51. I arrived at VFP-62 in Nov '57 as an AA, having been in a Reserve squadron for my last year of high school. When three of us checked in to the Personnel Office YN1 Fischer said we could be compartment cleaners, mess cooks or work in the Personnel Office. That's all it took. Next steps were working on SN and PN3.
Went aboard the Roosevelt, CVA 42 in 1957. When left we were stationed at NAS Jacksonville. We arrived back at Mayport on March 5, 1958. The squadron had moved while we were gone. I was a member of detachment 37-57, that Dave Olson took pictures of. [See "Squadron History" & "Faces of VFP-62" Page 9] The pictures brought back many great memories. My name is Larry Moller. I was one of the Aviation Electronic Techs with the Detachment. I live in Vancouver, Wash. I have a bunch of pictures from that cruise somewhere around the house. If I ever stop working I'll dig them out & send copies to your web site.
52. After Photo “A” school I joined VC-62 at Cecil Field in 1951 and was the 300th person to sign in at NAAS Cecil Field--don't remember how many were in 62 at that time, not many. I came from "A" school and after about three weeks in 62's lab went on mess duty for three months. While I was in the mess hall about 6 PH's were pulled (based on the time they were in 62) and sent to Naples to the 6th fleet lab that was ashore there. Every PH who made a Med cruise for a few years after that had a place to go to as the ph's lived in apartments or houses around Naples.
We were using the Old Fort at St Augustine, Marineland and the dorms at UF in Gainesville as targets of opportunity on photo mapping training sorties until the CO started getting calls regarding 1. Scaring the tourists: 2. Scaring the fish: 3. Complaints from the college regarding Coeds sunbathing in the nude on the roofs of the dorms.
We also produced some great photos taken of Jacksonville covered by a gigantic wave that was created in the VC-62 photo lab (looked like a scene from a science fiction movie) and hung in a favorite waterhole in the Springfield section of town.
Did anyone fly under the Main Street Bridge, yes there was talk about it then and when the photos were developed and printed photo interpretation tried to figure out how the shots were made without flying under the bridge. We never did get a clear answer from the pilot.
I can remember George Blumenthal, Tom Stallings, John Egar, Ed “Kaz”, Phil Tibbits, Capt Dietz, and a bunch of other shipmates who I can picture but whose names escape me in this senior moment…
There was a car (49 or 50 Packard Convertible) that was sold within VC-62 as each owner went on detachment. I think I was the 3rd or 4th person to own it. I sold it to someone else in the squadron when I left to go on the FDR. The registration was transferred and kept in the XO’s Office safe until all the monthly payments were deposited to my account.
I got out in '55 as a PH1 CPOs were frozen at the time and some LDOs slots were available but decided it was too long to wait and pulled the plug. Some retired CPOs and LDOs who are still around were in the VC with me as PH1s and 2s.
Webmaster's Note: Herb has contributed a number of photos to the site. Click the following link to see the Packard: VC-62 Packard
53. Hi, George Montgomery, Lee Perrin, Thomas Pinkley, and Barry Herzog. I'm Don Mullenix and I transferred into VFP-62 in April 1964 and was in the squadron until my tour of duty was over Nov.1966. I was on the Forrestal many times and I made the med cruise Det-59 1964 to 1965. I can remember many of the Det-59 crew especially Watkins, Hanna, Rempert, John Sees, Blake, Bailey, Dorsey, Bellefeuille, Baker, McCord, Tucker, Cross, Duffy, and my friend Richard Cohen, and I’m sure we all remember our great master at arms White. I believe he wrote me up a few times.
I remember our trip to the French Foreign Legion. My brother Bob was also on Det-59. He still lives in Florida. I lost most of my photos from that era and if George has copies, I would love to have some.
I stepped down from being a Chief of Police a year ago but I’m not retired. I am a captain with a
small police department. My expertise is being a narcotics drug officer. I have a private investigation company that I started 11 years ago and guess that will keep me busy for a few more years.
