Another ‘Reightler’s Ramblings: This one could be entitled “Elevator
Error” or “Compaction” but it would have the semblance of being
humorous which it is not. So I will call it “Beavers’ Dilemma”
One day in August 1945 while the Task Group was cruising off the
coast of Japan, a group of us Airdales were lazing around on the flight
deck waiting for the planes to return from whatever sorties the Air
Group was sent out on.
Except for the fact that we were at war, it was a beautiful day.
While were shooting the breeze we thought we heard something beside the
usual flight clatter. We were so used to noise that we ignored it. All
of a sudden a guy from the V2F gang, probably Don Golden AMM1/c came up
to us screaming “Where’s the wrench ?!!”, ” Where”s the wrench ?!!”
WE finally figured out he was talking about the big Tee-handled
wrench used for undogging the big doors in the flight deck used for
hoisting stuff up there from ammo/mess decks spaces. These plates were
big and heavy with straight slotted hold down screws. Some of us knew
that it was stashed on the side of the island, so we hauled butt up
there,got it and started undoing the screws, Seemed like we would never
get them all done. It didn’t help that the V2F guys were jabbering
about a guy being under there.
When we finally raised the door,not knowing what we would find, we
saw this man laying on top of a bunch of cardboard boxes, his right
arm,I believe, was pulled down and we thought it was broken.
By that time the Corpsman had arrived and guided us in turning him
over very gently. I could not believe the look of his face. His eyes
were blood red and he had little blood blisters all over.
He was awake and somewhat aware of what was going on. He was a
purplish blue color as well and we figured most of his condition was
due to pressure of being forced against the door.
When we finally got him on his way to sickbay, Don Golden, whom I
had known from NAS Atlantic City, where the Fighter Squadron had
formed, explained what happened. They were sending up fom the Mess Deck
a bunch of drop tank sway braces.These were in the cardboard boxes
under the man,who it turned out to be Hulen Beavers AMM2/c. It was
somebody’s bright idea to send Beavers up on the elevator which was
supposed to stop at the hangar deck level. You guessed it, a bunch of
Airdales pushing buttons they had no idea what they were doing.
The bomb elevator had a light system that supposedly shows the level
that the elevator was at,when the elevator did not stop at the hangar
deck, Golden knew they were in deep doo-doo and nothing they tried
would stop or reverse the elevator.
The noise we heard was Beavers screaming right under us. In
my opinion if it had not been for the air space in the boxes he was
laying on Beavers would have been crushed to death.
Beavers survived with a damaged arm and blood vessels popped. He is
deceased now but for years he was an Association member,attended
reunions and really enjoyed Scotch whiskey. He was a very quiet man
from what I knew of him, lived in the Henderson/Las Vegas area. Another
shipmate with a story of long ago.
Finis Ken Reightler 2/22/2008