JMSDF Detachment visits Kaneohe Bay

LT Jan R. Krsak
Public Affairs Officer
VP-4 Kaneohe Bay, HI

On Monday, September 21 2015, The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Detachment 50 from Patrol Squadron 5 arrived at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. JMSDF Patrol Squadron 5 is based in Naha Air Base on the island of Okinawa and currently flies the P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Over a span of 4,500 miles, the squadron managed to bring two aircraft and full maintenance support. JMSDF will be working in conjunction with Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4) for about three weeks aiming to foster international relations and cohesiveness between the JMSDF and United States Navy.

On Friday, September 25, the JMSDF conducted a local area familiarization flight with one of VP-4’s combat air crews. “I was impressed with their professionalism and crew cohesiveness. I was also fascinated by how well maintained and clean their aircraft was.” Said LT Jack Turner, a pilot assigned to VP-4.

The detachment is projected to conduct a torpedo exercise and joint coordinated operations with U.S. Navy ships and aircraft. The exercises designed to continuously contribute to honorable international relations between the JMSDF and United States Navy.

Japan navy

Post reunion survey for the 2015 VP-4 All Hands Reunion

Create your own user feedback survey

Survey coming for the attendees of the 2015 Reunion

Hi folks,

There will be a survey coming out VERY soon about the 2015 VP-4 Association All Hands Reunion that was held in New Orleans.  I’m putting out this post to let you all know it’s coming, and to let you know the super secret password to fill out the survey.  We’ll be publishing the survey here and through Facebook.

The password is ….  VP4Ever

If you access the survey through the website here, and not the Facebook link that’s coming you will need that password.  If you access the survey through Facebook, you will not need the password.




2017 VP-4 Reunion?

When’s the next reunion you ask? Where will it be held? Will there be free booze and soda/coffee in the “Ready Room”? Will Chad be there?
These are all great questions, and I (your humble web admin) will try and answer them for you.
The next VP-4 All Hands Reunion will be held sometime in the late summer or early fall (think September to Mid October) of 2017 in Washington DC. As always with this squadron, there will be a no host bar in the hospitality/”ready room”, so make sure you have paid your membership dues so we’re not stuck drinking Pepsi Blue and rotgut whiskey.
Start planning and putting the word out to your shipmates so we can make this the best reunion in the history of reunions!

Patrol Squadron Four conducted a search and rescue mission September 2015

The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and good Samaritans aboard a fishing boat helped rescue a sailing vessel that was taking on water Wednesday, September 9th approximately 30 miles north of the island of Maui. At around 11:45 a.m., the 36-foot Honey Cutter enroute from Hawaii to San Diego sent a SOS message that stated the vessel had suffered a keel fracture and was taking on water.

The Coast Guard requested help last week from Patrol Squadron Four based in Kaneohe Bay and good Samaritans on board the Captain Kenneth, located approximately 40 miles from the Honey Cutter. The Navy’s P-3C Orion arrived on scene and quickly established communications with the distressed vessel. The crew remained overhead for several hours and coordinated the arrival of the Captain Kenneth to the scene. The efforts of the aircrew helped ensure a successful meet up and tow with the two boats. Were it not for the capabilities and training of the aircraft and crew, the distressed boat may have capsized into the ocean stranding the crew. The Honey Cutter crew said they were prepared to abandon ship and were manually dewatering the vessel. The Captain Kenneth arrived on scene and was able to start towing the Honey Cutter at around 11 p.m. No injuries have been reported.

-LT Krsak
Patrol Squadron Four PAO.

VP-4 P-3

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

1969-1970 Cruise Book Page 02 PG-007 886739Captain John R. Emerson USN (Ret), age 93, was born March 26, 1922 and passed August 11, 2015 at home in Bend, Oregon. Born in Busby, Alberta, Canada to John Robert MacDonald Ritchie and Jessie Whitson Carmichael (Emerson) (Ritchie) (Urquhart). Mother and sons moved to Oakland, California in 1924, becoming US citizen in 1940. He is survived by Alice, his wife and childhood sweetheart of 70 years to whom he gives much credit for her support and adaptability, and his six children John, Janice, Phillip, Kenneth, Scott. His son Ross preceded him.

He joined the Navy in July 1942 in hopes of becoming a Naval Aviation Pilot. Trained as an aviation machinist mate, southwest pacific bases became his assignment. In 1944, he was offered a temporary officer commission or enlisted flight training. He joined the Navy to fly. One of his first aircraft was a Stearman biplane, wearing a leather helmet and a pigskin jacket, which is still wearable today. In the latter years, when someone asked for a new flight jacket, Capt. Emerson said “Have a seat, let me tell you about my jacket.”

