76. I'm George Rodgers, "Butch" while with VFP-62, 1956-58. Prior time at Photo School in Pensacola. Did several short cruises on Essex (CV-9), Saratoga (CV-60), Forrestal (CV-59), and FDR (CV-42). On Essex our detachment skipper was LCDR Leo Bohanick (sp?). Capt. Kiem was Squadron CO having been CO of Photo School in 1955, when I was a student. Is anyone around from those days?
77. I was in VC 62 from August 1949 to 1952. I made Med cruise on the USS Leyte and also the Korean Cruise in 1950 and other criuses to the Med and fleet manuevers. I was an Aviation Electronics tech. 1st class. We also took the first F2H-2P cruise aboard the Tarawa/ Midway. I would appreciate to find out if there are any more VC 62 members in your group.
78. I'm Daniel J. Olejnik AKC retired. I was an AK2 in VC62 from Nov 1950 to June 1954.
My email address is: email address requested
79. Checked out your site and loved it. I have some VFP-62 STUFF; I was in the squadron in 1960 thru 1963, Made a cruise on the Shang and the Enterprise, during the Cuban Crisis. I have the News Letter for the period we received the ribbon from Pres. Kennedy. Although I missed the ceremony, I was still in Cuban waters, on the Enterprise.
80. Lyman Peckman (AT2): I arrived at VFP-62 in January '59 from Memphis training school. I was the last group that left there with the straight AT rank. Later groups were all ATN, ATR, etc.
When I arrived at VFP-62 they were stationed at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. At that time we also had Cougars. We moved to Cecil Field shortly thereafter.
I got out in early '61. I was with Det 33-59 on the USS Intrepid with Youngblood's Tigers. We also did one Carib cruise. I was an AT attached to the Photo shop to do their electronic troubleshooting until the powers that be decided the Photographers needed their own trained troubleshooters. I believe they started their school in Pensacola.
81. My name is Willie Harvey and I was assigned to VFP-62 at NAS Cecil Field, FL from July 1960 to December 1963. I arrived in the Jet Shop as an new ADJ3 and departed as an ADJ1. I retired from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in October 1978 (20 years, 4 months). I retired again in October 2004 from the Tennessee Valley Authority-U.S. Civil Service (25 years).
When I checked into VFP 62 in July 1960, I was a 20 year old who had just been promoted to ADJ3, who had not attended "A" school because my GCT-ARI scores were too low. As a matter of fact, I did not attend a Navy technical school until 1967 when I went to "B" school as an ADJC. I was assigned to VQ-1 at NAS Atsugi, Japan from 1968 to 1971. I was promoted to AFCM in February 1973 and in the spring of 1976, while assigned to Andrews AFB, Maryland, I served on the Bureau of Naval Personnel Master Chief Selection Board. I hope some of my former VFP 62 shipmates were promoted to E-9 by that selection board.
Here in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I am totally isolated from everything related to the U.S. Navy, so I look forward to hearing from you and, hopefully, becoming reacquainted with some of my former VFP-62 shipmates at the next reunion.
Willie J. Harvey, AFCM (Retired)
My email address is: Email address requested.
82. I'm John W. Shatto , former ADJ2. I was in VFP-62 from 1962-1964. I was on det 43 on the Saratoga and went on two Med. cruises with her. I would like to know if there is a reunion or any kind of get together in the future.
83. Hi, my name is Don A. Watkins and I have visited this sight often. I came to VFP-62 in 1960 till late 1962. I was a plane captain and made my first Med cruise on the Intrepid, then made a short cruise on the Forrestal as I try to remember it was a big airshow for President Kennedy. I then made another Med cruise on the brand new Enterprise in 62. When we got back to Cecil Field our detachment was rushed back to the Enterprise of course for the Cuban Crisis. At the end of the crisis which was already over my enlistment time, they held me over a couple months because of the crisis. They found room for me on a COD at the last moment and I was sent back to Cecil Field to go through the process of shipping out.
