VP-11 Neptune Association
Contributed by Dick Reed email@example.com
NOVEMBER 2001 Newsletter
NEW LONDON REUNION DECLARED A HUGU SUCESS
PLAN NEXT REUNION FOR SAN DIEGO IN APRIL 2003
Thanks to the special efforts of Abner and Cyndy Oakes, Bob and Arlene Zemaitis and all those who assisted in hosting the Reunion, this was another memorable VP-11 occasion. For those who attended, it was a reminder ofhow dear we hold those friend-ships made long ago, and what a delight it is to make new friends of those who shared our common VP-11 experience. For those who were not able to attend, we missed you, and hope your smiling faces will be included among those at the next Reunion.
Although there were several highlights of this Reunion, the focal point as usual was the hospitality suite, where smiles and stories were in abundant supply. Whether viewing slides of P2Vs flying over the Mediterranean, debating who did or didn't skin a tire on landing at NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C., agreeing on who was the best obstetrician in Brunswick, or toasting liberty in Spain, Malta, the Med., members renewed the ties that bind us.
Friday's trip to the Mystic Harbor Seaport was complemented by beautiful Fall weather, and for some of us, the added attraction of having the wife of a deployed active-duty submariner as a guide. If you have not been on the Mystic tour, it comes highly recommended. The two to three year whaling voyages chasing whales she described, made the six month VP-11 deployments seeking submarines seem like a vacation.
As a result of elevated security, restricting access to the submarine base, our planned visit to the Nautilus Museum was cancelled. However, we were privileged to have the Submarine School Commander, Captain Clare w. "Bill" Hanson II, address the group at our hotel following our business meeting. A brief of his presentation is included with the minutes of the business meeting.
President "Buck" Rabuck presided at the meeting welcoming the attendees with a brief description of the state of the association. He noted that the roster now numbers 147 former officers and enlisted members residing in 29 states, Spain and England. On behalf of the members he thanked the Oakes' and Zemaitis' for their time and effort in hosting the Reunion. Buck presented the VP-11 Neptune Association lapel pins and pendants so generously donated to all association members by Gabe Sparagana. All were encouraged to communicate an appropriate thanks to Gabe.
In concluding remarks, Buck repeated Senator McCain's tale of patriotic example of a Hano Hilton roommate who painstakingly fabricated a makeshift American flag, despite having been previously severely punished for a similar offense. Buck then led the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF ASSOCIATION BUSINESS AND RELATED DISCUSSIONS
1. Old business The minutes of previous Reunions having not been recorded, were not presented, not accepted or herein recorded. (attempt at humor)
2. Presentation of nominations for a slate of officers to serve during the term of office between Reunions.
The nominees were accepted and elected by a show of hands. The elected Association officers are:
President: Harry Kraus
Treasure: Ralph "Al" Postelwait
Secretary: Richard "Dick" Reed
Editor: John "Jr' Quinn
E-Mail Chair: Steve Colby
3. A discussion of possible Reunion sites and dates for the next Reunion. Those considered:
a. West Coast - possibly San Diego
b. Pensacola - recommended that we adopt a plan to meet there every other Reunion. Tabled.
c. Brunswick, Maine - a popular site offering the possibility of a joint Reunion with Orion Era. groups.
d. Jacksonville, FL. -Rabuck offer to host on the beach.
After considering the attractiveness of the various proposals as to available time of year (weather & seasonal rates), volunteer hosts and likely popular attendance, it was decided to hold the next Reunion on the West Coast. San Diego was the preferred location, and April 2003 the tentative date. Volunteers to serve on a Reunion committee were:
Harry Kraus - (his absence was not considered relevant)
4. A discussion of the advantages and desirability of expanding association membership. It was recommended that the elected officers investigate the possibility of affiliation with other VP-11 Alumni groups. Options mentioned:
a. Sponsorship of a joint Reunion with members of Orion era groups.
b. Promoting the formation of an all Neptune association not specific to any squadron. Squadron chapters as subgroups.
c. Suggestion that the numbers of eligible pilots and aircrewmen from VP-11 in the 1952-1967, Neptune era, provide more than an adequate population to support any desired expansion.
