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Sgt Major Pilot

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  • Sgt Major Pilot

    Does anybody remember Sgt Major Beardon. He was the last living enlisted pilot. He was Sgt Major of VMO-1 in 1967.

    His privligies pissed off the youger officers all the time.

    As I was told I believe he past away while undergoing open heart surgey in Hawai, on his way to Viet Nam

  • #2
    I do not remember the SgtMaj you named but I do remember a SgtMaj pilot from H&ms-36 back in the 1959/60 timeframe. We all called him "Flight Suit Phil Mattia". He was a full fledged HAC for the all new HUS-1N, flew HRS-3's prior to the 34's. He was a character to remember> SF

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    • #3
      Last Living E Pilot??

      I was on duty same years as Harvey Bearden. He was not the last living Enlisted pilot. There is a "Flying Peon" reunion group with something over 100 enlisted pilots that meet each year. There is about 350 that are decceased. As I remember the last 3 active duty Enlisted pilots retired in 1971. MGySgt Wildfang was one of those three and he had something over 33,000 flying hours. Dont believe many could top that!! Henry Wildfang graduated from NAP training in class 1943-47. Harvey Bearden graduated in 1946 from NAP training. Talked to the old Maint Chief from VMO-1 in 1966 he said Bearden had a problem and was grounded, didnt know what happened to him after that. SF PM

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      • #4
        Mattia Phillip L.

        Mattia graduated from NAP training in Class 110 in 1942. He is listed as deceased in the "Enlisted Pilots Reunion Roster". SF PM

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        • #5
          Harvey was an active pilot in HMR162 in 1962-63. Lost contact with him when we returned to conus. I flew alot of hops [crew chief] with Harvey and always enjoyed flying with him. I remember He was rough on the officer type sometimes.

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          • #6
            Enlisted Pilots

            Fresh off the farm and newly arrived at Futenma in April of '65, I recall being invited (ordered?) to join a formation on the flightline
            with other H&MS-16 sub-unit members. I think this gathering was to witness the last flight by an enlisted helicopter pilot and, as I recall, the last official flight of the HOK. I assume this was VMO-2.

            Please let me be right about this. I always get corrected at home!

            Lowell Johnson

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            • #7
              Beardon

              IKJohn,
              That won't wash if, in fact, Beardon was still flying in 1967 a full two years later after you guys were on the flightline in 1965. Maybe it was last enlisted pilot in your squadron, and/or the last flight of the HOK before retirement??
              I'd think Paul Moore (PM3777) would have an inside track on this since he was a UH34D pilot and a CH53 pilot and was in the Marine Corps since 1942 and knows almost everybody anyway. After he searches his memory banks he may come up with more information. Right, Paul??
              Semper Fi
              Joe
              Semper Fidelis
              Joe


              Phu Bai tower:
              YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
              Remember, These are "A" models!
              YW-11 BuNo-151939
              '65 Model CH-46A

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              • #8
                Last Enlisted Flight?/

                Lowell, you may be right on the last enlisted pilot in the last HOK flight. As I have stated from the history of NAPs the last three active NAPs retired in 1971. As in the case of Wildfang he was involved in flying C130's and I belive orhers were flying the VIP jets dont recall their designation, think Bob Lurie class 72-45 was in that group. There was also an old NAP flying the Gooney bird down at Da Nang after the date you mention. Probably some others in this group can identify NAP's that were still flying helicopters after the date you mention. For sure they were few & far between in later years . SF PM Edit: Joe , your post came same as my last one in timing. Must correct. Yes Marine Corps 1942 thru 1987 when including 20 years active 1942-1963 than later 14 years Sr Rep MAG-36 Okinawa 1973-1987. Flew UH34 & various derivatives 4 years with VNAF, Vietnam, as Advisory test pilot, flew with Malaysian/RAF SH3D 3 years, 1969 1971, SH3 Wessex with Egyptians 1992. Never was CH53 pilot. Attended NAP training Dec 1943-jul 1944. not designated. SF PM
                Last edited by pm3777; 12-28-2004, 16:41.

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                • #9
                  Back in 1970 I remember a retirement ceremony for the tower chief at ElToro who was an enlisted pilot.

                  We had several guys in my squadron at Campen VMO-5/HML-267 who were of an advanced age for their grade. Wimpy Norton was a 1st Lt and and a guy named Ford was also a 1st Lt and I believe I can recall him as a butter bar. This was circa 1967.

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                  • #10
                    Enlisted Pilot

                    Flew with an enlisted pilot at SOES, El Toro in 1968. Also, flew with what seemed like the oldest Gunner in the world at Phu Bai in late 1968. Gunner Barber I think. When you're 20 they all look old.

                    Wayne Stafford

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                    • #11
                      Naps

                      Back in my R4D Crew Chief days we often had an all enlisted crew on the flight deck. In 1959 as a member of HMR-362 we deployed to NAF Oppama and I think an NAP by the name of Jack Pittman (Trackin Jack) was in H&MS-16. I can remember Flight Suit Phil and Sid Willey. They were in H&MS-36 at MCAF Santa Ana. Those were the days. Any other Oppama Screws out there?

                      S/F

                      Ernie Needham

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom Constantine

                        We had several guys in my squadron at Campen VMO-5/HML-267 who were of an advanced age for their grade. Wimpy Norton was a 1st Lt and and a guy named Ford was also a 1st Lt and I believe I can recall him as a butter bar. This was circa 1967.
                        Wimpy Norton, Will Greenleese, and Bruice Phillips were pilots who were offered (and took) WO rank after being passed over for promotion. Later they were given 2nd Lt. status again. Ford was enlisted and given officer rank along with many others at the time. He was a maintenance type.

                        Lanny

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                        • #13
                          Enlisted Pilot

                          While with VMGR 252 at Cherry Point in 1968 I took a couple of hops to Puerto Rico with an E-9 flying a gooney bird. Sorry, but I don't remember his name.

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                          • #14
                            I remember in February 1968, I was just out of Memhis newly arrived in LTA Santa Ana, there were two Master Gunnery Sergeants and one Sergeant Major flying with HMMT-301. I know the SgtMaj was the Air Station Sgt Maj. I don't know where the MGySgt's were assigned.

                            K.D. Logue

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                            • #15
                              When I came back from Vietnam in Dec. 1970 I was sent to MCAS Cherry Point. I remember a story in the base paper sometime in the middle of 1971 about the last enlisted pilot in the Corps retiring. He was assigned to SOES, but I don't recall his name. Sometime in the late 1970's Henry Wildfang retired he was in VMGR-252 at the time. He was a Chief Warrant Officer 4 at the time, but retired as a Major the highest rank he held sometime back in WW II.

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