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

VP-4 Vets meetup at the US Navy Seabee Museum

VP-4 Vets meet at Naval Base Ventura County

Photo of L to R
John W. Betts CWO4 (USN Ret.) VP-4 1960-61
Harlan R. Rentfrow AWCM (USN Ret.) VP-4 1958-60 & 1962-64
Stephen A. Andruszkewicz AX-1 VP-4 1961-63
Capt. Chris D. Janke C.O. Naval Base Ventura County, CA VP-4 2003-04
Mrs. Mary Rentfrow ETC (USN Ret.)
William K. Bracken AWCM (USN Ret.) VP-4 1960-62 & 1969-74

Some VP-4 vets got together for an informal meeting 17 Sept. 2016 at the US Navy Seabee Museum, Port Hueneme, CA located just outside the Main Gate of US Naval Base Ventura County, CA

A brief but enjoyable meeting, swapped a few sea stories and most importantly established a connection with Capt. Janke.

Submitted by:
Steve “Andy” Andruszkewicz
VP-4 1961-63

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

Updated membership form for 2016/2017

Hello folks,

Please take a few moment to download the updated Membership form from this page: Membership Form This helps keep the VP-4 Veterans Association alive and kicking.

 

 

P.S.  If anyone one has the skills to turn the membership form into a fillable PDF document, please let me know.

 

Thank you,

Chad Derrington

VP-4 Returns Home to NAS Whidbey Island

Patrol Squadron FOUR returns from Aloha Deployment
LTJG Matthew Johnston

The first wave of Skinny Dragons from Patrol Squadron (VP) FOUR returned home Thursday from a demanding, yet highly successful tri-site deployment. For the first time since 1964, that return home was not made to Hawaii, but instead to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. In the midst of deployment, the Skinny Dragons executed a permanent duty station change (PDSC) to Whidbey Island with many families moving in advance of the squadron’s return – a stressor that certainly guaranteed the deployment was anything but mundane. Despite these factors, VP-4 personnel committed each day to ensuring that their last P-3C Orion deployment was a resounding success.

The VP-4 ”P-3 Sundown,” or ‘Aloha Deployment’ as it became known, saw the Skinny Dragons operate out of twelve different countries in three vastly diverse Areas of Responsibility (AOR’s). In fact, during one 24-hour period on June 13th, VP-4 launched six P-3C aircraft in five different detachment sites on six different missions. The commitment from aircrew, maintenance, and support personnel alike was astounding throughout the entire deployment. “The Skinny Dragons are finishing a very successful deployment that saw us deployed to several locations around the world. This deployment was a significant milestone for our squadron as 2016 marks 50 years of flying the P-3C Orion for Patrol Squadron FOUR,” remarked VP-4 Commanding Officer, Cdr. Christopher Smith. “This summer was a great opportunity to honor the fine heritage of our squadron and the storied history of the mighty P-3C Orion.” Those already in Whidbey Island eagerly await the arrival of the rest of their squadron who will trickle home in waves over the next two weeks.

While certainly bittersweet to leave the island paradise of Oahu, the Skinny Dragons are excited for the move to the Pacific Northwest and are enthusiastic to join Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN (CPRW-10). The local community and sponsors from CPRW-10 have been instrumental and the PDSC undoubtedly would not have been possible without their help. “VP-4 is extremely excited to join the Whidbey Team and we have been welcomed with open arms at every step of our transition,” expressed Cdr. Smith. “The local community, on and off base, has been aware of our arrival for over a year and has continuously worked to make our transition a seamless one. I am overwhelmed with the support we have been given and I am very grateful.”

The next step for Patrol Squadron FOUR is a transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon. The first of the three Hawaii based Orion squadrons to transition, VP-4 is focused on a successful integration into CPRW-10 and continuing their standard of excellence in maritime aviation throughout the transition.

The Skinny Dragons will take some much needed time to rest and relax with families before picking back up in October for the transition. For the first portion of P-8A training, VP-30, the P-3/P-8 Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), will provide a detachment of personnel to NAS Whidbey Island. After the New Year, VP-4 personnel will travel to the FRS in Jacksonville, Florida to complete the rest of their training.

Thankful for the support of CPRW-10 and the Whidbey Island community, Patrol Squadron FOUR looks forward to bringing the Aloha spirit to the Pacific Northwest and their next chapter in maritime aviation.

