Tag Archives: Fallen Shipmates

Allen, Gary (VP-4)

Brentwood, Tenn.

Gary Don Allen, 74, of Brentwood,Tenn., passed away Feb. 28, 2012, in Tennessee State Veterans Home, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

He was born Aug. 12, 1937, in Columbus, son of the late Don and Helen (Rotroff) Allen. His sister Karen Fastnaught, of Toledo, survives. Also surviving, his spouse Linda Mashburn Allen, of Brentwood.

Garywas a member of Franklin First United Methodist Church, Franklin, Tenn., and past member of First Christian Church ofSandusky. He graduated from Findlay High School and attended John Carroll University in Clevelandand Findlay College in Findlay, Ohio. While living inOhio, he belonged to many community clubs, including the Sandusky Yacht Club, Toastmasters, Power Squadron, and American Legion.

Garyworked for Chef’s Pantry and then for Stein, Inc. for many years as the director of Human Resources. He owned the photography studio “Images Unlimited” photographing weddings and portraits.

Garywas proud to serve his country in the Army Reserves and then in the Navy. He was presented with a medal and citation from the U.S. Navy for meritorious achievement as an air crewman of a P-3 patrol aircraft during a special reconnaissance mission off the coast of South Korea for directly detecting and subsequent destruction of an enemy infiltrator surface craft. His efforts were instrumental in bringing his damaged aircraft safely to a landing at a friendly base. His skillful airmanship, courage and devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He was authorized to wear the combat “v”. During his career he was presented with several other medals and citations.

Garyserved in various U.S. Navy Patrol Squadrons including: VP-30, VP-7, and VP-4. He was involved during the Cuban Crises in 1963 and 1964 as an air crewman aboard a VP-7 P2V Neptune aircraft assigned to aerial surveillance of Russian ships in route to the island of Cuba carrying missiles. One of the photos he took from aboard a VP-7 aircraft was the one shown during President Kennedy’s news conference on national TV during his announcement of the Cuban Blockade.

Garywas an amateur radio operator (HAM) with the call sign of KB8APU. He enjoyed his experiences operating from various locations. He worked with operators near home base locations to provide members of his squadron with the ability to contact their families via radio from the squadron’s deployed locations. His operating included operations while aboard naval aircraft. He was not able to utilize his amateur radio hobby during the last few years as he would have liked to.

The children with whom Gary shared his life and loved all survive him. They are Deb (Bob)Redmond, of Port Clinton, Don Allen, of Sandusky, and Dawn (Allan) Peterson, of Fremont, whose mother Sarah Crawfis Hartley, survives. Kim Fredrick, of Castalia, and Chuck (Lisa Rutger) from Vermilion, whose mother Viola Sommers Allen, preceded him in death and whose father Chuck Rutger survives. Christy Kaser-Geiger, of Franklin, whose mother Linda Mashburn Allen and father the Rev. Larry J. Kaser survive.

Garyloved his grandchildren, all of whom survive. They are Greg Allen, of Toledo, Bryce and Breanne Fredrick, of Castalia, Andrea, Bethany, and Laura Rutger, of Vermilion, Noah, Evan, Corinne and Nathan Geiger, of Springhill, Tenn., and Brook and Brandi Peterson, of Fremont. He also loved his great-granchildren, all of whom survive. They are Zack and Trenton Peterson, of Fremont.

One nephew, Jeff Fastnaught, of Toledo, survives. One niece Chris Fastnaught is deceased.

A memorial service facilitated by Woodfin Funeral Chapel and Ransom Funeral Home will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, at First Christian Church on Hayes Avenue, Sandusky, with the Rev. Don Linn officiating. Burial will be at the Margaretta Township, Castalia Cemetery on Bardwell Roadin Castalia, immediately following the memorial service. A time for visitation with the family at the First Christian Church Fellowship Hall will be after the graveside service.

Donations to your church or favorite charity are suggested by the family.

A Special thank you is given to the administration, doctors, and staff of the Tennessee State Veterans Home in Murfreesboro, for making the last year of Gary’s life as enjoyable as possible. Their expertise and kindness surpassed all expectations.


