I served in VW-3 from June 1959 until June 1960, and was in VW-1 from June 1960 until December 1961.
In July 1959, we (VW-3) sent a crew to AEWBARRONPAC for 60 days. During this time I flew the Midway Barrier for 45 days; then returned to Guam.
VW-1 and VW-3 were based at NAS Agana, Guam. I was also on one of the flight crews that escorted "Ike" around the Far East in 1960.
I reported to VQ-1 at NAS Atsugi, Japan in November 1996 and left for VQ-2 in December 1969. I stayed in VQ-2 until June 1974. This is four tours and many hours in the "Connie" (14,000 hrs.).
I was in VQ-1 when the "Connie" was shot down by the North Koreans. For the first few hours it was thought that it was my crew (the chaplin came to my house, etc.).
Jim Overstreet (the plane commander) was a close friend and I escorted his widow and four boys back to the states. This was 1969; the Pueblo was 1967.
Reference to an accident at Danang must have been 1970. That was my old flight crew that I had left. They crashed on landing__three engine approach__twenty-two dead!
I hope this helps.
Sat, 6 Feb 1999 11:24:58 -0500 (EST)
Ed Bleynat <email@example.com>
hello from another proud willy victor man....i found your
home page on
willy victors and thoroughly enjoyed it....congratulations on an
project....i would like to add my name to your crew lists......
Bleynat, Ed (LTJG) North Carolina firstname.lastname@example.org
1959-1960 with VW-3
1960-1962 with VW-1
i was a cic officer on several flight crews and had a great time in the
WV-2...was always thrilled to see one later in my career and
saw 145931 which I flew in many times. i became regular navy after VW-1
and went to the patrol squadrons....was the second naval flight officer
be selected to command a vp squadron, but had a series of heart attacks
had to retire early as a commander...the vw outfits trained me very well
i pushed for command of navy squadrons and aircraft all my career....i
the first designated patrol mission commander in the atlantic fleet, a
position open to both pilots and naval flight officers....medically
in 1975 and still have great satisfaction in my memories of naval
I have a copy of the VW-1 10th anniversary history if
you would like to
it. lots of pictures and detailed history
1601 main st east
valdese, nc 28690 phone (828) 874-0994
Sat, 06 Feb 1999 12:04:50 +0000
Ralph McClintock <email@example.com>
I found your page while searching for info for a history of NSGA
Kamiseya. The page VW_1more1.html has a few errors in it. First
Kamiseya was never a COMMSTA. Only one around was USNCOMMSTA Yokosuka.
Atsugi was a transmitting facility for Kamiseya. Kamiseya was strictly
monitoring, absolutely no transmitting (other than the Ham Radio Club.-
call sign KA2KS) "In God we Trust, all others, we monitor." John
Walker was an RM (Radioman) not a CT (Communications Tech.) For CTs,
being associated with Radiomen was verbooten. The CT saying was "A
Radioman would compromise his mother!" Also the USS Pueblo was captured
on 23 January 1968 and the crew released from North Korea on 23
December, 1968, not 1967. The equipment onboard Pueblo was nothing
special that the Russians didn't have already from Vietnam & other
sources. John Walker supplied the 'keylists" the Russians needed. The
crypto gear (KW-7 & 2 KW-37's) was destroyed on Pueblo by the CTs.
I found your VW-1 site and the Connie info a great asset. We are
compling info on Far East Cold War surveillance missions to fill out a
history. I had many friends who flew with you guys. I was on permanent
TAD from Kamiseya but always wound up on ships. When I heard about the
1969 shoot down, my heart sank. I didn't know any of the CTs as my
friends had all rotated out of Kamiseya by that time.
Best Wishes, Ralph McClintock, CTR2, USS Pueblo AGER-2
Checking in, 16 Check Pool
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 16:06:44 -0400
"Lee Kalsch" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Wes Mortensen" <email@example.com>
Hi Wes, Last night I received
a surprize 'phone call from Luke the
My head has been spinning ever since. I am Lee F. Kalsch, AT-2 and
1st Radio on #16 that fateful night . This has been a very
morning for me as have been reading through your web site, and
I am not sure that I knew you or John, but your pictures do look
especially you Wes.
