VPNAVY VP-5 Mercury Capsule Recovery
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HistoryVP-10 HistoryHistory

Circa 1969

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-10 P-3B BuNo 152749, LD-32 at China Lake dated 17 November 1969. The photo lab. description is "Harpoon Seeker Pod". Official U.S. Navy Photograph..." Contributed by Gary Verver gverver@earthlink.net [08NOV2005]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1969 "...On Patrol - Page 26 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - November 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/nov69.pdf [17SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation June 1969 "...On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - June 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/jun69.pdf [17SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation February 1969 "...On Patrol - Page 31 - Naval Aviation News - February 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/feb69.pdf [16SEP2004]

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Circa 1967

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - July 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/jul67.pdf [11SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation March 1967 "...Orions Patrol North Atlantic - Page 1, 11 to 13 - Naval Aviation News - March 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/mar67.pdf [08SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation February 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - February 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/feb67.pdf [08SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - January 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/jan67.pdf [08SEP2004]

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Circa 1966

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation October 1966 "...Safety Winners Announced - Page 2 - Naval Aviation News - October 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/oct66.pdf [07SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1966 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - July 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/jul66.pdf [06SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January 1966 "...Atlantic Air Wings On Patrol - Page 32 to 33 - Naval Aviation News - January 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/jan66.pdf [04SEP2004]

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Circa 1965

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1965 "...Selective Air Reserve - Page 26 to 27 - Naval Aviation News - July 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/jul65.pdf [01SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation May 1965 "...On Patrol With Atlantic Air Wings - Page 36 to 37 - Naval Aviation News - May 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/may65.pdf [31AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January 1965 "...On Patrol With Atlantic Air Wings - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - January 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/jan65.pdf [31AUG2004]

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Circa 1963

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-10 1963...The following history is from a publication put out at NAS Brunswick, Maine. I don't recall if this was a squadron publication or an AirWing 3 publication. The areas that are in RED were CAC-8 involvements..." Contributed by John C. Cantwell jcc_arc@hotmail.com [09OCT99]

VP Ten
22 Nov. 1963

During 1932, VP-10S operated from the USS Wright, based in the Canal Zone. In 1933, VP-10S was re-designated VP-10F to signify its transfer from a scouting force to a base force. In December 1933, VP-10F was transferred to the fleet Air Base at Pearl Harbor. This was the final step in a movement, which had begun some months earlier when the squadron picked up new planes at Norfolk, Virginia, and ferried them to San Francisco by way of Panama. At this time the squadron was under the command LCDR K. McGinnis. In January 1934, the squadron, by then compose of six P2Y-1's, made the final leg of the transfer to Pearl via a nonstop flight from San Francisco to Pearl. The flight covered a distance of 2150 nautical miles and was completed in 24 hours and 35 minutes. This accomplishment was a triumph of precision and organization, and resulted in not only the first successful seaplane flight to Honolulu, but also in the longest nonstop mass formation flight in the history of aviation.

Japan's {{Day of Infamy}} on December 7th, 1941, took a heavy toll of the Squadron's aircraft. Although, eight planes were damaged by strafing, four others were able to take off to join the search for the Japanese attacking armada of ships.

In June of 1942, the squadron played an active role in the battle of Midway. Ten's pilots were the first to spot the menacing Japanese attacking force, both on the sea and in the air.

In July 1942, the squadron went south, and played a distinguished part in the early days of the struggle for Guadalcanal, and returned to Hawaii in October. Several more tours of the South Pacific theatre occurred during the rest of the war, with detachments of squadron aircraft operating out of Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, and Iwo Jima.

On 25 January 1946, the squadron was decommissioned and remained inactive until a group of Naval Reserves formed Patrol Squadron Ten in Jacksonville, Florida, on 10 March 1951, with nine P2V aircraft. Deployments to Newfoundland and Iceland were followed by a squadron transfer in February 1952 to our present home base of Brunswick, Maine.

European deployments to bases at NAS Port Lyautey, French Morocco and Malta followed during the next two years. VP-10 returned from Halfar, Malta 15 January 1954.

In October of 1954, the squadron transferred the P2V-5's and received P2V-5F's at Burbank, California. From 9 December 1954 until 2 January 1955, the crews accomplished the transfer of 26 aircraft, while still meeting their deployment commitments.

From 1955 to 1957, VP-10 conducted two deployments to Argentia, Newfoundland, and made the annual two week visit to Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico, to participate in {{Operation Springboard}}, an Atlantic Fleet exercise designed to take advantage of the excellent flying weather in the Caribbean area at that time of year, for intensive crew training.

In July 1958, Patrol Squadron TEN was split into two detachments. The first detachment left for Iceland with six P2V-5F's with CDR W.W. Lape, USN, Commanding. The detachment plotted the ice coverage over the Denmark straits and visited Norway, Denmark, Holland, England, Germany and French Morocco, and was ready when the Lebanese crisis came. CDR W.T. Rapp. USN, Officer in Charge, took his men and planes to Lebanon, Greece, Libya and Malta.

After coming back from the east in November 1958, the six crews and planes left for South America in February 1959, for a good will and training tour.

On 17 August 1959, Patrol Squadron TEN received its second consecutive {{E}} award. This battle Readiness and Efficiency Award was given annually by Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and VP-10 had the distinction of being the only land based patrol squadron in the Atlantic Fleet to be selected for a battle efficiency award.

On 29 January 1960, in ceremonies conducted at the Naval Air Station, Brunswick, Maine, CDR R.A. Kimener relieved CDR R.T. Rapp as Commanding Officer of VP-10. At the change of command ceremonies the squadron was presented the Arnold J. Isbell Trophy, emblematic of excellence in ASW Warfare.

In October 1960 the squadron was completely converted to 11 P2V-f's aircraft with latest JULIE/JEZEBEL ASW equipment modifications.

In January 1961, six aircraft left for Rota, Spain and five for Iceland. Immediately upon arrival at Iceland the detachment under the command of CDR Jens B. Hansen became involved in a test of ordinance equipment, from which they received a commendation from U.S. Naval Ordinance Laboratory.

