NOTAM 09-2015 (CAPT Stevens)
The Golden Eagle NOTAM
CAPT Paul Frederick Stevens, USN (Ret)
Dear Golden Eagles,
It is my sad duty to inform you that Emeritus Member CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret), age 93, made his Last Take-Off in Nashville, TN, on August 27, 2014. I was notified yesterday of his death, by Matthew Stevens, Paul’s grandson. Paul was born on April 27, 1921 in Joplin, MO, and in 1939 he attended Joplin Junior College where he studied aviation. Paul is survived by sons, William G. Stevens (Tracy), Paul D. Stevens, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He was preceeded in death by his wife Joyce R. Stevens and daughter Susan E. Stevens. A private internment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in October 2015.
Paul joined the Navy in January 1941 in Pensacola, FL, and received his wings on 31 July 1941. His first assignment was to VP-21 in Pearl Harbor, HI, from 9/41 to 3/42. From 4/42 to 11/43 he was in VP-101 in Australia and New Guinea where he flew 64 combat missions. From 12/43 to 5/44, he was in operational training in PB4Y-1's at NAAS Camp Kearney, CA, and then joined VPB-104 in Kanehoe, HI, and flew 50 combat missions from Morotai, Tacloban and Clark Field in the Philippines. He dive bombed with a PBY at night off Rabaul to score hits on a Japanese Cruiser and Destroyer. He also shot down six Japanese aircraft confirmed (got one by ramming), destroyed six Japanese aircraft on the ground confirmed (these were much harder according to Paul) and destroyed one Maru transport with 2,000 Japanese troops aboard. Several Naval aviators "vacationing" on the Bondoc Peninsula, Philippines, witnessed this attack. Paul was also credited with downing Vice Admiral Yamagata and his entire staff, March 17, 1945. He also scored hits on the Japanese Heavy Cruiser Ashigara off Mindoro Island, Philippines, December 26, 1944 during an individual attack in a PB4Y-1. His combat awards include the Navy Cross, 2 Silver Stars, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 2 Air Medals and the Presidential Unit Citation.
After the war, he served as Operations Officer, NAS Hutchinson, KS, then to Line School, VR-1 and VR-3, and to the US Naval Test Pilot School at NATC Patuxent River, MD, and Service Test from 7/50 to 8/52. He became CO of VC-8 flying AJ-1's for 24 months and then was CO of VAH-1, flying A3D-1's. He returned to Flight Test at NATC Patuxent River, MD., for 2 years testing various aircraft before going to USS Saratoga as Operations Officer and then as Executive Officer. Paul served a short tour in the Pentagon as OP-60 on CNO Staff before becoming Commander Air Wing 12 at NAS Mirimar where he flew 9 different models of aircraft. He commanded the USS Procyon (AF-61) from 3/63 to 3/64 then served on Second Fleet Staff, as Operations and Chief of Staff until he retired in September 1965.
After the Navy, Paul became a corporate aviation Chief Pilot from 1965 to 1981, a token aviator in the engineering department of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation from 1982 to 85, and finally a corporate aircraft salesman from 1986 to his second retirement in 1992. His total flight hours were 17,000 combined. Paul and Joyce loved boating and he was a volunteer at the Pensacola National Aviation Museum after his second retirement. He was an active member in the Nashville area WWII Fighter Pilots Association and published many articles and also a book titled Low Level Liberators of WWII. Paul had a fascinating and full life. It is indeed sad to realize that another member of the Greatest Generation has left us. He will be missed!