I arrived at VW-12 in earley Aug. 1958. I
flew with 3 different
durring my tour on the barrior. First as a Radar Tech, then
Radio Opperater so I could remain with a flight crew. I had to
course" code training to make the cut (no school was available for
That ment all my free time with the "old pros" in the practice room at
hanger. I never was as good at receiving as the schooled radioman,
loved it, and made the cut. I was deployed with tobacco chewing,
far-sited (- blind as a bat - without his glasses) John Bump. John
great guy and a very good friend.
After a home leave in Jan 1960, I became 1st Rad
with Cdr Woods crew
David Turner, AT-3, from Salt Lake City, was 2nd Rad. My last
mission ( and sadly Davids,) was on 21 Jan 1961 at 1:04 AM Midway.
think my crew was F-34, but not sure. Cdr Woods was skipper, & Cdr
Triplet was 2nd officer. I don't recall the others yet.
The next 2 1/2 months were spent in the Barbers
office at the desk. I ended my Navy dutys in March of 1961 at San
Wes, In reading through the mail, I spotted Monte
Clark. I tried
E-mail him this morning, he is no longer using firstname.lastname@example.org , do
any other info?? Monte was part of my crew, as was Roger Halverson
mentioned in GD Payne's letter to you. I would really like to
these guys, if you can help.
Last night when John called, he said he didn't expect
to talk to ME,
was hopeing to get some satistics for the record. He said that he
heard I had been killed in a taxi accident at S.F. in 1961. That
blew my mind too! Thankfully none of that was true!! I am very
as are my wife, our 3 married childern and 2 grandchildern.
Wes, I do have alot of 35mm slides, but need to dig them
Eastern Island also. I also have shots of refueling on the icey
ColdBay, Adak, and Kodiak. I have a flat bed scanner, but haven't
it with slides. John said to just send them to you, but if I can
the work by scanning and enhancing for you, I will. Perhaps you
Thank you for the all work you are doing, and for the
special honor to
lost crew mates.
I will write more later, Lee
PS: I am sending (via snail mail) a check for the two vidios also.
Willie Victor Reunion
Sun, 18 Apr 1999 14:21:25 -0500
"Jess Davis" <email@example.com>
Greetings shipmate, I joined Aewbarronpac in 1964, went to flight
engineer school and made several
barrier flights before decommissioning the squadron. That was probably the best tour of duty in my 26
years in the Navy. I remember those flights out of Midway Island real well. I don't think we made a takeoff
during daylight hours, seems like all of them were 22:00 preflight and a 01:00 takeoff. Then there was the
old 40 north drill with the poopy suits. Most of all though I remember the aircraft itself, what a beautiful
sweet flying aircraft. Also the professionalism of the flight crews and back end crews that made
everything come together and accomplish the mission that we were sent out to do. Even though it has
been 35 years since I last flew Willies, i still occasionally find myself day dreaming about that most
satisfying tour of ny Navy career. After Aewbarronpac, I went to VP-31 for flight engineer training in P-3
aircraft and then back to Barbers Pt. to VP-6. I checked into VP-6 as the first P-3 flight engineer while they
were transitioning to P-3's. Later on, I made chief and shore duty cound me back at VP-31 where I became
the COMNAVAIRPAC flight engineer evaluator from 1968 to 1970. Most of the rest of my Naval career
was in VP-19 (5years) , NAS Alameda, and VP-47 where I retired in Dec. 1980 as AFCM. I am tentatively
planning to make the reunion in Oct., hope to see some old shipmates and hear some more sea stories
about Connies. Heard lots of them sitting around BMEP alley at Midway.
AFCM Jess Davis,USN Ret. firstname.lastname@example.org
Museum on Midway
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 21:22:51 EDT
Just thought I would share a few thoughts with you. I got a
day form an old Navy friend who found my name either on your page or
residents page. In any event he wrote me and we reminisced about our
duty and what has happened since that time. It was fun. He works for
FAA and is on some exchange program to Jedda Saudi Arabia.
As you probably know my wife & I are visiting Midway this fall.
I have involves asking the US Fish & Wildlife Service or Phoenix Corp.
they are interested in starting a museum on Midway. I'm not quite
the pecking order is but I plan to find out. My guess is that the
to make the decision is US Fish & Wildlife. I have also learned that
accept volunteers. I don't know if that involves free transportation
lodging but it may be worth looking into. As folks near retirement
some prior Navy folks could go back and work off a visit.
Do you think the idea has merits?
