Mail Call Page 1
Letters to the vfp62.com webmaster
RF-8s over Saint Johns River, FLA - photo courtesy Capt. Bob Kiem
Updated: July 5, 2018
Webmasters message: Letters to the webmaster will be posted, most recently received first.
[Webmaster: I suspect this sign was once hung in the VFP-62 detachment ready room of the USS Independence CVA-62. Amazingly, it must have been thrown overboard, floated in the sea, and found, as noted in the message below. Sixth Fleet carriers made liberty calls to Istanbul, Turkey and had to navigate from the Agean Sea through the Marmara Sea.
I'm requesting information from anyone who might have seen this sign on the USS Independence in 1960-69 period.
The sign shows the VFP-62 logo "Eyes of the Fleet."]
My father found this between 1965-1970 in Marmara sea in Istanbul [Turkey]. I want to ask is it a valuable piece or not ?
All who participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis are invited to attend the Reunion of the 4080th Strategic Wing's to be held on Sep 21-23 at the Ramada Del Rio in Del Rio, Texas. This reunion will mark the 55th anniversary of those critical days when "The Eyes of the Eagle"
prevailed (U-2s...RF-101s...and RF-8s) . If you would like more information and can attend....Please contact: James S. Long at 830-719-9380 or (email@example.com). Our web site is: Laughlin Heritage Foundation Hope you can join us!
VFP-62 Vietnam Detachment
USS Franklin Roosevelt CVA 42 1966-67
Every once in a while I go off on a tangent while researching the internet and find something totally unexpected; it happened today. My wife and I were wrapping up a reasonably quiet and sane Memorial Day weekend; well, actually Saturday wasn't too quiet as I joined up with about 700 other patriotic bikers in the annual ride from the American Legion to the "Wall South" in Veterans Memorial Park for the Memorial Day ceremonies.
Late this afternoon we attended a Memorial Day concert by the Pensacola Civic band in the Maritime park downtown. One of the pieces the band played was a group of songs from the Vietnam era, and several were rather closely related to the Bob Hope Christmas specials that were an annual event for the troops.
My wife asked if those specials were available anywhere on videos; I allowed as though they probably were but the video quality would be rather poor since they would have had to have been done originally photographically and then transferred to video format. After getting home this evening I did a little web browsing and by golly there were some of his Christmas campaigns available. I found one labelled "Bob Hope Special January 18th, 1967". This video covered his Christmas excursion that year which probably included December and January. He made a somewhat unplanned stop on the Roosevelt on 26 December, the day after our last combat ops. [Webmaster: VFP-62 made its only Vietnam Detachment aboard the USS Franklink D Roosevelt 1966-67]
In the middle of the tape from about 39:00 minutes to about 43:00 minutes is a piece of the show on the FDR. At about the 41:44 spot there is a shot of the crowd and I saw 2 or possibly 3 faces I recognized [see above photo].
I spent some time looking at the video and froze the video at a couple of locations. I was wondering where John Baals and myself were? Voila, John is behind Ed Andrews [front right] and I [third row left] am behind Bob Deputy [second row left]. Was able to isolate a frame and saved it to my files; attached is the copy.------------Cdr. Norm Green [VFP-62 pilot]
picture from "Family Gram" photos "Vietnam Operations"
Another F9F-8P Restored
Click to see: VFP-62 Squadron History Page The amazing story and restoration of VFP-62 F9F-8P BuNo 144388
(12/1/16): Ken - Excellent short history of the decades long recovery and display of the F9F-8P, BuNo 144388. I'm sure many former and current Naval personnel will appreciate the process to save the "Cougar" plus knowing that these aircraft are available for all to see. The Estrella Warbird Air Museum did a fine job in the restoration....Thank you Ken and VFP-62 for bringing the story to light...Leon Cleaver
- (11/24/16) Four-minute video from an electric model drone: Final Voyage of USS Saratoga CV 60 (8/21/14)---Small drone takes picture of the Sara as she is being towed to be scraped.