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

BALTOPS 16

By LTJG Matthew Johnston
Patrol Squadron (VP) FOUR participated in the NATO Exercise BALTOPS 16 from 3-18 June. BALTOPS is an annually occurring exercise that is designed to enhance interoperability and demonstrate the ability of partner and allied nations to defend the Baltic region. The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 deployed two Combat Aircrews, 18 aircraft maintenance professionals, and one P-3C Orion to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany and established Task Group (CTG) 67.2. Joining the Skinny Dragons as members of CTG 67.2 was a P-8A Poseidon from VP-26, a P-3C from VP-62, and numerous aircraft maintainers from both squadrons. Combat Aircrew Seven (VP-4) also flew one mission out of Lielvārde Air Base, Latvia.
CTG 67.2 aircraft flew 18 missions during the exercise, totally over 67 hours of on station training with NATO and partner forces. The Poseidon and Orion crews flew a diverse set of missions but their primary focus was Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-surface Warfare. The aircrews honed their ASW skills working with three submarines and over 40 surface combatants. The well trained NATO submarine crews and challenging environmental conditions in the Baltic Sea created excellent training opportunities for the P-3C and P-8A aircrews.
“BALTOPS provided our entire team a fantastic training opportunity. The dynamic mission scenarios challenged us and we are now better prepared for combined operations with our NATO allies and partners” remarked Combat Aircrew Ten Mission Commander and Detachment Officer-in-Charge, LCDR Brian Blaschke. “Additionally, a key to our success was our hard working and talented aircraft maintainers; they put our aircrews in a mission ready aircraft every time, on time.”
The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 worked tirelessly to support BALTOPS 16 and are extremely grateful for the opportunity to train with such talented NATO forces and build interoperability. VP-4 looks forward to future operations with NATO allies and partners as we exercise our mutual commitment to Baltic Security.
Quick Facts:

  • BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. This is the 44th year of the exercise.
  • One P-3C Orion aircraft and two aircrews from the “Skinny Dragons” of VP-4 were assigned to participate in BALTOPS 2016. The crews flew Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) operations.
  • One P-3C from VP-62 and one P-8A Poseidon from VP-26 also participated in the exercise.
  • Combined Task Group (CTG) 67.2 was formed for the exercise and is comprised of 92 Sailors from three squadrons. CTG 67.2 was commanded by VP-4 Commanding Officer, Cdr. Christopher Smith.

A Skinny Dragon Kind of Day

By: CDR Chris Smith, Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron FOUR

Over the course of one 24 hour period from the 13th through the 14th of June, the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) did something amazing; they launched six different aircraft spread across five different locations around the world on six very different missions.

ELSALIn Comalapa, El Salvador, the 70 person detachment launched their 35th counter-drug mission of the deployment. The men and women of this detachment work closely with several other units of the Joint Interagency Task Force, South (JIATF-S) to stop the distribution and sale of illegal drugs. Money from the sale of these drugs is often used to support international terrorist organizations and the efforts of JIATF-S have a direct and meaningful impact on national defense. To date, VP-4 has contributed to 21 busts totaling 19,808 kilos of illegal drugs with a street value of over $501,170,000.

DJVP-4 also has a permanent detachment stationed in Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. This team of Skinny Dragons operates in the sweltering heat of Africa to fly overland intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in support of counter-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa. Their flight on this day represented VP-4’s presence on a third continent and demonstrates the P-3C’s ability to operate in extreme conditions.

Simultaneously, VP-4 participated in Exercise BALTOPS 2016 from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. With one aircraft, two aircrews, and 18 maintenance professionals, the detachment is a small part of the large multinational maritime exercise. BALTOPS 2016 included approximately 6,100 maritime, ground, and air force troops from 17 participating nations. The exercise is designed to allow the participants to hone their maritime interdiction, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious operations, and air defense tactics, techniques, and procedures in a combined and joint environment. On this particular day, Combat Aircrew TEN conducted an anti-submarine warfare flight demonstrating the primary mission area of the P-3C Orion.

ROTAOperating out of Naval Air Station Rota, Spain, Combat Aircrew FIVE supported by several maintenance professionals provided airborne support for the USS Eisenhower as she made her way into the Mediterranean Sea. This kind of support to a Carrier Strike Group is another critical mission of the P-3C. An airborne P-3C gives the Strike Group Commander visibility on threats beyond his horizon and the ability to destroy those threats if the need arises.

