The views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Department of the Defense or the US Navy!
A Remembrance and Tribute to a former Port Lyautey Squadron. They were fathers, sons, brothers and husbands, they were our friends and our shipmates and whether they flew under the banner of VP-26, VW-2 Det A, ECM-2 or VQ-2, matters not. What matters, is that many of them (101) lost their lives while flying in Harm's Way. They were among the best that America had and continues to have..........www.portlyautey.com
AIRCRAFT AND PERSONNEL ACCIDENT HISTORICAL DATA
RESEARCHED BY AMHC (AW) JOHN D. HERNDON (RETIRED)
VQ-2 MEMBER 1980-1991, 1996-1999
Thanks to Capt. Don C. East, USN (Ret) for allowing me the use of data from his History of VQ-1 and VQ-2 published in the Tailhook Associations magazine The Hook spring and summer 1987 issues, and also contained on the www.coldwar.org web site.
My thanks also to Captain Jack E. Taylor (RIP), Captain John Mcintyre (Ret) and numerous other previous VQ-2 members for their assistance with eyewitness accounts, their personal remembrances and their photographs to this effort.
Thanks for all you help Lou, (webmaster ~ www.portlyautey.com).
Special Appeal to "Save The Whale" by the A-3 Skywarrior Association. Please click here for further information
John Herndon via Mark Swisher, Ron Woltman and his Navigator, Greg Bass, who filmed it, has forwarded a video of the last flight of 144825. The flight was from Pt. Mugu, California to NAS Whidbey. It can be seen on YouTube by clicking here
PB4Y-2 BUNO 59645 VP-26 CU32 Predecessor to VQ2. Additional photographs of CU-32, from the Gaynor Abbott collection, can be seen by clicking here.
CREWNAMES KILLED (10): LT JOHN H. FETTE, LT HOWARD W. SKESCHAF, LTJG ROBERT D. REYNOLDS, ENS TOMMY L. BURGESS, AD1 JOE H. DANENS JR., AD1 JACK W. THOMAS, AT1 FRANK L. BECKMAN, CT3 EDWARD J. PURCELL. AL3 JOSEPH J. BOURASSA, AT3 JOSEPH N. RNNIER JR.
In 1950 VP-26 maintained a permanent det of PB4Y-2 privateers at NAF Port Lyautey Morocco, these aircraft were specially configured for the electronic reconnaissance mission, and thus present the earliest traceable origins of VQ-2. On 04/08/1950 BUNO 59645 and its ten-man crew were lost in the western Baltic sea, apparently after being attacked by soviet aircraft approx 80NM southeast of got land island, close to Liepaja Latvia. (No survivors found). On 01/1955 two Americans that were repatriated from a Russian prison camp where they had been held since WWII, reported hearing of American prisoners who had been shot down over the Baltic Sea.
EDITORS NOTE! Additional photographs of VP26 may be seen at www.portlyautey.com. Click on Newsletter, scroll down to "Photographs (1950) of VP-26 CU32 from the John Brady Collection" and then double click on this link......Lou Demas, www.portlyautey.com
John Herndon's website for ECM-2 can be accessed by clicking on http://www.w7psk.net/VQ2/default.html
CREWNAMES KILLED: (8) LT. Kenneth E. Lampkin, JR. Ensign Lnir Edwin Jackson. AOC Andrew Adam Andrews. ADJC Roy Richard Radcliff. ET2. David Russell Aiken. AE3 Donald Eugene Jones. AOAN Frank Joseph D' Acunto. ADJAN Ernest Eugene Craig.
CREWNAMES SURVIVED (?)
07 March 1951 Aircraft was returning to Rome Italy after a local mission, engines experienced carburetor icing and the aircraft had to be ditched. Half of the aircrew was lost.
CREWNAMES: KILLED: (1) LT Bob Hager, Pilot.
CREWNAMES SURVIVED: (14) LTJG Ralph Parsons, Copilot. Ens John Wojnar, Nav. LT. Don Huddleston, Pilot Route Fam. Ens Bob Ottensmeyer, Signals Eval. ADC E.J. Blair, P/C. ATC W. Flanagan, Sr. Signals Op. ADC W. Gregg, Assist. P/C. AT1 H. Shaw, Radar Operator. AL1 D. Johnson, Radio Op. AL3 A. Bostick, Assist. Radio Op. AO2 K. Woll, Turret Gunner. AL1 G. Bundy, Signals Op. AT3 E. Connelly, Signals Op. AT3 J Melo, Signals Op.