- (11/12/16)Interesting 13-minute video showing: Castle Air Museum RA-5C Vigilante Reassembly and restoration for static display. Courtesy Charles Prescott III
- (10/10/16) High quality 8-minute ABC News video VFA-25 is featured aboard USS Truman on a night strike mission against ISIS. Contributed by Capt. Mo Hayes
- (10/6/16)This video, via Robert King will take you back to your days on the flight deck: High Quality Video of Flight Deck Operations As Robert writes:
Most of us volunteered, maybe it was for the action/intensity or the hazardous duty pay and free flight deck shoes, exciting to say the least, it was a Ride! We wore different jerseys for our jobs, but what teamwork! Yellow shirts are the leaders, even the officers in the cockpits better follow the instructions of these mostly enlisted men.
Still remember the smell of the catapult steam.
Thanks to All Who Have Served Our Country And Those Currently Serving
Stern plate of the USS Forrestal CV-59 restored at the National Naval Aviation Museum Pensacola, Florida. Picture via Pete Hanner
During restoration: received from the Ship Breakers ---via Ted Hurst
- (8/13/16) Greg Engler (VFP-62 AT2) sends us a great Video with Music
link: Smithsonian Udvar Hazy RF-8G Exhibit To see more of Greg's Crusader links, go to "Latest Site Updates" for more information.
- (8/18/16) Another great link from Greg Engler: Two videos: (1)Night Photo Reconnaissance (no sound) and (2)F8U-1P Aircraft Familiarization The second video automatically runs after the first. Some good air-to-air video of the VFP-62 Crusaders
- (1/11/16)Hello -
As the only living relative of LCDR McCall, I am looking for anyone
who I might contact that served with my Dad. Would you have any
contacts that I could pursue? Mostly I am looking for any stories one
could share. I was 7 years old at the time, and to this day, still
remember the Commanders coming to get me out of school on February 19, 1964.
Thanking you in advance for any help......
Barbara McCall Ruth
UPDATE (8/21/16)[Webmaster: I received this email and share it with you to show the connections that are possible with vfp62.com
My name is Brian McCall and I am a first cousin of John McCall. Upon his sister Madelyn's death last year, stories of John's military service were relatively unknown in the family.
After his tragic but heroic death, contact with his family faded away. I was only 8 years old when he passed but do remember staying at his house in Jacksonville in early 1961. His daughter Barbara is 3 years younger than me.
I saw on your website that Barbara recently contacted you. Would it be possible to forward her my email address in hopes I can reconnect with her.
John McCall was the best and brightest of our generation of first cousins. I often have wondered what he would accomplished in his lifetime.
Thank you for your website. And thank you to all these veterans who served our country and sacrificed their life and families for it.
[webmaster: I eventually got the above email to Barbara and her response is below:]
Ken…all I can say is I have goosebumps! This is such a wonderful gift to receive. Brian and I were very close as kids growing up and, unfortunately, my mother took us in different directions than our McCall ancestors. I plan to reach out to him when I finish this email to you. My thanks for following up on this.
Reading an original letter from my Dad was so special. I will truly appreciate having the originals once you have scanned them into the VFP62 website. [Webmaster: She is referring to original Det 60-63 Newsletters contributed by Eugene Sones being posted to "VFP-62 Memorabilia.] You truly are doing something remarkable in volunteering your time and so much effort into keeping so many memories alive. Would it be possible to contact Mr. Sonnes via email to communicate directly with him. As I have stated previously, I have so few personal mementoes from my Dad, written or verbal. Any morsel is a gift to me.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for reaching out to me and putting me in touch with my past. You are my hero! My sincerest regards…..
[Webmaster: Lt. Cdr. was killed doing an airshow aboard the USS Saratoga in 1964 and his memorial is on our "In Memoriam" page. Anyone having a personal memory of the man, please contact me and I'll forward it to Barbara. An alternative: I can provide her email address for direct contact.]
- (5/23/16) Sir -
I realize this may not be the first time you have been asked this question. I edit a quarterly journal for historians who are interested in military history and the insignia worn.
The Walt Disney Co designed thousands of insignia during WW II, so the patch may date back that far (that's a funny looking Donald Duck, by the way). I found only a triangular shaped patch for the school.
Does this patch have any connection to your school there at Pensacola?
Thanks very much
Editor, The Trading Post
- (4/13/16)Good afternoon,
I wondered if you or someone could enlighten me a little about some old pictures that I have.
