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Circa 1969

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation December 1969 "...On Patrol - Page 47 - December 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/dec69.pdf [17SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation April 1969 "...On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - April 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/apr69.pdf [17SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-49 Award ThumbnailCameraVP-49 Award "...Air Medal Awards Ceremony...January 1969...Held at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland following the deployment to Southeast Asia..." Contributed by Fred Bates turguson@optonline.com [27AUG98]


Circa 1968

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraMeritorious Unit Citation "...Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross)..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [14DEC2012]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation September 1968 "...On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - September 1968..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1968/sep68.pdf [15SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation August 1968 "...Orion Fires A Bullpup - Naval Aviation News - August 1968..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1968/aug68.pdf [15SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation June 1968 "...On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - June 1968..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1968/jun68.pdf [15SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Squadron History - Patrol Squadron Four Nine (Cruisebook)..." Contributed by TWEDT, AT Lloyd ljtwedt@cetlink.net [06JAN2004]
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Circa 1967

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - November 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/nov67.pdf [13SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation September 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - September 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/sep67.pdf [12SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - July 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/jul67.pdf [11SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation February 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - February 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/feb67.pdf [08SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - January 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/jan67.pdf [08SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-49 Sub Thumbnail"...Submarine "Shark" being observed by Crew-5 in the Atlantic in May 1967..." Contributed by Fred Bates turguson@optonline.com [27AUG98]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-49 Sub Thumbnail"...Submarine "Threadfin" being observed by Crew-5 in the Atlantic in April 25, 1967..." Contributed by Fred Bates turguson@optonline.com [27AUG98]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-49 Sub Thumbnail"...Submarine "Dace" being observed by Crew-5 in the Atlantic in May 1967..." Contributed by Fred Bates turguson@optonline.com [27AUG98]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...US Navy Recollections..." Contributed by Doug Binks, AMS2 djbn53db@hotmail.com [19NOV99]

US Navy Recollections
by
Doug Binks, AMS2, B20-93-80
VP-49 Instructor Flight Engineer
February 21, 1967 - January 25, 1971

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
Guard Duty
Sleeping in Class
SERE School
Ground Crew, Bailout Drill
Aircraft Fire, In-flight
Initiation
Bon Homme Richard
Turbulence
New Jersey
Crew Coordination
Cooking
Typhoon Flight
Bomb Loading
Strange Underwater Contacts
Isaac Newton
Visibility
NATOPS Pilot, Check Ride


INTRODUCTION

The following are recollections of my, nearly, four years in the Navy during the Vietnam era. As they are being remembered and recorded in September of 1999, the inaccuracies and embellishments are purely from my imagination.

I was fortunate throughout the four years, in that the Navy's desire, in nearly every incident, and mine matched. I can attribute this, for the most part, to two years of engineering and Air Force ROTC courses at the University of Maryland, before enlisting.

I attended boot camp at Great Lakes starting February 21, 1967. From there I was assigned to AMS school in Millington, TN starting May 20, 1967. I joined VP-49 on October 20, 1967 after a brief tour through VP-30, and stayed with them until getting out on January 25, 1971 to return to the University of Maryland. VP-49 deployed to South East Asia from May 29 till December 12, 1968 and Iceland from July 6 till November 11, 1970. The rest of the time we were normally found at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Lexington Park, Md.

GUARD DUTY

Boot Camp, Great Lakes

The only free time is the walk from chow hall back to the barracks. Two of us were doing so on a particularly nasty evening, weather wise. It was cold, windy, snow on the ground, and a bit of it in the air. Not a nice night to be out. The entrance to the barracks was at the far end of the grinder (a.k.a. parking lot), where there was also a dumpster. Standing there was a recruit, not nearly as senior as the two of us, standing at rigid parade rest with his M-1, guarding the garbage. We first went to the corner of the dumpster to pick it up and carry it away. It weighed at least 2,500 pounds, so it would have been an easy task. Or at least that's what the guard thought, because he immediately tried to shoo us away, without breaking parade rest or moving his lips. A conversation ensued about the importance of the garbage and the need for a 24-hour guard. He finally threw his gun down and left.

SLEEPING IN CLASE

Millington, TN

One of the instructors had a different way to encourage people to stay awake in class. If caught sleeping a student was sent to the back of the room to stand on two number 10 cans, one under each foot. One person was doing so, but the encouragement was not sufficient. He feel asleep standing up. When this happens the most likely results are 1) head falls back, 2) body falls forward, and 3) chin is the point of impact. The sound is not pretty. You don't want to make it or even hear it!

SERE SCHOOL

Brunswick NAS, Brunswick and points north, ME

Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape school was a requirement for all air crewmembers that would be flying in the war zone. I attended the school in February 1968. A group from VP-49 flew to Brunswick on Sunday. Classes started Monday and went through Wednesday, noon. We were issued cold weather gear (the warmest it got all week was +8oF), snow shoes (snow depth four to fourteen feet), loaded on a bus, and transferred 100 miles north into the White Mountains. We were broken into groups of four, handed one rabbit - quite dead but still furry - advised to do what we thought was appropriate, and invited to sleep anywhere we liked, in the snow. We were simulating just having arrived behind enemy lines, uninvited.

Our camp area was the subject of a simulated paratroop attack at daybreak, Thursday morning. We broke camp and ran across the mountain to get away from the guys in the black pajamas. We had been supplied with maps and directions the night before. They were familiar with the area, carrying less and in better shape than we were. When they caught us, which was often, we were generally abused, strip searched, and thrown into the snow. We were caught often, how hard is it to track somebody in fresh snow? The higher your rank, the worst the treatment when caught. We ran across the mountain and were chased/caught till nearly dark. The entire class, a few more than a hundred, got back together and bedded down in a slash area. The second shift of the bad guys pestered us all night, with lots more throwing in the snow. There was only one exception. Steve Staresina climbed about 30 feet up a snowdrift, built a tunnel, crawled in, and slept like a baby. He was light enough to climb the bank, nobody else was able to get to him.

Our camp area was the subject of a simulated paratroop attack at daybreak, Friday morning. This time we broke into pairs with a map to a simulated evacuation point, coffee and a sandwich. John Eubanks and I decided that they would have to work for it if they wanted us. We went straight up the side of the mountain and never saw anybody till late afternoon. Some of the trails that we used were only a foot wide with 20-foot drops above and below. When we started down to the evacuation point a bad guy jumped out from behind a tree and captured John. I had to turn myself in at the road at the base of the mountain at dusk. The reward was to be thrown into the POW camp.

