Posted on21 Aug 2016|Comments Off on Passing of VP-4 Vet Billy D. Fritts ADR2 VP-4 1959 – 1962
Sorry to have to pass along this sad news from Dee Perry, Billy’s daughter.
I am very, very saddened to tell you that my sweet and special Daddy passed away this morning at 0730, shortly after I told him I loved him and that it was okay to go be with Mom. It has been a tough week and even tougher few days. We made it to his hometown last week and once that was done, his situation declined at warp speed. He did not suffer much and for that I am eternally grateful. It is still a bit surreal. Below is the link to the Obituary. I will be giving the eulogy at the funeral on Thursday. I plan to wear Daddy’s “birddog” cap, military ribbons and naval pin during visitation. Daddy will have full military honors at the cemetery. I thank you all for what VP-4 has meant to Dad and Mom and then myself. I am a VP-4 Brat FOREVER!
Eulogy for Billy Dale Fritts
Billy Dale Fritts
September 8, 1935 – August 14, 2016
Billy Dale Fritts, age 80, of Carrollton, Georgia, joined his beloved wife in heaven on August 14, 2016. Billy was born on September 8, 1935 in Eldorado, Illinois to Geraldine Faught Fritts and William Fritts. He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Raenell Williamson Fritts, his parents, three sisters and two brothers. He is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Denise and Randy Perry and Christy and Timothy Hawk; grandchildren Taylor Perry, Ian, Lane and Grayson Marks, and Haley Hawk; brother-in-law Bill Lawrence of Evansville, Indiana; sisters-in-law June Watson of Hiawasee and Linda Sullivan of Carrollton and numerous nieces and nephews. Bill also leaves many friends including the Breakfast Crew at Hardee’s, the Roopville High School Class of 1957, former co-workers of Southwire, lifelong friends Velma Jay, Donnie Irvin, George Bruner and Doyle Smith and fellow squadron mates of U.S. Naval Squadron VP-4 (1959 – 63). Born in Eldorado, Illinois and raised in Evansville, Indiana, Bill served 20 years in the U.S. Military, first with the Navy and then in the Air Force, serving one tour of duty in Vietnam in the mid 1960’s. He thrived in the service of his country and kept in touch with fellow service men, especially those with whom he served in U.S. Naval Squadron VP-4. After his last tour in Montgomery, Alabama in 1976, he began work at Southwire in machine maintenance, retiring in 2001. Bill loved history, baseball, westerns, reading his newspapers every day and his grandchildren. He was a member of the First Christian Church in Carrollton. In his younger days he enjoyed quail hunting with his father-in-law, Raymond Williamson and eating fried apple pies made by his mother-in-law, Bessie Williamson. Reading newspapers every day made him a trivia expert on many subjects – clipping articles that he knew others would enjoy. He also kept abreast of changes and news in the military community. Always available to help someone with a project or moving, he enjoyed being around people. He will be missed by many. A celebration of the life of Billy Dale Fritts will be conducted on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at First Christian Church of Carrollton conducted by Barry Shoemake and Jon Day. Visitation with the family will be at Martin & Hightower Funeral Home on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 from 12:00 Noon until 3:00 PM and from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM. Interment will be at conducted by Anthony Puckett at Carroll Memory Gardens immediately following the celebration of life. The family would like to thank Wilson and Myra Knott, Elton and Virginia Lyle, Randall and Mary Ellen Wilson, Jerry and Joyce Latimer, Dwight and Peggy Riley, Buck and Karen Morton, B and Jean Daniel, Jack and Barbara Harris, and Anthony Puckett, who will serve as pallbearers and honorary pallbearers. A profound sense of gratitude is extended to Martin & Hightower Funeral Home for their sincere care of the family during a difficult time. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at www.martin-hightower.com. Martin & Hightower Heritage Chapel has charge of the arrangements.
Posted on29 Jun 2016|Comments Off on Passing of VP-4 Vet AMSC Steven L. Latterner USNR (Ret) VP-4 1966 – 1969
Steven Latterner flew as 2nd Mech on Crew 5 and then as Flight Engineer on Crew 12. His ground duties included work in the Airframes Shop.
Steven Lavalle Latterner, age 69, passed away unexpectedly on June 22nd, 2016, in Largo, Florida. He was born in Excelsior, Minnesota, and moved to the St. Petersburg, Florida, area in 2000 with his wife, Kaie. During his career, Steve was in sales management in the automotive paint and software industries and joined Kaie’s company, TEC, in 1997 to grow their business. He was also a Navy Chief, proudly serving our country for 23 years in his beloved P3 Orion submarine patrol aircraft: four years of active duty during the Vietnam War era and then as a reservist for 19 years out of the Navy base at Glenview, IL. Steve was also a member of the VFW and Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Seminole, Florida. Steve loved boating, woodworking and traveling to relax.
