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LT. James T. (Jim) Kirkland Jr  
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In his memory:

LT. James T. (Jim) Kirkland Jr

23 Mar 60, Marking the 37000th landing on the USS Forrestal

Updated: Oct. 26, 2009

    James T. (Jim) Kirkland Jr - VFP-62 1958-1960. His hometown was Greenwood, MS. He made the Med cruise on the USS Forrestal in 1959 with Det 42-60, leaving me, born in May of 59 in Jacksonville, to serve his country.

    There are several photos of Det 42-60 on page 11, Faces of VFP-62, him being in a few. He passed away in 86, and I would like to have him listed in the memorial page of this website.

    After VFP-62 he was assigned to the Kitty Hawk on her maiden cruise where he was the catapult officer on cat three. He also worked some as arresting gear officer, and asst. flight deck officer. In '62 he went to the Naval Engineering Center in Philadelipha, in '66 to NAS Atlanta, then in '70 to NAS Dallas where he retired in '72. I think that his time in VFP-62 were the highlight years of his career. He talked about them the most. He made LCDR in '63 and I guess more rank means more responsibility, and in turn more headaches.

    He did say something to the effect that he tried to maintain a good relationship with the enlisted crew, which he probably learned in VFP-62. I've made contact with a few shipmates from the Kitty Hawk and one wrote and said "some officers would intentionally distance themselves from the enlisted crew members but your dad was the opposite. He would spend many hours in the coffee locker between launches just being himself". Another said of him "while officers were prohibited by regulation from fraternizing with the enlisted men, he managed to circumvent the rules enough to make you feel comfortable around and he always had something nice to say". I've been really impressed with the replys I've received from everyone. Some did not know him, and some remembered him, but did'nt really know him but everyone offered what they could to help.

    The young man in that photo I'm told from Mac Warnell was the mechanic for that plane. Is that was is referred to as the "plane captain"? I've seen that term and wondered if that was the case. I tried to track down that guy, Gary Hanslik, but wound up at a site "find a grave" that had a photo of a military type headstone that read "Gary Alan Hanslick - navy veteran - born 18 MAR 41 died 16 DEC 97". I can't report that as official, but thats what I found.

    I happened onto this site about ten days ago, found a shipmate of his, Mac Warnell, and have been corresponding with him since then. Thank you and Mac for helping me get to know my dad again.

    Also let me congratulate you on this website! It is the best I've ever seen, not that I'm an old hand at this stuff, but the way its set up is easy to get around, and it is just better than any I've been on.

    Email any comments to: Jay Kirkland, son

    Photos contributed by Mac Warnell
    Photos can be seen larger on "Faces of VFP-62" Page 11

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    Updated 3/9/18




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