I am Glenn L. Allen, Jr., and I was a Holloway Plan Flying Midshipman, and my serial number is 496428 before they changed it to social security numbers.
In my pre-flight class was 14-46 at NAS Ottumwa, Iowa; and we arrived in Ottumwa in November of 1946, and didn’t get out of there until March of ‘47. I actually didn’t leave with the class 14-46, but left with 15-46. But did go directly to [NAS] Corpus Christi, Texas, by train, and got into the Yoke-Four Program. Yoke-Four being the experimental squadron flying SNJs directly in the Navy flight training program as opposed to first flying whatever the N2S syllabus called for.
At Corpus Christi, we flew at [NAAS] Cabaniss Field and got stages A, B, and C, as I recall, then proceeded over to [NAS] Pensacola, Florida, for instrument training. While at Pensacola, not only did we complete our SNJ flight training, but we also went down to Mainside and received 50 hours of multi-engine seaplane training in the PBY.
From Mainside, they sent us out to [NAAS] Whiting Field, which at that time was closed, except for the hangar and the runways over at North Whiting. Also, we were to get SNB-JRB training there. And if we had been on schedule, we would have completed that training by December 31st, 1947. As scheduling luck would have it, there wasn’t time for our entire class to go through SNB-JRBs before the end of the year; so they selected all of the Aviation Cadets that were with us, and a few of the more senior aviation midshipmen. The reason for this selection process was to try and complete, for the cadets, their flight training syllabus through advanced training so they could receive their wings and commission before the [deadline of the] 31st of December, 1947. And this did occur. And, of course, they kept enough midshipmen there just to round out the class.
As I recall Ken Burroughs was definitely in that group that received their advanced training in the SNBs before the end of 1947; therefore he got his wings by December 31st. And when he reported to advanced training over at [NAS] Jacksonville, he was one of the few winged midshipmen to go through advanced training.
The rest of us were the first class to go to Jacksonville for advanced training without our wings. And, of course at the time being young and dis-appointed was a severe slap in the face. No more wings were issued at Jacksonville until [the completion of advanced training] May 27th, 1948. And that was the day that I received my wings after flying F6s in VF-1 – that is, F6F Hellcats.
In advanced training in F6F Hellcats at Jacksonville had to be one of the highlights of the Navy flight training program, because in about two months’ period of time there we got 80 flight hours in each month, and we did everything in that Hellcat from dive bombing to gunnery to formation flying to instrument flight training. Everything we had learned in all the other regimes of the flight training program we put into practice in our advance training aircraft. It was just a tremendous amount of fun and thoroughly enjoyable and never, of course, did [I ] equal those monthly accumulations of flight time thereafter.
Of course, the winging ceremony at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, on May 27th, 1948, was the high point in the lives of a good many aviation midshipmen, ensigns, and whoever else were in the flight training program, because it seemed to culminate in something that few of us ever thought would ever happen. That was a proud day, indeed, when we were able to qualify for, and wear the Navy Wings of Gold.
From Jacksonville, we got a few weeks of leave, and then we split up and went to our respective “coasts” for assignment to essentially, first FAETUPac, or the radar training squadron; or FAETULant, whichever the case might be. And, after a brief period of radar training, we were kind of cast free, it seemed, to find some sort of a squadron that would accept us, or that we could fit into. Of course, we went over to the detailer there in San Diego at the West Coast, because that’s where we had been sent. And, the fellow behind the desk suggested that all of us young guys agree that [we would] like to get into a jet squadron, so why didn’t we all go to Air Group Five, who already had jets. And they were just starting up a new squadron, VF-53, over there. And they said, “Boy, they’re going to get jets soon, so you might as well get in on the good stuff.”
Well, VF-53, as it turned out, did at least two cruises in the Korean War in F4U-4 Corsairs before they got their jets. So, the person who was selling jets in VF-53 was not fully informed, to say the least.
In the last half of 1949, the flying midshipmen went through that selection process that was supposed to assure them that they had USN commissions. And, of course, that was part of the deal at the beginning. We had a great chance, being midshipmen, of being selected for a USN commission. Apparently, what we held were USN commissions. Well, the first group of flying midshipmen to go through that process achieved about a 50% acceptance rate for USN, and of course, a 50% rejection rate. The second group to be reviewed for retention as USN didn’t fare nearly as well, in that they received about a 10 to 15% acceptance rate and a 85 to 90% rejection rate. So, the big promise of USN commissions just evaporated into thin air, and all that trial and trouble of being a flying midshipmen just evaporated into thin air, and all that trial and trouble of being a flying midshipmen and getting $117 a month, including flight pay, and not receiving credit for being in the Navy, and all of those bad things that were related to the Midshipman Program came to no avail.
I spent four and a half to five years’ active duty in the Navy. I got out on the 7th of February, 1950, and having resigned my USN commission to go back to college, did go back to the University of Minnesota, joined a Naval Reserve Squadron at [NAS] Minneapolis, VF-814 specifically, and just by luck, was not called up for the Korean War.
