Category Archives: Fallen Shipmates

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 or contact 219-663-2500.

Ron had been active in recruiting VP-4 vets to attend our reunions. He made these entries on his 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
Published in The State Journal-Register on Nov. 15, 2015
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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.”
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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

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

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


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
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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.


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.

Rothman, David L. MS1 USN (Ret) VP-4 1974 – 1977

Fallen ShipmateMS1 David L. Rothman served in VP-4 as AW3 then AW2 from 1974 to 1977. He flew with Crew 11
MS1 David L. Rothman – US Navy Veteran, Susanville, CA The Patriot Guard Riders having been invited by the family of fallen US Navy Veteran, MS1 David L. Rothman, to stand and honor during his Interment service at the Diamond Crest Cemetery, Susanville, CA. 96130. MS1 David L. Rothman served his country proudly from 21 Dec 1973 to 30 Apr 1994. MS1 David L. Rothman entered the US Navy at the end of the Vietnam War and served as an Aircraft Acoustic Operator flying in US Navy P-3’s. Later in his career, he became an instructor in Anti Submarine Warfare until his separation in Apr 1994. After serving in the US Navy, David Rothman was actively involved with the VFW and American Legion in Susanville, serving as the Van Ride Coordinator for Veterans needing travel arrangements to the VA Hospital in Reno, NV. until his retirement. MS1 David L. Rothman was a proud US Navy veteran. Because of his love of life, his sense of humor and his love for his family, he will be missed by many.”

Victoria Rothman loving wife of David Rothman died on November 13, 2014 after a long battle with Lung Disease.
While flying as an AW, Dave was assigned to VP-4 (74-77), VP-6 (78-82), VP-31 (82-85) and VP-48 (85-89)

Passing of VP-4 Vet Richard L. TODD AN VP-4 1963 – 1965

Todd, Richard L. 2 Todd, Richard L. 1Richard Lee Todd, born May 4, 1945 in Los Angeles, California, resident of Santa Barbara County, California for the last 34 years, passed away January 12, 2015 in Santa Barbara at the age of 69. He is survived by his spouse, Katharina Todd, their daughter, Elizabeth Wright, a son and daughter from a previous marriage, Michael, Ginger and step-daughter Tammy, as well as a younger sister, Patricia Tiffany, four older brothers, Ralph, George, Robert and James Todd and their families.

Richard grew up in Redondo Beach, California, attending Aviation High School. He enlisted in the Navy for three years on May 14, 1962, serving in VP-4 from Feb 1963 to Mar 1965 as an Airman working in Power Plants. His tour took him to Washington, Hawaii and Okinawa.

Richard’s civilian life in California included working for two different telephone companies as an installer, ten years as Assistant Ground Crew Chief of Goodyear Airship Operations (the “Blimp”) in Carson, and twenty years as an Assistant Manager for his oldest brother Ralph’s plumbing business, Todd Pipe & Supply in Buellton.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, January 17, at Loper Funeral Chapel with Military Funeral Honors rendered at the graveside at Oak Hill Cemetery in Ballard. Family and friends gathered at the Mendenhall Museum afterwards in Buellton.

Residing in Solvang, California, for the last 33 years, Richard loved fishing, gardening, genealogy, poetry and tinkering with old radios and clocks. Above all else he loved his family and made it his life’s mission to make sure they were happy. His sense of humor and his unconditional willingness to help others will be sorely missed.

In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, donations can be made to Richard’s favorite charity, Camp del Corazon ( (818-754-0312).

