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LCDR Ron Datka  
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In his memory

LCDR Ron Datka
VFP-62 1962-65

Updated: March 11, 2013

Det 59 1962 Cruise Book

    I am the oldest daughter of Ron Datka. Unfortunately, he died several years ago, but left us with a legacy of military memorabilia, including photos, newspaper articles, and fabulous stories. As a young girl, I can remember the thrill of dressing up in my finest dress, going to the ship for dinner, and having to wait quietly behind my chair until the bell rang to be seated. I believe that among other things, I have an old newspaper article with President Kennedy addressing a group of Navy personnel, following a mission.

    My brother, John Datka, has followed in my father's footsteps, and is a Naval Aviator. He too flew the F8 and was part of the squadron on the final tour of this magnificent plane.

    For anyone who remembers Ron Datka, we would love to hear stories (and compare them to those we heard from him :-) ) The brotherhood you all shared lives on forever!

    Mary Beth Cosby

    I am passing along this information on Lt.Cdr.Ronald Datka. Ron age 63, died on Monday May 17,1999, in Augusta GA. Ron was a native of Milwaukee, he retired from the Navy as a lieutenant commander. He was a test pilot during the Vietnam War era and was an F-8 pilot. He was in the VFP-62 Squadron. He was a member of American Legion Post 192.

    At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Shirley Fischer Datka(deceased). Two sons, Stephen J. of Augusta and John W. Of Kingsville, TX. Three daughters, Mary Elizabeth Cosby and Catherine M. Datka Powlas, both of Wilmington,NC and Suzanne M.Datka,Augusta. I am his cousin.

    Mike Novak,
    Sorry to hear about Lt. Datka, he was fearless, brave and I believe that he would take any mission and if there was danger he would love the adversity and welcome the challenge. I remember him as highly respected, would give you a "kick in the rear" if needed or "a pat on the back" if you deserved it. Through the years I had no problems sleeping at night because of men like that in our military.

    Robert King ADJ2, Plane Captain Aircraft #916 (Lt. Datka's primary plane, Det. 65, 1964) (plane captains & pilots had close relationships)

    [Webmaster's Note: LT. (then) Ron Datka was a pilot on my 1962-63 USS Forrestal Detachment. I remember him as being a good pilot and easy to be around. He was never too formal as an officer, like many pilots tend to be. The enlisted crew liked him and he showed respect in return. Condolences to his family.---Ken Jack former PH2

L-R: (then)LT Ron Datka, ?,Wes Bartlett photo officer, (then) LT. Tom Larson

Det 59 1962 Cruise Book

Upper photo: Det 59 USS Forrestal 1962-63-- L-R: Chief Machak, LT Ron Datka, LT Tom Larson

Beach party

Beach pary from the Enterprise detachment.

Click to see: Det 65 Group Photo

    (3/11/13)We were in the same Naval Aviation Cadet Pre-Flight class (17-58) at Pensacola from April to August 1958. We were together off and on during flight training, but I lost track of him when I got my Wings in November of 1959 in Kingsville, TX. Only time I saw him again was at the bar in the Breezy Point O'Club at NAS Norfolk. I was on Reserve duty for 2 wks, can't remember the time, but Ron was flying F-8's for the O&R maintenance organization on the base. Our time in Pre-flight was life changing for all of us. High morale, lots of challenges, no fear, turn us loose!

    For the son in Kingsville, think about me on November 13. That day, Friday the 13th, 1959, I got commissioned at 1000, Wings at 1030, and married in the base chapel at 1900. Big day!

    Kerwin Nailor

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    Updated 3/9/18




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