Updated October 11, 2023 Look for for most recent additions
CLICK To Go To: vfp62.com page:
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.
Fightin' Photo The Eyes of the Fleet
Quick HISTORY Page Navigation Selections:
Webmaster: This feature helps you to quickly navigate to the section of interest to you. Click underlined text.
Click to go to: History Summary of VC-62 (1949-56) Utilizing WW II pilots with photo reconnaissance experience our predecessor squadron was formed before the jets; 1950-52 detachments: props & F9F Panther--the first photo-jet; and Korean War Detachments
Click to go to: First modern photo-jets The first advanced photo-jet: F2H-2P Banshee. Flying the Banshee into Red China. Photographing a hurricane. Photos of the F9F-2PBanshee
Click to go to: VFP-62 F9F-6/8P photo-Cougars Included are: VC-62 renamed VFP-62 and gets advanced photo-equiped jets. Pictures and story of F9F-8P restorations. Pictures of F9F-8Ps in the fleet. Video of the Cougars filming the Blue Angels (mid-50's); F9F-8P Models; F9F-8P crashes into arrestment barrier and more
Early Days of Photo Recon Exhibit at Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Contributed by Capt. Adam Miklovis
(7/24/23) Infographic created by Philippe Fernand from France. VFP-63 was the West Coast RF-8 photo-recon squadron. Click photo to enlarge
Squadron Historical Summary
INTRODUCTION: The restart of Navy Photo Squadrons was at NAS Norfolk, in 1948 and called Fasron 3 Photo Detatchment, long before they moved to Florida. This word from Tom Stallings, one of its original crew. He was in the squadron and I in ships company at NAS Norfolk then. During WWII, the Navy squadrons were VPP or VD.
Later in January 1949 it changed to Composite Squadron VC-62 before going to Florida in 1950. First cruise was to the Persian Gulf in the fall of '48 on the Siboney (a CVL, that was used as a Recon. airfield & a floating photo Lab in "48" right after FASRON 3 photo was organized. They photographed the Persian Gulf).---James E. (STRETCH) Walsh PHCS--USN--Ret.
A look at the museum's F8F-2P Bearcat on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of the Navy issuing its first contract for the airplane. The museum's example was delivered to the Navy on 25 August 1948, and is one of sixty photoreconnaissance versions of the F8F built by Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation. Its first assignment was to the Naval Air Technical Training Unit at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, where it flew until late 1950. Between periods of Overhaul and Repair, the aircraft subsequently flew with the Naval Air Reserve at NAS Akron, Ohio, and NAS Birmingham, Alabama, its final squadron assignment being with Experimental and Development Squadron (VX) 2 at NAS Chincoteague, Virginia. The aircraft was stricken from the Navy's inventory in July 1956, after having logged 757 flight hours. It arrived at the museum in 1964 after having been on outdoor display at Naval Training Station (NTS) Bainbridge, Maryland.
Click to see:The History of VC-62 An excellent account of the squadron's early years (1949-1956). Provided by Naval Historical Center and submitted by Marion Swinford
We had TBMs and F6Fs in the beginning. The Med. cruises in 50s were F8F Bearcats and F4U Corsairs. My knowledge starts in early '56 in Jax. At that time we had F2H-2P's F9F-6P's,F9F-8P's, SNB-5P's and a couple TV-2's. As mentioned before it was a very large squadron. I seem to remember someone saying it was nearly 1000 members with detachments on both coasts. - Tom McGuire (VC-62 '56-'59)
The Early Years---Before the Jets
F8F-2P Bearcats Over the Fleet
VC-62 F4U-5P Corsairs
I came across this photo that was in my grandfathers belongings. He passed away when I was very young and no one knows the story behind the picture or where he got it. He served on the USS Indiana during WWII. I was hoping you might be able to shed some more light on the photo. Any information would be great.
I was in VMJ-3 at MCAS Miami for only six months. They had the F9F-5P. We got 100 hours and were sent to VMJ-1 in Korea at K-3. LtCol. Marion E. Carl was the C.O. He was a WW-2 ACE (18 KILLs) and also had tours at PAX and at the USAF base in California, flying the early rockets and more.
