the sand. Mosquiitos and biting flies made sleep difficult. They would fly eight hours out and eight hours back over the South China Sea. Letters of his tentmate to his mother were different and described fierce air contests. The supply never got there so they had to buy food from locals who were charging them one dollar per coconut. Monthly pay was 200. My father’s mother had died when he was fifteen, so he became mother to his three siblings. Strangely, my mother sort of kept my father to herself. She would not permit me to read his letters. Only when she died did I read what he had written and you could tell he was trying not to worry her during her pregnancy with me. He would call his mission a “hop” if he mentioned something was going to take place the next day. I was two months old when my father died. Kenneth was a Mormon boy who lived a clean life. There were about twenty planes on that little base in the mud. It was learned Kenneth could cut hair and one day they all lined up on the beach and he cut hair all day. In his letter he joked, “At the end I thought wait, who is going to cut my hair. I will be the only shaggy one. Kenneth’s mother was a native American.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for sharing this story. So many of our fathers kept quiet about their experiences, and it’s great to see more of them coming out online now in stories like this.

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      2. Mr. McHenry ā€“ My father was a pilot in 104 also, though earlier than yours. My father came home or I would not have been born. I appreciate your sharing this story of your father. In the sparseness of details in his letters it seems he was caring of you and your mother even before your birth. I enjoyed the story of his barber skills. I’d bet that many of those soldiers whose hair he cut thought of him of and on over their lifetimes as they got subsequent haircuts.
        It is lovely that you carry his name forward. Kenneth Ray McHenry was clearly a man to be proud of and it seems he would be proud of his son.
        A. C. Humphrey

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    3. I am the daughter of Stanley P. Krolczyk, pilot with the 104 in the South Pacific from approximately April – October 1945. I was just looking at his flight log book this evening, and remember a reference that said “Erskine killed.” I will go to his house tomorrow and send all of the information that is in the log book. My father is 95. I found this web site while trying to find information about another flight that went down, where my father and possibly other crew were rescued by Philippine fishermen, kept out at sea until after midnight to avoid the Japanese, then later smuggled by the Igorot natives back to American lines. If anyone has any information about that incident, I would be very appreciative. Dad’s memory comes and goes now, and he never spoke of his war experiences much while we were growing up. Lately he has begun to speak more about them, so we are trying to fill in more of the stories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for sharing, Peggy. We welcome anything further you can offer, and hope someone may be able to provide more details for you too.

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        1. John, the log book shows an entry for May 16, 1945. The pilot is listed as Lt. McAuliff and “self,” meaning my father, Lt. Cdr. Stanley P. Krolczyk. He says he was in Crew #25 of Patrol Bombing Squadron 104. In the “Remarks” column, it simply notes: “Erskin killed. Albrecht lost.” I tried to see what else he remembered, but he seemed to want to talk about the Korean War instead at that point. I will keep trying to see what other information he may have. I will also email you the photocopies of the pages from his Log Book from that time. Thank you for getting back to me.

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          1. You might try following the list of links I’ve posted on this site. Some may be dead by now, since I collected and shared that list when first researching Dad’s military history and the web tends to lose sites from time to time. Still, you’ll probably find as I did that one site leads to another and gives you ideas for search terms to try out. Please share any good links you find in a Comment here in the Discussion area. Happy hunting!

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        2. John,

          Attached are some of the pages I photocopied from my father’s flight Log Book from when he was stationed in the South Pacific. The information is noted on May 16, 1945.

          Again, if anyone can help me find any additional information about Squadron 104, especially between April and October, 1945, I would be most grateful. I have found references to some books written by Navy personnel about Squadron 104, as well as a Dictionary of the Patrol Bombing Squadrons, but none of these seem to be for sale. One is in a Maritime library in San Francisco, and the other in the Library of Congress. If you know how these or other resources might be accessed, I would be most appreciative.

          Thank you again,

          Peggy Skantar

          On Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 2:35 AM, VPB-104 PB4Y Squadron wrote:

          > John commented: “Thanks for sharing, Peggy. We welcome anything further > you can offer, and hope someone may be able to provide more details for you > too.” >

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          1. As I wrote in a private email reply to you, this free WordPress website doesn’t seem to accept Comment attachments here in our Discussion section. I hope anyone willing to share photos and other material will consider learning to use the simple WordPress app, will contact us to volunteer. We can then provide you with access and help you learn. People of all ages familiar with email or a simple word processor have found it quick and easy to learn and use. For anyone not willing to help out in that way, we welcome and appreciate material sent via email or snail mail and invite you to use our Contact form to set that up.

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