Aviation Artist and Historian, John Mollison, hosts this entertaining and informational video series of interviews with combat aviators. This is Part 2 of 7 of Old Guys & Their Airplanes which features Claude Hone, World War II Marine fighter pilot who flew the Chase Vought F4U-1 Corsair “696” in the Pacific Theatre.
Claude: We flew in these Stearmans, these **** double-winged, uh, planes with an open cockpit, and, uh, the first couple times up, I got terribly sick and then, uh, the pilot sits in front and then the instructor sits behind. I didn’t dare **** so I found the secret. I knew I was gonna fly tomorrow morning, I never ate the night before, and I never ate breakfast, so if I did throw up, I’d have the dry heaves, and he wouldn’t know about it. I was gonna, uh, determined I wasn’t gonna wash out.
Claude: So before I went to Pasco, Washington, they gave us pre-flight schooling at, uh, Saint Mary’s College, uh, just out of Oakland, California.
Claude: And so we were allowed to, uh, ****, uh, uh, we each had a sport. Besides showing us, uh, uh, uh, how to recognize planes and learning Morse code, they said we can have a sport. You wanna take up basketball, football? I thought man, I’m goin’ to war. I never been a boxer, so I took up boxing. So I tried to learn to defend myself, and my instructor happened to be Jack Dempsey, the champion of the world.
Claude: Then from um, Corpus Christi, Texas, they sent us over to, uh, Daytona Beach, Florida to get into the fighters, and back in those days, the fighters was, uh, a plane called the Wildcat.
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Claude: It’s spelled the, uh, I don’t know what the number is, but –
Claude: F4F, yeah, the F4F Wildcat. That’s the plane that Joe Foss
Claude: – flew, and, uh, it, it, uh, to me, it was an engineer’s nightmare because you’d take, you’d take off in that plane, and you’d give it a little throttle to the left, on your left side, you pull the stick back as you take off. Then if you, after you take off, you gotta change hands, hold on the stick and reach down and crank up the wheels, and, uh, uh, and you got through crankin’ up, you’d push the stick forward, you’re goin’ right in. I thought wow, ’bout, ’bout twice of that, and I learned what to do on that one, too. **** in fact, there’s night flying, and I saw, uh, down below two automobiles. I saw those light, headlights comin’ right at you. They’re, and I thought it was a plane comin’ right at me ’cause I was, was facing down, so it’s a wonder I lived through that one.
But guy by the name of Brock, he was our instructor, so us guys, we were Brock’s hot rocks. I tell ya, we, we, we thought we were hot, you know, to go to town and, uh, see the girls at night.