The camp was not like the one you see in Hogan's Heroes! The three-shift, 24-hour intimidation and abuse continued. Adding to the excitement were also hard and soft cell interrogations. I was the lowest ranked person in the camp, so had it easier than most. The only prohibition was that they were not allowed to inflict injury.

Early Sunday morning, I got put onto a fire wood detail. There were three of us, and we were left alone as long as we worked. We were located between the inner and outer barbed wire fences. There was a pile of round logs, about four inches in diameter, outside the outer fence. Our task was to move the pile inside the inner fence, splitting each log in half in the process. One person reached through the fence, retrieved a log and stood it up to be split. I used a tractor mower blade to split the log. The last person retrieved the two pieces and put them inside the fence. A detail inside moved our split logs and stacked them neatly. The guards regularly kicked over the "neat" stack. The inside crew never finished.

The mower blade was about 18 inches long and + inch thick, with one very dull edge. In our condition, no sleep since Wednesday night, nothing to eat since the gourmet 1/4 rabbit dinner Wednesday, and constant physical exertion, our log retrieve, split, put detail was all that we were capable of doing. Each move took concise thought and a rest period after. We were able to move less than two logs a minute.

At the end, about 4 am Sunday, all three shifts of bad guys were lined up in the camp, as were all POW's. The simulated good guys broke down the gate and charged in with an American flag. The guards in the towers opened up with their, simulated, machine guns - a message to hit the dirt. More than half of us did so, having been so well conditioned (brainwashed?) that we didn't even think about it. A few attacked the bad guys, who had been ordered to stand there and take whatever came their way.

There was cake and juice immediately outside the camp. And warm buses to transport us back to Brunswick. Once there, it was hard to decide whether to eat, shower or sleep first. Most elected that order. The mess hall had a fantastic spread of food laid out. We were all amazed at how little we could eat, stomachs had shrunk.

John was coming out of the shower as I was going in. He had two very large, ugly bruises on his chest were he had been suspended by the lapel and bounced off the wall during one of his hard cell interrogations. There was a matching set on his back, same cause.

We had a VERY interesting debriefing/final class Monday and flew home. Everyone agreed that they had been through a very valuable experience at or beyond their limits, that they had more respect for the down-behind-enemy-lines scenario, and that they NEVER wanted to do this again.

GROUND CREW, BAILOUT DRILL

En route to Sangley Point, Philippines

Every flight involved at least a ditching, bailout or fire of unknown origin drill. The regular crew got pretty good at each one. The people who flew only occasionally were not so good. Passengers were always briefed on what to do in each case at the beginning of each flight. This included location of their ditching station, parachute and procedures.

If they didn't know how, we showed them how to put on the parachute.

On one flight, the pilot called for a drill, "This is a drill, this is a drill, bail out, bail out." over the intercom and punched the timer. He immediately secured the co-pilot and flight engineer from the drill. Sixty seven seconds later the Tacco called forward, "Flight, Tacco, the crew is ready to bail out." "Roger, secure the crew from the drill."

About four minutes later, the Tacco called, "Flight, Tacco." No response. Followed by, "Flight, Tacco, the rest of the crew is ready to bail out." No response. "Flight, Tacco." And finally a response, "Why are you calling? There is nobody here! We jumped out four minutes ago."

AIRCRAFT FIRE, IN-FLIGHT

Yankee Station, Vietnam

We were about an hour out of U-Tapao, heading toward Cambodia and the south to north patrol route. It was night. We were at about 5,000 feet with the number one engine secured. I was in the galley, making a sandwich for the pilot. Steve Staresina, our radio operator, smelled smoke and called, "Fire of unknown origin." over the PA.

My area to inspect, in this situation, was the equipment in the cabinet immediately behind the pilot. By the time I made it to the cockpit, number one was running, we were headed the other direction, and all electrical power was turned off. After landing, we found out that the wave-guide on the forward radar, immediately beneath the pilot's seat, had caught fire. Killing electrical power had put it out.

The crew's reaction was perfect. Everybody did exactly as expected. There was nothing but professionals on board. One person acquired a very wobbly set of knees, after walking down the ladder after we landed and taxied back to our parking place.

The ground reaction was also perfect. We had reported the fire on an operational frequency, before securing electrical power. We came back up on that frequency, after the fire was out and we had restored partial power. We were never asked to change frequencies while returning to base. Other flights on the frequency were switched. Approach, tower and ground, all operated by the Air Force, switched to "our" frequency.

INITIATION

Yankee Station, Vietnam

The opportunity to perpetrate a joke on somebody was seldom passed up. The more junior, the more susceptible. You could try with more seasoned crew members - it seldom worked. Some were spontaneous, others took a little preparation. You didn't have to worry about having somebody spill the beans, they caught on fast - and helped as needed.

FUEL LEAK

We had a new Tacco-in-training on board. He knew a little about the plane. Just enough to get in trouble. And to keep his mouth shut.

Chief Metz, my instructor flight engineer, had me in the seat and was watching over me. He asked me to go back, peer intently out each wing hatch, talk to each aft observer, and return. There was nothing said - but the game was on. A few minutes later, I was dispatched again. This time to repeat the earlier performance, with a much more worried look, and a long inspection of the hydraulic bay. Neither trip had gone unnoticed, by our intended victim or the rest of the crew, who had caught on quickly. Again, after the appropriate wait, "Nav, Flight. Please give me the course and distance to the nearest emergency landing field." The navigator returned the information in a minute or so. Our fish was now fully hooked. And we were ready for his next move.

The fuel gauges on the P-3 have a push-to-test switch. Pushing it drives all of the gauges toward zero, so you can make sure that one isn't stuck. Most people don't know that the gauges are AC powered, and that pulling the proper circuit breaker will freeze them wherever they are. When he came forward to find out what was going on, knowing not to ask, we had the remaining fuel on board showing as about 1,500 pounds. That was way below our normal minimum of 10,000 pounds, and enough to last about 15 minutes, except that the gauges were notoriously bad at low levels - so it could have been 5 minutes worth. I was also arguing with the pilot about the difference between the fuel log, gauges, and whether or not we had enough fuel to get to the emergency field. Our victim immediately went to his station and prepared to ditch, helmet, gloves, Mae West, and strapped in tight. We let him sit there for 30 minutes!

AIR CONDITIONING

The P-3 has two air conditioning systems. One controls the temperature in the cockpit, the other, the rest of the plane. The flight engineer is responsible for operating and monitoring both. They are not precision instruments. We had one Tacco who was never satisfied. One of our technicians came up with a "solution."

