John D. Bridgers M.D.
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Teakwood Ballads
Dear Shipmates -- Naval Air Group 15:

October 2000
54th Reunion
St. Louis, MO

  • These are selections from a book of poems, "THEN ... IT"S VERSE," to be published, hopefully soon.

Poetry became an avocation when I retired from the practice of medicine in 1994.

  • These pieces are based on experiences in the Central Pacific phase of the naval air war with Japan in 1944 when our group was based in the U.S.S. ESSEX (CV-9).  During that period I served as a dive-bomber pilot in Bombing Squadron 15, and later as flight surgeon in the Korean War.

Fleet carrier air groups in these days consisted of about a hundred aircraft of which approximately half were fighters.

The caricatures of aircraft on the front cover represent the types of planes in A.G. 15:

The Grumman F6F HELLCAT fighter,
The Curtiss SB2C HELLDIVER scout-bomber and
The Grumman TBF AVENGER torpedo-bomber.

  • In the days of sails and wooden ships the gun-decks were made of teakwood, reparable after battle damage, but at once a very resilient structural material.

The practice was carried over to the flight decks of earlier carriers.

With the advent of Essex-class ships steel replaced teakwood, but those of us who flew from flat-tops before this advent ever thought of ourselves as flying from teakwood.

Thus, license had been exercised for this presentation.

As ever was,
John D. Bridgers, M.D.
(CDR, MC, USNR - Retired)
Woodbridge, CT

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