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Paul Deatherage, ART1c, served with Navy Patrol Bombing Squadron VPB119 during WWII.   They flew PB4Y-2 patrol bombers out of Clark Field, Luzon on missions long the SE China Coast, Straits of Formosa, and as far north as Shanghai.

The squadron lost several planes during their deployment (Feb., 1945 thru the end of the war);  the first plane they lost was shot down over Amoy Harbor on March 22, 1945.  6 of the 13 crew on board died in the crash but the remaining crew (and one civilian observer) were rescued by Chinese villagers near by.   Eventually, they were assisted by US Navy / SACO personnel in the area and were transported across China to Kunming.  After a rest and some hospital time, they were flown back to the squadron base at Clark.

Air Notes from China is a report that was written by the civilian observer, Don Bell - a radio commentator for Mutual Broadcasting - and became part of the official squadron history.   The report mentions a boatswain's mate Tucker (possibly H.W. Tucker, Jr., boatswain's mate, 2nd class - listed in the NARA online roster) who was the first US Navy contact to find the crash survivors.  The casualty summary report is from the VPB119 War Diary.

When I’ve talked to my dad about the shoot down and rescue of Evans’ crew, dad called them the “GOM BAY” crew. I asked what this meant and dad said that he had spoken to one the survivors when they returned to Clark Field and that they described how the Chinese had taken care of them.
Apparently, it is considered good hospitality in China to ply your guests with alcohol to the point that they are pretty well crocked. In the course of a meal, the host keeps everybody’s cup filled and offer’s up multiple toasts and finishes his salutes and compliments with the phrase “gan bei” (sounds something like ‘GOM BAY’).
Gan bei literally means “dry cup” and is equivalent to the English, “bottoms up”. The crew described that the Chinese hospitality was so great that they were almost “Gom Bayed” to death.
I'd like to offer my respects to all the veterans from the War - if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be writing this.

Air Notes from China Casualty Summary Pictures


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Revised: 05/05/12