Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cdr Turner F.Caldwell 1913- 1991

Turner Caldwell was born in Narbeth, Pennsylvania Nov.17 1913. After graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1935 he served consecutively on the USS Saratoga, and the USS Hull. He reported to the NAS, Pensacola, Fl for flight training, and was designated Naval Aviator in July 1939.
He joined Scouting Squadron 5 based aboard the USS Yorktown and later aboard the USS Enterprise. The Enterprise sustained damage and his squadron served at Guadalcanal.
In January 1944 he formed and commissioned Fighter Squadron (night) 79 and served as commanding officer. In August of 1944 the designation was changed to Night Carrier Air group 41 attached to the USS Enterprise, part of task groups 38. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit.

Turner Caldwell was commanding officer Night attack and combat training Unit Naval Air Station, Barbers Point Oahu between March and December 1945.
In 1947 he commanded Carrier Air Group 4 on the USS Roosevelt. He attended Test pilots school at Patuxant River in 1949 and became the director of Flight Test there. At Muroc Dry Lake, Ca. the Navy's Douglas Skystreak (D-558), piloted by Commander Caldwell, flew four times over a three-kilometer course at an average speed of 640.7 m.p.h. This was 16.9 m.p.h. faster than the record set (on June 19) by Lockheed's P-80R.
For establishing a new world speed record in the D-558 at Muroc Dry Lake he was awarded a gold star in lieu of a second Distinguished Flying Cross.