Meanwhile the Rota Detachment was ordered to the Isle deSal in the Cape Verde Islands to assist the Portuguese Government in hunting for their stolen ship, the {{Santa Maria}}, on the 27th of January. Letters of Commendation for its part in the Santa Maria incident were received from the U.S. Attaché, Lisbon, Portugal and from the Chief of Staff of the Portuguese Air Force.

In February 1961 CDR T.J. Brady relieved CDR R.A. Kimener as Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron Ten. At Iceland the Detachment became involved in a special mission from which LCDR W. A. Kimball received the following commendation:

Forwarded through CINCLANTFLT: {{you were assigned a special mission which involved considerable hazards and required a high degree of professionalism for its accomplishment. The manner in which you conducted your assigned task displayed the utmost in courage, tenacity, and flying ability. Your outstanding performance has enhanced considerably the stature of the patrol arm of Naval Aviation

In March 1961, while the Iceland Detachment was busy with the surveillance of units of the Soviet surface and undersea Navy, CDR T.J. Brady led his {{Bongo Boys}} south and 4300 miles and 40 hours later had passed through Dakar, Senegal; Robertsfield, Liberia and arrived in Luanda, Angola. This special mission under the control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lasted for two weeks. At Angola relations became strained with the colonists due to actions which occurred in the United Nations, and an outbreak of native uprisings, and as a result, the Detachment was forced to leave.

In the South, the squadron constantly sent detachments to Sigonella, Sicily to assist the Sixth Fleet and to conduct mining operations for the Italians. In May 1961, four aircraft were sent to Athens to participate in anti-submarine exercises.

The squadron returned to Brunswick in June 1961. During the deployment, which sent aircraft as far North as 71N, and as far South as 14S, over 44 different airfields greeted VP-10 aircraft.

The month of November 1961 brought a deep tragedy to the squadron. While flying an Ant-Submarine flight on the night of 7 November, one of the squadron aircraft crashed into the ocean and all eleven persons were lost. It was the first accident in the squadron since the fall of 1957.

Ten's five-month deployment to Argentia, Newfoundland began on 7 April 1962. A six-plane detachment was kept in Argentia at all times, the remainder of the squadron staying in Brunswick - five planes and approximately half the personnel.

In April the squadron was involved in Operation Tirec, an evaluation of the Tiros weather satellite, accomplished through the comparison of photographs taken from the satellite and Patron Ten P2V's.

Also beginning in April and continuing throughout the deployment. Det. Seventeen flew hundreds of hours of ice reconnaissance. Observers from the International Ice Patrol and the Navy Hydrographic Office flew with the crews charting icebergs and ice packs. The patrols consisted of both routine flights along the coast from Argentia and week long extended flights to Sondestrom, Greenland; Thule, Greenland; Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territory; and Goose Bay, Labrador.

Arctic operations became second nature in July and August, as rotating crews were stationed at Thule for ice reconnaissance purposes. Two crews under the command of LT R.V. Mowery and LT A.B. Snively on August 18 1962, flew over the North Pole, the first such flights recorded in Patron 10 history.

In November 1962, Patron Ten took an active part in the Cuban Crisis, flying surveillance patrols out of Brunswick, with a four-plane detachment in Lajes, Azores.

In December 1962, and again June 1963 Patron Ten sent 3 plane detachments back to Argentia for 2 and 3 months respectively to fly ASW Surveillance patrols, and ice reconnaissance patrols.

On 28 January 1963, in ceremonies conducted at the Naval Air Station, Brunswick, Maine, CDR Earl Luka, USN relieved CDR Jens B. Hansen, USN, as Commanding Officer. At the same ceremony CDR Donald G. Gately became Ten's Executive Officer.

[The above information has been copied from NAFacts dated 22 Nov. 1963. Crew 8 of VP-10 was involved with many of the operations mentioned]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-10 History VP-10 History "...At Sea For Sub Victims by Harry G. Shulman District Correspondent...IN A NAVY PLANE OVER THE ATLANTIC--On the surface of the ocean five Navy vessels steamed in a straight line toward the buoy marking the spot where the Thresher is believed to have sunk. Overhead three Navy planes were circling waiting for the Neptune patrol plane to drop the wreath...A hatch opened, the white wreath left the Neptune and drifted down, landing not far from the buoy...Aboard the USS Warrington they began firing a 21 gun salute in tribute to the 120 who went down with the Thresher...It was all over in a matter of minutes, but the planes had been circling nearly two hours waiting until just before sunset for the wreath to be dropped...The ceremony probably lasted no longer than did the men aboard the Thresher as she plunged to her final reesting place 8,400 feet below the surface...THE WREATH was dropped from a P2V7 Neptune attahced to Patrol Squadron 10 based at NAS Brunswick, Maine. commanding officer Earl Luka was at the controls having been selected by Capt. William Davies, commander of Fleet Air Wing Three in the honor. It was Patrol Squadron 10 aircraft diverted from a routine shipping patrol last Wednesday which was first over the ocean the morning the Thresher was lost...FAW PLANES FLY FIRST AND LAST PATROLS OVER LOST SUBMARINE...Beginning with the first search and resuce launch of the Patrol Squadron Ten ASW ready duty aircraft and the diversion of another VP-10 plane from a routine shipping surveillance patrol, Fleet Air Wing Three squadrons, VP-10, VP-23 and VP-26 played a major role in the search for the missing nuclear submarine Thresher...At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, seven hours after the submarine went down, a VP-10 plane spotted the oil slick about which the search was immediately centered...Skylark and Recovery the two sister ships with the Thresher at the time of the fatal dive, were directed to the area...Three other aircraft from VP-10 and VP-23 soon arrived and a three day search of the four quadrants boudning the oil slick was begun...VP-26 joined the search on the second day as the Skylark continued sweeps across the area..." Contributed by Luka, Earl, Cdr USN (Ret) eluka@charter.net via R. P. Price pandgprice@mindspring.com [05MAR99]

Circa 1962

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...24OCT62 - 30NOV62...Cuban Missle Crisis - All received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal..." WebSite: USS Spiegel Grove! http://www.kevinflatley.com/supplement.htm [23OCT2006]

