That jew cocksucker, Zuckerberg, busted my unrepentant ass again, for another 30 days. “Wetback” isn’t allowed? Why the fuck don’t the assholes list words you’re not supposed to use? It’s not like I called them “fucking Mexicans.” Fuck jews, mexicans, and niggers.
I was sworn into the Navy Reserves on May 30, 1959. I attended the craziest boot camp, that has ever been seen, at Los Alamitos Naval Air Station, in southern California. My mates and I were in the MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT PARADE, in Long Beach, the last year it was held there. I pushed MISS SWEDEN’s float in the parade. Whatta butt she had. We were also in the Huntington Beach 4th of July Parade, which had JAYNE MANSFIELD as the Grand Marshal. I, personally, got within about 5 feet of her gargantuan TA-TAS. Then I went to DISNEYLAND, and I was in BOOT CAMP.
After that remarkable experience, I started “drilling” with my squadron, VP-774, which flew P-2V Neptune anti-submarine patrol bombers. We drilled one weekend a month. We were called, by some, “Weekend Warriors.” I attended an electronics class, all day Saturday, and half a day on Sunday. Sunday afternoon I could do anything I wanted. I gassed the planes, stood behind them when they started up on the line, and smelled the beautiful exhaust fumes from those R-3350 radial engines; the same engines that were on the B-29s and Super Constellations. I found out that if you approached the pilot of a plane that was going on a flight, and asked if you could go on the flight, the pilot would always say yes. THAT was my Disneyland. The coolest seat, in the plane, was in the nose. You sat in a very comfortable, padded seat, with padded armrests. You had a panoramic view through the plexiglass nose, and you could put your feet up on a steel mounting bracket on which a Ma Deuce .50 caliber machine gun could be mounted. Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses, and I was ready to rock.
I’d been on 3 or 4 flights and was HOOKED. On this particular Saturday morning, just before muster, I found out that a particular pilot, with whom I had flown before, was making a NIGHT FLIGHT, a rarity. I went up to the pilot, and asked him if I could go on the flight. He told me that because we made so few night flights, that everybody wanted to go, and the crew was filled to capacity. But then he told me that one of the regular members of his crew hadn’t been at the morning muster, he was a guy who never missed a “meeting,” and that if he didn’t show up, then I could go on the flight. Hip-Ha and a Coup de Gras. I went to class and, at the afternoon muster, he still wasn’t there. I went up to the pilot and he told me that it was really strange, because this was the first time that his crewman had ever missed a meeting, and he knew there was going to be a night flight. He added that if he wasn’t at the evening muster, I was on the flight. Bitchin’. He wasn’t at the evening muster, so the pilot told me to get some chow, check out some gear at the paraloft, and be ready to board the plane at a certain time.
I was in the ready room, ready to go, with all the other guys. The pilot came in and asked me to accompany him to the counter, behind which were guys who handled the paperwork. He asked for the manifest for his flight, which was on a clipboard, and the clerk handed it to him. He took his pen, and crossed out a name near the top of the list, and inserted my name at the bottom. I was now officially on that flight. I went back and sat down in the ready room. Some of the guys on the flight began to drift out, to walk down to the plane. I was savoring the moment so much, I was suddenly alone. A few minutes later, the pilot walked by the room, saw me and said, “Let’s go, Gearon, it’s time.” “Yes, Sir.” I walked out of the ready room, and the pilot held the door open for me to walk outside, onto the flight line. As I started to walk through that door, the door at the other side of the building BANGED open, and both of us turned to see a guy standing there, out of breath, who said, “Am I too late to make the flight?” The pilot said, “Where the hell have you been?” The guy said, “I’ve been taking final exams all day, I’ve driven like a maniac to get here, speeding and running red lights, and am I too late to make the flight?” The pilot looked at his watch and said, “You’ve got 2 minutes to get your gear at the paraloft and be out at the plane.” The pilot then walked up to where the clerk was and asked for the manifest again. He crossed my name out and wrote his crewman’s name, HAROLD GRIMSLEY, under my crossed out name. He said, to me, “I know how disappointed you are, but I promise you, you will be on the next night flight, even if someone else is the pilot.” “Yes, Sir, thank you, Sir.”
