From the Right Seat
By Pete Rafle ATP CFII
I have been collecting aviation related items for many years. I have a large “accumulation” of Pan American Airlines related ephemera – postcards, early flight covers(letters), postage stamps, and promotional items handed out by the airline. Of course, I also have a similar collection of Trans World Airlines material since I worked for them as well.
I also occasionally see items that are specifically U.S. Naval Aviation related, which I add to my
collection. My Naval material also includes postcards of airplanes I have flown, or wished I had, a
coaster or two from BOQ bars or other bars in Honolulu of other favorite spots, and anything else I like.
I am sharing one of these items because it illustrates why I am drawn to these pieces of personal
history. First, as you can see in photo #1, this is a 100 Yen note from the mid-1960s. The US- Yen
exchange was 360Yen to 1 US Dollar. It was worth about $.28. On the reverse, photo #2, has two
signatures; I am assuming Bill Dent was a patrol plane crew member, and CDR. Stanley J. Kaleul was the aircraft commander. The type of patrol airplane could have been a P3 Orion or, most likely, a P2
Around the border of the bill are most of the Naval Air Stations that a Patrol Squadron deployed to
the West Pac (Western Pacific) would have flown into during a deployment. The one odd ball station
listed, Willow Grove, is a mystery. The rest can be read in order of the stops of a long cross-country
series of flights. Starting at Alameda, CA, across the bay from San Francisco to Barbers Point. HI, just
west of Honolulu. Next, on to Wake Island. Missing is the stop at Midway Island. Guam is shown which
would have followed Midway before flying to Atsugi, Japan which is near Tokyo. Iwakuni MCAS is near
Hiroshima, Japan. They probably visited Honolulu and Waikiki on the return trip home.
I suspect that this was a Naval Reserve crew that were lucky to have some mission to accomplish,
which originated at Willow Grove, PA, and were able to tour Japan and the Pacific Ocean. I think they
had a great time and created this momento to commemorate the trip.
I deployed twice to West Pac during the Viet Nam conflict, and we flew our airplanes to and from San
Francisco to Okinawa. When I first saw this, I thought, they should have used, at least, a Thousand Yen
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PS - Naomi was Pete's guest on episode 4 of the Princeton Flying School Podcast. They had a great conversation on the history of the airport and the flying school.