Aviation Pilot First Class Emerson flew with FASRON 119 in Saipan, Marianas Islands taking on the roles of maintenance officer, technical librarian and operations officer. The squadron received a perfect audit for the first time. Assigned to VR-3 (Moffett Field), he made chief in 1951 and was one of the Navy’s first pilots to fly and instruct in the R6D (C-118) aircraft. From 1953-55, he was one of 15 APs to acquire a regular officer commission, completing 2 years of college equivalency in 1 to graduate as a Naval Aviator. In 1962 he received his BS degree and in 1971 two Masters degrees at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.

20+ aircraft later, became Commanding Officer of VP-4, a Pentagon Navy planner, CinC-PacFlt staff in Hawaii until 1981, his last assignment was as CO of Naval Air Reserve Unit, NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.

With his retirement in Sept 1982, Capt. Emerson brought to a close 40 years of continuous naval service, marking the end of a special breed of Navy flyers – Naval Aviation Pilots (NAPs) whose national association is known as the Silver Eagles. Occasionally someone would look at his original flight jacket and ask “What is an AP1?”. The ex-enlisted pilot would smile and say, “Have a seat, let me tell you all about it.”
– See more at:


VP-4 Coins

From a Facebook post by Brian LaFlamme

I saw a post almost a year ago about a VP-4 coin. I would like to see this happen so I have been working with to come up with a design (Skinny Dragon on the front and a P-3 flying over Oahu on the back. The attached photos show the design, the diagonal edge, and an example of the 3D look.
I am not selling these coins as I do not want to make a profit, so I am looking for “donations” to cover the cost of the coin, packaging, and postage. However, I need a minimum of 100 people to make this happen. Based on the cost of the coin, packaging, postage, I expect the per coin cost at ~$15.00. The only thing I do not have worked out is the “donation”, e.g., payment by check to a PO Box or by PayPay through a friend’s website. Any suggestions are appreciated.
Let’s do this!!!

Coin Specifics:
Material: Bronze soft enamel;
Size:1.75″, diameter, round shape;
Color: 5c on front, without color on back;
Diagonal cut edge (as attached photo);
Antique silver plating; and
3 sides polishing.

VP-4 moving to NAS Whidbey Island, WA

Time for another chapter in the history of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4).  As reported in SeaPower magazine on July 17th 2015,  VP-4 will be transitioning to the P-8A and changing duty stations from MCAS Kaneohe Bay to NAS Whidbey Island.

Here is the link to the article on the SeaPaower web site: and the article itself.

Posted: July 17, 2015 12:07 PM

Navy Shift of Hawaii-Based Patrol Squadrons to Whidbey Island Set for 2016

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has set in motion its plan to shift its patrol squadrons based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, to Whidbey Island, Wash., as they make the transition to the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) is scheduled to change duty stations on Oct. 1, 2016, from Marine Corps Air Facility Kaneohe Bay to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island. The squadron will go through transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A at NAS Jacksonville, Fla.

VP-4 will begin the transition as the last of six active-duty VP squadrons based at Jacksonville completes transition to the P-8A. VP-4 will join three VP squadrons at Whidbey Island and will be followed in succession by the other two VP squadrons based at Kaneohe Bay, VP-9 and VP-47.

The Navy’s strategic laydown plan calls for 12 active-duty VP squadrons and two Reserve VP squadrons divided between Jacksonville and Whidbey Island. When completed, it will end more than 80 years of permanent basing of patrol squadrons in Hawaii.

This move is a bit of a coming home for  VP-4 as it was our first duty station after being formed up at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Miramar, CA.  The squadron was first stationed at NAS Whidbey Island in the spring of 1948 and stayed there until our move to Naha, Okinawa in 1956.


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

Pg 04

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

Igniting the Spark: VP-4 participates in ‘Discover Your Future in Aviation’

Navy LT Julie Reichel
Patrol Squadron FOUR

VP-4 Discover your future in Aviation 2015Recently four pilots from Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) represented the United States Navy at the Pacific Aviation Museum’s sixth annual “Discover Your Future in Aviation.”

The purpose of this year’s “Discover Your Future in Aviation” was to expose young people to the thrills and joys of a career in aviation. For many people, the highlights of the event were the guest speakers, including Jessica Cox, the first licensed armless pilot; Rob Kelso, a former NASA flight director; and Lt. Col. Karen Fuller Brannen, the first female Marine F-18 pilot. In addition to the guest speakers the event also showcased a handful of both active and retired aircraft accompanied by their respective pilots and volunteers.

