June 17, 1942 (Wednesday)

Pearl Harbor

Patrol westerly — nothing.

Burnes, Glanz’ second pilot, told me of the gross bit of bungling on the part of our command center today. After a regular take-off this morning on patrol, they routed Glanz and his crew out of bed to patrol an unassigned sector — no other dope, just that. He had had a regular patrol yesterday. Out they went — 700 miles, and turned back. Burnes was sitting in the pilot seat on the Sperry Gyro pilot. Suddenly, out of the corner of his of his eye, he saw pass underneath the plane in a flash distinct forms of two people swimming, one with arm upraised. By the time he got off the Gyro, and got turned around, and headed back, he lost them. They searched back and forth and then, because of a lack of spare gas and a wish to get to Pearl before dark, they gave up and headed on home, convinced that it was all a delusion. When I got back, they found that indirectly they had been intended to go on the search for an army transport (from Canton — lost!) down in the same location that they saw the two swimmers! No one had given them the least hint of it, and even the sector they had patrolled, have been patrolled by another plane on the usual schedule. Glanz was furious – and rightly! – two or more lives sacrificed needlessly. I think with horror of the feelings of those two swimmers when they saw the patrol plane going towards Pearl. Poor devils.

Incidentally, that’s the second Army plane in the last two days to get lost and be forced down at sea. Those damned Army pilots are the world’s rottennest navigators. They have absolutely no conception of navigation and have consequently lost millions of dollars of top-notch planes which we Navy pilots would give our shirts for. The station Admiral, was recently heard to remark, concerning Midway, that the “wrong pilots were in the right planes” and vice versa.

It was “Stack” Glanz who picked up the army pilots from the B-17E forced down yesterday. Their raft was sinking when he spotted them – luckily. They were amazed, on the return trip, to find that all of our pilots were navigators. In gratitude for the rescue they presented the crew with their lifejackets – (the Army models much superior to ours.)

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