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Naval Chief Petty Officers

Steve Piwetz, ACOM, USN

Naval Chief Petty Officers

Steve Piwetz

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I am compelled to honor Chief Steve Piwetz not only because he was a great guy and did a terrific job in Fighting Squadron Six (VF-6) during three combat cruises in WW-II but also because he and I served together for two years in peace time at the US Navy Guided Missile Test Center, at Point Mugu, CA.

Steve Piwetz was a very conscientious Navy man who was one of "Butch's Boys" - chosen to be a part of Butch O'Hare's fighter squadron. He was a Chief Ordnancman and headed up the gang that took care of our guns and ordnance equipment.

VF-6 Maintenance Crew in U.S.S. Intrepid (CV-11) at Majuro Atoll - February 1944

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He accounted for the excellent performance and dependability of that crew. During our second cruise, Piwetz became the leading chief and held our whole enlisted crew together as a fine working team to the end of the war. Any squadron could not want for a better supporting crew than what we had. Everyone seemed to take pride in responding to Chief Piwetz's leadership and his zest for excellence.

After the war during 1947 -'48, Chief Piwetz served as the ordnance specialist responsible for the guns and ammunition for the P-80 Jet fighter plane that I used to chase guided missiles being tested.

USS Carbonaro (SS-337) launches a test missile at the Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, CA in 1947. Hersch Pahl chases with P-80 Jet fighter with guns serviced by Chief Steve Piwetz

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Click Image for larger ViewMy job was to use this jet fighter to chase or "ride herd" on missiles being tested. When one would malfunction and go where it wasn't supposed to go, my job was to shoot it down to keep it from harming some one. I needed dependable guns just like in combat. Piwetz and his helpers did a good job as I had to shoot down a number of these wayward birds during the two years that I had the job. Piwetz was still there when I was reassigned, but retired shortly there after.

A crew member of Steve's loads 50 calibur shells in the P-80 Chase Jet piloted by Hersch

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His twin brothers in Woodlands, Texas indicated that their brother Steve, had succumbed to Leukemia shortly after his retirement and before he had much time to tell them anything about his service experience. Take it from me - Chief "Steve' Piwetz was a great guy and always lived according to the Good Book and fair play. His family has every right to be mighty proud of Steve. Thanks Chief, you did a great job for all of us.

- Hersch Pahl

Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star

Note: Information on the P-80 is located at the U.S. Air Force Museum Website.

"For those who fought for it...
freedom has a flavor the protected will never know!"

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October 1, 2007