"From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Quonset Point"
As you know, Marines have not been an integral part of the squadron
since 72 or 73, however, prior to this there was always a Marine crew whether it
was for an R4D-8 or a C-130. This story has to do with a plane captain of
an R4D-8 (17219). His name was Andy Holzmer and a finer and more loyal
squadron member you can't find.
It happened one day that the crew was out starting engines. Prior to starting, there was, of course, two Herman Nelson heaters...one on each engine.....with "banjoes" over the leading edge of the cowling. Now, these banjoes were made of plywood and were split down the middle of a circle the diameter of which was larger than the leading edge of the cowling. There was a hole in the center for the prop shaft and a hole at the bottom with a sleeve attached to this bottom hole so one heating tube from the Herman Nelson could be inserted in this sleeve to warm the cylinders. The Herman Nelsons had triple heads and the other two heating ports went to the after part of the engine. These banjoes were hinged on the bottom of the split so as to be able to clamshell around the prop shaft. At the top of the banjo was a hook to keep them closed. When starting an engine (after the
pre-heating), the pre-heater was removed outboard of the wingtips and the banjo removed from the front of the cowling. To do this in the field, the plane captain had to shinny up one prop blade in order to reach the hook. This being done allowed the banjo clamshell to be opened and removed from the engine cowling.
Now, one day the AC (Marine Captain Maurice LeBas) and co-pilot (Marine Captain Joe Walker) were starting their aircraft. Andy had removed the banjo and the Herman Nelson heater from #2 engine and had given the AC the clear sign to start #2. After doing this, he went around to #1 engine, removed the Herman Nelson heater and started shinnying up the prop in order to release the hook and remove the banjo. At the same time, the AC hit the starter switch on #1........which started rotating the prop with Andy hanging on to one blade. The prop threw Andy into the air and he landed outboard of the wingtip. After this, rather disgusted, Any re-entered the aircraft, walked forward, reached in the cockpit, grabbed both captains by the shirtfronts, pulled them to the center of the cockpit, and said, " If youse guys ever do that again to me, I'll kill ya!........SIR!" Then he walked back out, picked up the banjo from the ground where it had fallen, and once again gave them the thumbs up for #2. This is the only time I can think of where flight time was not recorded on a yellow sheet. Andy has about two seconds in the air without benefit of an aircraft.
More later about these two Marine captains. Stories that will curl your hair.