An association of Aerographers & Mates,
Meteorologists & Oceanographers




Editor: AG1 Steven "Smitty" Smith, USN RET


Aerograph Content Submission Guidelines

(Feel free to submit anything appropriate, in any manner; if there is a problem, I'll let you know.) 

As always, Ihopethis finds youand yourloved onessafe anddoing well, especially duringthesedifficultand challenging
times.Undoubtedly, the speed at which events havechanged life as we know it,not only here in America,butall around the world,has beenliterallybreathtakingandwill no doubt lead to much discussion atreunion #46.
Click Image to Enlarge
© Bacon 2020,
Source: Aerograph November 2021

All good things must come to an end. After thoroughly enjoying two years of Texas hospitality here in Abilene, Harumi and I are making the move to back to our home in San Diego, California. I cannot say there is no angst on my part, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do to keep his little lady happy. I truly regret I could not attend Reunion #46, which by all accounts, was a smashing success! Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll see many of you at #47.

So as 2021 draws to a close, I wish you all a blessed holiday season surrounded by those you love, and God’s abundant blessings throughout the coming year.




Wednesday, 26 January 2022 is the cut-off date for the February issue of The Aerograph


E-Mail Steve at

USPS Address: AG1 Steven Smith, USN (Ret)

750 Avenida De La Barca

Chula Vista, CA 91910

(571) 278-5259 (If I don’t answer, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you ASAP.)

Source: Aerograph August 2021

Happy mid-summer everybody! Or not, depending upon one’s seasonal preference. For me, there’s beauty to be had in every season. However, my fondness of cooler weather makes the glorious days of autumn among my favorite. Softer lighting, longer shadows, comfortable warm days and cool evenings truly make for enjoyable travel and outdoor activities.

Some of you may recall the “Wallet Found in Antarctica Returned to Owner Decades Later” piece from the February Aerograph earlier this year regarding NWSA member LT Paul Grisham. While reading my latest edition of “Midway Currents” I came across a wonderfully written article in which LT Grisham was interviewed. You’ll find it beginning on page 19.

To date, Hampton Roads, Lone Star and Pensacola Chapters have submitted advertisements and contributions to be used in publishing a Reunion #46 booklet keepsake for all attendees. In addition, all members will be able to view the booklet on the NWSA website. Any other chapters who would like to contribute please contact me or Reunion Chair, Jim Romano, for further information.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 is the cut-off date for the November issue of The Aerograph


E-Mail Steve at

USPS Address: AG1 Steven Smith, USN (Ret)

3542 Firedog Rd.

Abilene, TX 79606-1752

325 232-6403 (If I don’t answer, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you ASAP.)

Closing Thoughts

Being one to enjoy a good book, especially one based on military history, I took former NWSA President Romano’s advice and purchased “Masters of the Air.” It is an exceptional read and I highly recommend it to anyone with similar interest, especially those planning to attend Reunion 46. Just too wet your appetite for Savannah and planned tour of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth, a brief article featuring USAF Captain Raymond Check (mentioned in book) follows:


More than seventy-five years ago newspapers in Captain Check's home state ran headlines like  Reds Advance in Savage Fighting on Karelian Front and Flying Fortresses Raid Eastern End of Sicily.  At home the favorite song was You’ll Never Know by Dick Haymes. Folks were going to the movies to watch Leslie Howard in  Spitfire or Robert Taylor and George Murphy in  Bataan. That Saturday night, families could tune into their radios and listen to Your Hit Parade with Frank Sinatra on CBanEllery Queen on NBC.


June 26, 1943 was also a day that would see the demise of scores of Americans who died serving their country. One of them was Captain Raymond Check.


He was born on September 27, 1917 in North Dakota. His mother was born in Russia and his father was born in Poland. A later census shows they were German speakers both born in Germany. It was probably a case of shifting borders. His father worked as a railroad road master. Raymond had two older sisters and two older brothers.


He enlisted in the Army Air Forces on June 11, 1941. He became a captain and pilot in the 423rd Bombardment Squadron, 306th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force which was equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses.


In the summer of 1943 airmen were given the opportunity to go home after twenty-five missions.


Captain Check took off on his twenty-fifth mission on June 26, 1943, flying Chennault's Pappy III. It was a milk-run bombing mission of a German airfield in France. A big party was planned for the evening of their During the bomb run, Check's temporary co-pilot, Lt. Col. James W. Wilson (an old squadron leader who wanted to go on Check's final mission), removed his gloves to make some adjustments to the engine. During the final moments of the bomb run, a German fighter swooped down unnoticed out of the sun’s glare. One 20mm cannon shell hit Cap. Check in the neck, exploded and killed him. A fire started in the cockpit, badly burning Wilson's hands. A crewmate put out the fire with an extinguisher. Col. Wilson continued flying with a melted oxygen mask, steering with his arms above the elbows, since his hands were too badly burned.


Still under attack, a machine gun bullet hit the box of flares behind the pilot's seat. The flares exploded, created another fire and blowing open the bomb bay doors. Fortunately, there was a third pilot on board -- Lt. William Cassedy, Check's normal co-pilot, was acting as a waist gunner. 


Cassedy replaced Wilson in the co-pilot seat. With only one other uninjured man on board, Cassedy brought Chennault's Pappy III  back to base. The radio was out and there were no remaining flares to announce an emergency landing. Instead of landing the plane into the wind as normal, Cassedy purposefully landed the plane downwind against incoming traffic. He wanted to avoid the reception group waiting to celebrate Check's 25th mission. It included an American army nurse who was going to marry Captain Check the next day.


