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Newsletter VP-11 Neptune Association Newsletter

Contributed by Dick Reed rwmreed@aol.com

VP-11 Reunion Set for October 19-21, 2001 in New London, Connecticut.

Ab Oakes and Bob Zemaitis have finalized plans for the Fall 2001 Reunion.

For those non-New Englanders, this should be the last chance to see the fall foliage in Connecticut. Early in 2001, you will receive room requests directly from the Hotel Radisson, which is in downtown New London. The rooms are $119 per night plus local taxes. Thirty rooms will be available Thursday, October 18 for those arriving early.

New London is a booming city, with the two new casinos nearby and the new world headquarters for Pfizer drug company (Viagra). Within walking distance of the hotel is a new boardwalk around the harbor with many good restaurants featuring seafood.

The hotel will provide free shuttle service to the casinos, and a block away are ferries to Block Island and Martha's Vineyard. The railway station (Amtrak from Washington and Boston) is also a block away. It is suggested using either Hartford (1 hour) or Providence (45 minutes) for those flying in. Groton-New London airport is 5 minutes away but fares are high as it is serviced by small commuter planes out of Philly or Baltimore. Guided tours of historical Mystic Seaport, the Nautilus , and the Submarine Force Museum will be available during the weekend.

Later in the year, Abner will send all of us a more detailed schedule. If you have any questions or suggestions write or e-mail Abner at: aoakes@snet.net


From the Editor

This will be the last newsletter of the year 2000, and I would like to bring you up to date on a few happenings. We now have our web site up and running: http://www.gtechno.com/vp-11.

I would like to list each VP-11 member's E-mail address and mailing address, however, I realize the sensitivity of having this information on a web site. That being the case,

I would like to hear from anyone who DOES NOT want this information listed on the site. Look over the web site, let me know what you think, and I will proceed from there.

Speaking of web sites, I found our VP-11 squadron on http://www.vpnavy.org. There is lots of current and past info. The site lists nearly every VP squadron there ever was, so if you are interested about other squadrons you served with, it's there too for your review. I have included a few letters from contributing Shipmates. I encourage any of you to submit your info in the future. Submit to: jjquinn@erols.com.

P2V-7...747-400 Comparison...

I used to think that the P2V-7 was a pretty big airplane, but now as a senior citizen and retired airline captain having flown the 747-400 my last three years, I feel a little comparison would be interesting to some our Shipmates.

On a typical flight from , the fuel load would be maxed out at 389,000 lbs (57,100 gallons) enough to fill 14 P2V-7's with a max fuel load of 4080 gals. each or to fly around the world 2.26 times.

The normal max load on a P2 without tips and bombays was 2980 gals could be stored in the 747 horizonal stab tanks with 320 gals to spare. The four engines on the 747 are rated at 57,000 lbs thrust each, and at cruise speed of 330 kts the ratio to horsepower is 1:1. That's 228,000 hp or enough to power 33 P2V's.

The weight at takeoff of the 747 is 875,000 lbs or the equivalent of 11 P2V's. The wingspan of the 747 is 213 ft, which would accommodate a P2V on each wing without touching and easily support their weight.

Finally, on the flight to Sydney we carried three meals for each of the 400 passengers or the equivalent of 1200 box lunches enough for 109 P2V-7's, with a crew of eleven.

With that parting thought, I rest my pen/fingers and think back on the glorious 15-hour P2V flights when the crew looked forward to the break and a gourmet "Box Lunch."

Happy Holidays........JJ Quinn


Biography Capt. William L. Hudspeth

Captain Hudspeth, known as Lou or Louie by his many Navy friends, was a former commanding officer of VP-11 and a member of our Neptune Association. As reported earlier, Capt. Hudspeth passed away at his home in Jacksonville, Florida on May 11, 2000 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

He began his Navy career as an aviation cadet in March 1942. After completing pilot training and earning his naval aviator's wings, he was assigned to VP-13 then operating out of Pearl Harbor. He was further assigned to a special detachment whose mission was to fly Commander, Naval Air Pacific Fleet, Vice Admiral John Towers and other high ranking officers on their travels throughout the Pacific theater.

After the war, his performance and aviator skills earned him an assignment to the Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. Later as a test pilot at the Naval Test Center, he served in the Armament Test division and then in Electronic Test.

In later years, he often reflected on the experience of pushing airplanes to their performance limits as the most satisfying duty and highlight of his entire naval career.

In 1960, then Cdr. Hudspeth reported to VP-11 as Executive Officer and soon departed for Iceland as OinC of the split deployment detachment. Meeting the dual commitments of ice reconnaissance in the North Atlantic and Greenland coast, and surveillance of the Russian fishing fleet in the North Atlantic during the winter months provided his detachment with its challenge.

