“IT WAS THE TYPHOON’S FAULT”
I was the pilot of an AJ-2P out of Agana,Guam .. July 1956 ... on a night navigation flight. Ensign Gene Vandermolen was the photo navigator and PHC Caudry the Photo Tech. As we headed north past Saipan and Tinian, it was starting to cloud up. Two and a half hours later, turned on radar, spotted Chichi Jjima and made our turn. (This is where 19 year old President George H. Bush's Avenger was shot down, September 1944.)
Gene had been having troubles with the periscope sextant shooting stars, so I put him in the Pilot's seat and took over the sextant. (It seems Gene did his navigation training out of NAS Hutchinson, KS where all you did was look down at the N/S and E/W roads.) A break in the clouds and I spotted Polaris…Estimated our position.
Later I lucked out and spotted Antares in the head of the Southern Constellation Scorpion. HaJ a two star fix! We were way off course to the West. ( Bless the stars! Psalms 8:3 “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained.") We turned toward Guam. Our command radio AR-13 was inoperative. Looked back and Caudry had taken it out of the rack, was touching two wires together and was Morse-coding our situation to the Squadron. Throttled back to 1700 turns, max BMEP and proceeded to Guam.
Checked with Aerology ... seems a Typhoon was spawned up by Tinian and had blown us far off course to the west!