It wasn't long before we got a chance to give it a try. After a couple of intercom requests, he came forward to ask for another change. I pulled out a screwdriver and removed the controller from overhead, disconnected it, reconnected it using a long extension cord, and handed it to the Tacco. He was very happy and returned to his station, uncoiling the wire. As soon as he turned to go, I pulled the circuit breaker that supplied power to the controller. It appeared to be operating, but did nothing for the rest of the flight - except teach a very subtle lesson. And we never had the frequent change "problem" again.

POWER CHANGES

A fun game to play with a relatively new pilot was to sucker them into setting their own power. This was normally the flight engineer's responsibility, except during taxi, take-off, and landings. Once he had accepted responsibility for the power, someone casually closed the curtain between the cockpit and the rest of the plane. You only had to open up the bomb bay inspection door and pull on the throttle cables to change the power. Doing so slowly would not produce any noticeable change. Except the next time that he looked at the throttle lever positions or horsepower gauges, they were different than he'd left them. He'd usually re-adjust 3-4 times before figuring it out.

WALKING THE TUBE

Another fun game was to catch a pilot hand flying the plane. The curtain would be closed and the crew would all go to the galley. Of course the plane would start to climb, and he'd have to re-trim. Give him two minutes, and everybody would slowly walk forward. Carefully done, we could get 3-4 cycles out of it before the autopilot went back on.

ACTING FLIGHT ENGINEER

The flight engineer's seat is the best seat in the house. It was popular to ask the flight engineer for permission to sit there, especially so for newer pilots. Permission was almost always granted - with the admonition, "If you're going to sit there you have to do the job." This was fine, since they all knew how easy is was.

We never really relinquished responsibility for the plane, usually sitting on the ledge behind the co-pilot's seat, in front of the main circuit breaker panel. It did not take very long before things started to go wrong. We knew the panel well enough that we didn't even have to look to pull breakers. It was amazing just how much could be inoperative before it was noticed. The game was usually terminated by the pilot asking for a power change, he was in on the deal from the beginning - and the gauges were frozen, or the person wanting to give the seat back.

In either case, giving the seat back required that the person return the plane to the condition that it was in when they sat down, by finding and fixing everything that didn't work. Turning around and looking for pulled circuit breakers was NOT allowed. It was always a good lesson in the complexity of the plane and flight engineer's job and the level of vigilance required to do the job well.

1970, KEFLAVIK, ICELAND
K RIDE, LT.

Bob Prehn was giving an annual check ride to one of the qualified plane commanders. It was known that the LT was not especially good around the plane. He thought that Bob had it in for him.

A check ride for a plane commander is a very rigorous flight. The amount of knowledge that they need to have about the plane is enormous. Their flying skills, especially related to emergency procedures must be very good. Any flaw, that could lead to a problem in flight, is disqualifying.

It did not take long for the LT to get in trouble. Bob loaded him up with simultaneous tasks, as was normal, and them threw him a problem involving the electrical system. He didn't know the answer, but instead of saying so, he guessed, or tried to bluff. In any case, Bob wasn't fooled. He never indicated that the first answer was anything but correct. He took the wrong answer and rebuilt the electrical system accordingly. But he now had a fish on the line, he was going to see how far he'd run with the bait. Bob posed another problem. The LT was wrong again, Bob rebuilt and we moved on. The process continued for maybe 15-20 related problems. When we got back to the beginning, with a question that clearly should have shown that we had slipped into the twilight zone, the LT just kept going! The flight was terminated shortly thereafter and the LT was grounded. He cried foul, and finally had the CO give him his check ride, after some additional training, with others.

I went to the Operations Officer the next day and asked to be excused from flying with the LT for safety reasons. The request was granted - as was a similar request from almost half of the squadron, both enlisted and officers. The Navy did not even consider asking us to fly with him, if we didn't think he was safe.

CHECK RIDE, PROP PUMP TWO
JUNE 18, 1970
P-3C BN 156529

My annual check ride was being administered by AEC John Eubanks. We had known each other for a long time and had a lot of professional fun. John was the NATOPS check engineer and knew the plane exceedingly well. If there was a way to simulate something going wrong, John knew about it. Since I was an instructor engineer, John had to dig deep into his bag of tricks to try to catch me. We had not been in the air very long, the total flight time ended up being 0.7, when we had a "prop pump 2" warning light come on. This was not an indication that we had seen simulated before. Two pilots and I turned simultaneously to John and asked, "How did you do that?" He hadn't, it was real. After getting over the shock, we feathered the engine and went home.

BON HOMME RICHARD

En route to Sangley Point, Philippines

On one of our alert days in the PI, we were scrambled to protect the Bonnie Dick. She was on her way from Yankee Station to the PI and was going to be "attacked" by one of our submarines. We only knew the time limits of the exercise and the carrier's expected location.

We quickly found the carrier, established communications, and laid down a sonobuoy pattern to detect the inbound sub. After that it was a waiting and listening game. Until we got a call from HQ, the sub had mechanical difficulties and would not make it to the game.

Our captain called the carrier to inform them of our return-to-base status and requested a low pass. The Bonnie Dick CO responded in person. It turns out that he was an ex P-3 pilot. Permission granted, up the port side, no less than 300 kts, no more than 100 feet. The pass was memorable. We crossed the stern indicating 330 kts. I glanced out the right side and could not see the flight deck, we were below that level. As we passed the bow, the captain called for full power and initiated a high "G" pull-up and right turn. I applied power, took a quick look at everything else, glanced at the altimeter (passing 10,000 feet), and looked back out the side window where the Bonnie Dick was perfectly framed. The whole pass to 10,000 feet hadn't taken more than 90 seconds.

TURBULENCE

Yankee Station, Vietnam

The normal cockpit crew was three pilots and two flight engineers. Two pilots and one engineer were always working. We had a pilot who liked to take a nap in the top bunk when he wasn't working. Not a problem, but I had mentioned that he should use the "seat" belt on the bunk when he napped. He did not. I was sitting across from the bunk, where he was sound asleep, and we hit a "bump." The plane went down one foot and sideways two feet in virtually no time. Everybody and everything was fine, except the still asleep pilot, now suspended in mid air with nothing between him and the floor but five feet of air. He came fully awake, still in that position and did a perfect imitation of Wiley Coyote after running off the cliff. He changed his nap "seat" belt policy, thereafter.

NEW JERSEY

Yankee Station, Vietnam

One of our normal patrol tracks was to depart U-Tapao, fly north over Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, descend over the water just south of the DMZ, and follow a line about ten miles off the coast all the way around to Cambodia. Be careful at the Cambodia end! They shoot down two of nine planes in the squadron that we replaced.

