Chapter 5 -PBY Training

PBY Training

The PB4Y was the Navy’s version of the Army’s B-24. Chincoteague was about 90 miles north of Norfolk. At Chincoteague NAS we were training as flight crews. My co-pilot was Dick Decalles.

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Decalles, Klar and Me

Decalles grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Dick didn’t even learn to drive an automobile until he got into the Navy. He was talented however. He could play a guitar and sing. My navigator was Bob Klar, a good natured lad from North Dakota.
For recreation at Chincoteague we had two choices, hunting during the day, or driving north to Salisbury Maryland at night and chasing girls. I remember one night when I overdid the drinking. I had checked the flight schedule and I wasn’t on it, so I went to Salisbury and had a good time. When I got back I found the schedule had been changed, and I had an early flight. Worse yet, the flight was fighter affiliation, how to avoid getting shot down by a fighter. When I got up the next morning I felt sick, in fact when I bent over to tie my shoes, I fell on my head.

I got through the flight the next day, but it was not fun. I did everything wrong. Like turning away from the fighter instead of in to him. The fighter pilot was impressive. I think he must have had combat experience. One pass he made was very impressive. He flew over the top of us, rolled upside down and dived straight down. On the debriefing after the flight he told me there wasn’t much a bomber pilot could do to avoid getting shot down. He suggested maybe slipping the bomber so it was not going the direction the nose was pointed.

After Chincoteague the next training was to happen at Key West Florida. We were to be trained to fly at night to hunt submarines.

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