To help play their part in exposing young people to aviation, the pilots of VP-4 spent the afternoon in front of a bright yellow RC-3 “Seabee,” a post-World War II amphibious aircraft, and helped children climb in and out of the cockpit. Additionally, the pilots also took the time to pin “wings of gold” on the children’s chests.  Noting how knowledgeable some of the children were, many of the VP-4 pilots realized that this wasn’t their first exposure to aviation or aircraft.

Corbin Lewis, 11, knew enough about planes to finish one of the pilot’s sentences. When his mother, Nola, was asked where his fascination comes from, she replied “His whole life is flying. We take him to every air show we can find, we come to the museum a lot, and he even walks around the house in a flight suit.” Corbin Lewis is also the youngest person to ever request to volunteer at the Pacific Aviation Museum and dreams of one day becoming a military pilot.

Another visitor, 3-year-old Henry, hardly spoke a word that was not related to his toy planes or his pilot uncle. Looking at the yellow amphibious plane, he became so excited that he, uncharacteristically, was hardly able to speak. Watching Henry, as well as many other children, climb into the plane was like watching a person’s first taste of chocolate. The smile that transformed their faces and the excitement that shown from their eyes conveyed the beginning spark of passion that has captured aviators for more than 100 years.

The VP-4 pilots said they truly enjoyed their time at the “Discover Your Future in Aviation” event and they felt fortunate to play a part in exposing the thrills of aviation to so many young people.

“I really enjoyed introducing children to aviation,” said LTJG Branden Roy, a VP-4 pilot. “It was great to see how enthusiastic the kids felt about learning to fly and becoming pilots someday.”

LTJG Katie Medford-Davis agreed.  “It was great to represent VP-4 (in) the community and to see how many kids are excited about aviation today,” she said.

VP-4 Celebrates 50 Years as Skinny Dragons

By LT Trent M. Pietsch
VP-4 Public Affairs Officer

In 1965 Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) deployed to Iwakuni, Japan sporting a black Griffin patch but returned home with their current namesake the “Skinny Dragons.” Since that deployment, VP-4 has been carrying this unintentional nickname for 50 years.

A former VP-4 Skipper from 1966-1967, CAPT Charles (Chuck) Walker, USN, Ret. and a fellow officer who he flew with, CAPT Jerry Crumly, USN, Ret. were part of that 1965 deployment. Recently they reached out to their former squadron in regards to the current squadron patch. The history of the squadron patch is detailed both on the VP-4 command website and on placards hung in squadron spaces in Kaneohe Bay, HI. These placards only cover some of the history behind the evolution of VP-4’s squadron patch and the nickname “Skinny Dragons.”

By 1963-64, the decision was made to bring squadrons based overseas back to the United States because the Department of the Navy knew they would all eventually transition from P-5M/P-2V to P-3A’s so seaplanes went to San Diego and land based planes (VP-4) went to Barbers Point, Hawaii. A light blue patch with a skinny black Griffin had recently won a vote by squadron members to replace the previous patch of Poseidon riding a “Truculent Turtle,” as this patch was deemed not appropriate for P-3As. The skinny black Griffin, featured in front of a white four was homage to the patch before the Truculent Turtle patch which featured an orange Griffin. Although as with any vote there was dissention and some squadron members referred to the skinny black figure as an “intestinal virus.”

In March 1965 VP-4 deployed to Iwakuni sporting their black Griffin patch. On arrival, 5 crews were sent to Sangley, Phillipines for briefings to go to Saigon, Vietnam as a detachment, and 7 crews remained in Iwakuni.

CAPT Walker, USN, ret. with O Club waitresses Samiko (left) and Komiko (right).

CAPT Walker, USN, ret. with O Club waitresses Samiko (left) and Komiko (right).

CAPT Walker described how a waitress named Samiko changed the history of VP-4 forever. From the fateful conversation which led to the confusion: “As I remember we had the logo/patch on display but pretty and popular waitress Samiko asked a pilot what the black image on the patch was (it was intended to be a Griffin). Samiko said in reply, ‘Huh, don’t look like Griffin to me, look more like Skinny Dragon.’ The story circulated and before it could be corrected to be a Griffin, every one called it a Dragon. As you know Dragons are very popular in Japan.”


All previous VP-4 squadron patches and Capt. Walker’s son’s designed patch on top of the 1967 Cruise Book.

All previous VP-4 squadron patches and Capt. Walker’s son’s designed patch on top of the 1967 Cruise Book.