One night we had just descended to 1,000 feet and gotten established on course. The battleship New Jersey was putting on quite a show off the left wing. She was firing her BIG guns. We could see the resulting show when the rounds landed in country, off the right wing. Oops!, Quick, Radio, STOP!!!!

The pilots and Tacco had been briefed that she'd be there and firing. They forgot. We were probably not in any danger, her shells would have been thousands of feet above us. But it did get our attention. That was the closest that we ever came to being shot at, that we knew about.

CREW COORDINATION

I count myself as having been very fortunate to have my assignment requests approved throughout my time in the Navy. My ultimate assignment to flight crew and VP-49 made my experience very educational and enjoyable. Having talked to people from the other services and non-VP Navy people, I believe that this was a direct result of us all being on the same flight team. In regards to our duties while flying the plane, the "I'm better than you attitude" (usually stated as, "Me officer, you man") did not exist. We all had a job to do, knew and did it well. The environment was ALWAYS completely professional with no regard to rank.

Two men stand head and shoulders above the rest as I look back. CDR Richard (Dick) Zeisel was the CO of VP-49 through our South East Asia deployment. While I only flew with him a few times, I was impressed with how he handled the plane and the squadron. Lockheed was impressed too, they rated him number two in the world, behind their own test pilot. LCDR Robert (Bob) Prehn was my plane commander during the last part of my tour. Every flight with Bob was an enjoyable, educational experience. We spent many hours on test flights and check rides. Our working relationship was superb. Lockheed rated Bob number three in the world.

COOKING

Yankee Station, Vietnam

Our patrols were scheduled for ten hours in the air. They seldom varied more than 30 minutes either way. It fell on me, as the second engineer, and the ordnance man, because we didn't carry many and were not likely to drop any sonobuoys, to be chief cooks and bottle washers.

The total number of people on board was normally ten or eleven. We always planned two full meals. One of them would more than likely be sandwiches, but the other would usually be all out, if not gourmet.

The food was ordered from the Air Force chow hall. They did not know small. If we ordered ham for sandwiches, we got a five pound canned ham. If we ordered bologna, we got one piece, 2 + feet long. Ketchup, one number ten can. Mustard, one number ten can. Milk, five gallons. Cake, one, 2 feet by 3 feet. Steak, 23 rib eyes. We always had much more than we needed. The leftovers went back to the enlisted barracks after the flight and usually took a couple of days to finish.

What we lacked in tools, everything was basically done in an electric frying pan, was made up in quantity and customization. Whatever we were having, we got tired of steak, was done to order for each person. What you want, how you want, when you want.

Our flight on Thanksgiving Day was particularly good, a complete turkey dinner with all of the fixings. Even down to the pumpkin pie for desert.

TYPHOON FLIGHT

Yankee Station, Vietnam

The pay structure changed for everyone associated with the war. If you spent more than four hours in the war zone per month, you received war zone pay. For enlisted personnel, all pay became tax free, with those four hours in the war zone. The same amount of time needed to be spent in the air to receive flight pay. In my case, my take home pay nearly doubled, with the addition of war zone plus flight minus taxes.

The flight crews did not have any trouble getting four hours a month. In fact we had to be very careful not to exceed our allowed maximum of 100 hours of flight time per month. We rotated between Sangley Point and U-Tapao every three weeks, partly for that reason.

There were a lot of people that were eligible for flight and war zone pay, that were not on flight crew. They had to do their regular job and find a way to get into the air and war zone - or not get the extra pay. This was especially hard for some of the Air Force people based at U-Tapao. Most of the flying out of there was B-52 bomb runs of less than four hours. Part way through our stay there they discovered, "those Navy planes." We could be counted on for a pleasant environment, good food, and a single flight of more than four hours, in the war zone, with no hostile fire and without dropping any bombs. Any Air Force personnel showing up were always welcome to go for a ride with us.

One morning an Air Force Chaplain asked for permission to go along. I assigned him to the aft, port observer's seat and briefed him on all of the required procedures. What he didn't know was about to "hurt" him. Our "normal" ten-hour flight was to be anything but. Seven of those hours were to be spent in a typhoon. As flying conditions go it wasn't too bad. It wasn't a very bad typhoon; the maximum winds were about 75 mph. The ride was a little bumpy, but nothing that gave the crew any problem. In truth, it was a boring flight. We would normally identify a hundred or more ships on a patrol. That day there were only seven. The only thing that I did different was to crank the air conditioning down in the back. If the bumps were going to bother anybody's stomach, a warmer temperature would make it worse.

About four hours into the typhoon, I was on a sandwich making run. The Chaplain was in his seat. He had borrowed a flight jacket, which he had put on over his, was wearing his gloves and helmet, was all balled up and shivering. I asked if I could get him something to eat and suggested that he come up to the cockpit - where it was more interesting and WARMER. His response, "No, I'll just sit here and pray." And he did. He was the first one off the plane when we landed - and never re-appeared.

BOMB LOADING

Roosevelt Roads NAS, PR

VP-49 spent two weeks every February at Roosevelt Roads NAS, PR. One, or more, of our submarines was there. The purpose of the visit was to run crew qualification exercises, most of which were drills with the sub. We also fired rockets and dropped bombs. The two weeks were intensive, with around the clock flights for five days, two days off, and another five days on.

We were loading surplus bombs to be dropped at the range. The bombs were probably 250 pounds each. The loading crew was six people, one officer, one ordnance man and four to lift. I was a flight engineer, in-training, at the time. My FE and I were standing about twenty feet from where a bomb was being loaded on a wing station.

The loading method was manual - brute force and awkwardness. We had two pipes about four feet long with what appeared to be the plug for a barrel bung welded to one end. The bombs had a threaded receptacle at the front and back that fit the plug. The method was to have two men front and back to lift the bomb from the cart that it was on. The initial lift was to waist level. The grip was changed to allow the remainder of the lift, up to the wing rack. The ordinance man secured it to the rack, and you were ready for the next one.

The bomb in this story was at waist level when the weld on the front pipe broke. The nose of the 250-pound bomb fell to the concrete. The two people in the back held tight. My FE, seeing what was happening, and possessing the fastest reflexes, closed his eyes and covered his ears! The bomb did not explode, until we dropped it at the range, later.