My favorite Officer was at the time LTjg. Jim Curry; glad to see he made Captain. He was a very serious Pilot but a really nice person. The main reason I am writing this is because when I was checking on the Cuban Crisis page where everyone that received the Navy Unit Commendation is mentioned, my name is not there. I noticed this awhile back but I guess it bothers me that overtime I come here I think of it again. It makes me feel like I didn't exist. I wonder if its because I was sent back to Cecil Field before the Enterprise came home.
I reinlisted in 1965 to 67 out in California and served on the Midway during Vietnam then was stationed at N.A.S Lemoore in CA.
Anyway really glad about this site. I was proud of my time with VFP-62 and as we get older I guess we look back and reflect on our past. I am now 67 and where did all the time go....................
84.What a great job has/is being done with this WEB site. Ken and Pete are to be commended for what their site has offered each of us - a place to “reconnect”, to reflect on our histories, a place to reminisce.
Arriving at VFP-62, NAS, Cecil Field in November of ‘63 got me assigned to Det 59 and off on deployment for a shake down cruise pretty early on. We had several short cruises before the Med Cruise of 64/65 - all as part of Larry’s Legion. At the time of deployment in ‘64 - Larry was LCDR - and many thought had “aged” out of being able to make CDR - but the “Larry’s Legion” must have been just what he needed to not only make CDR, but CAPTAIN before he retired. He was a great Leader and good man.
Being in “Personnel” - allowed me to meet so many of our squadron - enlisted and officers. Having the office in the hanger gave me an overview of all the different areas we worked. We were a lucky bunch of guys when you consider the “other” places we could have been to serve out our enlistments - this probably doesn’t sound too good for those “career” types that did have to go to some difficult places.
We had a good crew - Officers and Enlisted. The Forrestal was a great ship to serve on - being the first in it’s class. There were some troubles during the times we were assigned, BUT the Det 59 personnel stayed above the fray. 1964 & 1965 saw many changes in our country - some hard times - but our personnel adjusted well.
I’ve spent some time trying to reconnect with many of my Det mates. I still have some to contact, but Barry, John, Tom, Don (M & J), James Rominger, Gerald have helped me remember some of the good times. Pictures being shared also have “enabled” me to remember things that have been in a “haze”.
Don Mullenix sent me some pictures that reminded me of those “base picnics/parties” we had, plus some shots of the “hobby shop” where to world’s fastest cars were repaired…
My enlistment was over on 29 August ‘65.… and as you may recall - the “first” extension date due to Vietnam was September 1st ‘65. A couple of days ……. Don Jusko was one of the first one’s to get extended in the squadron, sorry Don - just didn’t want to stick around!!!
Thanks to all members that contribute to the VFP-62 history. Your writings and pictures help make this “record” have a living memory.
[Webmaster's Note: George has made a multitude of contributions to the site, including: Detachment Newsletters ("VFP-62 Memorabilia"), "Sea Stories", and photos for "Faces of VFP-62"]
85. My name is Richard Bregoli and I joined VFP-62 in January of 1967, until it was decommissioned.
I worked in the photo lab, and some times in the hanger, doing crash photos, and mostly lab work.
I loved the guys and the work, I was only 20 years old, and celebrated my 21st birthday at a squadron party and softball game in March of 1967 at Cecil Field. I would love to get in touch with some of the guys that I served with.
86. Hello: This message from Richard Gregory AEC USN RET.
I served with VFP-62 from 1961 until 1963. While I was with the Squadron I made cruises with Detachment 42 aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt early in 1961 (LCDR Vern Brown (OinC) and also with Detachment 62 aboard USS Independence early in 1962 (Lt W. Foard OinC). I was also aboard the Independence during the Cuban Crisis.
