NAVAL SERVICE, 1927-1948
  Walter E. Lees, Navy  
  Walter at Corpus Christi


  Appointed as Lieutenant AV(S)
Training performed since commissioned:
Active duty with Aircraft Squadron Scouting
Fleet, Hampton Roads, Virginia

Active Duty at Naval Reserve Base
Grosse Isle, Michigan (Squadron VS-8R)

Peace time assignments

Promoted to Lieutenant Commander AV(S)
Seniority Date
Called to Active Duty, Pensacola, Florida
(Orders changed to read Active Duty
Involving Flying) Pensacola, Florida
Temporary Additional Duty - purpose of
securing information re organization of
A&R (Assembly & Repair) Dept.,
Corpus Christi, Texas - orders
Reported for duty A&R Department,
Corpus Christi, Texas
Duties included: Assistant A & R Officer,
Engineering Officer, Planning & Material
Officer, & Officer-in-charge Outlying Fields
Div. of A&R Department
Status changed from AV(S) to AV(T)
Promoted to A&R Officer
Appointed Inspection & Survey Officer
Temporary duty I&S Department, San Diego,
Temporary duty ferrying naval aircraft
to Wichita, Kansas
Temporary duty Kelly Field, San Antonio,
Detached from NAS, Corpus Christi, on or about
with orders to proceed to San Francisco,
Transport Squadrons Pacific.
Detached from Naval Air Station, Alameda, Calif.
Ordered to report to Comdt Fleet Air South Pacific
Reported for duty as Commander CASU (Carrier
Aircraft Service Unit) 19
Detached and reassigned as Commander CASU 42
Detached as Commander CASU 41
Reported for duty with ComAir7thFlt (Log)
Temdu additional to contact OWI and MOROTAI
Temdu to CTG 73,4
Temdu - travel orders to proceed from Manus
to Sangley Point

Apponted Commander, USNR
Retired from Active Duty, Corpus Christi, TX.
Retired from U.S. Naval Reserve



7 Dec 1927
20 Dec 1927

5 Jan 1928
15 Apr 1928

15 Apr 1933
30 Apr 1933
15 Jun 1936
31 Aug 1940
1 Jan 1938
5 Nov 1938
15 Nov 1940

11 Dec 1940

28 Jan 1941

3 Apr 1941

1 Jan 1942
1 Jul 1942
12 Aug 1942
9 Sep 1942

21 Oct 1943

18 Jan 1943

1 Apr 1943
10 Jul 1943

18 Apr 1944

27 Apr 1944
9 Aug 1944
4 Jan 1945
18 Jan 1945
2 Mar 1945
23 Feb 1945

16 Apr 1945
28 May 1945
30 Jul 1945
10 Jul 1945
20 Aug 1945
29 Jun 1948


From 1928 on, I attended drills at the Naval Reserve Base at Grosse Isle. I wasn't a regular, as I was traveling so much out of town that I could only go on Saturdays and Sundays. I also had two weeks of active duty each year. I flew all kinds of Navy landplanes.
     My first orders were for duty without flight duty. I wrote to Lt. Cmdr. Jim Taylor in Washington, D.C. and two weeks later, the orders were changed giving me flight duty and flight pay.
     I had flown the Navy SNJ advanced trainer at Grosse Isle, but when I asked for one to fly at Pensacola, the operations officer said I would have to be checked out in one first. They assigned a cocky, young Ensign to me who had just finished his course, and just started instruction. He put me in the forward cockpit and he was in the rear.
     The first landing I tried to make, like I had made at Grosse Isle, was at about 60 mph. The ensign yelled at me to come in faster, about 75 mph. I attempted four landings, none of them successful. I finally got disgusted, taxied into line, told him I didn't have time to fly any more that day and didn't go back for more instruction.
     Several months later, at Corpus Christi, I went to San Diego, California with several other pilots. I flew a SNJ back to Corpus, making six landings enroute. I managed to deliver the plane intact.
     I stayed at Pensacola until July, 1943, when I was detached to Corpus Christi and its Aeroplane and Repair dept.


Pops was recalled to the Navy and went first to Pensacola, FL. I went later, along with Betty and Billie. Next he was sent to Corpus Christi, TX, where there was a brand new naval base. We lived first at the Seacrest Motel, along with lots of people who worked out at the station. I didn't know much about the navy in those days. One morning, I rinsed out a few undies and hung them out on the line. My next door neighbor, a navy wife, came in and said, "Oh Mrs. Lees, you mustn't do that. You must wait until your maid comes and let her do that. Navy officer's wives don't do that." We had a maid who came in and made the beds etc., and so I learned slowly how to behave.
     From there we moved to a rental house on Austin St. (3030??) and we lived there when we had warnings of a hurricane. I didn't know much about hurricanes so I called the office of our landlord to see what I was supposed to do, if we were supposed to board up the windows or what. A girl answered the phone and said, "Oh, he isn't here. He's gone to San Antonio with his family to be in the hotel where they'll be safe."
     After Austin Street, we moved to quarters QQ which were very nice. We had three nice bedrooms and two baths and we had a maid full time. We had maid's quarters (one room) out in back and we had colored help most of the time.
     While we lived in QQ, Billie was engaged to George Hicks and we had a real nice engagement party. George's friends were certainly surprised because he was a confirmed bachelor.
     That wedding was really something at Corpus. The service was in a dear little chapel on the station and they had a guard of honor. It was really very impressive and very, very lovely.

Gallery 11Back Home