I'm home this weekend so the E-mail address is my wife's. Hope
with you. I really appreciate all you have done with your web site.
find a weather page for midway and thought you might want the URL.
BuNo 141292 in Florence
Sat, 24 Apr 1999 03:25:18 -0400
Les Logan <email@example.com>
I passed through Florence, SC on April 13, 1999 to visit VAQ-33's
I do periodically. It was not a pretty sight! A couple of photos are
I was there (Lockheed Ontario) the entire year of 1972 while this
being converted into an NC-121K. The Lockheed people didn't understand
requirements for the antenna systems very well. That was my specialty
NAESU tech rep.
The plane was late in delivery because I showed that it took more
planting an antenna wherever it would fit (there were more than 150 of
them) and running a piece of coax to a black box mounted wherever
and balance dictated that it be located. I showed that high loss
cable had to be ripped out and replaced with lower loss cable in order
meet specs. I showed that low-noise pre-amplifiers needed to be
re-located nearer the antennas than the receivers to be effective. I
that the UHF section of the AT-1108 antenna needed to be run to the
radio and the VHF section needed to be run to the VHF radio, not vice
(they have different connectors). I showed that the A- and B-band
transmitters (ALT-32 and ALT-27) needed to be momentarily (and
automatically) shut off as the aircraft changed heading while jamming
through different quadrants of the Quad Helix antenna in order to keep
burning up the high power coax switches. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I went on all the test flights as an in-flight troubleshooter and
instructor for the crew until the aircraft was delivered to VAQ-33 in
December 1972. I became intimately familiar with all the mission
electronics (I-level maintenance was done in the squadron), especially
their unique and complex antenna systems, and provided maintenance
assistance and OJT until my transfer to COMFEWSG (the operational
of VAQ-33) in 1979.
I was there in Key West on June 25, 1982 (by invitation of Lockheed)
this aircraft took off on its final flight, to Florence, South
have photos of it at barely 100 feet altitude with the gear up as Rear
Admiral Al Galotta piloted it straight toward the hanger, pulling up
last moment as we were buzzed with a deafening roar while the squadron
personnel stood at attention inside.
This aircraft was uniquely configured with surveillance and jamming
equipment, much of which was one-of-a-kind (and UNBELIEVABLY
to do a job that no other aircraft has been able to do as well before
since. The equipment wasn't unsupportable, regardless of what ANYONE
The only reason for its retirement after such a short life as an
was political (the Connie was the only non-jet aircraft in a squadron
consisted of A3's, A4's and A6's). There was no support for it by
considering their careers first, jealous that it took away funds and
preferred for the jets, and claiming that it just wasn't affordable to
115 octane av gas any more. What a crock!
So 141292, the LAST 121-series aircraft in service in an active duty
squadron, was sent to the Florence Air Museum. I don't think they
wanted it. I heard it was arranged (urged?) by one of the flight
who was about to retire and whose home town was Florence. For personal
recognition? Who knows? All I know is that it was in pristine shape
got there but never went on display. It was located hundreds of feet
a fence so no one could get close to admire it, nowhere near any of
other aircraft, and without even a sign to let visitors know what type
plane it was, much less anything about its history. The over-the-wing
hatches were left off and it was allowed to rust and deterioriate. I
visited it over the years and I have the photos.
So now I can say I was not only there when 141292 was re-born as
NC-121K, I was also there a couple of weeks ago as it lay on the
pieces, dying. I spoke to the man who bought it for scrap. He paid
for it! He said he was going to cut the first 40 feet off and sell it
somebody who wanted to make a mobile home out of it. The rest would
cut up and salvaged for the metal. He didn't want any of the
What a shame! What a waste of taxpayer money! What a lack of pride
accountability for Naval negligence!
By the way, I logged on to the VAQ-33 website the other day but I
see any e-mail address for the guy that runs it. So if you know it you
forward this on to him. Thanks.
To: Wes Mortensen
From: Robert Sullivan
I really appreciate what you guys
have done with the Willy Victor page.
Like yourself, I had been periodically searching on the internet for related
information. What you've done is great.
