Night A/B turn, tail off; note firehose in net

Updated 16 Apr. 03

[Entries 1-100; click here for entries 101-200]

RAdm. Red Best (USN, Ret), closed our 1999 Gunfighter Banquet with the following (author not known to us; anybody know?)

The pilot was everyone's hero
He was brave, he was bold, he was grand
As he stood by his by his battered airplane
With his goggles and helmet in hand.

But for each of these flying heroes
There were thousands little reknowned
And these were the men who worked on the planes
But kept their feet on the ground.

We all know the name of Lindberg, and
We've read of his flight of fame.
But think if you can of his maintenance man,
Can you remember his name?

And think of the wartime heroes
And the acclaim that they all got.
Can you tell me the names of their crew chiefs?
A thousand to one you cannot.

Now pilots are highly trained people
And wings are not easily won,
But without the work of the maintenance man,
Our pilots would march with a gun.

So when you see a powerful airplane
As it makes its way through the air,
Remember the grease-stained man with the wrench in his hand,
For he is the one who put it there.

Ladies, Gentlemen, Comarades, A toast to our departed brothers of the Crusader family, and to those special men who put us in the air.

Dedicated to the guys who kept these beautiful beasts in the air, working long hours under trying conditions. I am really impressed by notes all you maintainers have sent in. I didn't think anybody would feel "ownership" of those birds if they didn't get to play with them. It may not have been apparent at the time, but your work was appreciated. It is even more appreciated now, when we look back with the wisdom of age, and realize how much we really owe you guys. Thanks!!

Dave Johnson, VF-13 66-69; Line Division, Flight/Scheds, Safety, Paddles (but not all at the same time!)

Ever since the last F-8 was retired, we pilots have had a reunion -- an "Annual Last Crusader Ball". In addition, we are trying to create a database of all the guys who ever flew the Crusader. Several guys have suggested that maintenance types do something similar. You need two things: a few people who are willing to do all the work, and a lot of names. I will pass on all maintainer files to whoever is willing to take care of it. Meanwhile, I will do what I can when I can. -- Dave

Click here to be added to the database


I was a Plankowner in VF-202 when it was formed at NAS Dallas. At first I was pretty upset because I lost my flying status in the C-118 group but the move to the U-Birds was the best thing that could have happened to me. I finished my career as an assistant Maintenance guru to Master Chief E.D.VanEck, a super guy to work for. One of our best officers was 'Max' Gore. Had the priviledge of attending his Change Of Command ceremony. Very moving experience. We sent one of our birds to Kuwait when it looked like they might change to the F-8 from the British Lightening. Mr.Cunningham flew our plane and never had a tire change during the whole event. We were impressed with his flying and he complemented us on a well-maintained aircraft. Thanks for the opportunity to put in my 2 cents about a super plane.
E.C.'Gene' Herrmann ATN-1 USNR-R-TAR Ret

Thank you for your support of the VF-154 F-8 Era web site ( since its inception and subsequent operation. Some of you have invested considerable effort and even money in research to give the web site the appeal necessary to perform its mission: the reuniting of long-lost squadronmates of the years 1957 to 1966. A measure of success has been realized, and now several ex-squadronmates are in contact. We feel vindicated in our efforts.

As many of you know, I am the webmaster for subject site and since the first of the year have sought a replacement webmaster because of personal plans to sell our house and acreage, then travel, living in a fifth-wheel trailer with very limited access to telephone lines. Recently an enthusiastic buyer has surfaced and a sale is scheduled to close at the end of August, 2000, with possession at the end of September or thereabouts. I see no reason that this sale will not take place. This means that in a matter of weeks I will no longer be able to maintain the site, and unless someone firmly commits being the new webmaster, sadly the web site will be terminated. Some have volunteered to accept the responsibility of the site but have since failed to maintain contact, so the site's future is uncertain at best.

Once again, thank you for your contributions to the site's limited success. I would like to express particular gratitude to the following for their contributions:

Mr. Tom Ingalls for unfailing moral support, countless hours of work, an upbeat attitude and his superior and reliable maintenance of the photo album site at his own personal expense;

Mr. Al Matthews for more unfailing moral support, time, money and energies expended in squadron historical research;

Mr. Bob Dorais for yet more unfailing moral support as well as a link on his web site and a true shipmate relationship that transcends differences of age and naval era, and exemplifies the continuation of the U.S. Navy can-do/shipmate spirit handed down through Navy men of all generations;

Mr. Les Jackson, without whom some of the site's most impressive photographs would be missing;

Messrs. Rodney Gonzalez and Sam Thrasher, whose enthusiasm for the site has lifted me many times when discouragement was present;

Mr. Veryl Champine, without whose tolerance, mentoring and friendship a difficult cruise would have been much more difficult, and whose liberal contributions of fine sea stories made significant contributions to the squadron historical record;

Messrs. Bruce Boland, Errol Reilly, Hank Glindeman, Jack Finley, Nels Tanner, Dr. Robert Shumaker, Royal Cherry and Dave Johnson whose encouragement and warm friendship from incredible naval officers who are a living part of our nation's history continues to impress and humble this former one-tour enlisted man.

Finally, to all others who by their encouragement through simple contact and friendship have helped us with this work, you are greatly appreciated.

To all, I hope to maintain contact, albeit sporadic, in the future and eagerly look forward to your continued friendship. May God bless you all.

Randy Kelso

Back in the late 50's and early 60's I was a young metalsmith assigned to VF-142, "The World Famous Fighting Falcons" stationed at Miramar. I spent my young life in the Nose Docks, just down from Main Ops. During those times I worked on and maintained the F8U, F8U-1; F8U-2; F8U-2N, and the F8U-2NE.

Made two cruises with the Crusaders, one on the Oriskany (West Pac) 59/60, Adm. "Jumping Joe" Clifton was Flag. and then made the "Around The Horn "cruise on the Kitty Hawk. Our squadron, VF-142, was flown from the West Coast to the East Coast to pick up the Kitty Hawk and bring her back to San Diego. Was a SIERRA HOTEL cruise.

Just to throw out a few names of the fellas during that time, the Skipper was, CDR. T.P.Dankworth; the XO was LCDR Schindler, now for some of the younger guys, LCDR Lou Sarodsy; LT L.R. (Moose) Myers; LT R.R. Loomis, and yes, LTjg Ron Evans.

I was there when Sarodsy quite flying, he was a neat pilot and person, but his eyes failed and he knew it. Did alright though, now RADM Sarosdy, USN (Ret). However, when we returned we also were one of the first squadrons on the West Coast to pick up the F4H-1. I spent the rest of my navy career in Phantom's. In 1976, I retired as the Maint. CPO of VF-11 (The Red Ripper's)


Last year, Capt. JB Dadson and I took over the Man Will Never Fly Memorial Society. You ask ? what the hell is that. TMWNFMS is a tongue in cheek org. that spoofs aviation. I mean all kinds of aviation, we're talking Orvile & Wilbur, military, civilian, if you screw up we're going to have a party and roast you. Matter of fact, we have a party every year. The date never changes, it's the l6th of Dec. the day before the alleged flight of Orville and Wilbur. We rent the entire Comfort Inn, South, Nags Head, N.Carolina. Have a catered meal, a skit to spoof aviation put on by various groups, and then ADMINS on every floor for all. Click here to go to "THE MAN WILL NEVER FLY MEMORIAL SOCIETY" website!

Jim "Frenchy" Bedeaux >>> <<<

I just came across the iron angels web site and was pleased to see photos of the officers under which I served between Mar. 1967 and Dec. 1970. I was shipboard for 2 deployments and was fortunate to be assigned to the check crew for 2 deployments. Is this web site related to the iron angels alumnus organization? I have been receiving reunion info from them but due to my work schedule I have not been able to become active with the group.

I remember George Wells as I prepped him during preflight many times when I worked the roof as a plane captain. I also contacted our old XO, Guy Cane, in Annapolis where he runs an executive jet service. Unfortunatly there are not many recognizable names on the roster. Seems that many of us of that era are not aware of the group or choose not to become recognized. I would certainly enjoy talking to someone who shared these experiences with me during those 'adventurous' times of our youth. I still have the old cruise books so I can put names to faces. It's the current whereabouts of my old shipmates that's the problem. I live in Baltimore now but back then Frank Vilics and I were known as the Cleveland Kids.

Feel free to network my address as I'd like to com with anyone who remembers me.

Best regards to all those Iron Angels out there...

