Marvin Quaid and his son Jeff flew to the Golden West Fly-In and Airshow in a beautiful blue AT-6. They are both ex-naval aviators and were great to meet and interview.
Evan: Were you guys into flying as kids?
Marvin: When I learned to fly I joined the Navy at age 17 and after going to school for a little while I eventually was allowed to fly at Pensacola NAS.
Jeff: My dad was a Navy pilot so all the time growing up we were near the Navy airport and Navy aircraft. I was always around it and that’s where I got my interest.
Evan: How did you guys get into flying?
Marvin: Well let me tell you about Jeffrey. I had a friend that was fairly famous, his name was Walt Ohlrich, he was Warbird One, he was my classmate and he had an SN-J and he let us fly it while Jeff was still in high school and through him we met some fellows at Tulare who were crop duster's and they built a Stearman and they let us fly it. So that really cemented our fascination of nonmilitary aviation and after that Jeffrey was hooked in he became a Navy pilot as well.
Evan: So does that mean you guys got your pilots licenses in the military?
Marvin: Yes what you do is you go to the FAA with your log book and they would see if you have the applicable hours and then you would take a competency test and they would give you your license. That's just for private pilots licenses but actually I think we got our commercial and instrument rating and that later on regular testing for ATP or wherever
Evan: Why did you guys join the military?
Marvin: I joined the military because it was a good chance for me to get an education, and it did. I became an officer and a pilot and I had a full intention of getting out of the Navy but unfortunately we had a little war going on in Korea so I didn't get out. And so I stayed in and I decided, shoot I like this, and that's the reason!
Evan: Why did you choose the Navy in particular?
Marvin: They chose me!
Jeff: I guess I was indoctrinated at an early age to be a Navy pilot so I didn’t consider the Air Force to tell you the truth.
Evan: Were you ever deployed in combat?
Marvin: Yes, I went to Korea in 1950 right after the Chinese had entered the war and I completed two combat cruises there and the subsequently in Vietnam, I was in and out of that theater several times and I ended by being a squadron commander there.
Evan: What planes did you fly?
Marvin: Well, way back when I flew a T-6’s and F4U’s, AD Skyraiders, F9F’s as FJ’s which are like F-86 Sabers, A-4 Sky Hawks and a lot of A-7 Corsairs.
Jeff: I never flew into combat. I got out of flight training just as Vietnam was over with. I got off of active-duty after about 7 1/2 years and started an airline job I was still in the reserves but I never was involved with combat
Evan: Can you guys share some cool stories with me?
Jeff: I probably don't have as many cool stories as dad!
Marvin: Well I remember one Jeffrey told me that he’s’ forgotten. You were a junior officer, you were on a cruise and flying A-7's at the time. You got launched off of a carrier off of Hawaii and you lost all power, and instrumentation, and radio. So he went up and flew the triangle over the big Pacific Ocean all alone and sure enough, pretty soon here came an F-4 and it lead him over to a runway.
Jeff: It was an overcast sky so you couldn't see the carrier! So I was kind of guessing where it was. I wasn’t that close evidently because when the other guys intercepted me, it was probably a 15 minute ride over the ship.
Marvin: Well, during my days in the Navy and the combat missions and in all at there were quite a bunch of them one, of which is the one where I led the first successful strike on the Hanoi power plant where Sen. McCain got shot down. I went there in May and it was successful in that we didn't lose anybody, and he was there in the fall, like September, October, for the same purpose: to blow up the power plant. That was a pretty thrilling mission and one that I'll probably always remember. It was in an A-4 Skyhawk. We used the TV Guided bomb, and it was pretty brand spanking new at the time, and the ones we had were sort of hand built and not too swell, and we had a lot of troubles with those darn things to work!
Evan: What did you guys after you retired from the military?
Marvin: When I retired from the military, I was going to be a big shot in the corporate world but I gave that up and I moved to Monterey and I went to work for a local school district as their director of maintenance for the facilities and I was there for around 17 years and then I retired altogether.
Jeff: When I got off active duty and for about just under eight years and I flew in the reserve and then I worked for an airline that's now defunct, People Express, I don't know if you’ve even heard of it, and then I went to fly with Delta Airlines in ’85 and I’ve been flying with Delta since.
Marvin: Jeff's career in the Navy was as an aggressor pilot, and Miramar AFB had an aggressor squadron and Lemoore, where I was based, had an aggressor squadron, and we were involved in all the Red Flags in the A-4. And in Jeff's career, he ended up at Lemoore, in A-7’s, and I just lived there, and then, Jimmy Carter was the President of the United States, and he cut the money severely, and Jeff and I, as I told you, were flying the Stearman and there was a fellow in Half Moon Bay, a friend of Eddie Andreini, as a matter of fact, who had a basket-case Stearman. Now he'd been trying to sell this to us for years. So Jeff gets to Lemoore and discovers that Jimmy Carter had cut off the purse strings that he's only go to work four days a week, and he’s only going to get 1 hop a week. So he calls me and said this is the pits, we decided that we needed a project, so we went and bought that wreck from John Herlihy, so we did. It was with another guy and we made into a flying Stearman after a few years, it took a little while, but then that started us and pretty soon Jeff built his own Stearman and my other partner of mine and I made another one. So this year, for the first time in 34 years, since ’76, the Quaid boys don’t have a Stearman! We finally got out of the Stearman market! All we got is that T-6.
Today we flew in the T-6 we own. We take turns in the front seat. It's the blue one out there.