His grave is at Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in Coton, England.

Captain Raymond Check flew B-17s in Europe. His brother Leonard flew carrier based F6F Hellcats in the Pacific and was a fighter ace. Both were KIA.



The above article was obtained on the web and can be found by searching “WW2 Fallen 100”, a site honoring WW2 fallen on what would have been their 100th birthday.  A great site with remarkable stories of America’s Greatest Generation.



The Editor 
Source: Aerograph May 2021

Greetings everybody, it’s been a beautiful spring here in west central Texas and I hope the same for you in your neck of the woods. I suppose millions of folks from the Dakotas through the Lone Star state were most happy to see spring’s arrival after experiencing an historical Arctic outbreak back in February. According to preliminary data from NOAA, there were 9,027 daily (for a particular calendar day) cold records tied or set during the February 7-20 time frame. These include both daily cold high and low
temperatures from locations with at least a 30-year history. Leading the way was Bottineau, North Dakota near the Canadian border, which recorded an air temperature - not wind chill - of minus 51 degrees on Feb. 13, toppling their previous all-time low of minus 50 degrees which had stood for 128 years, since Benjamin Harrison was finishing up his term as President in 1893.

On a different note, Captain Al Atwell gave me a call shortly after reading the February issue. He served with Doc and Dot many years ago and they were very good friends. He was delighted to hear Dot was still alive and with the assistance of Dot’s family, was able to speak with her briefly on the phone. How terrific is that?

To date, Hampton Roads, Lone Star and Pensacola Chapters have submitted advertisements and contributions to be used in publishing a Reunion #46 booklet keepsake for all attendees. In addition, all members will be able to view the booklet on the NWSA website. Any other chapters who would like to contribute please contact me or Reunion Chair, Jim Romano, for further information

As has been my good fortune, members continue to aid my endeavors in bringing you, what I sincerely hope, is a most enjoyable publication!

Monday, 26 July 2021 is the cut-off date
 for the August issue of The Aerograph
E-Mail Steve at
USPS Address: AG1 Steven Smith, USN RET
3542 Firedog Rd.
Abilene, TX 79606-1752
325 232-6403 (If I don’t answer, please leave a message and
I’ll get back to you ASAP.)


Recently I had a relatively short but intense bout of the flu. Thankfully, I am not prone to illness and when I do go under the weather, it’s usually for brief periods of time. Nevertheless, it’s during these times when I get to reflect and meditate upon my many blessings. Now and then, I can’t help but marvel at the spectrum of life’s experiences we all encounter and how wonderfully they complement each other. For example, how could we know happiness if we never felt sad? If we were never sick would we truly appreciate our health? If there were no seasons wouldn’t we miss the beauty of spring, warmth of summer, majestic autumn colors and blessed solitude of winter? If we didn’t experience heartbreak, how would we know joy? If we never experienced separation from those we loved, how would we know the sweetness of a homecoming? And on it goes.

It seems to me, this roller coaster of experiences and emotions are both a blessing and a reminder. A
blessing, because life without them would be dull, empty, and void of meaning. A reminder, because it helps me stay humble, to not take things for granted, and to always be grateful for God’s bountiful blessings.

So until next issue my friends, may you and your families stay safe and well. And to all you wonderful mothers and grandmothers, I hope you have/had a beautiful Mother’s Day surrounded by those you love. Thank you for all you’ve done and all you continue to do each and every day!

The Editor

Click Image to Enlarge
Source: Aerograph February 2021

As always, I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and doing well, especially during these difficult and challenging times. Undoubtedly, the speed at which events have changed life as we know it, not only here in America, but all around the world, has been literally breathtaking and will no doubt lead to much discussion at reunion #46.


Until then however, what do you say we tune out the noise of the world, put everything aside and escape for a while? This issue contains a grand assortment of literary features surely to inform, entertain and dare I say, tug at your heart strings. Not only is there a terrific follow-up to “The Christmas Story” from last November’s issue, there’s another great article featuring the Greatest Generation. Only this time, it’s a love story. And I’d be remiss not to thank everyone who contributed with my heartfelt appreciation. Well done!


I can think of no better way to close out this issue than to share a short story from one of our members.



As any father would do, I started to paint a small bathroom in a new house my daughter recently purchased. I was finishing up the top part of the wall making the line between the wall and ceiling line up perfectly. All of a sudden I felt myself falling backward and was unable to stop. Standing on the top rung of a five and a half foot ladder seems small, but when falling, it feels like Mt. Everest! Luckily, I was coming down in a small area and hit everything, on all sides [which helped break my fall somewhat]. I wound up with a very sore left elbow, a right leg I couldn't move, a cut right forearm, a badly bruised and purple palm and fingers of my right hand, and a badly bruised right shoulder. After all this, I can truthfully say I'm a great painter. Not one drop of paint hit the floor.  End of true story.

Submitted by HRC member Jack Salvato with the following from HRC President Fay Crossley:


Please keep Jack in your thoughts and prayers and maybe send him a card with suggestions about keeping off ladders.....


Jack Salvato

2765 Einstein Dr. 

Virginia Beach, VA. 23456

Thank you for sharing Jack. I’m sure I’m speaking for all members when I say Godspeed in your recovery and all the best regarding the other health issues you are dealing with. We will definitely keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Please do us all a huge favor though, no more ladders!


So until next issue my friends, may God’s wonderful blessings of peace, joy and love be with you and those you love.


The Editor

                       The CUT-OFF date will be Monday, 26 April 2021 for the May                                                         issue of The Aerograph.