I worked in the electric shop as an AE-1 under the leadership of Chief Fidele (Deceased).After the cruises I was assigned to Quality Control as an electrical inspector. In May of 1963 I was promoted to AEC and placed in charge of Quality Control and served in that capacity until transferred to Nattc Jax as an instructor in the AE School.
I have many fond memories of my time with VFP-62 and my Navy scrapbook probably has more memorbilia from that part of my carrer than any other time. Would enjoy hearing from any of my shipmates by e-mail. By the way when is the next reunion? Thanks for your good work on the web-site.
Richard Gregory AEC USN RET.
My email address is: [Webmaster: email address requested.]
87. It's so good to read about VFP-62. It was a great part of my growing up and learning a skill. Assigned to the jet shop at NAS under Lt. C.C.Smith, and then to Cecil with the F-8s EXITING time for a kid from Miami.
Went on the FDR Det. 37-59, pilots were, LCDR, Hackeral Lt.Tal Bagget, Ltjg Ted Mendenhal and Ensg. J.D. Epstein,(youngest to go 1000mph) FUN time and should have stayed in. Went with Airlines as A&P mech. and retired just as things headed south.
I remember the 2 F8U-1Ps that had the mid-air near Cecil returning from Gitmo. Tal Baggett was one and he was fine,he was one of our guys on det 37-59 and not sure of the other name [Offerman] but he had severe burns but did fly again in the F8s.
88. Jim Weaver: VFP 62 from 1962- 65 MED cruise DET 65 in 1963 and MED cruise DET 59 IN 64. Was a 2nd class metalsmith; always on the flight deck or flight line. Loved to work on F8s. Loved detachment cruising. All the guys were great people. Always had a ball at DET parties.
I would enjoy hearing from anybody that remembers me. Can’t type worth a ****, but I’ll return the mail.
[Webmaster: Unfortunately Jim is deceased. See "In Memoriam for his memorial.
89. I attended, as a guest at the USS F.D. Roosevelt reunion and found a shipmate from 1957 who told me about this web site so here I am. I arrived at NAS JAX in 1956, assigned to the metal shop in VC-62. I can remember all of those aircraft we had at that time. I made one cruise with the Cougars, came back, changed to VFP-62 (still same hanger 115), made another cruise with the Banshee, came back, "moved to Cecil Field" in the F8U-1P. (all specific dates are a blur for me).
I then transitioned to VF-174, (later designated VA-174), both still called the Hellrazors. This site has brought back so many memories thanks to Larry Moller. I retired in 1979 as an E-7 and have lived here ever since. Great weather and fishing. Hope to hear from ya all.
90. Roy Laster: Served from 67 to end of Shang cruise in 68. I was an AMH2, retired in 1991.
CWO4 USN Retired
91. Austin Hatcher: Hello, I was just surfing the web and ran across the reunion at Mobile, Alabama. I was in VFP-62 in 1963 and 64. I pulled a shakedown cruise to Gitmo on the FDR, came back to Jax and loaded onto the Shangri-la and went to the med for about 10 months.
I recognized one of our pilots, Don McCoy, he was a JG at the time and he caused me a lot of work...LOL. I was an AME-2 and he had went up practicing refueling and the drogue broke out the canopie and I had to change it out after he got back aboard. The other pilots we had were Lt. Commander Barnes, OIC, Lt. JG McBee, and Lt. JG Terry VonHalcom....Do you have a roster of names, addresses, emails to get in touch with them if I choose to ?
I enjoyed your site, there was a lot of information..
I am presently involved with a group trying to get an Old A3D-2Q that was picked up in Rota Spain and is presently sitting in Norfolk awaiting funds for transport to Mobile, Alabama. I hope we will be next to the photo gator. I think we will have a VQ-2 reunion in Mobile upon the arrival of the Old Whale.
Take care and continue the great work.
Sincerely, Austin Hatcher AME-2 VFP-62 (1963-64)
My email address is: Email address requested.