Action on the proposed options tabled ""~"... for further study.
5. Discussion of study report, submitted by Bart Smith, on the subject of association incorporation as a non-profit organization. Based on the following, it was decided not to pursue the idea of incorporation at this time.
a. For a small group such as ours, the risk ofbeing sued appears minimal.
b. A survey of other Navy alumni associations like ours revealed that none are incorporated.
c. According to one association member, who is also a member of the bar, any litigation that would likely be brought against a group such as ours, would probably be able to penetrate any protection provided by incorporation.
d. The cost to the association of initial incorporation, and the required annual maintenance, measured in time and expense is considerable.
6. A committee consisting of Leo Rabuck, Steve Colby and Armand DeLuca volunteered to prepare bylaws and a mission statement for the association.
7. Financial report based on summary report of the treasurer dated 15 October 01.
a. Current bank balance $1,899.11 Reunion bills have been paid except for miscellaneous items.
b. Prior to receipt of Reunion registration payments, balance $1,628.50.
c. Average balance over the past two years in the $1,300 to $1,600 range.
d. With 2002 dues coming due, the financial position of the Association remains reasonably strong.
7. A discussion of recommended rules to protect individual member infor- mation from public access.
a. The roster will not be posted on any internet websites.
b. E-mail users should not mix the addressees of members with those of nonmembers when sending multi-address messages.
c. Members who object to having their personal information publish- ed on the roster, should notify the association secretary.
SUMMARY OF GUEST SPEAKER CAPTAIN C. W. HANSON'S REMARKS
Capt. Hanson, a veteran submarine officer, described his career that. encompassed numerous submarine tours on diesel and nuclear boats, including command of attack and SSBN missile launching submarines. His description of the typical routine, at sea and in port, of the dual crews assigned to nuclear subs, provided a good insight into the individual dedication required of those who man todays submarine force. In detailing the responsibilities of his submarine school command, Capt. Hanson outlined the intensive training that each submarine officer and crewmember undergoes in attaining and maintaining their qualifications.
A responsive question and answer session covered many interesting areas of modern submarine operations. Capt. Hanson demonstrated his expertise as a commander, with vast experience, in fielding such sensitive issues as current ASW capabilities, submarine missions and tactics, and the future assignment of women aboard submarines.
Captain Hanson's departing thought was that we should all feel proud and confident of our naval team. He recommended that we should not hesitate in encouraging today's youth to pursue a naval career.
The adopted theme of this Reunion was: Walk, walk, walk - Talk, talk, talk and Eat, eat, eat. Our final subject on the Reunion thus covers dining which incorporated the talk and eat features. Friday and Saturday evening buffets provided good dining and the opportunity to share the camaraderie that draws us together. Dick Eisley as our MC treated us to entertaining friendly abuse of one and all. Harry Wieschoff, recently returned to the States after years of developing his subtle English dry humor, laid it on us. To those who could not help but wonder, Harry later produced the pipe that was a part ofhis VP-11 image. Joe Notargiacomo produced a copy of the Rabuck wedding portrait which allowed several of those present who were guests, or in the wedding party, to reminisce and update the forty plus year images.
We departed on Sunday with promises to keep in touch and with plans to meet at the next VP-11 Reunion.
VP-11 CAPS AND LICENSE PLATE FRAMES
Abner Oakes reports that he has available both caps and license plate frames available. The caps feature an embroidered Pegasus symbol and VP-11. Those remaining are available for $15.00 each. The frames are white plastic with blue "FLY NAVY / VP-11 NEPTUNE ASSOC." The cost of the frames are $2.00 each. Shipping charges if ordered together is $3.50.
THE ASSOCIATION HAS ITS OWN WEBSITE!
The address is: http://www.gtechno.coml/vp-11 . Posted on this site you will find a copy of this newsletter, photos from the last Reunion and other sea stories. A chat forum is also available.
A VP-11 EXPERIENCE - FORMER CO RUDY FALKENSTEIN
I read your letter with interest. I spent virtually all my flying career in WingsLant -- VP-21, VAHM-13, VP-24, WingsLant Staff, VP-11 and Wing Eleven Staff. I know, or knew, practically all the people you mentioned -- Oliver, Burton, Hudspeth, Neal and Gaul and, I share your views about VP-11 - some squadrons just seem to be more of a lasting fraternity than others. In VP-11 a continuum of professionalism certainly contributed to the fraternal spirit.
