Photos by Tom Capshaw
These pictures cover three different events. 1) Plane parts on deck of Parks. The pilot was making an attempt to ditch in Wonson Harbor and at about 1000' he suddenly came straight down. We sent the Whaleboat out but very little was left. A Whaleboat from the Cruiser St.Paul took body parts back to the ship. 2) Before the Korean War we were in Hong Kong and were directed to get underway and rendezvous with a British Ship off the coast of China and pick up two American airman that had been held as prisoners by the Chinese Communist for 18 months. We sent the Whaleboat to Hunan Province and picked them up and brought them back to the ship. When we returned to Hong Kong, we went alongside a DE that was tied up at the dock. News crews were everywhere. The Associated Press had been told by the State Department that two American airman had been released by the Communist. We got some good press concerning our role. 3) On a Sunday afternoon we were told to standby and be prepared to pickup a pilot that had been hit by ground fire and didn't think he could make it back to his Carrier. As you can see, the pictures I took covered the entire event. Please notice on the stern there aren't any white hats. Skipper Claudius is the one with his head down. We had many more memorable experiences on the Parks but these were probably the most memorable. .... T.C.


Airman being welcomed Airman leaving Parks Hunan
Airman being welcomed.jpg Airman leaving Parks.jpg Hunan.jpg
Pilot lowered to Parks Pilot on Parks Plane parts
Pilot lowered to Parks.jpg Pilot on Parks.jpg Plane parts.jpg
Wingman crash site downed pilot
Wingman.jpg crash site.jpg downed pilot.jpg

Thomas E. Capshaw
189 Via Havarre
Merritt Island , Florida 32953


Served on the Parks from January 1950 thru June 1952 and worked in the Engineering Division “A Gang.” SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: 1) crossing the Equator and becoming a Shell Back. 2) picking up two American airman from the British Ship “Hunan ” off the coast of China .

The airman, captured by the Chinese Communist, had been held as prisoners for two years in China . 3) rescuing pilots in Wonson Harbor whose planes had been hit by Communist ground fire and could not make it back to the Aircraft Carrier.

SAD EVENTS: 1) watching two planes collide during maneuvers off the coast of
Okinawa killing both pilots. 2) seeing a plane crash in Wonson Harbor killing the pilot. Remains of the pilots gear and parts of the plane were retrieved and brought back to our ship.

BIGGEST FEARS: 1) being shot at in Wonson Harbor . 2) mines , and 3) surviving “The Storm” on our way from Pearl Harbor back to San Diego .
Note of interest:
On our way to Korea in 1951, we crossed the International Date Line five times (to and from Midway ) in three days. No one knew what day it was.


Went to Engineering School after the Navy and became an Engineer. Career highlights included Flight Simulators, Infra-Red technology, Space Science, and the Space Shuttle Program.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: 1) Presented Flight Simulator briefing to Minoru Genda and members of his staff at Yokota AFB, Japan in 1959. During WW II Genda was on staff to Admiral Yamamota and drafted the surprise attack plan to bomb Pearl Harbor . Genda was head of Japan Self Defense Command in 1959. 2) Work on the Surveyor Spacecraft Program at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California . Project determined feasibility of soft landing on the Moon and determined landing sites for Apollo Lunar Landings on the Moon, 3) Work on the Space Shuttle Program at
Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENT: being awarded the NASA PUBLIC SERVICE MEDAL for outstanding management contributions in supporting the launch of Columbia , the first Space Shuttle into space.

NOTE: When I met Genda , I was unaware of his role in WW II. At Yokota AFB he was introduced to me as head of Japan Self Defense Command. In 1972 (?) he attended the movie premiere “Tora Tora Tora” in Washington, D.C. and I happened to see him on TV. His role is well defined in the movie “Midway,” “Red Parks” name is also mentioned in the same movie.