Steve battled a total of five cancers over a 19-1/2 year period more bravely than anyone could have ever expected or anticipated. And he did so while never, ever, ever complaining or feeling sorry for himself. When asked how he was feeling or doing, Steve’s answer was always a firm “I’m fine” no matter how many challenges he was facing at the moment. While having a chemotherapy infusion on June 22nd, he suddenly told Kaie that he felt “really, really weird” and within just a few minutes, we lost him. Some type of catastrophic event, such as a pulmonary embolism or cardiac arrest, took him from us, and even after a long CPR effort, they could not bring him back. We are devastated over this loss, but we know that he is in heaven with God. We are thankful that he is no longer suffering.
Steve was known and loved for his positive can-do attitude, his incredible eyes and smile, his gentleness and patience, his generosity and kindness, his clever sense of humor, and most of all his loving and caring ways. He was a hard worker all his life, which he accomplished with the highest level of ethics, morals and honesty. His love and dedication to Kaie and their marriage was beyond anything that could be expressed in mere words.
Steve was preceded in death by: his father, Donald O. Latterner; his mother, Leona (Koehnen) Latterner; and his sister, Carol Hazelton. He is survived by his wife, Kaie (Pohi); his son, Bret Latterner; his grandson, Anthony Kuempel; his brother, John Latterner (Karen Carsick); his sister, Betty Vinkemeier (Jim) and many wonderful nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, Kaie has started a foundation to memorialize Steve and his valiant fight against the monster we call cancer: The Steven L. Latterner Memorial Foundation, at Wells Fargo Bank. With monies that she collects and raises for the foundation, Kaie will keep Steve’s legacy alive to help others to be brave and stay as healthy and positive as possible while fighting this horrid disease. Although only in the initial planning phase for but a few days, likely goals are for the funds to provide inspirational messages and signs in chemotherapy and clinical trial facilities, to provide education and information on the importance of strong patient advocacy, and to supply cancer patients with a wide variety of helpful and motivational products and activities that are so needed during these unbelievably stressful times. We are thinking of calling the foundation “Steve cares…” Any and all ideas and suggestions will be heartwarmingly welcomed. Donations in Steve’s memory can be made out to The Steven L. Latterner Memorial Foundation and mailed to our home address. (Please contact Kaie for further details.) You can also make a donation at your local Wells Fargo Bank by asking them to process a donation to a registered Wells Fargo memorial account. (The account was setup by Nakita Vizena at the Redington Shores FL branch.)
There will be two memorial services for Steve: one in Florida and one in Minnesota. The one in Florida will be at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd located at 10891 102nd Avenue North, Seminole, FL (727-391-4644) on Saturday, July 23 at 2:00 P.M. The memorial in Minnesota will be sometime during the first half of August but has not been arranged yet. This website will be updated with the appropriate information as soon as we have a time and place.
We are beyond moved and overwhelmed by all the love, support, cards, calls, flowers, FB posts and messages that we have received since Steve’s passing. We are eternally grateful to all of our friends and family.
By LTJG Matthew Johnston
Patrol Squadron (VP) FOUR participated in the NATO Exercise BALTOPS 16 from 3-18 June. BALTOPS is an annually occurring exercise that is designed to enhance interoperability and demonstrate the ability of partner and allied nations to defend the Baltic region. The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 deployed two Combat Aircrews, 18 aircraft maintenance professionals, and one P-3C Orion to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany and established Task Group (CTG) 67.2. Joining the Skinny Dragons as members of CTG 67.2 was a P-8A Poseidon from VP-26, a P-3C from VP-62, and numerous aircraft maintainers from both squadrons. Combat Aircrew Seven (VP-4) also flew one mission out of Lielvārde Air Base, Latvia.
CTG 67.2 aircraft flew 18 missions during the exercise, totally over 67 hours of on station training with NATO and partner forces. The Poseidon and Orion crews flew a diverse set of missions but their primary focus was Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-surface Warfare. The aircrews honed their ASW skills working with three submarines and over 40 surface combatants. The well trained NATO submarine crews and challenging environmental conditions in the Baltic Sea created excellent training opportunities for the P-3C and P-8A aircrews.
