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Navy Helicopter Pilots Timeline

Navy Helicopter Pilots Timeline

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Published by: CAP History Library on Apr 29, 2011
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he Bureau of Aeronautics issued a PlanningDirective on 24 July 1942 calling for procurement of four Sikorsky helicopters for study and developmentby Navy and Coast Guard aviation forces. However,this was not the Navy’s first interest in helicopters.That interest may be traced back to 5 December 1917when the policy regarding helicopter developmentwas established by the Secretaries of the Navy andWar Departments on the basis of recommendationsmade by the Joint Technical Board on Aircraft. At thattime, it was stated there was a need for improvementsin powerplants and propellers if a successful heli-copter was to be obtained. Actual support of develop-ment efforts was to be limited to moral encourage-ment until a vendor had demonstrated a helicopter of military value.The Navy’s first rotary wing vehicle was the XOP-1autogiro ordered on 25 February 1931 from PitcairnAircraft. This machine was not a true helicopter since ithad fixed wings and could not rise verticallly. On 12March 1935, the Navy issued a contract to PitcairnAutogiro Company to remove the fixed wings from theXOP-1, thereby converting it to the XOP-2 which thusbecame the Navy’s first heavier-than-air aircraft withoutwings. Tests were conducted with the XOP-1, includinglandings on
in September 1931. However, con-clusions from the tests, which compared the autogiroswith fixed wing aircraft, indicated the advantages werenot great enough to override the disadvantages of pay-load, range, and the difficulties of flying. Personnel in-volved in the testing of the XOP-1 included futuregreats in Naval Aviation such as Alfred Pride, Ralph A.Ofstie, Robert B. Pirie and Frederick M. Trapnell. Otherattempts between 1932 to 1937 were made to improverotary wing capabilities but they were not successful.The Marine Corps used the OP-1 autogiro in Nicaraguain 1932 with the comment that its chief value in expe-ditionary duty was in inspecting small fields recom-mended by ground troops as landing areas, evacuatingmedical “sitting” cases, and ferrying of important per-sonnel. In 1937 the Navy also experimented with theXOZ-1, a modified N2Y-1 with a cyclic controlled rotor,but the tests were not successful.In the early 1940s, a class desk was established inthe Bureau of Aeronautics for the Navy’s helicopter
List of Early Helicopter Pilot
program and staffed by a small group of individualswho saw the potential for rotary wing development.They included Captain Clayton C. Marcy, CommanderJames W. Klopp and Commander Raymond Doll. Theimpetus for more Navy involvement in helicopterswas spearheaded by the Coast Guard who were veryinterested in its ASW and rescue capabilities. Theirvision for the use of the helicopter, whose develop-ment responsibility had been assigned to the ArmyAir Corps, resulted in a 15 February 1943 directivefrom the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet that as-signed responsibility for sea-going development of helicopters and their operation in convoys to theCoast Guard. Tests were to be carried out to deter-mine if helicopters operating from merchant shipswould be of value in combating submarines. On 4May 1943, to expedite the evaluation of the heli-copter in antisubmarine operations, the Commanderin Chief, U.S. Fleet, directed that a “joint board” beformed with representatives from the Commander inChief, U.S. Fleet; the Bureau of Aeronautics, theCoast Guard, the British Admiralty and the Royal Airforces. The resulting Combined Board for theEvaluation of the Ship-Based Helicopter inAntisubmarine Warfare was later expanded to includerepresentatives of the Army Air Forces (AAF), theWar Shipping Administration and the National Advi-sory Committee for Aeronautics. A few days later, on7 May 1943, Navy representatives witnessed landingtrials of the XR-4 helicopter aboard the merchanttanker SS
 Bunker Hill
in a demonstration sponsoredby the Maritime Commission and conducted in LongIsland Sound. The pilot, Colonel R. F. Gregory, AAF,made about 15 flights, some of which he landed onthe water before returning to the platform on thedeck of the ship. On 10 June 1943, LieutenantCommander Frank A. Erickson, USCG, proposed thathelicopters be developed for antisubmarine warfare,“not as a killer craft but as the eyes and ears of theconvoy escorts.” To this end he recommended thathelicopters be equipped with radar and dunkingsonar. With the foregoing proposals and develop-ments, the Navy ordered and received its first heli-copter on 16 October 1943. The helicopter was aSikorsky YR-4B, Navy designation HNS-1. It was ac-cepted at Bridgeport, Conn., following a 60 minute