As you know, I reported to VP-11 in the summer of '65 with orders to be XO. Imagine my surprise to find five CDR's aboard, four of which were senior to me! BuPers denied a screw-up, and said the imminent change of command would take away one of them, and thirty days would be forthcoming on two others. The then XO would become CO and the remaining CDR who was junior to me would be Ops. for a while.
Some adventuresome actions by Castro (fall-out of the Cuban crises of '63-64) required a 6 plane deployment of VP-11 to GTMO a week before the '65 change of command. The Wing Commander wanted the CO to lead that detachment so he cancelled the formal ceremony. He had Jim "Mumbles" Richardson and Joe Klause read their orders in his office, and launched Klause with half the squadron to GTMO!
Flight Ops. in GTMO were routine ASW/Shipping patrols marked only by a hairy, high right hand approach to the single runway at Leeward Point field to avoid small arms fire from some wacko's on the "other side of the fence."
The rest of'65 and early '66 was aimed at pre-deployment readiness for a split deployment to NS Rota, Spain. This period was marred by a squadron plane ditching in the Brunswick Bay area, suffering one fatality. Routine rocket runs (on a smoke light) resulted in a rocket launch from the port wing wherein the rear mount of the rocket hung up on the rail. The ignited rocket corkscrewed around, broke loose and went through the port propeller. The PPC was unable to secure the engine which itself was gyrating dangerously on it's mounts. Fearing the worst, the PPC quickly decided (correctly I think) to ditch the plane. A successful ditching, followed by everyone exiting followed. All except the co-pilot managed to get into rafts which strong winds blew downwind from the ditching site. The co-pilot swam away from the plane but could never catch up to the drifting rafts. He perished from exposure as it was about forty-five minutes before the SAR helo picked him up. It was mixed emotions for us to be sure --joy at a successful ditching, everyone out and in rafts; sadness at the loss of the co-pilot.
I relieved as CO in NS Rota, Spain in May '66, came home in June and immediately went into transition to the P-3.
Since you want to end your story at that point, I'll not go any further. It would be nice if some energetic ex-Lovin'-Elevener would pick up and write the finish with the Orion from '66 to '97. I was present as the pennant was hauled down and piped over the side on 2 August '97. It was indeed a most impressive ceremony.
The Orion-ers of '65-68 had a Reunion at Broomstick in '96 and repeated in 2000. Maybe we could get these two groups together in a combined VP-11 Association -perhaps we could call it the VP-11 Neptune-Orion Association. Good Luck.
(Ed. Thanks for the insight. Perhaps Rudy can be encouraged to follow-on with the initial Orion VP-11 experience in a future newsletter article. A hearty endorsement for any and all efforts to encourage an affiliation with the VP-11 Orion contingent)
A NOT FROM BO KILNER WIFE OF FORMER SKIPPER CAPT. JOHN KILNER (RETIRED)
"Much as we would like to be there, we will be unable to attend the VP-11 Reunion in New London. We've both cracked over 80 this year and we've slowed down quite a bit. I'm not driving far either, in fact our daughter is coming up (Chamberlain, Maine) to drive us home. John's memory is not too sharp, but I remember our days at Brunswick with fondness. We see the planes from there fly over daily. I love the sound of the engines. Most of the people in VP-11 with us have departed, but if there is anyone who would remember us, please give them a fond aloha. We hope you have a really super Reunion. We will look for the reports in the bulletin. Also please check for me, I think we owe dues."
NEW MEMBER: GEORGE (DICK) AND JUDY ISELY
The following excerpts from Dick's membership 2 request:
Judy and I have attended all of the other VP-11 group's gatherings over the years and only became aware of the Neptune Association via Mike (McClendon) at the last Reunion of what you call the "Orion group."
I was one of the last group of P2V-7 drivers in VP-11. I was attached to VP-11 from September 1963 to September 1966. When I left the Navy in 1966, two of the five VP squadrons at NAS Brunswick, Maine had already been transitioned to the P-3 and VP-11 was just about to receive its first P-3 pilots. So, I guess I'm one of the P2V, "tail-end Charlies."