Patrol Squadron 5 (VP-5)
24 October - 31 December 1962

Patrol Squadron 7 (VP-7)
24 October - 31 December 1962

Patrol Squadron 8 (VP-8)
24 October - 31 December 1962

Patrol Squadron 10 (VP-10)
24 October - 31 December 1962

Patrol Squadron 11 (VP-11)
24 October - 31 December 1962

Patrol Squadron 18 (VP-18)
24 October - 31 December 1962

Patrol Squadron 18 (VP-18) Det. 6
24 October - 31 December 1962

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Squadron Awards..." Contributed by Mahlon K. Miller mkwsmiller@cox.net [23APR2001]

  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
    24 Oct 62 - 31 Dec 62

  • Armed Forces Service Medal
    24 Jul 94 - 24 Jan 95

  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award
    5 Aug 90 - 12 Oct 90
    10 May 91 - 09 Nov 91
    01 Jan 97 - 31 Dec 97

  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
    28 Jun 68 - 28 Jul 68
    08 Apr 70 - 15 Apr 70
    30 Jul 73 - 09 Jan 74
    29 Mar 76 - 30 Apr 76
    09 Aug 78 - 08 Feb 79
    30 Jul 81 - 26 Jan 82
    05 Apr 84 - 12 Sep 84
    09 Dec 86 - 09 Jun 87

  • Navy "E" Ribbon (Battle "E")
    01 Jan 99 - 31 Dec 99

  • Navy Unit Commendation
    15 Nov 67 - 02 Jul 68
    15 Sep 82 - 10 May 83
    24 Jul 94 - 24 Jan 95

    VP-10 (31 TAD)
  • Humanitarian Service Medal
    01 Jan 80 - 15 Jan 80

    VP-10 Det GTMO Cuba
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
    18 Sep 78 - 23 Sep 78

    VP-10 Det Panama
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
    18 Sep 78 - 30 Sep 78

    VP-10 Participating Aircrew
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
    23 Oct 83 - 21 Nov 83
    01 Jul 94 - 30 Sep 94

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...SPRINGBOARD 1962 - THE SAGA OF CREW 13 of VP-10..." Contributed by Earl Luka, CDR USN (Ret) eluka@charter.net via CAPT Jens B Hansen USN (Ret) [06MAY99]


    This story begins and ends in Brunswick, Maine during the winter of 1962. Every winter it gets rather cold and snowbound in Brunswick so you can imagine how nice it was to be able to get away from all the snow and ice and deploy to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. I do not remember but I believe we usually stayed therefor one or two weeks. The primary reason for this deployment was squadron training. In the warm waters of the Caribbean our detection systems operated at their peak efficiency. And COMSUBLANT made some of his submarines available and they were able to get a great deal of training in trying to evade detection by aircraft.

    You old P2V and P-3 drivers will have to bear with me now while I attempt to make this tale a little more meaningful to the non aviators who might read this. A typical Patrol Plane (VP) Squadron had a complement of 300 to 350 enlisted men and 50 officers, There were 15 aircraft assigned, 12 of which were in an operational (active)status and the other three aircraft were kept in an inactive or pool status to be available when needed.

    A typical flight crew would have 3 or 4 officers: Patrol Plane Commander; Copilot; Tactical Coordinator/Navigator And in the crews of the CO, XO, OPS Officer there was usually a second PPC assigned who was qualified to take the aircraft and crew out in the event the senior officer was busy and could not make the flight. And the enlisted crew had 5 to 7 men: Plane Captain, Ordinanceman, Avionics Technician, Radio Operator, Flight Orderly, and Second Mech.

    You must be aware of the importance of being assigned to a flight crew...

    Being in a flight crew status meant flight skins and extra hazardous duty flight pay. No fly means a smaller paycheck come payday. In order to reward some of your more senior petty officers whose talents could be more effectively used in their shops training young recruits / airmen, a Crew 13 was formed that was made up of these senior Petty officers. It so happened that the PPC assigned to Crew 13 was LT. Les Breeding, the CO's copilot, and that brings us to what this tale is all about.

    One of the tasks the flight crews had to accomplish during our deployment to Puerto Rico was to conduct their competitive exercises. All crews had to fly the same exercises with a non squadron observer aboard the aircraft. His job was to observe and grade each exercise. As I recall , there were 6 to 10 exercises to be flown. And of course naval aviators are not known for hiding their talents under a bushel basket, so it was a natural thing for LT. Breeding to tell Swede Hansen, his CO, that crew 13 was going to beat the Skippers' Crew 1. Now Swede being a bona fide naval aviator said "No way can you beat Crew 1. I will bet you my aircraft LD 1 on it." So the gauntlet was thrown by Crew 1 and accepted by Crew 13. The bet was on.

    You'll never guess what happened, or have you already heard the outcome of this story. You guessed right if you picked Crew 13 as the winner of the bet. But wait just a minute, this is not the end of this tale. We had completed a very successful Springboard Deployment and on the last afternoon we were there we had an All Hands Picnic. Along with the hot dogs and hamburgers there was an ample supply of beer. And plenty of people to help drink it.

    Late that afternoon while standing around with a group of the aircrewmen, the subject of the Skipper's bet with Crew 13 came up. And old what's his face, me, had a brilliant idea.. I very casually said " I'll bet the skipper would be very surprised if he found LD 13 on the flight line in place of LD 1, his aircraft." Several of the petty officers gave me a knowing nod and said they would take care of it.

    Our departure the next morning was scheduled to be at first light. It was a long flight home and we were anxious to see our families. It was still dark when Swede and I approached the flight line. I can still see the headlights of our vehicle as the as they illuminated the nose of LD 1. Yes, there it was, a very large 3 had been painted after the LD 1 making it now read LD13. But somehow, this good idea of mine went astray. Not only LD 1 got a new number. Just about every other aircraft on the flight line was stricken by the painters' brush. It was a simple matter to turn the painted VP-10 into VR 10. It only took one little swipe of the brush, and P became an R. We had VFs, VRs, etc, etc. all over the place. I bet you do not know how good white sidewall tires look on a P2V main mount- I do and they also look OK on the nose wheel tire.