92. My name is Robert R. King ADJ 3 and I proudly served with good men in VFP-62 from Feb. 63-Apr. 66. I was 17 yrs. old entering the Navy in June of 62. I learned discipline, responsibility and teamwork. During my sea travels I witnessed how fortunate I am to be an American. I have realized that the older I get, the more I appreciate my service. Memorial Day and the playing of Taps will bring tears to my eyes. I am honored to be a part of Veterans Day in November. Today, I will take the time to thank those who are serving now.
I made two Med. cruises. In '64 I was a plane captain (A/C 916) aboard The USS Enterprise (CVAN 65). We departed from the Med. cruise and sailed around the world (Operation Sea Orbit) the first nuclear task force. I became a Shellback & a Knight in the Order of the Golden Dragon. Aboard the USS Forrestal (CVA 59) from late '65 thru April 66 I was in the J-57 engine shop and a squadron flight deck trouble shooter. I remember when a Hercules C-130 cargo plane landed and took off from the angle deck to prove that it was possible. I made two short Carrier Operations (flight qualifications) aboard the USS Roosevelt & the USS America.
Every flight deck launch and recovery was a unique experience. We wore different color jerseys and had many diversified jobs to perform. When it came time to get the job done everyone responded and trusted the other and I have never witnessed teamwork in such a professional manner.
I sincerely thank Ken Jack and all those who made this website possible.
93. I was searching for photos of the RG-8G when I found your home page, and to my surprise there was a photo I took front and center. I thought I would share a photo I have of the members of that detachment [last Shangri La det circa 1967].
Anyway, thanks for the memories. I really enjoyed finding that the Fightin’ Photos are still remembered.
I left the Navy in 1969 as a LT. Our detachment was the last VFP-62 detachment from Cecil Field, as well as the last cruise of the Shang. Midway through the cruise VFP-62 was decommissioned, and we were administratively transferred to VFP-63. All VFP-62 assets were shipped to VFP-63 soon after our deployment. A few personnel were left in place while we were still attached to VFP-62. When we returned to Cecil Field after deployment, I was sent to VC-2 in Norfolk since I had less than a year until my discharge (VFP-63 didn’t deploy anyone with less than a year, so it was cheaper to keep me on the east coast). The Shang left Jax on 15 Nov 1967 and returned in Sep 68.
[Webmaster's Note: Gary also provided a great story of his ejection while shooting photos of a Russian Bear; See RF-8 Mishaps, linked from "We Love Crusaders" Page]
94. I found this site while reminiscing about days gone by-prompted by New Years Day 2010. Great job Ken! Sorry I never met you. I thought I'd contribute my bit so here goes.
I'm 72 now and living in North Smithfield RI. I served in VFP 62 as an AT3 from early 57, right out of AT school in Millington TN, through late 59 when I was discharged as AT2. When I first arrived at VFP 62 at NAS Jax, Chief Woodson (Woody) was in charge of the radio shack (google "VFP 62 Richard T. Woodson" for a brief autobiography about this real life hero) but I was placed in night check, paying my dues, under a cantankerous Chief that I eventually learned to love but, to this day, I can't remember his name. He was later placed in charge of days when Woody retired in August, 1959 completing 30 years of active service.
After a few months learning my way around the old F9F-8P Cougars I went on a Med cruise. This was on the USS Randolph from July, 1957 - February 1958, departing from Norfolk, VA. LCDR Clark headed up the detachment with Lt Gibbs as Maintenance Officer, CPO Trzinski was our chief and my partner was AT3 George Hendershot.
While in the Med I purchased a Triumph motorcycle which was loaded onto the Randolph during a very brief stop in Gibralter. It was subsequently transferred from Norfolk to Cecil Field as "VFP 62 Photo Gear" (thank you Mr. Gibbs) When we got back to the States the squadron had moved to Cecil Field and we now had Crusaders. From our return to the States until my discharge, things were relatively un-eventful. The one thing I do remember was when our CO, CDR Shryock, approved my request to grow a mustache toward the end of my enlistment. Our division officer, Lt Lawniczak, was NOT a happy camper with this but that's the only reason I made the request.