I can’t remember if we had a yearbook for the 59-Det Deployment? If anyone has one, I would certainly pay to have a copy made. Hope to see some of you when you have your next reunion. I was glad to see this site up and running. Great job Ken!
Anyone who served with me from that time frame please contact me.
54. I was at Cecil Field from 1963 to 1966 and made the cruise in 1964 on the FDR and 1965-66 on the Forrestal. [Sid] Bourgeois was on the 64 cruise as well and was at Cecil from 64 to 65 or 66. He and I married sisters and we both live now in Ocala Fl.
I gave a response about the letter inquiring about info for Ed Duffy*. He, Sees, Maracz, Bourgeois and I all made the Med cruise together in 1965-66. Bourgeois was a plane captain along with Ed and was a very close friend and co-hort (heh heh)
The [Navy] electronics training was helpful. [After the Navy,] I started at Martin Marietta Corp in 1966 and retired from what is now Lockheed Martin in 1999. I was able to work with them for 32 years. I retired at age 57 but really enjoyed my work for some reason. Now that I have retired though I don't miss it as I thought I might. I used to do woodwork and display it at Arts and Craft shows mainly here in Fl. but occasionally in Indiana as well.
55. [My tour in] VFP-62 [was] Feb 60-Jun64, as a Ltjg-Lcdr. [I was a] Pilot on several dets, including Det 42 (FDR) 1960 and Det 62 (Independence) 1962. I was also the Squadron Maintenance Officer during Cuban missile crisis. The Cuban Missile Crisis, which was no crisis for VFP-62, because we could do anything asked of us.
John DeChant, Cdr USN Ret.
[Webmaster: Sadly, John is deceased. See our "In Memoriam" for his memorial.]
56. I didn't care much for Jacksonville and since I was single, I volunteered for Sea Duty. I was on the Intrepid Det, the Enterprise mini cruise, the Enterprise Det 65 full length cruise, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the cruise to the Caribbean aboard the Intrepid when the Dominican Republic Dictator, Rafael Trujillo was assassinated.
I do recognize quite a few people with whom I served including John Sees. Incidentally I was the AME who pulled both major checks on the Martin Baker Ejection Seats used by Cdr Kelt.
58. My name is Bobby Mullenix,and I was stationioned at VFP-62 between 1963-1967. I was on Dets. 64-65 on the USS Forrestal and also on the only Vietnam cruise 1965-1967 on the USS FDR and the USS Oriskany. I would like to hear from anyone that was on the FDR, in the Vietnam war.
59. VFP-63 was my first squadron assignment after flight training. That was 1965. I made two combat cruises on the Hancock in '66 and '67.
In late 1967 VFP-62 lost a pilot in a midair. He had been assigned to the Shang det which deployed in Jan '68. I was ordered to replace him. This was VFP-62's last detachment prior to decommissioning.
I flew the RF8 again in the reserves at Andrews from 1978 to 1983. I believe I made the last US Navy F8 carrier landing. It was in RF8G 145623 on the Kitty Hawk on February 27, 1983. My total time in the RF8 is around 1800 hours.
I have attached some photos that may be of interest. You will notice that the aircraft in the photo "Len on Shang flt deck 1968" has a different paint job than normal VFP-62 coloring. The bird was a replacement aircraft painted by VFP-63. I flew it from San Diego and landed it aboard the Shang cruising in the Med near Naples. I made fuel stops at Tinker AFB, Oceana, Bermuda, inflight over the Atlantic, Lages, and Rota prior to final leg to Shang. [Webmaster's Note: This picture is on "Faces of VFP-62 Page 9". Len has also contributed other photos, including the climbing RF8 on the Home Page.]
60. Ken what a great website. congrats to you and Peter Wallace for a really nice site. My name is Robert Strong. I was a PR3 in VFP-62 from April 1963 to Aug. 1966. I made cruises (some were only a month or two) on Det 38; Det 42; Det 59; Det 60; Det 62 and Det 65. I made two Med cruises on Det 42 and Det 65. I'm getting tired just thinking about it.
