Header image  
Cmdr. John Baals  
line decor
line decor


In his memory:

Cmdr. John Baals

VFP-62 circa 1965-67


Updated: September 24,2020

VFP-62's Det. 42 officers circa. 1966-67). Det. 42 was the only combat detachment to the Vietnam War aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42). Lt. Cmdr. Baals was the detachment officer in charge.

left to right--Lt. j.g. Norm Bundy, Ens Art Erz- PI, Lt. j.g. Ed Andrews,
Lt. Norm Green, Lt. Cmdr. John Baals, Lt Walt Pass-LDO Maint Off, Ltjg Jim Ernst- PI.


    Cmdr. John Baals, passed away, Thursday, August 1, 2019. He was born in Paintsville, Kentucky to the late D. Stewart and Hazel Preston Baals on August 5, 1932. Mr. Baals retired as a Naval Aviator from the United States Navy. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Julia Katherine (Kenneth) Sanford, NJ and John Robert Baals, Jr, CO; his grandchildren, Amanda Pontzer, Katherine E. Baals, Erin S. Marino, John R. Baals, III and Rachel E. Sanford; and his great grandchildren, Ella Pontzer, Layla Marino, Emma Pontzer and Nora Marino.


  • The Aviation Museum of Kentucky

    John Baals - "Gone West"

    by Ed Murphy

    The AMK wishes to acknowledge the passing of one of its best - John Baals. John was a long time volunteer and dedicated supporter of the museum. 

    Born in Paintsville, KY, he was a graduate of the US Naval Academy in 1956 plus earned a Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Princeton. As part of his schooling, John was much involved in the design and development of a Rubber Plane that was intended to serve as a rescue vehicle for downed pilots.

    His buoyant personality and persistent smile were punctuated only by his quick admonition 'to p-off' where it was merited (with a smile). His volunteerism of nearly 20 years began shortly after the opening of the museum. Serving, in the beginning, as boss for the Tuesday night work crew, he was respected and admired by all who worked with him. His handiwork as a craftsman can be seen in the large display case that holds the replica of the Wright Flyer.

    Receiving his Wings in 1957, John had a distinguished military career. His experiences included: two cruises aboard the carrier Intrepid with VF-74 where he flew the F4D; aboard the carrier Roosevelt with VFP-62, he flew the F-8 Crusader plus served as Air Boss on the carrier Ranger and landing signal officer. At Patuxent River, MD, John served in systems engineering test and development in the test pilot school. He tested new planes plus worked for NASA in the development of the space shuttle. In Beeville, TX, John served as commander of a T-38 Naval training squadron VT-26.

    He grew up in Ashland and went to high school with his future wife, Mary. Retiring in 1977, they moved to Lexington with children Julie and John. He taught at Kentucky State University and was also a flight instructor. Until recently, he continued to visit the Tuesday night crew to see the guys and check on how things were going. Blue skies and tailwinds to our friend.


    Thank you for visiting our site.

    Please Recommend Us To Your Friends

    Email the Webmaster

    We invite you to click this link - VFP-62 Webmaster to email a question, comment, correction, or contribution to this page.

    Updated 3/9/18



vfp62 patch

navy patch