STRANGE UNDERWATER CONTACTS

1970, Keflavik, Iceland

The squadron was in one of our around the clock operations, tracking a Russian nuclear submarine from the north sea into the Atlantic. We had been in constant contact for several days. It was our turn, we were dropping sonobuoys and monitoring progress from at least 20,000 feet. After several hours, one of the acoustic operators got a very strange contact on one of the buoys. It lasted for only about a minute. It started at one frequency, quickly built up to a very strong signal, shifted to another frequency, and faded away. On the chart it looked like the sketch at the right. Nobody onboard had seen anything like it. The books that we had were no help. A radio call to base did not help solve the mystery. During the flight we had five or six of them. At the end of our on-station time, we communicated our mystery to the relieving crew both verbally and electronically, and took our paper "evidence" back to base for the debriefing.

The debriefers were able to solve the mystery. There had been a Russian Bear above us, homing in on our buoy signals. As they approached the buoy, their prop noise was picked up by the buoy's underwater microphone. As it passed over the buoy there was a Doppler shift in the frequency. If we were "watching" the buoy at the right time, we picked up the signal. We had never thought to look up for the source of the signal, he must have been there for a couple of hours. One of the other crews had the same thing happen the next day. They knew the "look up" secret, although they tried, the P-3 was not fast enough to climb and catch up with the Bear.

ROOSEVELT ROADS NAS, PR

One of the qualification exercises was to have the plane fly over the sub while it was on the surface. The plane continued straight for 15 (?) minutes, turned around and tried to find and "sink" the sub within a total of an hour. Of course the sub's job was to find a place to hide. And some of them were very good at it, especially the diesel powered boats.

We were running this qual and had been totally unsuccessful. We knew the area that he had to be in, had it saturated with sonobuoys, and hadn't heard anything. Till at about t = 59:30, we heard, as plain as if we had been standing there, a wench dropped onto a table, bounce to the floor and rattle to a stop. It was followed by a, "Oops, damn!" Then they started the engine to surface. They had won.

At t = 0 the sub had simply sank to the bottom, were is was, and, "rigged for silent."

ISAAC NEWTON

1970, Keflavik, Iceland

The flight schedules while in Keflavik were dictated by the presence of Russian submarines. When there was one in our area, we had a plane above it 24 hours a day. The enlisted crew stayed in the barracks on base, in a single room. The around the clock flights and unusual daylight hours, only two hours of dark when we arrived, made for difficult sleeping. Former inhabitants had painted the inside of most of the windows black. That helped some. The following sign, neatly lettered and posted on the outside of a closed door, also helped.

Bodies at rest.

Please do not act as an outside force.

Isaac Newton

VISIBILITY

1970, Keflavik, Iceland
Night Flight

The southern part of Iceland, contrary to its name, is a fascinating place. There are numerous streams with rapids and waterfalls, geysers, and lush farmland with no trees. It is very clean, with virtually no pollution of any kind. The lack of air pollution is especially noticeable to flight crews used to hazy US east coast summers. We had two incidents that illustrate the normal visibility there.

We were returning from a flight far to the east of the island. It was a very dark night with very few, scattered clouds. We were at 21,000 feet. One of our eagle-eyed pilots remarked that he had Keflavik visually. A short discussion followed, wherein we all identified the rotating beacon at both Keflavik and Reykjavik and the ramp lights at Keflavik. The next obvious question was, "How far away are we?" A quick reference to the DME display was no help. We were too far away for it to have locked on yet. It did so within a couple of minutes, and indicated 256 nautical miles!

MOUNTAIN VIEW

There is a beautiful mountain north of the base that looked like Fujiyama. There was never a day in our six-month deployment that it wasn't visible from ground level. One day we were flying with a few minutes to kill. Someone suggested that we go up and fly around the mountain. The P-3 was turned north, with the mountain bore sited. After flying toward it for 30 minutes, we were distressed - it wasn't getting bigger very fast. The radar operator dropped a bug on the mountain and determined that it was still 100 miles away! We didn't have that much time, and returned to base without our aerial tour.

NATOPS PILOT, CHECK RIDE

1970, Keflavik, Iceland
LCDR Robert (Bob) L. Prehn - Plane commander, NATOPS Check Pilot

Bob Prehn was due to be transferred sometime after the end of VP-49's deployment to Iceland. His assignment at VP-11 was XO, having been selected to be the first LCDR CO in the VP Navy. A LT had been selected to replace Bob as the squadron NATOPS Pilot. The flight described was the check flight, following a series of ten flights to transition LT into the position.

The premise of the flight was for Bob to play the role of a new pilot in the squadron, for his first flight. The LT was to be in the right seat, for the first time in the syllabus. Bob had briefed him, very clearly, that he was to assume that Bob knew nothing about the plane, only what the LT told him, today. Bob assumed, and played to perfection, the inquisitive kid in the candy shop role.

MISSION BRIEF

Bob and I briefed, in detail, on all aspects of the flight that required pilot / FE co-ordination. As you'll see, this was to be an interesting flight.

ENGINE START

The first engine was started by the FE, as a demonstration, without incident. Bob would take an hour to get the remaining three started. Some of the "problems" were intentional - to show what would happen, IF. Most were not. Every switch that Bob could flip at the wrong time, was. The order of the day was, "Gee, what does this do?" as the switch was vigorously flipped.

TAXI

The LT was forced to allow Bob to taxi out, steering is from the pilot's seat only. The LT carefully explained to Bob that this was a big plane and that it required a little bit of power to get it moving, and then less to keep it rolling. Bob advanced the power levers to about 500 hp each, the plane did not move. The LT suggested a little more. Bob advanced the power to 1,000, then 1,500, 2,000 and 2,500 hp. The LT finally caught the problem and pulled the power back. He then explained to Bob that the brakes must be released. Bob's reply, "You didn't say so."

The taxi to the active wasn't pretty. The two Air Force alert F-106's that were scrambled in the middle of it got quite a show. Bob alternately was too fast and too slow. We used the entire width of the taxiway, weaving from side to side, using the centerline only as a reference to cross at as great an angle as possible. We had frequent periods of "Gee, what does this do?" and switches in the wrong position, throughout. We let the F-106's go first.

PATTERN WORK

The LT made the first takeoff and we stayed in the pattern. The circuit and touch-and-go landing were textbook, except that the touchdown point was a couple of thousand feet further down the runway than desired. There was no comment.

Bob took over to make the second landing, "exactly like you just did." Well not exactly. While we flew the same path, exactly, we were never straight or level. On short final, when the LT started watching outside, Bob added just enough power to float in ground effect. We flew to the exact point where the LT had touched down, bounced the right main, the left main and went around. Bob's response to the LT's question was, "well that's where you touched down."

