Category Archives: Fallen Shipmates

Passing of VP-4 Vet YN2 Leland R. Glasscock VP-4 1982 – 1985

glasscock-leland-r-2 YN2 Leland R. Glasscock VP-4 1982 – 1985

Leland Randall Glasscock of Mountain View, Missouri was born November 28, 1962 in Catania, Italy and went to be with the Lord, Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at his home in Mountain View. He was the son of Leland Rosco and Ruby Christine (Mullenax) Glasscock, who precede him in death.

He was united in marriage to Thresa Ann Moores on May 8, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Two children were born to this union, Leland Andrew and Christine Lynn.

He is survived by his wife, Thresa Ann; one son, Leland Andrew Glasscock and wife, Chelsea, of Mountain View; one daughter, Christine Lynn Kimbrough and husband, Cody, of Birch Tree, Missouri; one brother, Steve Glasscock of Washington; and one grandson, Remington Duke Kimbrough, on the way.

Leland grew up in Alabama, where he entered service in the U.S. Navy in 1982. After serving his country for five years, he was honorably discharged having received the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two Bronze Stars.

Leland was a Boy Scout Leader for his son’s troop and was a member of the Masonic Lodge #637. He was currently the manager of RNR Tire Express in West Plains, Missouri. He loved just about anything that had to do with the outdoors including golfing, camping, and woodworking.

A visitation will be held on Friday, November 25, 2016 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Yarber Mortuary, Mountain View. Masonic funeral services will be held at 7:00 p.m. Memorials may be made Masonic Lodge #637. Condolences may be expressed at www.yarbermortuary.com.

http://www.yarbermortuary.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=1880557

Passing of VP-4 Vet AEC Emmette R. Zimmerman Jr. VP-4 1979 – 1981

zimmerman-emmetteEmmette Zimmerman Jr. was an AE1 Flight Engineer flying with Crew 8 during the 1979 – 1980 VP-4 deployment.

Emmette Ray Zimmerman, Jr. (Zeke), age 73, passed away November 11, 2016. He was born on July 2, 1943 to Emmette R. Zimmerman Sr. and Mary B. Zimmerman in Salisbury, NC. He was raised in North Carolina. He graduated from James A. Gray High School in 1960. He served in the U. S. Navy from 1960-1987. He was ranked as an E7, received the National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Vietnam Service Medal.

He was married to his wife of 35 years on April 25, 1981. He enjoyed participation in good times and fishing.

Emmette Ray Zimmerman, Jr. is preceded in death by: his father, Emmette Ray Zimmerman, Sr.; mother, Mary Mina Zimmerman; sister, Judy Z. Byerly. He is survived by: his wife, Felicitas Frago Zimmerman; siblings, Brenda Z. Leonard, Sherry Zimmerman, Debbie Z. Tant, Ronald Zimmerman and Benny Zimmerman; grandchildren, Jacqueline, Alexandra and Scott. He is also survived by his pets Keisha and Nache Zimmerman.

Visitation will be held from 6:00-9:00PM, Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at Seaside Funeral Home Chapel. A Funeral Service will be held at 11:30AM, Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at Seaside Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow at Coastal Bend Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

http://www.seasidefuneral.com/obituaries/Emmette-Ray-Zimmerman-4872674951/#!/TributeWall

zimmerman-emmette-2 zimmerman-emmette-3

Passing of VP-4 Vet AWCM Donald C. Hoosier USN (Ret) VP-4 1973 – 1976

hoosier-donald-c-2Donald Carl Hoosier, 71, passed away April 24, 2016, in San Jose, California. Don was born in Ohio and went to first and second grades in Sterling, moving to Tucson, Arizona, where he was raised. After high school graduation the family moved back to Ohio. Shortly afterward he enlisted in the Navy to pursue his interest in technology.

A U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, Don retired as a master chief petty officer after proudly serving twenty-two years. His Navy career took him around the world, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Diego Garcia, Adak, Alaska and Hawaii. In his civilian life he was a systems engineer, avid gardener, 10k race runner, indoor arena football fan (San Jose Sabercats), and loved spending time with his grandchildren.

Surviving are daughters, Donnalyn (Craig) Zarzeczny and two grandchildren, and Jessica Hoosier, of San Jose, California; his mother, Ruth Hoosier of Sterling; a brother, Tom (Kathy) Hoosier of Anchorage, Alaska; and his former spouse, Linda Hoosier of San Jose, California.

He was preceded in death by his father, Carl Hoosier.

Private burial service will be in San Joaquin National Cemetery.

Published in the Daily Record.

