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R-4? I knew a man who flew one of those egg beaters in the Philippines during WWII.
Are those strips of bacon he is guiding him with? Safe landing earns him breakfast.
Salty old "Paddles" appears to be wearing a customized set of "cruise" coveralls.
First flight, January 1942! Earlier than I expected.
In 1953, when I was seven years old, our family was living at Ashiya Air Force Base, on the island of Kyushu, in Japan, where Daddy, a Master Sergeant in the United States Army, was stationed on his return from the Korean War.At Christmas, on the football field, Santa Claus arrived in a United States Air Force Sikorsky S-51 helicopter, like the one in the photograph, and I was the very first kid to go running to the helicopter, although at the last second, just as I was reaching the open door of the helicopter, I suddenly stopped, suspecting I might be doing something wrong, as Santa Claus was looking at me, and no other kids were with me.After a split second, all the other kids suddenly appeared, and while I can't quite recall the details, I think all of us kids were able to talk to Santa Claus, and possibly, we were given some sort of treat or gift, although my memory of anything beyond seeing Santa Claus in the doorway of that helicopter is rather vague.I remember that on Christmas morning, Santa Claus had brought me a four-engine stratocruiser passenger plane, that when I rolled it across the floor, there would be some noise, as the propellers turned.For a small boy, life on a United States Air Force Base in Japan was quite the adventure, although I was probably too young and too ignorant to truly appreciate it.Before we moved into quarters on the Air Force Base, we had lived in a Japanese house in Ashiya, and the first time Mama went to give me a bath in a Japanese bathtub, you should have heard me scream, as I thought I was going to be boiled alive in that stone tub with the fire beneath it!So, as a young soldier in the United States Army during the war in the old Republic of Viet Nam, I made sure to take my Rest and Recuperation leave in Japan, wanting to see what I had missed during my boyhood.Well, I had missed a lot, although I had seen a good deal of similar scenes in Hollywood movies, such as, "SAYONARA", and, "FLIGHT FROM ASHIYA" (two of my favorites, which I highly recommend).Merry Christmas, y'all!
John Robert, Santa brought me one of those Stratocruisers too. Worth big bucks now if we still had them and especially if they still worked.Worth a lot more if my knees worked well enough to still get down and push one of those around...…..H