The LT explained that Bob he had too much power, causing the plane to float. Bob needed to pay more attention to power. And he did! Left hand on the yoke, right hand on the power levers and leaning over with his head well below the glare shield, Bob flew the entire circuit, to very short final, without ever looking, or being able to look outside. The LT was frantic, but Bob kept saying, "I've got to get the power right." The landing was beautiful, not at the extended touch down point. The whole thing had been set up perfectly. Bob had been wearing his cap with the bill to the right and pulled low over his eyes since before pre-flight. He had the LT, without his knowledge of why, set up a VOR approach on the co-pilot's instruments. Bob had flown the approach and landing by reference to the co-pilot's instruments, while the LT thought he was looking at the power gauges!

We shot several more landings. On one taxi-back Bob stood up to reach for another switch to flip. The LT was amazed - no seat belt or harness. Bob's explanation, "You didn't tell me."

On our final takeoff, the LT called 115 kts. (V1xx) and then failed an engine. He expected Bob to continue the takeoff. In theory, we did not have enough runway to stop. Bob called out, "Roger, Abort" and did! The V1 speed of 115 kts was the one we used for training, the real one was significantly higher, as we proved.

HIGH WORK

We set up a demonstration of the Negative Torque Sensing System (NTS) on number one engine. The LT briefed Bob to touch nothing and let me do the demonstration. Bob was hand flying the plane. During a restart, I continued to hold out the feather button. In this circumstance the prop blades cycle at about 45o and the start hangs at about 65% rpm. The only safe way to get out of the condition is to continue holding the feather button and secure the engine with the E-handle. The LT asked me to shut down number one. I pointed to the number one stack one engine gauges and asked for "eyes." This procedure is used to make sure that someone has the right switch/control before doing something drastic. Bob and the LT confirmed that I was pointing to the number one engine. Of course, the proper procedure was to touch the number one E-handle with one finger. The reason soon became obvious to the LT. I moved my hand straight up from the number one engine gauges to the number two engine E-handle and pulled it! "Oh s&&t!" Still holding the number one feather button out, I immediately reached up and shut down that engine, as I had been told. With both engines on his side now feathered, Bob threw both hands in the air asking, "What do I do now?" The LT recovered from the steepening left turn. We flew for about another hour with them both feathered.

All in all it was a very enjoyable flight, all conducted well within the envelop. As with every flight with Bob, we all learned a lot. It was a perfect example of Murphy's law - what can go wrong, will. The LT thought more so than Bob and I. [19NOV99]

Circa 1966

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation December 1966 "...Maintenance Awards Made - Page 19 - Naval Aviation News - December 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/dec66.pdf [07SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation September 1966 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - September 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/sep66.pdf [06SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1966 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - July 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/jul66.pdf [06SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation March 1966 "...Inspection, The Annual Yardstick - Page 20 to 21 - Naval Aviation News - March 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/mar66.pdf [04SEP2004]

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Circa 1965 - 1993

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "..Navy Squadrons - Squadron Deployments.." WebSite: GoNavy.com http://www.gonavy.jp/ [25NOV2011]
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Open VP History Adobe FilePatrol Squadron FORTY-NINE (1965 - 1993) 18KB


Circa 1965

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1965 "...Selective Air Reserve - Page 26 to 27 - Naval Aviation News - July 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/jul65.pdf [01SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation May 1965 "...On Patrol With Atlantic Air Wings - Page 36 to 37 - Naval Aviation News - May 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/may65.pdf [31AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation May 1965 "...VP-49's Reserve Team Mates - Page 31 - Naval Aviation News - May 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/may65.pdf [31AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation March 1965 "...On Patrol With Atlantic Air Wings - Page 26 to 27 - Naval Aviation News - March 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/mar65.pdf [31AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January 1965 "...On Patrol With Atlantic Air Wings - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - January 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/jan65.pdf [31AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January 1965 "...On Patrol With Atlantic Air Wings - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - January 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/jan65.pdf [31AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I flew P-3's in VP-49 from 1965-1969. The BUNO's in my log book are: 150605, 151361, 150526, 150609, 151355, 151356, 151357, 150522, 150524, 150507, 151392, and 151377. The 12 BUNOs reflect additions/subtractions as A/C went through PAR(SDLM). The LP numbers moved around from year to year..." Contributed by McCLELLAN, Bill billmcsr@erols.com [06DEC2002]


Circa 1964

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-49 History "...VP-49 Crew on LP-5 at NAF Lajes, Azores, Portugal, March 1964. Left to right: ADJ3 Jack Crawford (Power Plants) and AO3 Gordon Brock (Crew 5), AT3 Steve Fusco (Crew 5). NAS Bermuda Deployment..." Contributed by CRAWFORD, Jack "JC" airdale03@aol.com [07APR2009]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...31MAR64--Change-of-Command" Contributed by Chuck Sell wa8orr@provide.net [28SEP98]

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET
NAVAL AIR FORCE
PATROL SQUADRON FORTY-NINE

Change of Command
Commander Robt. E. GAYLE, Jr.
Relieved By
Commander Kenneth CARTER
as
Commanding Officer
Patrol Squadron FORTY-NINE
1400 31 March 1964

SQUADRON HISTORY

The grandfather of PATRON FOUR-NINE was PATRON NINETEEN. That Squadron at first consisted of twelve men and no planes. Patrol Squadron NINETEEN launched its career as a component of the Pacific Fleet in March 1994. In 1946, the squadron was assigned new aircraft and ordered to report to Norfolk, Virginia. At this time, it was re-designated Medium Seaplane Squadron NINE. On I September 1948, PATRON FOUR-NINE received its present name and won the Battle Efficiency Pennant for 1948. In July 1951, the squadron moved to NAS Bermuda and in August 1952, it received its first P5M-1 Martin "Marlin". In September 1963, the squadron once again changed homeports - this time to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland - and transitioned to the P3A Lockheed "ORION", the newest ASW Patrol Plane.

Since becoming PATRON FOUR-NINE, the following officers have commanded:

1947-48
CDR R. Y. McELROY

1948-49
CDR J. B. WALLACE

1949-52
CDR S. J. FISHER

1952-53
GDR J. W. LYNCH

1953-54

CDR E. A. TABOR

1954-55
CDR J. M. ARBUCKLE

1955-56
CDR W. N. SOURS

1957-58
CDR J.S. REEF

1958-59
CDR E. D. ANDERSON

1959-60
CDR H.J. WOODWARD

1960-61
CDR T.R. McCLELLAN

1961-62
CDR P. E. HILL

1962-63
CDR H. C. HANSEN

1963-64
CDR ROBT. E. GAYLE, Jr.