My uncle, Carlos Garza, is on the right in the 1st picture below.
He was very special to me and passed away in 2011 at 80 years old. I've just started a journey trying to piece together his naval career. I know he was involved in the Korean and Vietnam conflict.
I also know from what might be his first flight logbook that I have pictures of that he flew from 1949-1951 in a P2V-3 and there's remarks like "Photo fam-Formosa", patrol China Coast, Nite lum, nite fam. I believe he was stationed in Kodiak. I know he, through time, was also stationed in San Diego, Whidbey Island, Jacksonville, Rhode Island.
I also know he was in Patrol Squadron Nine 1951.
I don't know who the man on the left is but I noticed his shirt said "VFP ?? CPO" I can't read what's after VFP but it doesn't look like a number.
I looked up VFP on the internet and came across your website.
I know my uncle was on the USS Roosevelt and the USS Enterprise and I know he reached the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
I also have a picture from a USS Enterprise yearbook.
He's in the second pic, front row 4th from the right, C. C. Garza (Carlos Cristobal Garza).
I don't have any information of the 3rd picture. I was curious if anyone might recognize the plane???
I know this is kind of looking for a needle in a haystack but wondered if you could provide any illumination on this.
Thanks so much,
Irma Martin (niece)
[Webmaster: Note: the flight deck jersey has "VFP ??" Contact me and I'll provide response contact information.]
- (4/13/16)Do you have any old photos of what the Navy was doing on Perdido Key in the 40's and 50's? OR where I could find any ? Thanks
[Contact Webmaster for replies to this request and I'll provide contact information.]
- (3/20/16) Dear Webmaster of VFP-62 website,
Great to see the RF-8G has been beautiful restored! I am wondering if the RF-8G has the original data plate in the cockpit. Would you be so kind to make a photo of the data plate? I am interested in the information on the plate. Many thanks in advance! I am looking forward to hear from you!
Rob van Lijf
[Webmaster: I forwarded this request to Ted Hurst, the lead on the NNAM VFP-62 RF-8G restoration team and he provided the following photo: ]
- (9/7/15) The F-8U in its several variants was a favorite of mine. When "Area Rule" fuselages became understood I wondered how the Crusader would have done with a little of that technology! Thanks for the site, it's a good place to rest.
Well Done, and Carry On!
[Webmaster: The Crusader was designed using the "Area Rule" as seen by the bulge on the top of the fuselage]
- (9/21/15) Hi guys,
I was in JAX with VP-62, VFP-62 from 1955 to 1957 as plane capt and AE3. Seems you don't have any pictures from that time. Also went to sea on the Lake Champagne in 1956. Thanks for all the great pictures and memories.
Keep up the good work.
Mike O'connell Palm Coast, Florida.
[Webmaster: this unusual email was received via F8 pilot Dave Johnson:]
My name is Bart. I got the film at the Perkiomenville (Pennsylvania) Auction And Flea Market last week. I found it in a box with other household stuff and decided to stick around until it came up for auction. It looked interesting and if it did not get too crazy, make a bid for it.
Anyone can bring stuff there to sell at the auction. Much of what shows up is from house clean outs and storage shed clean outs. Most likely the pilot, or family member who was in possession of the film, passed away and other relatives or friend contracted a clean out guy to take everything left in the house away. They usually bring the stuff to the action to get a few bucks for what they 'cleaned out'.
I am open to any suggestions as what to do with the film. I am familiar with film handling. The can was probably sealed up until the auction time, then someone opened it. Anyone there have any suggestion or know a military collector that would be interested. I have a friend that does film restoration and was going to see if it is possible to digitalize the images.
[Webmaster: My guess is that this film was a VFP-62 training mission. It is very unusual to see this after so many years (10-16-1958). I'll keep in touch with Bart to see what he does with it. Anyone know the pilot "Condren?"]
- (6/28/15)My name is Vanesa Benítez Zamora. I work in film industry and TV in Spain. I´m currently making a research in order to make a documentary film about Rota (Spain) in the 60´s-70´s showing some historical, social, cultural aspects with testimonies and archives (like pictures, videos, newspapers...etc)
The goal is to compose a choral portrait of that period, with people who passed through Rota at that time. It will be focused on the cultural blend/contrast between people from America, Rota, and some other countries, due to the establishment of the Naval Base in that small town during 60´s-70´s, period, where the documentary is settled.