 

hoosier-donald-c-3 hoosier-donald-c

Passing of VP-4 Vet AD1 John J. W. Honaker USN (Ret) VP-4 1961 – 1963

honaker-john-3John J. Honaker served with VP-31, VP-4 (05/1961-12/1963) on the Line Crew and in Power Plants, Commander, Seventh FLeeT (COM7THFLT) Det “A”, VP-40 (P5M), VR-51 (1970-1972) at NAS Glenview, Illinois, VR-54 (1973-1975) at NAS New Orleans, Louisiana, NAS Glenview, Illinois (1975-1980) as an instructor (C118B Flight Simulator), VR-46 (1980-1982)at NAS Atlanta, Georgia and retired 08/1982 as AD1.

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John J. W. Honaker, 74, Green Bay, died unexpectedly Tuesday, September 27, 2016. He was born on August 28, 1942, in Winchester Center, CT to Marshall Vanmeter and Elizabeth (Bement) Honaker.

Following graduation from Oliver Wolcott Technical School, John enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served his country for 22 years and retired in 1982 with the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class. John served for four years in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts. He survived both a plane and a helicopter crash. John visited 135 countries and had been around the world four times, including trips to both the North and South Poles.

On January 8, 1983, John was united in marriage to Mary Elizabeth Hindmon in the chapel at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, GA. After his military career, he worked in industrial maintenance until his retirement in 2004. John and Mary Elizabeth moved to Green Bay in 2004. He was very active in the Disabled Veterans Chapter 3. John served as past Commander and past District Commander. He was an ordained Minister and served as Chapter 3 and Wisconsin State Chapter Chaplain. John was a member of the Desert Vets, Vietnam Veterans Association, the Trench Rats, and served in the D.A.V. Honor Guard.

John is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth; son, John Joseph Wesley Honaker II; two stepsons, Alvin Leroy “Skip” Davis Jr., and Alan (D.J.) Davis; five grandchildren, Ashley Honaker, John Joseph Honaker III, Danielle Davis, Brianna (Mack) Koebach, and Tyler Davis; two great-grandchildren, Rylie and Harper; brother, Allen David Honaker; two sisters, Roberta Singleton and Susan Ruth Honaker, aka Sr. St. Paul Augustine; other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Friends may call at Blaney Funeral Home, 1521 Shawano Ave., from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Friends may also call from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, followed by the Funeral Service at 11 a.m. with Rev. Gerry Mathisen officiating. Burial with full Military Honors will be in Fort Howard Memorial Park. To send online condolences, please go to www.BlaneyFuneralHome.com.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in John’s name to benefit the D.A.V. Honor Guard.

Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30, 2016

http://www.blaneyfuneralhome.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=3906951&fh_id=13215

 

Photos are from obituary, 1962 VP-4 Cruise Book and 2015 VP-4 Reunion.

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager
database@vp4association.com

Passing of VP-4 Vet Billy Webster Matthews LT VP-4 1950 – 1952

Mary Matthews, widow of Billy W. Matthews, sent me a note in response to the postcard I sent about the upcoming reunion. Unfortunately, Billy has passed away.

Billy Matthews reported to VP-4 as an Ensign in 1950. He was a pilot assigned to Crew 8 and served as Legal Officer.

Matthews, Billy W.Billy “Bill” W. Matthews, 87, of Beaumont, died Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at Christus Hospital – St. Elizabeth. He was born on October 25, 1928, in Atkins, Arkansas, to Tempie Bowden and Roy Matthews. Bill graduated from Little Rock High School and Arkansas Tech before joining the United States Navy where he became a Naval Aviator and obtained the Rank of Lieutenant. After active duty and while continuing to serve in the reserves, Bill attended Southern Methodist University where he met his wife of sixty years, Mary Prentiss. He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Bill concluded his studies at the University of Houston where he obtained his degree in pharmacology. Bill dedicated his professional career to Walgreen’s where he served as a pharmacist and store manager for thirty-three years. He was honored by Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow. Bill was also an endowed member of the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry and a devoted member and servant of Trinity United Methodist Church and the Hamaco Sunday school class for fifty-three years. Bill’s passions included flying, which he continued privately with family and friends long after his twenty year naval service; playing bridge competitively and socially, and traveling with family and friends. He loved nurturing his two sons as they matured through scouts, sports, education, and life’s great lessons. His philanthropy was most felt in his hometown of Atkins where he supported Boy Scout Troop 228 and funded the renovation of the civic center which bears the name of his grandfather. Bill cherished his relationships established as a youth in Arkansas but even more dear, were the many Beaumont friends he and Mary came to love over the past fifty years. Survivors include his wife, Mary Prentiss Matthews of Beaumont; sons, William Whit W. Matthews and his wife, Shana Brock, of Windermere, Florida and Ross P. Matthews and his wife, Rebecca Hedges, of Houston; and grandchildren, Ellen E. Matthews and Olivia K. Matthews, both of Houston. He is preceded in death by his parents. A gathering of Mr. Matthews’ family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Friday, February 12, 2016, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His funeral service will be 1:00 p.m., Saturday, February 13, 2016, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 3430 Harrison Avenue, Beaumont, with interment to follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont. Complete and updated information may be found at: broussards1889.com.

– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/beaumontenterprise/obituary.aspx?n=Billy-W-Matthews-Bill&pid=177692096#sthash.PvBRqCrH.dpuf


Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager
database@vp4association.com

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
Fritts, Billy D.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.

Passing of VP-4 Vet ADC Raymond F. Newhouse USN (Ret) VP-4 1958 – 1961

Fallen ShipmateI received the sad news recently of the passing of VP-4 Vet Raymond F. Newhouse.

Ray served as Plane Captain on Crew 3 in 1959/1960. After his advancement to ADC he worked in Power Plants.
After his tour in VP-4 he transferred to Attack Squadron 122 at USNAS Moffett Field and USNAS Lemoore. He retired October 1963, settling in San Jose, California. Ray then spent the next 28 years in the private sector working for FMC Corp. and ESD Corp.
Upon retiring from the private sector Ray and his family moved to Mission Viejo, California where he passed away 4/21/16

No obituary has been published. Condolence cards may be sent to:

Mrs. Raymond F. Newhouse
21952 Buena Suerte Apt 154
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-3928

Passing of VP-4 Vet CMC Tommy J. Templeton Jr.USN (Ret) VP-4 1967 – 1969

Templeton,Tommy J.This sad news was passed to me today by Neal Rosenstrom, VP-4 1967 – 1970.

Tommy was an AE2 flying as Flight Engineer on Crew 8 in 1967 and AE1 on Crew 9 in 1968-69.

Command Master Chief Tommy Jones Templeton Jr., 73, of Lawton, went to his heavenly home on Sunday, July 10, 2016, in Oklahoma City.

A memorial service with military honors for U.S Navy, Command Master Chief T.J. Templeton will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 14, 2016, at Comanche Nation Funeral Home.

T.J. was born May 22, 1943, in Bastrop, Texas, to Evie Boatright Templeton and Tom Jones Templeton, who preceded him in death, as did his sister, Joyce Marie.

T.J. is survived by his wife of 37 years, Birdie Domebo Templeton, of Lawton; two stepchildren: Kevin Squarcia and Monica Lannon; five grandchildren of California; his son, Eric of Washington; daughter, Theresa of Texas; brother, Bob Boatright; and sister-in-law, Sharon; and many nieces and nephews.

T.J. retired from the Pacific Missile Test Center at Point Magu, Calif., as a Command Master Chief in 1992 after 30 years of distinguished service to our nation, earning many awards and medals. He was proud of his 13,000 hours of flying. His awards and medals include Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation (5 awards), Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Citation (with operational conditions service), Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Good Conduct Medal (7 awards), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4 awards), Navy Artic Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Colors) and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal ( 4 awards).

T.J. never met a stranger and was a great storyteller and fun-loving person who will be missed by many.

“High Flight by John McGee:”

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-Silvered Wings, Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung high in sunlit silence. Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.”

In lieu of flowers please make donations to Wounded Warriors.

http://www.swoknews.com/obituaries/tommy-jones-templeton

Templeton, Tommy J. 67 Templeton, Tommy J. 69

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.

 

Latterner, Steven L.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.

 

Latterner, Steven L. 3. Latterner, Steven L. 2 .

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager

Passing of Former VP-4 C.O. CAPT Walter D. West III USN (Ret) VP-4 1978 – 1980

West, Walter 3Captain Walter David West III USN (Ret) of Fernandina Beach, Fla., passed away Sunday, June 12, 2016, at Sigsbee Naval Base in Key West, Fla. He was 75 years old.
Walt was born on June 9, 1941, to Walter David West Jr. and Eva Marie Lawton West. He grew up in Utica, N.Y. as the oldest of seven children. Throughout his youth, he worked on the family farm where his parents taught him the values of hard work and determination. He went to college for two years at the State University of New York at Delhi, where he majored in civil engineering. He would later earn his degree at the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterrey.
In February of 1963, he finished flight training and accepted a commission as an officer in the United States Navy. During his commission as a Naval Officer, he served in Vietnam and later was Commanding Officer of VP4 and Commanding Officer of Barber’s Point Naval Air Station, Hawaii. He finished his active duty at USSOCOM in Tampa, Fla. He retired in March of 1990.
After retiring from the Navy, he opened what he would cal la non-profit organization ­– a hardware store in Apollo Beach, Fla. He was then employed by J.A. Jones in Diego Garcia as Director of Base Operations. He completed his working career as Deputy Director of Base Operations at Naval Submarine Base – Kings Bay.
Though many of his proudest moments involved those spent with his family, he was always happy to help his friends, church, community and fellow vets.
An avid traveler, cyclist, and “Mr. Fix It,” Walt’s real and abiding passion were his family and friends. Walt sought to instill in his children and grandchildren a zest for life, a commitment to family and friends, and the power of a smile.
Walt is survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Ardy. His beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of their three daughters: Terri, Tina and Wendy. He is survived by his three son-in-laws: Charlie, Glen and LaRoy. He will be greatly missed by his five grandchildren: Dustin, Drew, Hannah, Leah and Jessie. He is also survived by each of his brothers and sisters: Peggy, Shirley, Tom, Mike, Ken and Don.
In lieu of flowers, the family would request that donations be sent to the Fisher House and the Salvation Army Hope House on Amelia Island. His service will be held Saturday, June 25, at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 9 N. Sixth St., Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Keep Smiling!