In regard to D. J. Donnarumma,
I finished ATW school in December 1963. I
went to Barbers Point in January, for Radio School, on my way to VW-1 on
Guam. I think the school lasted 15 weeks. The Barrier was shutting down &
not many crews were still flying. D.J. & another radioman were instructing
at the radio school. I don't remember the other guy's name, like I don't
remember hundreds of other guys that I knew briefly in those years. But D.J.
was one of the kind of guys you wouldn't forget. Everything you said about
him was true. He made school interesting & he was an interesting & fun guy
to be around. He treated everyone like real people instead of lowly
trainees. I was sorry to hear that he had died. He was one of the good
Anyway, I appreciate what you have done
with the Willy Victor page. Those
years & that airplane meant a lot to me. I read your biography. You had
quite an accomplished career & did indeed do well for an ATW3.
Hi again Wes- Ran your Web site again
using ~ instaed of - and Vol La!
Got to tell you Wes that I was TDY to Barsron @ Barbers Point when all we
had were those old Quonset huts! Anyway was a brand new Ensign assigned to
Cdr. Bassacks (not sure of spelling) maintenance head- I was the guy in
charge of dispensing tools! That was a mistake! There were no tools to give
out at that time as we didn't have any airplanes for the maint. people to
work on! ( July 1956) anyway I had a couple of CPO's that were great! At
least they kept me out of trouble! Anyway the tools started rolling in after
a short period of time and semi trailor loads -one after another came at us
like a tidle wave! We ended up putting loads of tools into a wire meshed
inside old vw -1 hanger space and maint. people picking up tools like there
was no tomorrow! Anyway Cdr Bassack would not release me from TDY back to
vw-12 unless I showed him all the receipts from all those darn tools that
away from me! Think I am still signed out for a number of Drill Presses,
metal cutters, shapers not to mention a zillion mech. tools that are
probably around the NASCAR garages some where or at a swap meet !!
Hay, I have some pic's of CO Capt
Merrick at the Barsron 2 Dress White
Rock on - Syd Paul
Even though I was not able to
attend this reunion in person,
believe me I was there in spirit.
I though about you guys all weekend
and wished like hell that I was
there. The time and effort that
you have put into the web page,
reunion and now the memorial is
simply overwhelming. You have done
an magnificent job and deserve a
big "Attention on Deck" - "Hand
To raise over $6,000.00 in 48 hours
really shows you what the guys who
flew the barrier were made of. We
had the right stuff and still have
it. I will be putting a check in
the mail tomorrow for my shares and
I of course want a tee-shirt.
Large if you have it, if not xlarge
will be fine. Of course I am
interested in a pin too.
I just cant say enough about what
you have done. Congratulations.
Tue, 8 Feb 2000 02:29:26 EST
I basically stumbled across the Willie
Victor website while rummaging
aviation history sites listed at www.landings.com. I was thrilled. It's
the first mention I'd heard of willie victors and AEWBARRONPAC since I
out of the Navy, excepting I did see a couple old EC121's on display in
Pima Air Museum near Davis-Monthan AFB down in Tucson Az. I flew in
AEWBARRONPAC as a scope dope for a year.
Have a lot of great memories from those
days (keep retelling goonie bird
stories), and had some thrills (couple bird strikes on takeoff at
learned a lot about the earlier years of the barrier, about the picket
about flying the barrier directly out of Hawaii with refueling at Midway,
etc; things I never knew, from this excellent website.
My story is, I Joined up in 6/63 on
a "kiddie cruise" enlistment,
San Diego, AT "A" school at NATTC, Millington Tennessee, ATW "A" school
Glynco NAS, Brunswick Ga., then got orders to AEWBARRONPAC at Barber's
Immediately went onto a flight crew and started deploying to Midway. Flew
a scope dope (CIC operator) for one full year, exact dates unclear, but
roughly mid-1964 until they disbanded AEWBARRONPAC mid-1965. Logged about
hrs in WV-2's (which the USN officially redesignated as EC121-K sometime
during this period). We were all really bummed out when they shut AEW
We all regarded it as the best possible duty, but then the damn USAF went
spoiled everything by installing some new lo-freq radar in Kodiak or
somewhere that was supposedly tracking us the whole time we flew the
making us obsolete (or so we heard back then).