In June 1961 he took command of VP-11 and led the squadron in winning the coveted "E" award. Among other items of recognition during his tenure, the squadron while deployed to Argentia, NFLD., was credited with aiding in the test evaluation of satellite readings of ice formations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

While serving as Executive Officer on the USS Iwo Jima during the Cuban Missile Crises, the ship deployed from San Diego with a full combat complement of assault Marines and helicopters, bound for the Caribbean. Fortunately, before they reached the Panama Canal they received word the crises had been averted, and they aborted the mission.

Throughout his career, Capt. Hudspeth served in numerous staff positions including service tours in Washington, London, Panama, Greenland, Iceland and Spain. He served as senior naval officer on the staff of CINCEASTLANT in London before being assigned the dual duties as Chief Staff Officer, Naval Activities Spain and Executive Officer of Naval Station, Rota.

One of his last tours before retiring was in Iceland as a negotiator on the staff of the Admiral Beling who was then negotiating for the U.S. Defense Forces with the government of Iceland. These negotiations took place at a time of great agitation in Iceland where elements of the Communist Party were competing for power and advocating that U.S. forces be expelled from the island. Capt. Hudspeth attributed his selection for this assignment to his having written a paper on the subject while attending the Staff College. The admiral and his staff were successful in convincing the Icelandic government that the country's best interests lay in continuing the relationship with the U.S. thus the favorable base treaty was renewed.

Capt. Hudspeth was a graduate of Washington University, Armed Forces Staff College and the Naval War College. He retired from the Navy on June 30, 1973 after 31 years of naval service. Memorial services with military honors were held at Arlington National Cemetery, VA on June 12, 2000. He is survived by his wife Rita, three sons and five grandchildren.

Jake McMichael adds some personal insights on serving with Capt. Hudspeth. After Lou's change-of-command ceremony in June 1961, several of us took off for Boston, getting back about 4:00 AM the next morning. Charlie Hirt and I couldn't get up for morning quarters, and we were missed by the new C.O./X.O. team. Our punishment (I don't know if it was Ray Neal's idea) was to stand the SDO duty, alternating every other day for the month of June. The rest of the J.O.'s thought it was great; and you all gave Charlie and me each a copy of the "Watch Officer's Guide" to express your gratitude for having no watches for the month.

I married Dianne in August of that summer, and Lou allowed Smokey Lane to fly the J.O. wedding party (Floyd Carter, Ted Laitala, Art Chadwick, Charlie Hirt and Jack Thompson plus my best man, Pete Berg from VP-7) out to Pittsburgh along with the VP-11 Party Sign. Lou, himself, flew out and picked up the group late on a Saturday after the festivities. I'm told they all piled into the after-station; continued to drink beer enroute back to Brunswick, throwing the empties out the afterstation hatch.

I don't think Lou even wanted to know what was going on aft of the wing beam.

Capt. Hudspeth completely floored me toward the end of his tour as C.O. It was fitness report time, and he called me into his office for a chat. I thought, "Oh-Oh, what have I done now?" He said that since I had gotten married, I had made remarkable progress in my execution of squadron responsibilities, and had turned into a fine young officer. I couldn't believe my ears. (My reputation was ruined... just kidding!)

From that moment on Capt. Hudspeth had my vote as a gentleman. I ran across Capt. Hudspeth many years later, 1972-1973 in Iceland. He was a very senior Captain, and I was a junior commander with an R&D crew aboard the YP-3C from the Naval Air Development Center.

We were doing some R&D efforts in the North Atlantic, and he was negotiating the status of the Keflavik base with the Icelandic military and government. I remember him puffing on the pipe, and ever the gentleman, inquiring softly regarding my career and current assignment.

I am glad to have known the gentleman. Best Regards, Jake.


Sea Stories Submitted by R.O. Reed

This story is dedicated to those who served as P2V Neptune crews in the Weekend Warrior reserve program. This tale describes the heroic effort of a reserve VP squadron to retrieve a grounded airplane from NAS Glenview, Illinois after a lengthy maintenance delay.

The P2V had diverted to NAS Glenview, Illinois in December 1970 with a malfunctioning engine on a flight from NAS Los Alamitos, California to the crews home base of NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts. An engine change was required, and arrangements were made for NAS Glenview, Illinois's maintenance to do the work. A number of factors including limited hangar space, maintenance priorities, snow covered ramps and a general reserve inertia resulted in more than a months delay in performing the engine change.

In late January, the NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts squadron was notified that the plane was ready. Following standard procedures, a P2V with two minimum crews was dispatched to NAS Glenview, Illinois to retrieve the plane. Unfortunately, the lengthy period of being parked unattended on the snow piled ramp had taken a toll, and the ferry crew discovered numerous grounding discrepancies without getting airborne.

Reluctantly, the crew aborted the effort and returned to NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts. Sadly, this procedure was repeated some two weeks later with the same lack of results. Time slipped away, and it was now approaching three months from the time the "lame duck" plane had arrived in NAS Glenview, Illinois.