acceptance test flight by Lieutenant CommanderErickson. Commander Charles T. Booth, USN, deliv-ered this helicopter to NAS Patuxent River, Md., on22 October 1943. As stated by a memo fromCommander Booth, he had arrived at Bridgeport “tocontinue instructions and to deliver to NAS Patuxentthe first Navy helicopter....Six hours additional flighttime was obtained by Commander Booth prior to hisreturn to NAS Patuxent, Md., on 22 October.”On the basis of his belief that tests indicated thepracticability of ship-based helicopter, the Chief of Naval Operations, on 18 December 1943, separatedthe pilot training from test and development func-tions in the helicopter program. He directed that, ef-fective 1 January 1944, a helicopter pilot training pro-gram be conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard at FloydBennett Field, N.Y., under the direction of theDeputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air). This plan-ning directive of 18 December 1943, also namedRockaway, N.Y., as an outlying field for training andstated that three Coast Guard and two Navy officershad qualified as helicopter pilots to date. The direc-tive also indicated “It has been determined that after25 hours of dual and solo flight time, a fixed wingpilot is qualified as a helicopter pilot.” Thus, duringWorld War II, the Coast Guard, at Floyd BennettField, N.Y., was responsible for pilot and enlistedmechanic training in helicopter aviation for the Navy.Helicopter pilots trained by the Coast Guard unit alsoincluded personnel from the Army Air Force, theCAA, and NACA.Following the end of World War II, the Navy estab-lished VX-3 on 1 July 1946 at NAS New York (FloydBennett Field). This squadron took over the helicopterpilot training duties that had been done by the CoastGuard unit at Floyd Bennett Field, N.Y. VX-3 moved toNAS Lakehurst, N.J., on 10 September 1946 and con-tinued training helicopter pilots until they were dises-tablished on 1 April 1948.Helicopter Utility Squadron 2 (HU-2) was estab-lished on 1 April 1948 and took over the responsibilityfor training helicopter pilots. The squadron was lo-cated at NAS Lakehurst, N.J. Many of the personnelfrom VX-3 helped form HU-2 when it was established.On 11 June 1948, the Chief of Naval Operations issuedstandards for training aviators as helicopter pilots and
provided that helicopter pilots previously trained bythe Coast Guard or VX-3 would retain their qualifica-tion. However, not all personnel received their qualifi-cation as a helicopter pilot from VX-3 or HU-2, eventhough they had been assigned the mission of traininghelicopter pilots. HU-2 would issue helicopter pilotqualifications to an individual that may have receivedtraining at NATC Patuxent River, Md., from HU-1, orfrom Connally Air Force Base in Texas.HU-2 was not only responsible for training heli-copter pilots but was also involved in providing heli-copter detachments for utility services and search andrescue missions. Due to an increased demand forthese services, as well as a need for more helicopterpilots, the Chief of Naval Operations decided to trans-fer the helicopter pilot training mission to the NavalAir Training Command at Ellyson Field, Pensacola, Fla.Helicopter Training Unit 1 (HTU-1) was established on3 December 1950 at Pensacola, Fla. HU-2 shifted itsresponsibility for training helicopter pilots to HTU-1 inJanuary 1951. HTU-1 was redesignated HTG-1 inMarch 1957. The HTG-1 designation was changed toHT-8 on 1 July 1960. HT-8 is still training helicopterpilots in the Pensacola area.When a new program is established, especially onethat entails listing personnel who are designated orqualified for a particular job code, the records for theevolution of that new program can be very sketchy.That is precisely what happened in the training pro-gram for helicopter pilots. The early helicopter pilotsdid not have a formal Navy training program to fol-low or the correct procedures in place to record andpreserve their heliclpter pilot qualifications. In fact, in1943 the first group to qualify were sent to EastHartford, Conn., and trained by the Sikorsky AircraftCompany. They included Lieutenant CommanderFrank Erickson, USCG; Lieutenant A. N. Fisher, USCG;Lieutenant Stewart R. Graham, USCG; and Comman-der Charles T. Booth, USN. None of these individualswere placed on the list of early helicopter pilots. Infact, the list, which appears to originate from VX-3and HU-2 records, does not list any Coast Guard offi-cers. The following list is the best that could be com-piled from the available records on helicopter pilotqualification and training. It does not include theCoast Guard aviators.