I participated in a full depoloyment to NAS Sigonella, Sicily in 1964, two different detachments to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and a (rotating) split deployment to NS Rota, Spain in early 1966.
After my Navy service, I flew for American Airlines, starting in October 1966 and retired 2 1/2 ~ years early in Novmber 1995 - a 29 year airline career.
Now that I am retired, Judy baby-sits the grand-children, I'm heavily into amateur (ham) radio, and we have been traveling a bit in the U.S. and opverseas. Speaking of traveling, we will not be able to attend he October Reunion of the VP-11 Neptune Association because we will be in China. However, in the future, I will try to avoid such conflicts if I know far enough in advance. I usually book trips of this scale six to nine months ahead of the departure date.
I have mailed my membership form and a check to cover 2 years dues. I recognize / remember at least a half-dozen of the members names on the roster I received and I'm looking forward to meeting more of them in the not too distant future.
George (Dick) Isely
HARRY KRAUS YOUR NEW ASSOCITION PRESIDENT WEIGHS IN
Just got back from Washington DC where I attended the National BioDiesel Board meeting. I had Saturday evening free, and called Carl and Shirley Hinger who picked me up for a visit and wonderful meal at their rural home. Felt right at home on the end of a dirt road while a guest in their beautiful home. Don't ask me how to get there, as the roads back there do not run straight north/south and east/west.
The friendships we made in VP-11 run deep, and are lasting, which is indicative of why the VP-11 experience was so successful. Had we not made these deep friendships while caring out the mission of the squadron, the squadron would not have been one of excellence.
A note on entering the environs of DC. Thirty minutes out, all passengers were ordered to sit down, buckle up, shut up and not arise from the seat for any reason regardless, or suffer severe consequences. Same on out bound to Philly. DCA was a ghost of itself with less than half of the flights, but a very secure place. They detected the staples left in my gut from the prostatectomy, so they had the detector turned up real good. Sad to see Bolling AFB and NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C. idle across the river.
I guess that not being at New London had its down sides. One was that I am the new ~ CEO of the squadron. Sounds like those in attendance had the usual great time even with the military jaunts being eliminated.
I will try to be responsive and work on a great opportunity for the 2003 Reunion in San Diego. I will have the able assistance of Charlie Oster who volunteered to help and has done the initial foot work in getting this going. It is my understanding that he presented this to the group in New London. He will be assisted by Glen Patterson, so Crew 2 rides again.
San Diego has been a second home for me since my white hat and boot ensign days in the early '50s. It is easy to get around in and things to do are not too far away. We will need input on the desires of the squadron quite quickly so that the planning can proceed. Virginia and I make it back about every two or three years for a respite in the winter.
For the squadron, Charlie has a list of hotels for about the same price as New London. Let us know if there is interest in a supper cruise on the bay, tours of the beautiful zoo and Balboa Park, Mexican meal in Old Town golf, etc. I don't know if NTC is completely shut down, but the last time out there, there was a banner at the north gate welcoming the public to play golf on the base. There could be carrier visits etc. if available or permitted.
There are two hotel areas that I would recommend. One is in the old 5th Street Landing area which has been developed as a convention center. This also has the Harbor Side array of shops and eateries including the resurrected Harbor House. The Gas Light area is nearby and the Open Mall also. The other hotel area is a little quieter over on the west side of the bay by Point Lorna, NTC, Sea World, etc. Any comments on this would be appreciated. Either place is one to two miles from Lindbergh Field where commercial arrivals are located.
Carl Hinger mentioned that North Island has facilities on base for use of Reunions. We need to check this out as this is on Coronado Island. There are hotels over in Mission Valley at Hotel Circle, but that is a farther piece from the action. Not sure where Charlie's list ofHotels are located, but will try to get out there later in the winter.
I would recommend that if you haven't been to San Diego area for some time that you might want to extend your stay and do some of the tourist things. Contact Charlie, Glen or myself with your ideas and desires. Otherwise, we'll tell you where to go.
"VP-11 Neptune Association"