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James Patrick Lynch

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"I knew immediately it was Lindbergh himself"

Shortly before Lindbergh's death, from six months to a year, I was working for the "Los Angeles Times." As I and three or four of my fellow workers were going from the ground floor to the third floor where our offices were, I noticed this chap quietly standing in the corner of the elevator. My colleague, Jim Francavilla, said to me, "Pat, I understand Lindbergh is in the building." I said something like I didn't believe I could recognize him today. The chap in the elevator spoke up: "I believe they call him slim." I knew immediately it was Lindbergh himself. I was too dumbfounded to do anything but mumble. I wish devoutly now I had said something meaningful, but I didn't. A lost opportunity.

I was in the U.S. Naval Air Service from 1943 to 1946 in the role of Aviation Machinist Mate, and sometime air crew. I flew in SB2C's and TBF's and TBM's. I sat in the ball turret on TBF's, the same type of airplane George Bush SR. flew, and flew in the TBF that was put back together after the Battle of Midway. It had been the only one of six TBF's that flew out from Midway when the Japanese attacked, and the pilot did get it back to the island, pretty well shot up. I believe one of the gunners did die, but am not sure. When I flew in that airplane it was painted yellow with a number "8" painted on the side. It was used for target tows, and also occassionaly submarine patrols over the harbor entrance. It was replaced by a spanking new TBM.

James Patrick Lynch

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