Subject: 2011 VP4 Reunion (JAX, Fl)
By Carl D. Moore
Date Tue, Oct 18, 2011
Just returned from my first VP4 Association “reunion” held in Jacksonville, Florida.
I’m so glad I went. It was more fun than I’d even anticipated!
Approximately 160 VP4 vets showed up (many with their wives).
Of course, I hadn’t seen these guys in 44 years. It was a good thing some of them brought their “’64-’65 Cruise Book,” because once someone shows you their picture in the book, you’ll say “Oh, yeah… ” and the stories begin.
Among those of my crew 9, were Mike Turkington (Nav/TACCO) and his wife Gerri, Bill Tantlinger (1st tech) who says he’ll have his wife Elsie with him next time, and Dave Cheek (2nd tech) with his wife Marvlyn.
All the ladies were lovely and the fellows… good and true gentlemen… all.
People drifted in and out of the “ready room” (an open-bar meeting room on the second floor) throughout the stay. It was sure fun reminiscing about the “good ole days” in Naha, Iwakuni, Atsugi, the P.I., Saigon, Osan (Korea), Hong Kong, Taipai, Johnson and Canton Islands, etc., etc. and of course Barber’s Point.
I took the tour to St Augustine (a nice tourist-trap) one day, then the really good one to Jacksonville NAS.
I gotta tell you — when we served, we were in the “sweet spot” of time to be in the Navy. Today’s Naval Air is different. These two Chief’s (seemed like really young guys and of whom we all can be proud), gave us a slide presentation of where VP4 has been over the last two decades. Iraq, Bahrain, tents in Afghanistan, drug interdiction in our southern hemisphere, just all over the world. And now the defense budget is really changing things. We had 12 birds, they said they should have 9, however only have 3 and need to borrow P3’s from other local squadrons. Since the crews don’t have their own planes (due to the swapping around), those they do have are pretty beat-up (and 30 years old). Getting into an aircrew now requires a 6-year enlistment and the in-flight responsibilities have changed considerably. I was radio and now that’s assigned to an officer. Yes, it’s very different now. And the uniforms, well… they’re different too.
The next VP4 reunion will be held September 2013 in Seattle (with a tour of the new P8 at the Boeing plant).
I’ll be working on my crew mates; Dwight Kau and Charlie Leonard (tried to contact Darv Taylor with no luck, yet) and anyone else I can locate, to be certain they put that one on their calendars. See you in Seattle! Carl