CDR Norman L. Youngblood
Updated April 30, 2009
Detachment 44-61 O-in-C (1960-61 USS Shangri La)
Youngblood's Tigers - 1958 (click to enlarge)
From the Webmaster: This page will contain the recollections of those who knew and served with him, starting with me. Other references to him on this site: "Faces of VFP-62" pages 1,3,8; "Photo Gallery"; "VFP-62 Memorabilia" Det 44-61 Newsletters; "Scarborough Photos" Page 2, photo #1.
To see a memorial to Cdr. Youngblood go to our "In Memoriam" Page.
- My first detachment in VFP-62 was on the USS Shangri La, with then LCDR Norman Youngblood serving as the Officer in Charge. It seemed to me then, as it still does now after four decades, that his picture should be included in the dictionary under "Fighter Pilot". Even for a rookie, you knew instantly that he was in a class of his own; a "hot dog" pilot with lots of charisma. He had intense eyes and tough good looks.
We had a PH1 in charge of the photo crew and he once mentioned to Mr. Youngblood, that there was a rumor that he had flown a F9F photo Cougar, upside down under a bridge, photographing the bottom as he passed through. Youngblood never denied or admitted to it but gave a sly grin that left open the possibility. True or not, you had to believe that he could do it.
Detachment lore held it that he made it up through the ranks (from enlisted to officer). He was the kind of officer that didn't become too familiar with the crew, yet he let you know that he cared for and respected you. You never wanted to let him down.
When the cruise was over, the planes would do a fly-over on their way back to base. On the Shang, the Crusaders were the hotest planes aboard and Mr. Youngblood would put on a show all of his own. Coming from high altitude, he would do a fly-by, breaking the sound barrier at sea level; shock waves covering the wings as he climbed and did a perfect eight-point roll.
For me, a teenager struggling to become a man, Mr. Youngblood was my hero and still is.
Ken Jack, former PH2
- I read with interest your page about Norm. He was married to my mother's cousin and used to come and visit us in North Dakota. He was a hero to us - he and his wife had exciting stories to tell us but he was never a "bragger". I believe he was the first (or one of the first) people to fly into the eye of a hurricane and he took pictures that appeared in Look or Life magazine.
We visited him one time and he took us on a tour of an aircraft carrier which is still a very special
memory for me. Sadly, I am told he died a few years ago.
The Cdr was assigned to Commander, Carrier Division Three under Vice Admiral Gerald E. Miller. We deployed 1968-69 to Viet Nam. I was privileged to fly as his second seat on several occasions as he put in his flight time in SNB2s flying out of Subic Bay between deployments to the Tonkin Gulf. Taught me a lot about flying and poking holes in clouds. I remember one afternoon we flew up to the Air Force base and he remarked that he had flown this route before and was shot at by the Philippine communist. Another time we flew over the most perfect volcano cone in the world and on down to Manila Bay to see Corregidor. We were quartered on the USS Coral Sea and then on the USS Ranger. He would take the time to teach us flight and carrier operation details and was very helpful as we worked up our intelligence data. Always the fighter pilot (F8) as opposed to computer pilot (F4). Although I think the final tally was F4 over F8.
I had some questions one day about flight deck operations and the metal slugs used to hold the plane in position until full power is applied. He took me to the flight deck and explained the entire operation and gave samples for each plane then flying off the Ranger. Great guy, great sense of humor and quality shipmate.
Robert Brown, CPO, USN (RET)
Dear Mr. Jack,
I write a column for Montana Woman magazine, and while researching information for the one that will be published in June, I came across your website and there was my dad! Tears instantly sprang to my eyes. I am Norman Youngblood's daughter! He married my mother thirty-eight years ago, and right after that adopted me, when I was fifteen. It was one of the best moments of my life. I have always felt honored that he wanted me to be his daughter and that I was able to have him as my dad. I can certainly relate to the words you wrote..."For me, a teenager struggling to become a man, Mr. Youngblood was my hero and still is."...because when Dad first came into my life I was an awkward teenage girl, struggling to become an adult, and by treating me as if I was, he became my hero, too.
I'm sorry to confirm that Dad did pass away, in Seattle WA, November of 1997. He left my life far too early and I still miss him every day.
I don't believe my mom knows about this website, but I plan to inform her of it on May 10th, as a special Mother's Day surprise. She and my dad were extremely close, and in the last twelve years since his death, she has never really been the same...but then again, neither have I. My dad was an unforgettable man.
If you would like more input on his biography page, I would be happy to submit some. My husband was also Dad's best friend, and a great ear for all of his stories. He still remembers quite a few I know he would be glad to share. I'm sure that my daughters, as well as my brother will all want to submit some, too. And I have no doubt that after my mother views your website...and then takes time to compose herself, she will want to add a tribute as well. (I imagine she will also contact other members of my dad's family who may want to do the same.)
I am deeply moved that you took the time to commemorate my father in a such a special, heartfelt way. He truly deserves it, as he touched a great many lives. There is so much more I could tell you about him, but out of respect, I will first let that honor go to my mom.
With best regards,
Pamela (Youngblood) Martin
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Created on ... September 12, 2007