They also abolished the ATW rating at
the same time; I was ATW3 then so
given the choice of respecifying myself as ATN3 or ATR3 or AX3. The deal
ATW aircrewmen who went AX was, if you had minimum 2 yrs obligated duty
remaining, you were guaranteed flight duty in a VP squadron (ie. no
you didn't have 2 years left, you'd go to either VS or HS (ie. go on a
something few of us relished the thought of). In common with quite a few
other ex-ATW's from AEWBARRONPAC, I ended up my hitch as an AX2 flying in
SH-3A's in HS-4 based at Ream Field, and made 1 WESTPAC in 1966 on USS
Yorktown CVS-10. Flew as crew on the combat SAR detachment we maintained
onboard the USS Ranger, the second HS squadron (after HS-2) to do so. Got
6/67; shortly thereafter, HS aircrew were switched over to the new AC
(non-avionics), so would have faced a choice of staying AX and not
switching to AC.
After the Navy, I got into hitech at
a good time and stayed with it 29
with some success. Did an early retirement from Intel Corp. 8/98,
moved to God's country in SW Utah. I've been into private flying and
wrenching on specialty GA planes for years; presently have a sport
(experimental category) and a Cessna 195 which has a Jacobs radial engine
my WV heritage? (not exactly 4 3350's but it'll have to do).
Ever heard mention of an AEWBARRONPAC
reunion? Let's start a rumor; maybe
Lawrence E. McKay - "Larry"
CIC operator (scope dope)
3/30/01 Good morning Earles,
I just returned from Panama City Beach, Fl. While there, I took a
drive to visit the museum at Pensacola. I
accidentally met my old pland commander--Paul Siverly who was driving the tour bus. Paul took over the crew from Art Pomatti.
We had a great time reminiscing and I'm sending him a full-crew picture after he took-over the crew. Unfortunately Paul doesn't
use a computer, but his son does--I'll try and get the e-mail address. I phoned Art Pomatti last night and he was very happy to get
Paul's address. Those two officers were flying the plane on Thanksgiving 1958 when we just made it into Adak with one engine
from the turn-around on the barrier. While on the bus tour at Pensacola, I was unaware who the driver was (41 years having
passed). Paul while driving, asked if there were any questions or comments anyone would like to make. My lady friend who was
sitting ! behind me was pointing to me--of which I was unaware--so Paul asked me a couple questions about which plane I was
familiar with, when, and where. I asked him if he knew Cdr. Art Pomatti, I could see the surprised look on his face in the mirror. I
mentioned the one-engine landing in Adak to which Paul responded "I was in the right seat on that landing, we gotta talk"!. The
other passengers on the bus were quite astonished too at our conversation. ( Heres a new listing for the roster: Hiram Sharp-acw2,
wife Annette, lives in Levelland, Tx. Ph.806-894-7535.) Neil Potts
Subject: RE: NSA..
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 17:35:38 -0500
From: Tim Ziller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yesterday, while watching a 1997 copyright of Discovery on the National Security Agency, the June 6, 1967 USS Liberty incident was correctly or incorrectly reported. I know some of you were already gone but it goes to show me and others the job we really did!
June 6, 1967, VQ-2 had been monitoring the build-up of the Russian Fleet for about 3 weeks. Dan Savicki, someone else and I were flying #2 out of Siganella, Sicily, watching the Russian fleet grow to about 100 ships over 3 weeks. They would lay anchor just about anywhere, 3 - 4 in a group, near a small island. That morning we came out about 20K ft. and saw every ship heading toward Egypt. We spent about 1 hour counting, taking hull #s, and lots of photos. (Stuff we had never seen before) We proceeded to the Sinai Desert area when we were intercepted by an Israeli Mirage and told to get the hell out of there. I think it was Caswell told them in uncertain words to flip off, we are in international waters. We were then told to follow them to Telaviv. We told them to get screwed and headed to Athens.
The USS Liberty was 22 miles off the Sinai when the Israel
intercepted them about the same time we were. The Captain told them that
they were in international waters. Now according to this TV program, 6
fighters advanced on them strafing them. Then 2 PT boats came in a laid
3 torpedoes into there side, killing 34 and wounding 165. The boat managed
to not sink and proceeded Malta. ( We were about 2 inches away from WW3
that morning.) Bruce ???? was a Marine that flew with us on lots of strange
missions in lots of strange places, was killed that morning. (We were originally
told that 6 were killed , that he was one of them.) He was
a cryptoligist trained at NSA and flew with us. His name is on a plaque
at NSA. That incident is the largest blood letting at anytime for NSA in
Korea had 16 in a C-130 shot down and forced into Russia, Vietnam had 59 in 10 years.
When I look back at VQ-2, I appreciate each one of you more now than...