Ohlson, Bruce H. CDR VP-4 1955-58

Cdr. Bruce H. “Swede” Ohlson , USNR Ret. K7UAL

After a brief struggle with illness, Bruce “Swede” Hjalmar Ohlson took his last flight west for his final check on February 4, 2012. Bruce faced his final days with dignity and serenity.


Bruce was born on April 23, 1931 in Huntington, West Virginia. He grew up there experiencing all the usual lessons of childhood. Bruce enlisted in the US Navy, then took the opportunity to attend flight school courtesy of Uncle Sam. He was commissioned as an Ensign and assigned as a member of VP- 4 as a plane commander. This was an exceptional group of young men who flew anti-submarine patrols on 2 tours of the Far East. This group of young men, flying government supplied airplanes, had a very good time (probably too good of a time) and continue to hold regular reunions through the years. Bruce continued to serve his country in the United States Naval Reserve, finally retiring with the rank of Commander. After stepping down from Active Duty, Bruce worked briefly for Mohawk Airlines, then accepted a job flying for United Airlines. He flew for United for more than 36 years, retiring as a very senior Captain. Bruce always enjoyed flying large airplanes, and ended up flying 747’s to Europe, the Far East and South America. If United had a larger Airplane in its fleet, Bruce would have flown it. He was an exceptionally competent pilot, and walked away from every landing he ever made. Passengers for United Airlines were in very good hands when Bruce was in the cockpit. After his retirement from UAL, Bruce indulged his passion for Amateur radio. His ham shack had every conceivable band of radio in it, and if there had been an amateur radio operator on Mars, Bruce would have found a way to broadcast to him, as the nest of radio antennas in his yard would attest to. Bruce was a member of the Washoe County search and rescue team, helping to coordinate their communications from a mobile radio shack.


Bruce was married twice. He found the love of his life Diane Ohlson and married her on August 24, 1981. They stayed together for the duration of his life. Bruce raised 3 children.


Bruce was a man who was always there. If someone needed help he could be counted on to assist. If there was a meeting or a group to get organized, he would be in the thick of it. If he said he would be at one place at a specific time, he would be there. You could rely on Bruce to do his dead level best at anything he attempted. A day “loafing” with Bruce would exhaust a lesser person. He was a member of a select group of men that was taught to be as good as their word, and he expected that from everyone in his circle. Bruce was an achiever who led an exemplary life. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. Bruce is survived by his wife of thirty years Diane, of Reno, Nevada, his sister Sylvia of Virginia Beach, Virginia, his son Dana (Nancy) Ohlson of Grand Junction, Colorado, his daughter Kristin Ohlson Melnikoff (Harry) of Collbran Colorado, his daughter Tracy Hoobyar (Phil) of Reno Nevada and 6 grandchildren, Lauren, Amber, Daniel , Hannah, Brandon and Cody.


There will be a celebration of Bruce’s life at the family’s home in South Reno on Saturday, March 3, at 4 pm. Please call <Omited by VP-4 Association> for information and the address. In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Bruce’s name.



Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on February 19, 2012

POND, Richard E. LCDR USN (Ret) VP-4 1954-56

Dick Pond served in the Navy for 23 years as a pilot and communications engineer. He retired as lieutenant commander in 1968 and moved with his family from Brunswick, Maine, to Southern California, settling in the then small town of Newbury Park, where he lived with his wife for 43 years. After working 20 years for Lockheed in Burbank, Dick retired and devoted his time to his hobbies of photography, gardening, computers and baking bread. He and his wife of 61 years had three children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (and counting). Dick was preceded in death by his granddaughter Danielle Burt. He is survived by his wife, Roberta, and family members Patty, Rick, Carol, Danny, Pam, Bill, Tanya, Bradley, Sally, Shannon, Robert, Andy, Daniel, Nikki, Alyssa, Canaan, Mokey and Izzy. Memorial services were held last week at St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church in Newbury Park and Conejo Mountain Funeral Home in Camarillo. Published in the Thousand Oaks Acorn on 12/01/2011