“Letter to Lou Ives, January 2, 1991”
I was in Class 11B 1945, the last class at Iowa Pre-Flight [Iowa City]. We moved on 1 Dec. closing Univ. of Iowa and opening Ottumwa Preflight [Ottumwa, Iowa]. It was a change for the worse. No more Iowa com fed (co-ed) girls ready at hand. Poor liberty in Ottumwa and a new batch of Pre-Flight Officers mostly CANOE University guys who then wanted to shape us up into a replica of the Naval Academy.
In April of 1946 just prior to finishing Pre-Flight (the course had been lengthened) the Navy came in and said anyone that wants to go home can leave next Monday. Only about 60 out of more than 200 members of 11B stayed. The rest went home. The rest, about 60 of us were sent to NAS Corpus for PRIMARY. I flew the N2S at Cabaniss Field, went into a "pool," then took intermediate SNJ at Cabaniss after they changed it to primary and got rid of the N2S.
The Midshipman Program came along and the first official word was that we were all automatically in this new program. I resisted and wouldn't sign and wrote my personal lawyer and U.S. Congressman (the same guy), a long time friend from Lawrence, Mass. He read the new Midshipman Contract and advised me not to join, to stay AVCAD. He said the Navy couldn't force me to switch as I already was in a valid contract with them.
I passed this word around and a lot of the guys stayed AVCAD instead of going Midshipman. This pissed off the CO of the base who wanted a 100% to go Midshipman. He convened an academic board on me when I wasn't failing any subjects at all. I went head to head with that board and said that if they washed me out on a railroad job I would have my Congressman and my Senator (David I. Walsh, Mass., head of the Senate Naval Office Committee), both personal acquaintances, look into the matter. They immediately backed off and got off my back. One of the members told me the CO of the Base was after my ass and to watch out for him. I kept a log of all the board members and the CO but didn't have any problem getting through the program. Not going Midshipman was the best move I ever made. My 11B classmates who went Midshipman got screwed in longevity, pay and advancement. Some of the stories are gruesome; e.g. Robert S. Donovan, who finally augmented as a TAR (1~17) in the early 1960s.
Vietnam POWs who were Flying Midshipmen were:
Capt Harry T. Jenkins USN (Ret.) CO - VA-64 (A-4s) off the Oriskany
Howard E. Rutledge, PCO - VF-143 flying F8 Crusaders from Bon Homme Richard. Howie was one of the 50 Middies who flew jets from primary through advanced when he got his wings. He died of cancer several years ago in Tulsa, OK.
Former Middies I know from August 1947 wings designation:
Walter E. Schaefer, got his wings in August' 47. He resigned his designation in January 1948, just before being assigned to a squadron. He attended Muhlenberg College, became a Lutheran Minister, then entered the U.S. Air Force as a Chaplain. He wore his Navy wings on the Air Force uniform, a unique combination. He retired after 20 years in the Air Force.
Robert S. Donovan, got his wings in June or July 1947 and was released early. He later came back as a TAR and finally augmented into the regular Navy about 1962-63.
One of Howie Rutledge's classmates, trained only in jets, was assigned to CAG-7 at Quonset, VF-71, -72 or -73 flying F8F Bearcats. On his first hop in a Bearcat and his first whack at a reciprocal engine, he slammed on the power, forgot to add enough rudder and torque spun through a skeet range shed and ended up on his back in 3 to 4 feet of water. The skeet crew put their backs under the wings and lifted the F8F sufficiently to get him out, unhurt but swallowing a lot of water. I don't know what the final disposition was, but I think he quit flying and went home.
George C. Hafner and Homer Burrell were Midshipmen with wings in early August 1947.
CAPTAIN USN (RET.)
912 FIVE POINTS ROAD
VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA 23454
February 7, 1990
An autographed copy of my book is enclosed.
Vietnam POWs who were flying middies:
Harry T. Jenkins, CO – VA-64 – A4s off the Oriskany, permanent home address :
Capt, Harry T, Jenkins, USN (Ret.)
910 Adels Ave.
Coronado, CA 92118
Howard E. Rutledge, PCO – VF-143 flying F8 Crusaders from the Bob Homme Richard. Howie was one of the 50 middies who flew jets from primary thru advanced when he got his wings. He died of cancer several years ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Former middies I know from August 1947 wings designation [Jim received his wings in 1947].
