"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
 
      Fallen Heroes
 "Tell
Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We gave Our Today"
LCDR Richard "Dick" Upson was the original CO of VT-5, the "Torpcats". The squadron formed in February, 1943 and deployed aboard CV-10 USS Yorktown on August 31, 1943 as part of Carrier Air Group Five (CVG-5). Flying the TBF-1 Avenger, they were in the thick of the action during the Central Pacific campaign.  LCDR Upson did not return from a search and rescue mission in the Truk area on April 30, 1944. Seen below is Upson's personal aircraft.
Top:  An impressive scoreboard  on the CO's aircraft. A hand signal lamp rests on the instrument panel cowling.

Above:  Upson's crew. "Blip" Searles, left, was the squadron's radar officer. "Rick" Wertman, turret gunner, is at right.

Below:  Shop talk in the ready room.

Above: The Skipper leads the squadron in on the Makin Island raid, November 20th, 1943.

Below: LCDR Upson in his "office". Note his Slote & Klein NAF 1092S summer helmet, discernable by its wide edge tape, chromed wire chin strap buckles and slight "Widow's Peak". 

Below: The "Skipper", just back from a strike mission, enjoys a cup of coffee in the VT-5 ready room aboard USS Yorktown in October of 1943. He is wearing a one-piece HBT suit, commonly used by Navy pilots at the time as an alternative to their issue khaki flight suits. Note the sheath knife carried in the suit's ruler pocket on the outside of the right thigh. Photo from the National Archives, via Dustin.

Bottom:  A screen capture of Upson from the 1944 documentary "The Fighting Lady".