On 02/06/1952 the aircraft launched from the RAF base in Nicosia, Cyprus. The P4M-1Q was based out of NAF Port Lyautey, French Morocco, on a special electronics search project mission. There were 15 on board airplane crew and intelligence specialist from the Patrol Unit and Naval Communications Unit 32 George (32G). The take off and climb were uneventful. After crossing the southern coast of Turkey near Adana at the planned altitude and on course, LT Bob Hager, the plane commander, secured the two J-33 jet engines. The aircraft and crew then settled down. Normal operations meant radio and radar silence; the radar, if used at all, was operated discretely in short sweeps in specific directions. The aircraft continued on track and crossed the north coast of Turkey between Trabzon and Batumi, a few miles from the border between Turkey and the Soviet Union. All hands were alert for any unfriendly reactions to our presence over the Black Sea. The aircraft then climbed and signal activity increased. At approx. 50 miles southwest of Sevastopol and Yalta in the Black Sea, the Starboard R-4360 engine blew an oil line; the crew feathered the prop and secured the engine. The situation of the aircraft was evaluated and the mission was aborted. LT Hager started the 2 J-33's and headed home. The aircraft descended to get below the Soviet radar horizon and picked up 150 knots to conserve fuel, crossing back into Turkey NW of Samsun in the vicinity of Sinop. At 10,000 feet the aircraft cleared the Kuzey Anadolu mountain range, but the aircraft was consuming too much fuel using both jet engines, LT Hager secured the port J-33 and told the crew to lighten the load to maintain altitude. The aircraft had some more mountains in front of it. The nature of the mission precluded a landing in Turkey; Nicosia was the only option, hatch was opened and the classified equipment was destroyed and thrown out. The crew then went to bail out stations, passing Mount Hasan Dagi and its peak 10,672 feet which was higher than the P4M-1Q was flying. The aircraft cleared the ranges and the Taurus Mountains. On 02/07/1952 at approx 0045 the aircraft crossed the Turkish coast outbound at Tasuco and the crew went to ditching stations. Approx. 10 minutes after crossing the coastline all of the engines stopped, the aircraft was at 7,500 feet. The only lights in sight were in the glow over a city in the distance. LT Hager executed an open-ocean dead-stick ditching at approx. 0100. There were large swells, the aircraft was landed smoothly, sea state was 4 to 5. Moments later, all hands began getting out, life rafts were deployed. All crew members names were called everyone was accounted for except for LT Hager, LTJG Ralph Parsons then called out stating that LT Hager had helped him out of the plane because he had hurt his back on impact with the water, LT Hager had escaped from the plane, but he apparently re-entered the aircraft to ensure all were out and was trapped and sank with the aircraft. Injuries to crew, LTJG Parsons appeared to have a broken back, ENS. Wojnar had a nasty cut on his head and LT Huddleston had some bruises and contusions. At 0820, the HMS Chevron rescued the crew.
CREWNAMES: (NO FATALITIES) SURVIVED: CDR R.R. Sparks, Pilot, Commanding Officer. LT Ned Rankin, Copliot. LT John Mcintyre, Pax, Pilot.
10/09/1957 At NAF Naples Italy, CAPO aircraft starboard MLG collapsed on the runway. Aircraft sustained damage to the prop, left wing and fuselage. Aircraft was repaired in less than one week.
CREWNAMES KILLED: (4) PHC Richard. Demoss, AQ1 Robert Danner, AA Thomas. Hinton, AD1 William Peters
Survived: (9) CDR. Clyde Curley, Pilot. Lt. Lawrence Phillips, LTJG Charles Hall, LTJG Ronald Smith, LTJG Edward Johnson, ALC Thomas York , AD2 Wallace Major, AE2 James Crockett, AN R. King.
P4M-1Q, bureau number 124373, was to be ferried from Port Lyautey to Norfolk. The pilot conducted a test flight at Port Lyautey during which an electrical fire developed in the main circuit breaker panel. The trouble was investigated, but no record of repair was noted. Another test flight was conducted without incident. Leaving Porty Lyautey on 4 January, 1958, the aircraft proceeded to Lajes and thence to Bermuda. Prior to take-off from Bermuda, a gas leak was discovered in the starboard main engine gas line to the fuel pressure gauge. Repair was made and the flight departed Bermuda at 1807Z on 6 January 1958. Jet engines were used until the bomb bay tanks were emptied. Continuing on reciprocating engines only the flight was uneventful until preparations were made to land at Norfolk. In the vicinity of Naval Air Station, Oceana, attempts to start the port jet failed. The starboard jet started, but it idled at 85% and the TOT went up to 900 degrees. Further attempts were made to start both jets, but without success. The decision was made to make the approach on main engines only. Approaching Naval Air Station, Norfolk, the pilot was cleared to enter traffic and break right to the down wind leg of runway 28. While on down wind, Navy Norfolk Tower requested 4373 to extend his approach to let a jet land first. The pilot complied with Tower instructions and started to turn on base after extending his down wind leg. After turning about 45 degrees to the right, the port engine lost power. The aircraft continued turning right at a reduced rate of turn for another 45 degrees. The flight path was now just about perpendicular to the beach in the vicinity of Ocean View and the aircraft was losing altitude. Shortly after passing over the beach, a left turn was started. The aircraft continued on in a nose high attitude and struck several cottages and automobiles which were it its flight path. Heading at the time of first impact was about 110 degrees. The aircraft started to come apart as it hit the cottages. The aircraft struck the ground in an empty lot and continued sliding across a road into a small cottage where it came to rest and started to burn. Location of crash is listed as 22nd St. & E. Ocean View Ave.
