In an email to the webmaster:

I was one of the reserve seamen who went to Hawaii to set up the school. All the rest of the trainer enlisted were regular Navy.

I enlisted in V12 at Lawrence College, Appleton Wis. Then transferred to V5 still a seaman second. Attrition in navy air was low so we were sent to Ottumwa, Iowa and did tarmac duty before going to flight-prep at Carroll College, Carroll, Iowa. I washed out on code and shipped to great Lakes Naval training. Finished boot training after 2 years of officers training and went to SAD* training school at U of Chicago. Graduated and choose billet at SAD headquarters in Washington DC and reported to LT commander Paul E. Garber, inventor of naval target kites.

We were a group of washed out Navy airmen. Two of us were destined to become kite fliers and set up a training school in Hawaii. We were transferred to Ford Island as seamen first class. At the amphibious base at Wainia we set up school. 2 days on 2 days off and 2 days on standby.

All of the trainees were sent to our school from the amphibian command center. Each ship would send one or two sailors for training. Kites were packed about five or ten to a box with one or two reels and spare kite covers. Spaulding sporting goods were the better suppliers of equipment. The two reel and spreader were necessary to maneuver the kites. By turning or twisting your body and the spreader bar the two lines to the ruder of the kite were shortened or lengthened. You could sweep the kite across the sky, loop it or dive.

For the training film shot on the old battleship New York, the Commander maneuvered the kite. He swept it across the field of sight. The marine's commander gave the fire order to his marine gunner instructors. Garber put the kite into a dive and at the last second pulled it out. The marines thought that they had had a kill and went into wild fire to blast the kite out of the air. Garber dove the kite again and didn't pull out in time. The old New York could only go 10 knots which was the required speed for flying the kite. The firing stopped. The kite stayed together and came out of the water and was recovered. Mud on the top of the kite stick indicated the kite had been to the bottom of the bay.

After our school the students returned to their AK's and had their supply of kites. Most of them then trained their skippers. Combat wasn't every day and the skippers loved to fly kites.

Only way to fly target kites was with spreader stick using the two reels of line which had ratchets so that line length could be kept in balance. We had good line on the reels but were limited to length or height by breaking point of line. Kevlar wasn't invented yet.

I believe the shots of training from landing craft best illustrate how we got our wind regardless of weather. Garber had designed a post mounted plow seat mounted in his Jeep which we used at a aircraft training field in Washington D.C. by driving up and down the runways 'till we were chased off.

We were there for VJ day and then broke up. Jim Farley was other seaman 1st who went with me to set up the school.

SAD 3rd class Oliver Judd
August 2011

* - SAD is a petty officer rating, Special Artificer Devices; could service and repair all training devices used by the navy i.e. gun air trainers, all kinds of film projectors, optics, radio and mechanical devices. In training school we all wondered why in a wiring diagram it was so hard to trace a wire all over the page. We found out when we got to D.C. The class ahead of ours was making the drawings. After the end of the war our unit broke up. Back on Ford Island I transferred to COMAIRPAC. My records showed that I had been trained as a SAD but a petty officer test couldn't be found. I wrote a test and passed it. I may have been the only petty officer third SAD.