I turned in my gear and headed for the Enlisted Men’s Club. I was only 17 years old, so I just drank sodas. I think there was a small band and dancing. About 10 PM the word was passed that one of our planes was down in the ocean. As far as I knew, there was only one plane flying out of Los Al, and it was the one I was supposed to be on. We found out more about it the next morning. One month later, at our next meeting, one of the crewmen who survived, Nunez, told me the whole story. Meanwhile, two or three weeks after the ditching in the ocean, I attended a memorial service for the one man who went down with the plane, Harold Grimsley. Three others, including the pilot, were killed by “exposure,” or hypothermia as it’s now called.
For just about 50 years, I knew most of the story, but then I found out Harold Grimsley’s name, a lot of new facts about the mishap, and a whole lot about 3rd Class Aviation Ordnanceman Grimsley’s personal life.
Around 2010, wanting to find out more about the incident and the name of the man who died in my place, I went online and started to search. There’s a website, vpnavy.org, that pretty much covers everything about Navy patrol squadrons, the “P” in VP-774, stands for patrol. They had never heard of the incident, nobody had ever heard of the incident, and people must have thought I was a whack-job, because their extensive files didn’t have an incident as I described it. I checked one or two other websites and still no luck. Meanwhile, at just about exactly the same time as I was seeking information on this ditching, Harold Grimsley’s grandson was seeking to find out more information about his grandfather’s death. He knew that he had gone down in a P-2V, off Dana Point, in Orange County, but he sought more information. The grandson had seen a TV documentary, on the Discovery Channel I believe, about a group of people finding a WW1 German U-Boat which was sunk off the coast of California. He contacted ub88.org, which found and photographed the boat, UB 88. The founder of that group told the grandson that he would try to find out something for him. He contacted vpnavy.org, and was told they didn’t have any information, but that another person, me, had asked about the same incident, and was given my email address. I was contacted, and so began an odyssey that nobody could have predicted.
The following is an amalgam of Nunez’s eyewitness account, the official U.S. Navy Accident Report, and my own experiences with the asshole who MURDERED Harold Grimsley:
The crew chief/plane captain was a Chief Petty Officer named Manuel, whom I believe was probably Portuguese. He was a flaming alcoholic, but one who maintained his composure very well, indeed. It used to take 3 guys, all working together, to take off in a Neptune. The pilot had things to do, the co-pilot had things to do, and the plane captain/crew chief had things to do. The latter individual sat on a canvas “seat,” that was stretched across the opening to the cockpit, and manipulated the fuel switches, transferring fuel around and feeding it to the engines. During the flight, he would also monitor the fuel situation, along with the pilot. The asshole, as I will now call him, shut off pumping fuel from one tank, but didn’t tell the pilot. He swore, under oath, that he told the pilot that he had stopped pumping from that tank, and told him that it still had lots of fuel still in it. He was lying through his fucking teeth, but the pilot was dead, so he was believed.
To get from the main part of the plane, the flight deck, to the nose, there is a hatch in the floor, which I have never seen closed, unless someone was sitting on it for take-off, landing, or ditching, which allows you to drop down into a narrow tunnel, which leads you forward, as you crawl on your hands and knees. There is a device which locks the hatch in the open position.
It was a dark and stormy night. It had been raining for most of the flight, and everyone was probably bummed out, because the big thing about night flights was seeing the lights of Los Angeles. At one point, the pilot called for a practice ditching drill. It was discovered that the hatch was down, and stuck; it could not be opened. The pilot secured from the drill and directed that everyone get that hatch opened. There is a rather large fire axe on the bulkhead, and that had to be used to pry the hatch open. The pilot then expressly ordered that the hatch was to remain open, so that the bow observer, Harold Grimsley, could get out of the nose, if they really had to ditch. Otherwise, he would be a goner. The asshole testified that he had originally closed the hatch because a cold wind was blowing out of it.