I´ve come through your website and I think, whit your help, I could get in touch with some VFP-62 officers, workers, marines, etc, who passed through Rota or stayed there for a short period and maybe, they would be interested in talking about their memories and experiences. If you think this is feasible, please letme know how could I stablish contact.
On the other hand, I would need many archives to illustrate that period. I´m also looking for people who want to collaborate with their own archives, footage and pictures from Rota and people who pass through there in that period of 60´s and 70´s. I´ve seen some pictures in your website, and I would like to ask you If is there any possibility of getting permit of license to use them in the film.
Without further ado, I hope we could find a way to collaborate in this film.
If you need some extra information about me or my project, do not hesitate and contact me.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your time.
[Webmaster: Tom Pinkley ADJ2 spent time in Rota before his tour in VFP-62. He's responding with some photos he has of that time. If you have had a tour there or can help with this request, notify me via the links on this page. Thank you.]
- (1/20/15)Thank you for this page. My father is included in one of your pictures. He has not kept up with anyone from his squadron, since the mid-1950s.
- (1/20/15):Have been working with the Lexington Museum in Corpus. They have agreed to go for an RF8 for display on the boat. They will soon be putting in an official request for the loan of a bird with the powers to be in Pensacola. Assuming it will be approved, I will be meeting with Rusty - the curator of the museum - at D-M, probably some time in March, to pick a bird. Once we have a bird on deck,
I will be leading a fund raising effort to help off-set the cost of getting it to Corpus. The most likely date is 21 March, coincides with my trip to Mariner Spring Training.
Scott Ruby (VFP-63 pilot)
- (8/26/14)[Webmaster's Note: Chief Art Scarborough contributed, via his son Scott, many photos to our website and in the early days, we created a special set of pages for photos. Also many appear on "Faces of VFP-62." Dan Gwordz has been very considerate of the chief and has made an appeal to all who served with him. You can contact him directlyy or me for more information.]
My name is Daniel Gwozdz.
I live in Merrimack, NH
Chief Arthur Scarborough, and his wife Phyllis are our neighbors, and our dear friends. I am writing to ask for your help.
He just had his 85'th birthday this past Tuesday, August, 5'th.
Time is not being kind to Arthur, and he is in failing health, and memory.
We are trying to put together a sort of memory book for Phyllis.
I am asking for your contributions of any stories, or anecdotes about your time with the Chief.
Phyllis and I are hoping these stories will rekindle memories for Arthur.
All that I am asking is for some stories that you are willing to share.
Also, if you've kept in touch with any other Shipmates, perhaps, they may also be willing to share stories about the Chief.
Email Dan: firstname.lastname@example.org
(7/31/14): "I was a plane captain/flight crew on the Forrestal COD and was wondering if you have any pictures of the COD C1A serial number 034 ontail. thanks Marty Woomer ATN-2 V-6 div 1963 to 1965. MARTIN WOOMER --email: email@example.com
- (5/6/14) I am Tom Northrup II, a Navy Photographer from 1999 - 2002 on board the USS Constellation (CV-64). My father was a Navy Photographer and served at NAS Pensacola from 1950 - 1954. My father always spoke so highly of his time in Pensacola and the joys of being a Navy photog. We lived in NY where he was from and where he returned to after the Navy.
Now I live in Pensacola with my family and my father has passed but I think of his time here often. I have some of his photos and just imagine what small town Pensacola was like back then.
I was touched by your website, I don't know if my dad was part of that squadron. I would be interested in finding anyone who might have served with my dad during that time. I still stay close with a few friends that I served with so I know the brotherhood is strong. All of us PH's have a great connection.
I thank you for your time and the great blessing your site has been to me.
Eager to Serve,
[Webmaster's Note: Anyone with information on Tom Northrup I, can contact me and I'll forward it.]
- (4/30/14) Click to see: Scrapping of USS Coral Sea CVA-43 --Extensive photo collection of the piece-by-piece scrapping.---Contribute by Ken Killmeyer, USS Forrestal Assn. Historian
Just found your website. This is amazing! I found all the photos of my Uncle Bud (Art) Scarborough! I was a photomate in the navy as well. This is so cool to see all his retirement photos, and photos he shot. Thank you for posting them.
