20 years of Military Service

Brian Strausbaugh - US Navy

I entered the Navy right after my 21st Birthday on the 26th of April 1956, and I retired on June 25, 1975. All of my Service time was on the West Coast spending 12 years out of the 20 at the Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island at Oak Harbor, Wash.

After Boot Camp in San Diego, Calif., I was sent to Norman, Okla. for basic introduction to Naval Aviation Program. There was a specific name to the school or training, however that escapes me at the moment. After Norman, Okla. I was sent to Memphis, Tenn. for Aircraft Structures Maintenance, and Repair.
In January of 1957 after Graduation from school at Memphis. I was sent to Whidbey Island where I was assigned to a Heavy Mining Squadron VAHM-10 which was flying the Lockheed P2V6M, a Twin Radial Engine Aircraft with a Small Jet Engine mounted under each wing used mainly to assist in take- off’s.

In the first year with the Squadron their mission changed from Mining to Anti-Submarine Warfare (VP-17), and a model of the P2 changed from the P2V6M to the P2V5F. Same basic aircraft just different mission. I performed maintenance on both aircraft, and also had the opportunity to become a Flight Crew Member which required General Mechanical knowledge of the Aircraft. I assisted the pilot, and co-pilot in monitoring engine related instruments, and other systems such as fuel, and hydraulic’s, and pointing out malfunction’s or problems should one occur.

I made yearly deployments to various places. The deployment’s were six month’s in duration usually to Japan, and to Kodiak, Alaska. Prior to leaving VP-17 they upgraded to the P2V-7s, the newest Model of the P2 Aircraft made by Lockheed Corp.

In 1960 after nearly four years with the P2 Aircraft, I rotated to my 1st Shore Duty Tour. I just moved from one hangar to another, and began duty with Support to the various Squadron’s with different Aircraft that were Stationed at NAS Whidbey.

My next rotation back to Sea Duty I was transferred to North Island, San Diego Calif. assigned to VP-40 a Sea Plane Squadron flying the Martin Marlin P5M-2. Same exact Mission as my first tour with VP-17, only with a very large Sea Plane! I spent a little over three years with VP-40 having the same duties as with VP-17. The Deployments with VP 40 were to the Philippine Islands, Sangley Point.

From San Diego I returned back to Whidbey Island for another Shore Duty Tour this time with a Training Squadron flying the A3D-2 Sky Warrior, a Twin Jet which flew on, and off Air Craft Carrier’s. Perhaps the largest Aircraft ever to do so. If not the largest certainly one of the largest. While with VAH-123 I experienced my first visit aboard an Aircraft Carrier. The mission of the Squadron was to train pilot’s to land, and take-off from a carrier. Needless to say it was very different from land take-off’s, and landing’s!

I had advanced in rank by this time to pay grade E-6, and I supervised as well as performed maintenance on the A-3 Aircraft. Just prior the going back to Sea Duty at Moffitt Field in the San Francisco Bay Area of Calif. I was Advanced to pay grade E-7 Chief Petty Officer. At San Jose, Calif.  NAS Moffitt Field I was assigned to my third duty with yet another VP Squadron Flying the P-3 Orion a four Engine Turbo Prop this time.

This was the “Cadillac” of flying with the Navy. This aircraft was originally introduced into the Commercial Aircraft Industry as the the “Lockheed Electra”, and later was adopted by the Navy as a replacement aircraft for the very old, and tired P2V’s. Here again I was involved with the VP- ASW entity of the Naval Air Force. Having advanced to the Rating of CPO I now was pretty much involved as a Supervisor of Maintenance.

I did however have the opportunity to become a Flight Engineer in the P-3 Aircraft. This designation was way more advanced than my previous duties as a “Plane Captain” while in the P2V’s or P5M’s. Flight Engineer designation in the P-3 Air Craft was a whole new “Ball Game”! I under went three month’s of extensive schooling learning the P-3 Engine, Hydraulic, Electrical System, and Propeller Systems operation, and I personally dealt with any, and all malfunctions involving the afore mentioned systems while operating on the ground or in flight.

Deployment’s with the P-3 Squadron, VP-19 again we made deployment’s to the Philippine Islands this time to Subic Bay, Cubi Point Naval Air Station. With VP-19 we pretty much flew all over the world. In the three years I was in the P-3 program I saw more of the U.S., and Pacific Theater  than all the rest of my time in the Navy. Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, China as well as many Military Bases across the U.S.

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