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

Passing of VP-4 Vet Harry Hill HUDGINS LCDR USN (Ret) VP-4 1947 – 1949

July 25, 1928 – June 09, 2013

Fallen ShipmateLCDR Harry Hill Hudgins, 84, retired from USN as Aviation Maintenance Instructor passed away June 9, 2013. He is survived by his children, Richard Hudgins (Diane Deason), Carol Perry (Mike), Susan Rinehart (Bill) and Mark Hudgins (Angela). Also the mother of his children Sally Hudgins, and longtime companion, Lela Willette. He leaves four grandchildren and 1 great-grandson. Bartlett Funeral Home, 5803 Stage Rd, Bartlett, TN has charge of services. Visitation Wednesday, June 12 from 6-8 p.m. and Thursday, June 13, from 6-7 p.m. with memorial service following. Interment will be in Hollywood Cemetery, Jackson, TN.
Harry enlisted in the Navy 13 Nov 1946 at the age of 18. He served in VP-4 from 1947 to 1949 as an Aviation Machinist Mate. He left the enlisted ranks on 25 June 1958 when he was commissioned an ENS LDO Aviation Maintenance Officer. His career progressed in that field and led to his advancement to LCDR on 1 July 1967.

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

Passing of VP-4 Vet Howard “Rex” Lincoln AFCM USN (Ret) VP-4 1965 – 1969

Howard Lincoln 1965 -1969 Howard Lincoln 1965 -1969Howard “Rex” Lincoln, 69, of Las Vegas, passed away Oct. 8, 2012. The eldest of two sons, he was born Oct. 4, 1943, in Winfield, Kan., to Marcella and Weldon Lincoln. He was preceded in death by his mother. Rex served in the U.S. Navy for 31 years, retiring as command master chief of the USS Abraham Lincoln. While in the U.S. Navy, he lived all over the country, as well as in Italy, leaving an indelible mark on everyone he met. He spent the last 10 years in Las Vegas. He is survived by his father, Weldon “Abe” Lincoln of Las Vegas; his wife, of 35 years, Suzanna Lincoln; sons, Joshua Lincoln of Las Vegas, and Thomas Lincoln of New York City; brother, Weldon “Linc” Lincoln (Cindy) of Ione, Calif.; as well as numerous nieces and nephews; and extended family whom he loved. His many friends and family will all miss his wit, humor and keen intellect. He’s gone too soon. There will be a private family service and Naval burial at sea.

While serving in VP-4, Rex was an ADJ1 flying as a Flight Engineer on Crew 11 on the 1967 deployment and on Crew 2 during the 68-69 deployment.

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

Passing of VP-4 Vet Stephen S. MELNICK AO2 VP-4 1966 – 1970

Melnick 67 Melnick 68-69

Stephen Melnick(February 05, 1948 – December 27, 2014), 66, of Port Richey, Florida, died December 27, 2014.

He was a US Navy, Viet Nam Veteran and is survived by his companion, Lorraine; sons, Peter and Rob; brothers, Bruce, Peter; sister, Rita Ventura; and 8 grandchildren.
While assigned to VP-4, Stephen, known to his friends as “Toad”, flew as Ordnanceman on Crew 5.
Visitation was on Friday, January 2, 2015 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. There was a service at 7:00 pm at the funeral home.
Condolences may be posted at

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

Passing of VP-4 Vet Howard J. Krogh AO1 VP-4 1951 – 1955

I received the sad news yesterday that another VP-4 Vet has passed away.

Krogh, Howard J Krogh, Howard J. 3 Krogh, Howard J. 2
Howard J. Krogh died at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center on
August 20, 2014, after a brief illness. He was born to Howard P. and Hazel J. Krogh in Kennewick, Washington, on June 19, 1923. After his parents divorced when he was 4, Howard and his sister were raised by their father in Omak, Washington, and his two brothers went to live with their mother.

Howard worked as a dairy hand in Omak before joining the US Navy in February 1941. He served his country during World War II and the Korean War and was awarded several good conduct medals. It was in the navy that he learned to identify any ocean based on its color and chop, a skill he was quick to remind folks of.

Although described by his commanding officer in 1959 as “an excellent leader, firm in decision, and yet considerate and understanding,” Howard was perhaps best known for his sense of humor. He was a witty joker who sent original, and sometimes ribald, poetry to his appreciative siblings and friends.

