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The Rescue Man: A "Snafu Snatching" Rescue Pilot's Extraordinary Journey through World War II

The Rescue Man: A "Snafu Snatching" Rescue Pilot's Extraordinary Journey through World War II

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The Rescue Man: A "Snafu Snatching" Rescue Pilot's Extraordinary Journey through World War II

3/5 (1 rating)
362 pages
4 hours
Jun 1, 2017


THE RESCUE MAN presents the extraordinary and unique journey of a World War II-era rescue pilot, First Lieutenant Frank Philby “Bud” Hayes, from his childhood in Idaho through his training for and service during World War II. Bud helps tell this story himself through his letters and records, which are this book’s main foundation and reveal tales of excitement, trials and tribulations, achievement, heroism and ultimately tragedy and mystery. The U.S. Army Air Force’s Second Emergency Rescue Squadron that Bud served in saved over seven hundred downed pilots during the war, making them responsible for thousands of children and grandchildren being alive today. Nevertheless, history has left Bud’s incredible story, and that of his squadron, largely untold... until now.

Paralleling this book’s focus on Bud and his rescue squadron, this book also tells the interrelated broader story of major pre-, mid- and post-World War II events occurring in the U.S., Europe and the Pacific. This includes little known, but significant, stories like that of a turf war between the U.S. Army Air Force and the U.S. Navy over who would be responsible for performing rescue missions during World War II, all while their servicemen’s lives hung in the balance. In this book, World War II’s events help tell Bud’s story, and Bud’s events help tell World War II’s story. Or as this book’s preface states it, the book “tells history through a biography and presents a biography in the context of history.”

As members of Bud’s greatest generation continue to pass on from our lives, it is important that we preserve their unique and sometimes never-before-heard stories about World War II. This is one such story. It is the untold story of Bud, of his Second Emergency Rescue Squadron and of their involvement in and relation to the events of World War II. The story is as extraordinary, unique and powerful as it ultimately is tragic and mysterious. Thanks to Bud and his rescue squadron, over seven hundred men returned home from war with the opportunity to start families and pursue their American dreams. Will Bud also come home?

Jun 1, 2017

About the author

HENRY LOWENSTEIN, PH.D. is professor of management and law and former dean of the Wall College of Business at Coastal Carolina University. He previously was dean of business and public administration at California State University Bakersfield and chair of the California State Universities Association of Business Deans. Professor Lowenstein has written many academic articles on law and public policy, has been a consultant to federal, state and local governments, has served in executive management and board positions in a variety of industries and has received numerous awards for public service and for academics. As masterfully demonstrated in his book "The Rescue Man," he has an enthusiastic love of history and writing.

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The Rescue Man - Henry Lowenstein


A Snafu Snatching Rescue Pilot’s Extraordinary Journey through World War II

By Henry Lowenstein, Ph.D.

Assisted by Carla Faye Grabert-Lowenstein, Esq.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Lowenstein

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without prior written permission from the copyright holder or the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations in articles or reviews.

Published by Van Rye Publishing, LLC


ISBN-10: 0-9982893-1-0

ISBN-13: 978-0-9982893-1-1

Praise for The Rescue Man

"The Rescue Man is impressive in its sweep of WWII history that includes the key military, political and economic forces shaping the world. . . . [Lieutenant Hayes’s] achievements in combat rescues are truly impressive and worthy of being told and studied."

—Robert H. Reed, General (four-star), U.S. Air Force (Retired); Former Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (NATO)

A remarkable story of accomplishments, frustrations and perseverance unfolds as you follow an Idaho farm boy’s journey towards his ultimate goal of becoming a military aviator. . . . The reader will be enthralled by the transition of this farm boy into a stellar military pilot, eagerly following the highs and lows of the many and varied experiences he encountered during his remarkable journey.

—J.A. Bill Saavedra, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retired); Volunteer Historian, U.S. Air Force Historical Support Division, U.S. Air Force Office of History, Washington, DC

"The Rescue Man is an outstanding rendition of the experience of pilots, both Navy and Army Air Force, who served in World War II accomplishing air–sea rescues in the unique Consolidated PBY Catalina ‘flying boat.’ . . . For our downed airmen, these ‘rescue men’ flying into stark danger were their salvation from a watery grave. Thousands of airmen were saved, but the story of those who saved them remained largely untold after the war. . . . This book is a must read for today’s generation to never forget."