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager

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.

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Robertson, John W. 2 Robertson, John WJohn 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.
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Cards may be sent to:

Mrs. Priscilla Robertson
600 South Baltimore Street
Olney, IL 62450-1750

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager
database@vp4association.com

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

Dodd, John A. 1 Dodd, John A. 2 Dodd, John A. 3

 

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

Passing of VP-4 Vet Walter L. Schneider III LT VP-4 1963 – 1966

Schneider III, Walter L. 4 Schneider III, Walter L. Reduced Schneider Reunion reducedWalter L. Schneider lll

Walter Louis Schneider died peacefully at the VA hospital in San Francisco on December 24th 2015. He was 81 years old.
Born in Upstate New York on July 19 th , 1934, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1956 and served as US Navy Patrol Plane Commander of VP-4 Crew 6 between 1964 – 1968.
Regarding his years of service, he wrote: “…. On the way to my career, a notice popped up on the bulletin board saying the navy needed more transport pilots. That sounded great to me. During our youngster summer, I toured Europe, traveling back and forth on military transports, and it seemed like a dream assignment. So, still at Corpus Christi, I requested a new set of orders—much to the consternation of the CO who told me it was an awful career move. Maybe so, it didn’t matter in the long run, but did usher me into some of the finest years of my life with a bunch of WW II and Berlin Airlift veterans. I was sent to VR-22 in Norfolk, a squadron that prided itself on going anywhere in the world and had regular routes to Morocco and Naples, New Zealand, and a two day shuttle to Guantanamo Bay and Roosevelt Roads. We flew the four engine DC-6s configured for cargo and/or passengers. After that it was the postgraduate school for a year, then two and a half at UC Berkeley, before my second squadron, VP-4 at Barbers Point. This got me lots of hours over the Pacific and a stint in Vietnam where I had a good war—if there is such a thing—living in a hotel in downtown Saigon and flying coastal patrols from south of the DMZ to Cambodia, during which, occasionally, we got shot at but, thankfully, never had to shoot back.
Next, I went to Washington, to OP-91 in the Pentagon and the Center for Naval Analysis in Arlington. After getting out of the service, I
finished a PhD. in Political Science at UC Berkeley…”

In 1968, he purchased 140 acres of pristine Redwood forests in Albion, Northern California with visions of forming an idyllic commune. It was there that he spent most of his life as a prolific writer and poet, publishing under the nom de plume David Anirman: http://www.skycloudmountain.com He never married. His ashes remain among the Redwoods.

Ruby Li Long 2016

I am passing this sad news to those of you who may have known Walt Schneider while he was attached to VP-4. He served as PP2P then PPC on Crew 6 and as Air Intelligence Officer. I am not sure what years he actually served in the squadron. His photos were only in the 64-65 cruise book. I found an entry in the United States Naval Academy Class of 1956 Fiftieth Reunion.

Jere Brinkley, VP-4 63-66, sent me this obituary provided courtesy of Ruby Li, a long time friend of Walt Schneider.


Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager
database@vp4association.com

Passing of VP-4 Vet AMS3 Ronald Buchnat VP-4 1964 – 1967

Another Skinny Dragon has fallen.

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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.

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager

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.

McDaniels, Joseph E. 2 McDaniels, Joseph ESAN 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

Emerson, John “Jack” Robert, CAPT, VP-4 Pilot and XO/CO – 1954-1956 and 1968/1969-1970

1969-1970 Cruise Book Page 02 PG-007 886739Captain 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

 

WHORTON, William R. USN (Ret) VP-4 1967 – 1969

After a reunion reminder to CAPT Whorton was returned by the USPS as “Not deliverable – unable to forward”, I found the obituary below. CAPT Whorton served as CO of VP-4 from 3 Dec 1968 to 28 Oct 1969.