I did spend 32 more years in the Naval Air Reserve, however, and flew everything from FG-1Ds through F6s through F4Us to FH-1s, F2H-2s, and T-33s, and FJ-2s and -3s, and S2F-1 and -2s, and finally the SP2H-5s and -7s. So, I got quite a variety of aviation time and experience, and achieved 3,000 hours of flight time doing it.
I retired from the Reserve in July of 1984 as an O-6 [captain], and achieved, just this year  the magic number of age 60, which put us on the “Retired-with-Pay” list and am still waiting for the first paycheck. It’ll be interesting to see how much it is, because through their infinite wisdom, the Navy employed a thing called “Survivor Benefit Plan,” (SBA) (or SBP), and nobody knows what that takes out of the pay until you get that first check.
Despite the vagaries of Navy policy, Naval Aviation has been a very good part of my life, and a very important part of it. And, I wouldn’t have missed the trip for the whole world. The Navy picked me up when I was 17 years of age – just having graduated from high school – could have been at loose ends – but really gave us a structured program that took us right up through our mid-20s almost. And, provided an opportunity with experiences that you couldn’t buy, couldn’t match, couldn’t find in any other medium. So, we’re all here together, not only as flying midshipmen to complain and yell, but as flying midshipmen to rejoice and have a good time.
Thanks for the opportunity to speak into the machine. This is Glenn Allen.
“Not as Midshipmen: to complain and yell;
But as Old Codgers; to merely raise hell.”
Navy V-5 Class
Navy V-5 Class
Navy V-5 Class
Flight training stage for multi-engine sea planes
NAS Pensacola, Florida
NAS Jacksonville, Florida
Advanced Training Unit #2 (ATU2) out of NAS Jacksonville, Florida on a cross- country navigation training flight to NAS New Orleans, Louisiana
“The result of an accident in which another aircraft taxied into
pictured F4U-4 Corsair.”
F8F-1B Bearcat from Air Group 5 VF-53
A/C #515 Skyraider from VA-55
A/C wingtip is F8F Bearcat from VF-53
USS Valley Forge (CV-45)
USS Valley Forge – carrier refresher and qualification
S30 (right) is F8F-2 Bearcat
Memorable and Humorous
Memorable experience: Riding rear seat in a TA4J in 1976
at Chase Field, TX with son, ENS Steve Allen, flying front
seat on his final Training Command flight. Then participating
in his designation ceremony as a Naval Aviator.
Aircraft – TA4J
“Steve’s last training command flight prior to designation as Naval Aviator.
Glenn Allen served as check pilot on this flight.”
(photograph by ENS Mark Kikta, USN)
Navy Fighter Squadron VF-53, reunion display featuring career
of ADM George E. R. Kinnear II [3-47]
CAG Air Wing CVW-2
23 June 1994
CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT TRAINING
The voice answering the phone said, “SHAW.” The next voice said, “Lt Zajichek here.” And I said, “Hi, Bob. Whatcha doing this weekend?” Bob said, “Having a party. Come on down.”
Thus commenced the zillionth hairy flight recorded in the annals of Naval Aviation.
14 July 1956, after thorough flight planning and aircraft checking, trusty old #114, F2H-2, BuNo 124490, and I executed a flawless flight from NAS Niagara Falls, NY, to Shaw AFB, S. C.
Bob and Ruth picked me up at Shaw operations, took me to their place and straight away showed me the shower.
The party that evening was as advertised. A great one!! Of course remembering the flight plan of the next day, only soft drinks were consumed, but the hour still got late.
Sunday 15 July 1956, at the weather brief, the weather guessers said, “Between Shaw and Niagara Falls, you got weather.” An IFR on Top Clearance was secured, trusty old #114 checked, and we launched into the glue.
A short time after entering the crud, the airspeed unwound, stopping at ZERO. This caused perspiration to surface, however, fiddling with the pilot heat switch fixed things!
IFR ON TOP proved to be 44,000 ft. No further sweat though until the canopy, seemingly on its own, slid back about an inch. The oxygen mask stood out from my face about a half an inch, and I had never before exhaled contin-uously for about an hour. Actually that ‘hour’ was more like 45 seconds, but never the less a huge surprise.
Choices were not great. I did not want to risk losing the canopy descending in crud back to Shaw AFB, because they likely couldn’t fix it; and I did not want to play ‘Stearman’ at 200 knots at 60 below zero IFR.
Niagara Falls was reporting possibly improving weather at ETA, and I elected to go for it. After about half an hour at 44,000 ft. actual, the bends were hitting the elbows, wrists, fingers and jaw. Not only was it nearly impossible to write down positions on the knee board, so it was to press the mike button to report them.
After 1.5 hrs. and now approaching Buffalo Tacan, #114 and I was still at 44,000 ft., with the tops still at 43,000 ft. It is 25 miles to Niagara Falls from Buffalo, and half way between the two cities the cloud cover abruptly stopped with a vertical demarcation from 43,000 ft. to the ground; i.e.; Buffalo was socked in to 43,000 ft. and Niagara Falls was CAVU.
