Contributed by Steve Riddle firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter #19 - April 1997
One Flight Two Remembrances
Contributed by Allen McCroskey
There is one flight in a VP45 P3 that has left tnvo indelible impressions on my mind: One is of a sunset; the other...
VP-45 Seaplane Ops Ended 19 December 1963
We took off from NAS JAX about 1400 and flew to the Caribbean to work with a submarine, doing the usual things that are done on this type training flight. We had made contact with the sub and were working a pattern at an altitude of about two hundred feet. Our location was about one hundred miles east of Eleuthera, flying in a westerly direction. It was then about 2000 hours and the sun was setting. This was not just any sunset, this was a SUNSET! The curvature of the earth, the island between us and the sun, the colors created by the changing light . . . the scene has stayed with me for over thirty years, and the whole experience comes back to me at odd moments and whenever I wish to recall that glorious vision.
Now for the other part of the tale. Sometime about 2130 the PPC decided to let the copilot take over the controls and had the navigator move to the cockpit. The PPC stretched out on the bench behind the pilot and almost immediately began a nap. My position at this time was sitting on the other bench and observing. At about 2200 the PPC raised up very fast and told the pilot to, "Pull Up! We're going to crash!" The PPC was assured we were OK and he lay back down. Within a minute he rose up again and shouted, "Pull up, we're going to fly into the water!!!" He was again reassured we were OK and he resumed his nap. A little while later the PPC took over, we departed station and flew back to JAX. We arrived a short time after 2400. When we got to the hangar we learned a VP-45 P3 had been lost out of Argentia, Newfoundland at about 2200 hours, and there were no survivors.
"...I enjoyed the VP-45 story entitled "One Flight Two Remembrances" as I was the nav on that crew that went down in Argentia. At the time I was on TAD on a sub out of Key West and had complained bitterly about the assignment. After the accident I really did not want to fly again but Cdr. Chapman came down to pick me up and made me fly the plane back to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, thankfully. I am about to retire from Delta as an instructor pilot and have had a business in Marco Island since 1974...Dusty Rhodes email@example.com..." [17MAR99]
Contributed by Allen McCroskey
The Last Operational Flight
by Jake Tobin
Jake Tobin remembers that one of the last VP-45 operational seaplane flights was flown from Bermuda on 19 December 1963. The PPC was Bob Palumbo, Jake was the co-pilot, Nike Levine manned the Nav table, and the Plane Captain was probably Cox, ADR-1.
Virginia Beach Reunion Was A Big Success
The very last operational flight by, a VP-45 seaplane was also the very last operational seaplane flight by a Atlantic Fleet squadron, according to Don Hill, who was the PPC. It was flown on 24 December 1963 and was a 7.2 hour patrol from Bermuda.
Don also was the PPC on the very last seaplane flight of an Atlantic Fleet squadron. The flight took place on 6 January 1964 and was a 4.1 hour ferry flight from Bermuda to Weeksville, North Carolina. The aircraft was a P5M-2, LN-5, BuNo 135489. Don reports that the flight was uneventful except for a little rime ice toward the end of the flight. (A picture of Don and LN-5 just before this list launch is contained in one of the scrapbook displayed at each reunion.)
Don added that VP-45 officially closed down Bermuda operations on 10 January 1964, four days after the list flight. Since there were so few P-5 plane commanders left during the last six weeks, they all got a lot o BDA/JAX/BDA flights transferring squadron material.
(Ed. Note: Don is employed by Lockheed Martin as International Business Manager. His consideration in taking the time to send his recollections is very much appreciated.)
As those who attended the reunion in Virginia Beach well remember, the latest Association reunion %vas a resound , success. There were members from 38 states, plankowners from both the PBY and PBM squadrons, and eight former Commanding Officers in attendance. The hotel, Virginia Beach Resort and Convention Center, was by far the most cooperative host we have ever had, provided exceptional service and the rooms were outstanding. The weather was perfect (it only rained on Saturday and didn't affect the Spirit of Norfolk cruise).
All events went as scheduled and all hands were well advised of times and places well in advance. The tour of Naval Station Norfolk had to be scrubbed when a USMC VLT (Very Large Truck) tried to assume the same space as the tail end of one of the trolleys used to transport our members on the tour. which included visiting USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). The trolle.% driver was cited for a traffic violation.
The Ready Room was large and spacious, and provided enough room for all who paused for a chat or refreshment. In the RR, John Pavlick set up shop, displayed and sold many articles from the squadron that were arranged for and provided by Will Moore from Jacksonville. By adding a small surcharge. the Association earned $266. In addition to the sales, John arranged for a 50/50 raffle (50% for prizes - 50% for the Assn..) and earned another $87 for the Treasury.
Both distinguished guests invited to speak at the banquet did so, and were extremely well received by the members. Admiral Semko and his wife, Dot, and Commander Deutsch and his wife, Kay, expressed their delight at being invited. Both officers made excellent presentations, which are included below for all to read, and stayed long after the event to answer questions and socialize with members in the Ready Room.
The Reunion Committee members were: Jack and Joyce Barry; Frank and Anne Agnew-, Bill and Sally Eaton-, Joe and Ruthe Stein; and Bill Stevens. These, and several other, hardworking folks really did a tremendous job which was truly appreciated by all who attended the reunion. BRAVO ZULU!
The PATRON FOUR-FIVE Association
c/o Dave Johnson
7814 Bay Meadows Drive
Pensacola FL 32507-1518
Dear Shipmates of PATRON FOUR-FIVE: On behalf of all of the officers, directors, and staff of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, thank you very much for your generous gift of $2,000. 1 assure you that every cent will be put to good use in preserving the precious naval heritage of our country, of which you men are an inseparable part. The legacy you have forged will be preserved and protected here, for as long as America stands.
Just as important is the passing on of that heritage to the young people of today, who have been spared the testing fire of war that touched so many lives in so many ways. It is one of our central missions to assure that the principles for which Navy people fought and died over the centuries - honor, courage, and commitment - are passed on to, and become a part of, our young people today.
Your generosity, and that of hundreds of thousands of other patriotic citizens, makes possible the carrying out of the Foundation's mission of honor and tribute. As new as I am to these responsibilities, I am both humbled and amazed as I encounter each day the depth of commitment to this Memorial displayed by veterans such as yourselves. I pledge that we will do everything in our power to live up to that commitment.
Thank you once again for this gift. Though it goes without saying, I will officially extend to you and your families the invitation to visit and experience the national treasure your support has made possible. I hope to see many of you here in the weeks and months to come.
Sincerely, Henry C. McKinney, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.), President & CEO