Bernie Ochmann

I've been retired for twenty years as a PNCS but my experience with belonging to F8 Squadrons goes back to VU10/VC10 at GITMO from '59 to '63. I have not contributed to the maintenance of the aircraft but I still felt an important part of the overall MISSION of these Squadron's. I've tried to read all the input and I might have missed something but I would like to say that one of my old pool playing partners and mainstays of the F8 community was, to my understanding, a Master Chief John Massey who took the last F8 Squadron from Miramar to Florida in the '80's and has since passed on. He was a bigger then life individual that I was proud to know.

PNCS Larry Peacock, USN(RET),

i just discovered the gunfighters site, sure brings back some great memories, i was in vf-211, 1966-1969. a little disappointed to not see any messages from any vf-211 people from my era, we had a great sq. , and some fine skippers. cdr's marr and speer being two of the best . as a plane captain, and later as a flt. deck AT troubleshooter i remember a lot of good times, and some bad, when we lost pilots, i still work in the avionics business, at federal express, avionics line. if there are any old vf-211 guys out there, feel free to e-mail me at --

Neal T. Smith, -- ex AT-2, now working for federal express in Memphis, avionics line.

here's a little tidbit, i was recently in subic?cubi pt. on a 30 day temp assignment with fed ex, they still have an old f-8 on static display there. and, lol, you can relive in olongapo and subic city, although i'm getting a little old for that. have a great day

best rgds, neal

Thanks for the great info from a former Iron Angel (1966-1967). This is not my computer (son-in-law's). Lost my cruise book in a flood in 1985. I was a plane captain on the 200 in 1967.

Richard M. Weeks AMS 3

[Thank you for responding to my father (Richard Weeks). He was very excited that we found your website!

Since I do not live in the same state as my parents, would it be possible to send any e-mail to my sister ( She and her family live very close to my parents and could pass along any information quicker than I could.]

I had the priviledge to serve one F-8 tour with some mighty fine aircraft maintainers while attached to VFP-63. Some Like AFCM John Massey have gone on to watch for "Burners in the Sky". Others like AFCM Okie Bob Layton continue spinning "F-8 Yarns", along with "Fish Stories" at Lake Longmiere, near Pauls Valley Ok. My complete list of duty stations were; Crash Crew at Nas Miramar, 1958-60. VF-92, (F-3H) Uss Ranger 1960-61. VF-193, (F-3H) USS Bon Homme Richard 1962-63. VF-142, (F-4H Transition) USS Constellation 1964. NATTC Memphis (Instructor) 1964-68. VS-38, (S2E) USS Bennington, USS Hornet, USS Ticonderoga 1968-71. NAMTRADET Oceana (A-6), 1972-73. USS NIMITZ PRECOMMUNIT 1973-75. VS-31, (S-3A), Uss Independence, 1975-76. Fleet Reserve, 1976-79. VFP-63, (RF-8G) USS Nimitz, 1979-81. NAVAL SAFETY CENTER, 1981-85. VF-143, (F-14) USS Eisenhower 1985-87. NAVAL SAFETY CENTER, 1987-89. After retiring with 30 years, the last 18 as an AMCS, I worked at NADEP NORFOLK 1990-96 & NADEP Cherry Point 1996-97. I have been retired completely since 97.

The 1979-80 "Round the World" Cruise with VFP-63 DET 5 on USS NIMITZ & USS CORAL SEA is a memory I will always CUSS & CHERISH. It was a long tiring trip, with one stretch of 125 straight days at sea, but the Officers & men of DET 5 stood up to all challenges. Probably the single most amazing thing, was that we never removed a tail from any of our aircraft aboard ship, in the entire cruise. Two engine changes were performed at Nas Sigonella.

James D. "JD" Blair AMCS USN Retired, JBlair3427@aol

Hi' to Okie Bob, Joe Nagel, Dave Eyer & the rest of the VFP-63 crew! I still have some more of the F-8 page to browse, but haven't noticed any mention of Cdr. Donnie Cochran yet. He was a young Jg. when we made the 'round the world trip on Nimitz & Coral Sea in 79 & 80, in VFP-63's Det 5. Cdr. Cochran went on to two tours with the Blue Angels, the second tour as "Boss!'

James D. "JD" Blair AMCS USN Retired, JBlair3427@aol.

I'm GySgt A. J. Salt USMC Ret. I was in the first squadron of F-8's that the Corps established in 1957 at MCAS El Toro MAG-33 and it was VMF-334 that Gen. (then Capt. Hal Vincent brought to us the first marine F8 on the west coast. She was rolled into the large H&MS-33 hanger, the doors closed and armed guards stationed around her, she was quite a sight and I was very excited to have been selected for the squadron. I had seen the Crusader posters when I was stationed in Spokane on I&I staff and working on the old F9F-6 Cougar. From VMF-334 which was flying the F8U-1, I then went to VMF-251 who recieved some of the first F8U-1E's, right next door from 1958-59 after going to factory training at Chance-Vought in Dallas. I then went to VMCJ-3 using the F8U-1P in 1959 ( By the way we had the aircaft that John Glenn had used on his record run across the U.S., the converted fighter to photo bird) I forget the entire BuNo but it was 139--- if my memory serves me) and went to Iwakuni in 60-61 with VMCJ-1 and while there, "They" had to repair the runway so we went to Cubi Point, "hmmmmm" right after the Powers shoot down, although we did see this strange "Gooney" bird with wide wings fly out of there a few times. Our pilots were flying "Moonsuits" so this was no ordinary drill to say the least. The Crusader as you very well know was an exciting airplane......... for "Everyone" Pilots as well as the mechanics, we were very,very proud everytime one of ours would put her wheels in the well or we would watch a formation of themn break over the field. In 1964 I rejoined VMCJ-3 and left in Oct for MCAS Iwakuni "again", we weren't there to long when we went to Cubi in December of 64 for deployment and lost our Flight Line Officer Capt. Paddy Derig on the island of Mindoro. Then we were notified we would be sending 2 RF's to the USS Hancock to augment a Detachment of VFP-63, I was selected by the C.O. to take the Yankee Team as a Sgt. (E-4) on board Hancock. Our two pilots were 1/Lt. Ken Senicki and 1/Lt "Nathan Detroit", they were the greatest we had ever seen when it came to landing that bird on the pitching, rolling deck at "0" dark thirty in the Tonken. Not much has been said about the "Lovable Hanna" but we did some things that no one ever admitted to..... We were on station from Dec 64 to Feb 65. .......I could go on all night with stories about one of the greatest aircraft ever to be assembled.

I have some old photos from Nam of the Sqd who found the enemy and caused Operation Starlight to happen in Aug 1965.

1st Lt. Judkins, who IS the onlyNaval aviator to ever JUMP from a Crusader. It happened when VMF-323 was Transpacking to Atsugi Japan. Trust me, it's true. And some very mysterious findings came from the wreckage.

GySgt. A.J. Salt USMC Ret.
VMCJ-1 1960-61, 64-65
USS Hancock CVA-19
Yankee Station Dec 64-Feb 65
Augmenting VFP-63 somewhere in the South China Sea

...........Semper Fi all my fellow "F8 Keepers" & Semper Fi Crusader Drivers

Attached to VF-211,71-75 onboard Hancock. To many great stories to tell about maintaining F8J's. God, my knuckles hurt thinking about it. Gotta love it......Who's ready for a FOD walkdown prior to an alpha strike?

T.L. "Bo" Bolender

Came across your site tonight and was pleasantly surprised to see the picture of the F8 (BuNo150904) with VF162 squadron markings. I was an ADJ2 with VF162 from approx June 67 to May 70. Can't say for certain, but I probably worked on this bird at some time.

I don't believe I have any manuals or other written information that would help you in your efforts. However, I may be able to remember some of the things we had to do to maintain those birds in flying order. I did spend many hours, days and years crawling up, over, around and through them. I was part of a "Bingo" team that would go into Viet Nam (usually DaNang) from the ship to repair damaged aircraft to make them flyable back to the ship - - if possible. Consequently, I was able to get experience in areas that many engine mechanics may not have had. Also, ADJ's were the only maintenance people in the squadron allowed to take the engines over 80% N1. So, we got to do lots of A/B runs. What a kick in the butt - - especially if you had one with a hard light!

As a plane captain, "Diving the duct" holds fond memories of crawling down the intake to make sure there was no FOD. Couldn't see the bottom of the engine from the intake lip -- so, had to crawl down there to make sure. Engine was the P&W J57-P20 w/ after burner. I believe it developed about 10,000 lbs thrust in basic engine and about 16,000 lbs thrust w/ A/B. The aircraft would hold approx 9700 lbs of fuel in the wet wing tanks and several fuselage bladder tanks. At sea level, at 100% N1, fuel flow was about 6,000 lbs per hour. That would give about 1 1/2 hours of operation in basic. But with A/B lite off, only about 20 minutes til "quiet time". I remember a visual sight gage (a float ball) on top of the wing that we could check to assure a full fuel load - - since the wing was the last tank to fill.