    Needless to say, Swede was a little perturbed. Well maybe more than a little - a whole heck of a lot more. I did not think that it would be very smart to tell him of my little brain child at this time. In other words I did not have the guts to tell him at that moment. He might have slit my throat with his survival knife.

    We made the flight back to NAS Brunswick, Maine and the extra paint did not slow us down very much -- until we got back on the deck at Brunswick. Everyone was anxious to get home to their families but there was no liberty until all of that beautiful hand painted art work was eradicated and the proper numerals were back in place. It was after 2200 hours when I got home that night.

    It is difficult to believe that this fiasco occurred over 36 years ago and just this month I received an E Mail from a retired E 9 who asked if we were still looking for those painters of years gone by. And I quote him " I know who did it but I will never tell". IT IS HARD TO BE HUMBLE WHEN YOU ARE A TEN. GO RED LANCERS. Submitted by Earl Luka, CDR USN (Ret) eluka@charter.net via CAPT Jens B Hansen USN (Ret) [06MAY99]

    Circa 1961

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Crew Five Earns Its Flight Pay - By Steve Bond Bond@utech.net..."

    March, 1999
    VP Crew 5

    Patrol Squadron Ten's Crew Five members showed up at their aircraft about 0600 on the black morning of Wednesday, January 11, 1961 for their first operational flight out of Keflavik, Iceland. Takeoff was scheduled for 0800 and at least two hours were required to get the aircraft ready, plan and file the flight plan, struggle into exposure suits, accomplish the pilots' preflight, and complete the crew briefing.

    "Wafer Five" -- our aircraft's call sign -- was to fly in support of the International Ice Patrol, which had been established after the loss of the Titanic. We were to chart the ice conditions between Iceland and Greenland. Additionally, we were to chart any maritime surface traffic and -- locate any submarines that couldn't keep from exposing themselves.

    Finally we and the aircraft were ready. We wanted to begin our takeoff roll at 0800 sharp, so at about 0740 Chuck Footit cranked the big reciprocating Wright R-3350 engines: the port first and then the starboard engine, switching on each's magneto and flicking its primer, the propeller turning ever so slowly until the aircraft bucked and a sudden blast announced the firing of cylinders and then the prop spun faster and faster until it became a blur and the engine's roar steadied. He warmed them up while Pilot in Command Don Fiene and I strapped in and readied the cockpit. This was our first flight from Iceland and Don had decided to take the left seat, meaning he would be making the takeoff and probably the approach and landing nine or ten hours later. I called for taxi clearance from the tower and got it immediately because airfield traffic was nil. Don gave the hand signal to the taxi signalman to remove the wheel chocks and then advanced the throttles. The heavy aircraft moved slowly but smoothly from its rest, wings bending up and down with the weight of the fuel they contained. I tracked Don on the taxiway because I wanted to make sure that he didn't get lost as he had during a stopover in Keflavik (and the 'O' Club) in 1960. I copied our flight clearance which was simply "Cleared as filed, operational below two thousand feet." Within five minutes we reached the engine runup and checkout area where we satisfied ourselves that the crew, aircraft and its systems were ready to go. We taxied on to the runway and the tower cleared us for takeoff. Footit left the flight deck to take his ditching station aft.

    "In case of an abort I'll handle the recips and you dump the jets," Don commanded and, receiving my acknowledgment, he released the brakes and opened the throttles past the field barometric manifold pressure he had set as I pushed the jet engines up to 100 percent. The Lockheed P2V-5F Neptune began lumbering down the runway, gaining speed, the airspeed indicator needle coming off the stop, wiggling, then steadying at sixty, then seventy, increasing and passing ninety and responding to up elevator with softer and softer bounces from the main gear struts then finally lifting off with less than a thousand feet of runway to spare. Don flicked the landing gear lever up and began a gradual climbing left turn to the west over the sea, immediately flying on instruments as the night was as black as the interior of a coal bucket. We were under an overcast so we hadn't even a star for illumination. Don ordered "Climb power. Flaps up."

    "Ah, Flight, take up a heading of two seven zero," Navigator John Nolan called on the ICS. Don rolled the wings level just at 270 degrees and as we approached 2,000 feet told me to dump the jets and began reducing power to level at that altitude. Footit set maximum range power and with a careful hand leaned the mixture setting of both engines. Don trimmed the aircraft, turned on and engaged the autopilot. He and I began our methodical scans of the flight and engine instruments illuminated by the red lights in the instrument panel cutouts.

    "'Out' report sent."

    "Roger, Radio. Thank you."

    The drone of the engines was punctuated from time to time by the crinkling of a snow shower bouncing off the aircraft's skin. After a few minutes Nolan called again "Ah, Flight, Nav. Come right to two eight five degrees. Looks like we've got a wind from the northwest of about forty five knots." We were headed for Angmagssalik on the southeast coast of Greenland. AG1 Hester, the ice expert from the Hydrographic Office, wanted to proceed northeast up the coast from there to mark the location of the beginning of the pack ice as well as any other features that could be detected by radar. He was huddled with Radar Operator Steele in order to show him on the radar scope how the various ice formations appeared. Our planned track was to take us up the coast to Scoresby Sound, some 400 miles due north of Keflavik, and thence back to base about nine hours after takeoff.

    Thirty minutes or so after we had settled into our cruise towards Greenland Third Pilot George Allender came forward and relieved Footit in the jump seat between the pilot's and copilot's seats on the flight deck. He liked to spend time there helping his airplane-driving buddies when he wasn't busy back in the "tube," as the area just aft of the flight deck was known.

    "Damn, it's blacker'n the ace of spades up here, Pappy," he said.

    "Get used to it, George," Don replied. "We'll be the best bi-god instrument pilots going after this deployment."

    "Yeah, well at least we can look forward to longer and longer days. Yesterday I saw a gray smudge on the southern horizon for nearly an hour," I said.

    Ordnanceman George Lacey sent three cups of black coffee up to Don, George and me.