CAPT Walker’s son, now 64 years old, designed a patch during that deployment which contained all of the previous four squadron patches on a four leaf clover. This patch is extremely rare and contains the first two squadron patches. These patches aren’t maintained in any history of VP-4. Clockwise the patches are a four leaf clover (~1928-~1935), number four with orange Griffin (~1935-1947), Truculent Turtle with Poseidon (1947-1964), and four with black Griffin/Dragon (1964-1993).



CAPT Walker, USN, ret. with O Club waitresses Samiko (right) and Komiko (left).

CAPT Walker, USN, ret. with O Club waitresses Samiko (right) and Komiko (left).

CAPT Walker served as CO in VP-4 from December 1966-November 1967. He became a Captain 1969 when he reported to Naval War College. He now lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is an active member of the VP-4 Association and Maritime Patrol Association. CAPT Crumly flew as CAPT Walker’s copilot when they were in VP-4 together. CAPT Crumly retired following PG school and tours in VP-56, overseas joint staff, and a command in the Naval Air Training Command.


Squadron Awards

This gallery contains 2 photos.

A discussion on Facebook made me think:   What awards has VP-4 gotten throughout the years, and if VP-4 was a person, what would the Medals or Ribbons look like. Well, after search through the information US NAVY AWARDS (the Chief … Continue reading

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.

Patrol Squadron FOUR Change of Command 2015

LT Trent Pietsch
VP-4 Public Affairs Officer

002 VP-4 CoC 6-4-15Commander Jonathan E. Spore relieved Commander Eric M. Hanks as Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) on June 4, 2015. The ceremony was held at Hangar 104 on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

Commander Hanks, originally from Jennings, Louisiana, detached U.S. Africa Command in June 2013 to report for duty as Executive Officer with the “Skinny Dragons” of Patrol Squadron FOUR. On June 18, 2014, Commander Hanks became their 65th Commanding Officer.

The Change of Command ceremony culminated a highly successful tour for Hanks. Hanks led the Skinny Dragons through an arduous and challenging multi-site, seven-month deployment covering much of the EUCOM and AFRICOM AORs. Under his command, Patrol Squadron FOUR continued its tradition of excellence surpassing 265,000 hours of mishap-free flying, spanning 42 years of operations. Patrol Squadron FOUR and Hanks were recognized for their mission accomplishment at the national level. Commander Hanks will continue his career in Washington D.C. at the National War College. He and his family are excited at the prospect of continuing their journey together as a part of the Navy. Commander Hanks had this to say about serving as Skipper of VP-4, “This tour has been outstanding in many ways. The Sailors of VP-4 haven’t missed a beat from the time I stepped in to be their Commanding Officer before deployment. We’ve accomplished above and beyond what was required and all credit should go to their workmanship and professionalism.”
Commander Spore reported to VP-4 in June 2014 as the Executive Officer. 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 the Navy Staff and on the Joint Staff.

Commander Spore lives in Kailua with his wife Jennifer and their three children, Mitchell, Landon, and Marian. When asked about becoming the newest Skinny Dragon Skipper, Commander Spore commented, “With the last home cycle in Hawaii and final P-3C deployment for the Skinny Dragons before moving to Whidbey Island and transitioning to the P-8A, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this great squadron through the challenges ahead. VP-4 has always been a leader in the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community and I look forward to continuing that tradition.”

Relieving Commander Spore as Executive Officer is Commander Christopher E. Smith. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1998. His most recent assignment was in support of the Director of Intelligence at Cruise Missile Support Activity, Pacific. Commander Smith is married to Sarah and they have four children, Wyatt, Owen, Evan, and Elizabeth.

001 VP-4 CoC 6-4-15

Hardware Replacement Options Paper

The IT department is implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) solution to its corporate offices. The current hardware is outdated, and cannot support the new CRM application. The hardware must be replaced prior to deployment.  This paper will discuss the issues related to this project.