Ten minutes later, both engines quit running at the same time, and the pilot looked down and saw that one tank was turned off and assumed it was empty. Had he known there was still a lot of fuel in it, he could have gotten an air-start, and they never would have had to ditch the plane in the ocean. He called for ditching stations, and the hatch had been closed again, so Harold couldn’t get out. For 50 years I considered that to be 2nd degree murder, on the part of the asshole. Then I read his testimony in the accident report. He lied again, stating that he didn’t close it the second time, and he didn’t know who did. I expected that, but then he testified that he SAT ON TOP of the hatch, as they were going into the ocean. The motherfucker didn’t want anyone else to hear or feel Harold trying to kick the hatch open. That, by God, Makes it FIRST DEGREE MURDER. His seat, at his radar scope, was his primary take off/landing/ditching station, because it had shoulder straps, as well as the lap belt, so he could go in facing forward. Much more comfortable and SAFER than sitting on the cold steel deck, facing backwards. And that was HAROLD’s ditching station. Eventually, a new crew was made up, that I was assigned to, along with the asshole. I had to fly with that fucker many times, and that was just one reason I decided to go on active duty when I did. I didn’t want him to kill me. Wouldn’t you know, just before my active duty came around, I was assigned to a different crew. That pilot damned near killed me (near-death experience #2), but the enlisted crew chief was really cool, and was the only person to have ever thanked me for saving their life.
I’ve got side-scanning sonar pictures (courtesy of ub88.org) of the tail of the plane, which rests on the flat sandy bottom, at 1,080 feet down. Harold Grimsley’s remains are probably still in the nose/fuselage section, which isn’t visible, and is probably hidden in a gnarly, narrow, steep and deep canyon, just a little N-W of the tail.
My squadron, VA-56, flew from Lemoore Naval Air Station, on the West Coast, to Norfolk, Virginia, where I actually saw a couple of the infamous signs, posted in people’s front yards, which read, “Sailors and Dogs Keep Off The Grass,” a nice welcome to our brave lads. We boarded the U.S.S. Constellation (CVA-64) and prepared to get underway to SOUTH AMERICA!!
Jacksonville, Florida; Port of Spain, Trinidad; one of the greatest ass-whippings in history, when 3,000 Polliwogs were “initiated” into the mysteries of the deep by having their butts pounded with rock-hard canvas paddles; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; then CAPE HORN.
When we were on the Constellation (Summer of ’62 [Dead of Winter in the Southern Hemisphere]), she was the second biggest ship in the world, and the number one biggest conventionally-powered ship in the world. We were second only to the nuclear-powered Enterprise (CVA-65) which was, it was alleged, just ONE FOOT longer than the Connie. Notwithstanding that, she was a monster. Over 1,000 feet long, over 250 feet wide, 85 feet from the water-line to the flight deck, and displacing a cool 75,000 tons. For several days, right at the bottom of South America, we were treated like an inflatable raft by Mother Nature. 60 to 100 foot waves, a 100 mph wind coming straight down the flight deck, with snow being blown horizontally, while the air temperature varied between minus 30 degrees F. and minus 40 degrees F., making the Wind-chill Factor about 130 degrees below zero.
We could go out onto the fantail anytime we pleased, but there wasn’t much to be seen. As we were heading directly into the wind and waves, there wasn’t any wind, spray, or snow, back there. What was back there, was just a mountain of battleship gray water, going up and down. Up and down. Back in the OLD Disneyland days, it wouldn’t have rated even an “A” coupon. Frankly, it sucked. I have two really big beefs with the assholes who could have made that voyage even more memorable than it was.
Beef #1: No one, except those on duty in the island, were allowed to go up into the island. Beef #2: Nobody showed us the Southern Sky.
