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In Memoriam: USS Langley (AV-3)

February 27 2013 at 3:31 PM
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Melmoth the Wanderer  (no login)
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Today marks the 71st anniversary of the sinking of the venerable seaplane tender LANGLEY just 75nm from Tjilatjap, Java by IJNAF bombers + fighters.

Thanks to fine rescue work and shiphandling by WHIPPLE and EDSALL--and a good deal of luck--485 men were saved when the tender had to be abandoned.

Casualties on LANGLEY were light, all things considered, but men were killed--including Chief Hank Mummey, a 23 year veteran--more wounded, many of whom required urgent medical care. EDSALL carried the divisional Medical Officer for DesDiv 57, LT Chas. G. Butler, and therefore had the seriously wounded aboard her.

Had the 2 destroyers been allowed to proceed into Tjilatjap, a great number of these young men might have yet survived. They were not, however, and in a concatenation of bad choices were sent instead to meet USS PECOS at Christmas island...A grievous error.

The rest is well known...

CMM Mummey's daughter survives to this day (age 87) and is a walking encyclopedia of life in the navy, both in San Diego and at Cavite before the war. Because her generosity and friendliness have done so much to perpetuate the memory of LANGLEY ("the old Covered Wagon") and the Asiatic Fleet over many years, I wanted to remember both AV-3 and her father, Hank, at this time.


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(Login Drennan40)

information on Earl B. Hall

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March 19 2013, 7:41 PM 

For many years I have been searching for information concerning a first cousin once removed, Earl B. Hall, who was Avation Machinist Mate 2nd Class, was a member of Pat Wing 10, was killed in the battle of Holo Sulu Island in the southern Phillipines on Dec. 27, 1941 and was never found. His ship was the USS Langley. He was stationed at Cavite. The family was told that his plane went down 200 yards off the coast of Holo Sulu, but his body was never found.

I have searched for records concerning his death, and I have searched for pictures of the crew members of Pat Wing 10, but have not found any. I would be delighted to learn anything more about Earl. Being only a year old when Earl was killed, I grew up with stories about him and listened as his parents talked of him. My interest has never diminished. If you have any information or know of anyone who might have information, I would be so appreciative of your help in my research.

Charles Drennan
1505 Springdale Drive
Owensboro, KY 42301

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John Melmoth
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Look under Jolo, not Holo

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March 19 2013, 8:02 PM 

And it may help your search a little.

I assume you found this info in Walter Winslow's book?

Some of PATWING 10's official records are available online, also--on fold3. There's a nominal fee, but it's not too bad.

I don't have my copy of Messimer's fine book on PATWING 10 called IN THE HANDS OF FATE (1985) w/me here, but he is always a good source. The current "doyen" of all matters related to PBYs in the early stage of the war is CDR Lou Dorny, who posts on this forum occasionally.

That's all I can tell you right now, away from a lot of my AF/YANGPAT materials...If something turns up in my LANGLEY stuff, I'll try to remember to post it.



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(Login Drennan40)

Earl B. Hall

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March 19 2013, 8:39 PM 

My information came from my great uncle and aunt, Tom and Myrtle Hall, parents of Earl B. Hall. This is the information they were given upon Earl's death. Of course, he was first reported missing, then declared dead. It was repeated to me by Uncle Tom and my dad. He was awarded the air metal for his actions, and later a destroyer escort was named after him. It was christined on March 1, 1944. I have found online pictures of the christining, and I recognized my aunt and cousin in a couple of the pictures. If Earl's two sisters are alive, I have not been able to find them, but upon their parents' death (last one in 1985), they had heard nothing more than what I have stated.

It might be of interest to you to know that many former crew members of the USS Earl B. Hall have a reunion every year, and they are extremely interested in Earl's early life, his heroism, etc. This year, in September, they will be coming to his hometown, Dawson Springs, KY, to honor his memory. Although the town is a tiny dot on the map, it is important to them.

I appreciate your note and will try to find the books you mentioned. Please do let me know if you find anything further.

Charles Drennan

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