“BALTOPS provided our entire team a fantastic training opportunity. The dynamic mission scenarios challenged us and we are now better prepared for combined operations with our NATO allies and partners” remarked Combat Aircrew Ten Mission Commander and Detachment Officer-in-Charge, LCDR Brian Blaschke. “Additionally, a key to our success was our hard working and talented aircraft maintainers; they put our aircrews in a mission ready aircraft every time, on time.”
The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 worked tirelessly to support BALTOPS 16 and are extremely grateful for the opportunity to train with such talented NATO forces and build interoperability. VP-4 looks forward to future operations with NATO allies and partners as we exercise our mutual commitment to Baltic Security.
BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. This is the 44th year of the exercise.
One P-3C Orion aircraft and two aircrews from the “Skinny Dragons” of VP-4 were assigned to participate in BALTOPS 2016. The crews flew Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) operations.
One P-3C from VP-62 and one P-8A Poseidon from VP-26 also participated in the exercise.
Combined Task Group (CTG) 67.2 was formed for the exercise and is comprised of 92 Sailors from three squadrons. CTG 67.2 was commanded by VP-4 Commanding Officer, Cdr. Christopher Smith.
160615-N-AL293-033 SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany (June 15, 2016) Aircrew Survival Eqipmentman 3rd class Evan Dowden signals to the pilots of Patrol Squadron FOUR’s (VP) P-3C Orion as they taxi onto the parking apron after a flight. BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, and demonstrate the capability and resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Menhardt/ Released)
160613-N-AL293-082 LIELVARDE AIR BASE, LATVIA (June 13, 2016) Naval Air Crewman Operator 2nd Class Brandon Fregeau and Air Crewman Operator 3rd class John Ferguson pre-flight their sensor stations before take-off. The Orion and 11 person crew are operating along-side Latvian forces in support of BALTOPS. BALTOPS is a joint, multinational, maritime-focused exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve among NATO and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Menhardt/ Released)
160615-N-AL293-030 SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany (June 15, 2016) Patrol Squadron FOUR’s (VP) P-3C Orion taxis’ onto the parking apron after a flight. BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, and demonstrate the capability and resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Menhardt/ Released)
160613-N-AL293-066 LIELVARDE AIR BASE, LATVIA (June 13, 2016) Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd class Dustin Mayse pre-flights sonobouys before take-off. The Orion and 11 person crew are operating along-side Latvian forces in support of BALTOPS. BALTOPS is a joint, multinational, maritime-focused exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve among NATO and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Menhardt/ Released)
SIGONELLA, Sicily (May 19, 2016) A P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four taxis at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily in preparation to take off in support of the search for Egyptair flight MS804. The U.S. Navy is providing a P-3 Orion in support of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Greece, in response to a request by the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece for assistance in the search of the missing Egyptian aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass
Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)
Posted on21 Jun 2016|Comments Off on A Skinny Dragon Kind of Day
By: CDR Chris Smith, Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron FOUR
Over the course of one 24 hour period from the 13th through the 14th of June, the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) did something amazing; they launched six different aircraft spread across five different locations around the world on six very different missions.
In Comalapa, El Salvador, the 70 person detachment launched their 35th counter-drug mission of the deployment. The men and women of this detachment work closely with several other units of the Joint Interagency Task Force, South (JIATF-S) to stop the distribution and sale of illegal drugs. Money from the sale of these drugs is often used to support international terrorist organizations and the efforts of JIATF-S have a direct and meaningful impact on national defense. To date, VP-4 has contributed to 21 busts totaling 19,808 kilos of illegal drugs with a street value of over $501,170,000.
VP-4 also has a permanent detachment stationed in Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. This team of Skinny Dragons operates in the sweltering heat of Africa to fly overland intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in support of counter-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa. Their flight on this day represented VP-4’s presence on a third continent and demonstrates the P-3C’s ability to operate in extreme conditions.
Simultaneously, VP-4 participated in Exercise BALTOPS 2016 from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. With one aircraft, two aircrews, and 18 maintenance professionals, the detachment is a small part of the large multinational maritime exercise. BALTOPS 2016 included approximately 6,100 maritime, ground, and air force troops from 17 participating nations. The exercise is designed to allow the participants to hone their maritime interdiction, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious operations, and air defense tactics, techniques, and procedures in a combined and joint environment. On this particular day, Combat Aircrew TEN conducted an anti-submarine warfare flight demonstrating the primary mission area of the P-3C Orion.
Operating out of Naval Air Station Rota, Spain, Combat Aircrew FIVE supported by several maintenance professionals provided airborne support for the USS Eisenhower as she made her way into the Mediterranean Sea. This kind of support to a Carrier Strike Group is another critical mission of the P-3C. An airborne P-3C gives the Strike Group Commander visibility on threats beyond his horizon and the ability to destroy those threats if the need arises.