I live in Jacksonville FL not too far from Cecil Field. Cecil has changed quite a bit since our government closed the military part and sent the Navy to Oceana Va. Oh well.
I'm looking forward to the reunion in Mobile. There are about 10 people (that I know about) here in Jacksonville that were in VFP-62. I'm trying to get a hold of all of them and let them know about the reunion.
I've been looking for a Robert R King ADJ3 that was a plane captain from Atlanta Ga. If anybody has any info about him I'd like to hear about it. [Webmaster's Note: Robert King contacted vfp62.com (see Page 4) and reconnected with Robert Strong.]
61. I served in VFP-62 from June ‘58 til June ‘62, Independence “Shakedown” cruise , 2 CVA-42 Med Cruises in '59 and '60, numerous Car-quals, Flew some 850 hrs in RF8s, 200 carrier landings, ejected from 2 ,no pilot error. Flew Buno 145645 in VFP-62 in Feb ‘61. [Webmaster's Note: RF8 145645 was restored at Battleship Park, Mobile AL.]
We were "Stapp's Snappers" on Independence and I served with the internationally known Verge Brown after another OinC was sent home with hepatitis... You know do not eat seafood from the guys along the beach!
For the next one we had "GRUMPS" Green as OinC. Great guy! I had to punch and after rescue by destroyer the DOC, (PHM1 Sawyer ) left a bottle of Ol' Methuslah as he took my flight gear to the laundry. CO of the FDR demanded my return that night ... Damn near died in helo pickup
off fantail! As I exited the Helo, Dick Green told Flight Surgeons to strike me below...seems that he thought that I had had a bit too much!!!
I was not known as one of the most formal officers, being a Georgia boy might have had something to do with that summation. One early AM I was returning to Leeward Point at Gitmo and I am met by my troops. Somehow a splash of creme de menthe had found its way on my whites. On Monday AM when
I manned the A/C with my name on it was a splotch of GREEN!
I am still stunned by the fact that no one has talked about flying into Cold War country to obtain low level run-ins for the nuclear armed A4s and A3s. Surely I am not the only pilot who did that??
We also photographed the Submarine pens in Albania on a regular basis.
I left VFP-62 as a Lt. I remained in Reserves and last flying duty was as C.O. VF-201 at NAS Dallas---Later made Captain. I think that my Reserve retirement was in 1980 for a total of 24 years NAVAL SERVICE plus 1.8 years Georgia National Guard in a Tank Recce Unit!!
62. Hi, My name is Edwin G. O'Neal . I was in VFP-62 from 7-1959 to 7-1962 and an AT-2, an electronics guy, on the Crusader. Most of my time was spent shaking hands with Castro on the Shangri La, 880 feet of twisted steel and sex appeal (about like me, at least the twisted part, mentally).
I was at bay of pigs on the USS Shangri-La. I recall that we were up early loading flares on the F8U 1P's and watched F8U fighters being loaded with armament. We sat on the flight deck several hours awaiting orders to hit Cuba. Those orders never came. As I recall, the blame for not helping was a snafu by the U. S. Senate not OK'ing the attack. At least, that was the scuttle-butt on the flight deck. I do not recall the year, but I do recall that there were bullet-holes in one plane that did a fly over of the bay. This was small arms fire. Also, I believe we did fly-overs on a number of possible landing sites in order to confuse Castro as to where the mercenaries were going to hit.
Do any photo guy's recall removing cameras from planes to make rum runs to Cuba? Of course, these were practice to hone the skills of our pilots. Yeah, like they needed it.
I read in a bulletin letter about "kumshaw"? I thought it was "conshaw"...the art of confiscating things we couldn't get through proper channels. As I recall, on the Shang med cruise, we became very adept at this talent. There was a fighter group on board with F8U's that seemed to get preferental treatment over our outfit. Our C.O. wasn't happy with that, but we seemed to keep our birds in the air. I do recall "removing" a few pieces of needed gear from a fighter that was waiting on an engine. Of course, I was not personally involved in any of this.