  • How do the five major variables of project management—scope, time, cost, quality, and risk—relate to this scenario?
    • Scope: All work related to the hardware replacement must be correctly defined prior to purchasing any equipment. With a proper Scope of Work (SOW), each step of the project is clearly defined, and cost overruns can be limited. A SOW. Details out the project scope, that is what items are going to be installed and why, project assumptions, responsibilities for the different people, groups, or departments, criteria for the project completion, and documentation for project Change Control Management (CCM).
    • Time: Businesses must ensure that the procurement timeline is well-defined, and adhered to. If the timeline is rushed, some items may not be configured correctly or fully tested. If time deadlines are not met, the project budget could be wasted needlessly.
    • Cost: Cost analysis must include information beyond just the price of hardware and operating systems. Additional costs may include, but are not limited to: Server rack storage space, additional costs for data center cooling and increased power consumption. Using Microsoft CRM as an example the minimum hardware specifications include five different server platforms. Depending on the size of the company involved the capital expenditures can easily outweigh the benefits of new hardware. Consideration must also be given to secondary software applications like backup solutions and virus protection.
    • Quality: Hardware replacement project needs to identify if the business will benefit from an on premise solution, or if going with a hosted or cloud solution would provide a better quality CRM environment. The project will need to identify if the hardware being purchased meets or exceeds the minimum specifications for the CRM software, and will continue to be a viable platform for an extended period of time (3 to 5 years).
    • Risk: The project plan needs to identify if bringing new hardware systems into the existing environment could adversely affect the existing network infrastructure. For example: if the businesses current network environment is a Windows 2000 active directory domain, how will bringing in new servers (Windows 2008 R2) affect or even work with the existing active directory infrastructure.
  • What considerations must be applied when selecting projects that deliver the best business value?
    • There are many project costs and benefits considerations that must be applied to ensure that business value is enhanced, and not degraded by hardware upgrade project. Are the internal rate of return (IRR), and the return on investment (ROI) values high enough across the short-term and long-term to outweigh the capital investment for new equipment. Costs include: Implementation costs such as networking equipment, operating system licensing, and server chassis costs. Operational costs such as operating staff load with new servers to manage, hardware maintenance contracts, facility cost increases, and administrator and in the user training for the new CRM application. Tangible benefits include: increased productivity due to faster servers and improvements in CRM applications, and reduce costs in maintaining outdated server equipment. Intangible benefits include: Increased organizational flexibility, and improved operations due to the new features included in a modern CRM system.
  • What factors that influence project risk? What strategies would you recommend for minimizing this project’s risks?
    • Project risk is influenced by the structure of the project, the project size, and the technical expertise of the project team and IS staff (Laudon & Laudon, 2009). The larger the project, the higher the risks associated with that project. In turn, a very complex project is also a higher rate of risk than a simple project. For example, the project plan for changing brakes on a car has a much lower risk rate than the project plan for building a kit car. The skill level or technical expertise of the IT staff and project team also affect the risks in a given IT project like a CRM hardware replacement plan.

To help alleviate some of the risks associated with this project. I would recommend assigning a project manager to oversee the entire hardware purchase process. The use of a Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) chart will help ensure that the entire plan remains on task and on time. A PERT chart not only lists out the start and completion dates for assigned activities, but it also lists out the various task dependencies and how each task can be affected by the success or failure of one of the dependencies. The use of an application like Microsoft project includes tools to help automate the creation of a Gantt or PERT chart. Status updates can easily be generated from Microsoft project to help keep all of the teams involved in the hardware replacement plan informed of where the project is at any given time. Early on in the process it should be determined if having the CRM system hosted on premise makes good business sense in comparison to having the CRM hosted in the cloud.

Just a test post

I hope you all enjoy this test post.  Not all post get to be real posts, and sometimes you have to fill space with useless information to make a test post.  I will now fill this post with bits of text that don’t seem to go together.


Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom Vet tee just released and we have free shipping available until Tuesday (2 JUN 15).

This paper will cover some of the issues surrounding the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Field Data Collection Automation (FDCA) project, and steps that can be taken to control the risks associated with developing new technology on a national scale. According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO) the cost of collecting the United States Census data has increased by 56% from $8.1 billion in the year 2000 to about $13 billion for the 2010 census (“Decennial Census: Additional Actions Could Improve the Census Bureau’s Ability to Control Costs for the 2020 Census,” 2012) . To help save costs the US Census Bureau contracted with Harris Corporation “to implement handheld devices that make census participation as simple as signing for a package” (Laudon & Laudon, 2009). Numerous issues plagued FDCA, including, but not limited to: inadequate testing procedures, poor communication, lack of executive oversight, and the inexperience of the contractor assigned to implement the mobile technology required. In 2006 when the Harris Corporation was contracted by the US Census Bureau to implement a mobile computing solution, the handheld market was still in its infancy. US Census Bureau did not adequately inform the Harris Corporation of the requirements for the mobile platform, according to this week’s readings, there were 600 initial requirements and the Census Bureau added 814 more. Most if not all of the requirements for the mobile computing platform should have been laid out at the beginning of the program. In this way, the contractor would have adequate information to procure the necessary technology.