Damage to Aircraft - The aircraft was destroyed except for the following components:
The 4 engines, the starboard wing, the tail section, landing gear, and various valves, electronic components, etc.
Aftermath of the crash
CREWNAMES: UNKNOWN (NO FATALITIES)
06/1958 At NAS Port Lyautey Morroco, aircraft was "Stricken" from Naval Inventory after an inflight incident with the landing gear doors. Nothing was wrong with the airplane. The pilot (Ltjg Nixon) landed long on the runway and ran off the end. As a result, the airplane collapsed its nose gear and broke its back behind the cockpit. In this condition, the flight crew would not be able to exit out the lower door, but would have to exit out the upper hatch (on top of the cockpit). Aircraft is pictured laying on the VQ-2 ramp, It became a parts bin, then was scrapped. (Note: The P4M-1Q, JQ-1 in the background). Our thanks to John Snook, AD3, a former A3D Plane Captain in ECM-2, who passed on this information. The photograph was taken by the Port Lyautey website editor (in spite of Navy regulations to the contrary), while on duty.
CREWNAMES KILLED: (4) LCDR Charles Moore, Pilot. LTJG Charles B. Lynch, Pilot. LTJG Carl Werner. Bockenhauer, Eval (see below). AQ-1 Charles S. Stompski, ECM-OP
10/16/1958 A3D crashed near the port at Incirlik Air Base, Adana Turkey. Crashed on an extremely dark night with no moon or horizon, the aircraft flew over the field and did a bank between the upward end of the runway and 1.0 mile past the end of the runway. The bank was approximately 35 degrees, the aircraft started descending and impacted the ground. Following are impact photographs of the aircraft.
LTJG Carl Werner. Bockenhauer headstone at Arlington National Cemetary
CREWNAMES: KILLED: (16) LCDR Franklin B. Moore, Pilot. LCDR Warren J. Hampton, Pilot. LT Thomas H. Edgerton, Nav. LTJG Donald C. Mcintyre, Eval. LTJG Robert E. Ogden, Eval. AD1 Joseph A. Cote, P/C. AN Billy C. Sullivan, 2nd Mech. AT1 Marvin A. Radtke, Radio Op. ATC John M. Boling, Radar Op. AE1 Murphy J. Martinez Jr. F/E. AM3 Rex H. Gregory, Flight Structural Mech. AO2 Richard C. Nuzum, Flight Ord. AT2 John M. Criswell, ECM Op. AT3 Francis E. Tomkowski, ECM Op. AQ2 Richard D. Crittenden, ECM Op, AT2 Harold L. Berg, ECM Op.
On 01/19/1960 the aircraft was on final approach to Incirlik Air Base, Adana Turkey when it crashed 41 NM from the end of the runway. It was a cloudy day with partial visibility. Aircraft crashed into a ravine at the top of the snow covered mountains. "No Survivors" The ensuing fire melted the overhanging and surrounding snow which flooded the wreckage and froze, entombing it in ice. Recovery of the lost personnel was made difficult by high winds, low temperatures. Access to the crash site was very difficult due to the high mountains and the lack of O2, the Turkish villagers and British Mountain Rescue Team were able to reach the site. One was acclimated by living at that altitude the other trained to climb. The arrival of helicopters made it easier to access the crash site but it was still difficult for the rescue crew emotionally and physically freeing the lost crewman from the ice.
NAVY CREWNAMES: KILLED: (22) LCDR Conner M. Petrie JR. Pilot. LT Jack L. Duvall, Pilot. LTJG Marvin R. Armstrong, NAV. LCDR Charles A. Patschke, Eval. LTJG Robert Poole, Eval. ADRCA Eugeno George, F/E. ADR2 Michael Kostiuk, 2ND F/E. ATCA Jared M. Rose, ECM Op. ATCA Thomas E. Young, ECM Op. AT1 Gene P. Bartram, ECM Op. AM1 Martin J. Brennan, ECM Op. AMH1 Gerhard K. Heimerl, Flight Stuctural. AT2 Donald R. Ballard, ECM Op. AT2 Gerald R. Carlton, ECM Op. AT2 Jamos W. Tyler, ECM Op. AT2 Ronald P. Wajda, ECM Op. ATR3 Edward N. Hawkins, ECM Op. ATS3 Orville R. Malone, ECM Op. AE3 Timothy D. Steward, ECM Op. ATN3 Lee P. Strong, ECM Op. ATR3 Joseph H. Watkins, ECM Op. ATRAN Gilbert J. Austin, ECM Op.
ARMY CREWNAMES: KILLED (4) SP5 F.L. Breshears, Intel Op. SP5 R.J. Hoos, Intel Op. SP4 E.M. Mcgreal, Intel Op. SP4 R.A. Lewis, Intel Op.