    We were reluctant to drink very much coffee because taking a leak out of an exposure suit, hereinafter called more appropriately and by custom a "poopy suit," was a real pain, sometimes literally so, especially if you put it off and were desperately trying to reach your plumbing before it was too late. Then you had to hold the funnel of the relief tube in your other hand at the same time. Relieving oneself required practice to stay dainty, and in rough air could be quite comical as long as somebody else was doing it.

    A poopy suit was a unified garment with boots glued to the legs. Its purpose was to keep the wearer alive and mobile in freezing water long enough to clamor into the large life raft we carried, the theory being that we would ditch the aircraft -- a water landing, even at night -- instead of bailing out in an extreme emergency, and that moreover somebody could find and pull the T-handle on the side of the floating fuselage to pop out the life raft.

    The poopy suit wearer removed his flight boots and donned it by stepping through a diagonal slit across the suit's chest, ducking and extruding his head up through the neck seal boot. The chest opening was guarded by about a foot and a half of dangling rubber that had to be wound up on a metal strip and then zipped within the suit to make, hopefully, a watertight seal. The lower zipper was of similar design, though smaller, and of course some of the crewmen could be heard complaining that it was too small, etc., etc. The neck boot was constricting and particularly uncomfortable for men with scratchy whiskers or tender skin. Consequently most of us carried aluminum rings in the suit's shin pockets that we snapped around our necks and then folded the first few inches of the neck boot around. You could feel your body heat rising from the gap around the neck. Poopy suits took some getting used to.

    Events during the leg from Iceland to Greenland were routine, even for a first flight in the area. There really wasn't much to do except to try to identify the rare surface targets that our radar operator found. Finally the coast of Greenland appeared on the scope and we soon altered our course to fly parallel to it.

    "Radar - keep me at least two miles from any land," Don ordered. We were still coal-bucketing it. There were no lights on the Greenland coast or its offshore islands that we could see.

    Hester was a big man, a veteran of ice patrol flights, who calmly and thoroughly marked ice data on his charts while studying the radar or, when the days grew longer, peering out of the aircraft's nose. He impressed us because he could pronounce all those unpronounceable Greenland and Iceland names on the charts. He would whip out "Okay, that's Narsarsuaq dead ahead," and Don or George or I would look at each other and ask "What'd he say?"

    Now he began to see the telltale ice images on the radar scope, marking them and making his notes and telling Steele things he needed to know. Occasionally Hester would tell us on the ICS about some ice feature that we were approaching. We learned about pack ice and "bergey bits" and other ice arcana.

    So we zigged and zagged thus in the blackness for about four hours, diligently managing our fuel, until we reached the point near Scoresby Sound at which we began our return leg.

    "I remember nothing extraordinary except the tail winds from Greenland to Keflavik. Our ground speed was about 220 knots all the way home." -- Don Fiene

    "At Keflavik winds gusting to fifty knots from a direction other than the alignment of the Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) unit made a radar approach out of the question so I requested the published radio beacon approach. I remember crossing the field looking down and seeing the intersection of the duty and off duty runways. I proceeded on the outbound leg from the beacon, did the 90-degree then 270-degree maneuver to return on the reciprocal course toward the runway, and saw not a light -- not even a glow!" -- Don Fiene

    I used to opine that Keflavik had a resident snowstorm that circled the field constantly during the winter months, but left the airport area with reasonable visual conditions. Apparently with its own mind it had decided it was time to show us airplane drivers who was really in charge of things in Iceland. Just as we settled on our inbound course it moved over the field and the lights I had been watching that had been so bright now became dimmer and dimmer until every one just faded to black.

    "Wafer Five - be advised that field conditions are zero-zero," Approach Control radioed.

    "I'm going to my alternate!" Don announced and broke off the approach, turning to the southeast. "Nav - give me a heading to Prestwick as soon as you can!"

    We began talking on three different radio systems to make the changes required: I to Approach Control on UHF, George to overseas airways on HF and John Nolan to our Squadron Duty Office on its VHF system. We had discovered earlier during the flight that we had forgotten our own forms -- "fuel chits" -- that were required to buy fuel away from home base. Keith Johnson, the Squadron Duty Officer rousted out our Supply Officer, Russ Mowery, who hurriedly dug up numbers for us to copy for use at our alternate airport.

    Clearances and chit numbers received, we fine-tuned our course to Prestwick, some 600 miles distant over the stormy North Atlantic. We calculated and recalculated our fuel and determined that we should make it with a slight reserve. No longer on a tactical clearance we became "Navy 131435."

    After we settled down Don unstrapped and said he was going to take a break back aft. George came forward to the pilot's left seat.

    One of my duties as copilot was to back up the Plane Captain in monitoring the engine instruments. Our aircraft had had two new engines installed in our home port of Brunswick, Maine a couple of months before we deployed, and Don had initiated a policy of handling them firmly but politely with kid gloves. I took pride in managing and monitoring them, always with the advice and consent of Plane Captain Footit. During cruise we ran them at 10% lean, and I thought I was pretty good at going through the steps required to achieve that condition. As the aircraft grew lighter we periodically reduced the engines' settings to keep them at maximum range.

    George was in the left seat, flying the aircraft on autopilot. John Nolan was refining our track and estimates to Prestwick, and Don had found a little comfort stretched out on the wing beam's steel mattress. I scanned the engine and flight instruments, backing up George too.

    Rapid movement of a normally steady engine gauge was like a red flag. Catching the visible rise of the starboard engine oil temperature, I said something professional like "Holy shit!" I tried opening the engine's oil cooler door to increase the cooling air flow, but the temperature continued to climb.

    "George, I'm reducing power on the starboard engine!"

    As I retarded the throttle George took the aircraft off autopilot and applied left rudder and then trim to counteract the yaw.

    "What's the matter?"

    "Oil temp's passing 100 degrees! Footit, tell Lieutenant Fiene to come to the flight deck!"

    We understood that engine oil heated to greater than 110 degrees had the lubricating properties of water. A seized engine would have surely put us into the North Atlantic.

