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Newsletter VP-11 Neptune Association Newsletter

FEBRUARY 2008 Newsletter


At the 2007 Branson, the members who attended the “Business meeting” selected Washington DC as the location of our next reunion scheduled for 2009. Our volunteer hosts, J.J. Quinn and Carl Hinger have been busy scouting out the best available arrangements, and have proposed the Fall (September or October) of 2009 for the reunion. The following summary of notes from J.J. provides an update on the progress they have made.

Notes from J.J. Quinn, Jan. 31 2008
    The reunion in Washington DC is set for late September or early October 2009. We have the location, activities and proposed prices for the three nights and four days of the reunion. The attached note from our tour guide explains this in more detail. The price as quoted at this time is $495.00 per person for hotel reservations and scheduled activities. This may seem high however, Carl and I reviewed the expenses to our group at the Branson reunion which appeared to be just under $400.00 per person. In order to lock in the quoted price we need to book our reservations by August 2008. We will need a minimum of 30 confirmed reservations at that time to obtain the quoted price. With this in mind, we will need an early head-count of those members who intend to attend this reunion. We invite comments regarding these arrangements, and if an insufficient number of people are interested or a majority consider the cost too expensive perhaps we can select an alternate location.

    Please contact J.J. Quinn (E-mail: airpix06@cox.net), Carl Hinger (seeone@comcast.net) or Dick Reed (roslreed@earthlink.net) to register your intentions of attending the reunion and / or relative comments.
SUMMARY OF NOTES FROM TOUR GUIDE
    Proposed dates of VP-11 Neptune Association Washington DC reunion – Wednesday, September 30, 2009 through Saturday, October 3, 2009. Based on a minimum of 30 attending for 3 nights and 4 days - $495.00 per person. Included are the following:

    Hotel – with breakfast
    Bus transfers
    Touring with guide
    Dinner cruise on Dandy

    Day 1: Arrive Washington DC – check into
    Hotel. Free time.

    Day 2: Arlington National Cemetery
    Transfer to Udvar Hazy Air and Space
    Museum. Lunch available in museum.
    Return to hotel, opportunity to change for dinner cruise.
    River cruise on Dandy.

    Day 3: Bus to DC – Air & Space Museum
    Time for lunch (National Gallery of Art is a good location for lunch.)
    Tour of WW II, Korean, Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials. Free evening.

    Day 4: Hotel checkout.
    Navy Museum.
    Time shop and opportunity to visit choice of the many museums etc. in the area.
The prices are based on the rates quoted for the hotel, bus and Dandy cruise at this time.

For additional information on the Virginia Suites, refer to http://www.virginiasuites.com.

Information on the Dandy cruises can be viewed @ http://www.dandydinnerboat.com.

The following excerpts from a letter received by our Treasurer.
    12/20/2007
    Thank You!

    Dear Mr. Postelwait,

    On behalf of the volunteers and staff of the American Cancer Society, I thank you for your recent contribution. We truly appreciate your gift of $200.00.

    Your generosity is helping us fund new cancer treatment technologies and research, reduce cancer in minority and other medically under-served groups, provide everyone access to free cancer information, and support community programs that help patients and their families cope with cancer.

    It's our mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. By 2015, we. Hope to prevent nearly five million cancer-related deaths, avert six million new cancer diagnoses, and continue to improve the quality of life for people with cancer.

    To learn how we're doing, how you can get involved, or how we can help you, call1-800-ACS-2345 or visit wwwcancer.org anytime. Thank you again for your generosity.

    Sincerely,

    Judith Calhoun, RN, Chairman of the Board

    American Cancer Society High Plains Division Inc 2433 Ridgepoint Dr A Austin, TX 78754

    OFFICIAL GIFT RECEIPT

    Benefit to Constituent:
    Gift Date: 11/15/2007
    Gift Amount: $200.00
    The American Cancer Society warmly thanks: Mr. Ralph A Postelwait (in the name of VP-11 Neptune Association)
    Deceased/Honoree Name : Gabe Sparagena
    Memorial/Honor Notification Sent to: Shirley Sparagena
VP-11 REUNION ANNOUNCEMENT

(Please note: This reunion is sponsored by the VP-11 group from the Orion era and although the members of the VP-11 Neptune Association are cordially invited, this event is not specifically sponsored by our association. ROR))
    From: VP 11 Reunions [pega_sus@hughes.net]
    Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008
    To: VP-11 Reunion Contacts
    Subject: VP-11 Reunion 2008 (V)

    This year's annual VP-11 reunion will be held on August 22-23rd at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, Maine. The hotel has agreed to have the reunion prices honored for two days before the reunion and three days after for a seven day window for those that wish to make a vacation out of their trip.

    The Hotel provides transportation to and from the Airport, Bus station, and Train Depot.

    We look forward to seeing a lot of folks there.

    There are many things to see and do in the area of the Holiday Inn.

    It is very close to the Old Port, which is one of the many attractions of Portland. There are a lot of shops and restaurants there.

