VC-62/VFP-62 SQUADRON HISTORY
Updated June 11, 2022
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The Eyes of the Fleet
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Click to go to: History Summary of VC-62 (1949-56) Utilizing WW II pilots with photo reconnaissance experience our predecessor squadron was formed.
Click to go to: Before the Jets; Early 1950s and Korean War Detachments
Click to go to: First photo-jets The first photo-jet: F2H-2P Banshee. Flying the Banshee into Red China. Photographing a hurricane. Photos of the Banshee
Click to go to: VFP-62 F9F-6/8P photo-Cougars 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.
Click to go to: VFP-62 Supersonic Crusaders The F8U-1P (later renamed RF-8A) Crusader
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.
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)
(6/10/22)Arrival of the F9F-8P photo-Cougar
February 12, 1956 VC-62 Newsletter
via Jean Marshall (daughter of Lt. Donald H. Ward)
VC-62 was redesignated VFP-62 on July 2, 1956
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 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. June 1967
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.
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.
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.
(9/14/13)Click to see more information this site: VC-62 Detachments 1950-56 --"VFP-62 Memorabilia" page this site.
Click on underscored text to see photos
(EXTERNAL LINK)A beautiful restoration of a old photo recon plane, with lots of great pictures and comments from former Navy crew members: RC45J Beechcraft
VC-62 Early Jets: F2H-2P Banshee
VC-62 Inspection (NAS Jacksonville) circa 1953
F2H-2P, F9F-6P, SNB-5P in background
Photo Cdr. Ralph E. Cheney collection via Carol Cheney Kelly
Interesting Links on Early VC-62/VFP-62 History
Adobe .pdf file "You Name It; We Shoot It" The First Jets Into the Eye of a Hurricane: late VC-62 early VFP-62 article in Naval Aviation News. --Contributed by Ken Walling
Pictures of Early VC-62/VFP-62 Photo Jets--- F2H-2P Banshee
VC-62 F2H-2P in a Vertical Climb, circa 1953---Contributed by Herb Gold
EXTERNAL VIDEO (1/24/17) A good video of: YouTube Video of McDonnell F2H-2P photo Banshee ---This video shows construction details, flight scenes, and good orientation of VFP-62's first photo jet.--Courtesy Ken Killmeyer, CVA 59 Historian
VC-62 Banshee - June 10, 1954: F2H-2P at NAS Jacksonville-Contributed by J.J. McKenna
Great angle of a: F2H-2P-Courtesy Daryl Phillippi
Forrestal or Saratoga carrier quals-Courtesy Dave Olson (Swede)
F2H-2P flies into crash barrier net aboard USS Franklin D Roosevelt (circa 1956-57)
starboard landing gear collapsed. Lt Duke or Lt Kramer were the pilots---via Ken Killmeyer, Forrestal Assn.
VC-62 Det 31-54 USS Wasp CV-18- F2H-2P Mt. Fuji -Marion Swinford
- Click to see: F2H-2P Models--Beautiful model of the Banshee
War Stories with the Banshee
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!
Lt.Col. Matthew B. Peck USMC(Ret)
VFP-62 F9F-8P (Photo Cougar)
Photo: Cdr. Ralph E. Cheney Family
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
Another VFP-62 F9F-8P Restored
Restored F9F-8P, BuNo 144388 formerly of VFP-62 and now at
Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles California
Contributed by Leon Cleaver
Photos of Other F9F-6/8P Cougars
Installing cameras in F9F-8P -source: US Navy Naval Aviation News Nov 1958, via www.wikimedia.org, & contributed by JJ McKenna
F9F-8P on cat-Courtesy Dave Olson (Swede)
USS Saratoga Newsletter highlighting early VFP-62 Detatchment 43 Courtesy Marion Swinford
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 1958 - 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
CLICK UNDERLINED LINK TO SEE PHOTOS
Many wonderful pictures of VFP-62 (1957-58): Capt. Edwin Kiem's VFP-62 Scrapbook-Capt. Ed Kiem, was the first VFP-62 CO.
A rare VFP-62 photo of a Photo Crusader, Cougar, and Banshee in one photo - Courtesy Cdr. Ralph E. Cheney (see "In Memoriam") collection via Carol Cheney Kelly
Early Cecil Field Hangar picture RF-8 and F9F-8P -Photo: Jim Taylor
Circa 1961 VFP-62 was threatened by a hurricane. The attached photo is amazing. Many of the RF8's were packed into the hangar for protection. The hurricane bypassed Cecil Field. Photo - Vinnie Zabicki.
EXTERNAL LINK: A link to a website with pictures of VFP-62 crew and planes circa 1958 Dave Stokes Collection
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.
Courtesy Jim Taylor
The text 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)