An association of Aerographers & Mates,
Meteorologists & Oceanographers

LCDR Charles House USN RET Letter


From: CAPT Neil O'Connor, USN RET

Subject: The Charlie House Letter

Date: Thu 01/17/13 03:33 PM


While a student at the Naval War College (1974-1975) I wrote to him [Charlie House] asking if he would write about his career experiences. In July 1975 I graduated with orders to Seventh Fleet Staff embarked on the USS Oklahoma City, CG-5, and had not received a response by the time I departed Newport. I can only speculate that his letter was probably written sometime in 1975. It was not until a librarian at the War College sent me a copy in 2010 of the original letter which I believe to be a working copy.

I should add that as an ensign in 1956 I had the pleasure of serving with him at NSA Fo
rt Mead.


Date: Thu 01/17/13 04:20 PM


Not relevant to the letter of his wartime situation but certainly about the experiences of the man himself: He was a member of the ground crew scheduled to tether the airship Hindenburg that crashed at Lakehurst Naval Air Station on May 6 1937. As the immense airship was being secured to portable mast it abruptly exploded as it lurched upward, many of the line handling ground crew were carried aloft as they held onto their securing lines. Charlie estimated that he was 15 to 20 feet above ground before he painfully slid down the line he was holding. As soon as he dropped onto the tarmac he scrambled from beneath the rain of fiery debris. Although bruised and aching he escaped serious injury. However, as if a daily reminder of that disaster, Charlie carried a lifetime of scarred hands that undoubtedly saved his life.

Unfortunately I am not aware that he ever documented the event other conversationally. (He was a graduate of class 3713 (May 1937) at the Aerographers Mate School. I graduated in Class 71 in Mar. 1946,  I don't know when the change was made in numbering graduating classes.




Neil O'Connor Letter

(including all 19 pages of Charles House's Letter)


The following are JPEG images of the original nineteen page Charles House Letter.


Fall of 1934, transferred to Lakehurst, N.J. for Lighter than Air School

Page 1   


              Switch to Primary Aerographer's School, World War II Starts and Transfer to Alaska


Aeroology Groups Spread through Aleutions; Arrive at Kiska

 18 May 1942

Page 3


Setting up Station and Regular Observing Schedule; General Bolivar Buckner Visits

Page 4


24 May 1942 Japanese Plane Flies Over; Preparations for an Attack

Page 5


Attack on Dutch Harbor; 7 June 1942 Kiska Attacked

Page 6


Japanese Land on Kiska; Evade into the Hills

Page 7 

Alone and Hiding Out from the Japanese

Page 8

Living on Vegetation; PBY Bombs Japanese in Harbor

Page 9


Surviving Outdoors Forty Days with

a Vegetation and Worm Diet; Periods of Rain

Page 10


Strafed; B-17 Raids; Fainting on 48th Day; Acceptance of Death, One Way or the Other



First Meal in 49 Days; Japanese Curiosity; Two other USNs Previously Captured

Rules of Confinement; a Japanese "Best Friend"

More U.S. Shelling; Another Friendly Japanese; Interrogation

Page 15


Serious U.S. Bombing; Put to Work

Page 16


A Lot of Japs Killed by Strafing and Their Burial; 20 September 1942 Transfer to Japan

Page 17


Rousing Send Off; "He was a fine fellow..."

Page 18


Proposed Series of Articles; AG1 Walter Glenn Lee, USS Houston, Died at His Theodolite.

Page 19