SIGONELLA, Sicily (May 19, 2016) A P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four taxis at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily in preparation to take off in support of the search for Egyptair flight MS804. The U.S. Navy is providing a P-3 Orion in support of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Greece, in response to a request by the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece for assistance in the search of the missing Egyptian aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)

SIGONELLA, Sicily (May 19, 2016) A P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four taxis at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily in preparation to take off in support of the search for Egyptair flight MS804. The U.S. Navy is providing a P-3 Orion in support of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Greece, in response to a request by the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece for assistance in the search of the missing Egyptian aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass
Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)

In a rare feat, VP-4 provided support to a second Carrier Strike Group on the same day. Flying out of NAS Sigonella, Italy, Combat Aircrew EIGHT flew in support of the USS Truman as she conducted operations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Even in the face of all these rigorous operational demands, the Skinny Dragons of VP-4 made time to continue training for tomorrow’s fight as well. The vision of VP-4 is to “Do right to fight, today and tomorrow”. To do that, the most experienced Sailors of this squadron must pass on the lessons they have learned to the next generation of warriors. On this day, the squadron also executed an important Pilot Training Flight to ensure that the long line of outstanding Skinny Dragon Aviators continues into the future.

Days like this are not unique to this squadron or this moment in history. Days like this represent any given day in the long and venerable history of the mighty P-3C Orion and the entire Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Community.

Skinny Dragons… Breathe Fire.

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

Patrol Squadron FOUR Change of Command 2016

Patrol Squadron FOUR Change of Command
LTJG Matthew Johnston
Public Affairs Officer, VP-4

160421-N-AL293-067 160421-N-AL293-086Commander Jonathan E. Spore was relieved by Commander Christopher E. Smith as Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) on April 21, 2016. The ceremony was held in Hanger 426 on NAS Sigonella, Sicily.

Commander Spore reported to VP-4 in June 2014 as the Executive Officer and relieved Commander Eric M. Hanks as Commanding Officer in June 2015. A native of Chantilly, Virginia, he graduated the United States Naval Academy in 1997. His previous flying tours include assignments in VP-5 as a Junior Officer, VP-30, and a Department Head in VP-16. Commander Spore’s other assignments include a tour on the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Flag Lieutenant for Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic, and most recently in the Pentagon, serving on both the Navy and the Joint Staff. Under his guidance, Patrol Squadron FOUR certainly lived up to their reputation as “Hawaii’s Best.” CDR Spore and the Skinny Dragons set the standard for maritime excellence, completing nine exercises and over 5,000 flight hours during his time as Commanding Officer. In March 2016, he led the way on VP-4’s last P-3C ‘Aloha Deployment’, and the Skinny Dragons are already achieving success executing their mission in the 4th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.

CDR Spore’s wife Jennifer and their three children, Mitchell, Landon, and Marion currently live in Hawaii. The family’s remaining time in Hawaii is short however, as Commander Spore has received orders to report to Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee. The Skinny Dragons bid a fond Aloha and say Mahalo to Commander Spore for his leadership and guidance.

“As a former Skinny Dragon Skipper, there was no way that I would miss this change of command,” stated Captain Steve Newlund, Commodore of Command Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO (CPRW2). “VP-4 is a premier outfit and has long been ‘Hawaii’s Best.’ Skipper Spore is an outstanding officer and has taken VP-4 to new heights.”

Commander Smith was raised in Brunswick, Maine and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering. He went on to earn his wings as a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) and after completing training at VP-30 in Jacksonville, Florida, Commander Smith reported to the Golden Swordsmen of VP-47. Following his first tour at VP-47, Commander Smith went on to have successful tours at VP-30, the USS JOHN C. STENNIS, Navy Personnel Command, and another tour at VP-47 as a Department Head. As the next Skipper of VP-4, Commander Smith will have the opportunity to lead the Skinny Dragons through the transition to their next Fleet aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon.

CDR Smith and his wife Sarah now call Whidbey Island home with their four children Wyatt, Owen, Evan, and Elizabeth. Relieving Commander Smith as Executive Officer is Commander Bryan P. Hager. He is originally from Bangs, Texas and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Distribution. Commander Hager completed flight training in Corpus Christi, Texas and earned his Wings of Gold as a Naval Aviator in December 2001. His Fleet assignments include tours at VP-16 as a Junior Officer and Department Head, VP-30 as an instructor, a tour on the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHHOWER (CVN-69), and lastly a tour with Naval Operations (OPNAV) working to facilitate future transitions to the P-8A. His wife Kristen and their three sons, Kenan, Sladen , and Stetson currently reside in Anacortes, Washington.

