Thursday, January 31, 2008


On 13 June 1944 our air group was launched with fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes to hit the Agana and Orate alrfie1ds at Guam. Strike CAG-2 Lt. Cdr. J. D. Arnold with wing man Ens. Donald C. Brandt were flying F6F-3's (0930). As we pushed over in a bombing run anti-aircraft fire intensified and Ens. Brandt's plane was hit almost immediately with smoke pouring out. As he opened the canopy with the plane headed for Agana Bay I called to tell him not to ball out yet (I didn’t think ke could make it to the bay and to parachute to the land area meant capture and death-- we had been briefed that the Japanese were taking no prisoners with beheading the most likely result). In the next minute he left the plane while nosed over in a fast dive and the parachute snapped open. The wind carried him towards the bay, and several of us started to strafe the beach where it was apparent he was going to land about 500 yards off shore.

I called the life guard submarine STINGRAY which was supposed to be station off the harbor entrance. (Skipper of the sub was Lt. Cdr Sam Loomis). Realizing the sub might be attacked, I called for dive bombers to hit AA positions along the harbor entrance and for all fighters with ammunition remaining to set up a strafing circle and to take out the boat which was departing 'the beach and heading for Brandt’s raft which he had managed to crawl into.

(1230) With ammunition gone, I headed back to the ship to refuel and rearm so we could keep the shore batteries busy so they wouldn’t have time to shoot at Ens. Brandt. Meantime the wind was pushing him away from the beach. We were hoping that the wind would take Brandt toward the bay entrance. At about 1430 we returned from the HORNET rearmed, and commenced runs on the beach and the dive bombers on shore gun positions. At this point, I was cussing the skipper of the sub for lack of action. As I flew low over Brandt in his raft, I noticed he seemed to be moving faster than the wind would ordinarily propel him -- a second pass and the reason was apparent -- he had secured his raft to the sub's periscope with a line and was being towed towards the harbor entrance. It was more important than ever that we

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silence all guns in the area, and that we did. At about 1630 the STINGRAY surfaced and took Ens. Brandt aboard.

I learned later that after our troops landed on Guam in August 1941~, a diary was recovered from a dead Japanese soldier. On the afternoon of 13 June 1944 the soldier had watched Ens. Brandt’s rescue and had written down these impressions: “The Americans are very stupid. They risk a submarine for one man. I think they have very foolish minds>’

This memo was hand typed by Admiral Arnold and OCR’d for this posting.


On April 29 - 30, the HORNET launched Air Group TWO against Truk which was one of the largest Japanese bases In the Pacific. The first strike had been made on 16 February and the magnitude of the development of the island base had been well photographed. The first attack had focused on ships and aircraft, leaving ground targets largely un-touched. TORPEDO TWO targets were the airfields gun positions, buildings, docks and the Dublon seaplane base. Bombs were dropped with great success as warehouses and an ammunition dump went up with large explosions. The airfields were made ot look like swiss cheese and several ships in the lagoon were rolled over.

As we retired, Lt. Cdr. Arnold heard Scott Scammell say he was hit and going down near the atoll entrance. Noting that he was landing near the heavily armed island of Faleu. guarding the entrance, I called for our dive bombers (VB-2) to attack the island. The bombers literally sunk the island. So effective was there operation that as we circled and watched Scott’s life raft blown towards the island he and his crewmen carried the raft across and launched it back into the water on the other side. Their only injury was from stepping on a hot bomb fragment.

At the same time I called for the dive bombers, a call as made to the rescue submarine on station. This turned out to be the TANG commanded by my classmate Dick O’Kane. Scott and his crewmen were picked up and joined nineteen other pilots and crewmen already recovered by TANG.

Coincidentally, a Kingfisher two place seaplane (OS2U) launched from a cruiser in the task force group had already picked up seven pilots and crewmen and was unable to take off because of the load and sea condition. O'Kane finally had to take all aboard the sub and then sank the plane by gunfire.


This memo was hand typed by Admiral Arnold and OCR’d for this posting.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


We had formed and trained at Quonset Point, Rhode Island--flew our planes cross country to Santa Rosa, California, and after some delay, embarked as passengers aboard USS CABOT to Hawaii. More training and delay but hopeful, as the Navy's first SPARE AIR GROUP, for a carrier to adopt us and give us a platform from which we could carry the fight to the enemy.

On 3 March 1944 at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Halsey assigned us to the newly arrived USS HORNET and on the 4th we were headed west to MAJURO, Marshall Islands. On arrival we were assigned to TASK FORCE 58 and became the Flagship for Rear Admiral “Jocko” Clark (58.1).

March 20th all squadron and air group commanders, were summoned to the Flagship of Admiral Mitscher for briefing and planning for our first strike. The Admiral said that Palau was second only to TRUK in its importance as a fleet anchorage for the Japanese. If we could bottle up or deprive their fleet elements the use of that harbor it would greatly enhance an operation planned later for Hollandia, New Guinea. His Operations Officer, Cdr. Gus Widhelm, an old friend, proceeded to brief the Torpedo Squadron Commanders on a few of the details we needed to put together our attack plan for laying the mines (MK 52 2000 Lb. parachute type).

