Newsletter #4



January 1, 2004 Newsletter No. 01-04

Editor’s Corner

As we enter a new year I would like to take a few minutes and reflect on 2003. The highlight of last year, for me, was the reunion in Las Vegas. It was absolutely the greatest to see so many dear friends and to learn how their lives have changed in the last 40 plus years. In every conversation it was evident that each pursued successful careers after leaving VP4. At the reunion I prepared a memory book of old VP4 photos that I shared with everyone in the hospitality suite. Many of those photos were originally slides that had faded drastically. It took lots of time to scan and repair those photos, which would have been beyond repair in a few years. I strongly suggest anyone with old photos or color slides, to preserve them now before they are lost forever. Please contact me by e-mail, Bob McKee or by phone, 480-981-5778 and we can discuss how to save your old photos before it’s too late!

Bob McKee


A Word from the Chairman

Greetings Shipmates!

Well, the 2003 VP-4 Association reunion held in Las Vegas was a great success, thanks to the fine jobs done by Earl Carpenter, VP-4 1960-1962, Chairman 1998-2003; Russ & Arlene Ackermann, VP-4 1966-1969, Database Managers 2001-2003; Lefty Nordhill, VP-4 1960-1962, 2003 Reunion Coordinator, and Barry Robinson, VP-4 1955-1957 our long serving Treasurer. A list of reunion attendees is available on the website or by mail from our new Database Manager, Michael Richardson, VP-4 1985-1988. Now I feel its time to set our sights on three primary objectives.

The first objective should be retention of current members and to recruit new members into the VP-4 Association. I’m asking each of you to review our Membership Roster and help us locate & contact any of our shipmates who have not yet become members. I’ve always felt that if we only created and maintained a roster of former VP-4 vets and made that roster available to all members, we would enable them to stay in touch with each other. This takes time and money. The time has to come from volunteers; the money generated from Annual or LIFETIME Dues. So, please assist by keeping your dues current and sending info on potential new members to Michael Richardson, Database Manager.

Secondly, as I stated in Las Vegas, the Association has been maintained by a fine group of older VP-4 vets, primarily from the 1947-1964 eras. Not only is it time, but also it’s a necessity that the younger vets, 1964 and later, begin to contribute their time and talents to the Association. Not only are us older vets dying off, we’re also lacking in many of the information technology skills that our younger members have mastered. Please step forward, help us transition to a younger group of volunteers.

The last objective is the fun part. Let’s get ready for the next reunion! Bruce Worthington, VP-4 1957-1962, Reunion Coordinator along with Bob McKee, VP-4 1961-1963, Newsletter Editor; Chad Derrington, VP-4 1989-1992, Webmaster; John Larson, VP-4 1974-1977, Public Information Officer and Bob Zafran, VP-4 1959-1962 & 1971-1974, Vice Chairman (and a driving force of this Association since 1979) together with many other volunteers are setting the wheels in motion for Reunion 2005 to be held in the Eastern part of the USA at a location and date yet to be determined. We need to get a Reunion Site Chairman & Staff established as soon as possible.

We are all former members of the best VP Squadron ever established, we’ve parlayed that into a damn fine Association, let’s participate with as much of our time, talent and treasure as we can muster.

Steve “Andy” Andruszkewicz
Chairman 2003-2005
VP-4 1961-1963

VP-4 Association Officers (2003-2005)

Title Name Phone Email
Chairman: Steve Andruszkewicz (909) 591-2329 Steve Andruszkewicz
Vice Chairman: Bob Zafran (408) 972-0269 Bob Zafran
Treasurer: Barry Robinson (423) 369-9686 Barry Robinson
Newsletter Editor: Bob McKee (480) 981-5778 Bob McKee
Membership Secretary: Bob Zafran (408) 972-0269 Bob Zafran
VP4 Association Chaplin Mike Turkington (805) 227-4509 Mike Turkington
Database Manager: Michael Richardson (925) 838-2272 Michael Richardson
2005 Reunion Coordinator: Bruce Worthington (208) 265-2916 Bruce Worthington
Reunion Committee Chairman: Bruce Worthington (208) 265-2916 Bruce Worthington
VP-4 Association Webmaster: Chad Derrington (503) 356-9638 Chad Derrington

2005 Reunion Committee Chairman

Plans for the next reunion are under way. It is tentatively slated for the mid Atlantic region for the summer of 2005. We are looking for volunteers living in that area to help with plans. Anyone able to lend a hand please contact Bruce Worthington, 303 Red Cedar Ln., Sand Point, ID 83864-6187, (208) 265-2916, Bruce Worthington.

Congratulations to Red Dorssett

Red just got the word that his career flight logbook has been reviewed and he will be awarded 4 DFC’s and 21 Air Medals. The presentation/award ceremony will be at NAS Lemoore in the not too distant future. He’ll get back to me on this with the date. If at all possible, Gloria & I will be there to honor and support him on this momentous occasion. Will keep you all posted.

Steve Andruszkewicz

Current VP4 Activity

Skinny Dragons’ Holds Change of Command Ceremony

Release Date: 4/23/2003 9:25:00 PM By Lt.j.g. Josh Calloway, Patrol Squadron 4 Public Affairs

KANEOHE, Hawaii (NNS) – The change of command ceremony is an honored product of the Navy’s rich heritage and traditions. With few variations, patrol squadron change of command ceremonies is identical to every other in the fleet. Whether held on the fantail of a destroyer, the hangar deck of an aircraft carrier, or in the hangar of an aviation unit, the heart of the ceremony is the formal reading of the official orders.

