Dates with VP40: 16 June 1951 to 12 Oct. 1951 Rate: AL3; Crew No. 4 under Lt.Cdr. Leon Freeman; AL3 Highest rate;
Comments: I was a WW2 veteran recalled to duty in Oct. 1950, assigned to FASRON 110 when VP 40 was being assembled and trained for overseas duty in the Korean War the following June. Our planes were salvaged from WW2, one of which had been with Adm. Byrd on his post WW2 polar expedition. That plane had 3 bladed props. The rest of the VP40’s planes had 4 bladed props. (CA3 was the side no., if my memory serves me right. Our plane was CA4 (Charlie-Able Four) and our squadron radio call sign was “Queen Bee”, hence the Queen Bee in our squadron insignia for which I received $15 for designing.
At the end of our tour in Japan, Lt. Cdr. Leon Freeman and I were assigned to be instructors on a flight with a crew from the squadron relieving VP40. Weather conditions at 5:AM being what they are at that time of year in the Inland Sea of Japan hampering visibility, our plane had just fired its first JATO and was running on the step ready to fire the second when it hit a channel buoy and caught fire and sank in the seaway. There were no casualties fortunately, although we had a full load of fuel and depth charges in the bomb bays. Upon VP40’s return to San Diego, I was discharged to civilian life once more. For that tour of duty I was awarded the Air Medal.
Robert L. Maley.