To implement a successful mobile platform for the Census Bureau to use the FDCA project should have been assigned an oversight person or committee. By having an executive level oversight issues with the project could have been answered in a timelier manner, thereby alleviating cost overruns. Another spot that could have been improved to help alleviate issues before they arise would have been a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) from the US Census Bureau two available and reliable US government contractors.

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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We Walked Away

Reference Only

Reference Only

Sometime in the summer of 1959 I flew on one of our assigned missions as a member of a U.S. Navy Patrol Plane aircrew. Our mission was to locate and tag shipping traffic in or around the East China Sea. To tag was to identify the ship, note its deck cargo, take its picture, identify the rigging such as masts, kingposts, funnels (smokestacks), and note the architecture of the deck structure. Our home base was at the U.S. Air Force base, Naha, Okinawa. Just before dawn, that morning, we took off from Naha, and were to return that evening. Some of our flights terminated in places such as Japan, Luzon, Taiwan, or other locations. On this one, we were to return to Naha.

We flew north, that day, up to southern Japan, then over to the Yellow Sea, and back down the China coast to Okinawa. The trip took ten hours. I don’t recall anything special about the patrol itself. Our problem started when we arrived back at Naha. At that time, we were at the point of starting to use our fuel reserve. That was a term used to indicate that we had about two and one half hours of flying time left before we ran out completely. There was absolutely no reason to worry, until we were told by Naha Control Tower that the field had just been closed because of dense fog and inclement weather. Naha told us to go up to Kadena Air Force base, which was about twenty miles north of Naha. We called Kadena on our radio and asked for landing instructions. Kadena said we’d better hurry because their field was becoming socked in also. It took only about five minutes to get to Kadena, then they informed us that their field had just closed, We called Naha again to see if there was any change. Naha told us that the weather had let up a little. They said they were moving the GCA (Ground Controlled Approach) unit to the other end of the field, and that they could probably bring us in when it was moved. Naha had us circle for a few minutes while they moved the GCA unit.

In the meantime, we informed both Kadena and Naha that we were just beginning to use our fuel reserve. The nearest other place to land, in the entire Pacific Ocean and East China Sea was in southern Japan. That trip would take us two and one half hours. So, it was a tossup whether or not we could make it there. If we did not land soon, the pilot said we would probably have to ditch at sea. Naha then told us they had successfully moved the GCA unit, and that they were at borderline landing conditions. They started bringing us in. Before we even got close, Naha informed us they had, again, gone below the GCA minimums for landing. We could not land there. We were just about ready to attempt to make the trip to Japan, although we probably would not have made it, when Kadena called us and said we could land there. We headed north again, and Kadena Ground Control started bringing us in for landing. We were in heavy fog, and could not see anything. Listening to the UHF radio, I could hear the GCA person bringing us in. If you have ever heard one talking, you will think he was vaccinated with a phonograph needle. During the final few minutes, you are talked down with constant, almost uninterrupted dialogue. It sounds something like, “You are now on the glide path, keep your nose up. You are drifting left, turn right two degrees. Your heading is proper, you are fifty feet high, bring it down. You are now on proper heading and glide slope. Keep it there. You are now three miles from the end of the runway, doing well. Your nose just went high, bring it down. You are two miles from touchdown. You’re drifting right. Bring it back. You . . . etc. etc.” The directions and corrections keep coming and coming.


Finally, at some point, the controller tells you that you are over the end of the runway, and that you should be able to see it. Well when he told us that, we couldn’t see anything. For what seemed like minutes, but was probably only seconds, we still failed to see anything. I was thinking we would be colliding with something very soon. Soon the pilot said to the copilot, “I don’t see the damn runway, do you? The copilot said, “I don’t see it either” The controller said that we had to see it by then. Suddenly the pilot said, “I see it!” We were all relieved, whew! But the copilot said, “That’s not the runway, that’s a taxiway.” Pilot said, “Let’s land on it anyhow. If we crash, we might survive.” I think everyone in the crew was happy with that decision. In a few seconds I could feel the touchdown. We still couldn’t see too well, but could determine that it was very narrow and bumpy. We had a roller coaster ride while the propellers were thrown into reverse pitch to slow us down. We still couldn’t see very far ahead, but finally we slowed enough to perform a normal taxi down to the parking area. Everyone in the crew thanked the pilots for the wonderful job of bringing us in. There is an old saying in military aviation. It goes, “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.” We walked away. That was one of the best landings I ever experienced.