 

CAPT William R. WHORTONWIlliam R. Whorton
August 12, 1927 – January 8, 2015

Funeral services will be Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Collier-Butler Chapel for Captain William R. Whorton, USN, 87, of Gadsden, AL, who passed away Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. The Rev. Jeremy Beck will officiate. Burial will follow in Forrest Cemetery. Collier-Butler Funeral and Cremation services is directing. Captain Whorton’s great-great-grandfather Whorton was one of the original settlers of Whorton Bend in the early 1800s. His grandfather was born in 1847; his grandmother was of the Wilson family, another early settler of the area; she was born in 1870. His father was born in 1892 in what is known now as Whorton Bend. He was born and raised in Etowah County. He joined the Navy in 1945 and remained on active duty until 1946. He re-entered the Navy during the Korean War and flew with Patrol Squadron 11. He served as a flight instructor for advanced flight training. Following the Korean War, Whorton had various assignments, including commanding officer of a squadron assigned to Vietnam, operations officer for the 7th fleet, staffer for the chief of naval operations and defense attaché to Uruguay. He attained the rank of Captain. Local schooling for the future naval officer was at Striplin Elementary, Disque Junior High and two years at Gadsden High School. He was an Eagle Scout and served as manager of the GHS Tigers football team under coach Nurmi Nelson. As this was during WWII, he transferred to Morgan Prep School, a military prep school, in Petersburg, Tenn. He played football there during his junior and senior years. Graduation came in May 1945. A month later, Whorton was undergoing U.S. Navy “boot” training in Memphis. He was in Aviation Radio School when the war ended. A year later, he was separated from the service but remained in the inactive reserve. He enrolled at the University of Alabama and attended for two years, afterward he transferred to Tusculum College (Presbyterian) in Greenville Tenn., and graduated with a degree in business in 1950. At this time, the Korean War was underway, and Whorton was recalled to active duty. He applied for pilot training and was sent to the Navy’s flight school. He got his wings and commission in March 1952, then joined a squadron and wound up flying combat missions in Korea. When the tour of duty ended, the Navy sent him to post-graduate school at Monterrey, Calif., where he earned a master’s degree in foreign relations. When on Christmas leave between his Korean tour and arrival on the West Coast, Whorton met Marian Short. Romance ensued. The couple married in June 1955. Then there came a tour of duty as an instructor of flight training at Hutchinson, Kan. After that, he was ordered to attend Intelligence School in Washington, D.C. Whorton was a member of Gadsden’s First Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder for over 30 years. He was the church’s treasurer and business administrator for 10 years. He was a Gideon and active in Gideons International. His activities included the Kiwanis Club, The 21 Supper Club and serving on the board of the MOAA, a retired military officer’s club. He served for two years as chairman of the Gadsden Civil Service Board. During his time in the military, he received various honors and medals including the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Air Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korea Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and United Nations Service Medal. On Nov. 7, 2007, he was honored with induction into the Patriots Hall of Honor during Veterans Day activities in his hometown of Gadsden.He was preceded in death by his wife, Marian Short Whorton; brother, James Whorton; and sister, Betty Thayer. He is survived by his daughter, Jeanne Whorton.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to your favorite military charity or the American Cancer Society .Special thanks to Lawanda McElyea, RN, at Gadsden Regional Medical Center, ninth-floor south, for her dedicated nursing skills and her limitless compassion and also to his Regency Pointe family. Living there made him very happy. The family will receive friends from noon until 2 p.m., prior to the service. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.collier-butler.com.

Pg 04

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager
database@vp4association.com

