The History and Restoration of
RF-8 Bureau Number 145645; VFP-62 913

913 circa 1964

VFP-62 913 detachment USS Intrepid
Contributed by Don Van Horn PHC--Circa 1961-62

Updated: March 24, 2012

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There she sits; low I squat
913 in her final spot
Done is her flying for the day
So through the night there she will stay
Till summoned again at dawn's early light
To reach for the clouds once more in flight
Loaded with Lox and fuel and film
One quick cat shot and off she'll zoom
Take her pictures and turn for home
Catch a wire with nary a groan
Then wait for tomorrow to do it all again...

John Sees

[Webmaster's Note: The story for us at started with the following email On May 12, 2007:]

Good evening,
I am writing with the hope you can help me with some research. I work at Battleship Park outside Mobile, AL. As you probably know we have a number of aircraft on display in addition to the battleship and submarine.

A few weeks ago we received, courtesy of the USN, an RF-8G to replace our plane that was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Fresh from Davis Monthan it needs a bit of work starting with paint.

Battleship Park is a memorial to all Alabama veterans. When possible the aircraft are painted to represent birds flown by AL based units or with a connection to an AL vet.

Personally I would like to see the Crusader marked as a VFP-62 bird from the time of the Cuban Missle Crisis. To me that was a high water mark for the type as it really made history with the peacetime Presidential Unit Citation.

To your knowledge was there anyone from Alabama in VFP-62 at that time? Further, do you know of photos of the planes in '62 as they appeared during the Cuban Missle Crisis?

The machine we have is Bureau Number 145645. Currently it is marked as a VFP-63 bird. I have found some photos of it during its' service life but could always use more.

I would be grateful for any help, suggestions and guidance you could offer.

Blue skies,
Owen Miller

[Webmaster's Note: This email started months of dedicated research by former VFP-62 squadron members and Owen Miller. The miraculous story of Bureau Number 145645 is layed out below and will continue into the distant future.]

Photo Gallery of VFP-62/VFP-63 Bu. No. 145645

Click on underlined text
Photos can enlarge further in the browser window; select back arrow to return

I flew Vigi's and A-4's as well, all fun. But I don't think there's a pilot alive who flew F-8's who won't say that was the most fun to fly. I considered it the "Harley Davidson" of airplanes.
John "Lightnin" Davison [former VFP-63 pilot]

Pilot Logbook Entries and Pilot Memories of Bu.No. 145645

I am very glad to hear that you were able to save a Crusader from the Coors factory and are restoring it. There used to be a fuselage of an F-8 at a playground near my parents' house in San Francisco when I was growing up and I fondly remember my time as a child playing on and around it, especially crawling through the tunnel where the engine once lived and sliding down the wings. I was very sad when it was removed for a more conventional jungle-gym, as it was deemed a safety hazard.


After my retirement from the Navy I went to work at the NARF Norfolk. As a mechanic I worked on all the RF-8 aircraft still in the Navy inventory. When I visited the Mobile Battleship park and saw the original "photo bird" there I recognised a patch that I installed back in 1962 when I was on active duty and it was assigned to the Forrestal Det. Bob Garling, AMCS(A/C) Ret.

My wife and I went to N.A.S. Pensacola, Florida to visit the Naval Aviation Museum and also went by the USS Alabama at Battleship Memorial Park to visit the exibit that VFP-62 has in the hanger there. (being that we couldn't make it to the reunion). It was very impressive!! They did a good job of restoring 913, it brought back a lot of memories!! -- Gerald Musgrove VFP-62 1966-68

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Created on ... November 29, 2007