Both of these travesties could have been ameliorated by the use of our extensive CCTV network. All the dicks had to do, in Beef #1, was to point one stinking camera out a forward-facing window, and let everybody see the fucking ocean, breaking over the bow of the ship and, indeed, taking green water over the FLIGHT DECK. That would have been thrilling to watch.
Beef #2 could have been dealt with by some officers with celestial-navigation experience, who could have given the blue-jackets a tutorial on the Southern Sky. Then, they could have allowed hundreds of guys up on the flight deck, in nice weather, of course, and let us see what we had learned on the TV. What a wasted opportunity.
Every crew’s berthing space had a big TV and a ship’s radio, which played different music on different stations. Damned good thing I had a couple of the latest Playboy magazines to read. I got to thinking; which is a good way to get into trouble. I decided that, shit, here I was, on a 75,000 ton aircraft carrier, in monster seas, and I couldn’t see any of it. I decided that I was going up there, and “Hang Ten” on the forward edge of the flight deck. SURFING AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER, YEAH.
It took me about two days to find six fools to accompany me up there. I named a time and place to meet, and we were set to go. We rendezvoused and discussed our clothing. All but one guy had 7 layers of clothes on; the odd man had but 6 layers, and he reported, later, that he felt cold, but it wasn’t life-threatening, like our mere presence up there WAS. The rest of us were toasty warm. We all had watch caps, hoodies, and flight deck helmets on, with goggles to protect our eyes. We opened a water-tight door, and stepped out into a wind chill of 130 degrees below zero. We were a few days past the actual Horn, so the waves had gone down to 30 or 40 feet, but the wind and snow was still coming straight down the deck at 100 mph.
With that much wind, we had to lean way forward, at close to a 45 degree angle, with our arms spread in the “stable position” of a sky-diver. That was so much fun, and I was looking forward to hanging ten. Nobody had thought about the absolute certainty that someone, in the island, would spot us, and were disappointed when the PA system announced, “You people get back down below.” We all waved at the disembodied voice and turned around, intending to walk back to where we had come out. With the wind now at our backs, we were pushed forward, toward the aft part of the ship, at what, at first, was an exhilarating pace. WE WERE FLYING. In just a few steps, we were taking 20 foot strides, touching down, with 1 foot, and going another 20 feet before the other foot touched down. All of us, at virtually the same time, discovered that we couldn’t stop, or even slow down. If this continued, we would all take a flying leap off the aft end of the flight deck, falling 85 feet to a certain death. There is no way that we could have been rescued, even if we survived the fall. Death in 5 minutes, from the frigid water. One guy yelled, “I can’t stop.” Another guy yelled, “I can’t either.” I yelled, “Hit the deck and grab a pad-eye.” A pad-eye is an indentation in the steel deck, with a steel bar affixed stoutly thereto. Tie-down chains are hooked to a plane and the other end of the chain is hooked on the pad-eye. There are hundreds of pad-eyes on both the flight and hangar decks. We all belly-flopped in unison. We were now sliding on our bellies, going at least 20 mph. If we hadn’t grabbed the bar, in a pad-eye, we would have flown over the edge of the deck, flying like Superman. As I was the instigator of this caper, I felt that it was my responsibility to make sure that all of my shipmates were OK before I tried to save myself. If just one guy had gone overboard, I would have intentionally followed him, and that’s no shit. I looked left and right, seeing a couple of guys had already gotten stopped and a couple more had tried to stop, but their momentum had jerked their hands away from their grip on the bar. I saw that my “order” to flop-and-grab was working, and turned my attention to my buddy to my immediate right. He had “frozen,” and hadn’t even tried to grab a pad-eye. I yelled at him, “Get ready, there’s a pad-eye coming up, one foot to your right, 20 feet, grab it.” By this time, the two of us were only about 50 feet from the rear edge of the deck. He became alert and grabbed the bar, but he lost his grip when his weight pulled on his hand. Me, “There’s another one coming up, one foot to your right, 20 feet, grab that motherfucker in a death grip.” He did, and he stopped, getting jerked around so that he was facing forward. Now it was my turn to try to stop, and I was getting closer to the edge of the deck. I grabbed a bar, and the sucker was pulled out of my hand, not slowing me down a whit. I saw another, and grabbed it as if my life depended on it, which it most certainly did. I was jerked around, almost dislocating my shoulder. We were all OK, and I discovered that there was only one more pad-eye between me and certain death and, if I hadn’t caught the one I did, I wouldn’t have been able to even try for that last one. I had stopped less than 20 feet from the edge of the deck. More evidence of predestination.