    Some of the historical sites in Portland are the Henry Wadsworth House; the mast of the USS Portland (CA 33), the waterfront is nearby with many sites and plenty of restaurants, there are ferry's to take you to the many islands in Casco Bay.

    Also, the Coast Guard Base is in nearby South Portland with exchange services available.

    If you would like to look into more services available at Holiday Inn by the Bay, you can log onto their site at www.innbythebay.com

    We will also be using a bus this year for the trip to Booth Bay Harbor for the Lobster Clambake on Cabbage Island, with a 2 hour stop at L. L. Bean for shopping. We have 44 seats for the boat ride out to Cabbage Island so you need to get your reservations in early as it will be first come, first served.

    Commodore Payton, CPW-5 is our scheduled speaker at this time. There may be a change of command in the spring. His secretary will keep us posted.

    We will have hats available for sale, both with the P-2V and the P3B on them and also the new patch that was on our guest pins last year.
SECRETARY NOTES
    1.  Changes to roster information (address, e-mail address, etc.) can be sent to me at P.O. Box 590 Rye Beach, NH or E-mail: roslreed@earthlink.net. E-mail updates should be sent to Steve Colby (scolby@roadrunner.com)

    2.  Dues payments can be sent to our treasurer Al Postelwait at 5013 Commonwealth, College Station, TX 77840.

    3.  Members are encouraged to submit articles for publication in the newsletter. Sharing personal experiences, Navy / VP-11 stories, biographies etc. is what it is all about. 3.  VP-11 Neptune Association Officers:

      President : J.J. Quinn
      Treasurer : Al Postelwait
      Secretary : Dick Reed
      E-Mail Chairman: Steve Colby

    4.  For information on Patrol Squadrons including previous VP-11 newsletters see VP-11 Neptune Association.

    5.  Abner Oakes reports that he still has a few of the “Two Turning – Two Burning” baseball type caps available. Price is $15.00 . Send address to Abner @ 35 Julian Dr. Hamden, CT 06518 or E-mail to ao021301@aol.com, and money to Al Postelwait.
P2V NEPTUNE: FORGOTTEN WARBIRD

Part 7.  Charles Clark Jr. Aviation History Magazine
    For tactical missions such as ocean surveillance patrols, the crew had to begin preparations about 36 hours in advance of actual takeoff. The eight- to 10-man flight crews would assemble for an intelligence briefing by the squadron air intelligence officer. One crew would be assigned the mission while another acted as backup. If they were designated as backup, they would preflight and man their aircraft alongside the mission crew. If the primary crew aborted for some reason, the backup crew took off.   During the preflight briefing, the route of flight, or track, was assigned; the weather was discussed; and previous ship or submarine activity was described. Any special instructions for new or unusual sightings also were given. A takeoff time was assigned, and radio frequencies were reviewed. Following a general question and-answer period, the crewmen operating specialized electronic gear, such as electronic countermeasure receivers (ECMs), would be individually briefed on specific things to look for and report.   The mission aircraft was expected to be airborne precisely on the scheduled minute, so the crews were normally up hours before that time. The pilots of both mission and backup crews filed their flight plans and then received a weather briefing and detailed pictorial cross section of the weather. When the primary mission aircraft was airborne and had sent an "operations normal" message, indicating that their engines and equipment were functioning normally, the backup crew secured from flight operations and prepared for the mission they would fly the next day.   Tactical flights were usually launched before daylight and frequently returned to home base after dark-often in adverse weather that necessitated a ground controlled approach. Our cruising speed on patrols was about 170 knots, and we consumed an average 200 gallons of 115/145-grade aviation fuel each hour. The normal fuel load was between 3,400 and 3,700 gallons, depending on the tiptank size. The maximum endurance approached 15 hours, and flights usually lasted nine to 11 hours. ( To be continued)
U.S. NAVY P-8A POSEIDON ASW PATROL PLANE
    November 7, 2007 - Boeing will have five P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine test planes completed by March 2009, with full production expected to commence in 2013. One hundred and twenty nine feet long aircraft with a 117 foot wingspan, the long-awaited replacement for the P-3 Orion will be incorporated into the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. The Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine plane like its predecessor, and will carry five torpedoes, four anti-ship missiles and two satellite guided bombs.

    In addition to its anti-submarine capabilities, the Poseidon can be used for reconnaissance, surveillance, anti-surface warfare, shipping interdiction and intelligence gathering. It has an advanced mission system for maximum interoperability in battle space and is capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.

    The P-8A Poseidon has a cruising speed of 815 km/h and a maximum speed of 907km/h, with 30 million flight hours. Each CFM56-7 engine receives 27,300 pounds of takeoff thrust, and in flight the plane can reach a service ceiling of 12.5 km. While empty, it weighs 62 ,30kg, and it has a maximum takeoff weight of 85,370kg. The P-8 is based on Boeing's 737-800, and is the first militarized version of that series. It features raked wingtips rather than blended winglets and six additional body fuel tanks. The US Navy has been searching for a replacement for the P-3 for roughly two decades.