On 05/22/1962, WV-2Q took off from Furstenfeldbruk, West Germany on a training mission flying along the CZECH border. The rear cargo door failed, coming open in flight resulting in the tail separating and departing the aircraft in-flight. Aircraft crashed 1 and ¼ mile southwest of Markt Schweben, West Germany.
In a bizarre incident one of the crewman happened to be in the aircraft's head, which was all the way aft in the tail. When the empennage broke off at the main cargo door point, the intact tail section, (with its single passenger) was reported by several witnesses to have "Flown" in a wide ARC after the breakup and made a semi-controlled "Landing" in a large freshly plowed farm field. The crewman apparently unhurt up until this point was thrown from the tail section directly into a tree, "the only tree in the whole field" Where he was killed instantly from a broken neck.
CREWNAMES: KILLED: (4) LT Walter Al Linzy, Eval. ATC Aubin, ECM OP. ATR3 Richard Hunt, ECM OP. ATR3 Rich Stocker, ECM OP. SURVIVED: (3) LCDR David Caswell, Pilot. LT C. Pemberton, Nav. ADJ1 Louis Leggett.
ATC Joseph William Aubin headstone at Arlington National Cemetary
From: US Navy AAR and Flight Crew Statements.
On 05/26/1966 @ NAS Cubi Point, Philippines the VQ-2 crew, manned up the aircraft for a 0310am launch. VQ-2 had crews TAD operating jointly with VQ-1; the aircraft was a EA-3B belonging to VQ-1 BUNO 142257. The mission was classified as a combat mission over Vietnam. Shortly after turn up the aircraft was delayed in taxi out due to the evaluators ICS box being inoperative which was replaced and one of the operators oxygen mask was missing a pin for the radio connection, a spare mask carried on board the aircraft was used. During the taxi out to approach the end of runway 07 the aircraft was again delayed due to a C-121 being parked just short of the runway turn, which the crew had not been informed of. After takeoff and clear of the coast the aircraft proceeded out bound on the 282 radial of Tacan channel 48. Alot of weather was showing on the radar but no build ups, the aircraft in countered light to moderate rain the whole time until it reached FL 31,000. On the 285 radial of Cubi Point Tacan, 155 miles out , at 0345am the Pilot LCDR Caswell commented that he felt he was in a high speed buffet, The Doppler ground speed was 350 knots, The airspeed indicator at this time was reading approximately 110 knots, just prior to this it had been reading zero. Prior to this the pilot instructed the Plane Captain to keep a close watch on the port outboard slat and notify him as soon as it starts working. At this time the buffet became much worse and the pilot pulled off some power. At this time the Navigator LT Pemberton commented that the Doppler ground speed was 250 and dropping rapidly. The pilot then came back up on power and the Doppler ground speed increased rapidly to 350. At this time the aircraft was nose over and shortly thereafter went out of control. Both engines alternately flashed fire several times. (Possible Compressor Stalls) The pilot ordered a bail out at approximately 15,000-18,000 feet, the pilot could not reach the escape chute hatch handle and ordered the Navigator to blow it. The Navigator pulled his harness and released the handle, he turned around to check the back end, one man, number four had already gone, there was a considerable delay in the rest of the back end going out. After the back end crew bailed out the Navigator yelled to the Plane Captain to go and beat on him four or five times, he still did not go. Note: The Plane Captains oxygen had failed and he was waiting until they reached 10,000 to bail out. Finally the Navigator got up to go and readied himself to bail out and the Pilot grabbed him and told him that he had control of the aircraft, at this time the aircraft altitude was 10,000 to 12,000 feet. The Navigator told the Plane Captain to hold, then he reconnected his radio back up and begin to transmit their position and situation on guard and select emergency IFF. The crew was unable to get any acknowledgement from anyone, the Navigator then switched to Yardstick control 278.4, they came up immediately, the Navigator informed them of situation and the location of the bailed out crewman. The aircraft was in contact with Yardstick, Hollygreen and Wiseman. Radar contact and clearance around all weather was excellent. Once the aircraft was under control the rest of the flight back to Cubi Point was uneventful, the slats worked normally for landing.
Lt Linzy's Mae West was found, he had written a note on his vest, "We are in the water and OK". A destroyer found ATR3 Rich Stocker on 05/31/1966, three days after the bail out, he had been dead for approx 8 hours, and the other crewman were never recovered.
CREWNAMES: SURVIVED: (7) LCDR Jack Taylor, Pilot. (Future Commanding Officer of VQ-2) LCDR Joel Graham, Nav. Other crewman's names unknown.
