"Chicago" Forced Down at Hue
"Boston" & "New Orleans" Continue to Tourane
by Lt. L. H. Smith, Commanding
This morning, all three planes found it impossible to take-off from the river due to the light air and the lack of wind. It was necessary to taxi to the mouth of the river in order to get into the air at 11:55 a.m. The flight flew along the coast for approximately 40 miles, then took a direct compass course over the water to Cape Bung Chua, then south along the coast of Kuatang where the "Chicago" landed, taking about 5 minutes to put additional water in the radiator, while the "Boston" and "New Orleans" circled. The flight continued on down the coast to a lagoon 20 miles from Hue, where the "Chicago" was forced to land because of loss of water, which damaged the motor beyond repair. The other two planes landed and were instructed to proceed to Tourane and radio the Destroyer at Saigon, requesting it to bring a new motor. They landed at 5:50 p.m.
by Lt. L. P. Arnold "Chicago", Mechanic
About eight o'clock everyone was ready, but two attempts to take off from the river showed it to be impossible. So we taxied to the bay some ten miles away and there had no trouble. Immediately on leaving the bay we crossed over a section of land and being so low raised havoc with the "biffles" or buffalo as I'd call them -- all of them became frightened & ran away, regardless of the fact that some of them had a plow & a native attached to them.
There was a strong wind blowing so we flew about 75 feet above the water most of the way. Along about one o'clock a water jacket that had been leaking a little, started to leak a lot -- so that at 2:28 we landed in a lagoon called Kina [Kua] Victor Palms. Here we tool aboard 8 gallons of water, took off & rejoined the other two planes that were circling around, and headed off towards Tourane again. The cylinder again leaked rapidly & this time all the water went out, a bearing burned out & we just managed to clear the land & come into the Hue River near Lin Thuy for a landing. We were smoking considerably so the other two landed, found out what we needed, and then went on.
Then our fun started -- great numbers of native Annamites came out to the plane & of course we couldn't talk to them. Temporarily we had moored the plane to a bamboo fish trap & its owner fearing we were about to pull it apart was all for cutting us loose. Finally we coaxed him aboard & put him to work helping us get our anchor loose & so staved him off.
Both of us had a sudden craving for water -- perhaps because there wasn't any. Finally we found a native that spoke French so that the few words I knew in France I recalled & made them understand. Later we decided we were hungry so that when a couple of priests came alongside I made known my wants to them -- and went with them to their home. We had been very much afraid to drink the water hereabouts & had done so only when accompanied by much quinine so that I wanted a bottle of wine. He only had sacred wine & was loath to part with it. So while we sat and argued about it the priest had three natives sit alongside with fans & keep us cool, fed me some rice, shrimp, water & some wine. Finally I hit upon the idea that instead of buying wine, I would buy glass for the church windows, then everything was fine & soon I returned to the plane loaded down with rice, bananas, potatoes, a bottle of water, and one bottle of good French wine.
After eating & talking awhile, I stretched out on one of the wings & slept while Lowell cleaned out the tool & baggage compartment & slept there.