Bob was serving an apprenticeship in a machine shop in Ohio
when he signed up as an Aviation Machinists Mate for the Navy. Little did he
know that an AMM in the Navy was an aircraft mechanic! He trained in PBYs and
was assigned to VP-61 on Attu and Amchitka and then went on to the South
Pacific. With VP-61 Bob flew dozens of missions to the Kurile Islands and lived
to tell about them. A PBY he flew in the Aleutians is now at the Palm Desert
Air Museum – still a functional, flying aircraft, with Bob’s name penciled in
The interview is also available in smaller portions, with the relevant transcript
available for each clip. Each audio clip is less than 1 MB, facilitating
access for slower internet connections.
Did You Know?
A PBY plane piloted by Lt. Jean Cusick was sent from Dutch Harbor, on June 3, 1942, to locate Japanese forces in the Pacific. He was shot down by enemy fighters en route. Five men out of the seven-man crew survived the crash and got into life rafts. Cusick and his enlisted pilot died on the rafts from their wounds. The other three were captured by the Japanese, and became the first prisoners of war in the Aleutian Campaign.