On 09/1966 EA-3B was launched from the USS INDEPENDENCE CV-62 at zero dark hundred following the cat shot the aircraft experienced a hydraulic failure but all indications for the doors and gears were ok. The EA-3B requested a divert to NAS Sigonella and the CAG said "No" he told the aircraft to burn down and return to the ship, LCDR Taylor informed CAG that he did not understand the message and that they were going to SIG. The aircraft did not have any pressurization so they had to hold at 10k until some thunder bumpers started to threaten, so pilot decided to climb on up so the whole crew went on O2, at 25K the aircraft encountered a downpour. The pilot continued climbing and finally got on top of the storm at 35K. Aircraft landed safely at SIG, maintenance repaired the ATM and speed taped the damaged nose radome for a flight back to Rota. After take off once reaching 1500 feet the entire nose radome blew to pieces, pilot was concerned about the engines being foded, but all indications were ok. The pitot static probes were completely bent over, so there was no airspeed or altitude indication. Pilot burnt off fuel and did a seat of the pants Captain "JET" Taylor landing back at NAS Sigonella.
CREWNAMES: KILLED: (6) LCDR Monard L. Lilleboe, Pilot. LTJG James H. Stilz, Nav. LTJG Victor C. Vogel, Eval. AT1 Lawrence Gallagher, ECM Op. ADJ2 Keith A. Kleis, P/C "Body was recovered". ATR3 David W. Mccusker, ECM Op.
On 11/03/1966 EA-3B was inbound to the USS INDEPENDENCE CV-62 in the med, 8 miles south of Sicily at night. Aircraft flew into the sea at cruise speed. Only pieces of the aircraft were found and the plane captain's body was recovered. The cause of the accident was unknown however it was suspected that the aircraft experienced altimeter problems.
CREWNAMES: KILLED: (4) CDR Theodore E. Daum, Pilot. (Commanding Officer). LCDR Charles L. Best, Nav. LCDR Bruce P. Ford, Pax. LCDR James W. Frazee, Pax.
SURVIVORS: (2) ADJ1 Jimmy Henderson, P/C. AE2 Jackie W. Snody, Pax.
On 06/04/1968, EA-3B was heading to a conference at Naples Italy. On takeoff the aircraft was suspected to have lost an engine due to bird strike. Flaps were in the process of coming up; aircraft was below 500 feet and could not maintain altitude or airspeed. Commanding Officer set the aircraft down in a wheat/sugar beet field 7,800 feet from the end of the runway at Rota Spain. The aircraft touched down with the landing gear down, landing flat in the field at the bottom of a hill, the fuel cell bladders ignited. The aircraft proceeded to the top of the hill the wing tip dipped and impacted the ground causing the aircraft to start cart wheeling going inverted and breaking up into pieces. Very little left of the aircraft only pieces. The Rota BOQ was named after CDR Daum. At the accident scene, two (2) drawings were made of the path and debris field by ECM-2 investigators and can be seen by clicking here.
CREWNAMES: SURVIVORS: (7) LCDR "Stu" Corey, Pilot. LTJG "Shep" Smith, Nav. LTJG Mcburnett, Eval. ADC Wendell "Wendy" Switzer, P/C. ATC George "Obie" O'Brien, ECM Op. ATC Bob Johnson, ECM Op. AT1 Dave Barlag, ECM Op.
On 03/14/1969, EA-3B was entering the Ram stein West Germany landing pattern, near the town of Landstuhl. The aircraft experienced an inboard slat malfunction, slat was not extending and the aircraft was uncontrollable at less than 1000 feet. With the aircraft apparently entering a stall in a nose up port turn, the pilot signaled for the crew to bail out. The back end crew parachuted out, before the front end crew bailed out the pilot regained control of the aircraft and landed at Ramstein AFB. Because of the low altitude in which the crew bailed out they only had one or two swings on their chutes before landing in a very heavy wooded area. Only AT1 Barlag landed on firm ground, while the other 3 were caught in tall fir trees. ATC O'Brien was removed from the trees by the local fire department while ATC Johnson managed to free himself, suffering minor injuries. Regrettably, LTJG Mcburnett was less fortunate, in trying to disentangle himself from the trees; his chute broke free, resulting in a fall of 50 to 70 feet sustaining severe back injuries. "Ironically, in WWII his father was injured a few kilometers from this site, he was hit by artillery fragments during the Battle of the Bulge" AT1 Barlag hitchhiked back to the base with his chute in hand with a German civilian in a Volkswagen "bug" he was surprised to see the EA-3B parked on the ramp when he arrived.
NO CREWMAN WERE INVOLVED
On 06/1968 EA-3B was deployed to DaNang Vietnam and was hit during a 140mm rocket attack while parked, heavy damage to the nose and cockpit area. Aircraft was towed to the pier thru downtown, traffic had to be stopped and the aircraft escorted with armed guards. Aircraft was shipped aboard an MSTS carrier for shipment to the USA for major repairs. On 12/14/1968 during heavy weather at sea the aircraft broke loose from the tie downs and was lost overboard into Tokyo Bay.
CREWNAMES: SURVIVORS: (7) LCDR Matt Moore, Pilot. LT "Shep" Smith, Nav. LT Don C.East, Eval. AMS2 Sam "Rosey" Rozier, P/C ADAN Gerber, a PC Trainee + Three crewman unknown.