Additional motivation to retrieve the plane came in the form of a message from COMNAVAIRRESTRNG directing, "Get that plane off NAS Glenview, Illinois's ramp." The squadron Commanding Officer decided the task required his personal attention, he would bring the plane home.

Being a furloughed airline pilot on temporary active duty for training, and readily available, I was scheduled to pilot the P2V that would transport the ferry crew to NAS Glenview, Illinois. As the time to depart approached, the CO's crew still lacked a co-pilot so in typical reserve fashion, we recruited an A-4 pilot who was in need of flight-time. The pilot had never been in a P2V before, but fulfilled the, "warm bodied pilot" requirement.

On arrival at NAS Glenview, Illinois, the CO and crew manned the, "repaired" P2V and made arrangements to conduct a test flight with an in-flight pickup of their IFR flight-plan to Boston. My role was to back them up in case transport home became necessary, so we filed and taxied out behind them to await the results of the test flight.

We were encouraged as the CO's plane took position on the runway and commenced the takeoff roll. As the plane approached liftoff, I noted it made a distinctive swerve just before becoming airborne. Once in the air, the landing gear started up then returned to the down position, and at about 200-300 feet came a rather urgent sounding cry of MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY.

As the plane leveled off below the overcast and made a slow left turnout, I remember thinking that I hoped the crew knew they were heading into the O'Hara airport airspace. The plane proceeded downwind somewhere below 1000 feet altitude and turned a long final for NAS Glenview, Illinois. As they approached the runway threshold at an estimated 200 ft altitude, the plane pulled up, retracted the landing gear and a voice uttered the words that would warm the heart of any pilot. "Tower, cancel our MAYDAY, we would like our IFR clearance to Boston." After a brief delay when the silence was deafening, the clearance was given and the CO's plane was departed for NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts.

On his arrival at home base the CO reported he figured something was up as the Air Station CO, XO and Training Officer were waiting on the ramp as he taxied in. Now for a recap of the events which took place on this historic test flight. On the takeoff as they approached liftoff, the starboard engine prop started to run away, the port engine fire warning light illuminated and a cloud of hydraulic fluid spray filled the flight deck.

The A-4 pilot in the right-seat at this point decided it was time to do something so he transmitted the MAYDAY call. While he was doing that, the plane captain toggled the stbd.prop back into range, reduced power to climb causing the fire warning light to extinguish and bypassed the hydraulic system. By the time they turned final, they were in a more or less normal P2V operating mode, so they decided to continue on to Boston. All in a days work for P2V crew. Yes, those were the days.


Submitted by Luke

Is my memory correct that we could carry about 3000 gallons without tip tanks and that our consumption at normal cruise was about 200 gallons/hour?

Then, I reminisced about a fuel-related experience I had during the winter of 1955 (I think). We came back from a flight in late afternoon. Darkness had already fallen. It was my job that day to handle the nozzle when the fuel truck came. It was bitter cold, and while out on the wing, I locked the nozzle down, hunkered down into my parka and let the gas flow.

Sometime later, I heard the base fire alarms go off. Soon, there was all kinds of activity on the ramp and HB5, with me crouched up on the wing, was bathed in spotlights. Looking down to the ground I saw that the plane was in a lake of 115/145. Apparently, there was an air lock in the tank and the fuel had spilled down the wing instead of going where it should have.

The fire watch, on his rounds, had seen the "lake" and pulled the fire alarm. Unfortunately, he neglected to tell me about it. Anyway, the spill was cleaned up, and I went to bed expecting a Captain's Mast. This never happened, thanks to Bill Hodges, but a few days later all of the nozzles on the fuel trucks had been modified so that they could not be locked down.


Maybe the Military should consider this for a recruitment/retention initiative:

USS Constitution The following tale is from the history of the oldest commissioned warship in the world, the USS Constitution. It comes by way of the National Park Service, as printed in "Oceanographic Ships, Fore and Aft," a periodical from the oceanographer of the US Navy.

On August 23, 1779, the USS Constitution set sail from Boston, loaded with 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of water, 74,000 cannon shot, 11,500 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum. Her mission: to destroy and harass English shipping.

On October 6, she made Jamaica, took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. Three weeks later, Constitution reached the Azores, where she provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 2,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.

On November 18, she set fail for England where her crew captured and scuttled 12 English merchant vessels and took aboard their rum. By this time, Constitution had run out of shot. Nevertheless, she made her way unarmed up the Firth of Clyde for a night raid. Here, her landing party captured a whiskey distillery, transferred 13,000 gallons aboard and headed for home.

On February 20, 1780, the Constitution arrived in Boston with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum and no whiskey. She did, however, still carry her crew of 475 officers and men and 18,600 gallons of water.

Length of cruise: 181 days - Booze consumption: 1.26 gallons per man per day (this does NOT include the unknown quantity of run captured from the 12 English merchant vessels in November.) Naval historians say that the re-enlistment rate from this cruise was 92%.


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