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Newsletter VP-4 Veterans Association Newsletter

Contributed by Robert Zafran vpfourever@gmail.com

The Navy Patrol Squadron Four Reunion Committee is looking for shipmates who served in VP-4. Reunion planned for Reno, 2-4 Oct. 1998. Contact: Bob Zafran, 7150 Via Corona, San Jose, CA 95139-1134 408-972-0269 (Eves) or EMail: vpfourever@gmail.com

UPDATE "...Dear Fellow VP-4 Veteran -

If you weren't in Reno you missed a great reunion. Over 300 attended, including family and friends. Bob Zafran did a great job putting it together. Attendees included Tom Pollock, the first CO and his successor, Dale Hilton. And we were treated to some great stories by guest Steve Reinertsen, a P2V historian. Attendees spanned about forty years of VP-4's fifty years of existence.

VP-4 Veterans Association. The size of the group in Reno made it apparent that we would benefit from forming an Association to provide some structure for planning reunions and maintaining contact with the squadron. So some of us did. The Association will be not-for-profit. It's charter will be to foster camaraderie amongst veterans of the best damn Patrol Squadron in the Navy, and to maintain a supporting social relationship with the active members of VP-4.

Membership is open to all current and former squadron members, plus families. Benefits include a periodic newsletter (perhaps semi-annually) with news of the squadron and updates on items of interest to the members (i.e., progress toward the next reunion).

Earl Carpenter is the interim President, with Bill Broadwell, Bob Zafran, Richard Douglass and Bob Kessler also serving as interim Board members. We envision a business meeting at each future reunion to choose officers. For now, we need volunteers to assist with a couple of chores - maintaining a data base of members, and organizing the 2000/2001 reunion in Pensacola. We also are open to advice and suggestions concerning the legalities involved in setting up this Association.

If you are not already on our roster i.e. receiving mail, please send your name and address to Earl Carpenter fmgs69a@prodigy.com or Bob Kessler KTCtravel@juno.com..." Contributed by sgpa2zfmly@aol.com [29OCT98]


By John Larson oriondriver1975@yahoo.com [09OCT98]

The 50th anniversary Reunion of Patrol Squadron Four was held in Reno, Nevada from October 1-3, 1998. There were well over 300 attendees at the event. This was the largest turnout of any previous VP-4 reunion. The veterans covered the time span from the beginning of the squadron in 1947 until the early 1980's.

The activities included tours of Carson City and Virginia City. We were able to tour a P2V-7 at Stead Field, NV. That is where the Reno Air Races are held. Classic Aviation, Inc. was gracious enough to allow us to tour their aircraft. The sea stories flowed as former veterans of the P-2 era went through this aircraft. This aircraft will be going to a fire museum in Nevada this year.

On Friday evening at the banquet we were treated to have the first Commanding Officer of VP-4 talk. Captain Tom Pollock become the CO of VPML-4 in Nov 1947, at Miramar, California. The squadron received new P2V-2's. The squadron was tasked with photographing Southeastern Alaska. The squadron took 110,000 pictures covering 45,000 square miles. The squadron designation was changed to VP-4 in September 1948.

On Saturday night the speaker was the second Commanding Officer of VP-4, Captain Dale Hilton. It was interesting that both CO's plane captain was at the reunion too. Beside these two CO's, there were in attendance the following CO's: Leslie Davis (1955), Gordon Barnett (1963), Bill Broadwell (1977) and Ted Rogers (1978).

Richard Douglass (VP-4 1961-63) is going to be writing a history of the squadron. He had completed a lot of information on the P-2 era of the squadron, from 1947-1966. The enclosed picture is on the cover of his booklet that was handed out doing the reunion. It was taken over Alaska in 1948 with the first aircraft, the P2V-2's. Here is some interesting information that Richard found.

The first deployment was in January 1949 to Adak, Alaska. The first deployment to Barbers Point was in July 1950. The first WestPac deployment was to Okinawa in November 1953.

The home bases were Nas Whidbey Island - April 1947. The next home base was Naha, Okinawa - August 1956. The squadron was on permanent deployment for 8 years while operating out of Naha. Then the squadron moved to Barbers Point in May 1964.

The early deployment sights were Annette Island and Kodiak, Alaska. In the 1950's they went to Nas Barbers Pt, NAS Agana, Guam and MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. In the Vietnam era the squadron flew out of Nas Sangley Point, Philippines and Tan Son Nhut, Vietnam. They flew Market Time patrols. It was flown mostly at night to search for boats running guns in South Vietnam.

The squadron started flying with the new P2V-2's. Then in 1953 they changed to the P2V-5's. Then the jet engines where put on in 1956 and they were then designated P2V-5F's. Finally in 1962 the squadron got the P2V-7's, which where changed to SP-2H designations. VP-4 got the last 4 P2V-7's that were produced. The P-3A's arrived in 1966.

There are still a few Ex-VP-4 aircraft around. The gate guard at Nas Barbers Point used to be in VP-4. I was talking to one of the Skinny Dragons and he said that his crew, crew 4 flew that plane. So it was designated YD-4. One SP-2H, buno 150282 is still flying. It is with Neptune, Inc. out of Missoula, Mt. It is a fire bomber used in fighting forest fires. Two other planes, buno 150281 and 150283 are with Aero Union, Inc. out of Chico, Ca. They are used for spare parts for other P-2's.

Speaking of gate guards, A P-3A, buno 152160 used to be at Nas Bermuda before the base was closed, it is used for fighting practice at the airport. It was in VP-4 from 1969-70. Another P-3B, buno 153444 is the gate guard at Nas New Orleans, La. It was in VP-4 from 1983-84.

Also at the reunion was Captain Steve Reinertsen, a P2V historian. He gave a very thorough debriefing on one of the squadron's flights over the Bering Sea. They had some very serious in flight problems. Listening to that tale it was amazing that they were able to make it back to base.

The first squadron insignia was adopted in 1948. It was a King Neptune riding a winged Turtle holding a Tiny Tim rocket in one hand and a trident in the other hand. Then in 1963 the logo was changed to the Skinny Dragon. It has been in differing variations ever since then.

The first tail letters were DB. The squadron switched to SC in 1948 and the YD appeared on the tails in 1957.

Richard Douglass spent a lot of time gathering all this information over the past year, talking to veterans who started the squadron and ensuing years. I think that as the end of the Barbers Point era approaches that it is good to look back at the great history of this base and one of the squadrons that was based here at Barbers Point for 35 years.

At the end of the reunion, there were discussions about the next VP-4 reunion. There was talk about having the next reunion at Nas Pensacola, Florida or Williamsburg, Virginia or possible some other location. It might be in 2000 or 2005.

The reunion was a fun time for all of the VP-4 Veterans. It was great to be able to see former squadron mates, who a lot of us had not seen in a long time. It is always enjoyable to relive our youth and think about the great times we had serving in Patrol Squadron Four.

Mahalo and Aloha

Submitted by John Larson LCDR (RET)
VP-4 1974-1977

"VP-4 Veterans Association Reunion Summary Page"