GRIFFIN, Paul A. USN (Ret) VP-4 1979 -1981

Passing of Former VP-4 CO CAPT Paul A. GRIFFIN USN (Ret) VP-4 1979 -1981

This sad news was passed to me by Fred Lohden, VP-4 1978 – 1981.
Griffin, Paul ACAPT Griffin reported to VP-4 in June 1979 to serve as Executive Officer.  He assumed command in June 1980 and was relieved by CDR Hilary J. Nickel in June 1981.
Paul A. Griffin was born in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania on September 30, 1941 to Irene Griffin and Paul Fryer. He died in Brunswick, Georgia on May 31, 2015.
Paul was known for his intellect, calm demeanor and laconic sense of humor. As his volunteer work illustrates, his compassion was linked to a no-nonsense approach to life: when he saw a problem, he found a way to fix it.
Paul was a graduate of Centre College, Danville Kentucky, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. After college, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he earned a Masters of Science in Oceanography at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. Later he earned a post-graduate degree from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He earned an additional Masters Degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at National University, Washington, D.C. When he was a squadron commander, his squadrons were consistently ranked the best in the Navy. He retired from the Navy as a Captain after 27 years of distinguished service. He earned a Navy Achievement Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal, a Legion of Merit award and was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
After retiring from the Navy, Paul had a second career at Lockheed Martin in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as project manager for the avionics suite of the F-22 aircraft. In that capacity, he managed a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars.
While Paul was practical, he also was a romantic. His wife, Linda Lamb, was his heart and soul, and he looked for ways to let her know she was the center of his universe. For their 9th anniversary, Paul surprised Linda with a dawn concert in the back yard, featuring Michael Hulett. They married in 2002, and moved to McIntosh County in 2003, where Paul initiated his third career as a volunteer in the community.
Paul served as chairman of the McIntosh County, Georgia Board of Tax Assessors from December, 2005 to December 2012. Under his leadership, the board became the best-run and most professional office in the county. Paul also was a founding board member of Coastal WildScapes, a nonprofit organization devoted to preserving and restoring the biodiversity of Southeastern coastal ecosystems. He served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteer and was named CASA Volunteer of the Year in 2012. Paul was a member of the McIntosh County YMCA board, and a founding Board Member of McCARES a nonprofit organization that provides support and advocacy for McIntosh County’s children and their families.
Paul’s third – and most precious – career was as a grandfather. Paul’s 10 beloved grandchildren – Michael, Stephanie, Roan, Renee, Rosalie, Patrick, Lena, Jackson, Sam and Griffin – who called him Ahpa, were his overwhelming passion. Every summer, Paul and Linda transformed their home into the headquarters of what they called Camp Tolomato, filling the days with education disguised as summer hijinks and adventures. As one of the two camp counselors, Paul’s goal was to spend time with his grandchildren and let them have fun together, broaden their horizons and open them to the beauties and mystery of nature. Paul was an avid outdoorsman who loved boating, hiking, catch-and-release fly fishing and travel.
Paul was predeceased by his mother Irene Griffin, his father Paul Fryer, and his adoptive father, George Griffin. Paul is survived by his wife, Linda Lamb of Darien, Georgia; children Matt Griffin (Jennifer), Michele Turner Chris Lamb (Palmer), Melissa Kiser (Scott); sister, Penny Wells, and brother Carl Griffin (Christine Johnson).
Arrangements have been entrusted to Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home, 3321 Glynn Avenue, Brunswick, GA 31520. Visitation will be at 10:00 AM followed by the memorial service at 11:00 AM at Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home on Friday, June 5, 2015.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Coastal WildScapes, Inc., P.O. Box 1106, Darien, GA 31305, Hospice of the Golden Isles, 1692, Glynco Pkwy, Brunswick, GA 31525 or the donor’s charity of choice.

CAPT Allen Horace Balch USN (Ret) VP-4 1953 – 1954

ALLEN HORACE BALCH

CAPT Allen Horace Balch USN (Ret) VP-4 1953 - 1954 2Capt. Allen H Balch, U.S. Navy (Ret), passed away May 5, 2015 in Green Valley, AZ. Al was born in Abilene, Texas on March 10, 1927, the son of Amos Henry and Barbara Allen Stone Balch. The family later moved to Tyler, Texas where he and his sister, Ruby Virginia “Sunshine” Smith, grew up.

Known for his wonderful speaking voice, Al gained his first radio experience at age 16 in Tyler, where before school he opened KGKB, a 250-watt radio station, broadcast the morning and evening drive and music, and closed the station. On weekends he was announcer for his high school sporting events and football games.

CAPT Allen Horace Balch USN (Ret) VP-4 1953 - 1954 1Al was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1945 and graduated with distinction in June 1949. He married his first wife, Jean Roach, in June 1949, before reporting to NAS Pensacola for flight training. He completed training in multi-engine aircraft, earning his wings at NAS Corpus Christi, TX and was ordered to VP-4 and flew P-2V NEPTUNE aircraft during the Korean War. Al served during three deployments, rising from navigator to PPC, earning the China Service medal. During the Vietnam conflict, Al served as commander of a P3-A ORION squadron, earning the Vietnam Campaign Medal and an Air Medal. Duty afloat included service aboard the aircraft carrier USS INTREPID. Other awards included World War II Victory Medal, the Naval Unit Commendation, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Ribbon – Cuba.

Duty ashore included General Line School in Monterey, CA, Army War College in Carlisle, PA, and 5 years in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, where he was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal and a Legion of Merit. Al retired from the Navy in 1973.

Working for KRLD in Dallas, he interviewed Sen. John Tower (R) from Texas, who invited him to return to Washington, D.C., as his communications and press secretary. Allen accepted the position, and while there married his second wife, Lindsay.

Following his political days, Allen avoided the beltway rush by living aboard a 55-foot houseboat in the Washington Marina, just below the Jefferson Memorial, and he became a full-time anchor on WTOP, a CBS affiliate station in the Washington area, for 6 years. During this time O’Connor Productions was producing the syndicated pre-presidential Reagan spots, and approached Allen about creating and syndicating a series of interviews to be entitled “The Senators,” as he was becoming a “voice on the hill,” respected for his professional handling of important issues of the day.

In 1992 he and Lindsay discovered Green Valley, AZ, and built their dream home. He became active in the Green Valley Coordinating Council, tried to incorporate Green Valley several times, and then joined the Ross Perot bid for the Presidency, which took him back to Dallas for a time.