Also, pertaining to the mid air over Orange Park, again I would disagree on the 57, 58 time line. I was one who walked through the woods looking for parts of the aircraft for investigation of cause of collision, and I didn't get to Cecil until 7/59
Don't remember many names but will never forget faces or the pride with which we all served. Made two Med cruises and many little jaunts to Cuba. Anyone remember the fiasco at Bay of Pigs invasion?
Do remember a big ole West by God Virginian named Big Mac. He was my size (6'4" 220 lb at that time), and we had a good time in London England in I believe 61'. Hope to hear from any fellow "salts".
I left the Navy and Cecil Field July 1962.
My email address is:[Webmaster: email address requested.]
(ENS. - LTjg. AI/PI July '62 to Feb '65) (Retired as CDR from Reserves in 1977)
Summer 1962, Shake down cruise to Med. on Enterprise .
Oct. to Nov. 1962, CMC on Enterprise (See "Sea Stories" Page 5)
Jan. '63 to Aug. '63, Med. cruise on Enterprise
Fall of '63 and Spring of '64. Four short "at sea" periods on Forrestal.
June '64,Three weeks or so on Saratoga to NYC world's fair.
Feb. '65: Released from active duty at Cecil Field and from VFP-62
Great memories of my time and associations while in VFP-62, on cruises and at Cecil Field. Still looking for BBQ like we found at The Red Barn. Remembering Lingley's car crashes, Kissa surviving Tony's Bar in Cannes but getting rolled in Jax, blowing my chance for fame during the CMC when I failed to find the KOMAR's tied up in Mayari harbor, Kelt's roll off the side of the Enterprise and ejection sequently filmed by Kissa as if the whole event was planned, deep sadness at John McCall's death, CDR Coulthard's filmed strip painted Nash Metro (?) and so many more crew and events.
My thanks to John Sees for his effort and time spent to find me and to both Ken and Pete for their ongoing support of the web site.
[Webmaster's note: Tom contributed a number of photos to "RF8 Photo Gallery", accessed from "We Love Crusaders" and wrote a piece for "Sea Stories" Page 5]
64. Hi, Al Wilhite here. VFP-62 1962-66. Served as OinC of USS Independence '62-64 then OPS O & CO thru 8-66. Now living outside of Las Vegas and would be happy to hear from anyone!
[Webmaster's Note: Al was Commanding Officer of VFP-62 1964-66. Unfortunately, Al is deceased. See "VFP-62 Skippers" and "In Memoriam."]
65. I'm Robert W. "Bob " Deputy Joined VFP - 62 in June of 1964; Det 38 on Shangri-La (Jan
1965 - Nov 1965); Det 59 on Forrestal (replacing Jim Shaver, whose wife was ill) (Dec 1965 - April 1966); Det 38 again to Caribb/Guantanamo (June - July 1966); Det 42 on FDR/ Yankee Station (replacing Lt. Norm Bundy) (Sept 1966 - Feb 1967). Left squadron to report to Patuxent River in May 1967.
We stayed on active duty until May 1970, then moved back to JAX where I flew A - 4's in the Reserves and was Asst. LSO for Reserve Air Wing 20 until 1973. In 1976, we moved to Texas and I studied Petrol Eng/Geology at Texas A&M on GI Bill and went on to work for Atlantic Richfield Company in worldwide oil and gas drilling. Retired from ARCO in 1996 and have lived in Houston/Dallas area, with 3 overseas tours, since 1977.
66. My name is Norman F. Hanner known to friends as Pete. I was assigned to VFP-62 in April 1960 following graduation from AE School at NATTC Jacksonville, Fl. After a mess cooking ordeal, I was assigned to the flight line until an opening in the Avionics Shop opened. ADC Day Merkley was the Line Chief. I began learning the ropes as a Plane Captain when Clint McNair (GM-1) spoke in my behalf and I was assigned to the AE Shop. I remember when Ken Jack, PHAN checked in. He was “Mr. Clean”….squared away beyond imagination.