Command passes upon the salute and utterance by the relieving officer, “I relieve you, sir.” The officer being relieved returns the salute and responds, “I stand relieved.” This simple ceremony reflects the dedication of free men and women serving their nation proudly. Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 held its change of command ceremony April 11 in Hangar 104, Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe as family, friends, distinguished guests and the entire squadron watched. Cmdr. Robert Racoosin became the 53rd commanding officer of VP-4 to speak those words and to take command of the “Skinny Dragons.” This marked the end of Cmdr. Tyrone Payton’s command tour while ushering in new executive officer, Cmdr. David Smith.

Among the distinguished guests was the guest speaker, Rear Adm. Anthony Winns, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Praising the accomplishments of Payton, the admiral raised the bar and challenged the new commanding officer to continue the tradition of excellence. “The Skinny Dragons were instrumental in Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force’s success during the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom,” he said. “They have continued to set the war fighting standard for naval aviation’s contribution to the global war on terrorism.” During the ceremony, both Payton and Racoosin thanked the people involved in making the ceremony a special one. Special thanks were offered to the family and friends who traveled from across the country to see this event, the members of the Navy/Marine Corps color guard and the Navy’s Pacific Fleet Navy Band.

Payton specifically pointed out the men and women of VP-4 by stating, “Your performance over the past year has made you a great organization. You rose to every challenge with outstanding results. You have exceeded all my expectations.” Payton leaves the Skinny Dragons after a year of unrivaled accomplishments. The squadron once again earned the Battle Efficiency ‘E’ award for operational excellence after a highly successful deployment to the Arabian Gulf and Diego Garcia. While supporting both the 5th and 7th Fleets, VP-4 raised the bar for Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aviation by flying more than 9,200 hours and 1,300 missions, more than any other squadron since the Vietnam War. Located at a remote airbase, the “Skinny Dragons” flew around the clock missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as part of the global war on terrorism. During this campaign, VP-4 successfully completed more than 500 combat missions over Afghanistan resulting in the awarding of 85 air medals. For “meeting and exceeding all operational requirements while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and the global war on terrorism,” VP-4 also received the Navy Unit Commendation.

The new executive officer, Smith, will be taking over where Racoosin left off. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Smith graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987. Every change of command ceremony has an array of emotions as the squadron says goodbye to one commanding officer and welcomes another. As VP-4 continues into its 31st year of mishap-free flying, Racoosin told the Sailors of VP-4, “I could not be prouder of the squadron’s accomplishments throughout its history, in particular this past year. I look forward to continuing our heritage of excellence in the months to come.”

VP-4 Shipmate Memorial’s

Name Served VP4 Passed Away
Clampet, James V. ’50-’54 10/30/2001
Facsko, Jr., Stephen J ’80-’86 09/22/2002
Gilpin, Charles D. ’59-’61 11/22/2001
Hildabrand, Marvin Earl (Earl) ’61-’62 11/2002
Hilton, Dale H. Cdr. ’49-50 2003
Holliday, John R. “Doc” ’58-60 09/22/2002 (FASRON 118)
Kreutzer, Robert L. ’60-’63 04/23/2002
Krim, Marvin G. VPB-4 ’45-’45 10/13/2002
Lockhart, Charles W. ’60-’62 09/13/2002
Neistrath, Harry ’69-’74 05/30/2003
Pollock, Thomas F. Cdr. ’47-’49 2003
Pruitt, James P. ’50-’52 09/21/2002
Reinhardt, Ralph ’62-’64 11/2002
Riley, Chuck ’59-’60 07/14/2003
Salter, Edward F. ’59-’62 07/02/2001
Schmidtt, Jack M. ’79-’82 03/29/2003
Smith, Richard H. ’64-’66 10/24/2002
Tappan, Gerald R. “Bob” ’58-’61 11/02/2002
Woodley, Richard P. ’60-’62 09/18/2002
Young, Gerald AOC ’59-’61 12/19/2003

Association Membership

by Bob Zafran, 2003-2005 Vice-President

Twenty five years ago Steve Andruszkewicz, 2003-2005 VP-4 Association President, called me suggesting that we hold a VP-4 All Hands Reunion, which we subsequently co-coordinated at the frontier Hotel Las Vegas in August 1980. VP-4 Reunions have been held since then with both a P2V Officers and an All Hands theme, the last All Hands Reunion returning to Las Vegas this past October. At the 1998 Reno Reunion, several of us Naha vets formed the current VP-4 Association to promulgate the history, culture, experiences, and comradely of VP-4 veterans. Funding for Association newsletters, reunion announcements,, and miscellaneous expenses is derived from profits from past reunions and membership dues, the latter being our prime source of funds. We now have over 1200 valid names/addresses and over 2000 VP-4 veterans names on our rolls. Assembling periodic newsletters and reunion announcements is expensive, but is necessary to keep the VP-4 Association viable and allowing us to continue to bring shipmates, their families, and friends together to share those fond memories of our service in the best patrol squadron ever!

We need your help to keep OUR Association going… I know of no other Patrol Squadron, or few other individual Navy squadrons for that matter, that have as large of reunions as we do! YOUR paid membership makes OUR Association happen… your dues, $10 per year and $100 LIFETIME membership will keep those newsletters and reunion announcements, and soon to be expanded VP-4 Website Forum coming your way!! Our $100 LIFETIME membership makes is simple and keeps you continually ‘in the loop”. Fill out the VP-4 Association membership section that follows and send it in along with your annual dues or LIFETIME membership today!!!