Some people think that all I’ve done is kick ass and take names. Wrong. I studied, on my own, comparative religions, psychology, and wrote poetry, starting in Junior High School. Just about my favorite activity, outside of coitus with the opposite sex, is taking care of little babies. When I was 4 years old, my grandmother, who raised me, became a foster mother to Los Angeles County Adoption Agency babies. LACAA was probably the strictest adoption agency in the world. Strict rules were strictly enforced. A couple, who wished to adopt a baby, waited 4 years between submitting an application and getting a baby. A foster mother could opt for 1 or 2 babies, with an additional baby, if it was an emergency, and there was no other place to put the baby. My grandmother opted for 2, full time, with an extra baby, if required. One rule, which was strictly enforced, was that there were to be no more than 2 babies, full time. That rule was tossed out the window, when the Agency discovered how well Grandma and I took care of those wee tots. Of course, they had no idea that a 4 year old kid was changing diapers and preparing formula and whole milk, on the stove, then feeding and burping the babies. It only took about a year, and we had 3 babies, full time. Every single baby, that left our home, was fat, happy, and well-behaved. The only times they cried were when they were hungry or needed a diaper change. Speaking of diapers, those were the old cotton ones that had to be affixed with two very large safety pins. There were very sharp points on the pins, because they had to go through 4 or more layers of cloth. I am very proud to say that I never poked a single baby with a pin, while I observed 2 mothers poke their own babies, because they weren’t paying attention to what they were doing. The poor babies would squeal like a Banshee, although there wasn’t any lasting harm. I couldn’t FOLD the diapers worth a damn, but managed to keep everything inside of them, as intended. I only drew the line at one point, and that was rinsing the dirty diapers in the toilet. Changing them, no problem, rinsing them, no way. I would leave the dirty diapers, that I changed, folded up by the toilet, for my grandmother to rinse out.
We both gave all of the babies as much love as they could handle. Each baby only stayed with us for about 2 weeks, before being adopted. A lady would arrive, one day, with a new baby, to exchange for one which she was taking to some lucky couple. As we took care of what we called “county babies,” for a solid 5 years, I figure we took care of about 500 of them. One day, she sat me down and told me what was going to happen the next day. The county was bringing us a “problem baby,” which had already been in about 3 different foster homes. This baby was way under-weight, cried 24/7, and kicked his heels on the wooden slats of his crib, rendering both heels a bloody mess. He had been examined by several doctors, and nothing physically wrong had been found. Oh, and one more thing, he had extra fingers and toes on both hands and both feet, which the county had promised to have surgically removed, when he turned 2 years old, at county expense. She told me, “I know how much you love the babies, but don’t go near him until I [she] get him straightened out.” I was hurt, because I wanted to help the baby, too, but I demurred to her expertise. When he arrived, the next day, my grandmother let me see him, in his crib. Sure enough, he screamed, non-stop, and kicked his heels on the wooden slat. She let me examine his bloody heels and the extra digits, which numbered about 10. The extra fingers and toes were normal sized, perfectly formed, and grew out of the tops of his hands and feet. They weren’t, in any sense, grotesque. Just about exactly 36 hours later, that baby had completely stopped crying and kicking his heels on the slat, started eating like a Russian weightlifter, and became one of the happiest babies I’d ever seen. Nobody had ever shown any love for or to that baby. That’s all it took. In just a day or two, you didn’t even pay any attention to the extra digits. Something that had never happened, with any other baby, was a lady from the county brought a nice-looking couple to look over the baby. I sat in a chair, in the living room, while the couple and the lady from the county, sat on the couch. Grandma brought the baby out, and handed him to the wife. She and her husband looked over the smiling baby for a few minutes, and handed him back. They didn’t adopt him, the assholes. A week or two later, we went through the same routine, with another couple, who also didn’t adopt him. About 2 weeks after that, a third couple adopted him, sight unseen, except for a picture. They got an exceptionally beautiful baby. I’ve long forgotten his name, but I’m sure Grandma remembered it, for the rest of her life.
