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Off Course: 1942

Circa 1942. "U.S. Navy -- inflatable raft." Just add water. View full size.

Circa 1942. "U.S. Navy -- inflatable raft." Just add water. View full size.


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Seafarers Farked

The Rest Of The Story

<br />
shorpy raft.jpgThe Raft

The courageous struggle of three naval airmen against the sea
Author: Robert Trumbull

When a plane carrying three airmen fails to return from its bombing mission on January 16, 1942, the U.S. Navy can afford only a brief search before giving the men up as dead.

For 34 scorching days and shivering nights they faced the ocean terrors - three men of a rubber raft four feet by eight, marooned in the middle of the mighty Pacific. They had no paddles. All they had was guts and a prayer. — Gigantic waves upset them. Man-eating sharks besieged them. The insane urge to cannibalize one another grew stronger by the day. But by feats of super endurance unsurpassed in sea history and by an unwavering faith in God they steered their way to the safety of an exotic South Sea isle.

Google Book Preview.

Based On

The back story for this picture explains why Shorpy is such an educational site. Someone usually comments and helps us understand the what and the why or the where the photo was taken. Looking forward to more photo mysteries in 2014. As noted, "Always Something Interesting"

A Whole Different Feel

A sincere thank you to Shorpyite sbhistory for identifying the photo. I certainly would not wish my previous little post to tarnish these three brave heros in any way.


Identity of sailors

I believe these three brave fellows are Harold Dixon, Tony Pastula and George Aldrich sitting in the actual raft they survived in for 35 days when they were forced to ditch their observation plane during the second World War. A great read written by Robert Trumbull called "The Raft" chronicles their amazing story.

[Bravo! Here's their photo from the article in the April 6, 1942 issue of LIFE magazine. -tterrace]

Ah Yes

A late 1937 Goodyear Mark 4 first model raft. I may not be good at automobile identification, but I've got this raft thing down!


now, how do we get it back in the bag?


The Chief's rating is Pharmacist's Mate

Training session

So we now know that prior to WW II it took a Chief (who's rating I can't see well enough to identify), a 3d Class Radioman, and a Seaman, to explain to a Commander how a life raft works. That's about right. It's nice to know that traditions have been kept up over the last 70 years.
[Edited 31Dec2013]
Maybe the caption should be changed to reflect the correct information. If I'd realized it was from 1942 I'd have been rather less flippant in my original comment.


Can anyone tell me what the rating of the CPO is? The 3rd class on the right is a radioman but I can not make out the chiefs. TIA

Her Do

Cornrows back in '38?

[That's her hat, something along the lines of the one seen here. -tterrace]

McHale's Navy

The lost original pilot.


Strange symbol in the Chief's insignia. Anyone?

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