My ship board tours were in USS Forrestal Feb. 1961 – Aug 1961, and several CQ Det’s aboard Shang, Indy, Sara. I was involved in the “stop loss” order in October 1962 after JFK explained to the world the threat posed in Cuba. USS Lexington was to be my next shipboard assignment but for reasons unknown, I didn’t deploy for 'Blockade Duty' with my fellow squadron mates and was released from active duty on December 5th, 1962 along with AE2 Bob Hughes and AM2 Billy Thomas.
Browsing the photo collection, I saw several familiar faces not seen in years. I met with Jerry Coffee 40 years after my discharge while at the U.S. Naval Academy where he was scheduled to speak to the new plebes. My son arranged the meeting and we shared a few memories of days gone by.
Following my discharge, I attended and graduated college and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. USMC and assigned to Flight Training at NAS Pensacola in 1968. My wings awarded in 1969, Republic of Viet Nam was my ultimate destination where I flew helicopters and by the Grace of God survived. The Marine Corps granted my request for jet transition and I was assigned to 2nd Marine Air Wing, MCAS Cherry Point, N.C.
While awaiting assignment to one of the two Harrier squadrons, I completed A-6 Transition School at NAS Oceana and met Cdr. 'Hop' Wetmore (pilot on the Forrestal Det.). I had met LCdr. Bill Norton at NAS Pensacola while in flight training. Ron Ream and Robair Morhardt were the other Forrestal aircrew from my days at VFP-62.
I flew Harriers until accidents necessitated the termination of 'single seat' training in lieu of a TAV-8 and by that time I joined an A-4 squadron relocating from MCAS Beaufort to Cherry Point and flew A-4’s until I retired in June 1984. I went from AE2 in one career to Lt.Col. USMC in the next.
I crossed paths with a few who were in VFP-62, but as a Marine Officer, and that didn’t register with them. Bob Sanders, who was an AE at the FasRon, wound up being my QA Chief as an E-8 with VT-21 in Kingsville, Tx. We knew and trusted each other from our previous enlisted days and had a remarkable working relationship. Bud Moore, Bob Patterson, Randy Lusby, Jerry Coffee, and Wild Bill Norton were others I reacquainted with during my Marine Corps career. Claude Gay, who was on the Forrestal Det, refused to acknowledge knowing me because he couldn’t comprehend my wearing a different uniform even after I filled him with details only those in VFP-62 would know….doubting Thomas. I never convinced him.
I have been blessed to have been associated with some of the finest people I have ever had the privilege on knowing and serving alongside. Given the opportunity, I’d do it all again.
[Webmaster's Note: It is a personal pleasure to post Pete's message. I remember Pete as a popular and friendly guy who made an impression on me down through the decades. Pete's attached picture shows him with his son, also a Marine Officer, (USNA ’94) .]
67. I was in VC 62 when it was changed to vfp 62, appox. 1955 to 1958, after we moved to Cecil Field. I stayed in and retired on 20 in 1974 as a chief metal smith. I made deployments on the Lake Champlain, FDR and Forrestal. We still had the F2Hs on the Forrestal. I left the squadron after we got the F8s.
Thanks for the fast reply. I am unable to attend the reunion but by all means please put me on your GUEST LOG. I have allready been in contact with a shipmate i had not seen in 40 years. Thanks again.
My email address is: Email information requested:
68. Ken: not going to make it to the reunion, didn't know about it soon enough. I was in VFP-62 from Mar of '57 till Feb of '60. Made the first F8U-1P deployment on the Forrestal in '58-'59. LCDR Sam Murphy was our OinC. What a hell of an officer and person; none better. Chief Otto was CPO in charge; another one of a kind. I can't remember the name of the AMC Chief but all of them were great guys. Had many memorable experiences while in the Sqd.
A bit of triva. The head sets used on the flight deck today was invented by an AT3 on this Det., can't remember his name either. He made them out of Mickey Mouse ears, the receiver in one ear and the battery and speaker in the other (it wasn't two way he could only hear). That came later.