    "I remember putting George in the left seat and going aft to the wing spar for a rest. The next thing I remember was waking up to some activity on the flight deck. Radar operator Steele was looking at the scope and acted very, very excited! I asked what was wrong; his reply was something to the effect 'WE NEED A PLACE TO LAND RIGHT NOW!' I went forward and was told by Steve the right oil cooler door had closed and would not open. Relieving George and fighting waves of panic, I turned off the propeller sync, further reduced power on the right engine and brought the left to maximum single-engine range. The oil temperature . . . continued to rise and sure enough the pressure started to fall. After what seemed to to be a lifetime the temperature started to fall and the pressure began to climb." -- Don Fiene

    Don, Yarberry and I hurriedly discussed our options. There were compelling reasons not to shut down the engine: It drove our only AC generator that supplied electrical energy to both the radar and TACAN, and we needed both of those systems for navigation and to avoid the mountains of Scotland. Moreover, we didn't relish the idea of flying on just one fan; lighting off the starboard J-34 jet engine was out of the question because it was a fuel gulper at our low altitude.

    The oil temperature finally stabilized at about 102 degrees. We checked and rechecked our fuel situation to convince ourselves that the power configurations of the two engines, while less fuel efficient than normal two-engine maximum range settings, would still get us to Prestwick. We declared an emergency and were very slightly relieved to learn that direction finding systems could estimate our position within tens of square miles. I couldn't keep my eyes off the oil temperature gauge.

    The aircraft became lighter and lighter as our 115/145 octane aviation fuel was consumed. Don held our airspeed relatively constant, which caused the aircraft to gain altitude very slowly as its fuel weight diminished.

    "The next problem was to get over the hills around Prestwick. The minimum altitude over that part of Scotland was between four and five thousand feet and we were at fifteen hundred feet. We didn't have enough fuel to fire off the jets so we began a long slow climb at 25 to 50 feet per minute. I have often wondered about the decision but it worked. While all of this was going on we declared an emergency and the HF/DF (High Frequency Direction Finding) was tracking us. Search and Rescue was on standby; however if we went down the chance of rescue was slim at best." -- Don Fiene

    Finally Steele reported in his high-decibel voice "I HAVE LAND ON THE RADAR." He and John Nolan quickly refined our position and we made a slight course alteration towards Prestwick.

    The low fuel lights on the center fuel tanks had been burning brightly for an hour by now. We had pumped them dry into the main fuel tanks even though it was not recommended because of possible contamination. Now the low fuel lights on the main fuel tanks began to blink on erratically. That gets your attention.

    Our TACAN needle suddenly stiffened, pointing just off the nose towards Prestwick and reading a range of about 50 miles. Shortly thereafter I was able to talk to Prestwick Approach Control on the UHF radio. In addition to telling us that crash vehicles were standing by, the controller gave us an altimeter setting which showed that we were actually about 500 feet higher than our altimeters indicated. A gift.

    "We were at the minimum altitude when Steve contacted Prestwick Approach for landing and they advised we had a choice of two runways. A downwind leg was required for the longer runway or a short dog leg to the shorter runway - our choice. We took the short one simply because it was closer and approach control then followed with a weather observation of a 500-foot ceiling and visibility of one mile ... a piece of cake for us. Steve then got GCA on the radio and as we turned on final toward the runway the controller updated the present weather: ceiling obscured, less than one-eighth mile in light rain and fog! Our little piece of gateau had just turned into a pile of merde! He then gave the missed approach procedures at which time Steve said something to the effect we didn't have the fuel for a wave off." -- Don Fiene

    Finally in the vicinity of the Prestwick Airport, we began maneuvering for the least time consuming approach we could make. During one leg the Scot GCA controller instructed "Nivvy Four-Three-Five. Your missed approach procedure follows. IN the event of a go-around, climb immediately to two thousand feet and turn left to a heading of one haite zed degrees." I responded "GCA, we don't have enough fuel for a go-around." A moment of silence, then: "Rah-GHA. Um - you are now intercepting the final approach course. Turn right to a heading of two-seven-zed degrees. Your undercarriage SHOULD be down at this time ..."

    "As we were descending through 450 feet Steve said in a very loud but controlled voice 'RUNWAY DEAD AHEAD!' The landing was the hardest landing I have ever been in, including carrier landings as the copilot of a COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) in the Western Pacific 15 years later. As we crossed over the approach lights there was very little doubt in my mind we were going to stay on the ground. I closed the throttles, pulled the yoke into my chest and ran the varicam to the full nose-up position. The aircraft was shuddering and shaking and falling to the runway -- the last airspeed I remember was below 80 knots. When we hit the ground the struts bottomed out, the generators dropped off line and then, quickly and blessedly we rolled to a stop." -- Don Fiene

    What a sweet sight those runway lights were! I knew Don had been worrying and sweating his butt off to save all of ours, and I remember thinking that the best way I could ease the pressure a little was to make damned sure that he knew we were going to make it. So, yes, I told him as clearly as I knew how that he had succeeded: 'RUNWAY DEAD AHEAD!'

    Indeed the landing was a hemorrhoid-producer, but who cared? An honor guard of a half-dozen emergency vehicles screamed after us down the runway.

    We taxied towards the airport parking area ("on fumes"), the crew members whooping and hollering behind the flight deck. I clapped Don on the shoulder to congratulate him, and he returned one of his grins, the first one I'd seen before we started the engines 13 hours earlier.

    Have you ever heard of people kissing the ground -- other than the Pope? I had, but I always thought it was just B.S. I learned it wasn't at the end of that flight. Several crew members got down on their knees and kissed the tarmac. Footit dipped our fuel tanks and measured the total fuel remaining as 75 gallons, or about 20 gallons of usable fuel.

    "As for the fuel state ... I recall we had approximately 15 to 17 gallons in each center tank that could not be transferred due to the location of the transfer/boost pumps in the fuel cell, but could be dipped with the fuel quantity stick, and less than 20 gallons in each main tank. As for the starboard tip tank, there was always just enough fuel to wet the tip of the dip stick and yet not transfer due to the searchlight installation. The fuel dip stick confirmed that we did not have fuel for a missed approach. Oh yes I remember that flight very well, that's the first time that I experienced the 'pucker factor'." - ADR2 Al Yarberry, Second Mechanic

    Truly we had fuel for that one attempt only.

