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Fixing the Tailhook

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by Carronade, May 4, 2016.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Feb 17, 2010
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    Something I ran across in a magazine called Reminisce, from a radioman/gunner in an SBD on the Lexington, apparently the second one, CV-16:

    "We had just finished bombing Japanese-held islands and had turned back amid heavy flak to return to our carrier, USS Lexington.
    When it was our turn to land, we realized that we were in trouble. The arrestor hook was jammed and would not release - we wouldn't be able to catch the cable on deck and land safely. We might have to ditch in the ocean; there were too many planes on the deck, and we couldn't risk hitting them. Making matters worse, we were running low on fuel.
    I called my pilot on the intercom and told him I was going to crawl into the tail through a very small opening behind the ammo container. I took off my flight suit and climbed in, mindful of the control wires that were moving all the time. Because of our fuel situation, all I could think was hurry, hurry, hurry. Upon reaching the hook, I found empty cartridges hung up on the cable. I dislodged the cartridges, which freed the hook, and then hurried out of the tail wilh no time to spare. My pilot had already started his approach to the flight deck.
    I'm happy that I saved our plane, as well as all the other planes on the flight deck. Most of all, I'm happy I saved our lives."
    - Lou Ortiz
  2. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

    Feb 22, 2008
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    that's a macgyver scene right there! with jack dalton at the controls, even!
  3. ResearcherAtLarge

    ResearcherAtLarge Member

    Jun 27, 2010
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    Wonder what that would have done to the CG......
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Jan 5, 2009
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    Flyers and radio men were inventive if nothing else. I've read numerous accounts of reminiscences that were similar in that they found ways to get around problems. Thanks for sharing.

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