Van Schuyler and his crew got together and trained in Cuba
and Salinas, Kansas.
Captain Van was a veteran pilot compared
to most war time standards. He received his pilot license
at age 16 and had flown as an instructor pilot in the Canadian
Air Service for several years prior to returning to the
United States. At that time, he was about 33 years old.
When the crew flew out of Salina to staging at Harrington,
they were instructed to get in to flight formation, fly
over Smoky Hill and maintain said formation until they passed
over Harrington. Capt Van was the group leader on that show.
The flight to Sacramento, Hawaii, Kwajalein and Guam was
routine. The men knew things were getting serious while
on Kwajalein the armors there loaded and checked all of
our guns. They were to fly within sight of Truk, which was
occupied by the Japanese. They did see the island of Truk
but no Zeros came out to greet them. They landed on North
Field 31 March 1945.
54 flew their first mission by mid April. In all the crew
would fly 33 sorties all successful. There were no aborts
and no emergency landings.
is still flying as of 1995. He has his own plane, a twin
Commanche PA-30. He is also flying for a local banking chain
in Boise, Idaho.