SIGONELLA, Sicily (May 19, 2016) A P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four taxis at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily in preparation to take off in support of the search for Egyptair flight MS804. The U.S. Navy is providing a P-3 Orion in support of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Greece, in response to a request by the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece for assistance in the search of the missing Egyptian aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)
In a rare feat, VP-4 provided support to a second Carrier Strike Group on the same day. Flying out of NAS Sigonella, Italy, Combat Aircrew EIGHT flew in support of the USS Truman as she conducted operations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Even in the face of all these rigorous operational demands, the Skinny Dragons of VP-4 made time to continue training for tomorrow’s fight as well. The vision of VP-4 is to “Do right to fight, today and tomorrow”. To do that, the most experienced Sailors of this squadron must pass on the lessons they have learned to the next generation of warriors. On this day, the squadron also executed an important Pilot Training Flight to ensure that the long line of outstanding Skinny Dragon Aviators continues into the future.
Days like this are not unique to this squadron or this moment in history. Days like this represent any given day in the long and venerable history of the mighty P-3C Orion and the entire Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Community.
Posted on06 Jun 2016|Comments Off on Passing of VP-4 Vet ATC John W. Robertson USN (Ret) VP-4 1966 – 1968
Ray Frazer, (VP-4 66-69), sent me the sad news of the passing of another Skinny Dragon.
John W. Robertson, ATC, passed at 11:50 AM. June 3, 2016 at the age of 79. CPO Robertson and his wife would have celebrated their 56th Anniversary on June 11, 2016.
While a member of VP-4 John was assigned to AMD Department at Barbers Point, HI and IMA in MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. Photo is from the 1967 cruise book.
John William Robertson, 79, of Olney, died Friday, June 3, 2016, at his residence.
Graveside services with full military rites were held at 10 a.m. Monday, June 6 in Haven Hill Memorial Garden. Kistler-Patterson Funeral Home in Olney was in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Robertson was born March 22, 1937, in Indianapolis, the son of Ray and Kathryn (Ziegner) Robertson. He married Priscilla Robertson on June 11, 1960, in Imperial Valley, Calif. She survives.
John was a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era. Once he retired, he was employed at West Salem Champion Laboratories for 10 years. He was a member of American Legion in Olney. John enjoyed fishing, operating a ham radio, and woodworking. He took pleasure in camping and photography. John loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Mr. Robertson is survived by his wife of nearly 57 years, Priscilla Robertson, of Olney; daughter, Ginger Thoms and husband Mark, of Olney; son, Ray Robertson and wife Isabel, of Olney; son, Kevin Robertson and wife Marna, of Mancelona, Mich.; grandchildren, Nathan, Mandy, and Nick, Heather, Terri, Ale, and Becky, and Angus and Caleb; great-grandchildren, Jaiden, Brody, Madison, and Emily; nephew, Mike Myers; and niece, Stacey Sims.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Judy Myers.
Online condolences may be left at www.kistler-patterson.com.
Cards may be sent to:
Mrs. Priscilla Robertson
600 South Baltimore Street
Olney, IL 62450-1750
Posted on30 May 2016|Comments Off on Passing of VP-4 Vet John Allen Dodd AECS USN (Ret) VP-4 1980 – 1983
In Memory of
John A Dodd
July 23, 1947 – May 25, 2016
Senior Chief John Allen Dodd II, US Navy Retired died Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at St. Francis Hospital. Graveside funeral services with military honors will be held 11:00 A.M. Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at Riverdale Cemetery, according to Striffler-Hamby, Phenix City, AL. The family will receive friends Monday evening from 3:00 P.M. until 5:00 P.M. at the funeral home.
Mr. Dodd was born July 23, 1947 in Bethesda, Maryland; son of the late John Allen Dodd, Sr. and Patricia Murphy Dodd. He was retired from the U.S. Navy with 20 years of service and was later retired from IIG Insulation Group with 20 years of service. Mr. Dodd was a member of Central Baptist Church in Phenix City and a member of the Wilson-Williams Masonic Lodge 351. Other than his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Patricia Greathouse and her husband, Robert Greathouse.
Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Elaine Pearrow Dodd of Phenix City, AL, son; John Allen Dodd, III and his wife, Kristy Ann Dodd of Salem, AL, daughter; Heather Dodd Harris and her husband, Chad Harris of Marietta, GA, sister; Barbara Dodd Galloway and her husband, Morris of Canton, GA, grandchildren; Britny Carter (Anthony), Haley Lynn Dodd, Hannah Nichole Dodd, Brenden Chase Harris, Braxton Cooper Harris, great grandchildren; Sebastian Carter, Kaleb Winslow, Hayden McVay and Rachel Carter.