Patrol Squadron Four Begins ‘Aloha’ Deployment

Story by LT j.g. Matthew Johnston, VP-4 Public Affairs Officer

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (NNS) — P-3C Orion planes from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four, departed Kaneohe from Marine Corps Base Hawaii for the last time, March 18. The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 began a challenging tri-site deployment to three different areas of responsibility (AORs).

The theme, ‘Aloha Deployment,’ was adopted by VP-4 and its meaning is two-fold. VP-4 says Aloha and Mahalo to their Hawaii home and will be saying Aloha to the P-3C in favor of the P-8A Poseidon.

Since 1964, VP-4 has a long and decorated history as a permanent fixture in Hawaii, so leaving is certainly bittersweet.

Upon return from deployment, VP-4 will execute a permanent duty station change to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington, and transition to the P-8A. The Skinny Dragons began flying the Orion 50 years ago, and the transition to the Poseidon is the next step in ensuring they remain the Navy’s premier maritime squadron.

“This deployment is an exciting time for our squadron and our families,” said VP-4 Commanding Officer Cdr. Jon Spore. “Between the move to Whidbey Island and the upcoming transition to the P-8A Poseidon, we have a lot to look forward to, but remain focused on our immediate goal of completing our last P-3C Orion deployment. That being said, our time in Hawaii was very special and we look forward to making new memories in a new location and with a new aircraft.”

Patrol Squadron Four is the first of three Hawaii-based squadrons to make the move to Whidbey Island and transition to the P-8A, and they will continue their standard of excellence in the new aircraft. The Skinny Dragons are motivated to face that challenge, however, their focus is currently on the deployment and executing the mission.

“VP-4 has enjoyed great success for many years in Hawaii. Our Sailors from today and years gone by have fantastic memories of serving in the Aloha State,” remarked VP-4 Executive Officer Cdr. Christopher Smith. “While it’s bittersweet to leave, we look forward to starting our next chapter in our new home after this deployment. We fondly say Mahalo to this wonderful community for all the great memories.”

After flying the P-3 for 50 years, the Skinny Dragons are committed to ensuring this last Orion ‘Aloha Deployment’ is a resounding success that sees them all return home safely.

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/airpac/.

Coordinated check conducted on a P-3C Orion

150609-N-MV308-001 KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (June 9, 2015) Sailors assigned to the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 perform a man-on-the-stand coordinated check on a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Coordinated checks are done on a routine basis to ensure proper functioning of the aircraft and continued mission readiness and performance. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Porter/Released)

VP-4 Departing Hawaii for the last time

Vp-4 departing on deploymentGreetings everyone,

I just got back from Hawaii this weekend.

I wanted to report to you that VP-4 has left Hawaii for their deployment. The first picture is the Skipper departing on Friday March 18th. They created a commemorative challenge coin for this significant event. This picture was taken from their Facebook.

The other picture is of the same plane the day before. It is the latest update P-3C. It is the AIP version. Also notice the nose art. It is a dragon’s claw opening up the aircraft.

I had a chance to talk to the XO and wanted to pass on some of what he said. The squadron will be flying out of multiple sites. They will be in Africa, Central America and Europe in one place and possible another sight off of the continent. This year marks the 50th anniversary that the P-3 has been in the squadron.

The P-8 is operating well, no major issues. When the squadron is finished with their deployment they will end up at NAS Whidbey Is. WA, where they will transition to the P-8A. That will begin on Halloween. I guess they will have to put on their dragon costumes. The only rate for the aircrew will be AW’s. The F/E’s, AT’s and in flight Ord will be gone. They will offer to transition to AW, go to the remaining P-3 squadrons, or stay in Hawaii doing other things.

It was good to get back to Oahu. I had to take a trip out to Barbers Pt and reminisce about the days when I was in VP-4. When all the Kaneohe have transitioned to the P-8, there will be no permanent squadrons based there. There will be dets to Hawaii for homeland security duties.

Take care

John Larson

VP-4 Veterans Assn PAO

DSC_0239

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