1964
CDR K. CARTER


ORDER OF CEREMONY

1330
Assemble for Inspection

1355
Arrival of Honored Guests

1400
National Anthem

1405
Personnel Inspection

1420
Invocation by Chaplain J. J. O'NEAL

1425
Commander ROBT. E. GAYLE, Jr., USN Reads Orders

1430
Commander Kenneth CARTER, USN Reads Orders and Assumes Command

1435
Guest Speaker
Rear Admiral
N. C. GILLETTE

1445
Benediction by Chaplain W. J. CLARDY

Guests are requested to remain standing until the program is completed

1450-1500
Departure of Honored Guests

Secure from Inspection after Honored Guests have departed

1515
Refreshments for Guests and Personnel

Guests are invited to view the Survival Display and tour the P-3A ORION aircraft, located in the hangar, upon completion of the Change of Command Ceremonies

Contributed by Chuck Sell wa8orr@provide.net [28SEP98

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Last, Lone P5M Flies Away From Bermuda" Bermuda Mid-Ocean News, Vol. 52 - No. 3 Hamliton, Bermuda, Monday, January 6, 1964" VP-45 Pix A lone P5M Martin Marlin flying boat roared up from the Great Sound yesterday morning, then flew low over the U. S. Naval Station control tower in a salute and headed out over the sea for the United States.....This was the last that NS Bermuda will see of the large two-engined sea planes which over the years have become a familiar sight in these skies. The other flying boats stationed here left earlier. The United States Atlantic Fleet has discontinued the use of these aircraft in favour of the swifter, longer-ranged Orions which are four engine turbo-prop land planes, some of which are now operating out of Kindley Air Force Base.....CLOSE OF AN ERA.....In a way the departure of the P5M yesterday marked the close of an era at the Naval Station because not only was it the last flying boat to be based here, but it was the last remnant of the station's two air squadrons. Patrol Squadron 45 officially left the station on December 31, and Patrol Squadron 49 left the station on September 1st.....Although the station has been decreased in size, it does not mean, however, that it has become defunct. A spokesman for the station said yesterday that in the past year a fairly large number of research vessels had used the facilities of the station and it was expected that the same number of even slightly more would do the same in the future.....The main change, said the spokesman, was that the Navy's air operations had been shifted to Kindley Air Force Base where the Orion aircraft were now stationed. These aircraft would continue to carry on about the same amount of anti-submarine warfare operations as the flying boats had done from the Naval Station. In addition two aircraft will still be based at the Naval Station. One is a helicopter and the other is a HU-16-D amphibious aircraft.....However, the primary responsibility of the Naval Station now will be the maintenance of surface craft and submarines....." Contributed by Bill Bryan goodroosterjunior@yahoo.com WebSite: B & D Custom Caps & Tees http://www.vpnavy.org/luckydog.html [WebSite Updated 30DEC2000 | E-Mail Updated 11JAN99 | 23JAN98]


Circa 1963

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation September 1963 "...Orions Based At Bermuda - Page 10 - Naval Aviation News - September 1963..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1963/sep63.pdf [27AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News February 1963 "...VP-49 - Naval Aviation News - February 1963..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1963/feb63.pdf [25AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...30AUG63--The TESTER, United States Naval Air Test Center, NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, Vol. XX No. 35, Friday, August 30, 1996..." Contributed by Chuck Sell wa8orr@provide.net [28SEP98]

New Squadron Is Fourth P-3A Group Stationed At Pax

This Sunday, August 31, NAS Patuxent River, Maryland will welcome her fourth P-3A patrol Squadron. That squadron is VP-49.

The history of Patrol Squadron Forty Nine takes place over a considerable period of time and varied parts of the world. The origin of "49" was in February 1944 when a complement of twleve men and no planes were commissioned, Patron Ninteen to operate with the Pacific Fleet.

It was not long before VP-19 began setting a precedent of professional performance, when in March of the same year the Navy seaplanes were flying sector search and photo reconnaissance within a hundred miles of the Japanese mainland, the deepest penetration of enemy territory up to that time. The squadron played a prime role in the invasion and capture of Iwo Jima and later conducted surveys which led to Operation Crossroads at Bikini.

In 1945, VP-19 was redesignated Medium Seaplane Squadron Nine and ordered to Norfolk, Virginia where new aircraft was assigned. In 1948 the squadron was again redesignated, receiving the same name by which we know it today. PatRon Forty Nine. Also during this year, PatRon Forty Nine won its first Battle Efficiency after which the squadron was ordered to train midshipmen at Pensacola, Florida in June 1950 to set a record of...started for the squadron when it was ordered to the NAS Bermuda, where it remained until 1963. The first P5M "Marlin" became the new aircraft of the compiled many "Firsts" such as the first: over water extended flight, jet assisted take off, highest and longest flight in a P5M. PatRon Forty Nine continued the high level performance and in 1954 accumulated more flight hours thean any other seaplane squadron.

The year 1955 saw the squadron's aircraft widely deployed throughout the Caribbean areas. Planes went to Norfolk, Pillsbury Sound for "Operation Springboard", NAS Bermuda, and San Guan. The squadron participated in NATO exercies "Hourglass", "New Broom" and "Hunter-Killer" during the next year.

February of 1959 saw the squadron receive the grade of 91.56$ in their annual Administrative Inspection. August and September of that year were also banner months, for the squadron received the COMNAVAIRLANT Safety Award for 1959 and the CNO Aviation Safety Award.

The year 1950 topped the previous year aware wise. During this period, under the command of Cdr. T. R. McClellan, VP-49 received the COMNAVAIRLANT Safety Citation for three years of accident free operations; fiscal years 1958 through 1960. They received their fourth Navy "E" in the Battle Efficiency Excellence Pennant for fiscal year 1960. The squadron was also awarded the Arnold Jay Libell trophy for excellence in Air Anti-Submarine Warfare in August. The squadron's annual administrative Inspection was complted with an overall grade of 91.44%.

In January of 1961, the squadron surpassed its previous high grade for Administrative Inspections with 91.84%. During this year, VP-49 sent aircraft to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to maintain surveillance over ocean traffic in and out of Communist Cuba. On November 29, 1951, space capsule "Enos" was successfully orbited twice around the world. The capsule landed off the island of NAS Bermuda and Patrol Squadron 49 was waiting for it.

Other squadron activities that year included tracking exercises with destroyers Forrest, Sherman and Andmerdith as well as a demonstration for COMNAVAIRPAC at Norfolk.

In February, Mercury Astronaut Lt. Col. John Glenn successfully orbited three times around the world. Cdr. P. E. Hill, commanding officer of VP-49 was in charge of the Bermuda Area Air Recovery Forces. Four squadron aircraft were strategically situated in the first of the three predicted impact areas.