Some of the names I remember are Larry Moller AT ( I have been in contact with Larry from info on this site), Gerry Madden AT, Ed Gagne AM (a good friend both on and off the base), Bob Franta AT (thanks for some good meals), yeoman Peewee Ryan, photomate Terry Jesk, J. J. McKenna and Lt Lawniczak. If anyone reading this remembers the name of Woody's replacement, please please contact me with the info. Perhaps I'll hear from others too.
95. Hi, I am John J. "JJ" McKenna
I was an AT in VFP-62 from 1957-1961. I made two Carib and two Med cruises with Det 33 aboard USS Intrepid CVA-11; first set with "Youngblood's Tigers" and F9F-8P Cougars, the last with "Price's Pups" and F8U-1P Crusaders.
I retired after 21 years as an AT1, worked at Edwards AFB as a Civil Service flightline avionics tech on F-111, F-15 and F-16 aircraft, finally retiring after 17 years.
97. My Name is; Donnie Kuehl (PH-3). I came from photo school to VFP-62, but was only there a short time. After boot camp at Great Lakes, I was assigned to Atlantic Fleet Mobile Photo Group, NAS, Norfolk,Va. My Leading Chief, Skinner, urged me to attend Photo A School, Pensacola, FL. I did attend and graduated, sometime in 1962. My Instructors were Musaraca (PH-1) & Wheeler (PH2) as company commanders.
I was suppose to go back to my original command, after completing school, but VFP-62 needed PH's very desparately, so, there I went to VFP-62. The Cuban Missile Crisis was developing rapidly in the pre-stage, to the actual showdown. I was assigned to work on the 8's on the flight line, under Chief Marbut. After being qualified to run cockpit checks of all systems, I worked 0200-0700 shift.
Went on multiple Carrier Quals. on different detachments. Carriers; Saratoga, Shangri La, couple of others, also. Lt. Tom Cook was OinC on one of them.
After working my shift, I was in bed, Chief Marbut sent someone to get me. I thought I had really screwed up something. However, when I walked in the line shack, he had this big grin on his face and said, "well Kuehl, you got your orders". I had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out, Chief Skinner, as he promised, got me orders back to Norfolk. I remained with this Unit, the remainder of my enlistment. 1962-1968.
I have not had any contact, with VFP personnel, except, a Yeoman, Ed Prikryl, who lives in Orlando, but is from Central Texas.
Ken, I think it is great, you writing the book with Captain Ecker! I will follow up on the website.
After seeing, recently, the movie, "Thirteen Days", I had alot of recall to the Squadron.
My finale; During my enlistment, I was on flight status and crewed on different airplanes and helicopters. Really enjoyed that. Went to the Antartic, during Operation Deepfreeze, 1964 & 65.
Upon being released from active duty, I was promised, Flight School at Pensacola and O-1 rank. However, Vietnam was going very hot, at the time, and the Navy wanted me for 10 more years, for the above consideration.
I decided to return to Waco, Texas, my home town and take my chances in the Aerospace Industry, which I did successfully.
Stay in touch, Ken and keep up the good work. We must keep these memories alive!
98. Hi : my name is Al Clayton, and I served in the Navy from Nov. 1956 to Nov. 1960. I was discharged as an E-5 parachute rigger. I was stationed with VFP-62 from 1957 to my discharge in 1960. I started at NAS Jacksonville, then we moved to Cecil Field. I was on detachment 41-60. We made the shake down on the Independence. We were called Stapps Snappers. I made a Med cruise in 1959-60 on the FDR detachment 37-60.
I have many great memories of my time in VFP-62. Al Clayton
My email address is: Email address requested.
