John was attached to the squadron from MAG disbursing when
we went aboard ship as part of the SLF. Joel Vignere was again involved.
This time he was the HAC. "Fish" Williams was the crew chief. Mike
Fulstone writes that he had been asked to give up his set of skins so that
Mooney could get his wings. Curt Gray got off the flight for lunch and
Mooney replaced him. Joel's log indicates the bird was bureau number
147192 and the LZ was Duck.
There seems little doubt about what happened. They were
picking up grunts from the above named LZ. Climbing aboard, one's grenade
came loose and exploded killing the grunt and Mooney. I seem to remember
that a radioman was saved when his radio caught most of the shrapnel. I
also remember a personal conversation with the c/c who told me that he was
standing on the step when the grenade went off. Vignere's summary is the
most comprehensive although his knowledge was limited to what he could see
and surmise at the time. The crew was picked up by a 46 and flown back to
the Iwo Jima. Either Carl Wheeler or Deac Warner flew the badly damaged a/c back to
the ship. Fulstone reports that the ship treated it as if it were an
ongoing crash with full alert.