Please sign the online registry at www.shphenixcity.com
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Posted on30 Mar 2016|Comments Off on Patrol Squadron Four Begins ‘Aloha’ Deployment
Story by LT j.g. Matthew Johnston, VP-4 Public Affairs Officer
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (NNS) — P-3C Orion planes from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four, departed Kaneohe from Marine Corps Base Hawaii for the last time, March 18. The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 began a challenging tri-site deployment to three different areas of responsibility (AORs).
The theme, ‘Aloha Deployment,’ was adopted by VP-4 and its meaning is two-fold. VP-4 says Aloha and Mahalo to their Hawaii home and will be saying Aloha to the P-3C in favor of the P-8A Poseidon.
Since 1964, VP-4 has a long and decorated history as a permanent fixture in Hawaii, so leaving is certainly bittersweet.
Upon return from deployment, VP-4 will execute a permanent duty station change to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington, and transition to the P-8A. The Skinny Dragons began flying the Orion 50 years ago, and the transition to the Poseidon is the next step in ensuring they remain the Navy’s premier maritime squadron.
“This deployment is an exciting time for our squadron and our families,” said VP-4 Commanding Officer Cdr. Jon Spore. “Between the move to Whidbey Island and the upcoming transition to the P-8A Poseidon, we have a lot to look forward to, but remain focused on our immediate goal of completing our last P-3C Orion deployment. That being said, our time in Hawaii was very special and we look forward to making new memories in a new location and with a new aircraft.”
Patrol Squadron Four is the first of three Hawaii-based squadrons to make the move to Whidbey Island and transition to the P-8A, and they will continue their standard of excellence in the new aircraft. The Skinny Dragons are motivated to face that challenge, however, their focus is currently on the deployment and executing the mission.
“VP-4 has enjoyed great success for many years in Hawaii. Our Sailors from today and years gone by have fantastic memories of serving in the Aloha State,” remarked VP-4 Executive Officer Cdr. Christopher Smith. “While it’s bittersweet to leave, we look forward to starting our next chapter in our new home after this deployment. We fondly say Mahalo to this wonderful community for all the great memories.”
After flying the P-3 for 50 years, the Skinny Dragons are committed to ensuring this last Orion ‘Aloha Deployment’ is a resounding success that sees them all return home safely.
For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/airpac/.
150609-N-MV308-001 KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (June 9, 2015) Sailors assigned to the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 perform a man-on-the-stand coordinated check on a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Coordinated checks are done on a routine basis to ensure proper functioning of the aircraft and continued mission readiness and performance. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Porter/Released)
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Posted on25 Nov 2015|Comments Off on Passing of VP-4 Vet AMS3 Ronald Buchnat VP-4 1964 – 1967
Another Skinny Dragon has fallen.
Ron Buchnat, age 70, of Crown Point, IN, passed away on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. Ron is survived by his wife: Ursula; daughter: Anastasia “Stacey”; and sister: Ruth Ann Buchnat of Jones, MI. He was preceded in death by his parents: Jerome and Charlotte Buchnat. Ron taught reading and communications for 34 years at Heritage Middle School in Lansing, IL. He was a member of St. Michael Church in Schererville, IN, a member of the Sauk Village Moose Lodge and served in the U.S. Navy as an airplane mechanic during the Vietnam Conflict. Ron was an avid hunter and fisherman, and enjoyed competitive shooting matches. Friends may visit with the family on Sunday, November 29, 2015 at the c from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. Memorial offerings may be given in Ron’s name to: The Nature Conservancy, 620 East Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202. Arrangements entrusted to Geisen Funeral, Cremation & Reception Centre in Crown Point, IN. View and/or sign guestbook at www.GeisenFuneralHome.com or contact 219-663-2500.
Ron had been active in recruiting VP-4 vets to attend our reunions. He made these entries on his Rallypoint.com profile
I was a structural mechanic and I was an air crewman for a short time. I flew the bow/mad position in the old P2V7 Neptune. After our 1st deployment to Iwakuni, Japan & Southeast Asia my squadron transitioned to the P3-A Orion Aircraft. On our 2nd deployment to the same places, we lost a P3 (YD-6) in April 28, 1967. All hand were lost, the cause of crash was never determined. While in VP-4, I did some work in the line crew, night check, check crew and airframes. I left the squadron in Dec. , 1967 and was discharged from the Navy in Jan. 1968 from Great Lakes Naval training Center.
