George C Duncan USN and Guadalcanal

Keith1967

Recruit
10
5
Oct 14, 2020
This famous Scots-American pilot of VF-15, and later test pilot, Korea veteran and Admiral had enormous experience in WW2. In early 1943 he tells in an interview he briefly flew in PBY-5A in the Guadalcanal campaign artillery spotting for the assault in Munda (he was probably aircrew rather than captain of the flying boat). He is detached from the USS Louisville (where he is an SOC pilot). I believe the PBY-5A squadrons on Guadalcanal flying from Henderson Field were VP-12 and then (from March 1943) VP-54. I assume VP-12 would be the unit he flew with based on the facts that he developed Malaria in this service and that the USS Louisville left the area by April 1943.

regsrds

Keith
 

Barrett

Senior Airman
446
579
Feb 9, 2007
Western United States
I knew George pretty well via Fighter Aces, Tailhook and Golden Eagles. Always fun to speak with him. When The Hunt for Red October came out, I asked if he'd seen it. George grinned, "Seen it? I'm in it!" (I knew that, which is why I asked.) I said "George, you've been in so many movies that you could join the screen actor's guild." His Midway ramp strike also was in Midway (!!) and a couple others.

Anyway: he never mentioned flying PBYs. But he did say that after a Rufe ventilated his SOC in the Aleutians, he visited his detailer and said "I'm a fighter pilot, dammit!" And obviously he became a really good one. He retired as a captain and went to law school.
 

Keith1967

Recruit
10
5
Oct 14, 2020
I knew George pretty well via Fighter Aces, Tailhook and Golden Eagles. Always fun to speak with him. When The Hunt for Red October came out, I asked if he'd seen it. George grinned, "Seen it? I'm in it!" (I knew that, which is why I asked.) I said "George, you've been in so many movies that you could join the screen actor's guild." His Midway ramp strike also was in Midway (!!) and a couple others.

Anyway: he never mentioned flying PBYs. But he did say that after a Rufe ventilated his SOC in the Aleutians, he visited his detailer and said "I'm a fighter pilot, dammit!" And obviously he became a really good one. He retired as a captain and went to law school.
It is his own words so I believe he is recalling a real event. He mentions that the USS Louisville was in the area off Guadalcanal but the seaplane complement had been reduced to two aircraft from four and he was off-loaded for a period with a PBY-5A squadron at Guadalcanal which was artillery-spotting for the bombardment of Munda. It was there he contracted the malaria that sent him back to the USA. While there he bullied his way out of a probable PBY assignment into training to fly fighters. The interview was with the University of North Texas in October 1994, and it can be downloaded as a PDF.

best regards

Keith
 

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