The J model had the engine bleed air (boundary layer) operational life extension mod which was bled over the aft wing and flaperons to improve lift and reduce laminar flow separation at slow speeds. Unfortunately, it also took power away from the engine so the throttle stop was removed from the quadrant and a modification was made to the fuel control unit such that the pilot could overspeed the engine (in an emergency - - like an imminent ramp strike on a low approach) by advancing the throttle through the 100% position and schedule more fuel to the engine. That would usually result in an engine removal for o'speed and o'temp which put the pilot on our favorite people list. But it could also save the a/c from major damage or loss.

Also, with the boundary layer in use during take off's and landings, the loss of power from the engine, plus the extra weight of ordnance of the aircraft for combat usually required A/B operation for most takeoff's from the carrier. Takeoff weight was around 30,000 lbs, so the A/B had to augment the slingshot to avoid structural damage from setting the catapult too high for the structural attachments.

The wing fold could be done from the hand pump in the w/w. With the wing fold handle in the up position, I seem to remember that all we had to do was pump like crazy until the locking pins retracted - - then the wing tips would begin to fold. Sometimes one would begin before the other so you had to pump until both were fully up. Then jury struts were inserted into the wing fold area because when pressure would bleed off, the wing tips would fall back down. Also, if the speed brake had bled down, it would have to retract first before adequate pressure was available to the wing fold area.

Access to the main fuel tank was through an access panel in the speed brake well. I believe I remember about seven fuel pumps (normal flight and inverted flight) in that tank. Interconnect tubes to the other bladders had acceleration flapper valves to prevent fuel shifting to the rear tanks during takeoff acceleration. All tanks fed to the main tank which fed the engine through a large fuel line in the RH main w/w.

You could also raise the wing to the "dirty" position with the pump handle. The wing leading edges would droop (don't remember the exact angles now) and the flaperons would droop down to create an extreme camber for slow flight, take offs and landings. If memory serves, landing speeds with the wing dirty was around 120 Kts, but was around 160 Kts if they couldn't raise the wing. Also, nose wheel steering for taxi was inoperative if the wing was down.

The hand pump could also extend and retract the IFR probe.

Don't want to bore you with this stuff - - Hadn't thought about it in quite a long time. I would very much like to see more pictures of the aircraft and the VF162 squadron markings from other angles. I remember a Snoopy riding a missile up on the top of the vertical fin. Can't tell from this picture if it's there.

Also, I appreciate your efforts and enthusiasm with the aircraft. They were very special and unique machines. There was always a little one-up-mans-ship between the single seaters (F8's) and the two seaters (F4's). If you had to have two seats, you weren't really a gunfighter (or words to that effect!).

One last thing - - We may have been the only squadron to have had a pilot fly an F8 as an open cockpit aircraft - - on purpose. A maintenance - ferry flight from Miramar to North Island. The pilot said it was pretty windy!

Regards and keep up the good work. Maybe I'll be able to see the a/c someday.

Mike Madewell

I enjoyed the photos and information very much! I served in the fighter squadron VF-111 from 1963-66. I was a mechanic on the j-57 engine.

William K Bastian

i served in 451 during 1965-66 in the maintenance office...i'm curious if some of the pilots are still alive and what happen to them....i remember marshall, lawrence, dilley, o'neal, and lt. col. r.n.smith (co)...we had a great squadron of officers and men....any help would be appreciated.....

Woody Taylor [] (sgt)....

I am Milton kubiak, was in VF-53 from 1968 to 1971 AE-2 plane, caption, made 2 west-pac trips on the CVA-31 bon homme richard. I am in touch George (curt) Miller,and Roy milligan also of VF-53

My name is Michael Cramer I was an ABH-3 in crash crew aboard the USS Oriskany during the 1970/71 cruises. I am looking for anyone who remembers the incident involving aircraft No. 111 from VF191 squadron. The pilot was LT John B. Martin II I believe. Any squadron member who recalls that tragic day triple sticks hit the round-down please contact me. The pilots of the sqadrons aboard were some of the bravest men I have known.

Thank you
Michael L Cramer

I have just spent several hours viewing this wonderful site, "GUNFIGHTERS PAGE". It is obvious that thousands of ours have been contributed to making it what it is. I wish to let you know that it is appreciated.

I have recognized a number of names that I have had the privilege to be associated with during my 27 years service to our country.

I tip my "Stetson Silver belly" to each and every one of you.

Best personal regards and thanks.
Clyde W. "Tex" Holland
LCDR U.S.Navy (Ret)

My name is Stephen L. Adams, I served with VF-24 from Jan-66 to Mar-69. My rank was ADJ-2 when I left the Checkertails and the Navy. I went on to Join the Naval Reserve. Spent 15 yrs. with VAQ/VAK-208 (KA3Bs), then went on to VR-55 (C9Bs) when 208 decommissioned. Served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm and retired in 1995 as an ADCS. The F-8 was my first love and will always be my favorite. Still to this day, when I am around an airport and smell that oh so familiar jet exhaust, I get goose bumps and my heart pounds a little bit faster. I have been to the wall in D.C. but I am still not able to go up and touch the names of the pilots lost during the 3 cruises that I made with VF-24. I am now working with the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corp, I am the Commanding Officer of Training Ship Midway in Hayward Calif.

My e-mail address is
P.S. I am trying to find a cruise book from the 1968/69 Hancock cruise.

came across your site while surfing for USS Hancock. very nice site with lots of info dave johnson did a good job . any way your triva for today . i am probably the only non pilot to have been awarded a "faster than shit" plaque & lapel pin . while attached to USNTPS 67/69 AS MCO we had 2 TF8A's, 2 of the the 3 mfgd . 2 seaters . beautiful machines.i got numerous flights in them, test flights, rons, etc. CDR D.Z. Skalla (asst dir TPS) and i took this one to Norfolk OR for rework in 68 and he gave it to me in the PaxRiv Warning Area and i lit the burner, pushed over 15 dgr's, gentle left hand trun, and earned my 1000 MPH . i have many enjoyable thoughts about my Naval career, being an enlisted B/N in A3D's , A5's (earning a Mach ll pin), and enlisted RAN in RA5's , then being selected for Warrant Officer and having my 1st assignment at TPS. but i'll remember that flt because at 1st i didn`t give it back to "DZ" was having such a grand time ,his 2nd "give it back to me" broke the trance. do you know of any other non pilots.



Was a member of VF-661 at andrews NAS. Would take some time but may be able to supply a list of members from 1967 to 1969.

JC Black []

Hi. Outstanding site. I was a structure mechanic in VMF-122 working on the Crusader from late 1962 until the F-4 in 1965.

Harold Schomburg

Thank you for a great web site. I work on both the F8J and P while with VFP63 in San Diego from 1974 to 1978.

AME3 Warren Jones

To this day I cannot forget the pride I felt watching my 12 airplanes arrive overhead, enter the break and trap aboard as we prepared for CQ on Oriskany. The names on the canopy rails may have belonged to the pilots but there was never any doubt in any maintainers mind who really owned the birds. To us the birds were almost living, breathing entities each with their own personality. My goal was to do my best so the pilot had the finest weapon to do his job.

I was an AE3/2 in VF-194 from 1969 to 1971, made two cruises to Viet Nam and found I liked fixing aircraft, associating with the pilots and working maintenance. Now that I have retired after 32 years of Naval Service I look back on those years as the best in my career.

The green, red, white, and brown shirts who prayed for the safe return of every flight.

Clark Jones Cdr(LDO) USN(ret)

Hi, just wanted to say hello.
Jim Kinslow, 68-70, VF-62, VF-111.

Bob Chaney [] I served on the CVA-34 Oriskany in 67-68 and the Coral Sea CVA-43 in 1998 to 1999 as a Photo Intelligenceman. Do you know of any groups getting together, or if there are any squadron hats still around mine has worn out and I would like to get another.

I lost track of every one after Lt. Rudd was lost in the early 70's I used to keep track through one of his aunts that I knew. Waiting for your response.

Robert McCauley [] former ADJ plane Capt./PP Mech. and QA on F-8's. Made Oriskany cruises 62-63-64. Was on Atsugi Maint Det when JFK assassinated. They got us up and we had to belt ammo around 4:00am. Thought world war III was starting!

This is a great web site. I retired from USN in Dec 1978 as AZCM and went to work for another 20 years with ComNavAirPac as a CivServ (worked for CDR Rusty Allman too, before he retired from CNAP).

