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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 9:14 am 
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After my last post, I decided to call a friend of mine in MO, to check my facts. This man was a flight deck officer, going aboard ESSEX April 1943.

I got the jist of the story right, but a few errors. He e-mailed me the story from the previously mentioned book, and a photo taken by Paul Madden.

Sorry about the length of the post, but I thought it worth telling.The story was written by Robert Hollingsworth and four other men at a reunion in the mid 90's. I have omitted parts to keep this a little shorter.

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After commissioning, the first combat planes used for training were Douglas Dauntless's. Because they were relativly light, they could be pushed around easily. Later, at Hunter's point, when they were taking aboard the F4F's, SB2C's and TBM's, that were much heavier, the flight deck crews were bitching and complaining about being tired and sore from pushing these planes around. Some of the plane handlers hatched the idea of using jeeps and went to the ship fitter with the idea. The metalman told them they could rig something up, measured up a jeep and that problem was solved. Next was - how to get jeeps. Every item on a ship, for replacement or augmentation, had to be requisitioned. Jeeps were more difficult to get and always needed justification. There was one jeep already assigned to ESSEX - for the use of the Captain. When ESSEX reached Pearl Harbor, there was huge amounts of material and equipment being unloaded every day on the pier. Two of the flight deck crew left the ship to dump garbage. When they were finished, they went over to the area where the newly arrived jeeps were lined up. They picked two, got in and drove to the area where huge nets were loading supplies aboard and got in line. When their turn came, they drove onto the net, got out and waved a hand in a circle to haul away. They had prepared two slips to attach to the steering wheel specifying For delivery to VIA. Two other conspiritors on board, with official looking papers in their hands, were waiting to drive the jeeps to the after end of the hangar deck, where they would not be so noticable. The tow bars were quickly installed. The following day they were in use towing planes. The work of plane spotting was completed more quickly and with less tiring effort. Along with the Captains jeep, for his use on shore or use aboard ship, and the two stolen ones, they had three. They were able to respot the deck in record time. When the word got out around the fleet, as it always does (scuttlebutt you know), pressure mounted on other carriers to get jeeps as well. Later, the Navy decided that tow tractors were in order, but the handlers didn't like them as they were slow and handlers other than the driver couldn't ride on them very well, so they just got pushed off to the side and they went back to the jeeps.
It may seem remarkable that two jeeps could be stolen off the docks in Pearl, hoisted aboard without someone questioning the action. Truly remarkable was that no one aboard ESSEX questioned where the jeeps came from. One day they began to tow planes and everybody thought that was an improvement and how much better that was. Many Admirals and Captains from other ships sent messages of congratulation to the plane crews for their efficient movement of planes resulting in faster launchings and landings.
These achivements deserve official credit in the Naval history books. At the time of the taping, Mr Hollingsworth had to promise not to use the names of the innovators. This achivement will be lost to history unless one of the ten men privy to the conspiricy decides to hold a press conference.

The whole story with all the details can be seen in Mr Streb's book. The attached photo was taken by Paul Madden, Photograpers Mate, who's pictures have been published in Naval archives and many many publications. Paul passed away Dec 20, 2004. Mr Volkema passed away in 2002, Mr Streb passed away 21 Nov, 2007. I do not know if Mr Hollingsworth is still alive. All were members of the USS ESSEX Association. The WWII membership is passing quickly now and this story will probably never become part of official Naval history, even though it revolutionized plane handling on aircraft carriers.

EJ

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Fair Winds and Following Seas


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:39 am 
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cool story! :thumbs_up_1: :thumbs_up_1: :big_grin:


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 11:16 am 
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Thanks Red, check your PM
There's lots of stories like that out there from the ESSEX crewmen. I've got one my dad (93) wrote most of which will never be "official". Lots more told to me by guys he served with in the "Red Arrow" division. I meet with these guys every month at the National Guard Armory NCO club. There are still 20 of them alive and kicking.

EJ

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ESSEX 1/700Hasegawa1942
" 1/700Hasegawa 45
" 1/700Dragon 44
" 1/700Trumpeter 43
" 1/540Revell vintage 62
" 1/350Trumpeter 42
Fair Winds and Following Seas


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 9:47 pm 
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When I was browsing the MW gallery looking for something else, I stumbled across this pic.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:54 pm 
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MM2CVS9 wrote:
There was one jeep already assigned to ESSEX - for the use of the Captain.


The earliest I've been able to find mention of official sanction of multiple jeeps on carriers is October of 1943:
http://www.researcheratlarge.com/Ships/ ... rTugs.html
However, it references a July 1943 document that I don't have and cancels/supersedes the allowances in that one - it's possible there was a bump as early as July.

Also, since I'm bumping this thread, LeTournea cranes (aka "tilly") was used on CVs and "Karry Kranes" used on smaller (CVE/CVL) ships. I've seen a photo of a Tilly on CVL-29 Bataan, but only one, and it was stateside (Hunters Point September 1944). I've seen variations in detail on the Karry Kranes, but here's a shot of one:
http://www.fold3.com/document/188345491/

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:14 pm 
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A surprise update to my last post - I stumbled across two pictures of the Tilly on Bataan in March of 1944, so she carried one for a few months. They really had to crank it in to fit it on the parking platform behind the island though. It's hard to make out, but it's behind the island in this photo on her Navsource page.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:05 am 
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To continue the discussion on aircraft towing tractors/tugs, I just ordered and received a set of 1:350 Moto-Tug tractors, as produced by 'BaconFistModels' from Shapeways, and have to recommend them; they are very fine and look excellent.

https://www.shapeways.com/product/MBK7S ... _content=2

For Jeeps on carrier decks, the 1:350 L'Arsenal Jeeps are superb, very finely detailed indeed (even the tyre tread is fairly clearly moulded).

http://www.larsenal.com/jeep-willys-1-350-c2x15950581

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