I am going to keep looking at your website. Interesting. I will be forwarding some of these photos to my mom and family. They will enjoy seeing them.
- (1/19/14):Dear VC-62 Web Master,
My father was LT John (Jack) Grentzer VC-62 (1950- 52). I have a couple of photos that I would love to get posted to the VC-62 pages.
I remember seeing these same photos in his cruise book.
I know that he served w/62 aboard Tarawa CV-40 and Midway CVB-41. What's funny is my mother tells of the "squadron" departing Norfork on deployment and then (the squadron) moving to JAX while the Det was deployed. My mother was a new driver with two small children, and having to move by herself, it's an interesting story.
Richard (Rick) Grentzer
OCIE Operations Support
Sierra Army Depot
[Webmaster's Note: A photo of Lt. Grentzer and the story of the detachment is on our "VFP-62 Memorabilia" page.]
- (1/19/14: Hello,
I stumbled upon your web pages, and, thanks to you, spent the next four hours staring at my computer screen! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the information, stories and photos surrounding the adventures and lives of so many servicemen that is presented here.
Me, I'm just a former Air Force "scope dope" (radar operator, 1966-1970). I don't consider myself in the same class as the people who served on VFP-62, and others. However, I am quite proud I took the opportunity to serve my country.
My only claim to fame (other than some exciting Russian intercepts during a tour in Alaska) was an incident where myself and a couple other operations airmen tracked a SR-71 spy plane from Idaho to the Pacific coast.
I cherish my short military career. I am especially proud and awed by the selfless sacrifices countless young servicemen made for the rest of us. Reading of these accounts is special and humbling.
Thanks for the tireless effort you must do to keep this site viable, and provide it for the rest of us.
- (1/11/14): I was on the Crash Crew at Cecil in 59 & 60. I remember one of your F8U's coming in full of bullet holes. We held at the end of the runway, your guys came out and covered it up so no one could see it and towed it to the hangar. I think he got closer to the [Cuban] island than he was supposed to. It was before missile crisis ever came out to the public.---Kenneth Boles
[Webmaster's Note: First, notice the dates here were before the Cuban Missile Crisis (Oct/Nov 1962), so this event did not happen then. However, the Bay of Pigs Invasion was in April 1961 and VFP-62 did fly missions over Cuba then. In addition, VFP-62 flew various clandesting photo missions over a number of years. IF ANYONE HAS MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME.]
- (7/21/13): I found your site after searching for info on my father in laws ejection in 1972 in the Gulf of Tonkin. My father in law is Thomas Bairner Scott III he is listed on your site as Lt.T.B.Scott. under the information on Project Bullet. He was the last person to fly the Crusader that Senator John Glenn set the transcontinental air speed record in on July 16th 1957, BuNo 144608. He ejected out of it and was rescued on December 13th 1972.
He recently sent us a copy of article that talks about the incident in a larger piece written about the plane. He lives in San Diego and was interviewed by someone from the Flying Leathernecks. We had never heard the entire story and it was really fun reading what he went through and the final account of what happened to that history making airplane.
If you would like to post the information on your site I will forward it to you. It isn't posted anywhere online yet. I contacted another site that lists ejection information and I am going to send it to be part of their records also. It's a great story and part of history that should be available for others to read.
[Webmaster's note: This aircraft was acquired from the Navy Test Facility during the Cuban Missile Crisis to help supply Capt Ecker with enough aircraft to complete the mission requirements. For more information on Project Bullet, go to "We Love Crusaders" and page down to the links.]
- (3/10/13)[Webmaster's Note: This was actually received on 4/30/12 but posted late:]
Thanks for the great website on VFP62/VC62. You are doing a wonderful service. I found your site while searching for information regarding my father, Dave ("D. Hunt") Williams. He was a member of VC62 on the USS Wasp during the 1953-54 cruise. He passed away in 1994. My family found the cruisebook from that tour and have enjoyed every page. Luckily, there are quite a few photos involving my father. He flew a Banshee, number 902. There is a note in there he wrote saying that his squadron was nicknamed "the spiders" because each flyer was tall and gangly. They drew spider webs on their flight helmets, which is shown in one of the photos..