    The cause of the overheating problem? A dirty oil cooler door actuator drive. For want of a nail ...

    When we four officers finally reached the BOQ, even in our dead tired state we noted a rowdy party going on in the adjacent officers' club. We were barred from inviting ourselves because poopy suits were unacceptable dress. The duty officer took pity on us, however, and supplied us with a 40-ounce bottle (a "Forty-pounder") of some excellent -- what else? -- Scotch whisky - that's booze without the "e." The club followed up with steaks, delivered by a wee Scottish lassie named Avril, so we really had nothing to complain about Scottish and USAF hospitality. We never really understood why Don threw the empty Scotch bottle out the window and onto the greenhouse roof.

    "When Avril came to get the empty trays I was still awake and she looked at you and Don and John asleep and said 'sure and now they look like angels!'" -- George Allender

    "Every aviator has at least one flight they will never forget! Drunk or sober that flight is one I will always remember." -- Don Fiene

    "It was truly a helluva flight that should be recorded in the annals of maritime patrol lore and I'm proud to have been on that flight with you guys!" -- George Allender

    In these days of walking pharmacies and too-often surgical fields I look back and think: Did we do that? Did I do that? Would I do it again?

    Yes, I suppose I would. But not for very long.

    Indeed, Crew Five earned its flight pay that long day.

    Lt. Don Fiene, Patrol Plane Commander
    Ltjg. Steve Bond, Copilot
    Ltjg. George Allender, Third Pilot
    Ens. John Nolan, Navigator and Tactical Coordinator
    AMS2 Chuck Footit, Plane Captain
    ADR2 Al Yarberry, Second Mechanic/MAD Operator
    AT2 Steele, First Technician/Radar Operator
    AT3 Lincoln, Second Technician/Jezebel and Julie Operator
    AE2 Putt King, Electronic Countermeasures Operator
    AN Jerry Fortenberry, Radio Operator
    AO2 George Lacey, Ordnanceman
    Hydrographic Office Observer: AG1 Hester



    Patrol Squadron Ten Detachment Iceland, 1961

    Here is a partial list of the members of the detachment.

    CDR Jens B. "Swede" Hansen, LCDR John Zent, LCDR Dan Riley, LT Don McVay, LT Bill Kimball, LT Don Fiene, LT Les Breeding, LTJG H.W. "Red" Adams, LTJG Mike Murphy, LTJG Steve Bond, LTJG George Allender, LTJG Russ Mowery, LTJG Bruce Bartels, LTJG Bill Williams, LTJG Bill Caspari, LTJG Bob Miller, LTJG Jim Boling, ENS John Nolan, ENS Keith "Booze" Johnson, ENS John Landry, ENS Carl Van Hyning, AEC Hazard, AMS2 Footit, AD2 Yarberry, AE2 King, AT2 Steele, AO2 George Lacy, AD2 Shaw, AT2 Lincoln, AN Fortenberry

    Lockheed P2V-5F Neptune

    Our aircraft were Lockheed model P2V-5F Neptunes. The original airframe had been designed in the 1940s and had been modified and upgraded over the years with mission creep and improvements in power plants and sensor systems. It was classified as a four-engine aircraft even though the two Westinghouse J-34 jet engines looked like an afterthought as they hung on their wing pods. The main power plant was two reciprocating Wright R-3350 18-cylinder engines that developed 3,250 horsepower each. They (and the two J-34s during takeoff) could lift the P2V at a maximum weight of 72,000 pounds and cruise it at 180 knots for about 3,000 miles. On paper it could climb to 26,000 feet but we never checked that out. Nearly all of our operations over water out of Iceland were flown from 2,000 feet down to about 50 feet. At very low altitudes you could see the twin trails of the prop wash on the ocean's surface.

    The P2V was stable and forgiving. It would tell you with its creaks, moans and groans when it didn't like the airspeed and/or attitude you were imposing on it. You could make it go at about 300 knots, but I don't remember ever vibrating through the sky much faster than 270. On a bombing run with the bay doors open it really let you know how fast you were going. Nose heavy, it required a special control device during slow speeds on the horizontal stabilizer call a "varicam," shorthand for "variable camber," like a super elevator.

    Crew Five

    Most of the January, 1961 members of Crew Five had spent six weeks the previous summer training with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy at Her Majesty's Ship Sea Eagle in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

    We had stopped in Iceland for rest and fuel en route to the U.K. Don and George and I went to the 'O' Club for dinner and drinks. After dinner we agreed that we'd go to the BOQ when it got dark outside. Some time later I looked at my watch and said "It's three in the morning!" Of course it was still light outside. We retreated to the BOQ for a brief sleep.

    A few hours later, feeling and probably looking like death warmed over, we started engines and began taxiing, only to get lost on the airfield. I remember taking a bearing from the VOR to try to figure out where we were. We finally found the active runway and made a successful, if a little sickening, takeoff. As we climbed through 1,000 feet, Don said to me "You've got it!" and clapped the oxygen mask over his face.

    Our time at HMS Sea Eagle included ground and flight training and well-lubricated social activities with some of the staff officers and their wives. These experiences molded us together even more closely as pros and comrades. All four Crew Five officers enjoyed a good sense of humor; no one took himself too seriously.

    LT Don Fiene, Patrol Plane Commander and Pilot

    Don had joined Patrol Squadron Ten in Brunswick in the Spring of 1960. George and I looked up to him because he was A Second Tour Pilot, a full lieutenant and, well, ... old. Thirty. George and John and I and the enlisted crew members respected Don. He demonstrated one of the fundamental rules of leadership: Look after your men.

    We officers played hard, too, although one of Don's claims was "You'll never see me drunk!" That was often the case, because he could hold so much more than we could that George and I had fallen into our racks before Don had consumed his customary staggering amount.

    Don had a twinkle in his eye. He knew when to relax and joke, and when to be serious.

