The Day the Devil Blinked
A Pennsylvania native, from Philadelphia, author Myers was drafted by the Navy in September 1945. After boot camp he joined the V5 program, attended Duke University under the Flying Midshipman program, entered flight training in 1948, and after earning his wings, served in VP-42 in the Korean War, earning three Air Medals. He was a flight instructor in SNJs and served on the training carrier, USS Saipan, before completing studies at Duke University, earning a BA in history. He served in VP-44, and had assignments in NATSF Philadelphia, and COMFLEETACTS Ryukus, Okinawa. He was in the Navy Schools Command in Pensacola when he retired in 1970. His first wife passed away in 1983 (three children) and he currently lives in Cantonment, Florida with wife, Mary. They have four children. He’s a Lifetime member of ANA, and belongs to the Flying Midshipman Association, the Retired Officers Association, and serves on the board of the Waterfront Rescue Mission, Pensacola, Florida.
NAVY PILOT BEATS WORLD RECORD
FOR WATER TAXI
In February 1960, LCDR Ray Myers, USN, (former Flying Midshipman) eclipsed CDR John H, Towers’ record of 53 hours and 205 (nautical) miles hours set in May 1919 water taxiing the NC-3 following an attempt to fly across the Atlantic non-stop (the NC-4 succeeded in this attempt).
LCDR Myers’ journey of 55 hours and 550 miles, was made in a Martin P5M from VP-44 following an attempt to fly from Puerto Rico to NAS Norfolk, Virginia.1
CDR Towers’ excursion was from off Newfoundland to the Azores. 2 LCDR Myers’ journey was from 34½ miles south of Horta to Ponta Delgado (both in the Portuguese Azores, following a precautionary hard open-sea landing.
A later attempt to break this record was made in 1959 by LCDR James S, “Steve” Christensen and his crew flying (or taxiing) a Martin P5M-2 from VP-45 from NAS Jacksonville, FL, and return to Mayport, FL.3 His try of 26 hours and 200 miles, failed to break Towers’ record.4
1 See Ray Mantz, ________, Flying Midshipman Association, The LOG, ______; Association of Naval Aviation, Wings of Gold, Spring 2013, .
2 See ___________________________________________.
3 See CAPT Richard K. Knott, Wings of Gold, Spring 2013.
4 See CAPT Knott, The American Flying Boat – An Illustrated History, U.S. Naval Institute.