Saturday, March 20, 2010

sepia saturday: danger zone

picking up where I left off last week I'd like to introduce my father, francis ("shan") yanoshik. my dad was born in 1922, the third of seven children. he may have been stephen and mary's third child, but he was the first (and only) for a number of things that made him unique among the kids in his family. for instance, he was the first (and only) to head off to university after he graduated from high school, he was the first and only to break tradition and instead of pursuing a career path involving ground travel (trains or automobiles) he took to the air, and when it was time to settle down he did that at the same time he listened to the call of being a career navy man - so he developed into a person who could show that we could have both roots and wings.

all of the photos I have of my dad were taken from about 1940 on - I'm on the hunt for photographs of my father and his siblings when they were children. I hoping the cousins may possess some of these as surely grandpap took snaps of the kids. as far as I can tell, my folks only have one photo of my dad when he was a lad and I have yet to make a copy of it.

as with my mother it appears that my father was also quite fond of the beach. I know my father has always been keen on various modes of transportation, but really now! it's a good thing he finally met up with my mom, so he could start hanging out on the beach with humans instead of machines!

the photo above is of my dad taken at muhlenberg college. my father entered muhlenberg in 1940. as with many men of his generation, his studies at college were interrupted by ww2. in october 1942, my father joined the navy and chose the path of a navy career - in the navy he was trained as an officer and aviator.

the caption on the back of this photo reads: "Hot Stuff Posing by Governor Martin's Car at Harrisburg" - to my eye it appears that this was written by my grandfather's hand rather than my dad. there is no date on the photo, since martin didn't become the governor until 1943, I'd say it was taken after 1943! I'll have to ask my dad if he remembers why he was strutting his stuff by the governor's car.

I have a few photos of my dad dressed up in his flight gear, this one is actually dated "1943" - the photo was snapped on lofty road, near the house where my father grew up (the house is not in this photo). what I really love about this photo is the wee boy and wee dog in the background.

my father and mother met in 1950, then married in 1951 - next week, for sepia saturday, in honor of their 59th anniversary which takes place march 31st, I will be posting a few snaps of the still happily married couple!

as a navy aviator, my father's career was varied. in addition to being trained as a pilot, my father also received photographic training. during the first fifteen years, of his twenty-eight years in service, he was stationed aboard a few different aircraft carriers. my dad was a passionate and skilled aviator - he had to be to survive so many take-offs and landings on aircraft carriers. when I was young my dad was stationed at miramar (san diego) naval air station, at the time the base was used as a "navy master jet station." while there my dad was a test pilot, however, these were years before the navy fighter weapons school, so unlike tom cruise and his buddies in the movie top gun, the only things my father shot when he was a 'top gun' were photographs. but piloting a jet traveling at speeds that break the sound barrier definitely had one in the danger zone.

click for more sepia saturday posts.

today's song, danger zone, is from the soundtrack of the 1986 movie top gun and is performed by kenny loggins.


15 comments:

Martin H. said...

Your father not only looks the hero in his flying suit, he was a hero. Test pilots and carrier-based pilots tread the finest line of all.

Please wish your parents an early 'happy anniversary'.

Daisy said...

Happy Spring, and Happy Anniversary to come. I'll be looking forward to the pics.

Barry said...

Given the state of aviation at the time, your father must have been a very skilled pilot to have survived. I really enjoyed that shot of him in his flying gear. Excellent post.

Meri said...

Hats off to your dad -- who I'm sure had nerves of steel and an amazing ability to compartmentalize. My beloved ex was a Marine fighter pilot, TOPGUN trained, who had the 10,000th trap/arrested landing on the USS Nimitz when he was a young'un. I can't remember how many carrier landings he had altogether, but it was impressive. He looked amazing in his flight suit and wore his USNA ring proudly.

Mel said...

These pictures are great! Your father is an amazing man. I can't fathom the bravery and skills required for his job. Happy Anniversary to your parents, looking forward to the anniversary post.

Dot-Com said...

He looked and sounded like a great man! Happy anniversary to your folks. You'll have to show us pics afterwards :)

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

A great tour of your dad's early life. My dad was born the same year though he had a very different path. Out of context, that photo by the "governor's car" could be mistaken for a Gestapo shot. A great uniform, but too bad it now evokes something so evil.

L. D. Burgus said...

It is so great that you have these photos of your dad. He lived an interesting life. I at first thought the beach photo was going to be the 60's but no the cars are far older than that. Nice blog.

tony said...

Roots and Wings are the only way to Travel!
It does cross my mind, both My Uncle & Dad were Airmen during The War (RAF)Perhaps they may have waved at each other as they flew by?

Queenmothermamaw said...

I did SS last week of 2 of my 3 uncles in WWII and I just love stories and pictures of that period. That was a wonderful story. Looking forward to the anniversary pic. HH and I will celebrate our Golden ann. in April.
QMM

McHargue said...

Great photos. Your Dad sounds amazing - so smart and so brave. Thank him for his service and wish them a Happy Anniversary.

Alan Burnett said...

Another wonderful SS post. I feel as if I am really getting to know your family now. I look forward to more installments.

Made 4 Aid said...

he was quite hot stuff, wasn't he?

I like the little boy in the last photo too - the incidentals often add so much

Christine H. said...

Your father looks dapper and adventurous. He cuts a fine figure in that third photograph. I absolutely love the fit and style of 1940s men's clothes...women's too for that matter.

PattyF said...

Fabulous photos! Your dad sounds like an incredibly interesting man and a perfect match for your mother. (Yes, I went back and read your post on her. Wonderful!) I wish them both a very happy anniversary!