Some of Bill Crawford’s Photo Mapping Tales


That is CPC corrosion preventive compound on the nose. We painted all the seams & chipped paint because we operated off the LST & it helped to keep the corrosion off the chopper. One day my pilot, Dick Bourne ask me if I could paint an 8 ball on the nose & I said heck yeah.

We had 2 crews working off 2 LST’s & we both had engine changes so we pulled into Naha port & towed the choppers down the highway with a truck to Naha AB. The base commander had a really nice H-19, all painted up real pretty & we took it & painted a big cherry on the nose & used the call sign CHERRY. Then we went over to rescue & took one of their H-19’s. The CO said I can’t keep you from taking the chopper but you have to paint over the RESCUE on either side of the nose so people won’t think it belongs to us. So we painted out the rescue on both sides & also painted a black bar across the front of the nose like the 3 bar jackpot on a slot machine & called that one JACKPOT. Ah it was great back then when the photo mappers had such a high priority, we could get anything we needed from anyone. I’ll send a couple more, 8-Ball the morning after a typhoon hit us off Okinawa & me checking for damage & lifting the other chopper off the ship to tow it to the base.

The main land Chinese & the Taiwan Chinese were fighting over to islands of Chiemoy & Matsu. We were operating near that area & we wanted them to know that we were Americans, so we painted the biggest flag that we could get on the chopper. This is the radio operator painting the 50 star flag even though there was only 49 states at the time. We had 1 pilot, 2 mechanics,1 radio operator,1 medic,1 cook & 3 ground station guys that we put up on the mountain on board a navy reserve LST operated by 47 Japanese. We told them where we needed to go & they would take us there & we put the guys on the hill, the B-50’s would fly their photo & electronic missions & if every thing was good, we took the guys off the hill & moved them to the next place.

I was stationed at Misawa AB Japan & went TDY to the photo mapping outfit at Clark for 90 or 60 days at a time, I spent a total of 11 months on the ships, from Sandakan Borneo up through all of the Philippines, Taiwan, Okinawa & all the islands in between. I used to leave my clothes in the barracks at Clark when I rotated back to Misawa because most of the guys at Misawa didn’t like that TDY but I loved it, so I would be my own replacement & go right back to the PI get my stuff & fly back out to the ship. What & adventure.
(Bill Crawford)

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