Archive for the 'Aviation' Category

From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 6

November 9th, 2015 by xformed

Col Dodenhoff – Total Flight Hours 1943 Page – 19431226-450w.png

Subtitle: Flying the SNV-1, or “the Vultee Vibrator” (the assigned name “Valiant”)

As noted on the Wikipedia page linked above, the initial designation of this aircraft was the BT-13, and the SNV-1 was a batch of 1350 planes transferred to the US Navy. This airplane was the most produced primary fight trainer of all types in the WWII era.

I missed this new aircraft type in the Col’s logbook, until one of our breakfast crew, who had flow it himself in the early post-war time frame, exclaimed “Oh, he flew the Vibrator!” while looking at the logbooks.

Many years ago, I first was introduced to the Vultee Vibrator when Jim Helinger, Sr, walked up to one at Sun n’ Fun, placed his hand on the fuselage and said “We called this the Vibrator!”

Here is the December 1943 logbook entries noting Col Dode took his first fights in his second aircraft type, which was the normal progression for both Navy/Marine Corps and Army Air Corps trainees.

Click for a larger image

Jim, Sr did note this aircraft was the secondary trainer for those cadets marked for the fighter pilot assignments. I don’t recall the airframe that future bomber pilots would be next trained in.

Here’s some historical video, albeit from the Army Air Corps viewpoint, I’m reasonably certain the fight training in this aircarft would have been very similar in all services.

Bonus material: The BT-13 History Site.

Category: Aviation, Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 6

From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 3

September 30th, 2015 by xformed


Subtitle: First Flight

On September 10th, 1943, Dode made his first recorded flight. He would have been sitting in the forward seat, with Lt Doran (service unidentified – it could have been wither a Marine, or, maybe more likely due to the missing “2” or “1,” may well have been a Naval aviator) in the rear seat as his instructor pilot.

Flying 1.5 hours, he began his career as a Marine Aviator. Without comment in the notes section, it must have been a routine flight.

Based on the equipment issued page (the one preceding this page), I’m going to presume the flight occurred at Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX.

Click for a larger image

His aircraft logged was the ubiquitous N2S, the legendary primary trainer in WWII, but better known to many as the Stearman PT-17, Bureau Number (or “BuNo” in official abbreviation for future reference in this series) 07732. The particular variant, the -3 version, one of 1875 delivered to the US Navy, with the Continental R-670-4 Radial engine.

Click for a larger image

“Boeing Stearman N67193” by Juergen Lehle – Own work (See also AlbSpotter Flugzeugbilder Aircraft Photos). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

The actual manufacturer’s formal designation was the Boeing-Stearman Model 75 The N2S was the Navy designation. for the aircraft. In this regard, he was having the common experience for the aviators of this time. This airframe was used by the US and Canadian forces, with over 10K of them being made between the production in the 30s and 40s. After WWII, they were sold as surplus, helping kickstart the General Aviation market for private pilots. These surplus planes were widely used for crop dusting and airshows for wing walkers.

Some of the type of training for flying Col Dodenhoff would have received would have been like what is contained in this WWII flight training video:

Category: Aviation, Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military, Military History | Comments Off on From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 3

From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 2

September 27th, 2015 by xformed

Subtitle: Gear issue

Click for the large image

I do not have any indication of the date of the picture, but judging from the flight gear (the headgear in particular), it would be pre-Korean War era, since hard style helmets were in place during those times based on my research. The plane is a Corsair airframe of some sort, of which his logs showed, across the many hours, both the F4U and FG-1 models, which would appear the same in this view.

From his DD 214: Born in Brooklyn, NY on 2February 28th, 1923, George also was claiming residence when he was commissioned in the Marines on June 1st, 1944, showing that as his home of record. I don’t have a record of his date of actual entry into service, but he must have been in an aviation cadet program of some sort, as you will see in his logbook as we explore his history. Other service noted was 1 year, 5 months, 23 days for his total service time. That would put him enlisting for his service on December 9th, 1942. He was 19 years old when he raised his right hand and took his oath of office for military service.

Opening the logbook, the first page is the record of equipment issued:

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Note in the picture of the equipment issued, the rank of “A/Co” seems to be scribbled through and “2ndLT” written next to it. Equipment appears to be mostly issued ar Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX on June 2nd, 1943 under the signature stamp of CAPT J.M. Easter (SC). That date aligns with the next important event in the retelling of the history of Dode.

A connected bit of history from the NAS Corpus Christi wikipedia page is George was on the base at the same time President George H.W. Bush was graduating from his fight training in June 1943.

Next stop: First flight!

Category: Aviation, Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military | Comments Off on From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 2

From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 1

September 24th, 2015 by xformed

This will be a series, combining hard copy personal historical documents, web based research and finally, the years of story telling I was so blessed to have been the recipient. Col Dodendhoff had had a full career of history making events, seemingly small at the time, and when they happened, seen by him as just another day at “work,” but in retrospect, when the larger record of the surrounding events and circumstances can be linked together, some remarkable stories appear.

First off: The previous post has the memorial service for Col Dodenhoff, where he was honored by his family, friends and neighbors.

For the last few years, when “Dode” couldn’t drive any longer, a few of us took turns being duty driver of the staff car to get him to our bi-monthly Saturday morning breakfast meetings. In the last year, I did it a bit more frequently than the others, and many days, upon return to his residence, I’d spend some time keeping his computer system running smoothly and helping him get the pictures of the association monthly art displays downloaded from his camera to be printed for the historical record of the activities of his building complex.

The book shelf above the computer and monitor held several models, mostly factory type carved wooden ones, which represented a small portion of his flying career. I asked for more detail, and in addition to the trips to and from breakfast, I received even more data points.

His wife, Priscilla, has graciously given me his models, his log books, snap shots taken while on cruise, some military and civilian newspapers and a coveted trophy he won in a bombing competition in 1955.

In a serial manner, I will try to summarize the Col’s 29 years in the service of our nation as a Marine Aviator, pulling together what I can document, find and recall to provide some context of his place in history as a Marine, and as an aviator.

In any case where I place a picture within the post entry so it fits the page restrictions, I will post the full sized version that can be seen via a link with the picture. Logbooks being logbooks, they are hand written, so a good quality picture is the best way to see what it says and OCR is out of the question.

With that intro, look forward to checking back regularly to see the additional posts in the series, and I will publish the recountings in the timeline sequence in which that actually occurred. Please, if you have supporting information, post it in the comments to connect any other dots with documenting!

Click the picture for the full sized image

Click the picture for the full sized image

What’s inside? Return for the full accounting of the real life adventures of Col Dode.

Category: Aviation, Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military, Military History | Comments Off on From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 1

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