His third career began in 2005 when his health began to fail, and he and Lindsay joined a great new life at La Posada. He not only emceed “The Allen Balch Show” for 6 years, but he also joined the La Posada Singers, became their manager, and discovered his beautiful solo bass voice. You can find him on Facebook, if you are so inclined.

He is survived by his five children from his first marriage: Paulanne Balch, MD of Boulder, CO, Deborah LaCivita of Greenwich, CT, Patricia Tracy of Manassas, VA, Allen (Skip) Balch of Austin, TX, and Karen Sue Pittman, of Ruston, LA, and Lindsay’s two sons George R. Miller of Los Gatos, CA and Col. Randolph P. Miller USAF (Ret) of Washington, D.C., plus 13 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, and his sister, Ruby Virginia Smith, of Dalhart, TX.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Green Valley Mortuary. A Memorial Celebration of his Life will be held at La Posada on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. A burial service with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors.

Published in Green Valley News & Sun on May 31, 2015
– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/gvnews/obituary.aspx?pid=174977836#sthash.iE1GnqoD.dpuf

First P-3 loss

Hey all: (this will probably be as boring as hell for some of you, but may be of interest to others)
I don’t desire to drive a subject dear to me into the ground, but I have been asked several times about my good buddy & VP-4 shipmate Alvin G. Reeder (AT1 in VP-4, later retired as ATCS). Several of you know that Al & I were the very best buddies for forty years from 1958 to 1998. I met Al in September of 1958 at NAS North Island, CA. We were both on our way to VP-4 in Okinawa, but had to attend a few maintenance classes (and SERE School for me) for avionics equipment in the P2V-5F.
After we completed our training at North Island, we were sent to Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay to await transportation to Okinawa. We were there for about two weeks before we were assigned a flight to the far-east. We spent Christmas of 58 at North Island. At the time that was the worst Christmas that I had ever spent. Al felt the same way. The next worst was exactly nine years later while on deployment in 1967 to Keflavik, Iceland. While we were at Treasure Island both Al and I had a few mid-watches in what they referred to as the “Queer Barracks”. That was a barracks in which they housed about 15-20 sailors who were awaiting discharges for homosexuality. We were told to NOT let any two of those sailors go to the head at the same time. Fortunately for me, I did not have to confront that event. A few days after Christmas we were on our way. We flew on a C-121 (Super Constellation) belonging to an outfit named “Slick Airlines”. We stopped off in Honolulu & Tokyo before terminating our air journey at Kadena AFB in Okinawa. — It was about 2-3 weeks later that we learned that the same C-121 had been lost in the Pacific Ocean while making one of those flights from the U.S. to Japan. All aboard were lost. We never heard just what location was the origin of the flight.
Both Al & I spent 2 1/2 years in VP-4, then got orders to the same place, Naval Air Maintenance Training Group headquartered at Northside at NAS Memphis. They placed both of us & about thirty others (VP-4 vet ATC Orlin S. Nelson among them) as plank-owners in the new maintenance training program for the P3V-1 (later re-designated as P3A) aircraft. We attended Instructor Training in Memphis, APS-80 radar school in Norfolk, and spent about four months attending several avionics courses at the Lockheed factory in Burbank. Then we ended up at Patuxent River, MD as members of Naval Air Maintenance Training Detachment 1011. We wrote the training courses for the P3 avionics systems, and then taught maintenance to people who would be maintaining those equipment throughout the navy. Since part of my training was on the navy’s first dive into the realm of SSBSC (Single SideBand Suppressed Carrier) communications, the Bureau of Naval Personnel sent some people down from D.C. to have me supply a few questions on that subject for the AT & AX rating exams. Later, I learned that several of my questions were incorporated into some of those exams.
After approximately seven months of preparation we started our instructor duties on or about January 1962. One year later the first P3A (as the P3V-1 had been re-designated) was lost in the Atlantic Ocean. All aboard were lost. No wreckage or bodies were ever found. That particular aircraft belonged to VP-8. Both Al and I had several or our ex-students aboard that a/c. One of those lost was the younger brother of one of my high school female classmates. I knew the girl fairly well, but did not know the brother until he showed up in my class one day. This first graphic depicts the loss or mishaps of P3 aircraft. Note the very first one. I do not know if this list is up-to-date. I can see that at least two of the P3s are missing from this list. Those aircraft were lost in combat off the coast of Viet Nam in February & April of 1968. They belonged to VP-26 (Al Reeder’s squadron at that time). More about that in a little while. Note that they are not included in the list below, and should be listed right after the VP-8 loss.