99. Hello Ken: Great job on this web site. I was in VFP-62 from Sept. 62 to Dec. 65 and made the 63-64 Med cruise aboard the Independence. I was also flown out to replace Bennett after his accident. [Webmaster's note: Tom Bennett was killed on the flight deck. See "In Memoriam".]
I have not seen any comments or information from any on the Indy cruise members other than the skipper Al Whilhite. PH1 Bartholomew was on the cruise and he was our section leader and I was his assistant. He always managed to be on a off ship tour when we had the duty. He really worked the system.
I was an ADJ2 at the time under my adopted name of Merritt and have since changed back to my birth name Brennan. I have served with AM2 Little in 1970. He was on the Shang cruise 63.
[Webmaster's Note: Bob submitted a great story for Sea Stories Page 7]
100. Ken...The whole trip down memory lane started when a poster on one of my photo sites mentioned about using two sequential photos as pseudo stereo. I mentioned that this was a common practice in photo recon and added that I was involved with processing and sometimes printing the low-level photos of the Russian missiles in Cuba during the Cuban Crisis. Anyhow, I did a quick web search to get an image of a Photo crusader and came upon your site.
I reported to VFP-62 in early 1960. It may have been April, but I am not exactly sure of the month. I worked at Cecil Field both on the line and in Photo Material under, then Ensign Homer C. Ogles. I was disgusted and very angry and when there was a chance to work as a Photo Interpreter, I jumped at the chance.
As I mentioned earlier, I made the Med Cruise aboard Forrestal. This must have been the 1961 Med Cruise. I have been both air group personnel and ship's company on a carrier and I far-far preferred ship's company. I spent the VFP-62 1961 Med Cruise aboard Forrestal working as a PT. I was going to change my rating to PT because I disliked working on the flight line. After the Med Cruise, I got the opportunity to work at the Fleet Air Photo Lab so, I decided to stay a photomate. When I worked in FAPL, I was called "Red" Crowe.
The photomates on my Detachment were PH1 Don Mark, PH3 J.Q. MARK (no relation), a PH2 who was a Cajun (Horacio Lejune) and Jerry Horton PHAN.
Anyway, I left VFP-62 in the Spring or early summer of 1963 and reported to the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA. I was quite happy since I was doing photography and I made PH1 there. That allowed me to apply for the cinematography program at USC. In 1963, I got transferred to the Armed Forces Staff College where I worked until the Summer of 1964 when I was sent to USC. After USC I spent a long time with the PacFlt Combat Camera Group and made numerous deployments to Nam. I calculated that I did about 26 months In-Country.
From PFCCG, I went to the Navy Weapons Evaluation Facility in Albuquerque, NM where I worked until orders to USS Constellation CV-64. I worked in CVIC and after becoming the Intel Center's Leading Chief, I went down to the Photo Lab. The Photo Officer had been shit-canned and for six months or so I was the Photo Officer and OP Division Officer.
I was offered a job with initiating the TARPS program at VF-124 and was the first TARPS workcenter supervisor. I had forgotten how much I detested recon work and put in for my retirement which was going to take place in 1980.
However I got a call from the PacFlt Audio Visual Command Command Master Chief who said that they wanted me back in the Combat Camera Group. I spent another five years with CCG, making E-8.
Then, in order to stay in San Diego, I cross-trained as an Alcohol Counselor. I worked in the Counseling and Assistance center, North Island and also at the Navy Drug and Alcohol Counselors School at NAVSTA 32nd Street (this was after the Alcohol and Drug programs had combined). I made E-9 and then retired in 1989.
I had gained a couple of bachelors degrees during active duty and then grabbed a Master's Degree at San Diego State on the G.I. Bill. I worked in several non-profit agencies before I finally retired for good in 2002.
I now play with photography, work in dog rescue and travel in my motor home. A lady just asked me how much my salary was when I joined the Navy. I told her that each month I get four or five times more in retirement than I earned totally in my first year in the Navy.
Master Chief Photographer's Mate, USN, Ret