Helicopter Date oPilot QualificatioNumber Name Rank Service Designatio
1Knapp,William G.LTUSNR15 Apr 19442Doll,Raymond E.CDRUSN26 Sep 19443Wood,Charles R.CDRUSNR26 Sep 19444Brown,PercyLTUSNR 6 Feb 19455Kembro,Marerie D.CAPT USN9 Aug 19456Long,Richard J.LTUSN(T)9 Aug 19457Marcy,Clayton C.CAPT USN10 Oct 19458Runyon,Joseph W.CDRUSN31 Oct 19459Houston,Charles E.CDRUSN18 Dec 194510Hoover,GeorgeLTUSN27 Dec 194511 Lawrence,M.LTUSNR28 Dec 194512Wilcox,Donald E.CAPTUSN3 Jun 194613Kosciusko,Henry M.LCDRUSN17 Jul 194614Kubicki,EdwardLTUSN 26 Jul 194615Schaufler,William G.LTJGUSN26 Jul 194616Delalio,Armand H.MAJUSMC8 Aug 194617Rullo,Guiseppe J.LTUSN28 Aug 194618Reeves,George J.LTUSN28 Aug 194619Lammi,James W.LTUSN27 Sep 194620Junghans,Robert L.LCDRUSN1 Nov 194621Sessums,Walter M.LCDR USN5 Nov 194622Tanner,Charles S.LCDR USN9 Nov 194623Fink,ChristianLCDRUSN18 Dec 194624Bott,AlanLTUSN18 Dec 194625Tracy,Lloyd W.LTUSN23 Jun 194726Glenzer,HubertLTJGUSN14 Oct 194727Anderson,Roy L.1stLTUSMC20 Nov 194728Strieby,Robert A.CAPTUSMC20 Nov 194729Garber,C.O.CAPT USMC20 Nov 194730Riley,Russell R.MAJUSMC20 Nov 194731Peters,Maurice A.CDRUSN21 Nov 194732Shawcross,William H.LT USN24 Nov 194733Bagshaw,James R.LTJGUSN24 Nov 194734Montgomery,Marvin D.LTJGUSN24 Nov 194735Morrison,Gene W.1stLTUSMC1 Dec 194736Carleton,R.D.LTJGUSN20 Dec 194737Arnold,E.A.LCDRUSN21 Dec 194738Moseley,R.H.ENSUSN22 Dec 194739Higbee,J.CAPTUSN22 Dec 194740Billett,Dudley S.LCDRUSN15 Jan 194841Camp,R.W.ADC(NAP)USN21 Feb 194842McVicars,A.L.1stLTUSMC11 Mar 194843Meshier,C.W.LTUSN12 Mar 194844Blatt,W.D.CAPTUSMC17 Mar 194845Polen,R.A.1stLT USMC17 Mar 194846Ward,C.E.1stLTUSMC19 Mar 194847Pope,E.J.1stLT USMC22 Mar 194848Sebach,H.U.LCDRUSN31 Mar 194849Fisher,A.G.MSGTUSMC1 Apr 194850Schmucker,S.ENSUSN7 Apr 194851Mathewson,F.F.LTUSN16 Apr 194852Hanies,G.D.LT USN16 Apr 1948

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