I have been trying to figure this out for some time, but have not had much luck elsewhere. I have found info on USAAF bombers, and what ranks the crewmembers often had, but nothing for larger navy aircraft.

I know Pan-Am's Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat was operated by the US Navy for some time during WWII, but I don't know if the USN operated any heavy bombers or other large aircraft. If they did, what would the ranks of the crew (pilot/plane commander, co-pilot, flight engineer, bombardier, radioman, navigator, gunners, etc.) be?

Thanks in advance for any help.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! If you don't get a good answer here you might also try history.SE, they have a lot of questions about military history. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


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The Navy did operate some large aircraft, notably the PB4Y-1 Liberator and PB4Y-2 Privateer, variants of the B-24 Liberator. This was a late-war addition, the first being delivered in 1944 with the majority being delivered after the war. It was difficult to find crew compositions - the best bet I had was searching for reports of crashes based off of this list, but the newspaper clippings I found did not mention any crews.

There was a post-WWII (1950) shoot-down of a Navy PB4Y-2 by the Soviets and the article does have the list of the crew members that went down, but without the crew positions (notes added based off of information here. This was an electronic intelligence flight, but the crew ranks would have been similar for the flight crew at least. Note: Navy enlisted have ranks and rates, rates being associated with their profession and as such will often be more difficult to determine where there is little information.

  • LT Howard W. Seeschaf

  • LT John H. Fette

  • LTJG Robert D. Reynolds

  • ENS Tommy L. Burgess (Ensign/O-1)

  • AT1 Frank L. Beckman (Avionics Electronic Technician)

  • AL3 Joseph J. Bourassa (Aviation Electronics Man)

  • AD 1 Joseph H. Danens (Aviation Machinist's Mate)

  • CT3 Edward J. Purcell (Communications Technician)

  • AN Joseph N. Rinnier (Airman)

  • AD 1 Jack W. Thomas (Aviation Machinist's Mate)


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