    LTJG Steve Bond, Copilot

    I had been a member of the squadron slightly more than two years and had passed my plane commander check flight on schedule in June of 1960. Don and I together had accumulated more than 4,000 hours of pilot time. I was up for promotion to full lieutenant upon our return home.

    LTJG George Allender, Third Pilot

    George joined the squadron about a year before and was well on his way up the pilot qualifications ladder. George appeared to have his sights set. He and I were roommates in the BOQ, right next to the Party Room, which Swede had okayed for his officers.

    ENS John Nolan, Navigator

    John was a fresh-caught ensign, a Yankee, Boston University graduate. George and I thought he was pretty easy going and loose in his military bearing, but we recognized that he was a quick study and that his performance as our navigator and tactical coordinator became more and more effective as our experiences grew.

    AMS2 Chuck Footit, Plane Captain
    AD2 Al Yarberry, Second Mechanic

    I remember that Al was a dependable, hard working young man. His older brother, a chief petty officer, was also a member of Patrol Squadron Ten.

    AT2 Steele, First Technician

    Our radar operator, was a sharp crewman. When he told you something, you most likely understood it. He had a big voice on the ICS.

    AE2 "Putt" King, ECM Operator

    I always though that Petty Officer King was officer material. His eyesight may have been prohibitive, however.

    AT2 Lincoln, Julie/Jezebel Operator
    AO2 George Lacy, Ordnanceman

    George was the oldest guy on the crew -- even older than Don -- and a veteran who knew his job and how to be a team (crew) player.

    The Arctic

    The Arctic Circle is the outermost parallel circle counted from the North Pole where during the summer solstice the sun does not go below the horizon during any hour of the day or night.

    I found the Arctic to be mostly colorless, at least from the air. Everything was described in shades of gray only; you had to look very close to find colors, and you couldn't do that from the cockpit.

    We had ancillary missions to drop emergency materials by parachute to the U.S. Coast Guard station on Jan Mayen Island, a God-forsaken spot nearly 600 miles north of Keflavik. One time Bill Kimball augmented the payload with several Playboy magazines and a short supply of condoms.

    "We had classical weather system in those waters. You'd fly toward a low and the wind would be on your left wing. Then you'd reach the center and would be in the clear. You could sometimes see the wind shear on the water in a huge circle around you, like the eye of a hurricane. Then you'd fly away from the low and dammed if the wind wouldn't be on your right wing!" -- Swede Hansen


    A brief, much-used but accurate description of Iceland is that it is a land of fire and ice. Its natural features include glaciers, hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, snow-capped peaks and vast lava deserts. Apart from an expansive landscape, it also has a rich history, literature and folklore tradition. The Althing, Iceland's parliament, is the oldest parliament in the western world.

    Iceland is also noted for its beautiful women. About a thousand years ago the Vikings staged out of Iceland. One of the countries they plundered was Ireland, from which they stole Irish girls as well as booty. Many of Iceland's current beauties exhibit the best mix of Scandinavian and Irish features.

    No minorities were welcome in Iceland. The Icelanders wanted to keep their stock pure, and thus no Blacks or Filipinos were members of our detachment...Contributed by Steve Bond Bond@utech.net [21JUL99]

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-10 Detachment 13 ThumbnailCameraVP-10 Crew "...VP-10 Detachment 13 in Keflavik, Iceland, which was made up of LD-3, 4, 5, 9, and 10. We were in Iceland from January 4, 1961 to June 6, 1961..."

    Circa 1960

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...(VP-5, VP-7, VP-8, VP-10, VP-11, VP-16, VP-18, VP-21, VP-23, VP-24, VP-26, VP-44, VP-45, VP-49 and VP-56) - Naval Aeronautical Organization OPNAV NOTICE 05400 for Fiscal Year 1960 dated 1 February 1960 is: DECLASSIFIED per Office of Chief of Naval Operations on 1 February 1965 by Op-501 - Atlantic Fleet Support Stations..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/nao53-68/fy1960-feb60.pdf [13MAR2007]

    History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...(VP-7, VP-10, VP-11, VP-21, VP-23 and VP-26) - Naval Aeronautical Organization OPNAV NOTICE 05400 for Fiscal Year 1960 dated 1 February 1960 is: DECLASSIFIED per Office of Chief of Naval Operations on 1 February 1965 by Op-501 - Atlantic Fleet Support Stations..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/nao53-68/fy1960-feb60.pdf [10MAR2007]

    History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News March 1961 "...Show Min Drop Accuracy - Page 12 - Naval Aviation News - March 1961..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1961/mar61.pdf [19AUG2004]

    VP History Thumbnail

    HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "05MAR60--I joined VP-10 on March 5th 1960 and we were deployed to Rota, Spain on August 21st 1959. We non-crewmen went on a C-124 Globemaster, and returned on a C-121 Super Constellation on Jan 27, 1960. In January 1961 we deployed to Keflavik, Iceland until June of 1961. One of the duties there was to make a mail drop, by parachute, onto the island of Jan Mayen, north of Iceland. Jan Mayen is a mountain basically and the weather there was usually socked in pretty good, so very often the people at that Loran Station would have to send a boat out and retrieve the mail, since we were not fond of getting in too close to the mountain at that time. During this time we visited Oslo Norway twice, Frankfurt Germany, Copenhagen Denmark 3 times, Andoya, and Stavanger Norway, Aalborg Denmark, Prestwick Scotland, Bodo Norway, and the West Malling Airfield in London where we participated in an Air Show. We also participated in operational exercises in Key West, Florida and NS Roosevelt Roads, PR ! Rico near San Juan several times. In April of 1962 we deployed to Argentia Newfoundland for 5 months and during that time we participated in the Oceanographic Ice Patrol; making the round robin from Argentia to Sondrestron, Greenland; then to Thule Greenland; and into Kennedy Channel above Thule. We returned on the west side stopping at Frobisher Bay, on Baffin Island; and Goose Bay Labrador. During this time we plotted and tracked glaciers that were breaking up and icebergs floating down into the sea lanes. This was pretty much the basic rotation for all the VP squadrons based in Brunswick during that time..." John R. Fisher, Sr. jrfishersr@gmail.com

    "VP-10 History Summary Page"

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