The "Aurora Seven", Carrying Lt. Cdr. Scott Carpenter, was launched from Cape Canaveral on May 24 and once again, "49" was standing by.

History was made October 29, 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed into effect a quarantine on all shipping in and out of Cuba. VP-49 did such an outstanding job of her surveillance flights throughout this quarantine that she was commended by VAdm E. B. Taylor, COMASWFORLANT, and RAdm G. P. Koch, COMFAIRWINGSLANT.

1963 thus far has been as busy as previous years. Cdr Robert E. Gayle relieved Cdr. H. C. Hanson as CO March 30. The squadron continued to compile "Firsts" by being the first to transition directly from P5M Marlins to P-3A Orions. The transition commenced in April while the squadron continued their seven plane detachment to NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On July 30, the squadron established a detachment at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland with Cdr. W. Carter the XO, as Officer in Charge. Cdr. Carter accepted the squadron's first Orion aircraft from the Lockheed Co. on August 1 and brought it to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland where Patrol Squadron Forty Nine was establish home port, Sunday, September 1..." Contributed by Chuck Sell wa8orr@provide.net [28SEP98]

Commander Gayle PatRon 49's CO Is Former White Hat

The Commanding Officer of the new NAS Bermuda based Patrol Squadron Forty Nine is Cdr. Robert E. Gayle.

Commander Gayle entered the Navy as an enlisted man in December 1935. He served in the rating of a Radioman until March 1942. During this time his tours were aboard the USS Chicago, USS Louisville and the Panama Canal Zone.

From there he underwent flight training in Pensacola as an enlisted pilot and was commissioned an Ensign in 1943. During World War II Cdr. Gayle participated in Atits and Kiska Campaigns, and the Hiroshima Bombings against the Japanese.

Since the War's end he has had tours of duty at the University of Kansas, aboard the USS Valcour, Flag Secretary to Commander Carrier Division Sixteen, Line School in Montery, California, the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; Senior U. S. Naval Advisor to the Brazilian Navy on Aircraft Carrier Operations, and a tour with PatRon Forty Five in NAS Bermuda.

Cdr Gayle has been decorated with the Navy Air Medal, American Defense Medal, American Area Campaign Medal, European African-Middle East Area Campain Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Occupation Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal..." Contributed by [28SEP98]


Circa 1962

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "... History of Coast Guard Aviation - Coming of Age (1957-1975) - 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis..." WebSite: Coast Guard Aviation History http://uscgaviationhistory.aoptero.org/history03.html [26OCT2005]

On Oct. 23, U.S. naval ships took positions on the quarantine line at 25 degrees N and provisions for aerial surveillance flights were put in place. The USS ESSEX with two S2F squadrons was assigned to patrol the zone north of 25 degrees. P5M's of VP-49 and VP-45 were tasked with the zone north and east of 25N,65W. VP-5 based out of NS Roosevelt Roads, PR was tasked with the zone east of the quarantine line and south of 25N.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News February 1962 "...VP-49 Spotted Space Can - Page 3 - Naval Aviation News - February 1962..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1962/feb62.pdf [22AUG2004]

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Circa 1960

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...(FASRON-111, VP-6, VP-22, VP-28, VP-45 and VP-49) - Naval Aeronautical Organization OPNAV NOTICE 05400 for Fiscal Year 1960 dated 1 February 1960 is: DECLASSIFIED per Office of Chief of Naval Operations on 1 February 1965 by Op-501 - Atlantic Fleet Support Stations..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/nao53-68/fy1960-feb60.pdf [13MAR2007]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...(VP-5, VP-7, VP-8, VP-10, VP-11, VP-16, VP-18, VP-21, VP-23, VP-24, VP-26, VP-44, VP-45, VP-49 and VP-56) - Naval Aeronautical Organization OPNAV NOTICE 05400 for Fiscal Year 1960 dated 1 February 1960 is: DECLASSIFIED per Office of Chief of Naval Operations on 1 February 1965 by Op-501 - Atlantic Fleet Support Stations..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/a-record/nao53-68/fy1960-feb60.pdf [13MAR2007]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News March 1961 "...Switch Over To Land Planes - Page 37 - Naval Aviation News - March 1961..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1961/mar61.pdf [19AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News October 1960 "...Eleven Flight Crews - Page 3 - Naval Aviation News - October 1960..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1960/oct60.pdf [18AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-49 Thumbnail "...Circa 1960's - These aircraft (British Vulcans) visited us in BDA in 1962 about the time of the assassination of Pres. Kennedy..." Contributed by MERCER, Ron conron@ec.rr.com [31JUL2001]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-49 Thumbnail "...The duck hit photos and dead duck as well. I was on this aircraft when we were executing an approach to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland late at night. We ran into a large flock of ducks and all engines ingested several of them. From my best recollection No.1 and No. 4 shut down, an emergency was declared and we made a straight in approach landing without further incident. During the taxi to our ramp area No. 2 shut down of its own accord (I do not remember the exact sequence of engine loss but do remember two were lost in flight and one during the taxi to the ramp). During the next day the incident investigation discovered several holes in the leading edges of control surfaces and many ducks in the engine intakes..." Contributed by MERCER, Ron conron@ec.rr.com [31JUL2001]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-49 Thumbnail "...The duck hit photos and dead duck as well. I was on this aircraft when we were executing an approach to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland late at night. We ran into a large flock of ducks and all engines ingested several of them. From my best recollection No.1 and No. 4 shut down, an emergency was declared and we made a straight in approach landing without further incident. During the taxi to our ramp area No. 2 shut down of its own accord (I do not remember the exact sequence of engine loss but do remember two were lost in flight and one during the taxi to the ramp). During the next day the incident investigation discovered several holes in the leading edges of control surfaces and many ducks in the engine intakes..." Contributed by MERCER, Ron conron@ec.rr.com [31JUL2001]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-49 Thumbnail "...The duck hit photos and dead duck as well. I was on this aircraft when we were executing an approach to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland late at night. We ran into a large flock of ducks and all engines ingested several of them. From my best recollection No.1 and No. 4 shut down, an emergency was declared and we made a straight in approach landing without further incident. During the taxi to our ramp area No. 2 shut down of its own accord (I do not remember the exact sequence of engine loss but do remember two were lost in flight and one during the taxi to the ramp). During the next day the incident investigation discovered several holes in the leading edges of control surfaces and many ducks in the engine intakes..." Contributed by MERCER, Ron conron@ec.rr.com [31JUL2001]


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