In remembrance of CDR Joseph J. Bacak who served in VP-6 from 1948 to 1951
Joe Bacak, passed away December 26th 2004 in Sunnyvale, CA.
CDR Joseph J. Bacak
Joseph “Joe” J. Bacak
Joe was born on March 15th 1916 in Lakeside, Ohio. He served in WWII and was commended by President Roosevelt.
He is survived by Vera Russell, companion of 28 years, four children, three grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, three brothers and three sisters. Funeral services were held with full military honors at the Lima Family Santa Clara Mortuary today, January 4, 2005. Final resting place is the Mission City Memorial Park in Santa Clara, California. His parting words were "Farewell to you and the youth I have spent with you. To all who were my loving family and to those who were my friends, I thank you."
Joe Bacak was one of the finest men I ever flew with in twenty years in the Navy.
The earliest thing I know about Joe Bacak was during the early part of World War Two he lead a three plane formation to one of the islands off Alaska on a bombing raid. He was flying PV's at the time.
When we deployed to Japan on the first tour Bacak was our plane commander, our co-pilot was Ltjg Clyde Campbell and our navigator was Midshipman Richard Pickering. Bacak was always at the controls for take-off. He was the squadron Material officer, so we always carried all the Material records with us. He did most of the navigating on the right knee of his flight suit. He did not give either of the other pilots much flying time. Once when we had been over there about four months, we manned the aircraft and he suddenly told Pickering he was flying that day, so he put him in the left seat and turned him loose. Pickering did an outstanding job.
Bacak was not hard to get along with he just expected you to do your job. We spent the night at Iwakuni before a spotting mission once, and he needed someone from the crew to pick up some parachutes from a PBM squadron. The boat crew was to get them from an aircraft tied to a buoy out in the bay, and we were supposed to pick them up from the boat crew at the pier. We met the boat and each of the chutes had been picked up by D-ring and had opened and had to be repacked. Needless to say Bacak was furious.
The XO E.B. Rodgers landed our assigned aircraft wheels up at Atsugi just before we were to return home. Bacak was the first squadron officer at the site. He directed the salvage with minimum damage and that aircraft returned home with the rest of the squdron.
He was a good man and a good pilot. He made a GCA approach at Tachikowa one night so good that it appeared the controller was sitting in the cockpit reading the instruments. He also firmly believed that being able to fly good instruments was the best life insurance a pilot could have. He was easy on the aircraft also. Every two hours he would do what he called "hauling ashes," He would go to climb power for about three minutes, and if you were sitting in the tail turret you saw two trails of sparks trailing the aircraft.
When we moved to Atsugi there was alot of mud to wade going to the different offices, so Bacak built a boardwalk. He did it by himself and he did a good job.
Pete McKnight, One of his crewmen in 1950.
I was the third pilot (Navigator) in Joe Bacak's crew, crew 6, in 1950. I agree with Pete, Joe was a great pilot. I learned much about flying from him. As a LT, Joe was the squadron Maintenance Officer and performed a superb job in that capacity.
I worked for Joe Bacak at Kodiak and continued to work for him after we returned to Whidbey in the fall of 1949. He always impressed me how calm he was even when things were not going smoothly in the Material Office. As a young Ensign I had a lot to learn and Joe was patient with me and I can never remember him raising his voice. I was taking care of the Baker Allotment and it was a mess.
Joe Bacak March 15th 2004
At the end of the fiscal year a Supply Corps LT from the staff came to our office and was really upset because we had over spent the allotment by about seven dollars. The LT in effect said "I don't know what I am going to do with you-maybe a courts martial". Being naïve I became worried about my future. After the LT left Joe said "don't worry about it; nothing is going to happen".
Joe was a real gentleman, a leader, and an officer that I always respected. He made Bill Goodman a better officer and Joe was a real asset to the squadron.
January 9, 2004
Joe was a consummate U.S. Naval Officer and Naval Aviator. While serving in Patrol Squadron Six in 1949, at the Whidbey Island, Washington Naval Air Station, Joe was the Squadron Material Officer. In that capacity, he was responsible for all expenditures of the squadron, which included the "Able Allotment" and the "Baker Allotment." These two funds were the funds set aside by the Navy Department for the purpose of running the squadron affairs. The "Able Allotment" covered all expenses necessary in keeping the airplanes in the air, such as fuel, oil, maintenance supplies, etc. The "Baker Allotment" covered all non-aircraft expenses.
Joe policed these funds as though they were coming out of his own pocket. Nobody put anything past him, no sir! When Joe was returning to base from a scheduled flight activity, he would land at the approach end of the runway and take the first turn-off so he wouldn't burn any more gasoline than absolutely necessary.
After the squadron was transferred to Naval Air Station Barbers Point in Hawaii in 1950, Joe became the Maintenance Officer. He handled this responsibility with the same vigor and enthusiasm. The planes were always ready for their flights on time and in perfect condition. If Joe needed parts for our planes, Joe got them.
Joe, you will be missed by your shipmates and we salute you!
January 3rd 2005