—Walter Scottie Scott, World War II veteran; Ensign, U.S. Navy (Retired); Former PBY Catalina pilot and flight instructor, Naval Air Training Center, Pensacola, Florida

"The Rescue Man tells the story of one of the 150 WWII Army Air Force pilots who also earned Navy wings. . . . These brave young airmen flew thousands of overwater search and rescue missions and are credited with saving thousands of lives. Lieutenant Frank ‘Bud’ Hayes’s journey, from a small town in Idaho through enlistment and pilot training in two different services to a . . . crash in the Philippines, is a compelling story of bravery and devotion forged in family and community values."

—Charles Thrash, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retired); Former Commander, 354th Tactical Fighter Wing and A-10 pilot, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

"I spent twenty-six years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force and have always been enthralled by true and personal descriptions of the U.S. Army Air Force fighting men and women and their sacrifices and courage in our country’s wars to protect our freedoms. The Rescue Man is one of the finest of these descriptions I have ever read. . . . I strongly recommend the book to everyone who respects those like Bud Hayes who made the ultimate sacrifice."

—Thomas Buddy Styers, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retired); Former Commander, 554th Combat Support Group, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada

The story of First Lieutenant ‘Bud’ Hayes is one of heroism, flying skill and honor. . . . First Lieutenant ‘Bud’ Hayes is a true American hero. His story needs to be told, and has been written wonderfully by Dr. Lowenstein. This is a must read for anyone interested in WWII or flying in general.

—Nathan E. Nate Cagle, Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired); Former Mission Commander, Patrol Plane Tactical Coordinator and P-3 Orion pilot, Patrol Squadron 9, Patrol Squadron 66 and Patrol Squadron 91

"Dr. Lowenstein’s book, The Rescue Man, is any historian’s dream; a story of the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron and its operations through the eyes of one of its pilots. To have Bud’s story told in vivid detail as this book accomplishes is simply amazing. Rarely do we hear the family history of those many young men who served in the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron and the tenacity and risks they took in operation. . . . I highly recommend the book."

—James R. Teegarden, Chief Warrant Officer 4 and UH-60 Blackhawk instructor pilot, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Alabama; Director, http://pbyrescue.com

In this insightful and inspiring work, Henry Lowenstein not only captures the ‘real life’ of a GI . . . but shows us the humanity of a soldier/aviator with an ordinary Idaho small town upbringing. . . . Dr. Lowenstein’s exhaustive research and extraordinary ability to effectively piece together fragments of disjointed information to build the story of Bud Hayes’s life as though it were my own or someone I knew takes me back. . . . [He] has brought some sense of closure to all of us who will read this work. . . . I couldn’t put it down!

—P.R. Dick Drass, Captain, U.S. Army, Ranger Division (Retired); Former Vietnam War combat veteran; Graduate, U.S. Military Academy at West Point

While reading I was able to relive the feelings of the flow of war, especially the monotony of daily missions and the sheer adrenaline rush of actually performing what you were trained for. . . . I felt that in Bud and his feeling of duty on every page. . . . [Bud’s] saving lives in battle, and my own personal experiences of war, really hit home and brought back much of the same feeling that Bud must have felt. . . . [T]hrough his actions, Bud was able to save countless generations of families.

—James Gatley, Sergeant, U.S. Army (Retired); Former 285th Air Recon Battle Group, Silver Bell, Arizona; 101st Airborne Division; Scheduler, Prescott Support Co. (air transport / cargo services)

I started reading it over a weekend and could not put it down. I was so touched by the story I called my father, a World War II veteran. He had never talked about the war and we talked for hours of it for the first time.

—David Fink, President, Compass Associates, LLC; Lecturer in international business, Coastal Carolina University



Mary Frances Hayes Grabert

in loving memory of your brother

First Lieutenant Frank Philby Bud Hayes


members of the U.S. Army Air Force

Second Emergency Rescue Squadron (1943–45)

and to

those from the State of Idaho who

faithfully served the United States in World War II

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.[


—Harry S. Truman (1884–1972), thirty-third President of the United States

Lieutenant Frank Philby Bud Hayes

(at home in Idaho, on leave, July 1944)

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Bud Hayes’s Homeland: Filer, Idaho and the Magic Valley

Chapter 2. Bud Hayes’s Early Years

Chapter 3. Clouds of War Descend on Idaho and Filer

Chapter 4. Bud Joins the U.S. Army Air Force

Chapter 5. U.S. Army Air Force Pilot Training

Chapter 6. Advanced Pilot Training and Officer Commission

Chapter 7. Army versus Navy: The Great Air–Sea Rescue Debate and the PBY Aircraft Project

