Your Title Text




If you have corrections, suggestions, pictures you would like to have included, Sea Stories or anytjhing you would like to discuss I can be reached at:


phone:                253-631-1004

Address: Allen E Michler
19039 SE 270th Street
Covington, WA  98034


If you would like to have a "Sea Story" or anecdote regarding VS-891's year of active duty or any incident that occurred before or after included on this page please submit to one of the above.  If need be you can relate the "story to me on the phone and I will add it to this page as accurately as I can.

Title:    It could have been a bad day.........

Submitted by:    Allen E Michler AW1 USNR (10 yrs) LTC, TC, USAR (29 yrs)

Our crew was returning from a patrol along the Washington/Oregon coast.  It was during the year VS-891 was activated and as usual the weather was cruddy from the time we departed Sandpoint until we landed.  The pilot was LCDR Chuck Berg, copilot was LCDR Bill Krayer, I (ATN3 Allen Michler) was riding seat number 3 and AE2 Bob Tanska or AE3 Dick Martin was in seat 4.  
It was common for the patrols to let down IFR going west near Hoquiam until we could see the ocean and return the same way.  Climbing east over the coast Seattle Center would be contacted for an IFR clearance back to Sandpoint.  We had let down out of Hoquiam IFR and after completing our search for the elusive Russian submarines were returning back through the Hoquiam area.  As I said the weather was its usual nasty self and the freezing level was fairly low.  As I recall MR Berg had leveled off and our altitude was not very high as we were crossing the southern part of the Olympics.  Mr Krayer was talking to the Center getting a clearance of some kind and as usual we were IFR.
All of a sudden the plane nosed over sharply and I was pressed up against the lap belt and shoulder harness.  The plane was picking up speed and you could hear the engine RPMs start ot go up.  As quickly as we had started diving we suddenly reversed and started climbing in what seemed to be a steep climb.  I was now feeling the Gs from pulling out of the dive and being pushed down into my seat.  Mr Berg was saying over the ICS, "Instruments Krayer, instruments" indicating he would appreciate a little help.  Mr Krayer was still talking to the Center receiving our IFR clearance.  I saw him  move his left hand over and motioned as if to reassure Mr Berg and said "You're doing fine Berg, you're doing fine."  Needless to say I was helpless in the back.  I could not do anything to help me much less anyone else and I was not convinced "Berg" was "doing fine".
        The plane then pitched down again but not as steeply or violently as the first time.  Then it pitched back up and again it was not as viloent or as steep as the initial manuvers.  There were a few more oscilations by the plane and we settled back into normal straight and level flight.  We continued for a few minutes with little or no conversation and we heard the Center reporting that a commercial plane had been hit by lightning.  It was about that time that Mr Berg saw a hole in the clouds and stated he had had enough IFR for the day.  He spiraled down through the hole and we returned to Sandpoint VFR.
As a crew we did not really talk about the incident but when I had the opportunity I asked Mr Berg about it.  He told me that what had happened was that we were flying straight and level and he was scanning the instruments.  He noticed that the airspeed was dropping towards zero which indicated the plane was in a climb close to stalling.  So he did what he thought was the logical thing and pushed the stick over.  Continuing his scan of the gauges he realized that there were a couple of other indications the plane had not been in a climb but was now in a dive as confirmed by the the scream of the engines.  He pulled back on the stick, went to the basic instruments and was able to level the plane quickly.  
Mr Berg told me what had caused the problem was that the Pitot Tube Heater was not turned on when we started our climb into the clouds.  The tube iced over and without the pitot tube air pressure the airspeed indicater will not indicate airspeed.  The airspeed indicater dropping towards zero triggered the whole event.

As I said, it could have been a bad day.........................            

Title:    More ICE

Submitted by Paul Weaver ADRC

Mick ----

Your story about the ice in the pinot tube made me think of a time when were flying in a Stoof heading to California and encountered a bad icing condition not to long after leaving Sand Point. The ice was making a lot of racket when it would hit along the fuselage and I could see it building up on the leading edge of the engine cowling. Not too long afterward the plane got heavy and required more power to fly and the co-pilot wanted to turn on the wing deicer boots, but the pilot was afraid to in case one wing boot didn't work. This deicer boot operation failure had been reported by other groups before by causing uneven wing lift

and I was getting more nervous about this condition of ice building up and control of plane at this time and being a pilot myself I suggested going to a lower altitude immediately to shed the ice. I was informed by the pilot that the traffic control center assigned him this altitude to maintain. I offered a suggestion that he inform center quickly of our condition and in meantime go to a lower altitude. (Center was sitting warm and dry and we needed the same.)  I persisted and the Pilot initiated a descent informing the Center we were letting down, unable to maintain assigned altitude.

I always believed we would have bought the farm if things continued on that day on what was happening to us. I was never approached by the flight crew about my input that day.( I was only an enlisted man not one of the drivers that day)

Mick use any part of this if you like and I will not mention any names.