We were transferred to NAS Atsugi. carqualled and trained. We were deployed to Taiwan and flew deep over RED CHINA. The objective was to map new fields being built for the MiG-17a. We were shot at over Shanghai and started taking the Banshee up to 40,000 ( much safer).
Carl flew up to Okinawa and found the Fleet Admiral and got four F2H-2 fighters transferrerd to us (that Navy Squadron was going back to the States).
We flew solo missions and were painted but rarely shot at. When the deal was over we got an Air Medal for every 10 sorties. (I got three).
The F2H-2P had two Westinghouse J-34WE2 engines, each consumming avgas as the carriers only had avgas! We later switched them over to JP-4. It was a great little bird, flew up to 52,000 feet in it. One time on a mission over Red China, I lost the left engine at 30,000; I turned back for Formosa and slowly let down as I headed west. I got feet wet at around 20,000 and got home OK. The Banshee's two engines saved my ass!
I made 1st Lt., bought a Rolex, two strings of pearls, and a bag of Nikon stuff!
VFP-62 detachment aboard USS Intrepid circa 1957 Photo: Robert Stiles PH2 collection - via Barry Stiles (son) Note camera bay windows Click photo to enlarge
Arrival of the F9F-8P photo-Cougar February 12, 1956 VC-62 Newsletter
via Jean Marshall (daughter of Lt. Donald H. Ward)
VFP-62 and Blue Angels Fly Together
Jean Marshall, daughter of the late Lt. D. S. Ward, has contributed many gems of squadron history during the mid-1950's. Her latest is this amazing link to a 26-minute Blue Angels video circa 1957.
In this video, Blue Angels fly the F-11 (F11F) Tiger and are accompanied by two VFP-62 F9F-8P photo-Cougars (one flown by Lt. Ward) filming their maneuvers. As Jean says, "As kids we always used to say, 'Dad flew with the Blue Angels.' We knew that he wasn't one - he just flew with them to take pictures with his Cougar."
The video includes some personal scenes of the Blue Angel pilots with family and later, some carrier operations.
At time markers 3:23 and 3:29, observe two VFP-62 F9F-8P Cougars taxiing behind the parked Blue Angels. On one, you can clearly see the nose number and camera bay windows.
An Artistic Rendition of F9F-8P From Cdr. Ralph E. Cheney (see "In Memoriam") collection via Carol Cheney Kelly (CiCi).
F9F-6P Rendition provided by Marion Swinford. Courtesy of www.wings.de.ms
The F9F Cougar was built by Grumman Aircraft Company. Marion Swinford provides: "The best I can remember we had only 8P Cougars when I was with VFP-62. The 6Ps were used by two marine and two navy squadrons from 1954 -early 56. "
New Article by Ken Jack National Naval Aviation Museum's Foundation Magazine --Spring 2015
Jim Taylor comments that "The F9F-6P was powered by a J42 and the 8P was the J46, just an upgraded engine; it looked the same. (Marion Swinford disagrees and provides: "The J-42 was last used in the F9F 2 Panther. The J 48 was in both the F9F 6P and the F9F 8P. I just checked it out on the Pratt and Whitney site for both enines."). By 1956 all the squadron had was F2H-2P, F9F-8P, 2ea SNJ-5P and 2 TV-2s. We took 906/8/10 to sea on the Forrestal (Det 42-58). The OIC was LCDR Sam Murphy."
Tom McGuire adds: "If memory serves me correctly, the F9F-6P's that we had were painted blue, there were probably no more than six or eight of them when I was there. The picture (above) looks ok except for the color. I don't remember any fueling probes either. We left on cruise to Far East on Bennington in Oct of 56 and returned in May of 57 and don't remember there being any -6s when we returned. One of my early jobs as an AMAN was to get to the flight line real early and service the emergency air bottles in every airplane. Had a tow tractor and a compressor that had to be hand cranked to start it. Seems like there were four bottles in the nose wheel well of the -8, probably a similar number in the -6 but only one or two in the Banshee. The Banshees never seemed to leak either, but the cougars and panthers sure did. We also stood post watches at night and carried 45's until one night one of our shipmates killed himself with the gun. No more 45's after that. Never was real sure what we were expected to shoot anyway.