Chapter 8. The PBY Catalina Flying Boat Aircraft

Chapter 9. U.S. Navy Training and a Second Set of Wings

Chapter 10. The Long Wait for War

Chapter 11. Into the War at Last

Chapter 12. On to Action in the Pacific Theater

Chapter 13. Bud’s Final Mission





About the Authors


THIS BOOK TELLS HISTORY through a biography and presents a biography in the context of history. Its combination of history and biography provides a paradigm of millions of airmen, sailors, marines and soldiers who served in World War II—the everyman whom historical studies rarely capture in the shadow of larger than life generals, politicians and personalities of the era. First Lieutenant Frank Philby Bud Hayes represents the many young men of the United States who woke up on December 7, 1941, in their farmhouses, towns and suburbs to find their lives and destinies changed. Some went on to fight overseas, then returned home and contributed to the post-war expansion of the United States. Some returned damaged for life. Others did not return at all. This is the story of their trials and tribulations in training, waiting, war and, in some cases, demise. They all served. Their sacrificed youth and their devotion to duty saved the world.

My wife, Carla Faye Grabert-Lowenstein, was born in Twin Falls, Idaho in 1956, eleven years after the end of World War II. She grew up in Idaho’s Magic Valley region on her parents’ farm. Her mother, Mary Frances (Hayes) Grabert (Mom Grabert), moved in 1990 to a city home that her father purchased shortly after he became seriously ill. Her father eventually passed away in 1991. On our later trips to Twin Falls to visit Mom, I was always fascinated by the photos of Mom’s dashing brother, a pilot named Frank Philby Bud Hayes, and by his military certificates that adorned the walls of her family room and bedroom.

Mom clearly adored Bud, who was two years her junior. As the photos reveal, he was extraordinarily handsome, and to this day ladies (like those at the local Costco photo counter who helped me digitize his photos for this book) swoon over him. Had Bud survived the war perhaps Hollywood would have grabbed him for one of those famous post-war movies. But who was Bud? Who was this Idahoan pilot of World War II and what were the times that he lived through like? And how did Idaho shape him? Now, over seventy years after the close of World War II, his story needs to be told and can finally be memorialized.

Carla had always explained that Uncle Bud had been in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Family lore said he was a transport pilot who went down in a Pacific typhoon during the war and was never found. No one knew for sure though. Mom was never quite sure. And her and Bud’s mother, Fay Fern Philby Jensen, never revealed all the details to anyone in the family. For decades, Bud and his story remained quite the family enigma. Now that we know his real story, it has proven to be quite different from the family lore that surrounded it.

Carla’s mother, her mother’s sister (the late Nedra [Hayes] Greene) and her grandmother never spoke of Bud. Neither did her cousin Carole (Nedra’s daughter) who was a child at the time of Bud’s service during World War II. It was not out of shame, but instead from the fact that the pain and shock surrounding the end of Bud’s story had never healed. Family members could not find the emotion or strength to speak about it, and so the mystery continued to succeeding generations. The real story of this member of Idaho’s Greatest Generation had yet to come to light.

At the time I began this writing, Carla and I had just returned from visiting Mom at her Twin Falls home. Mom, then ninety-three years old, had survived major surgery and was doing well. As during previous visits, Mom allowed me to descend into her vast basement and cull through its considerable array of boxes, bags, shelves and files, retaining what was of value and disposing of the rest—nearly a century of accumulated paper, newspapers, old magazines, holiday cards and sundry other items.

As was common of Mom’s generation, which survived both the Great Depression and war rationing during World War II, people developed a habit of saving virtually everything lest it be needed at a critical future time. Mom was no different. My work in the basement was much like an Egyptian archeological dig. Among the masses of paper, bags and boxes that I sent hither to the recycle center, I recovered nuggets of family history. Such valuables as Mom’s 1941 Royal Aristocrat typewriter, coins and unused postage stamps (tracing fifty plus years of postal inflation) were among the memorabilia I recovered. And photos I found elicited old memories of family and events.

Far in a back corner of the basement I discovered a sealed box containing what records remain of Mom’s brother, First Lieutenant Frank Philby Bud Hayes, a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. The box contained virtually every letter Bud wrote home during the war from 1943–45, military citations, command letters and records and pre-war autobiographical papers from high school. With Mom’s blessing, I brought these materials back to my South Carolina home office with the objective of summarizing the letters and writing a narrative about Bud.