Howard retired from active duty in 1960 as an Aviation Ordnanceman First Class. He spent the next 27 years employed by Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Inc., first in Sunnyvale, California, and later in Austin, Texas. Howard was a skilled bowler, carpenter, and fisherman. During his California days, he enjoyed time spent with good friends at Lake McClure, especially when it involved his beloved Boston Whaler.

Howard and the love of his life, Julia Bell, married in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1949. They spent the next 65 years together, mainly residing in Austin, Texas.

Howard was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Roy Krogh and Glen Krogh, sister Blanche (Krogh) Hastings, and nephew Steve Krogh. He is survived by his wife Julia Krogh, daughter Holly Krogh and her husband Ross Whitwam, grandkids Lucy Whitwam and Henrietta Krogh, as well as several nieces and a nephew. His family feels fortunate that before his death Howard had the opportunity to reconnect with his nieces Sharon (Krogh) Pearson and Judie (Hastings) Doonan. The family also appreciates the care provided by the wonderful staff at Querencia Barton Creek during his short residency there.

A Memorial Service will be held in the Chapel at Querencia Barton Creek on Saturday, October 11, 2014, at 2:00 P.M.

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

Batey, William S. W. LCDR USN (Ret) VP-4 1954 – 1955

Batey, William S. W.Lt. Cmdr. William S. Batey, 93, passed away July 4, 2014; quick with a joke, quick with a smile. Bill Batey was born August 9, 1920 in Lewis, Delaware. He served our country proudly in both World War II and The Korean Conflict. While serving in the Pacific, his supervisors gave their difficult students to Bill, teaching them how to fly from aircraft carriers.
While teaching them he found out two things about himself, the first, was the naval officer’s lack of math expertise needed, and second, that he was both good at teaching and enjoyed teaching others. This began his second career.
After retiring from the Navy, he went back to the University of Texas earning his teaching credentials and began teaching math to middle school students. He kept teaching on & on. In fact, he was ‘Educator of the Year’ in 1991-1992.
Bill finally retired at the age of 81 years young. He left a positive imprint those who came in contact with him and on those he taught.
May Bill rest in peace with his wife, Jane and daughter, Barbara.
Family links:
Mary Jane Batey (1923 – 2006)
Barbara Anne Batey Chakales (1944 – 2011)*

Pezzei, Engelbert G. CAPT USN (Ret) VP-4 1962 – 1964

Pezzei, Engelbert 01 Pezzei, Engelbert 02CAPT Engelbert G. Pezzei USN (Ret) passed away in early June 2014. His daughter, Alice Tanita, told me that there is no additional info and an obituary was not published.

He was a LCDR and PPC of crew 5 while he served in VP-4 fron 1962 to 1964. He graduated from the School of Naval Warfare at the Naval War College in June of 1967. His later tours included duty as the Navigation Officer aboard USS Forrestal CVA-59 and as SECURITY/ADMIN OFFICER on the staff of GEN A.M. HAIG, JR., US ARMY SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE. CAPT Pezzei retired 1 Sept 1975.

Photos are from VP-4 1962 Cruise Book and CVA-59 1971 Cruise book.

Wilcox, Gary D. AT3 VP-4 1957 – 1962

Wilcox 1958 Wilcox, Gary D.Gary Wilcox, 75, of Oakland, died May 23, 2014, at his residence.

He was the son of the late Roy and Gladys Lichty Wilcox and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He served as an AT3 in VP-4 from 1957 to 1962.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, John and Roy Michael.

Mr. Wilcox is survived by his wife, Geraldine “Jerri” Wilcox; his daughter, Suzanne (Jeff) of Lewisburg, Tenn.; his sister, Arlene Davis, Dallas, Texas; two grandchildren, Heidi and Valin; and many nieces, nephews and in-laws.

Visitation for Mr. Gary Wilcox will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Cone Funeral Home, with the funeral service at 7 p.m. in the chapel of the funeral home. The family has chosen cremation.

Passing of VP-4 Vet Thomas, Robert V. VP-4 1952 – 1954

Fallen ShipmateWhile searching for VP-4 vets to notify about our upcoming reunion, I ran across this sad news. I have not found an obituary or contact info for any family members.

