Commander Ralph V. "Kaiser' Wilhelm, USN (Ret.)

Following the Battle of the Coral Sea, the damaged carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) and her escort warships, including the heavy cruiser USS Portland (CA-33), returned to Pearl Harbor on 27 May 1942.

Eight days later, Portland and the hastily patched up Yorktown would both take part in the great naval battle at Midway that would finally turn the tide of battle against Japan in the Pacific War.

Ralph "Kaiser" Wilhelm now takes up the story of his service as a seaplane pilot aboard Portland during the Battle of Midway. Following US Navy historical practice, Midway Time is used when fixing the times of incidents of the battle.

In the second section, he describes the procedures for launching, flying and recovering the Curtiss SOC seaplane.

Ensign Ralph "Kaiser' Wilhelm flies his Curtiss "Seagull" SOC-1 Seaplane over his ship, the heavy cruiser USS Portland in 1942. This image was reproduced with the permission of the artist John Greaves, whose aviation and marine art can be viewed at: http://www.johngreavesart.com


A Seaplane pilot at the Battle of Midway

Flying the Curtiss "Seagull" SOC-1 Scout Seaplane

About Commander Ralph "Kaiser" Wilhelm, USN (Ret.

Commander Wilhelm also flew his Curtiss SOC seaplane while the Battle of the Coral Sea was taking place. His plane was caught between the anti-aircraft fire from the American carrier Task Force and the attacking Japanese aircraft, and he had to dodge both "friendly" and Japanese fire. Viewers are urged to read this exciting story at Battle of the Coral Sea.


© Copyright CommanderRalph V. "Kaiser" Wilhelm, USN (Ret.). All rights reserved. This story has been reproduced in its present form on the Pacific War Web-site with the permission of the copyright holder, and as a result of collaboration between Commander Wilhelm and the author of this web-site. The text of the story cannot be reproduced elsewhere without the permission of Commander Wilhelm.