As my work on Bud’s story progressed over the holiday break in 2015, it became clear that his story extended well beyond our family lore, and it felt very much as if a spirit had emerged from the box to tell it. The story was to become a much broader tale of a history of sacrifice, of an Idahoan’s dedication and bravery in the service of his country during World War II, of the influence of his state on him and of his yearning to return home to Idaho after the war. One could see in Bud’s story the strength and experiences gained by a farm boy from Filer, Idaho who would come to master a unique Army Air Force rescue aircraft known as the PBY Catalina flying boat, lead its crew and save many American airmen in the face of often perilous combat circumstances and conditions.

The story also drew into focus, through Bud’s experiences, the sometimes illogical acts of military planners and administrators at a time when all the nation’s energies and resources were focused on victory over the Axis powers in Europe and the Pacific. The U.S. Army Air Force had sustained large combat losses, yet for months, rescue pilots like Bud were left to fly benign domestic check flights from obscure, rapidly-thrown-together stateside airfields while awaiting deployment. These curious circumstances proved to be the unintended consequence of an intense bureaucratic argument at the time involving the War Department’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (and more specifically involving the U.S. Army Air Force and the U.S. Navy) over who would have jurisdiction over air–sea rescue missions during the war.

The war in the Pacific was heavily dependent on air power, and the U.S. Army Air Force and the U.S. Navy sustained many air losses, most of which occurred over and in water. PBY Catalina flying boat aircraft crews, like the one Bud piloted and commanded, were desperately needed to rescue downed airmen. Meanwhile, turf battles in Washington, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dragged on interminably. Ultimately, the Army Air Force and the Navy reached a compromise. Each service would have and be in control of its own air–sea rescue squadrons, but the Navy would be responsible for training all of the rescue squadron flying boat pilots. How many downed airmen in the Pacific would have been saved had the Joint Chiefs of Staff acted sooner in creating and deploying these rescue squadrons? That is a question left unanswered by history.

Once the U.S. Army Air Force had created its own air–sea rescue squadrons, it was able to initially deploy two such squadrons to the Pacific (one to operations under the Fifth Air Force, the other to operations under the Thirteenth Air Force) as well as one to Europe. Due to the unique nature of these rescue squadrons, which operated between air and sea, author Roscoe Creed dubbed them The Air Force’s Navy. Bud’s PBY Catalina rescue crew, in particular, was assigned to the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron, Thirteenth Air Force. The squadron saw action late in the war (1944–45) in the Pacific off New Guinea, during the Borneo Campaign and in the Philippines.

Bud’s story ultimately provides an example of sacrifice that is representative of the many Idaho men who served during World War II, in that era when Idaho was still a small state and each Idaho loss was felt deeply. His story is also emblematic of the thousands of everyman pilots whose mettle and sacrifice saved the nation and the world for later generations. Bud’s story provides lessons worth preserving and repeating. Now, with his letters, with his records and with additional research, we can finally chronicle his story and celebrate his life.

Some might question why there is a need to chronicle a story after the passage of decades, in this case more than seventy years. So why do we need to tell Bud’s story? There are two immediate answers. First, there is always the descendants’ desire to learn about their roots and to help create pathways for future generations to do so as well. The descendants of Bud’s Philby/Hayes family are no exception.

While Bud never married, his two sisters did. One sister, Nedra, married Percy Greene, a trout farmer (Greene and Blue Lakes Trout Farm) in Twin Falls, Idaho. The Greenes had two children, Carole, born in 1934, and Michael, born in 1943, both of whom had children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. Likewise, Bud’s other sister, the aforementioned Mary Frances (Mom) married and later divorced Marvin Peterson, having one daughter, Mary Beth, born in 1943. Mary Beth later married, had three children and now has grandchildren. Mary Frances later married Carl Grabert, a widowed Twin Falls, Idaho farmer. They had a daughter Carla Faye, born in 1956, who is now also a grandmother. Each branch of Bud’s family and extended family grows. The successive generations will now have his story.

The second, and perhaps more essential, reason to chronicle a story like Bud’s is the need for us all to never forget the sacrifice of those who kept the United States a free nation. The Allied victory in World War II was a decisive moment in world history, the outcome from 1938 to 1945 at times in doubt. The United States did not enter the war until December 1941. Had the Allies not achieved victory, then, as many would come to remark, part of America would be under imperial domination and speaking Japanese or German. That fate was avoided thanks to the tenacity and diligence of millions of soldiers, sailors, marines and airman—First Lieutenant Bud Hayes among them. The war became a quintessential transformative event for millions of individuals, and it reshaped America’s society, culture and economy in ways lasting even to this day.