On 01/1970, EA-3B was forced to divert to NAS Sigonella due to water spouts in front of the USS Roosevelt CV-42, upon arrival to Sigonella the aircraft encountered a 65+ crosswind landing with near-predictable results. Aircraft was basically blown off the runway on landing hitting the drainage ditch, collapsing the port MLG strut damaging the port engine cowling and port wing. Only minor crew injuries, Future VQ-2 Commanding Officer Don C. East injured his back in this accident. Using a large cherry picker mobile crane and dozens of base volunteers manning 4 huge ropes tied to each side of the tail and nose of the aircraft, the damaged EA-3B was lifted out of the ditch and transported across the field to the runway. Aircraft was put into the hangar and repaired in about 2 weeks. Note: This same aircraft was lost several weeks later when it returned to the USS Roosevelt due to a cold cat. The P/C was the same as this aircraft AMS2 Sam Rozier.
CREWNAMES: KILLED: (3) LCDR Roger Blaine Thrasher, Pilot. LT Thomas L. Walls, Nav. AO1 Floyd Russ Bond, Pax. Note: was on his first A-3 flight returning to Rota Spain to reenlist.
SURVIVED: (1) AMS2 Sam "Rosey" Rozier P/C. Note: Continued his naval career retiring as an E-9.
On 02/26/1970 EA-3B was launching from the deck of the USS Roosevelt CVA-42. The catapult system malfunctioned in mid-stroke, resulting in the Skywarrior "dribbling" off the bow. It was later discovered that the 3rd class that fired the cat got a faulty cat shot indication which he pushed the retract button in trying to stop the launch. This in turn sheared a shear pin, causing the aircraft to go off the cat at the speed which they had reached prior to the 3rd class hitting the retract button. The cat felt normal and strong. A faulty wire was determined to have caused the light to flash. Note: This crash resulted in all cat shot operators to raise their hands once the cat is shot.
Once the EA-3B departed, the pilot was pulling the yoke up as far as possible trying to gain altitude, he turned and asked AMS2 Rozier what was going on? And he yelled cold cat. The aircraft went about 300 yards in front of the bow of the ship and began to cart wheel and break up, the nose of the aircraft broke off. AMS2 Rozier went under the water in his seat, he thought still in the cockpit, after 2 minutes of going down he disconnected his seat harness and shot up fast to the surface. Once on the surface he saw the aircraft and 3 helmets floating, at that time the USS Roosevelt ran over him and the A-3. AMS2 Rozier was swept down the side of the carrier getting cut up from the big barnacles breaking both of his legs, nose and gashing his head deep. Upon approaching the fan tail he was worried about the props and thought it was all over but a wake swept him out. He was later picked up by the USS Adams and treated and flown to Naples for hospital care. "Its amazing he survived".
Lithograph of EA-3B BUNO 144851 R-2
CREWNAMES: SURVIVED: (7) LCDR. Jack "Jet" Taylor, Pilot. LT "Shep" Smith, Nav. AMS2 Al Sargent, P/C. + 4 other crewman names unknown.
On 03/09/70, EA-3B was launched from the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY CV-67. After raising the landing gear the gear doors indicated open. The air boss sent up an F-4 to check out the landing gear doors. The F-4 pilot informed the A-3 pilot that the aircraft had a lot of red fluid down the side and under the belly. LCDR. Taylor asked CAG to bingo to NAS Rota and CAG said ok. Once at Rota the gear was lowered and the port MLG would not come out, after numerous shakes rattle and rolls the stbd gear would not come out of the wheel well. As the fuel state became an issue the pilot discussed jettison the ALQ31 pods, it was decided not to do so. LCDR Taylor contacted the tower and told them that he was going to try one more move, he climbed up to 5k and dove down to 240 knots (Max for the gear doors) he then pulled the aircraft up and then pushed the nose over to get some zero G's and then pulled up again. "BINGO" the force was enough to lift the strut out and the linkage did the rest to lock the wheel down. After a smooth perfect "JET" Taylor landing it was discovered that the end cap of the MLG actuator had broken.
CREWNAMES: SURVIVED: (7) LT Dave Longeway (Pilot), LT. John Jones (Nav), LT Bill Lombardi (Eval), ADJ Ken Wallis (P/C), AMS2 Bob Delgiudice, (P/C), AQ3 Francis (EWOP) CTI1 Darrell Hawkins.
On 03/08/1974 EA-3B was inbound to the USS AMERICA CV-66 in the west med. Aircraft made the landing and caught the #1 wire 5 feet right of the centerline. After 50 inches of cable run travel, the purchase cable failed approx 1 inch into the stbd socket. Socket assy separated from the cap upon reaching the tail hook point. Aircraft continued up the angle at max power unable to regain altitude and settled down in the water. All crewmembers escaped and the EA-3B floated for 5 minutes. Following is the pictorial sequence of events.
