Brainerd’s Good Samaritan Society-Woodland Apartments welcomed six sailors from Fort Snelling who came to hear the stories, or history if you will, of one of Minnesota's oldest living naval pilots.

Surrounded by friends, family and fellow veterans, United States Navy retired “full” Lt. Ron Hobson talked with a few of the sailors about joining the Navy in 1943 and spending more than 18 years flying Corsairs and F9-Fs in the Navy Reserves.

Standing behind United States Navy retired “full” Lt. Ron Hobson are sailors Chief Hospital Corpsman Julian Aryee(left), Chief Navy Counselor Savannah Dickey, Navy Counselor 1st Class Jerry Provost, Boatswain's Mate 1st Class George Brefo, Chief Hospital Corpsman Derrick Milstead, Chief Yeoman Michael Traynor Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, at Brainerd’s Woodland Good Samaritan Apartments.

Contributed
Standing behind United States Navy retired “full” Lt. Ron Hobson are sailors Chief Hospital Corpsman Julian Aryee(left), Chief Navy Counselor Savannah Dickey, Navy Counselor 1st Class Jerry Provost, Boatswain's Mate 1st Class George Brefo, Chief Hospital Corpsman Derrick Milstead, Chief Yeoman Michael Traynor Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, at Brainerd’s Woodland Good Samaritan Apartments. Contributed

Hobson said that after spending “two years, three months, and 11 days” in training, World War II was over and he was no longer needed for combat operations.

Not wanting to give up on his flying career, Hobson joined the Navy Reserves and was stationed in Minneapolis at Naval Reserve Air Base Wold Chamberlain Airport.

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Hobson’s grandaughter, Nikie Olmsted, said it was always fun hearing about his time flying planes for the Navy.

Great-granddaughter Rosalie and granddaughter Nicole Olmsted were present to watch their grandfather Ron Hobson receive a Letter of Appreciation from the United States Navy Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, during a Veterans Luncheon at Woodland Good Samaritan. 
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Great-granddaughter Rosalie and granddaughter Nicole Olmsted were present to watch their grandfather Ron Hobson receive a Letter of Appreciation from the United States Navy Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, during a Veterans Luncheon at Woodland Good Samaritan. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“One that he tells often was unrelated to his training, but he was out flying locally and decided to go really low, near his home town, which is a big no-no apparently,” Olmsted said. “He talks about how he kind of got in trouble for doing that. But (Grandma) waved. That was really funny to think of him as having such a sense of humor when he was younger.”

While in the reserves, Hobson said the Navy transitioned him from a single-engine propeller-powered aircraft to a jet.

“The jets are more fun to fly,” Hobson said. “They just didn't have the problems of going one way or the other.”

Hobson said the slipstream pulls the plane to the left from the turbulence created because of the airflow off of a single propeller-driven aircraft.

Talking about the different training missions he went on over the years, Hobson said that flying was not always fun and games.

“I had some close calls, brings to mind a few things,” Hobson said. “Almost crashed a couple of times.”

During one flight, there were mechanical problems and the plane barely took flight before reaching the end of the runway.

On a separate occasion, Hobson said he was attempting to land after completing a night training mission when the plane’s instrument panel told him there was a problem deploying the landing gear.

Using the “wobble stick” — a manual hydraulic pump — Hobson tried to boost his hydraulic pressure before ground crews had him fly different maneuvers in an attempt to free the landing gear.

With the indicator still showing a problem, Hobson said he was routed to Bemidji to land.

“I couldn't get it to show down,” Hobson said. “I had to come back and try to land at the airport in Bemidji. They had an ambulance, (fire trucks), police car. ... They had every kind of emergency vehicle they could find waiting, thinking I was probably gonna crash coming in. If my landing gear wouldn't have held, I would have collapsed. I would have skidded down the runway in flames. But anyway, I landed with no incident. So I was lucky. I had a lot of luck.”

United States Navy, retired, Lieutenant Ron Hobson receives a Letter of Appreciation from Chief Petty Officer Michael Traynor on behalf of the Navy during a Veterans Luncheon Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 at Woodland Good Samaritan in Brainerd. The 98-year-old aviator flew Corsairs in World War Two. 
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
United States Navy, retired, Lieutenant Ron Hobson receives a Letter of Appreciation from Chief Petty Officer Michael Traynor on behalf of the Navy during a Veterans Luncheon Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 at Woodland Good Samaritan in Brainerd. The 98-year-old aviator flew Corsairs in World War Two. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

After everyone was seated, Chief Petty Officer select Jerry Provost and Chief Petty Officer select George Brefo talked about preserving the rich history of the Navy and thanked Hobson for sharing his story with them before Chief Petty Officer Michael Traynor addressed the room.

“I want to take a moment to recognize one specific veteran that's here today and say thank you to him for his service,” Traynor said. “So for our active duty sailors present, attention to orders. To Lt. Ronald W Hobson, United States Navy Reserve retired ... on behalf of the U.S. Navy, I would like to express the gratitude of a thankful nation for your service during a time of great need. … Veterans like you are a powerful and positive influence within our communities, our nation and the world. It was an honor to learn of your service history. … Again, on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you. Sincerely, JP Duvall, Commander, United States Navy, Commanding Officer Navy Talent Acquisition Group, Northern Plains.”



TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme, call 218-855-5859 or email tim.speier@brainerddispatch.com.