If a foster mother wanted to take any time off, from taking care of the babies, she had to hire a LICENSED (by the county) babysitter, who had to be at least 12 years old, attend classes, and pass both written and performance tests. Any deviation from this rule was grounds for immediate termination of the employment contract with the foster mother. Starting when I was around 7 years old, my grandmother would leave me in charge of 3 babies, while she went shopping for around 3 hours. She was absolutely not being reckless or negligent, as she knew I would stay in the house and watch them, without her even having to tell me to do it. If anything happened, that I couldn’t handle by myself, all I had to do was step out the front door, bellow “HELP,” and 3 grandmothers would be there, to help me, in a flash; Mrs. Whitley, from directly across the street, Mrs. Scranton, on one side of our house, and Mrs. Harkey, on the other side of our house. She left me with the babies, about once a week, for 2 years. I still love babies.
I think this lengthy reply to a comment deserves its own post.
|Select comment||Tar Baby
|@vikinglifeblog The absolute worst assholes that my shift, in general, and myself, in particular, had to deal with, on a continuing basis, was a white-trash couple who came in every fucking night, for about three months, and “seagulled” the whole casino. Seagulling is looking for money on the floor and in slot trays. These two cunts (one was a male) were so brazen, they would crawl under a 21 table, while people were sitting there, playing Blackjack, looking for chips. We’d thrown the assholes out dozens of times, but they’d be back the next day. One night, I came close to beating the motherfucking male to death, and we never saw them again.
I was standing just inside the far northern end of Pit 5, when I saw another security officer pulling a large metal cart, on wheels, past the pit. It was full of empty drop-boxes, which are exchanged for the ones on the tables, that are full of money. The cart is about 6 feet tall, 10 feet long and, most important at that point in time, 4 feet wide (deep). The distance between the customers, sitting at the tables, and the outer walls of two restrooms, behind them, was only 6 feet, leaving just a foot on each side, for clearance. I saw the scrungy-looking mo-fo, on the far side of the cart, pushing the cart towards the pit. He was walking along, trying to push the cart into the people who were sitting there gambling. The SO pulling the cart didn’t know the asshole was pushing it to the side. I left the pit and prepared to have some words with the SOB. I walked behind the cart, as it was moving. The fuck was giving it one last push, with his hand at face level, when the clumsy motherfucker’s hand slipped off the back of the moving cart, and slapped me in the face. I closed my eyes when I saw his hand coming, but his fingers pushed against my closed eye-lids and pushed both of my old-style hard contact lenses up on top of my eyeballs. I went fucking nuts. The asshole could have ripped both of my fucking corneas out of my head. I grabbed the front of his clothes, with one hand, and slammed his ass into the sharp edge of a steel door frame, going nose-to-nose with him. He kept repeating, over and over, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” while I stared him in the face and screamed, “You fucking asshole,” at him. I knew that, if I started kicking his ass, which I had every right to do, I probably wouldn’t stop until I had killed him. Finally, I said, “Get the fuck out of here,” and he ran to the nearest exit, and I never saw him or his skanky girlfriend ever again.