Looking for Marines who served at Atsugi, Japan in VMF-334 from 1957-1958.

J. Gray

Ralph Pallesco
I was a plane captain on the F8U with VMF (aw) 451 at Beaufort S. C. in 64 any one in the outfit then drop me a line.

Joseph J McAllister, PH3, 4/65-1/66 RF-8A and the VFP-63 Det E

Never was a stick wagger, but I was one of the camera mechanics with Det E of VFP-63 on the Bon Homme Richard (4/65-1/66) and am having a hard time finding much online mention of the squadron, the men, or even the poor scrapped Bonnie Dick...

Anyone in your group have any info they could pass on? I sure would like to strike up a conversation or two with some of my old squadron-mates.

Joseph J. McAllister
3908 SW Charleston St.
Seattle, Wa. 98116-3830

And hey, I WAS run-up and tow qualified!

"All my contributions to the art world are in boxes in the cellar." "Probably right where they belong."

Glen A. Miller, PN1, Ret. 1970

Sir: I sure hope that you include the "Office Pinkies" in your list of maintainers. Although we never turned a wrench on the A/C we did our best to keep the ones who did happy by advising them on shore duty rotation, advancement requirements, schools available, reenlistment benefits and lots of other things that they were interested in.

My last squadron was VF-51 out of Miramar and I think it was the best duty I had
in my 22 years. Our cruise in 1968 was on the Bon Homme Richard and it seemed like
around the clock air ops and yet our pilots never became grouchy or up tight with the enlisted personnel. As Career Councilor I was able to set up for reenlistment 6 personnel who were above average in their ratings, thus saving lots of money in training new personnel. CDR. "Moose" Myers. and ENS Norm McCoy downed MIGs on that cruise. Seeing the F-8's fly by and into the landing pattern was a great sight for this black shoe.

My first carrier was the Valley Forge (CVA45) in 1953 and at the time I was sure that the pilots were all from mental wards because they would land on a carrier with a straight deck, you either got a wire or hit the barriers and in some cases bounce over the barrier and into the parked A/C. When I retired in 1970 I had learned that the fighter pilot was just better trained and smarter than the average bear.

I also was in VF-191 at Moffett Field in 52-53 and I think we were flying AD's.

Thanks for letting me spout off and for the great web page.

Glen Miller, PN1, Ret.


Patrick A. Nisley, ATCS
I find myself in the unique situation of being a Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer attached to a Marine command. I was previously production control Chief at NAS Barbers Point, but they closed us down and merged us with MALSEK (formerly MALS 24).

Currently, I am doing the production control leading Chief job at MALSEK (Marine Aviation Logistics Support Element Kaneohe). We used to have an F-8K of USMC vintage on display at the front gate here, but it has been moved to my hanger for restoration. The BUNO is 146973. If you have any photos of this plane in flying condition, I would be forever in your debt if you could send me copies (preferably in color). The squadron logo on the tail depicts a red devil inside a red diamond. I have no idea what Marine squadron it was from, or when it may have been operating from Hawaii. My outfit (MALSEK), has been tasked with restoring this aircraft to display condition, so it can be put back out on the gate. I have to tell you, it is in VERY bad shape, and will require extensive re-skinning.

Personally, I made my first cruise aboard USS INDEPENDENCE in 1980/81 (to the Indian Ocean), and on board was a det of RF-8's from VFP-63. I will never forget the first time I heard one go into afterburner. When we got the bird into our hanger, I mentioned to one of our Gunnery Sergeants that he should have seen one ready for launch, with the wing popped up for lift. He looked at me like I had a hole in my head.

I remember vividly, the aircraft of VFP-63 having a set of "moon eyes" looking down, painted on the forward bulkhead of the wing in the raised position. I looked in my cruise book for a picture to show him, but had no picture of such markings. Do you have anything remotely like this? Thanks for your help.

Semper Fixit!

ATCS(AW) Patrick A. Nisley


I was a plane captain with VF-162 aboard the Oriskany for three cruises, '64, '65 and '66. I was priviledged to serve with some larger than life men such as Richard Bellinger, Rick (Bulb) Adams, and Butch Verich. We worked three day stretches without a bed or a shower, bitchin' and moanin' all the way, But between the combat ops and the Asain liberty, we had a lifes experience that money couldn't buy. I'm still in touch with Pete Trelin and Dave Starck if any one wants to reach them. This is a great site and I wish you the best.

Chuck Beckman Dublin, Ca


There is no doubt that the pilots are the heros.

I none the less served with VF-154 on the Coral Sea back in 1963 and 1964.

I often like to look back and cherish old memories as those are the most powerful ones of my life. I to this day still feel a part of my old squadron but have not been able to keep up with whats going on with it. I've seen the Squadron Home page on the web but I've not been able to find any old stuff that goes back to the early 60's when I was pulling those tail sections and doing those highpower turn-ups. I also had a go at flight deck control while onboard the Coral Sea.

Anything you might be able to point me at will be reatly appreciated as I have finally learned a bit about this computer and I feel a great need to hook back up with all the history on VF-154 and the Crusader aircraft.

By the way, I think I have seen some of the Marine plains on board CVA-43

Your reply will be appreciated.


do you have any info vma 331, beaufort,s.c. 1963-1965 and present whereabouts of the squadron?

do you have any info on 451..1964-1966..capt. o'neal..major dilley...
from sgt. taylor (maint. office)


Any such an animal available for use "E's and Former E's" who care just a much for the F8 as the "Pileits"? I was an AO1 in VF 191 from 67 - 70 (deployed on CVA 14 and 34). I was involved in the "F8 into K277" trick in December 1969, awarded N&MC Medal. Retired as and LDO in 1990.

Mike Cain


I saw this on the internet and had to send something to you . I was in VF-191 for the last years as an F8 outfit I made the last two cruises with this unit on the ORISKANY. Im an AE-1 now with VR-58 as a reserve an I have to keep explaining what an F8 is. To me it was the best aircraft Ive ever worked on. My real job is with Ryan Intl Airlines as an outstation mech. Ive worked on every type aircraft from a 757 to a C9B Im run and taxi qual on all so when I say the F8 the best aircraft Ive ever worked I mean it. So if anybody out there was in this unit at this time and remembers an AE-2 Schwartzbeck drop me an E-mail Ill try to respond but Im new to this.
thanks Wild Bill

"Crawford, William"

William E. (Bill) Crawford
GySgt, USMC (Ret) Avionics
VMF-235--'59~'60 Beaufort, SC
VMF-312--'60~62 Beaufort, SC & Atsugi, Japan
VMCJ-3--'66~67 El Toro
VMCJ-1--67-68 Danang

Thank you for including the "Maintainers" in your Web Site. I'd like to hear from some of the other Marine Crusader Maintainers and from some of the Navy guy's that were in the red checkerboard squadron. Sorry, but I forgot their squadron.

The ones in that squadron I would really like to hear from are those that were aboard the carrier when VMF-312, the black checkerboarders, were aboard. We painted black checkerboards on the bottom of the fuselage of each of their planes just prior to their departing the ship. When they had their flyover, unfortunately the skipper of the ship noticed the blacl checker boards and had the squadron return to the ship. We (VMF-312) then had to clean the checkerboards off and their squadron had to have the cleanest bottoms in the Navy.

Thanks again, and maybe we can meet in Vegas someday.



While stationed on the USS Saratoga (CVA-60) as senior CPO O-I division, my Operations Officer was Cdr. Rhodes, later CO of USS Forestall who had once set a speed record in the F8. I think that I still have the Naval Aviation Magazine (title forgotten at the moment) with the article. I am wondering if he is still alive and well. I got your website through Ken Bolin (I am a contributer to the Trader Jon's Blue Angel Museum). He may not, probably does not, remember me although I certainly do him.
ACC Joseph R. (Bob) Haley USN-RET

Joseph R. Haley Sr.
5845 Sherwood Forest Dr.
El Sobrante CA 94803-3551
Phone: (510) 222-4097
Fax: 15102224349

Veryl Champine

AQF2 from VF 154 1963 to 1966

I was in the fire control shop for two West Pac cruises, the one in 1963 when the Coral Sea went to Australia for the anniversary of the battle of the Coral Sea and then made all of the rest of the West Pac stops, we pulled in to Frisco on November 25th the day of Kennedy's funeral. Went back to Miramar and then left for another cruise in early December 1964, blew up a boiler on the way out of Frisco and ended up staying at Pearl for a month. 154 made the first strikes against the north on Feb 7th, 1965 and flew over 1500 sorties during the next months, we had one at sea period of 105 days, we stayed out when the Oriskany had a major fire we returned in November 1965, . We had been out 336 days and flew a homeward bound pennant as we came under the Golden Gate bridge.