I had Bob in our database but have no info about his Rank/ rating or duties in the squadron.  If anyone remembers him, please send any info you have about him.

Robert (Bob) V. Thomas, 92, of Yuba City, CA, passed away on May 11, 2014. Arrangements are under the direction of Ullrey Memorial Chapel, Inc., (530) 673-9542.

His wife, Barbara L. Thomas, 76 of Yuba City passed away December 19, 2013.

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

CDR BARNETT, Gordon Richard – USN (Ret) – CO VP-4 1962 – 1963

CDR Barnett and COsBARNETT, CDR Gordon Richard  USN (Ret) CO VP-4 1962 – 1963 passed away 28 Jan 2014.  Gordon R. Barnett joined the Navy in 1942.  After earning his wings and commissioning, he served as a pilot with Composite Squadron 15, Torpedo Squadron 97, Torpedo Squadron 44 and Air Development Squadron 1.  Later assignments included tours in VP-21 and VP-45.  Graduation from General Line School at Newport was followed by a tour as an instructor at the Aerial Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Virginia.  A tour on the staff of Commander Fleet Air Wings, U.S. Atlantic Fleet as Aerial Mining Officer and Advanced Undersea Weapons Officer followed.  After a tour at the training command at Pensacola, he reported in 1957 to Commander Service Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet as Allowance/Complement Officer for the Pacific Fleet.  In March 1959 his career in ASW patrol plane aviation was renewed with a tour as Administrative Officer of VP-28 followed by a tour as Executive Officer of VP-31 and culminated by a tour as Commanding Officer of VP-4.  He retired shortly after completing that tour.
A celebration of his life was held at 10:00am on 8 Feb 2014 at the Alamo City Church, 6500 IH 35N, San Antonio, TX 78218.

ADAMS, ATC Charles David. VP-4 1971-1975

Fallen ShipmateADAMS, ATC Charles David, age 61, passed away March 25, 2013 in San Antonio. He retired as a Chief Petty Officer from the U.S. Navy.  Known as “Dave” while assigned to VP-4 from 1971 to 1975, he flew with several crews as an Inflight Technician.  He was a former Scout Master with Troop 513. Mr. Adams was a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Selma, TX, and served with the Guadalupana Society. He is survived by his wife, Nora Adams; Sons and Daughters-in-law: Matthew & Kari Adams, Andrew & Anne Adams; Daughter, Allison Adams; Brothers: Mike and Norman Adams; Sisters: Judi Tometich and Jaime Kindermann; Also surviving are 3 Grandsons: Landry, Garrett, and Luke.
Burial at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas

Swanson, Ronald R. LCDR USN (Ret) VP-4 1949 – 1950

Swanson, Ronald R.Ronald R. Swanson passed away April 8, 2014. Ron was born in Tacoma, Washington July 30, 1926 to Fred and Helen Swanson. Ron had one brother Carl who preceded him in death. Ron was a career Navy man who enlisted at the age of 17 in 1943. Ron earned his Combat Air Crewman wings and was assigned to a torpedo squad where he served throughout the war. Serving in WWII, Korea and Vietnam he earned his commission as Ensign and retired as a Lt. Commander. Ron served on the East and West coasts, Asiatic and Mediterranean fleets. In Ron’s retirement he enjoyed his home with his lovely wife Belva and beloved dog Ole. Ron was an avid gardener and a graduate Master Gardener. He enjoyed his greenhouse, yard and large garden sharing his “bounty” with friends and neighbors. For several years he operated a “freebie” veggie stand meeting and greeting all who stopped by. Ron also loved wood working in his shop. Ron is survived by his wife Belva, dog Ole, daughter Sandy (Steve) Davenport, son Ron (Cel) Jr. of Florida, 3 grandchildren and several great grandchildren. The family wants to thank Avamere Bellingham Health and Rehabilitation for their wonderful care. At Ron’s request there will not be a service.

Published in Bellingham Herald on Apr. 20, 2014