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Introduction, by Ken Jack:
Capt. William B. Ecker asked me to enhance his memoir of VFP-62's photo missions over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. For over two years, I sought memories from squadron members that were present during those dark days for our country in October 1962. After Blue Moon Over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis was published in August 2012, readers of the book started to recollect memories that had been dormant for fifty years. Here are their stories:
The Story of Lt.jg Bernard "Bill" Kortge
Service 5/1945 - 7/1971 Retired Lt. Cdr.
[Ken Jack: I found Lt.jg (now Lt. Cdr.) Bill Kortge's story during the Cuban Missile Crisis from a CD provided by photomate Richard Crowe, who was at NAS Jacksonville, where the RF-8As returned after their missions and the off-loaded film was processed by the Fleet Air Photo Lab. The CD had a memoir by a photo interpreter, Bill Hocutt PHCS USN (ret.), serving in the Atlantic Intelligence Center for Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Robert Dennison.
Lt. Cdr. Kortge wrote his stories in this memoir and they were incorporated in Chapter 5 of the book. I received this series of emails from his children:]
(10/5/13): Dear Sir; my father is LCDR Bernard W. Kortge USN (Ret), whose story you tell with Captain Ecker in an article we found at Commandposts.com [see link on Cuban Missile Crisis page]. My father lives near me, here in Maine, and has been stricken with dementia for the last ten years, and has few memories of the days that you chronicle with Captain Ecker. My father told me this story when I was in high school in the 80s, studying the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was very proud of his service, and especially of his responsibilities in this mission.
I am deeply moved to find your retelling of The Story, as so many of the details, and certainly all of the names were very blurred or lost in my second-hand knowledge of it. I feel that you've returned to me a memory of my father that I thought was lost forever.
I would like your permission to post this excerpt as a story on my father's page in the Navy Log at the Navy Memorial. At the bottom of this message I will include the excerpt that I am thinking of.
My condolences on Captain Ecker's passing. I'm very grateful that you and he shared your memories and knowledge with us all. Thank you so much for your service, and for your continued involvement with VFP-62, and for considering my request.
All the best to you.
Bronwyn Kortge [daughter]
[Webmaster's Update (5/9/21): Sadly, Lt. Cmdr. Kortge is now deceased.]
(5/9/21)My name is Cephas L Moore. I retired from the U. S. Navy as an AFCM, after thirty years active duty. I am also the ADJ-2 C. L. Moore listed in the Navy Unit Commendation awards in the back of the book.
I remember those days well. We worked 24/7 at VFP-62 home base at NAS Cecil Field, FL. We made many trips to NAS Jacksonville so the Photographer Mates could unload the the film from the returning aircraft and take it to the lab for processing.
Maintaining the aircraft for flight status was something we all took pride in.
I have the book on my Kindle, and still enjoying it.
Thanks for a great book.
Cephas L Moore AFCM USN (RET)
Stories Received From Non-Squadron Members
(3/20/14): 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 it at the end of the runway until 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 island than he was supposed to. It was before missile crisis ever came out to the public.--- Kenneth Boles