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Robert Brenner
Thoughts By Joe Soldier Story Robert Brenner Pete Caldwell


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Robert Brenner 62-64

I was on board the Oriskany with VA-164 on two CAG-16 cruises… started out with VA-164 in 1960 at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, FL, flew on the super-coni to Lemoore and discharged in 1964.  My primary responsibilities in VA-164 were that of an AME-3 who replenished and repaired the A4D aircraft liquid oxygen and ejection seat systems along with other safety systems for the pilots. I also helped out as a plane captain and ordnance loader too and painted the VA-164 Squadron Insignia in the ships quarters and back at the Lemoore for the baseball field.

The incident with the damaged screw, which I recall was actually the gear that drove it being sabotaged. If I recall correctly, this was in 1963 and we headed for Yokohoma Harbor for repairs. I have in my cruise book pictures of us launching aircraft at dock using hot cat shots. The Japanese harbor people refused to offer assistance should we have a launch issue. I recall spending about 6 months in Atsugi (there when Kennedy was assassinated and also on a prior cruise during the blockade of Cuba) while they repaired the gear (cut a large hole down through all decks from the flight deck to remove and replace the gear.

At the climax of our time in Atsugi and the repair of the ship. As one of the last people to leave after making final repairs to A4D aircraft on our departure from Atsugi, I got the honor of landing on the Oriskany at sea in one of its Mail planes... what an experience that was as the pilot had not qualified in six months, deck was really tossing about, caught the cable while still airborne, and we hit hard with a stop with what felt like my stomach in my throat.  

Also not indicated in your history are the early secret flight operations that we flew into the Vietnam area during 1963 and other times. Any qualified person who requests of Bupers Vietnam service information about secret operations during this period should receive a DD-215 supplement to their DD-214 for that time along with two service medals. Just indicate your service time while aboard the Oriskany during 1961-2 and 1963-4 cruises and indicate they were secret flight operations.


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