Really enjoyed working on the Crusader, still think it was the best looking bird that ever flew, we transitioned to the Phantom in 1966. What a change, from the best to one of the worst looking birds that ever took to the skies. Went to an air show today (6/6/99), wearing a Coral Sea hat and met an old boatswain's mate that had been on it a couple of years after I got off.

Does anyone have any information where there are F8s on display? Would like to see one again.

Would like to hear from anyone that was a member of either VF 154 or VF151, we shared the fire control shop on the ship.

Went back to Miramar last year as a guest of my LTJG son, a lot of it looks the same, it does kind of hurt to see it called MCAS instead of NAS but that's progress. Really brought back a lot of memories of the "good old days"

I do have quite a few photos of air ops showing the F8s of WBJS (that's World's Best Jet Squadron) to those of you not fortunate enough to have been a member.

"Bellflower United Methodist Church"

I am John F. Johnson Jr and I once served in both VFP-62 out of Cecil Field Fla. and went on to serve in VFP-63 Miramar, San Diego. I served with a LT Johnson which was an F-8 pilot and our Maintenance Officer the officer on this address would not the the same LT. Johnson would it??? The cruse was sometime in 67 or 68 can't remember when. The cruise was on the CVA-38 Shangri-La. If this is Lt. Johnson you might remember me.
After the cruise you cam to my house in Jacksonville Fla. with Paul Ordego. Pleas write back to this address.

"Bohn, Arthur"

Just wondering why Marine Fighter Squadron (VMF) - 333 based at MCAS Beaufort, SC (early '60s) and Marine Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (VMCJ) -2 were not mentioned on the Marine Squadron page.

I was in the Maintenance Admin Office at the time and did the usual paperwork on those birds. They were lovely, exciting to watch, and awesome in flight!

VMCJ-2 was based at MCAS Cherry Point, NC in the '60s.

Just a short note also - our Maintenance Officer at VMCJ-2 during 1966 was Major Jack Lousma, who was selected for the astronaut program and spent a bunch of flight time (besides in F8s) flying to, and around, the moon!

(703) 827-3441
Art Bohn
MSgt Ret

"Crawford, William @ Microdyne.Com"

That is great for the F8 Crusader pilots (even Navy pilots) to have reunions, but how about us enlisted pukes who kept the b1rds up and ready for you guy's to punch holes in the sky? We would like to see some of our friendly officers that had the trust and confidence in our ability to reassemble a b1rd after a major inspection and to take that b1rd out for a max performance takeout with loops and spirals on climb out.

How about it? Is it worth consideration?

Bill Crawford
GySgt, USMC (Ret)
Former member of VMF-235, VMF-312, VMCJ-3, and VMCJ-1 (RF-8's).

Jay Powelson

Thanks for creating such a great page for such a great airplane. My name is Jay Powelson, ADC, USN, Retired. I worked on several different models of the F-8 in my 24 years in the Navy. I started with DF-8A's with VC-5 Det Naha on Okinawa . From there to F-8C's and H's with VF-124 and VF-111.Then later RF-8G's with VFP-63. Almost half of my career was on Crusaders. I think they are still the most beautiful fighter ever built. It's a shame that they couldn't keep up with the technology and still be in service today. I now work for Boeing as a flightline mechanic on B777's. I live close to Arlington Wa.,where the NAS Arlington Museum has an F-8C that they hope to restore. Hopefully I can be involved. Once again thanks for a great tribute to the last of the true Gunfighters.
Sincerely, Jay Powelson, ADC, USN RET Marysville Wa.


I was aboard the Oriskany and was an AME. I can remember the morning that I pre-flighted all the birds for VF-111. I found one on the hangar bay that I figured would not fly that day, but checked it anyway. I found the main firing pin unhooked. I re-armed the seat and didn't think too much of this, but made a record of the problem. The next day Ensign McPheney, I believe that's his name, was shot down in that same bird. He punched out, but was captured. When we got back to the States in Jan. '68, he and two other pilots were released. I would like to think that I saved his life. If he is still around, I would like to hear from him. Thanks to all the pilots that gave there lives over there, and to those that are still AROUND, because someone checked there seat. The F-8 pilots were a special breed.
Paul C. Garrison VF-111,VF-211, ORISKANY AND HANCOCK. '67-'68, '69.

Bob layton

just read your web on Buno 150904. I'm a retired Navy Master Chief AFCM. I have served with F-8s in VF-124 69-71, VF-194 71-76, VFP-63 79-82 I have in fact worked on 150904 and more than likely did the last maint turn on her before we transferred her out of VFP-63 in1982. I still have alot of my old maint F-8 special tools and some manuals.I'm still in contact with alot of my old F-8 maint types of all rates AMHs ,AMSs, AMEs, AEs, ADJs. we are all fully qualified and capable of making any F-8 fly. Oh yes I also have a complete home movie{ super-8} of the 72-73 Oriskany cruise including the last air strike event of the war. their maybe some shots of 150904 cats and traps. on it. anyway if you need any assistance on the restoration please call home #(405) 2382573 work(405) 238 5969 .
F-8s forever
AFCM Robert "Okie Bob" Layton
118 N. Locust Pauls Valley Oklahoma.73075

"Vallie, Thomas W, MSG, 114AGS, LGGGS"

Concerning the restoration of 904, I noticed it is being painted in VF-162's colors. I was an AQ-3 plane-captain on A/C 202 on board the Ticonderoga in 1969. I have some pictures of the original and a model in VF-162's colors. If I can be of any assistance, please E-Mail me at

My heart almost stopped when I saw a model of a F8-J in the hobby store with not only VF-162's colors, but of A/C 202, my bird! Now, to run across it again - what a rush!

Thanks, and good luck

MSG Thomas Vallie
South Dakota Air Nationa Guard
(formerly AQ3 in VF-162, 1969)


I wonder if you might have Bill Metzger listed on your rolls. He flew F-8's in Vietnam (WESTPAC) and I believe he may have lost 1 or 2 of them. He later became my PPC in a VP squadron in 1981. The rest of his crew is trying to find him.

Thank you,

Malcolm Swain ATC (AW/NAC) ret.

I just discovered your Crusader website. It sure does bring back the memories.

I was an AQF2 with VF62 in 1968-1970. We made two Med cruises on the Shang during that time. Don Whitman was our CO. John Alsup was my Division Officer. It was a great experience which I will never forget I would really enjoy hearing from any of my squadron mates.
I have some good Shangri-La flight ops photos posted on John Allsup's web site

Gerald Eckstein
1775 Potomac Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28304



I was in vfp-63 from 68 thru 70 at miramar. I WAS A AMH-2 Have been trying to find old buddies and pilots from my outfit.Was on det-14, det-42, and det-38. Never have lost my love of this great plane. have been looking for some of the old guys before we're all gone. Doug " ceament ass " simpson...." Sugar " sjuggarud ............. Tommy young..... Any of the guys from these dets.
gary CAPPS AMH-2
BOISE, ID 83705 (208) 336-7638

"Harold Nielsen"

Howdy.Couldnt believe theres a 451 page.I was in vmf-451 1961to1963 as aircraft electrician.I have our cruise book and will send you info if you want it.My co was Lt.Col.Crew.

50. (Nagel, Joseph)

Assigned to VFP 63 June 1963,assigned to Det Bravo-USS TICONDEROGA 1963/ 1964... assigned to Det GOLF-USS ORISKANY 1964/65....Assigned to Det 14 - USS TICONDEROGA 1966 /1967.... Assigned to Det 19- USS HANCOCK 1968/1969..... Made carrier quals on every carrier in the Pacific, Until transfer to HSL31 Helicopters in August 1972....... In Oct 1978 Returned to VFP63 for Shore Duty. After back to back Carrier Quals I requested a Detachment This time on the USS INDEPENDENCE... Transfered back to Helicopters Aug 1980. Loved working on the F8 and the J57.


Robert C Smith aka "Smitty" - ADJ-2
Served with the "Mig Killers" of Fighter Squadron 24 (VF-24: The Fighting Red Checkertails) deployed to WESTPAC aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) in 1967 and the USS Hancock (CVA-19) in 1968-1969 and 1969-1970.

I was a Plane Captain for my first two cruises (a/c #200 - CAG-21 bird in '68-'69) and worked in the Powerplants shop (QA Inspector with a Non-Pilot Turn-up License) on my last cruise.

Currently concluding my second term as President of Vietnam Veterans of America - Miami Valley Chapter #97 in Dayton, Ohio.