I retired in 2005 from the education field. I taught high school in Chicago for 1 year and junior high for 1 year. I then went and taught Remedial Reading and Communications in Sunnybrook School District #171 for the next 31 years. I really enjoyed my years in the education field. While teaching, I also worked in general aviation.
Posted on11 Nov 2015|Comments Off on Passing of VP-4 Vet LCDR Joseph E. McDaniels USN (Ret) VP-4 1961 – 1965
LCDR McDaniels was an LDO Avionics Officer who served in VP-4 from 1961 – 1965 as a Navigator/TACCO and Avionics Division Officer. Photos are from the 1962 Okinawa book.
SAN ANTONIO, TX – Joseph Eugene McDaniels LCDR (Ret.), 83, of San Antonio, Texas, formerly of Springfield, Ill., passed away Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015.
He was born April 26, 1932, in Buffalo Hart, the son of Joseph Lee and Marcella Stanfield McDaniel. He married Helen Douglass on Nov. 18, 1952.
Joseph was a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he retired after 27 years of service.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Beverly Ann Azra and Ellen Fancher.
He is survived by his wife, Helen; one daughter, Patricia Geraty of Eden Prairie, Minn.; and two sons, Joseph Lee McDaniels of Jacksonville, Fla., and James Robert McDaniels of Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Visitation will be from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, at Ellinger-Kunz & Park Funeral Home.
Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, at Mechanicsburg Cemetery in Mechanicsburg, Ill.
Memorial contributions may be made to: The Wounded Warrior Project.
Ellinger-Kunz & Park Funeral Home, 530 N. 5th St., Springfield, IL 62702 is in charge of arrangements. Visit our online obituary at www.ellingerkunzfuneralhome.com.
Published in The State Journal-Register on Nov. 15, 2015
– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sj-r/obituary.aspx?n=Joseph-Eugene-McDaniels&pid=176508224#sthash.NsayD3Us.dpuf
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After over a year in the making, it is finally here and ready for you or a special Christmas gift to someone. This coin is exceptional with nice color on the front, 3-D design of a P-3 flying over Oahu on the back, a diagonal cut edge, and a good heft to it. I only had 50 made so as not to conflict with Tommy Johnson and there are only 44 left. The price was slightly higher because of the smaller order yet you will not be disappointed. I am tagging on to a friend’s website to sell these coins, so to purchase your coin go to
The coins will be shipped via USPS with insurance and tracking. Please check out the rest of the Chupamacabre website for unique gifts.
This coin may have special meaning to you if you know someone that served on Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) based in Hawaii. “The Skinny Dragons” are a highly recognized and honored squadron of the United States Navy, playing key roles in the Vietnam War and Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
The coin is two-dimensional on the colorful dragon side with a three-dimensional embossment on the back. Quantities are very limited. This order qualifies for free shipping!
These products will be fulfilled by an outside vendor.
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Posted on30 Sep 2015|Comments Off on JMSDF Detachment visits Kaneohe Bay
LT Jan R. Krsak
Public Affairs Officer
VP-4 Kaneohe Bay, HI
On Monday, September 21 2015, The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Detachment 50 from Patrol Squadron 5 arrived at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. JMSDF Patrol Squadron 5 is based in Naha Air Base on the island of Okinawa and currently flies the P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Over a span of 4,500 miles, the squadron managed to bring two aircraft and full maintenance support. JMSDF will be working in conjunction with Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4) for about three weeks aiming to foster international relations and cohesiveness between the JMSDF and United States Navy.
On Friday, September 25, the JMSDF conducted a local area familiarization flight with one of VP-4’s combat air crews. “I was impressed with their professionalism and crew cohesiveness. I was also fascinated by how well maintained and clean their aircraft was.” Said LT Jack Turner, a pilot assigned to VP-4.
The detachment is projected to conduct a torpedo exercise and joint coordinated operations with U.S. Navy ships and aircraft. The exercises designed to continuously contribute to honorable international relations between the JMSDF and United States Navy.
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Posted on18 Sep 2015|Comments Off on Survey coming for the attendees of the 2015 Reunion
There will be a survey coming out VERY soon about the 2015 VP-4 Association All Hands Reunion that was held in New Orleans. I’m putting out this post to let you all know it’s coming, and to let you know the super secret password to fill out the survey. We’ll be publishing the survey here and through Facebook.
The password is …. VP4Ever
If you access the survey through the website here, and not the Facebook link that’s coming you will need that password. If you access the survey through Facebook, you will not need the password.
