“My favorite part was when his wingmen told him he was trailing smoke, that somewhere in his airplane, there was a fire. ‘Paul and Russ agreed to do the radio work just when my radio died. The receiver-transmitter is behind the pilot’s seat. I knew where the fire was.’ No fluff, no BS, no emotion. And he saved the airplane.” –Mark A. Hewitt, bestselling author of the Duncan Hunter Thriller (aviation) series
A post-Depression 11-year-old farm boy sees a Piper Cub for the first time and chases the dream of being a pilot.
When war breaks out, Ralph T. Alshouse does the unthinkable-he leaves the family farm to enlist in the Navy and as one of a handful of high school graduates, was accepted as an Aviation Cadet and eventually won U.S. Navy Wings of Gold.
After flight school, he was assigned to one of the most labor-intensive jobs in the Navy-to test and deliver Navy operational aircraft from the factories in the U.S. and Canada to destinations and ports of embarkation on the East and West coasts. Over a two-year period, Ensign Alshouse delivered 146 aircraft for the war effort and had a military record of 13 forced landings; from landing a Corsair on fire over Pittsburgh to getting hit by lightning in Douglas, Arizona. Two engines failed in flight resulting in two dead stick landings. He flew over 28 types of Naval Aircraft; from the smallest, a Piper Cub ambulance, to the biggest, a B-24; to the fastest, a Corsair.
This is his remarkable story of luck and skill as a Naval Aviator.