VFP-62 November 20, 1958 - January 5,1968 Photo Reconnaissance Goes Supersonic The F8U-1P (later renamed RF-8A)
RF-8A and F9F-8P Courtesy Cdr. Ralph E. Cheney (see "In Memoriam") collection via Carol Cheney Kelly. CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE
November 1957 VFP-62 Newsletter The arrival of the supersonic F8U-1P (RF-8) Crusader
submitted by Daryl Phillippi
This November 27, 1957 Newsletter from the VFP-62 commanding officer, covers the days when the squadron received the supersonic F8U-1P (later RF-8A). Written from the home base at NAS Jacksonville before the move to NAS Cecil Field.
For more pictures and information on the RF-8 (F8U-1P) photo Crusader, go to: "We Love Crusaders" this site. Also available at the navigation button on left-hand menu above.
The text for the following photos reads:
For the first time a detatchment of photo F8U-1P Crusaders will board ship this summer. Light Photographic Squadron 62 (VFP-62) of Cecil Field Fla., under the command of Captain Edwin L. Kiem, will claim the honor.
VFP-62 also believes they have the only Ensign in the fleet who flys the photo Crusader. Ens. Julian Epstein came to the squadron from the 21 week Photo School course at Pensacola Fla., after being graduated from flight training in February 1957.
The "Eyes of the Fleet" aeronautical photo bugs have a new type of glamour in their photo reconnaissance job..the "hot" 1000-miles-per-hour Chance Vought F8U-1P Crusader.
Text under top photo: Captain Edwin L. Kiem, commanding officer of Light Photographic Squadron 62, congratulates Ens. Epstein on becoming a fellow member of the "1000 miles per hour" Club. To become elligible, one must fly the Crusader at 1000-miles-per-hour or better. Other members of the Club stand by, left to right: Lt. Richard Green, Lt. Don Howard, Ltjg Ted Mendenhall, Capt. Liem, Ens. Epstein, Lt. Ted Newark, Lt. Erklens.
Text under bottom photo: G.G. Fowler, plain captain, Ens. Epstein, and Robert A. Sullivan ADJ2 check the afterburner exhaust nozzle flaps in the tail section of the F8U-1P during pre-flight inspection of the aircraft. (circa Spring 1958)
Photo Courtesy Jim Taylor
In 1958, the F8U-1P (later designated RF-8A) Crusader started replacing the F9F-8P Cougars.
VFP-62 gained national reknown during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October-November 1962. For its part in documenting the Russian missile sites in Cuba. The squadron received a Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, the first issued in peacetime and presented by President Kennedy. Sixteen pilots (including four Marine pilots from VMCJ-2) received Distinguished Flying Crosses. [See "Cuban Missile Crisis" this site.--webmaster]
End of an Era...two planes left.
Photo Courtesy of A. W. Scarborough PHC
The RF-8As were replaced with remanufactured RF-8Gs in late 1965 and the squadron was decommissioned on January 5, 1968. VFP-63 assumed RF-8 photo reconnaissance for the Atlantic Command carriers
VC-62 - VFP-62 Commemorative Brick (8" x 8") National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) NAS Pensacola, Florida
Made possible by the contributions of: Robert King ADJ3 (1963-65), Gerald Musgrove (ATR3 (1966-68), Capt. P.J. Smith (1958-62)
[Webmaster's Note: With the publication of our book, Blue Moon Over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis, in August 1962, a few squadron members ordered signed copies from me and three remitted much more money than I asked for (a total of $273.00). They left it to me to spend it as I thought best. Initially, I thought I would use it to extend our hosting service for vfp62.com, but Pete Wallace (who has been paying for it from the start) had already extended it to 2022. So, vfp62.com will be on the web for some time. I also considered buying a round of drinks at a future VFP-62 reunion but it appears that may not happen again. I decided to use the money to support the National Naval Aviation Museum fundraiser "Bricks Program." These special bricks will be installed in the center of Centennial Square on the manicured Museum grounds (Pensacola, Florida). Over 1,200 bricks have been purchased to support the important work of the museum.