CREWNAMES: KILLED: (8) LCDR Dwight I. Worrel, Pilot. LTJG. Douglas N. Davis, Nav. AMH2 Robert F. Carney, P/C. AE2 William P. Beuler PAX. AQ2 John G. Pauljohn, PAX. ADJ2 Robert S. Cherrington, PAX. ADJ3 Orval T. May, P/C. AE3 Carl F. Schwartz, PAX.
On 07/08/1974 TA-3B went to Naples Italy to drop off personnel for the aircraft carrier detachment. The A-3 broke and the squadron dispatched a P-3 with spare parts and maintenance personnel to repair the aircraft. The P-3 dropped off the maintenance personnel and returned to NAS Rota Spain. On 07/09/1974 the TA-3B was repaired and the maintenance personnel were allowed to fly back on the aircraft. Upon takeoff the aircraft rolled to the right and went inverted and crashed into a field past the end of the runway. TA-3B was destroyed nothing but small pieces left. No actual cause of the crash was ever determined, it was suspected split flaps or pilot suffered a heart attack or a loss of an engine? If the aircraft had taken off from the other run-way it would have crashed into buildings in the city of Naples Italy.
Circa 1970's at NAF Sigonella R-12 bingo'ed in from the USS John F. Kennedy after a hydraulic failure and caught the arresting wire, blowing the main tire on landing. R-15 arrived to replace it for the JFK detachment during taxi out for take off the main gear sank into the asphalt on the runway apron.
CREW NAMES, SURVIVED:LT. Allan "Al" Eudy , Pilot. NAV? C/C? Crew Chief (Plane Captain) was AT1 Charles Moore, AT2 Hernando Pizarro, EWOP. AT2 Dale Wells, EWOP + 2 Back Enders?
In the summer of 1973, EA-3B was launching from the ship in the eastern Med. Once launching off the deck the crew didn't know that there was a problem until they were called by the ship. Apparently on the rollout after the cat shot, the lower half of the nose strut including the tire kept on going landing in the ocean. The aircraft had an indication of all 3 gears to be "up and locked" which is why they didn't know that they had a problem. They were notified by the ship to lower the gear for another aircraft to fly in close and check the nose gear, they were told "you don't have one" that half of it was missing. The pilot told the ship that he was going back to Rota Spain rather than attempting a barricade aboard the ship. Since they were in the east Med. (about 3 ½ - 4 hours from Rota), when the word reached home plate that the aircraft was coming in to take the wire, practically the entire squadron mustered on the ramp to watch. The runway was foamed and the pilot made a beautiful landing, keeping the nose flared as long as possible, and caught the wire. There was very little damage to the aircraft and no injuries to the crew.
Web Editor Note, edits made to above! Following is an e-mail received from AT2 Hernando Pizarro, EWOP regarding the incident.
While researching an unrelated topic which dates to the summer of 2001, I Googled my name and came across memories of over three decades earlier. The search opened a web document which pays homage to casualties of accidents and incidents involving VQ-2 aircrafts (http://www.portlyautey.com/ECM-2.htm). As the webpage opened I thought, why did Google sent me here?, while at the same time it transported me back to the seventies and those great years stationed at VQ-2 (Avionics 1970-74 and Special Projects 1976-80), Rota. On my Google question; the web article included the names of the survivors, and my name was there.
The document is great. I enjoyed reading the entire article and particularly the incident which included my name. The narrative is very good. I remembered the aircraft that was sent to inspect us. It was an F-4 Phantom and he got so close to us that I still remember the pilot and crew face expressions and their arms pointing to the nose strut. During the long flight back to Rota, I remember discussing the options to bail out, or cream in.
Yea! Like your article says, it was a beautiful landing. I remember every second of it. I remember, exiting the aircraft through the top hatch, sliding down the port side to the gear door and jumping unto the foamed (Creamed) runway. We ran to a clear and safe spot where the Crash Crew could see us and then looking towards the hangar we noticed that everyone in the squadron was outside looking at the spectacle.
Oh, I wish I could remember the names of the entire crew, but it escapes me. However, Im pretty confident that the Pilot was Lt. Euddy instead of Lt. Bell and the Crew Chief (Plane Captain) was AT1 Charles Moore. You are right; Dale Wells and I were the EWOPs. Im sorry but I cant remember the names of the Nav, the Eval, or the Linguist. I thought that it happened in 1973 rather than 1971 but I could be wrong. I do remember the aircraft; it was Ranger 5 not 7.
Hernando (Nandy) Pizarro
CREW NAMES SURVIVED: UNKNOWN?
In 1979 EA-3B was enroute back to NAS Rota Spain after SDLM maintenance was performed at NAS Alameda CA. The aircraft stopped in Saint John's, Newfoundland in order to take on additional fuel prior to crossing the Atlantic. With no air start unit available the crew elected to use the emergency "Shot Gun" start method. Once the Shot Gun canister was ignited the canister exploded, heavily damaging the port engine and port fuselage. A field team was dispatched and repaired the aircraft.
