Of Hurricanes and Hunters

john's picture

My father was one of the original Hurricane Hunters.  As a young man, he had been drafted into the army near the close of World War II.  He was assigned to the Army Air Corps and decided to apply for training as meteorologist.  He recalls flying in B-17s and other aircraft as part of his assignments.

At the end of the war, he went back to a quiet civilian life, married my mother, and embarked on a series of cross country travels.  In 1948, my brother was born, followed by me in 1950.  Then in 1952, with the outbreak of the Korean Conflict, he was called up again into the (now) United States Air Force. 

He was assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, and was immediately sent to Bermuda, to Kindley Air Force Base.  My mother, brother and I followed on the converted troopship U.S.S. General Hodges.  Despite the fact that I was less than 2 years old, I remember the trip vividly.   As we left New York harbor, my mother and I were directly beneath the ships siren/whistle.  It let go just as we were passing the Statue of Liberty and scared me to death.  The ship rolled and pitched on the entire voyage to Bermuda.  I was seasick much of the way.

At length we reached Bermuda.  Our house was across the bay from Hamilton, the principal town on the island.  Kindley Air Base was on the opposite end of the Island.  Every morning, we would take the ferry across the bay to Hamilton, where my brother attended kindergarten.  I remember seeing chameleon lizards everywhere, crawling along the walls in our house.  There were flying cockroaches and other large insects as well.

My father was assigned as a meteorologist with primary duty to fly into hurricanes in various areas of the Atlantic region.  He tells of flying 20 hour missions in B-29 Stratofortresses into and across active hurricanes, penetrating the eyewall to conduct systematic measurements of temperature, pressure and humidity in an attempt to understand the genesis and inner workings of these storms. 

They had many adventures.  My father would sit in the front blister of the B-29, in the seat that had been occupied during the war by the bombardier.  Instead of a Norden Bombsite, he had the radar altimeter and other instruments to read and record.  As a part of his duties, he was to call out to the pilots readings of pressure so they could constantly readjust their pressure altimeters.  Once he got busy and forgot to attend to this vital task.  The pilots proceeded to fly a constant pressure surface into the hurricane, eventually realizing they had a problem when they found themselves 50 feet above the waves in the middle of the stor

On many occasions, the planes were struck by lightning.  My father recalls seeing ball lightning in the plane, a rare phenomenon.  Once they watched a glowing ball move slowly down the waist of the B-29, between the silent and somewhat awe-struck crew members.  At other times, they saw phenomena similar to St Elmo's Fire, glowing discharges from the wing tips, booms, and other protrusions on the plane.

My father recalls that when the crew flew through the eyewall, it was almost magical.  The clouds would part, it was unnaturally calm, and they could see blue sky overhead.  After a few minutes of peace and calm flying, they would re-enter the storm with all of its violent wind shears.

During 1953, a series of 14 major hurricanes and tropical storms menaced Bermuda and other areas.  Bermuda was hit by 3 of these within 2 weeks, the strongest of which was Hurricane Carol on August 28-September 9, 1953.   During these storms, the squadron would leave the families to fend for themselves as best they could.  During Carol the Air Force decided to temporarily relocate the squadron to North Carolina to protect the planes, leaving the families to face the brunt of the storm.

In one of the storms, my mother placed my brother and me in the bathtub, which was located in the central part of the house and the most protected spot.  After the storm, we drove  around the island looking at the destruction from the wind, the water spouts and the rain.  I recall seeing cars lying in the ocean, remnants of the violence. 

In 1954 the squadron relocated to Burtonwood Air Field in northern England, home of the U.S. Eighth Air Force during the war.   Among my memories of that period are a group of us children playing "king of the hill" on the grass-covered bombshelters that were left over from the German bombing during World War II.  Occasionally someone would find bullet casings and even remnants of the ordnance that was loaded onto the B-17s leaving Burtonwood on their way to bombing sorties over Germany 10 years before. 

In 1955, my father was discharged from the service, and we left Burtonwood on a Superconstellation, a 3-tailed, propeller driven airplane.  The trip lasted 20 hours, from England to Florida.  I was airsick most of the time.  After that, our lives assumed a more conventional cast. But I often think about those days, a different world in a long-ago time.


micheal hatrick's picture

The original Hurricane hunter series really amazing as I had felt. I've already contacted the customwriting team and they've helped me out plenty with it. They're really quick with it all as well.

cheapaskips15's picture

Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here. skip hire brisbane

cheapaskips15's picture

I’m impressed with the special and informative contents, Thanks for sharing. Renee Becca

cheapaskips15's picture

It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you. fileviewpro

cheapaskips15's picture

Excellent work done by you once again here. Informative for everyone looking on the subject. Wondershare Streaming Audio Recorder Free Download

cheapaskips15's picture

Excellent and nice article. when user want to get important information then visit our site. Tuneup utilities 2016

cheapaskips15's picture

Rocking Site…awesome Remo Recover download

cheapaskips15's picture

Your blog has amazing information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog. I am always searching like this type blog post. Photography courses sydney

Clay2300's picture
I truly welcome the sort of themes you post here. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing us an extraordinary data that is really useful.

transcribing audio to text

Clay2300's picture
I read this article. I think You put a great deal of exertion to make this article. I like your work.  Social media portraits sydney
Clay2300's picture
Thank you for your post, I look for such article along time, today i find it finally. this post give me lots of advise it is very useful for me.

portrait photographer sydney

cheapaskips15's picture

Posts shared useful information and meaningful. Oppo Mobile Price in Saudi Arabia

Clay2300's picture

Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information. avs video remaker license key

cheapaskips15's picture

Wonderful...The original Hurricane hunter series really amazing. fonepaw android data recovery

cheapaskips15's picture

Amazing stories .I like this. print artist platinum crack

andreabelly's picture

I am very glad to get this latest update here we are glad to share where to get $1 web hosting plans it is the best way to get your custom website online. there are a large number of peoples who take this plan for the custom website.

Anisha's picture

First You got a great blog.I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics


shilpass's picture

A debt of gratitude is in order for each other enlightening site. The place else may just I understand http://www.thegurgaoncallgirls.com/callgirlsindevli.php that sort of data written in such a perfect means? I have a wander that I'm a few seconds ago working on, and I have been watchful for such data. 

Watson's picture

I can only express a word of thanks, nothing else. Because with the content on this blog I can add knowledge Thank you very much has been sharing this information.  

1 Web Hosting

cheapaskips15's picture

Your blogs and every other content is so entertaining and useful It makes me come back again.  transcribe spanish to english

Christia54's picture

Amazing! Its genuinely amazing article, I have got much clear idea on the topic of from this article. Lamp repair

Risk Alert