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Posted on17 Sep 2015|Comments Off on 2017 VP-4 Reunion?
When’s the next reunion you ask? Where will it be held? Will there be free booze and soda/coffee in the “Ready Room”? Will Chad be there?
These are all great questions, and I (your humble web admin) will try and answer them for you.
The next VP-4 All Hands Reunion will be held sometime in the late summer or early fall (think September to Mid October) of 2017 in Washington DC. As always with this squadron, there will be a no host bar in the hospitality/”ready room”, so make sure you have paid your membership dues so we’re not stuck drinking Pepsi Blue and rotgut whiskey.
Start planning and putting the word out to your shipmates so we can make this the best reunion in the history of reunions!
Posted on17 Sep 2015|Comments Off on Patrol Squadron Four conducted a search and rescue mission September 2015
The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and good Samaritans aboard a fishing boat helped rescue a sailing vessel that was taking on water Wednesday, September 9th approximately 30 miles north of the island of Maui. At around 11:45 a.m., the 36-foot Honey Cutter enroute from Hawaii to San Diego sent a SOS message that stated the vessel had suffered a keel fracture and was taking on water.
The Coast Guard requested help last week from Patrol Squadron Four based in Kaneohe Bay and good Samaritans on board the Captain Kenneth, located approximately 40 miles from the Honey Cutter. The Navy’s P-3C Orion arrived on scene and quickly established communications with the distressed vessel. The crew remained overhead for several hours and coordinated the arrival of the Captain Kenneth to the scene. The efforts of the aircrew helped ensure a successful meet up and tow with the two boats. Were it not for the capabilities and training of the aircraft and crew, the distressed boat may have capsized into the ocean stranding the crew. The Honey Cutter crew said they were prepared to abandon ship and were manually dewatering the vessel. The Captain Kenneth arrived on scene and was able to start towing the Honey Cutter at around 11 p.m. No injuries have been reported.
Patrol Squadron Four PAO.
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Posted on20 Aug 2015|Comments Off on Emerson, John “Jack” Robert, CAPT, VP-4 Pilot and XO/CO – 1954-1956 and 1968/1969-1970
Captain John R. Emerson USN (Ret), age 93, was born March 26, 1922 and passed August 11, 2015 at home in Bend, Oregon. Born in Busby, Alberta, Canada to John Robert MacDonald Ritchie and Jessie Whitson Carmichael (Emerson) (Ritchie) (Urquhart). Mother and sons moved to Oakland, California in 1924, becoming US citizen in 1940. He is survived by Alice, his wife and childhood sweetheart of 70 years to whom he gives much credit for her support and adaptability, and his six children John, Janice, Phillip, Kenneth, Scott. His son Ross preceded him.
He joined the Navy in July 1942 in hopes of becoming a Naval Aviation Pilot. Trained as an aviation machinist mate, southwest pacific bases became his assignment. In 1944, he was offered a temporary officer commission or enlisted flight training. He joined the Navy to fly. One of his first aircraft was a Stearman biplane, wearing a leather helmet and a pigskin jacket, which is still wearable today. In the latter years, when someone asked for a new flight jacket, Capt. Emerson said “Have a seat, let me tell you about my jacket.”
Aviation Pilot First Class Emerson flew with FASRON 119 in Saipan, Marianas Islands taking on the roles of maintenance officer, technical librarian and operations officer. The squadron received a perfect audit for the first time. Assigned to VR-3 (Moffett Field), he made chief in 1951 and was one of the Navy’s first pilots to fly and instruct in the R6D (C-118) aircraft. From 1953-55, he was one of 15 APs to acquire a regular officer commission, completing 2 years of college equivalency in 1 to graduate as a Naval Aviator. In 1962 he received his BS degree and in 1971 two Masters degrees at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.
20+ aircraft later, became Commanding Officer of VP-4, a Pentagon Navy planner, CinC-PacFlt staff in Hawaii until 1981, his last assignment was as CO of Naval Air Reserve Unit, NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.
With his retirement in Sept 1982, Capt. Emerson brought to a close 40 years of continuous naval service, marking the end of a special breed of Navy flyers – Naval Aviation Pilots (NAPs) whose national association is known as the Silver Eagles. Occasionally someone would look at his original flight jacket and ask “What is an AP1?”. The ex-enlisted pilot would smile and say, “Have a seat, let me tell you all about it.”