I am wondering if you have any suggestions for how my family might find out what my father's "call sign" may have been. Essentially all of his contemporaries who we knew as his friends have also passed away.. Also, do you know offhand if a flyer keeps the same "call sign" throughout his career, or not?
The "squadron history" is full of amazing info, and it is a treasure. I did see the mention of my dad as "O-in-C" for that USS Wasp cruise. I assume that means Officer in Charge?
I have already received a nice e-mail from Herb Gold, in which he says he will browse through his old stuff to see if he can find anything. Fantastic.
Thanks for your offer of a memorial -- I will contact my brother, who is also enthusiastic about this subject, and we will try to put something together and send it to you.
If you are interested in any photos from that 52-53 cruise book, let me know.
I appreciate your time and suggestions!
Thanks very much
- (2/2/13): My father was Lt. Commander Durward L. Cecil, who retired in July of 1969. One of the pictures in the first photograph [VFP-62 Time Capsule Page 1] looks like it may be him. My Mother, Peggy Lathem Cecil, says it probably is.My father passed away suddenly in June of 2010 at age 82. He would have loved to have seen this .
Thanks for the continued memories of my Father's 25 years in the U.S. Navy. (he was a Fighter Pilot). Cecil Field was named, of course, after my family (not Dad, but other Cecil relatives and Dad attended the closing of the Base). I remember going there as a child and getting saluted by everyone in the Hanger. Funny.
Thanks and have a wonderful day!
- (10/25/12): Ken,
Just wanted to again say "what a good job you did." I have heard many fine praises
from lots of concerned citizens over the years who "didn't know."
Your work is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Gary Iverson (former SN VFP-62)
- (10/14/12: Ken- want to again congratulate you for doing such a great job with the content of the "62" website. I can't get enough of it. I'm so proud of it I sit with my two sons and wife viewing as much as I can and relive some great moments. The addition of some of the films on YouTube only make it better. Your #1 in our book! Bless you!
- (7/19/12):Howdy, howdy...
Was just on the VFP-62 website and saw the pictures of the "Cuban Missile Crisis: VFP-62 & RF-8A Fight Line Action" diorama by Paul Crawley of Atlanta. Just one word-- WOW! Please let him know (if you haven't already) that he did a fantastic job.
[Webmaster's Note: The diorama can be found on the "Models" page, linked from "We Love Crusaders."]
- (6/1/12): [Subject: Memories of Cecil Field] I have not seen Cecil Field since I got out in 92'. Brings back a lot of memories. I was in VFA-131 Wildcats. We deployed on the Ike. Thanks for putting this together. Larry P. Epperson
- 3/4/12: I had someone from Ann Arbor Va. (VFP-62 57-58) write: "lookup the squadron [on vfp62.com]" and I was impressed. Has made me wonder who it was; I know it was because of having USS Saratoga on my truckcap and also that I was a member of VF-74 Bedevilers. If this person would see my message, I would hope to hear from this person. I really enjoy talking about the past and also want to let everyone else know about the facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/23720802984/ [Webmaster: see Bulletin Board for a direct link] and that all is welcome to join us there!!!!!
Carrie Whitman email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- (1/23/12):Hi Ken
My name is Michelle Griffin-Frier. I am working with Ed Randolph with the City of Jacksonville to have the POW MIA memorial at Cecil Field cleaned & repaired and I came across your site.
I never enlisted in the Navy but I spent my entire life in it. My dad enlisted in 1975 & I was 18 when he retired in 1995. Cecil Field was not my home...it is my home. I moved into enlisted housing on Cecil Field when I started the 1st grade (summer of1984) and lived there until I was in the 7th grade (Christmas of 1991). My dad was stationed at Cecil Field all but about 3 years of his 20 year career. He worked on the S3 air plane and was in most if not all of the VS squadrons. I will let him and many of our "Navy family" know about this site.
I have a lot of memories from Cecil Field that I cherish. I enjoyed reading the stories and memories of prior enlisted men. I will keep an eye on your site to see what pops up next!
Created on ... January 27, 2007