    Via Boeing and Seattle ....pi.
A HISTORY OF PATROL SQUADRON ELEVEN ( VP-11) – PART 1
    This is the first of a series of articles which I hope to present as a history of VP-11. ROR

    The following is a summary of an article entitled, “Profile of One of Our Shipmates, Salvino Paul Tobias,” which appeared in the October 2000 VP/VPB –11 Association Newsletter. This association is made up of squadron alumni from the World War II, PBY Catalina, era.

    I Salvino P. Tobia, enlisted in the Navy on February 28, 1940. After completing “Boot Camp” training, I attended Machinist Mate School at Pensacola, Florida where I completed a four-month course. Upon graduation, I was given my choice of duty assignments, and I chose Patrol Squadron TWENTY-THREE, stationed in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. I arrived in Hawaii on October 15, 1940. In early 1941, the squadron was redesignated VP-11 and transferred to the newly commissioned Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay. The following account describes my wartime experiences.

    On Sunday morning December 7, 1941 I was in the squadron hanger installing replacement self-sealing fuel tanks in the PBY wings when, “All hell broke loose.” A group of Japanese dive-bombers attacked our hanger, which were soon followed by another group that strafed our planes on the ramp just outside the hanger. With the help of a shipmate, the two of us managed to get hold of a 50-caliber machine gun and set it up just outside the hanger. We were facing the bay and the mountains in the direction from which the Japanese planes were attacking. We fired off several rounds in a flurry of retaliation by our squadron, and we shot down one of the attacking planes.

    The damage caused by the attacking planes was extensive. Eleven men were killed, and all the aircraft were damaged, some beyond repair. With all-hands working day and night for the next several months to repair the planes and facilities, we were able to operationally get back on our feet. I was assigned as a flight crew plane captain with the responsibility of keeping the aircraft ready to fly on a moments notice.

    During August and September 1942, while operating from Espiritu Santo in the Hebrides Islands, our squadron planes engaged in several incidents involving Japanese aircraft and submarines. On the day after the invasion of Tulagi, we flew in to pickup a wounded Marine and several other personnel requiring evacuation. Taking off in the early dawn, we were fired upon by a Japanese submarine, but fortunately sustained little damage. On another occasion, two of our planes returning from patrols encountered a Japanese four-engine flying boat. In the pursuit that followed, they exchanged fire with the enemy and my best buddy, a plane captain on one of the planes, was hit and instantly killed.

    On September 11, 1942, while on a patrol near the Solomon Islands, we sighted a Japanese destroyer just prior to the time to alter course for our return to base. We commenced a bombing run and from out of nowhere, we were attacked by two Japanese Zeros who came up on us from behind. They made several firing passes on us, resulting in the loss of both of our engines. We made a forced landing at sea, and our crew of nine was soon picked up a Japanese destroyer. We were interrogated and beaten before being transferred later that night to a cruiser. We spent 10 days in isolation on the cruiser before being blindfolded and transferred to Truk Island. After an additional 10 days in isolation on Truk, we were put aboard a cargo ship bound for Japan.

    Upon arrival in Japan, we were imprisoned at a POW camp called Ofuna. I remained a prisoner at Ofuna for approximately one year before being transferred to the Yokohama Stadium, which had been made into a prison camp. While at this camp, I was forced to work as a laborer at the ASANO shipyard. I remained there for approximately a year and a half where we worked seven days a week.

    In June 1945 I was moved from Yokohama to a steel mill located in the northern part of Japan. Here we worked every day repairing wheel bearings on boxcars used to transport iron ore from the mountains to the steel mills. At times we gathered tender grasses from the mountainside to supplement our meager daily rations of rice and fish. The barracks I lived in was located close to the coastline. In July and August of 1945, we were badly shelled by guns of the U.S. fleet causing great damage to the steel-mill and destroying our barracks. Additionally, one of the shells hit a mountain peak cave killing some thirty men.

    Shortly after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we became aware that something catastrophic had occurred. One morning the Japanese camp commandant announced that the war was over. He drew his sword and handed it to the senior American officer prisoner. That was a day of joy and no words could ever explain how I felt. My three years as a prisoner-of-war had ended. It was over!

    Soon after my release I was repatriated to the United States. I was given extensive medical examinations at Oakland and later Chelsea naval hospital. I was awarded the following service medals for my experiences during the Pacific campaign: Air Medal, Combat Aircrew Wings with 3 stars and the Purple Heart.

    Ed. Chief Tobia continued his post-war Navy career serving in various aviation squadrons and facilities in his specialty as aviation electrician. He retired from the Navy after twenty years service before embarking on a civilian career as a nuclear quality control inspector with General Dynamics in their Trident submarine program. Following his retirement from General Dynamics, he and his wife settled in Florida where they resided until his passing in October of 2000

    I hope the foregoing article has stimulated some interest in the history of our squadron.

    In the next issue we will begin the review of VP-11 history starting with the original commissioning in the years preceding World War II. My efforts in developing a squadron history can rightfully be called a “work in progress,” and I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has information or ideas that would contribute to this project. ROR

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