P-3 notable events accidents and incidents

We spent five years in our instructor duty, then we both got orders. Al went to VP-26 in Brunswick, Maine. I went to Advanced Avionics “B” School in Memphis. After 30 weeks of the 32 week training I got a phone call from Al in Brunswick. Al was the Avionics CPO in VP-26. He told me that VP-26 had recently transitioned from the P2V-7 (SP-2H) to the P3, and that the VP-11 skipper paid him a visit. VP-11 was to transition in a few months, and that skipper wanted to know if Al knew any ATCs who had P3 experience. Al told him about me, and that I was just about to graduate from “AVB” School, and that I had five years experience in course preparations & maintenance instructions on about 70% of the avionics systems in the P3. It was a few days later that I received orders to VP-11. They were the hangar-mates of VP-26 there in Brunswick. So after a 32+ week separation, Al and I were together again in the same hangar.
I think it was in February or March of 1967 when VP-26 (entire squadron) & VP-11 (three aircraft) were sent to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for some kind of fleet preparedness operation. Al was sent in his normal job as Avionics CPO, and I was sent as the 3-aircraft Maintenance CPO for VP-11. We sent only three aircraft because we were in the middle of our transition, and we actually had only about 5-6 of our new P3s. We remained in Puerto Rico a couple weeks, then returned to Brunswick.
I get lost in the time element now, but sometime later VP-11 made two deployments to Iceland. We had four hours notice to deploy to Iceland on that first trip. VP-26 had been scheduled to make that deployment, but they suddenly got a short notice to deploy to Sangley Point, P.I. We had been scheduled to make the Sangley deployment. VP-26 even had to pull out some of their people from the Cold Weather Survival & SERE School in the mountains near Brunswick. I think that the “brass” made the decision that VP-11 had not enough experience in their new P3s to be effective in that dangerous Far-East deployment, so they switched us. None of our people got to attend that Cold Weather Survival School. Iceland was much warmer than Brunswick but I believe the Cold Weather School was for the benefit of the flight crews who might somehow (accidentally) fly up around Northern Russia. Al attended that school. He told me that he had never been as cold as it was up in those snow-covered mountains. VP-10 was the only other Brunswick Patrol Squadron which had the P3s at that time, and they were already deployed to Argentia, Newfoundland. VP-21 & 23 still had the SP-2H aircraft.
VP-11 had been in Iceland not too long when we heard over the Armed Forces Radio that a U.S. Navy Patrol Plane home-stationed in Brunswick, Maine had been shot down by Cambodia or Laos. The radio did not mention the squadron number, but of course that could be only ONE squadron, VP-26. The other four Brunswick Patrol Squadrons were elsewhere (VP-10, VP-11, VP-21 & VP-23). I was worried about Al for a couple of weeks before I learned that he was not aboard that missing P3. He was not flight crew, but he did occasionally fly with them. It was a couple months later that 26 had another P3 shot down. Both crews lost their lives on those missions. Below is another graphic that tells a little about those VP-26 losses. As you can see VP-26 lost their two P3s on or about February & April of 1968. They are not shown in that first graphic above.

Vp-26 graphic

VP-10, VP-11, & VP-26 all returned to Brunswick within a couple weeks of each other. When we were all back in Brunswick the entire station and the five patrol squadrons had several funeral services for the two lost VP-26 crews. There was much sadness then. Many of us in all the squadrons knew several of the missing sailors. Some of us in VP-11 had those typical mixed feelings of guilt & relief that those VP-26 crews had taken our place.
Just before my tour was completed in VP-11, Al got orders to NAS Pensacola. He had been gone a couple of weeks when I got TWO sets of orders the same day. One of them was for Instructor Duty at AVB School in Memphis while the other was to attend the ADCOP (Associate Degree Completion Program) at Pensacola Junior College. Neither I nor our Personnel Office knew exactly what to do so they called BUPERS to ask them. BuPers gave me the choice. I opted for ADCOP, so I ended up here in Pensacola.

Al and I were together again, and we stayed so until his death in 1998 except for almost a year when I was in VAQ-135 which was homeported in Alameda but made a Mediterranean Cruise on the Forrestal. My family remained in Pensacola, so I ended up right back here. We had both retired from the navy prior to 1974. We both worked together as electronics technicians and computer technicians for several years at Pensacola’s first Radio Shack. Al’s first wife, Georgia, died of heart problems in 1975, and Al was never the same. He remarried, but that did not seem to ease his pain. Sad to say, but he drank himself to death. One of the saddest days of my life was when I acted as one of his pallbearers. He is interred at the Barrancas National Cemetery at NAS Pensacola. Both his daughter and I cried at his funeral. Shame on me? Al was the smartest & nicest person that I ever personally knew well enough to know about such things. I hope that his bucolic, Missouri, southern drawl did not fool many of you, but unless someone knew him well, I’ll bet that he did fool quite a few people. Actually I KNOW for certain that he did.

RCM

P.S. Please forgive me if this is boring. I just had to get it out of my system. I still miss the best friend I ever had.