Title:    Mag problems, just another day in the life


Another story in where I was using my background experience to solve a problem.

We had this Stoof needed for next flight that was misfiring in one engine. Someone came to me about it and since it was a challenge I went out to see and if it could be fixed by our maintenance crew. I determined it to be magneto

problem and removed the cover exposing the magneto points and discovered the stationary point had come loose. After resetting the gap to match the other magneto I secured the covers and the engine was run and all was normal again.( I was part of Quality Control group and OK'd the fix ).


The station people who were to look over us heard about my work came down and said we had to change the engine totally. My remark was when the plane comes back from its flight we will look into it. Plane came back with no squawks and nothing more was ever said. Guess I stepped into someone's area and was not aware of it.

(My experience with magnetos started way back in WW2 as well as in civil aviation when I would completely take them apart and rebuild, and time to the engines.)

Title:    Memorbillia.........

Submitted by Paul Weaver ADRC

On returning to North Island after being catapulted from the USS Yorktown I went over to the airplane of the Skippers as he was preparing to leave and asked him to wait a minute for a souvenir from the launch. When you are launched the sling shot where it attaches to plane has a fuse link which breaks and leaves behind a portion that stays with the plane, this I gave to him. Many years later he told me he always kept it on his office desk as a paper weight and a reminder of the time.

I had known our Skipper, Walt, for many years as his wife and mine had worked in same office for the telephone company at one time. We visited together shortly before his passing and he meet my Grandson who was then heading to Pensacola for training to be a pilot. Today the Grandson is a Marine Captain flying Helicopters over there in Iraq and Afghanistan. Walt told the Grandson he wanted to be a Marine pilot himself in the beginning of his training.

Title:    Arnie's Free Drinks - North Island

Submitted by Paul Weaver ADRC

One time on Liberty in San Diego after crossing over on the ferry from North Island we decided to stop in this tavern to see what was happening in there. The bartender mistook these fellows for undercover police. After a couple drinks it was decided to move on at no charge and a friendly wave from the bartender. (Arne you didn't look like a real Cop, and I wouldn't pass as a real one either) Oh, the other guy was Paul W.

Title:    How Arnie Lost his Pipe at The San Diego Zoo

Submitted by Paul Weaver ADRC

Another Arne -------

Another time on a liberty to the San Diego Zoo all was going well until we reached the monkey cages and at this time you could get quite close to the cages. It seems Arne thought one of the moneys was eyeballing his pipe he had in his mouth wanted a puff on it. The pipe was pointed in that direction which was thought to be in a safe distance from the cage. Those little guys have got a long reach. It didn't puff on it, it ate it. The comment was "that pipe cost a lot of money "and he wasn't going in after it.










Title:    Once Upon a Time in PAR Land NAS Alameda

Submitted by Paul weaver ADRC

On one journey to PAR to accept one of our Stoofs from a major inspection. I did an inspection of my own of equipment that came with it when it entered their shop. It was getting late in the day when I discovered a deep gouge in the Plexiglas cover over the torch light located in the right wing. This I felt was due to a work stand blow to it and was not acceptable or safe in this condition to our Squadron. After much discussion and voice raising we did get new one installed. The warehouse people had gone home and had to return to fill the order and they and others weren't too happy with me. The next time I went down they remembered me and my requests went smoothly.

Title:    TBM Engine Woes at Medford, Oregon

Submitted by Paul Weaver ADRC

One time on a flight from Alameda the engine (TBM) started to spew out

a lot of
oil and we were in the Medford Oregon area so the pilot landed

there. Since it
was late in the day he notified NAS Seattle we would be

staying overnight
 there. The pilot had friends' living there which was no

problem for him and as
 for me I had none there. The operations building

had a broken down couch that
the local dog had a claim to and since

I was a guest the dog found a place elsewhere. There weren't any motels

 near so I roughed it out till morning.

 Candy bars were not bad for breakfast.


When morning came I went out to the airplane to examine the engine

and decided I could repair it. About this time a crop dusting

operation opened up
 its hanger door and I was able to get from them

some items to make the fix to
 get home. After the fix I ran the engine

 and the leak was taken care of. The pilot arrived not long after that and I

 we could leave anytime he was ready.

As we were preparing to leave Medford Airport a twin Beech from NAS

Seattle l
anded and taxied up to where we were with a load of mechanics

and tool
boxes. After they looked over my work they couldn't find anything

wrong and
said it was OK to fly it back to Seattle.

 think they were a little mad that I took care of problem without them.

After all I
was a rated Navy aircraft mechanic.


Submitted by Paul Weaver ADRC

Mic – another with no names

One time there was a tragic accident involving an S2F crew in bailing out of the plane while over the State of Oregon, one member lost his life. His church service was to be held in Salem Oregon which was his home town.

