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CDR Richard Keith Thomas  
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In his memory

CDR Richard Keith Thomas
VFP-62 photo maintenance officer

Page Updated: October 28, 2017

    Memories and Tributes

    L-R: (then)Lt. Thomas; Ens. Cecil Ogles

  • I recently found the VFP-62 website saw the photo of [my father] and Mr. Ogles on the minibike ("Faces of VFP-62" Page 2) and it took me back to those days in Jacksonville. I was only 7 at the time but I do remember my dad being gone for quite a while during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sadly my father passed away in 1983. I also remember the gyrocopter that he built. We took it to Maryland when we moved. My dad flew it a few times there and then sold it I think. If you have any other stories about my father I would appreciate your sharing them with me.

    I do remember the gyrocopter and the minibike and I remember him being gone during the Cuban Missile Crisis and my mother not even knowing where he was. I remember Cecil Ogles and Jerry Coffee being his friends but not any other names. Dad ended up stationed at Hill AFB in Utah where he retired in about 1974. I would like to think he made a significant contribution to Naval Photography being in VFP-62 and later in Combat Camera. I have enjoyed the VFP-62 website and the [VFP-62 Fightin' Photo] facebook page.

    Mark Thomas (his son)

  • I remember LT Thomas from my time in the squadron and he was quite a resourseful individual. He once built a small one person helicopter in the camera repair shop and crashed it out behind Cecil Field one weekend test flying it. I believe he was the Photo maintenance officer when I knew him.

    He was good friends with Chief Hough (spelling ?) and they did a lot of work together in the machine shop at Bldg 41. I believe the Chief was with him the first time he attempted to fly the gyrocopter and it clipped a tree while they were towing it from a pick up. Then LT Thomas got bruised and scratched but nothing serious as I recall. He was a smart and very capable man.

    John Sees, former PH2

  • (10/28/17)

    In 1960-63 I worked in the hangar photo maintenance shop when not deployed to a detachment. We repaired electrical or electronic problems with the Crusader's photo equipment. Lt. Thomas was the senior photo officer under Cdr. Robert Koch, chief squadron photo officer. We never interfaced to my recollection but the fame of the skilled men who worked with him is evidenced by the photo and testimony above.

    VFP-62 maintenance hand-crafted needed equipment that would take too long to acquire through normal requisition channels. Such was the case of a beefed-up camera mounting bracket needed for the RF-8A's camera bay 1 (forward firing camera) used in the Cuban Missile Crisis. VFP-62 had an innovative culture that promoted experimentation and improvement in the as-delivered camera system for our aircraft. That environment had a profound effect on me in my later career.

    I requested a letter of recommendation upon discharge and Cdr. Koch and Lt. Thomas both wrote me one. Lt. Thomas' was particularly detailed and I often read it and wish that I had met him personally to say, "Thank you, sir."

    Ken Jack, former PH2 and webmaster

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