I left there as an ADJ2 went to Pax River. Participated in the P3V, later P3A BIS trials and became a flight engineer. Went to VP-26 in Brunswick Me. Made two deployments to Siginnella and A split to Newfoundland and Iceland. While in Newfoundland my crew was detached to Germany for ASW school. After we returned to CONUS my crew was sent TAD to Northern Ireland to operate with the Brits.
Then came the big one; the one you never forget. WESRPAC and in those days that meant only one destination Vietnam. We lost two aircraft and two crews. God I miss those guys, what a waste.
I'm especially looking for an old mate of mine AMC Cliff Chandler. We lost track of each other over the years. Here's hoping you have a great time at the reunion and keep me in mind if you plan another one.
Retired in '71 an ADJC. Anyone remember me drop me a line.
69. Hi I was in the squadron in Nov 1951 to Nov 1953 on two cruises. '52 on the midway to the Med. Hell of a squadron at my time. I was a 3rd class and we had 17 chiefs in the AD shop. So tell me about the reunion.
70. I was with VFP-62 starting in 1959 through first part of 1961. I was a PI second class and was on the Forrestal for 9 months with Det. 42-60. It was a great time at that age to see the world and do the things we did. Our C.O. was Lt. Commander Bezore, and we were the "BEZORE BUZZARDS". I designed and painted the Buzzard logo for the planes as well as doing a news letter for the group.
My direct boss was Lt. Tipperton French. It was great duty as we had our own office where we received the photo's from the planes to decipher what was on them. We of course worked very close with the ships company photo dept. We had a great group of people that worked well together and had fun together.
After leaving VFP-62 I was sent to Washington D.C. where I worked in the Pentagon for a while and then transferred to Suitland Maryland to work at the Photographic Intelligence Center till Feb. 1962. I then left the Navy and headed to Denver, Co., where I lived for 29 years, working in the Commercial Lighting Industry as a lighting engineer and sales manager. From Denver I went to work in Milwaukee, Wi. as sales manager and director of international sales for the next 18 years. I retired in 2000 and have since moved to Bella Vista, Arkansas where I can play golf all year around.
I often think of the old friends from VFP-62 and wonder what has happened to them. I would love to attend the reunion in Mobile, but have other plans I am committed to. I am attaching a few photo's of the old group as well as one of me. Let me know how I can keep informed of what is going on with the group. [Webmaster's Note: See "Faces of VFP-62 Page 11]
39 Taylor Dr.
Bella Vista, Ar., 72714
[Webmaster: Sadly, Mac is deceased. Checkout our "In Memoriam."]
71. I am James Hamilton. I was an E5 (AD2) in VFP-62, in 1957/58 and prior to that in its predecessor, VC-62, in 1953/54, and did most of the CVS 41 (Midway) detachment off Korea (Tancion Islands evacuation). I had to be Medi-vacted to a hospital in Yokuska shortly after the engagement.
My email address is: [Webmaster: email requested]
72.Eugene T. Sones ADJ1. VFP-62 1962-63. USS Saratoga Det 60 1963
[Webmaster's Note: Any shipmate that remembers Eugene can call (717) 439-7747]
73. I live in Milton Florida ( a suburb of Pensacola).I was attached to VFP-62 from March, 1961 until November, 1962 primarily on Det. 59, U.S.S. Forrestal.
Bob Garling, AMHC (Ret)
My email address is: Requesting email information.
74. Just recieved my copy of the FRA mag and found that you were going to have a reunion starting tomorrow. Guess I wont make this one but sure would like to know about all those who got to go. I was in Det 38
Charles (Ed) Neff AT1
My address is 911 Reed Ave Akron Ohio 44306 Phone # 330-724-3153
75. I was in VFP-62 somewhere around 1955-56-57, can't remember for sure. I am sure I will not be able to make the reunion but if possible I would like to beg for a few pictures. We had F9F-6P aircraft and I served in the Detachment on the USS Bennington. I was a PO3 at the time. I made the Navy my life and finally retired in 1987.
Thanks Jack Lehman ADCS Ret.
[Webmaster's Note: Jack's email has changed. Information is requested.]