Saturday, January 07, 2012

FLORIDA: Sunken aircraft discovery off Jupiter brings back memories for WW II veteran

The discovery by a diver of a World War II-era plane in the waters off Jupiter last week brought back memories for Palm Beach resident Jack Grabowsky.

When he saw the reports, he knew right away: “That’s an SB2C, a Curtiss Hellcat. I know because I spent 3,000 hours in one during World War II,” said the former Navy Air pilot. “We flew up and down the coast, from Maine to Key West.”

Grabowsky also remembers “doing convoy duty for the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth, keeping the submarines away. Each ship had thousands of soldiers on board,” making it a desirable target for the German U-boats.

The plane has yet to be salvaged and examined, but Grabowsky said he is pretty sure he knows what happened, seeing as how hundreds of pilots were trained at nearby Witham Field during the war.

“The engine gave out and the pilot had to ditch, simple as that,” he said.

“I hope the guy got out ... I hope he was one of the lucky ones. “

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