On the morning of July 9th, 1956 ( at 0948 to be exact ) Joseph Gaeta of Grumman
Iron Works, lifted off Grumman Aircraft's newest addition to the Navy Fleet, from
the runway at Bethpage, Long Island. One hour and two minutes later he set her back
down again from the first of manyflightsspanning the last 41 years. It is lost
to history just exactly what happened during that flight, but it was noted that it
was rather uneventful.The restof her life has not always been that way.
The Navy's first official C.O.D.'s ( [C]arrier [O]nboard [D]elivery ) were the TBM's
of the 40's and 50's that had their interiors configured to accommodated cargo and
passengers. These planes were normally a part of the ship's company, or attached
to some near by Naval Air Station. However, during, and after, the Korean War most
were attached to a number of squadrons, includingVR-21, to which 136791 would be
attached in the future. In the early 50's, many of the TBM's were replaced by AD-3's,
and -4's, which also had their interiors reconfigured.
Then came the TF-1.......
The Grumman TF-1 Trader ( later redesiginated the C-1A ) was the first aircraft built
from the ground up to perform the C.O.D. duties that still are carried on by a Grumman
aircraft, the C-2 Greyhound, supplemented by the Lockheed US-3A ' Hoover ' which
is a conversion of the S-3A Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft. The C.O.D. is normally
the most welcome aircraft to be retrieved aboard ship as they bring the mail, the
fresh fruit and vegetables, your replacement, and your ride home. LCDR. Tex Houston
tells of a take off from a carrier on Yankee Station on Christmas Day where he heard
some pounding on his side window. Looking out to see who and why some one was trying
to get his attention, he saw a " Green Shirt " holding up the palm of his hand, where
there was written in ball point,