Patteson, Pat

Pat Patteson and his twin brother Morris were born November 24, 1921 in Smiley, Texas, a rural farming town. The boys mostly worked on the farm, milking cows and doing other chores; Pat also pumped gas at the local station.  For fun the brothers participated in intramurals playing sports, including football, basketball and tennis.  At 18 Pat attended a two-year college in west Texas, paid for with his violin income.  There he received the breaking news about Pearl Harbor, and he recalls that he did not know where Pearl Harbor was:  four weeks later he enlisted in the US Navy.  He admired the US Navy uniform and several of his classmates had joined, and his ambition was to become a pilot. His brother Morris was a medical student and became a Medical Officer aboard the USS New Jersey (BB-62), and was later a doctor in central Texas.  Pat was enrolled in the Navy Flight Program at age 20 at the Corpus Christi, Tx. base.  He took CPT (Civilian Pilot Training) in Abilene, Tx., and there he achieved his first solo flight.  He had already had 8 hours of dual instruction, and that opportunity resulted in a “jump” over other student pilots as most had no previous training.  Pat trained at Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Washington.   From there he took the inland passage up the coast to Kodiak and Kiska  to the Attu Navy Base.  He participated in the Battle of Attu, flying cover and taking photographs of airfield operations over  two of  the Japanese occupied Aleutian Islands off of Alaska.  There Pat observed Lend-Lease planes and ships transiting the shipping lanes to Russian ports. He initially flew the amphibious PBY-5A flying boats with a crew of 7-8, but they were vulnerable targets for Japanese attack.  He transitioned to the twin engine 2,000 HP Pratt & Whitney Lockheed Ventura which could attain a speed of 300 MPH.  The Japanese Zeros were no match on their fighter passes.  Pat continued his missions in the north Pacific through to the end of the war, and he and his crew engaged the Japanese on a number of occasions.  When his service was complete, Pat flew to Abilene, Texas, where he was discharged. Pat Patteson was interviewed over zoom by Scott Masters and his students in January 2024.