Gooney Birds


While the ship was in San Pedro, CA for repairs (March 27 to June 1, 1945) the “Kingfisher” catapult planes were replaced with faster “SC1 Seahawks”.

Seahawk being launched off the Boston

Being “recovered” – pulled onto a long net, drawn near the ship and then lifted by the catapult cranes.

” I remember the time we lost Lieutenant Grutzmacher, one of the gooney bird pilots.  You know what a gooney bird was?  The catapult plane with the big pontoon on it  –  an SC1 Seahawk.  He was spotting for us on one of the operations; I don’t remember if it was Iwo Jima, but it was one of the islands where we were firing our 8 inch guns . . . He came back to get on board  –  they have cranes to pick him out of the water.
Anyway, the ship turns in such a way that it smoothes all the water near the stern.  A big area nice and smooth and he lands in there and he motors it in close to the ship and they put a hook on and the pick him up.  Well,this time he hit a ground swell and it flipped the plane upside down.  He got caught in it; he didn’t have time to get out and he went down.  Gone.  I saw it with my own eyes.”       Pat Fedele

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One Response to Gooney Birds

  1. Robert Knight says:

    Yes Pat. So was I. Sad thing.

    Bob Knight

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