Pilots Remember RF-8 145645
Updated February 29, 2008
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From the Webmaster: The pilot Crusader Community got word of the restoration of RF-8 Bureau Number 145645 and searched their logbooks for references to flights thay had with her.
- There were only two flights flown over Cuba from the Enterprise during the [Cuban Missile Crisis] (CMC) by our F-8U-1Ps [RF-8As] and I flew both of them. The Marines at Gitmo heard noises on the other side of the fence at night and requested a photo mission at night to try and identify what they heard on the other side.
I launched from CVN-65 [USS Enterprise] one night about 9 PM lined up on the Western perimeter fence and began the run over that fence line. The Marines positioned a jeep with headlights on at the Northern end as a reference point. I flew that fence line then the fence along the Northern boundary of the base from West to East and then the Eastern fence line from North to South. I landed at the airfield there and the base photo mates got the film from the aircraft and went to their photo lab.
Unfortunately, they put the film in hypo first and wiped out any images. I will go back to my logbook to try and determine if I was flying 913 that night. [Webmaster's Note: Capt Curry did make his flight in 913 (Bu.No. 145645]
We did a rerun of this mission about a week later and the film was properly developed, but did not reveal anything of significance on the other side.
An interesting note about the first mission was when I began the first run over the Western fence it was very close to the BOQ. Men in the BOQ heard the explosions from the photo flares and saw the bright lights and thought the war had started, and that they were being attacked with mortars. That first night after the film had been removed from the aircraft, I went to the BOQ to remain overnight and return to Enterprise the next day. When I got to the small bar at the BOQ there was still a lot of excitement and talk about the photo flares and the fear that generated.
Jim Curry VFP-62 pilot
- I looked in my logbook and found that I had recorded about 140 hours in 145645 in VFP-62. My first flight at VFP-62 was in this aircraft and the last was on December 12, 1962. I was on the Intrepid Detachment in 1961 to 62 and we had this same aircraft on the Enterprise during the CMC [Cuban Missile Crisis].
- BUNO 145645 was one of my detachment birds (first showing up in my logbook in July 1973) when I took VFP-63 Super Det 3 to Japan (SEP 1973) on USS MIDWAY (CV-41) when she deployed as the first ship in the Overseas Family Residence Program (OFRP). Larry Morris, John Hawkins, Carly Wayman and I were the pilots. John Keys and Gary Iverson were the PI's.
145645 spent most of our time on the deployment at NIPPI getting a main landing gear bulkhead replaced following a BINGO to an unsatisfactory field (very bad weather). Carly got it onto the runway but the water drug him off the side and the left main strut broke off the bulkhead fitting. The NIPPI guys took the bird apart (including sawing off a section of the wing center section so the parts could be trucked through a tunnel to their factory in Atsugi. Six month later Larry Morris flew the test flight which came back with no gripes: love Japanese craftsmen at NIPPI.
Somewhere in the process the ventral fins were lost but we managed to find replacements. We flew the detachment to Cubi Pt. bounced with the CVA-34 boys and hitched a ride home to SOCAL. I last flew her 11 NOV 1974: nice machine...: 33 years ago.
- In the fall of 1974, Will and I must have been trading rides in 145645. Also in November of '74, I had the pleasure of taking my last ride in trusty ole "645" by making four traps onboard the Coral Sea (CV-43).
It had to be a great bird as I am still walking this good ole earth and I can't remember ever having taking a ride in a bad Crusader! Maybe some really wild rides but never a bad ride!
Garnett W. Haubelt
- When I had Photo-DET-5 aboard Coral Sea in 1975. BuNo 145645 was one of our birds. John Hawkins, Mark Weatherup, John Wantz (in Memoriam), Chuck Potter, Phil Toy, were my crew. We were headed to Perth when one morning I got up and found the Sun was on the wrong side of the ship! We weren't headed for Perth...and we were making 30kts or so. Turns out that was the day in May that the Cambodians "stole" our merchant ship the Mayaguez.
As most of you know, the Marines from Guam got her back. Admiral Coogan, our CARDIV responded with a strike on one of the Cambodian islands (can't
remember the name). The A-4s struck the targets....and I had the dubious
honor of flying BDA for that raid. The first combat I'd seen in a Photo
F-8....and couldn't shoot bullets...just film! So the point is, I was
flying BuNo 145645. She got the pictures and we got home to Coral Sea
I flew my last hop in the Navy in that RF-8G.
Larry (Hook) Miller
- I have log book entries from the summer of 78 at VFP-63 out of NAS Miramar flying this bird.