"James W. Doran"

I was CAG Gunner of CVWR-20 in 1974-76. We had three Crusader squadrons, VF-201 and 202 out of Navy Dallas and VFP-206 out of Andrews AFB. At one time I went out to Miramar with a det of VF-202 for the Top Gun School. The second night there I was in the main bar at the Miramar O Club, in uniform, when I ran into RADM "Swoose" Snead. He berated me for ruining my career by serving with the Reserves (like I had a choice! However, it turned out to be one of the best tours of duty in my career - Chuck Tinker and Tex Elliot were two of the three CAG's I served under. ), he than berated the withered old Crusaders. I told the Admiral to pick his best Tomcat and best crew, than come to my flight line and pick the F-8 of his choice and pilot of his choice (my "JO's" were LCDR with over 1,000 hours in the F-8) and put them head to head. He said he'd think about it. The next day he was on the T-line when a group of USAF fighters from Red Flag were taxied in. He met the first bird, the USAF COL commanding climbed out and saluted and asked Swoose what all of the Texas Tail Crusaders were doing at Miramar. Swoose replied they were a bunch of (expletive deleted) reservists from Dallas. The COL replied, "Yes Sir, I know - they brought their Crusaders to Nellis a few weeks ago and handed us our ass!" By the way, I was Paul Spear's Air Gunner when he was skipper of Connie. I can honestly say that I have never served under a CO who was a "Gunfighter" that wasn't head and shoulders above the Intercepter and Air to Mud guys.

Great Web page.

CWO4 James W. Doran, USN (RET)

"Mr. Bill Wade"

I'm a High School Principal Sitting at my computer late Friday night waiting for a dance to end so I can send the kids home happy. I searched on VMF(AW) 235 and found that it was deactivated. Then I found your page. It's great to remember. I was "Jesse" (no one has called me that for 35 years) in the airframes shop. Morris, Maniscalco and I would paint those lovely red and white decals on the planes, we also became quit proficient at patching up those 30 cal. holes that the pilots would come home with. I remember how I thought Col. Gibson was just about the most important man in the world. I was called to his office for not writing to my mother...I wrote she forgave me . I remember Top telling a few of us if we were going to be in his company and we opened a bottle we might as well throw the cork away. I remember how much we liked the officers , they treated us well. It seems that we were one of the last units to go as a unit,and not ship boys that didn't know each other in and out . Does anyone remember Jon Sills when we were taking off from El Toro . He was so scared he promised God he would be good the rest of his life(talk about unkept promises. It's great remembering my youth. I was nineteen .....It seems like a lifetime ago. Thank You USMC and VMF(AW) 235 you made me a good man. Ride Nunc

CWO Hank Porter USN Retired -

Served in VCP-63 & VFP-63 from 1960 to 1963. VCP-63 had F8U-1P and A3D photo birds. The A3Ds went to VAP-61 on Guam & we got their F8U-1Ps and became VFP-63. I made Chief Mech while in Det. Delta on WESTPAC cruise in USS Coral Sea (1962). Our OINC was LCDR R.E. Roberts. That was a good detachment and a good cruise. LTJG Stetson was the photo intel officer. Other pilots were LT R.L. Taylor, LT R.L. Tinsley, and LTJG Dave Rottgering who later became a Blue Angel. (We trained him very well.) Our Maintenance/Leading Chief was Ray Junker. My best buddy was ADJ1 Fred Heidmann. I had the privileged to attend his Chief's initiation at NAS Norfolk. The rest of the crew were (in no alphabetical order) --McInturff, Wacaster, Reuss, Wilson, Close, Shalmadine, Little, Pyle, Lee, Barrs, Pendley, Lyles, Duprey, Clemons, Mayes, Jennings, Wolfe, Higgins, Beaty, Nichols, Stevenson, Adney, Gambrell, Renslow, Schultz, Bell, and Albertson. Hey, Ray Junker, Cubi Point Public Works is still looking for the guy who drove that pickup truck into the jungle. Does anyone out there remember the starboard-aft elevator falling off. One of our most noted accomplishments was pissing off the chaplain by conducting a high power afterburner turn-up on the hanger deck during church services. I left VFP-63 in 1963 and I still miss it.
Chief Warrant Officer Hank Porter, United States Navy, Retired


i served aboard the USS SHANGRI-LA(CVA-38) from 66-68. although i was a "blackshoe" i loved to watch air ops whenever possible. i have many slides of air ops onboard of VF-13,VF-62, and VFP-63 det-38. if these would be of interest to you please e-mail me.
tom ehlert SK3 S-1 division


John W. Hall...I was an ATR2 with VF-194 (CAW-19) aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard.Served 2 Viet-nam tours with VF-194(from 1963 to 1966)My First "Skipper" was Cmdr "Billy" Phillips(one HELLUVA Pilot!),then under Cmdr Robert S. Chew. We did shore duty at Miramar Calif. I am now 59 yrs old and have very fond memories working on the helluva "bird"! I have since found 4 of my squadron mates and hope this forum will lead to more.
Where are all ya "Legendary Red Lighting" guys at ?? Would like to hear from the Officers also...come -on guys!!

I am currenty searching for ex squadron members (enlisted and officer).. I have found a few (enlisted) and currently in communication with then via the internet.
Just a word of "Thanks" for the Honor of serving with you brave and faithful men and to encourage You and yours to maintain this excellent web-sit.And, as always,presented in the best of Naval tradition,
With Fraternity and Respect..... John W. Hall

Frank Hicks"

I have a picture of one of 191's f8's flying along side of a russian bear would you like a copy? I also have a cruise book . We were on the ORISKANY WEST PAC 73-74 Commanding Officer CDR Ronald F. Ball If there is any other information i can supply let me know

AMS2 Hicks


I Served As An Atr2 With Vf194 On The Tico Cva14 And Oriskany Cva34 >From 1966 -1970. Are There Any More Vf194 People Out There?

Tom Harper

I didn't fly 'em, tore them apart and had fun doing it. I was an ADJ in VFP63 in '69. Really was a good squadron with a lot of "Esrpite de corps" Was in powerplants div. Tom Harper

VFP-63 was my first duty station after ADJ "A" school. Arrived in March 75 and made the switch to F14's in June 76. Assigned to the Line as Plane Captain for the Shore Det. The CO at the time was a guy named Hines who was just released from the Hanoi Hilton. Would like to hear from folks who were there at the same time. Crusaders Forever!

Carl J. Palermo

Bob Daily AT3

worked on the F8 from 1963 till 1967 ,VU10 in GITMO and VF-62 in Cecil Field and on the SHANGRI-LA.
Nice to see this section on the page.have been visiting for some time
Bob Daily


I spent 26 years in the US Navy and 3 Years Trying to maintain the F8's in VC-10.
I know we weren't under constant fire but we did launch the ready several times when Castro had his brothers in town. And I did do CVA-43 with VAW 116 in 68-69.

Retired Senior Chief Jim Newton


just crusing the net and notice that you were in VFP 63. I was stationed at NAS Miramar from 1966 through 1970 in the squadron VFP 63. During my enlistment, I made a West Pac Cruise on the Bon Homme Richard and USS Hancock.
I was wondering if any of the shipmates were still in contact with each other.

AMS-2 G.Ingram

"Caulkins, Keith A"

Thanks Dave for our own site. There are so many others sites for the Pilotsand such, it's about time we Greasemonkeys and Others got on-board! I would like to see a "pictures" addition to this site. If I can find mine, from DaNang '67 & '68, I would be glad to contribute.

I joined with VMF(AW)-235, in Nov. '66. Then rotated with them to Danang in Feb.'67 thru May'68, when I was transferred to Chulai, to finish my extended tour. While with 235, I was in the Seat Shop, then transferred to the Flightline Crew, (flightline needed the help, so I was "volunteered". I have recently been in e-mail contact with a couple of my pilots from those days, and would like to get with some of the other guys, ( Magilla Gorilla, Angelo, G.O., Slime, etc. where are yous guys?).

Thanks again Dave. I will check on this site often!

Keith "Swift" Caulkins
USMC '64-'68

"Tom LaSota"

I have to ask where all the photo's of and about the F8's from VF13 came from? I served three and one half years with the squadron from 66 thru 69. I was a plane captain till I transferred to ordinance working with Chief McQuaid. My name is Tom LaSota, please answer if you were either a pilot or crew member. Have been trying for some time now to contact members of VF13.

