"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
 
Photo Recon
We'd like to use this page to feature any previously unpublished photos you might have in your collection. Rather than using Internet downloads or scans from books, we are looking to showcase your never before published vintage photos or slides here. All you need to do is scan the photo and caption (if there is one) and write a brief explanation if necessary. Then use the "Contact Report" form to email it in. We will, of course, give you full credit, and our thanks, in advance. Carry on!

Above, we have an official BUAer photo, dated May 4, 1945, from Bombing Squadron 4, Operational Training Unit Number Two, which was doing photographic reconaissance training at Jacksonville, Florida. The caption states "OVER THE TARGET-Air Combat photographer has his hands full, keeping cameras 'on the beam', reloading if necessary, and doubling on the machine guns if attacked." It appears a bit of artistic license was being used, as you can see the PSP (pierced steel planking) runway just below the camera port in the belly of the Liberator's forward bomb bay. Regardless, the airman's use of electrically heated suit and gloves, as well as an A-10 Revised oxygen mask, is noteworthy. 
Wow, that was quick! We barely got this new page launched and we've had out first contribution. From the collection of 'Goz', comes this vintage U.S. Navy / Acme press photo of the "Yamato Killers", with it's original caption, dated 11/1/44. Thank you sir!
 
Above, Riley Willetts shares with us his original WWII vintage color tinted studio portrait of enlisted airman Lewis Hughes. Other than his name written on the back of the photo, no other information was available. Of note is the subtle and accurate work done to color the MK-II goggles, "volcano" earcups, B-4 vest and chambray shirt.  The question raised is whether the airman is wearing a white deck helmet, which has been modified to accomodate a chin cup, or, if the artist erred in using white to color what may actually be a tan B.G. Inc. M-450 summer helmet? That you will have to decide for yourselves. Thanks for sending this in Riley!

Below, Jerry K. has sent us a stunning studio portrait of a Polish-American Marine enlisted airman, PFC Adolph Rubinowicz, Jr. of VMSB-141, who sadly did not survive the war. He perished in October of 1944, we believe in a training accident, at the age of 21. This photo was mailed to family members back in Poland, thus the inscription on it's reverse side. Jerry also provided a recent photo of Private Rubinowicz's grave marker.

After seeing the photo of Adolph Rubinowicz, Adam Lewis contacted us with some further information, which is excerpted below:

"In 2005, a female cousin of Adolph, in Gdansk, sent me a note through my website asking for help – to discover what happened to her WW2 Polish relative. She had only a picture (the one you show).  I’m a sucker for that kind of appeal and jumped in.  I’m attaching the material I uncovered including the USMC casualty card I got from headquarters;  a link to the Forum where I got help from a member in Detroit who got the cemetery pictures.  http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=125628&highlight=rubinowicz  and his file from the Personnel Records Center.  She was thrilled to get the information, thus closing the loop on the hitherto unknown fate of her cousin. "

We apologize for our confusion on who had researched this airman and wish to thank Adam, not only for his extensive research efforts but for clearing this issue up as well. It is our desire to always give credit where credit is due.
For those of you who don't know Adam, he is web master of a terrific site, Plane Fun, which you should visit here:  http://adamsplanes.com/  In addition to his scale model aircraft interests, you will also find the most complete information anywhere on Marine Carrier Air Group Two. Adam serves as their de facto unit historian and has gone to great lenghts over the years to document their service and pay tribute to the members of VMF-512 and VMTB-143, both living and departed. A job well done sir!

Below is the additional photo and the casualty card for Sgt. Rubinowicz that Adam sent us.

Greg Pons has sent us this highly detailed photo of Lt. (jg) Roy "Judge" Bean, who was assigned to VBF-85 aboard the U.S.S. Shangri-La (CV-38). If you look closely at the edges of Bean's life vest, you will see several dark blotches. This is a tell-tale sign that the reverse side of the vest has been darkened with aircraft camouflage paint. This was a common practice by fliers after George Gay's battle of Midway experiences and was done to facilitate the airman remaining unobserved if he found himself down at sea in the proximity of Japanese "rescuers". Thanks Greg!
 
Below, is an official U.S. Navy photograph, dated November 1, 1944, of Comdr. David McCampbell. Taken the week after his legendary nine victory combat of October 24, which increased his score to a Navy-leading thirty kills. We get a good view here of the gray canvas, rigger made, protective sleeve that covered the revolver ammo carried in loops on his shoulder holster strap.
Above is a slide of Lt(jg) Arthur Singer Jr. with his fiance', Alice. This was found in a box of his personal photographs and papers. Singer was a double ace with Fighting Fifteen, the Hellcat equipped squadron of McCampbell's Air Group Fifteen, aboard U.S.S. Essex during the second half of 1944. Thanks go to Greg Pons for identifiying Singer's previously unknown companion.