(Belvidere, NJ)—Paul Flohn had dreamed of being a pilot since he was five years old, not an unusual dream for a little boy. Today, at 86, he looks back with pride at his dream fulfilled as a Navy pilot flying Corsairs during the Korean War. Corsairs were propeller aircraft that flew in support of carriers and were regarded as formidable fighter-bombers.
“I joined in 1950, just as the war was beginning,” he recalls.
Initially, he went to basic training where he expressed an interest in aviation. He ended up as a Naval Aviator in Atlantic City and was in for four years of service.
“I’d have to say, flying was the only part of the Navy I enjoyed. Nothing else.”
His squadron, VC-4, was sent in detachments of four planes to carriers at sea. He got as far as Portugal, never seeing any action in Korea.
After the war, Flohn retained his flight ratings and could have continued flying. Instead, he found excitement on the water.
“Hydroplanes,” he says. “My brother and I owned a
racing boat and were members of the American Power Boat Association.”
Hydroplanes are designed to cut across the surface of the water at high speeds with high-powered engines.
“We were High Point Champions at one point,” he recalls, referring to a category of methane-powered boat.
Originally from East Orange, his working life was spent at Westinghouse, first in New Jersey, then Maine, manufacturing the tungsten filaments used to make lightbulbs. He retired in 1991.
Today, Mr. Flohn relates his stories to the Men’s Club at The Chelsea at Brookfield, the assisted living community where he now lives in Belvidere, Warren County.
PHOTOS: Mr. Flohn in his apartment at The Chelsea; vintage photos of Corsairs in action.