VPNAVY VP-5 Mercury Capsule Recovery
VPNAVY Address

Truculent Turtle

Turtle Thumbnail

Nonstop Perth, Australia to Columbus, Ohio
by Walter H. Neumann wneumann@tampabay.rr.com

Table of Contents

  • U.S.S. Rehoboth (AVP50) 26 SEPT 1946
  • Classic American Aircraft
  • Newspaper Article - Dallas Morning News
  • Newspaper Article - The Tampa Tribune

    P2V Turtle ThumbnailCamera

    26 SEPT 1946

    Dear Mother and Dad:

    I suppose you are wondering why this letter has the stamps on it does. I hope you didn't damage the letter to much because this is what you call a Flight Cover which will have value because there is only about two hundred of these letters on this flight, which is to be a record breaking flight from Perth, Australia to Seattle, Washington, half way around the world in thirty six hours they figure.

    This flight is the reason why you haven't heard from me for the span of time. They came into Manila with this ship and asked for six Radiomen in a two hr notice before leaving for Australia. I was one of the lucky and possibly unlucky guys to get drafted. This is only temporary duty for me so when you get this letter I should be on the way back to Manila again for duty as I had before. This ship business is terrible when you're just beginning to enjoy shore duty.

    This flight was to be hussh-hush affair, but everyone in Australia knew about it before it actually came off, secret orders or not. The reason for us is the fact that we are the medium of communications for the orders and weather reports of the flight. I have a guy out at the plane with my camera to take a picture or so today.

    We are the only U. S. Armed Forces in this place, and the only U. S. Ship. It is pretty good liberty because of that fact. We are the first Americans in this port in the last twelve months.

    There will be a letter following which may repeat much of the same material only it will have a few snapshots and $150 money order in it.

    I hope you are all well at home and didn't wonder to much what happened to me that I didn't write. I'll be home in approximately five months to stay except to get my discharge after the sixty day leave which I am going to get just before discharge.

    I guess I'll close for now. Please be careful with this letter because the value of this letter is high in stamp collectors valu....... Bye now.... Love......

    Classic American Aircraft

    March 1, 2001

    Enclosed are the scanned pictures of the P2V "Turtle" flight cover and enclosed letter, the newspaper Travel section article and scanned pictures of the First Day Covers I made referring to the P2V as a "Classic Plane" even though not on any of the 20 stamps.

    I have wondered how many of the 200 or so sailors on the U.S.S. Rehoboth and other's connected with the flight are still alive and how many of the around 200 covers mailed on the flight still exist. Those from our era it is said are dying at the rate of over 1000 a day. I guess my time will eventually come for my last trip which will be to the Florida National Veterans Cemetery, but in the meantime hopefully I can continue to be active in leadership and membership in organizations, one of where I am coach for 12 branches involving an amount of email, setting up meetings and traveling.

    I made scanned pictures of the eight first day covers with different texts describing the plane, the preparation of the flight and the flight which may be interesting to you. I make FDCs ( one of a kind) for only stamp issues which personally interest me. When the "Classic Aircraft" issue of 20 came out,. the first thing I thought of was the P2V which wasn't one of them but deserved the title. I decided to make covers with that series of stamps which told the story ofthe P2V. The P2V text on them is from different sources, some my memory from 5} years before, some fromthe magazine "Travel" article, some from library research.

    The copy of the "Travel" article as shown on one of the sheets shows the newspaper's name and the date of issue. The notation on the top of it's first sheet was put on the copy which I placed in my family album showing what portion I made a small contribution to and how.

    The P2V flight happened when I had 9 months left of my regular navy hitch which was until ApriI23,1947. They didn't come up with an Australian P2V ribbon to add to my 7 others, one with 2 gold stars, but I did get the letter sent on the flight and the lasting memory of something I made a contribution to, even though small. Thinking back, it almost didn't happen for me if I had accepted an OCS offer less than a month before with two strings attached, an additional two years in the service and having to return to the Philippines after school and leave.

    Like every ex serviceman I have many memories. Another favorite, like the P2V, I remember the day the war was over and the spontaneous out in the middle of the Pacific celebration, shooting up every emergency flare on the ship except for a few the skipper had, tracer shells, even depth charges were going off. At the time I really didn't think of it, but I now feel that the atomic bomb very well could have saved my life as I would have been in the first invasion of Japan. Instead I was on one of the first group of three ships that went through the mined Inland Sea to Kobe and Osaka Japan, weeks before the fleet came in, but without being shot at.

    Even as a civilian my service connections didn't end I worked for a year in the space program before our first satellite went up. What finally went up and final material chosen for re-entry heat conditions was nothing like that at first considered. After that I was a technical supervisor of environmental test facilities (for the then new thing) semi-conductor products going to the military.

    Walter H. Neumann wneumann@tampabay.rr.com

    P2V Turtle ThumbnailCameraCovers 1 and 2
    P2V Turtle ThumbnailCameraCovers 3 and 4
    P2V Turtle ThumbnailCameraCovers 5 and 6
    P2V Turtle ThumbnailCameraCovers 7 and 8

    Dallas Morning News

    By Matt Weitz of the Dallas Morning News

    Refers to the P2V-l Neptune "Truculent Turtle" (3rd column) for which I copied coded weather broadcasts 4 to 8 hours a day for 2 months used to determine the flight path (northern or southern) the plane would use for it's record breaking flight.

    Products of their time - Perhaps the best known of these is the historic P2V-1 Neptune "Truculent Turtle," which in 1946 flew nonstop from Perth, Australia, to Columbus Ohio, covering the 11,236 miles in 55 hours, 17 minutes - a record that stood for 16 years. Although a dandy opportunity to test a new machine, the effort had another goal: The Army Air Force was mounting a push in Congress to obtain control of all land-based air operations, and the Navy needed some PR to counter it.

    The Tampa Tribune - Times Sunday, December 18, 1994


    In the age of satellite-locating systems and afternoon Concorde hops across the Atlantic, it fills one with a strange sense of wonder - at who we are and how far we've come - to think that only 48 years ago the "Truculent Turtle" was a miracle of self-sufficiency, relying more on instruments and radio than surface ships. Even then, there was a 20-hour stretch where no communications was possible.

    "Truculent Turtle Stories Summary Page"