A flight was arranged from Sand Point Naval Air station to the Salem Oregon airport for those who would be going to attend the service. The aircraft used for this flight was as I recall a C130 which was dubbed a” Dempsey Dumpster” by those who worked around them. ( a pun, taken from the name on the trash collectors located around the flight line) This cargo plane was used for many purposes in the Military.

On this day all personnel attending were dressed in full uniforms and represented to those at the service his devotion to the Naval Service and comrades. After the services it was announced a time for departure to return to Seattle.

As the time arrived for departure and most all personnel were strapped in, the engines were started and the pilot started to taxi from the parking ramp it was noted we were short a passenger. Someone called out there was a person running down the ramp chasing our plane. This person evidently had misjudged his time in visitation and needed a ride home it seems. This plane had access doors in the rear and this passenger was pulled in while the plane was moving slowly. I think the pilot of the plane knew who this person was and didn’t make a complete stop as he was pulled into the cabin by others. Anyway “Doc” got home that day. The day started with sadness and ended with laughter.







After the Berlin Wall started going up VS-891 was activated on 01 October 1961 for a year.  The first month of Active Duty(AD) was a period of adjustment for the squadron as we shifted into thinking and acting as a military unit.

After the Berlin Wall started going up VS-891 was activated on 01 October 1961 for a year.  The first month of Active Duty(AD) was a period of adjustment for the squadron as we shifted into thinking and acting as a military unit.
Beards were not allowed during our year of AD and Arnie Stray always wore one.  After a week or two conjecture started as to when “they” (those in charge) would make him shave it off to conform to Navy dress and appearance code.  This went on for the month of October and Arnie still had his beard.

were not allowed during our year of AD and Arnie Stray always wore one.After a week or two conjecture started as to when “they” (those in charge) would make him shave it off to conform to Navy dress and appearance code.This went on for the month of October and Arnie still had his beard.


At the morning formation on November 1 I realized when they called his name that I had not seen Arnie that morning as he always stood right behind me.  I did remember seeing some new guy where Arnie usually stood but didn’t think too much of it.  Funny thing was, when his name was called I heard him respond “Here” right behind me.  It was not until after formation was over that I could turn around to check on Arnie.  Much to my surprise I still did not see Arnie.  This new guy was standing there and I finally realized after checking him over closely that it was Arnie without the beard.  “They” had finally caught up with Arnie and made him shave off his beard.

We later heard the story as to why he kept the beard for the month of October.  He had friends at a Sin-bin he frequented in Redmond who had given him a bad time about having to shave off his beard immediately when he got activated.  Arnie, in perhaps a moment of weakness or bravado said he would keep the beard for at least a month and proceeded to bet a fair amount of money on it.  A number of people took him up on it and he would have been in a world of hurt if he lost the bet.

Most of the month of October went OK but on the last Friday of the month the Skipper called him in and told him the beard had to go per orders from the base commander.  Arnie said later he was literally on his hands and knees begging to keep it a few more days until the end of the month.  The Skipper finally relented but told Arnie to keep out of sight and make sure the Base Commander did not see him.  For the next few days until the end of the month Arnie lived down in the AE(electrician) spaces.  He survived on crackers and water and whatever the other electricians would bring him to eat.

He collected his money and no doubt had a good time celebrating with it.  I left the Naval Air Reserve in 1970 to go on to the National Guard and Army Reserve.  When I left Arnie was wearing his beard and still to this day has one.  There are pictures of Arnie on our Lunches and Reunions page of the web site.




  I just read the letters you put on the website, and it reminded me of an incident in 1962.  Wilbur Vincent, a 1st class from Minneapolis, and I had the duty.  We had to check out a search light for a search light run that night.  About 2100 we dragged an APU (auxiliary power unit) out to the airplane, and Vince got in the right seat.  I went out on the wing to cover the plastic dome with my coat.  Vince cycled the light cold to make sure it went up and down and side to side.  It didn’t depress to 45o like it was supposed to, but only went to 30o down.  Vince said it was OK, because they will be looking out at 1 or 2 miles.  When he is ready to light it, I put my jacket out over the dome, since it is about 60 million candle power.  We were told it would light up a football field brighter than daylight at 2 miles.  While it was lit, it had to be kept moving site to side and up and down, or it would melt the plastic dome.  When I shifted my weight, my coat fell down on the ground.  The light was lit, and had to keep moving for 30 seconds or the carbons wouldn’t cycle right and they would stick.  So, here we were, blasting the whole south end of the base, and all the way to Windermere with this screeching white light.  Finally, the 30 seconds is up, and Vince shuts it down.  He yells at me and says “Let’s go.”  I ran down off the wing, unplugged the CPU, and ran like hell back to the hanger.  It wasn’t even 2 minutes before two Shore Patrol pick-ups came down past the other hangers.  People in Windermere were calling the base, thinking UFO’s had landed.  Vince and I sat in the electric shop, drinking coffee like we didn’t know anything.  Chief Calhoun asked if I knew anything about it the next morning, but he never did say anything to anyone.


                                                        Arne Stray, AE1 retired.