[webmasters note: The VF-13 pix are mine; Tom was one of my plane captains when I was Line officer]


Hi my name is Debbie, And I'm looking for VF-154 info (1958-1961). My father was a PR-3 with this squdron. I was hoping to get info for him. And maybe join an association, and find some old buddys. Can you help me? we'll appreciate any info you might give
Thanks Debbie

"Debaecke, Ivan" PERS-801G@PERSNET.Navy.Mil

I can sure reminisce back to my good old days as an aviation ordnanceman stationed with vf-24. All the mig kills listed for VF-24 was as a result of my involvement loading the f-8c's with 20mm and aim-9 sidewinders for those events. Our sister squadron VF-211 (brand X) did pretty good too on the mig kills. VF-211 would call us "bite-size" as we had the smaller size red and white checker scheme painted on the tails of our F-8's. As I said, I helped load the ordnance for the mig kills that VF-24 attained and I have a few photos of me and my ordnance LPO AO1 Roberson posing by the ventral fins with the "stars" (mig-kills). I think that was when we were delpoyed on the uss hancock cv-19. We also made a cruise on the bon homme richard too. That was when the forrestal caught on fire. She was supposed to relieve us then. We would make patrols on dixie and yankee station off the coast of Nam. Yankee station was where the f-8's would make bar-cap paatrols. They were loaded with sidewinders. Dixie we had zunis. I wish I could get a copy of the old last of the gunfighter poster. That was neat. I now work for bupers here in millington tn. I still feel like I belong to the navy even though I'm very retired from the navy. Take care.

Ivan "Butch" DeBaecke


I was in VF-191 from late 1963, until the end of September, 1966. I was an Aviation Electrician's Mate. I still have my cruise book from 1964's Good Will Cruise. If I can be of some help with the squadron's web site information, please let me know.
Dave Reichard


I served with VF-194 aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (1963-1966)as an ATR2 under the command(s) of Capt."Billy" Phillips and Cmdr R.S. Chew in the 1st Concord Squadron.Served my entire Naval career in VF-194. I am now 59 yrs of age and I have contacted a couple of my old squadron mates...went to see my best buddy in Alabama of whom I have'nt seen in 32 yrs! It was GREAT!(He was an ADJ3 in VF-194)
I certainly respect ALL of you Naval fliers...although you guys were hard on the Avionics gear..I did PLENTY of work on the ASQ17 integrated communications pkg. and TACAN..
You men did one HELLUVA job over there and I would just like give my thanks for the Honor of serving with you brave men...God Bless...

John Burgess/Cathy Ferrar

Thanks for your web page and a walk down memory lane! I was an AE-3 serving with VF-211 aboard the USS Hancock during the cruise of 1973. My tour ended while we were still at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman in Nov 73. Since then I have been trying to locate a source, if any exists, for a copy of the cruise book for that period, or any photos from air ops during ur cruise.

If you have any sources that you could refer me to I would appreciate it.
Tahnks for your help. Respectfully, John Burgess

Mark Douglass

I have alot of VA-174 information. I have a list of all the personnel that went to Rosie Roads on 03 Oct 1967. I was attached to the Maint. Control Area, then to the Mid-Check. This are some of the people I remember, ADJ1 Don Foulk, AMS Robbie Robertson, ADJ1 Vince McCann, AME1 Robert Cook,(Lt. Napolli is really somebody I would love to meet again. We went up in a T-28 for my first check ride. Some of the memories are still in my head. I left there and returned to Michigan in 1968. Then I joined the Naval Reserves here at NAF Mt. Clemens, then it was changed to NARA Mt. Clemens. I will be retiring on 01 Aug 2000, with a total of 20 years, 3 months, 7 days, 5 hours, 34 minutes, 22 seconds - 555 total days and counting. Dave my phone here at Ford's is (313) 594-6707, at home it's (734) 844-2471, give me a call when you get a chance. I also have a VA-174 bowling shirt (still mint). And some of the patchs from VF-174, VA-174. There are also a Master Chief Ron Webb at Mt. Clemens was there in the 1969-1975. And ADJ3 Henry Dudek.

Mark Douglass

Randy Kelly

Great page you have here. I just stumbled on to it tonight. I was at Miramar in VF124, from Mar 65 to Mar 69. I was an AMS2, Plane Captain and then an instructor where I trained a lot of F8 drivers on the hydraulics. Great plane, but the damn thing liked to leak, that coffin panel on the bottom would give you a bath every time it was opened.

Just thought I'd make a comment while thinking of times spent on the flight line. Again, you have a great web page.

Randy Kelly

howard haddon

been surfin the net for years and havn't run across any VMF 334 guys as of yet! what happened to all the f8 drivers turned out by VMF 334 and the O boat?

3/61-3/63 VMF-334 El Toro, Yuma, Fallon, North Island, Oriskany
3/63-6/67 Chance Vought (civilian)

always wanted to drive one but settled for fixin em when you guys broke em! (Cpl USMC Avionics)

visited with the Oriskany on Mare Island last Friday (10-9-98) took lots of photos of the rusting old lady- very depressing! anyone else want depressed? just ask- will sent photo!

Howard Haddon (real estate appraiser now)
344 North Encinitas Ave
Monrovia, CA 91016
tele 626 358-0502
fax 626 358-0878


I had the privilege of serving on two WestPac cruses with VFP-63, 66-67 on the Coral Sea and 67-68 on the Tico. and am a hard core "Super Hoover" fan. It would certainly be nice to hook up with some of my former shipmates and tell a sea story or two. How's chances of seeing a VFP-63 link in the near future?
Keep up the good work, I will visit the site often in hopes of connecting.

J. B. Lauer (ATN-2)


Just read the home page on VF 53.

I wish to inform you that VF 53 was my squadron on the USS Kearsarge and I was a plane captain with them and we had the FJ3s CDR James Pariseau was the CO and LTCDR Fields was the XO . We were stations at Moffet Field in 56 and returned to Moffett after the cruise and we then were disbanded and we became a training command squadron with the F8Us.

We deployed on the Kear in 57 with CAG three and the Banshee squadron was VF 124 not the VF 53 I have the book to prove it and I can scan some pix from the book if you need them. Also there at that time was VA 24 Cougars and a VFAW3 squadron and a squadron of ADs.

This may shock some folks but when we returned form WESPAC on 57 on the USS Kearsarge CVA 33 we did not do much flying and it was a "along for the ride" trip. On that trip back home stuck away in hanger bay #2 was a F8! It was sealed up form the salt corrosion and it never moved from the day it was lifted onboard in Youkuska. I think that I have a colored slid of it. I'll have to look. I often wondered about that AC and what it was doing there but nobody seemed to know? I was a plane captian with VF 53 at the time and we had left ALL of our FJ3-4s back at Atsigi so it was a leasurly ride back across the big blue pond. Does anyone know anything of this AC. Again, I''l have to look in my slide collection of that era.



Dear Sirs I am a retired Senior Chief In 1969 i was attached to VF162 at N.A.S. Miamar San Diego. Went on a Vietmam Cruise on the USS Ticonderoga CVA14 any information about this squardon would be appreciated.
ADCS retired.

George Harris

I have visited your site before and remembered seeing the picture by Paul Skarlatos. I was not an F-8 pilot, but was an enlisted man in VF-53. Paul Skarlatos was its last skipper. I have fond memories of him and have always wondered what had happened to him. I was in contact with Kent Kaiser, Dean Kaiser's son, for awhile and he mentioned that Cmdr Skarlatos had been ill or something. Do you have any information on him. To me as a blackshoe in the aviation world he was a great human being and officer.

Also, do you have anyway of locating some of the officers of VF-53 at the time of its decommissioning? Specifically, then LT. Tom Smisek.
Thank you,
George Harris, former PN2

"Gary Woodham"

I was in VF 162 when it was formed at Cecil Field Florida in 1960. I cannot find any information concerning the Sqadron or it's men. Please advise me of any information that might help me contact any former squadron members.

I was in the A.E. shop when I left the squadron in Sept. 1963. Please forward me any pilots names you have which were in VF162 and any maintanance mens names and addresses that you have,it sure would be nice to talk to some of the old squadron members. I appreciate any information that you can send me.

I am now living in Fla. and would like to attend any get togethers VF162 might have.
Gary Woodham

21. (Wagner, Rich)

During 1965 and 1966 I was assigned to VF-111 as a Plane Captain. We were deployed on the USS Midway and than the USS Oriskany. Any information in where I can find anything about this squadron and the people that were members of it at that time will be appreciated. We are thinking of having a reunion if enough interest is out there.
Thanks, Rich Wagner

"Lyle Stults"


What a stroll down memory lane, brings a tear to this old man's eyes! Would much appreciate having the address to the roster. Attached are three of the E-Mails I've received already, use for my authentication. I think I should qualify as a 'Maintainer".


I served with VFP63 out of NAS Miramar from 1970 to 1972 and it was real nice to see the photo of one of my old birds on your site. I still keep a little corner shelf with some photos and a model of my Crusader and the squadron patch in my home. It was just one of the many fine Squadrons of that era and I am glad to have been a part of it. Keep up the good work.