In the twenty-first century, today’s generations enjoy conveniences, comforts and technology of the modern era, much of which had its origins in World War II. It is easy for these generations to take for granted the freedoms they enjoy and the bright prospects of the future. Their lives did not face hardships like the Great Depression, nor those of an era of vicious powers attempting to take over and subjugate the world.

Even the modern problem of terrorism pales in comparison to the threat posed by Hitler’s German Third Reich or the horrors fostered by Tojo’s Imperial Empire of Japan. Today, both of those nations, at peace, are allies, with the modern generation finding it hard to fathom a belligerent Germany or Japan. Few realize that Mitsubishi, maker of modern televisions and automobiles, once made the very airplanes that bombed Pearl Harbor. Nor do those driving the iconic Volkswagen realize it was the industrial and wartime brainchild of Adolph Hitler. Yes, the world has changed. Seventy years after World War II, the lessons from that war might have faded before ever reaching subsequent generations.

In the yearly Jewish Passover Seder (seen in the famous painting of Jesus’s last supper), Jews around the world repeat the story of the Jews’ flight from slavery and from Pharaoh in Egypt. For thousands of years, the tradition has been for them to tell the story to their children:

So even if we are all wise, all of us full of understanding, all of us aged and well versed, . . . it would still be our duty to tell of the deliverance from Egypt. Whoever tells the most about the departure from Egypt is worthy of praise.[1]

And as the philosopher George Santayana (1863–1952) famously said, Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.[2]

This book uses as its primary sources Bud Hayes’s pre-war writings from Filer High School (1940–41), letters Bud wrote home during his U.S. Army Air Force service (1943–45), letters from officials of the U.S. Army Air Force during that period, Bud’s surviving military records, documents that the U.S. Army recently discovered (previously thought lost) and interviews with Bud’s sister Mary Frances (Hayes) Grabert. Other interviews helping to form the basis of this book were conducted with Bud’s living nieces and nephew and with their spouses, including with Carla Faye Grabert-Lowenstein, Michael and Dot Greene and Carole Kasel. Also interviewed for this book was Larry Leonard, who is the brother of one of Bud’s co-pilots, Second Lieutenant John Leonard.

In addition, Chief Warrant Officer James Teegarden, who is the nephew of one of the founding officers of the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron that Bud served in, has been the lone keeper of nearly every surviving record related to the squadron, and he was extraordinary beyond the call of duty in providing research and records that are included in this book. Colonel Joaquin A. Bill Saavedra (U. S. Air Force, Retired) of the U.S. Air Force Historical Support Office also provided invaluable materials and assistance that contributed to this work. Others who assisted in this work are noted in the Acknowledgments section that appears toward the end of the book.

We acquired other information for this book from the Internet and from public records, and they are duly referenced throughout. General historical events we summarized using the Encyclopedia Britannica and other publicly-available reliable resources, as well as from common knowledge (for corresponding World War II events and dates). For references to monetary values in Bud’s letters from the time, we translated them into present-day dollars using the online inflation calculator http://www.dollartimes.com. And the book supplements all of this content with images and information available from the Teegarden Collection (http://pbyrescue.com, which is the largest archive of records about the U.S. Army Air Force’s Second Emergency Rescue Squadron), from U.S. government/military records and from the Hayes/Grabert family in order to add imagery and context to Bud’s story.

Bud’s story now begins.

Henry Lowenstein, Ph.D.

January 20, 2017

Conway, South Carolina

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ON SUNDAY MORNING, October 7, 1945, 0630 hours, at Clark Air Base on the island of Luzon, Philippines, First Lieutenant Frank Philby Bud Hayes of the U.S. Army Air Force, no longer in wartime tent, was up in the base’s squadron barracks donning his operation uniform in preparation for the day’s mission. As he put on his long-awaited new first lieutenant bars and his U.S. Army Air Force pilot wings he pushed aside the U.S. Navy pilot wings in his kit. Everyone in Bud’s squadron had long memories of the Navy’s effort to block the Army Air Force from forming its own emergency rescue squadrons to save its own downed airmen. The Navy wings were quite decidedly only for use on the rarely-worn dress uniform.

After months of Bud rescuing downed airmen in

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