Victor Francis Marinelli
Lieutenant, United States Navy
Bay lay flat and balmy, but corners of the sky looked ugly. Two Navy seaplanes,
flying so high they looked like a pair of mating canvas backs, hummed over
the reedy bays, bound for Hampton Roads from Philadelphia. Off New Point
Comfort they slanted down. The sky was scowling, muttering. Angry lightnings
flickered. The Bay began to hiss and crackle under a heavy downpour. The
thunder raised its shouts to a cannonade.
Chief Boatswain George F. Kahle, piloting the rear plane, straining his eyes through the rain squalls, turned suddenly pale. The leading plane had, at one blinding sheet of lightning, given off smoke and splinters and instantly plunged below, upside down like a shot duck.
Landing his own craft on the Bay, Chief Boatswain
Kahle taxied about for an hour, found no trace of Lieutenants Victor F.
Marinelli and George Lehman, nor of Machinist Mates L.
E. Poyner and George M. McMichaels. The U. S. S. Teal, Navy tender,
patrolled all that night but its searchlight picked out nothing beyond
fragments of wing fabric, pieces of fuselage. Against lightning, rarely
an accurate enemy, flyers of steel birds have no defense.
Photo By M. R. Patterson, April 2004