During that boring month while I drove the gasoline tanker, I had plenty of time between runs to study. I took and handily passed the examination for first class aviation machinist mate even though I had been a second class petty officer for only four months. Promotions were occurring as fast as a man’s skill would permit. I also heard that applications were being accepted for the naval aviation cadet flight training program and promptly submitted my application for that. A month later I passed the stringent physical with no problem.
The move of VP-11 and VP-12 to the Solomons was now more than a rumor and we began actual preparations for departure of the airplanes in advance of the ground personnel. There were no openings on the flight crews; therefore, when my month on the gas truck was finished I was transferred to an engine assembly crew. Dick and I were also informed that the new Navy policy was to split up brothers headed for a combat
would remain in VP-11 ground support and, upon moving south, I would be
assigned to Patrol Wing One Headquarters Squadron as an engine specialist. Since we were to be split up and partly
because one or the other might not come back from the war zone, Richard and I
went into town and had a good portrait made to send to the family. It wa well that we did—once we left Oahu I
very rarely saw Dick for the next fifteen years.
|Author's brother Richard Frieze on left, Conrad Frieze on the right.|
When the airplanes had departed, we had plenty of opportunity for liberty while we awaited our surface transportation to the South Pacific. One of those occasions resulted in my having a run-in with a Hawaiian policeman and I wound up having to go to provost court (Hawaii was still under martial law).
I had taken the Dodge and gone into Honolulu on a 24-hour special liberty pass. I no longer remember the occasion but it must have been an all-night luau as—somewhat the worse for a few too many drinks—it was after sunrise when I climbed into the brown Dodge and started back to the base. Realizng that I had consumed one or two many, I drove out to Kaimuki and stopped at the Ekaha Street house to bum a cup of coffee from Diane. From there I could take the Kam Highway around the coast past Koko Head and the Blowhole to Kailua and Kaneohe. It would be quicker than driving the Pali road.
Richard had told me a few days before that he and Diane were planning to get married on September 17th and he wanted me to be his best man. Diane was up making breakfast when I arrived that morning so I joined her. I was due back on the base for muster at 0800 and when I finally looked at my watch it was past seven o’clock. I would have to hurry to make it.
I hopped into the Dodge coupe and headed down the long hill out of Kaimuki ignoring the speed limit of 35 miles per hour in town. At the first curve out toward Haunama Bay, I noticed the white of a Hawaiian patrol car coming down the hill out of Kaimuki about a quarter mile back. I thought nothing of it for two or three miles until somewhere in the area of the Blowhole I saw the poilice car round the curve behind me with his lights flashing.
I had to make a choice. I could either pull over and be late for muster or I could try to outrun him to the Marine checkpoint a quarter mile short of the Kaneohe main gate. I knew that if I could get there the Marines would wave me by and would stop the police car. It had been done before. Feeling cocky and with traffic very light, I put the accelerator on the floor and made a run for it.
At first I gained on the patrol car then hit the curves past Koko Head and had to drop below seventy. The policeman turned on his siren and started closing the gap as I went up the last ridge before Kailua with the speedometer over eighty. There my luck ran out. A big semi was laboring up the hill and, with the crest near, I judiciously elected not to try to pass for fear of an on-coming vehicle.
At the crest of the rise I saw no cars coming and started to pull around the truck but I was too late. The police car shot by me and crowded between me and the turck with the officer waving for me to pull over. I did.
The policeman that walked up to the Dodge was a big kanaka civilian cop. He was not polite and brusquely ordered me out of the car. Seeing as how he was wearing a .375 Magnum on his hip, I obeyed.
The Hawaiian cop asked for my driver’s license. I could only state that I was unawake that a serviceman needed one and the I had none. He then asked for my liberty card and the car registration. When I produced both he found that the car was registered in Richard’s name, not mine, and became downright abusive informing me that it was a crime in Hawaii to be driving someone else’s car without written permission.
I had been very polite up to that point but my temper flared and I am afraid I read the native officer royally. I carefully did not call him any names, but as I recall, I had a few choice words to say about the Hawaiian income being primarily from the military etc, etc, and that he was going to make me late for muster.
The kanaka cop accused me of resisting arrest and laid a hand on the butt of his pistol. I then said words to the effect, “Officer, if you pull that gun on me, I am going to feed it to you butt first! I admit I was speeding so just write me the damned ticket and let me get on to muster before they list me as AOL!”
He proceeded to do that and handed me a ticket that listed five charges—doing seventy miles an hour in a 35-mile zone, driving without a Hawaiian driver’s license, driving another person’s car without written permission, resisting arrest, and some other ordinance that I forget. I made muster, still in my liberty whites, without about two minutes to spare.
That evening I showed Dick the ticket with the date September 11th when I was to appear in provost marshal’s court. Being ever the wheeler-dealer, Dick had the answer. He gave me the name of a Marine sergeant at police headquarters in the Honolulu municipal building, told me to contact him and slip him twenty dollars and the sergeant would get me a driver’s license which would at least remove one of the charges and maybe some of the others.
I did as he instructed and it greased the skids beautifully. In one day I took the Hawaiian driver’s test and a license was issued to me. When I asked the sergeant about the other charges, he just smiled and waved a hand in dismissal.
It was a well-spent twenty dollars. On the appointed day I appeared in provost court before a bored Marine lieutenant colonel. When my case was called I stood at attention dreading the fine that was sure to come. (I had borrowed fifty dollars and hoped that would be enough.)
The colonel verified my identity then said, “Sailor, you are accused of driving fifty miles an hour in a thirty-five-mile zone. Guilty or not guilty?”
I was momentarily stunned. The ticket I had given the sergeant with the twenty-dollar bill had clearly said 70 miles per hour and the provost had said nothing about the other charges. I managed to stammer, “Er—guilty, Sir!”
“All right—fifteen dollars fine. Pay the clerk. Next case!”
Feeling relieved and elated I paid the fifteen dollars, the clerk recorded my violation on the back of the driver’s license, and I went happily on my way.