- I was fortunate enough to be an exchange pilot with VFP-63 in 1970-72 with one SEA cruise aboard USS MIDWAY in 1971 with VFP-63/Det 3. It was one of the best tours in my 27 years in the service, and I really enjoyed it, coming away with a great admiration and respect for naval air. VFP-63 was a great squadron, and the RF8G was a real pilot's airplane.
I checked my logbook and noted that I flew 145645 five times after returning from the cruise. I flew her on 11 Jan and 9, 11, 12, & 13 Feb 1972. All were local training flights out of NAS Miramar.
Jim (Mugs) Morgan
Col, USAF, Ret
- I served in VFP-62 from June ‘58 til June ‘62, Independence “Shakedown” cruise , 2 CVA-42 Med Cruises, numerous Car-quals, Flew some 850 hrs in RF8s, 200 carrier landings, ejected from 2 ,no pilot error. Flew Buno 145645 in VFP-62 in Feb ‘61.
Philip J. Smith
Pilot Memories and Praise for the RF-8 Crusader
- Al Fancher sends:
As to it's performance, the forward fuselage of RF8 was "coke-bottled" back to the mid-fuselage area which improved it's performance -- it was a fantastic bird to fly. We were stationed in Guam in VCP-61 in 1959-61 and frequently flew flights of 3 F8U-1Ps to Japan or Okinawa from Guam -- and
vice-versa -- about 1,.300 miles over water. On those flights we'd cruise climb to 46 to 48,000 ft and cruise at max-range. My memory is that we'd get down to less than 3,000 pph fuel flow and be cruising in the range of .93 to .95 mach. If we were flying between Guam and Okinawa there was a
large reef (Scarborough?) about halfway, if not obscured by the ever-present cumulus clouds.
We had no nav aids for the middle 1,000 or so miles. Between Guam and Japan there was Iwo Jima and my memory is that a mobile Tacan was finally set up there around late 1960. About half the time one of the two VW squadrons in Guam would provide us a Super Connie radar plane at the mid-point to track us via radio and to provide the "powers that be information in case we had problems. In addition to significant jet winds at altitude (our navigation was strictly DR until we could pick up the destination Tacan), had we either had a failure/loss of oxygen or lost a canopy (we lost canopies in flight on seven aircraft while I was in the squadron), we'd have had to come down to lower altitude --and if that occurred during the first two hours of the flight, we would not have had the gas to make our destination). Those were interesting times!
- I am glad to see that an RF8 is being refurbished and put on display. It would be nice if one became available to put on the Midway. Having spent over ten years in VFP-63, here are a few facts.
From 1956-58, the Navy bought 144 F8U-1P's, which became RF-8A's, then RF8G's. When the last one was put in the boneyard, there were approximately 23 airframes left in existence. The rest were either shot down or crashed.
The last F8 flying on active duty was an RF8. The last F8 flying with the reserves was an RF8. The last F8 flying in the US was an RF8 that was turned over to Rockwell to be used as a flying testbed for development of a supercritical wing. I can't verify it, but I was told that it is still up at Edwards.
The fist airplane to fly supersonic from coast to coast was an RF8. Flown by Major John Glenn; averaged a little over mach 1.1. That plane was supposed to go to the Smithsonian, but unfortunately, it now rests on the bottom of the SOuth China Sea.
VFP-62 is the only Navy squadron to receive the Presidential Unit Citation in peace time.
From 1964 to 1973, 49 RF8 detachments flew off various carriers on Yankee station. That is the equivalent of 12 - 12 plane squadrons in a nine year period. One det from VFP-62, and 2-3 dets of Marines. The rest were from VFP-63.
The first POW of the conflict was not Alvarez, but Chuck Klusman from VFP-63. Shot down over Laos and spent about three months in the Laotian Hilton. Got tired of being on vacation and escaped in September of 1964. I was SDO at Miramar when we got word that he was out.
VFP-63 flew more combat sorties then any F8 squadron in the Navy. Then any F4 squadron in the Navy. Then any A3, A4, A5, A6, or A7 squadron in the navy.
With these sorties, come the losses. If you go out to the golf course at Miramar, there are 12 plaques that identify pilots from VFP-63 that did not return. Including 3/4 ths of one particular detachment.
At the next Crusader reunion, you might ask if 'there is a Photo Pilot in the house as well as fighter pilots.'
Scott Ruby, VFP-63 pilot
Email your comments or memories of RF-8 Bu No 145645 to: VFP-62 Webmaster: email@example.com
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Created on ... September 12, 2007