This was to be the first aerial mine laying job by any element of the U.S. Navy. Then came some very important specifics:

1. The mines had to be released at no higher than 200 feet--so chute would open.
2. The speed of the aircraft should be at exactly 120 knots, straight and level -- no jinking.
3. The narrow channels we were mining had hills some 400 feet high on both sides and were probably heavily armed!
4. In order to cover all channels we would probably have to make three or four trips!
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About this time I asked Gus, who was nervously waving a cigar as he talked, if he had another cigar. He produced one and the squadron commander on my left asked if he had another. We all alternately smoked and chewed those cigars through the remainder of the briefing. On return to the HORNET I decided I would put off briefing my pilots on the details for several days because the loss of sleep can be dangerous for someone flying a torpedo plane. Anyway we had nine or ten days until launch.

Proceeding towards Palau, on the night of March 29, our night fighter Combat Air Patrol intercepted and splashed a Japanese BETTY (twin engine bomber capable of carrying torpedoes). Since the presence of our Task Group had been discovered, it was decided we would have a pre-dawn launch.

There had been much discussion with the Air Officer regarding the spotting of my plane on the flight deck because I was to be first off and no one was quite sure how much deck was needed to get airborne with a 2000 lb. mine. Since the deck was fully spotted there was no appeal. To bed and up for the pre-dawn launch.

As we manned the planes in the pre-dawn darkness, I told my radioman, Adair, who was also the tunnel gunner to train the tunnel gun straight down and if he felt it striking the top of a wave to let me know. (Only a short time before, we had installed a radio altimeter which was supposed to give a much more accurate reading than our barometric altimeter, but complete confidence was lacking). As we took off into the blackness the radio altimeter, set for flight deck height, went immediately from yellow to red and in seconds Adair reported, "Skipper, 'the gun is bouncing!" Wheels were up and flaps bleeding slowly as I watched the radio altimeter go from red to yellow to green.

The rendezvous of our torpedo planes was accomplished with minor strain, but the accompanying fighters left something to be desired. As we approached Palau the sun was rising behind us -- a beautiful day with billowing clouds all around. Additional color was added to the scene as anti-aircraft bursts appeared as colored
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clouds all around. we pushed over and headed for the various labyrinthine shipping lane channels. As we slowed to 120 knots and leveled off at 200 feet, you realized that the anti-aircraft guns were shooting down on you and you felt like a duck on the opening day of the hunting season!

Those mines were laid and channels closed. (On following flights the mine laying aircraft were given another 100 feet of flight deck for take-off).

Torpedo Two pilots were Lt. Cdr, J. D. Amold (Squadron Commander), Lt. Joe Moore, Lts. (jg) Kenny Glass, Troy Porterfield, Moose Langford, Ken Nelson, Clint Branham, K. G. Sull!van, Scotty Scammell, Ens. Bernard and Ens. Richards. (We lost Ens. Bereolos on the takeoff).

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This memo was hand typed by Admiral Arnold and OCR’d for this posting.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

19 January 2008 - Final Flight

The photograph above shows US Navy Chaplain LCDR The Reverend Cartus Thornton reading the gospel, with Jackson E. Arnold and The Reverend Keith Acker assisting. Admiral Arnold's urn is on the table, along with the burial flag, a photograph of he and his wife and his wings and medals. Behind the portrait, his unique four star flag can be seen.

Admiral Arnold's funeral service was held 19 January 2008 at the NAS North Island Chapel. Chaplain LCDR The Reverend Cartus Thornton, Wing Chaplain assisted The Reverend Keith Acker of Blessed Trinity Church of Alpine, CA, who had been Admiral Arnold's priest for the past couple of years. The Admiral's great nephew, Jackson E. Arnold was Acolyte and read High Flight, the poem by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, the American pilot who died while flying with the RCAF four days after Pearl Harbor as the result of a mid-air collision in the UK.

The funeral was attended by his sister, Dorothy Sivyer; his brother in law, Rod McChesney, a fellow torpedo plane pilot and all 26 of his nieces and nephews, as well as numerous grand nieces and nephews and friends.

At the conclusion of the service, the 11 man Honor Guard performed the flag folding ceremony; then the flag, which had flown over both ARIZONA and HORNET, was presented to his sister, Dorothy Sivyer. Following the flag folding ceremony, the congregation went outside for the customary 21 gun salute, taps and a fly-over by two F-18 Hornets from Navy Leemore.

All of the family, the US Marine Honor Guard, the Hornet pilots all came together at a reception following the service at the lobby of the I building and I Bar, the final surviving pilot bar in the US Navy. All in all, it was as Admiral Arnold directed, "Quite an operation."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Funeral Arrangements

Admiral Arnold’s funeral arrangements have been finalized as follows:

Date: 19 January 2008 - Saturday
Time: 1430 (2:30pm)
Place: NAS North Island Chapel

The funeral will be a full military honors funeral, with an Honor Guard, Flag Team and live bugler. Weather permitting there will be a Missing Man formation flyover, tentatively set to be United States Marine Corps F-18 Hornets from MCAS Miramar.

Following the funeral service, there will be a reception at the NAS North Island Officers’ Club, in the tradition of aviators everywhere. Jack asked that it be, “Quite an operation.”

If you plan on attending the funeral, and I really encourage you to do so, please let me know so we can plan for you. Also, the funeral will be held on an active military installation. If you do not have a base decal, we will need to make arrangements for a guest pass for you. If you do not provide information for the guest pass, there will be parking outside the gate with buses to the chapel and Officers’ Club. Please see the form at the end of this letter.

If you have any questions, please call or e-mail me: (800) 207-9301 •