Mao Tse Tung’s Airspace

YD-1In March of 1959, I was on my second mission as a Combat Aircrewman in a large U.S. Navy patrol aircraft. I, and ten other men comprised the crew. I had been an aircrewman in a previous squadron of smaller aircraft, and had many hundreds of hours as a search-radar operator, along with several other aircrew jobs. My first mission with the new squadron was uneventful, so much so, that I don’t recall anything in particular about it. On this day’s mission I was to serve as radar operator, the long-range eyes for the entire flight crew. Our mission was to leave our home base at Naha, Okinawa, patrol an area of the East China Sea up toward Japan, then back down past Okinawa, and through the Formosa Straits to southern Taiwan. The mission started off in an ominous manner, however, because the navigator told me as he sat down at his table beside my position, that I was not to talk to the pilot about anything, without going through him first. This was not standard procedure, but I could not argue with him, as he was a Lieutenant Junior Grade, and I was a mere first class petty officer. I had bad feelings about that deal, even before we left the ground.

Our leg up to Japan was routine. We scoured the seas looking for, and plotting the presence of shipping traffic. The radar usually picked up the ships at a range of one hundred miles or more, long before anyone could see them. Then the radar operator would vector the pilot toward the ship in question so we could take pictures, record data about deck cargo, plot the position, speed, etc. On this mission, the only way I could talk to the pilot, without going through the navigator, was if he contacted me first. Occasionally, the navigator would ask me for a “radar fix” to some prominent point of land, so he could cross-check his dead reckoning navigation, or his skills at using a device called LORAN. Sometimes he would use a sextant to observe the stars through a plexiglass dome above our heads. We finished our northbound leg, and headed south down past Okinawa, and on to Taiwan. After about nine hours of flight time, we entered the Formosa Straits, a channel separating Taiwan from mainland China. Scattered all along the China coast were very prominent rock formations that presented very distinct radar presentations. If you have a map of the coast, and the radar is functioning, you get an absolute fix on your location.

About half way down the straits, the navigator asked me for a fix to “point Chevrolet”. Those prominent rock formations were called, by our American crews, by the names of American automobiles. There were Oldsmobile, Ford, Plymouth, etc. Each had its own unique radar presentation which exactly matched the visual presentation on the navigation charts. I maneuvered the radar bearing cursor around to Chevrolet, and ran the range strobe out to its distance. Then I told the navigator the range and bearing to “point Chevrolet”. He grabbed his dividers and compass and applied them to his big navigation chart, then with an air of superiority, gave me a supercilious look of disbelief and disdain. He was too good a navigator, in his mind, to believe my precise location, which did not agree with his superior navigation. At that time we were too far from any land to see anything, and we had also encountered thick fog. We were flying in the “soup”, as aviators like to say. We were supposed to be heading almost due south through the straits, but I could see we were drifting west toward the China coast. There was no immediate worry, however.

We were bound by international rules to observe the twelve-mile limit on approaches to China, as well as other countries in the area. As we continued on through the straits, five or ten minutes passed, and the navigator asked me for a fix to “point Plymouth”. I obtained that fix, and reported it to him. He plotted it on his chart and just shook his head. I looked very determined back at him, and he said, “You’re wrong. We’re sixty miles from there.” He showed me where he thought we were. A person who had no experience at all could see by the radar that we were not located where he said we were. But he could not see the radar scope from his position. Well, there was still no immediate concern, as we were still about twenty miles from the China coast. We were still in dense fog, otherwise the pilot would have seen the coast. But, I could not tell him, due to my orders from the navigator. We flew on some more, and when we were about to cross the twelve-mile limit, I told the navigator that we were about to cross. He just shook his head, feeling sorry for that poor incompetent radar operator.

A few more minutes went by, and I was getting scared. China would shoot us down if we got too close. As we approached the three-mile limit, still in dense fog, I shouted to the navigator, “We’re three miles from the coast. We’d better tell the pilot to turn away.” Again, he ignored me. About that time, I panicked. I jumped up and told the navigator, “Sir, look at this radar scope. If you don’t tell the pilot to turn, I’m going to bail out.” The navigator casually got up, slowly stepped to the scope, and looked. Then he jumped back to his seat and hastily called the pilot on the intercom. He tried to say in a calm voice, “Pilot from Navigator. Sir, there seems to be a controversy between the radar operator and myself. Please turn ninety degrees to port for a while.” The pilot immediately turned away from the coast. By the time we got turned away, we had flown one half mile inland into Red China. Even then, the fog was too thick for the pilot to know we had overflown the mainland.