Walter E. Schaefer
4830 S. Carefree Circle
Colorado Springs, CO 80917
Walt got his wings in August ’47. Resigned his designation in January 1948. Just before being assigned to a squadron. He attended Muhlenberg College, became a Lutheran Minister, then entered the U.S. Air Force as a Chaplain, (he wore his Navy wings on the Air Force uniform, a unique combination). He retired after 20 years in the Air Force and can be reached at the above address.
Robert S. Donovan got his wings in June or July ’47. Was released early. Later came back as a TAR and finally augmented into regular Navy about 1962-63. His address:
Robert S. Donovan
1561 Picardi Circle
Clearwater, Florida 33515
One of Howie Rutledge’s classmates (trained only in jets), was assigned to CAG-7 at Quonset, VF-71, VF-72, or VF-73, flying F8F Bearcats. On his first hop in a Bearcat and his first wack at a reciprocal engine, he slammed on the power, forgot to add enough rudder and torque, spun through a skeet range shed and ended up on his back in 3 to 4 feet of water. The skeet crew put their backs under the wings and lifted the F8F sufficiently to get him out, unhurt but swallowing a lot of water. I don’t know what the final disposition was, but I think he quit flying and went home.
If I come up with any more names of middies I’ll get them to you thru Herb Sargent.
George C. Hafner and Homer Burrell were middies with wings as of early August 1947. I don’t know their present whereabouts.
1109 Fox Ridge
Earlysville, VA 22936
October 11, 2012
AvCad Jim Mulligan, AvMidn Walter Schaefer & Robert Donovan:
Time forgot to record the history of the Great Generation Naval Aviators (1945-1975) and their participation in the Korea, Nam, and the Cold Wars.
I have yet to find an extant collection of their stories, so we’ll do it ourselves. It needs to be done. I’ve called it “The Brown Shoes History” project.
While sorting and organizing the many boxes and files of the project, I ran across Jim Mulligan’s 1998 letter with your addresses and a brief comment. A quick “SwitchBoard” of your addresses, and all were still o.k., so here’s a bit of the history.
A copy is attached for your nostalgia, and to prove to your grandkids that all your stories are obviously true.
I’d like to include your histories and photos in the Project’s 450+ stories in 5 gigabites of stories and background information in the 63 files.
For the past 50 years, and especially the past dozen, beginning with Flying Midshipman from the 1946-1950 era, we have been assembling a historical collection of the stories of those Naval Aviators the historians forgot--those designated between 1945-1950—Korea, Nam, and the Cold War--with stories and photos from childhood, flight training, Navy career, and retirement. We are currently operating under the §503(c)(3) aegis of the University of Virginia—all donations are tax-exempt.
A few years ago, twenty-seven hardcopy binders of the history were been donated to the Navy Museum in Pensacola, Florida. Later a website, http://thebrownshoes.org. was established. It needs a lot of work. Check it out and send along your stories and comments.
We are also collecting books authored by these great guys—a dozen so far, including Jim’s; and several videos—edited and unedited; which we will donate to the eventual repository of this Project.
We have set a three-year window to accomplish our next objective:
OBJECTIVE: To locate a permanent §501(c)(3) home (host) for The Brown Shoes Project—a compilation of primary source historical stories, narratives, documents, photos, background material dedicated to those United States Naval Aviators who served during the Korean, Viet Nam, and Cold Wars during the 1945-1975 generation — and their squadron mates, instructors, white hats, who supported them. This will foster awareness of this era and enable historians, educators, students, and family to access this information from a single source.
This note with a couple of enclosures has been sent to Jim Mulligan.
/signed/ Lou Ives
Jim: another Flying Midshipman shafting to add to yours: For some reason, file numbers were started with the senior class (9-46) at Ottumwa when the AvMidn program started on December 16, 1946. Those AvCads who had completed preflight and were in the flying phases of the training program were assigned higher numbers. I was in the senior class (9-46) at Ottumwa when the balloon went up, so my number, 496290, lower than Glenn Faucett’s 496956 (his preflight was St. Mary’s). When we were in VA-134 at SAN and JAX, although he received his wings a year before I did, the ignorant squadron troops ranked me senior to him, much to his disgust—(Haw, Haw!).