Our exaltation and gratitude were, are, not describable, and we landed with the canopy still open about an inch.
While normal canopy control for the Banjo was by a toggle switch in the left side foot well, inspection revealed that ‘some one’ had operated the canopy with the emergency release high up on the right side by the wind screen. Should have picked that up!!!
I believe that I was scheduled for that flying lesson 15 July 1956, and also scheduled to relate the incident to others.
Glenn L. Allen, Reporting
letter to Senator Strom Thurmond
THE HONORABLE STROM THURMOND
SR - 217
RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON D. C. 20510
ATTN: MR. JOHN MILLER
Dear Senator Thurmond:
This letter is a request for action to locate the whereabouts of two missing Naval Aviators shot down in Korea in late 1950. Both aviators were attached to Navy Fighter Squadron 53, of Carrier Group 5, and were flying from the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge (CV-45). Both were seen by squadron mates to crash land their F4U-4 Corsairs in North Korea and exit their aircraft safely. Subsequently, neither was returned during the exchange of prisoners, and nothing has since been heard from or about them.
The first officer is ENS. WILLIAM E. BROWN, 496712/1310, USN. This ID number was the one used prior to the use of the social security number as the officer ID number. ENS. BROWN, on 26 September 1950, while flying wing on LT. JOHN E. FORD, USN, received ground fire in the engine of his aircraft, lost engine function and crash landed on a road about five (5) miles west of Sariwon, North Korea.
A copy of an article about the loss of ENS. WILLIAM E BROWN, written by CAPT. JOHN E. FORD, USN (RET), is attached to this letter. The article appears in the Association of Naval Aviation, Inc., ANA Symposium, May 13-17, 1992, brochure, Hampton Roads Edition, Page 63.
The second officer is ENS. KEITH E. THOMSON, 496511/1310, USN. He was shot down about the same time frame as was ENS BROWN. Other than the information above, I have, at this time, no more information on the loss of ENS. THOMSON.
The members of Navy Fighter Squadron Fifty-Three (VF-53) are having their second reunion, September 1994, in Denver, C0. Though they tried unsuccessfully to rescue their squadron mate lost during the early stages of the Koran War, the officers and men of VF-53 have not forgotten them. The memories of ENS BROWN and THOMSON are still with us. We and their families would like very much to know what the North Koreans did with them.
Thank you very much for any assistance you can give us in resolving this matter.
/s/ Glenn L. Allen
CAPT, USNR (Ret).
26 June 1994
NOT A TYPICAL DUTY NIGHT
It was mid 1949, the air group was based ashore and told to stay there because VF-51 had FJ-1s, the Navy’s first West Coast jets; VF-52 was transi-tioning from F8F-1s to TO-1s (single seat F-80s); VF-53 had F8F 1s or F8F-2s, and was still taking aboard new aviation midshipmen; VA-54 had SB2C-5s and was enjoying all of their problems; and VA-55 had TBMs enjoying watching the rest of Naval Aviation fly modern aircraft.
Political activity was boiling, but what else was new. And at age 20 who of our generation was all that aware of international politics anyway.
The Squadron Duty required 24 hours of the usual mental alertness, but the suggestion that foreign enemies might be lurking among our air groups aircraft intending to do them bodily harm was to say the least exciting, if not a really real concept.
While SDOs in the past had been instructed not to have a clip in the .45s he wore while making air group rounds, all of a sudden instruction changed. Now we were told to have a clip in the .45s while making rounds.
Prior to making his 2400 rounds one night, the VF-53 SDO inserted a clip into his .45. Naturally, he did not have to use the weapon on his rounds. Upon returning to the ready room in the hangar across the road from BOQ 1 at North Island, the SDO seated himself at the duty desk, leaned back in the chair, took the .45 from its holster, pulled back the slide, pulled the trigger, and lo and behold the damn thing went off with a horrendous bang!
Total, incredulous surprise was the mildest description that could be applied to the mental state of the SDO! The bullet went toward the center of the hangar where all those incredible FJ-1s, the navy’s first jet fighters, were parked. Had the bullet hit any of them, a naval career would be instantly terminated. And Fort Leavenworth seemed a real possibility.
Luck continued to track this SDO! The bullet went through the inside wall over the window of the ready room, departing at an upward angle and squarely hitting an I Beam just outside of the ready room.
However, the bullet left a hole in the wall, through which light now streamed. While no airplanes were hit, surely everyone in the squadron would see the hole the next morning, and would know! The solution was to find paper the same color as the wall, wad some up and stuff into the hole. The fix looked pretty good too. But at 0805 that coming morning the cat got out of the bag when the first squadron member through the ready room door said in a loud, clear voice, “Hey, SDO, when did you shoot the hole in the wall?”
Total mortification followed; however, the flattened .45 slug can be seen upon request to this very day.
Glenn L. Allen - Reporting