Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Based on two interviews conducted by Paul Stillwell in July 1983. The volume contains 100 pages of interview transcript plus an index. The transcript is copyright 1996 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee has placed no restrictions on its use.
After enlisting in the Naval Reserve in April 1942, Hawkins went through cadet training in Texas prior to being designated a naval aviator and commissioned in January 1943. During World War II, as a fighter pilot in VF-31, he flew in combat from the light carriers Cabot (CVL-28) and Belleau Wood (CVL-24). In all, he shot down 14 Japanese aircraft. He became a regular Navy officer in 1946, subsequently serving as a floatplane pilot in he cruiser Portsmouth (CL-102). He had two tours with the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, sandwiched around Korean War duty in Fighter Squadron 101, which operated from the carrier Princeton (CV-37). As skipper of the Blue Angels in 1953 he made the first through-the-canopy ejection from a jet aircraft, an F9F-6 Cougar. Subsequently, interspersed with tours of shore duty, Captain Hawkins commanded Attack Squadron 46, served as air officer on board the Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), commanded Air Group One, and the oiler Caloosahatchee (AO-98). He became a programming specialist during the McNamara years in the Pentagon, and he had a satisfying tour as commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Air Station, Atsugi, Japan. He retired in June 1973.