My father in law left successful completion of Naval pilot training due to quota restrictions and was transferred from AvCad to CASU33 then to Air Group 12 on 12/08/44. He was assigned to the USS Randolph as AOM3c and was at sea for four months beginning when the Randolph left San Francisco on 1/20/45. He received a Purple Heart for a slight wound received in the 3/11/45 kamikaze attack. On 3/31/45 he received orders to return to Navy Pre-Flight School, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa USA, was transferred and reported to Iowa on 2 May 1945.
We have received all this service records the archives in St. Louis have available and have a complete timeline of his unit assignments except for what his actual duties were when assigned to Air Group 12. We have lived under the impression that he was a carrier pilot but the record does not seem to bear this out, however, the following letter was in his jacket dated the same day he was reassigned from Air Group 12 to preflight school in Iowa:
- CERTIFICATE OF FLIGHT ORDER STATUS AND OF FLIGHT TIME COMPLETED
- I certify that HARRIS, Charles Wesley, 413 88 26, AOM3c (T), V-6, USNR, while attached to this command has been under orders to duty involving flying, and that the above-named man is transferred in a flight order status.
- I FURTHER CERTIFY that the last previous flight certificate for the above-named man was filed for the period to and including 31 January 1945, being on duty in a combat area and military operations preventing him from performing the aerial flights as required.
- O.C. White, Lieut., USNR, Administrative Officer, By direction".
The Archives have informed us that the information they sent us in response to our Standard form 180 request is complete but, for my wife and I, questions remain. Our question is whether there are Air Group 12 records available for the period 12/8/44 - 3/31/45 which would provide us with the specific activities my father in law was assigned to and whether or not they involved flying. We know this is complicated but are determined to continue our inquiries. Charles is our family hero and we would like to leave future generations an accurate account of this chapter in an amazing life well lived.