– See more at: http://www.bairdmortuaries.com/obituary/John-R.-Emerson/Bend-OR/1536929#sthash.K3h2zA44.dpuf
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I saw a post almost a year ago about a VP-4 coin. I would like to see this happen so I have been working with http://www.militaryservicecompany.com to come up with a design (Skinny Dragon on the front and a P-3 flying over Oahu on the back. The attached photos show the design, the diagonal edge, and an example of the 3D look.
I am not selling these coins as I do not want to make a profit, so I am looking for “donations” to cover the cost of the coin, packaging, and postage. However, I need a minimum of 100 people to make this happen. Based on the cost of the coin, packaging, postage, I expect the per coin cost at ~$15.00. The only thing I do not have worked out is the “donation”, e.g., payment by check to a PO Box or by PayPay through a friend’s website. Any suggestions are appreciated. Let’s do this!!!
Material: Bronze soft enamel;
Size:1.75″, diameter, round shape;
Color: 5c on front, without color on back;
Diagonal cut edge (as attached photo);
Antique silver plating; and
3 sides polishing.
Navy Shift of Hawaii-Based Patrol Squadrons to Whidbey Island Set for 2016
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has set in motion its plan to shift its patrol squadrons based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, to Whidbey Island, Wash., as they make the transition to the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) is scheduled to change duty stations on Oct. 1, 2016, from Marine Corps Air Facility Kaneohe Bay to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island. The squadron will go through transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A at NAS Jacksonville, Fla.
VP-4 will begin the transition as the last of six active-duty VP squadrons based at Jacksonville completes transition to the P-8A. VP-4 will join three VP squadrons at Whidbey Island and will be followed in succession by the other two VP squadrons based at Kaneohe Bay, VP-9 and VP-47.
The Navy’s strategic laydown plan calls for 12 active-duty VP squadrons and two Reserve VP squadrons divided between Jacksonville and Whidbey Island. When completed, it will end more than 80 years of permanent basing of patrol squadrons in Hawaii.
This move is a bit of a coming home for VP-4 as it was our first duty station after being formed up at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Miramar, CA. The squadron was first stationed at NAS Whidbey Island in the spring of 1948 and stayed there until our move to Naha, Okinawa in 1956.
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Posted on09 Jun 2015|Comments Off on Igniting the Spark: VP-4 participates in ‘Discover Your Future in Aviation’
Navy LT Julie Reichel
Patrol Squadron FOUR
Recently four pilots from Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) represented the United States Navy at the Pacific Aviation Museum’s sixth annual “Discover Your Future in Aviation.”
The purpose of this year’s “Discover Your Future in Aviation” was to expose young people to the thrills and joys of a career in aviation. For many people, the highlights of the event were the guest speakers, including Jessica Cox, the first licensed armless pilot; Rob Kelso, a former NASA flight director; and Lt. Col. Karen Fuller Brannen, the first female Marine F-18 pilot. In addition to the guest speakers the event also showcased a handful of both active and retired aircraft accompanied by their respective pilots and volunteers.
To help play their part in exposing young people to aviation, the pilots of VP-4 spent the afternoon in front of a bright yellow RC-3 “Seabee,” a post-World War II amphibious aircraft, and helped children climb in and out of the cockpit. Additionally, the pilots also took the time to pin “wings of gold” on the children’s chests. Noting how knowledgeable some of the children were, many of the VP-4 pilots realized that this wasn’t their first exposure to aviation or aircraft.
Corbin Lewis, 11, knew enough about planes to finish one of the pilot’s sentences. When his mother, Nola, was asked where his fascination comes from, she replied “His whole life is flying. We take him to every air show we can find, we come to the museum a lot, and he even walks around the house in a flight suit.” Corbin Lewis is also the youngest person to ever request to volunteer at the Pacific Aviation Museum and dreams of one day becoming a military pilot.
Another visitor, 3-year-old Henry, hardly spoke a word that was not related to his toy planes or his pilot uncle. Looking at the yellow amphibious plane, he became so excited that he, uncharacteristically, was hardly able to speak. Watching Henry, as well as many other children, climb into the plane was like watching a person’s first taste of chocolate. The smile that transformed their faces and the excitement that shown from their eyes conveyed the beginning spark of passion that has captured aviators for more than 100 years.
The VP-4 pilots said they truly enjoyed their time at the “Discover Your Future in Aviation” event and they felt fortunate to play a part in exposing the thrills of aviation to so many young people.
“I really enjoyed introducing children to aviation,” said LTJG Branden Roy, a VP-4 pilot. “It was great to see how enthusiastic the kids felt about learning to fly and becoming pilots someday.”
LTJG Katie Medford-Davis agreed. “It was great to represent VP-4 (in) the community and to see how many kids are excited about aviation today,” she said.
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