Last week we touched on Lucky, Earl Patrick, my Uncle through marriage to my Aunt Onie, who is my Mom’s sister. This little story will explain why and how he earned his name Lucky Patrick.
In my writing last week I told how Lucky Patrick was circling over the Pacific Ocean because he could not remember the code word in order to enter air space over Los Angeles. Here is a little more information on him.
Lucky Patrick served 25 years in the Navy as a pilot and as a teacher of flight or pilot training. He entered the service at the age of 17. He trained to become a pilot and was flying by the age of 19. During World War 2, he was shot down or crashed in 3 separate incidents. One such incident he was flying a plane that during World War 2. It crashed with another plane in midair. They found Patrick in a tree along with part of his plane. He obtained no injuries and was ready to fly the next day.
In yet another incident, again during the war, his plane was shot down by the enemy. He was found by United States soldiers, the tail end of the plane that was broken in half. He had no injuries and was the only survivor.
But by far, his luck came on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, December 7, 1941. He had been stationed at Pearl Harbor. His wife and daughter were living on base with him at the time. His wife, who was my Aunt Onie had found out that My Grandmother Anna, had passed the day before in Lawndale, California. Onie, along with their daughter Carol Ann, boarded the first plane out of Hawaii to land at the Los Angeles Airport early in the morning of December 7th. Lucky Patrick, who was stationed on base, had obtained a pass. He said his goodbyes to his family. Being left behind, he skipped breakfast for an early morning swim on the North Shore of the island. While his wife and daughter were in the air, and while he was swimming on the opposite side of the island, Pearl Harbor came under attack. Their lives had been spared. The house that they had lived in had been destroyed and had burnt to the ground.
In 1942 he became a member of the crew that commissioned VR-3. This was a transport squad that was used during the war. After the war, he was grounded by choice. After so many brushes with death, he decided to teach men to become pilots; as he’d rather not fly again. He remained a teacher for many years. In the 1950’s he was requested to do an emergency flight to England. He argued against it, but finally agreed. He made the flight to and from safely, returning to his home in Orange County, California. Later that night he had a massive heart attack; the Doctors said his heart exploded. It would be the last flight for him; just barely coming home to pass on land.