MY DREAM WAS NOT TO BE
Following carrier qualifications I proceeded to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas for advanced training. My dream was to fly the F4U Corsair. This was not to be.
I arrived at NAS Corpus Christi in October 1949. The fortune of being selected for carrier qualifications early was soon turned into the misfortune of being assigned to multi-engine advanced flight training. All the single engine slots were full.
This was not the only misfortune. I arrived late Friday night and a dress blues inspection was scheduled for early the next morning. My only pair of black dress shoes was at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. In those days there was a difference between the uniforms of Naval Aviators and ship officers. Naval Aviators wore brown shoes with all uniforms except blue and white uniforms and ship officers wore black shoes with all their uniforms - the so called "black shoe Navy." Potential Aviators wore black shoes with their uniforms until they graduated to Advance Flight Training following Carrier Qualifications.
Accordingly, I carried my black shoes in the storage compartment in the SNJ during carrier qualifications and on the way back to the airfield, following my last carrier landing, I threw my black shoes over the side of the aircraft into the Gulf of Mexico. Upon landing, I proudly displayed my new brown shoes. All I had available for the inspection was my high top black leather flight boots. I shinned those boots until they glistened. I heaved a sigh of relief when the Commanding Officer passed me and was standing in front of the Midshipman two paces beyond. My relief was Short lived. His eyes slowly returned to my shoes and he directed me to raise my pant's leg. Luckily, I was in hack for only one week.