John Skulavik

On the USS Oriskany May 1965 to March 1966, Col. Ludden's Lancer's had several Centurions. Col. Ludden (Purple Heart) Squadron Commander, Col. E. J. Rutty (ex-Blue Angel fifth man), Col. Sexton, Col. Chaimson, Lt Pyle, Lt. Damerosh, and most notable Col. Harlan P. Chapman (POW in the Hanoi Hilton 8 years). I was in Avionics (bench and flight line) on the APQ-94 Radar in this squadron with 14 brand new F8E's. Yes, Photo Beanie some planes were fitted with 4 Sidewinder 9M pylons wing and fuselage. These planes flew fighter sorties. Other planes were fitted with wing pylons for 2,000 ponds bombs for road wrecking sorties. We did it all in City Hall (Hanoi that is)! President Johnson and Mc the Knife wouldn't let us do the job right so we lost Col. Chapman to Charlie for 8 severely painful years. What a sacrifice!

Thank You Col. Chapman, I was your plane captain in Kaneohe Bay and I'll never forget you.

John Skulavik (Skully)
Sgt. USMC 2005135

If you erver want more info about F8 aircraft I probably know the answer. I also have video's made of my 8mm camera shots I took from the 07 level on the Oriskany. This kind of data may still be classified. I have crash footage, planes being pushed over the side, rockets pods dumping rockets right down the angle deck. Even Art Avores fatal crash off the starboard catapult on Dixie Station. We once spent 45 straight days in 24 hour flight operations on Yankee Station. Admiral Stockdale was shotdown during this Oriskany Tour and Jerry Denton was shotdown 18 July 65, 33 years ago. I sent him an e-mail this morning, what an inspiration he is! He makes me proud to be an American.



I was a AZAN with VF-191 (NAS MIIRAMAR)during the period of 74-75.
Bill Zobel, Bakersfield, Ca.

I was a metal smith ams-2 in VF-62 the Boomerangs from 1964 to 1967.

Galen G Good
12630 county road 153
Cologne, MN 55322


I was an ADJ2 on F-8s from 1967-1970. I was in VF-194 for 2 WestPac cruises. I was line P.O. for most of the time, but have a pretty good knowledge of the systems. I became an A&P mechanic for Lockheed after the service. I no longer work with aircraft, but if I can answer any questions feel free to ask.
Dale R. Setford .

David Eyer

I was an AT in VFP-63 from 78- 81.

My detachment (DET5) served on the Nimitz out of Norfolk in 79-80 before, during and after the Iranian hostage crisis. RF8G's flew recon for the hostage rescue attempt. That year, Nimitz set a record for on-station time in the Indian Ocean, 144 days.

The RF8G's onboard were the first F8's to operate from the extended length catapult system on the newer class carriers. There were extensive engineering examinations performed to ensure structural integrity of the aging superstructure. There were concerns about the stress on the airframe and also the potential for early lift or fishtailing. The concerns turned out to be unfounded.

I have some patches and unique photos of F8's, carrier groups, and AH- 64's. I have the 79-80 USS Nimitz cruise book that includes information about "The Final Countdown" that was filmed during the early part of our stay on the Nimitz.

I also have a F8 Crusader "Aviation Publication" (ISBN 0-8306-8541-3) that has some interesting photos and information.

My ex-XO from VFP-63 lives in the area. I see him occasionally. He was noted for a number of punch-outs from F8's.

Stan Friedman
Coopers & Lybrand L.L.P. (US)
Tel: (602) 280-1808 Fax: (602) 280-1999

I was on the 69 cruise. I was an AZ3. I am interested in locating AZ1 Williams.

Dave Jones

AME1 (ret) former VF-53Iron Angel

George Harris

I was an enlisted blackshoe with VF-53 just prior to its decommissioning in 1971. I have always wondered what happened to some of the officers I served under. I noted that you had a picture labeled LCmdr Paul Skalatos in your collection. He was my last CO and one heck of a human being. Do you know his whereabouts? {Yes. Paul suffered a stroke earlier this year; last report is he is recovering and hopes to make the next F-8 reunion.}

Dale R. Setford

I was line PO for VF194 (Legendary Red Lightnings) on 2 Nam cruises. The carriers were Ticonderoga 1968, and Oriskany 1969.

Lloyd Gran

I was a member of VF-24 from 1971 to 1974. I was an airframes mechanic (AMS), made two WestPacs and have many memories of F8 maintenance and the problems therein.

I checked out the Kalamazoo Museum link and, lo and behold! 150904. I worked on that bird when it belonged to VF-24. Out of the 1000 or 1200 F8's made only a handful remain, and to find one that I actually worked on got me to wonder what I could contribute to it's restoration/preservation.

{Lloyd has provided KZoo with a great deal of help since making this contact; Thanks, Lloyd!}

{no name supplied}

I was assigned to VFP-306 as an AME.

Bob Martin

Even tho I did't fly the crusader I worked on it for several years at NAS Mirimar. I was in VF-124 stationed at Mirimar.

Larry Auborne


VFP 63 1968 thru july 1970
I was line trouble shooter and high power run up. I enjoyed it a great deal. My rank was petty officer 3rd class.

Al nicholas

I was an AT2 in VU_1 in 1962-63. We had several F8U's. The CO was CDR Geore Smith. We were based at NAS Barbers Point.


Al Kotrla

I was an aircraft electrician (among other duties) on Marine Corps F8's for a few years. I worked on F8U-1, 1E, 1P, 2, 2N & 2NE, most of that on the F8U-2NE (later known as the F8E). I served with VMF(AW)-235 in Danang flying F8E's. We dropped 2,000 pound bombs (one under each wing) from that glorious "fighter". VMF(AW)-235 rotated out of country in May 68 and as far as I know was the last Marine Corps F8 squadron in combat, making it truly the last of the Marine Corps "gunfighters". It was my last privileged service with F8's.

I have what I think is an interesting story about an F8 incident. In February '64 I served with VMF(AW)-323, MAG-11 in Taiwan on "Operation Backpack", one of those "joint military" operations. We were on a Taiwan airbase named Ping Tung. The Marine ground support units were alerted that a Navy F8 had launched off a carrier and, during his cat shot, lost his tire/wheel off his right main landing gear. The Marines had a land based Mobile Arresting Gear (MoRest) set up on the runway for emergency purposes. Evidently a command decision was made that we would catch the F8 on shore rather than have it return to the flattop. Crash Crews foamed the MoRest area of the runway while the pilot contemplated his situation. By the time preparations were completed and the pilot collected his thoughts, we had a sizeable group of spectators on hand to witness this event. This pilot was awsome!!! On his first try, he landed on the left main gear, caught the MoRest cable perfectly, the nose gear compressed down with the typical force, and only as the arresting gear began to retract the aircraft backwards did the right main gear touch deck....and neither wing tip ever touched deck. Awsome, I'm telling you. Marine structural maintenance crews determined that the gear experienced only minor scraping damage. They put on a tire/wheel and the F8 flew back to its carrier. I'm sure this incident pales in light of many others, but it just left all of us in a sense of awe at that pilot's skill. Needless to say, I was impressed!!

I really loved the F8 and I believe I actually suffered depression when I had to "advance" to the F4 Phantom. My personal high was my experience with Marine Reserves at NAS Dallas. Seein's how we kept working while the pilots were back at their "daytime" jobs, we were always short of pilots to taxi birds to the compass rose (I know they loved that chore) and high power ramp. I was authorized to taxi F8's to the rose and high power ramp. I loved strapping that baby down and testing the afterburner!!

Al Kotrla
Angleton, TX


Tom French


John J. McKenna
AT on Det 33-60, VFP-62, USS Intrepid. O-in-C was Charles Price ( Price's Pups ). We had 3 F8U-1P (no dang "RF-8A"!) Crusaders...146869 AF-925, 146871 AF-926, and 146872 AF-927. Fastest, biggest aircraft for that Med Cruise, and no guns! We cruised the Med from 4 Aug 1960 to 17 Feb 1961.

Your nice photo just happens to be "my" old 926 - 'course, then it was nice and new...

----------------------- -----------------------
James C. Shearer

Aviation Electricians Mate in VFP-63 in '69 and '70.

I seem to recollect that John Glenn Drove one of my squadron's planes cross crounty to set a speed record of some sort. I recall seeing a brass plate on one of the planes in Miramar. (P.W.O. note: That is correct; see the "Records" page on the site. Sadly, this a/c became fish food; don't have the specifics handy, but will dig up someday).

Never lost my love of the plane.


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