It was only about thirty seconds after our turn that our radio operator picked up a message for us directly from the Pentagon Building, relayed via San Francisco, Honolulu, and Iwakuni, Japan. The radio operator told the pilot that we had an urgent encrypted message from Naval Headquarters at the Pentagon. The pilot said, “Well, decrypt it and read it to me.” The pilot still did not know of our close call. We were still in the fog. The radio operator decrypted the message, then read it to the pilot. It said, “The United States of America has just received its one hundred and fifty-first serious warning for violation of Chinese Communist airspace. You violated that airspace. China informs us that you would have been shot down in another thirty seconds, if you had not veered away.” Well, you can’t believe how irked the pilot was, at the radar operator. He came back over the intercom and asked me, “Radar, what in the hell is the matter with you? I can’t believe you didn’t see the Chinese coast on the radar. I’m going to have your butt. Why in God’s name didn’t you tell me?” He also used a lot of cuss words, vernaculars, etc., and I couldn’t blame him a bit.

I was glad to tell the pilot about my orders from the navigator, and that I had tried to convince him of our situation for more than thirty minutes. The pilot came back on the intercom with, “Oh, I see now. Radar, I’m sorry I jumped all over you. I understand your dilemma.” I said, “Thank you sir.” The pilot then added, “Radar, whenever you’re flying with me, you have my permission to talk to me anytime, anyplace, for any reason, regardless of anything anyone else says. Do you understand?” I told him I did. That was good, because we stayed together as a crew most of the time. He reestablished my faith in our ability to function properly. Then the pilot said, “Navigator, I’ll see you in my quarters immediately after we land. Do you understand?” The navigator meekly said, “Aye aye, sir.” We landed at our destination, Tainan, a small Chinese Nationalist Airbase in southern Taiwan. As most of the crew was caring for our aircraft, we could see the navigator following the pilot to his quarters. Of course I do not know what the pilot, a Lieutenant Commander, had to say to the navigator, but I can make a good guess. That navigator stayed with our crew for quite a while longer, and he never again caused me any trouble, or doubted any of my radar observations.


Ronald Moore

The Mountain Looms

P-2 NeptuneSometime during the summer of 1959 I was on one of our missions as a Combat Aircrewman in a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft patrolling the East China Sea. Our mission, that day, was to depart our home base at Naha, Okinawa, patrol thousands of square miles of ocean to plot shipping traffic, and land at Tainan, Taiwan. After ten hours of patrol, we were approaching our destination of Tainan. About an hour before, we had encountered scattered clouds, and as we got within approximately seventy-five miles of our destination, we flew into broken clouds. Visibility was very poor, as we broke out of the cloud cover only occasionally. Our pilot called Tainan Approach Control for a radar guided approach to the Chinese Nationalist airbase at Tainan. The person who responded to us was a Chinese controller who spoke broken English. This was not uncommon, and usually caused no problems. This time, it was different, however. The controller then asked us to shut down our radar as it interfered with his. I, as radar operator, did not like that, but it couldn’t be helped. We were then flying blind with our only eyes being many miles away at the control site.

The Chinese controller first told us to transmit a certain code on our IFF, which was a means of identifying certain aircraft on his radar scope. He then told us to turn left and transmit a different code. After a few seconds, the controller said he had our location spotted. He then told us to descend from twenty-five hundred feet to fifteen hundred feet, and take a heading of 180 degrees. We were in dense cloud cover as we descended, and were still in it when we got there. The controller let us fly 180 degrees for a few minutes, then told us to turn left to 095 degrees. We were to fly that heading for ten minutes, at which time he would give us a new heading. We had flown the heading about five minutes, breaking out of the cloud cover once or twice for a few seconds. We had another five minutes to fly, when we broke out of the cloud cover again. We were headed directly for a collision with a five thousand-foot mountain which was about one quarter mile ahead. I was looking through the cockpit, and could see the mountain directly ahead, It looked like we couldn’t possibly miss it. The pilot turned the aircraft violently to the left, as we pulled five Gs, just barely missing some rocks and trees. It’s really difficult to say how close we got, but it was close enough to see individual leaves on the trees. Then we were back in the clouds again.

As we pulled out of our close call, the pilot called Tainan Approach Control, told them of our mishap, and asked for an American controller to bring us in. Quickly, an American speaking controller took over, and began locating us. He had us send our code over the IFF again, three times, with course changes in between. The new controller said he had us located, which was a spot about fifty-five miles from where the Chinese controller said we were. Our pilot asked him if he was sure, because he said, “We can’t afford another close call with a five thousand-foot mountain.” The American controller assured us that he had us located. Indeed he did, because he brought us into the control of GCA, which is Ground Controlled Approach, who brought us in for a successful landing under the adverse visual conditions.