CREW NAMES SURVIVED: LT. SCWENCK, Pilot. NAV?, C/C? + 4 Backenders?
In 1980 EA-3B was returning to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN-69 in the Indian Ocean at "Blue water operations" no bingo bases. Aircraft attempted to land but could not get the tail hook to extend, the alternate method of pulling on the tail hook release cable was tried with no joy. With little fule remaining and no possibility of trapping aboard, permission was given to land at Oman. Upon landing it was discovered that the rod connecting the tail hook selection and hydraulic pressure off was broken. A ships H-3 took VQ-2 maintenance to Oman, maintenance technicians were AMH1 Steve Case and AMS1 Bob Urian. The aircraft was repaired and returned to the ship that same day.
CREWNAMES SURVIVED: UNKNOWN?
On April 5, 1987, EA-3B bingo'ed to Sardinia, Italy from a mission off of the USS Nimitz. EA-3B experienced split flaps in flight and made an emergency landing in Sardinia. AMH1 John D. Herndon headed up a maintenance crew that was dispatched to repair the aircraft. It was discovered that the starboard flapuniversal drive arm mechanism had broken. Aircraft was repaired in 4 days and returned to Rota, Spain.
CREWNAMES: SURVIVED: (?) LT Bill Steen, Pilot. LT Carl Schwenker, Nav. other crewman names unknown?.
On November 9, 1987, EA-3B was flying "FCLP'S" bouncing at NAS Rota Spain, when the Stbd MLG brake exploded and departed the aircraft, causing severe damage to the MLG strut, lower canoe and stbd wheel well area. Aircraft had to be jacked up on the runway and a strut dolly put under the strut. The aircraft was towed to the hanger. A german field team was brought in and repaired the metal damage and the squadron maintenance personnel replaced the MLG strut.
Webpage Note! That is Chief John Herndon in the photograph who was instrumental in removing the aircraft from the runway.
12/1981 On the USS Forrestal the EA-3B was sitting next to elevator #1 with the wing hanging over elevator #1 (As shown in the picture). The ships crew loaded cargo and a fork lift on the elevator while it was down at the hangar bay level and raised the elevator. As the elevator was ascending to the top AT2 Mark Swisher and AMH3 John D. Herndon noticed that the fork lift wasn't going to clear the wing once it made it to the top, they both yelled and screamed to no avail. When the elevator reached the flight deck, the hyster impacted the port wing and slat pushing the slat up, the fork lift driver got nervous and thought he could clear the slat and backed the fork lift up damaging the slat as it moved back to the down position. Aircraft port wing and slat was damaged, aircraft was repaired in minimum time by AMH1 Steve Case and AMH3 John D. Herndon.
CREWNAMES: SURVIVED: (#?) LCDR Dean Butler, Pilot. LT Joe Grady, Nav. LT May, Eval Note: future CO of VQ-2. + numerous other crewmembers (need names)
In late1980's EP-3E was on a mission out of Mildenhal England when it was hit by lighting. The lighting blew all of the trailing edge static dischargers off, blew out the static strips on the nose radome, so bad that you could stick your hand through the honeycomb, and blew an exit hole out of the top of the horizontal stab. Crew made an emergency landing, no injuries.
CREW NAMES, SURVIVED: LCDR Walt Gromada, Pilot. Nav? C/C?
In 1985 EA-3B was enroute back to NAS Rota Spain after SDLM maintenance was performed at NAS Alameda CA. During the Atlantic crossing the aircraft made several approaches to Lajes Azores, the aircraft was not able to land, due to high winds and zero visibility, almost running out of fuel, the crew made an attempt to land at Santa Maria Azores with zero visibility, the aircraft landed blowing both main tires and damaging both brakes. An EP-3E was dispatched with AMH1 John D. Herndon to change both tires and brakes, allowing the aircraft to continue on to Rota 5 hours later.
CREWNAMES: KILLED: (7) LT Alan A. Levine, Pilot. LCDR. Ronald R. Callander, Nav. LT Stephen H. Batchelder, Eval. LT James D. Richards, Eval. AT2 Richard A. Herzing, ESM OP. Note: Took flight from AT2 Rob Crair in order to get his 100 traps in the EA-3B. CTI3 Craig R. Rudolf, Intel. CTI3 Patrick R. Price, Intel.
On 01/25/1987 EA-3B was attempting to land on the USS Nimitz CVN-68 at night during blue water operations off of Lebanon. Aircraft attempted to catch the arresting gear wire 5 times to no avail. During one of the bolters the EA-3B drop out of view below the flight deck almost impacting the water. After regaining altitude the aircraft was running low on fuel with less than 800lbs left, the aircraft then meet up with the A-7 tanker which would not work because the buddy store was spewing fuel every where (No Joy). Due to the low fuel state the EA-3B was unable to make it to a shore base and it was decided to launch the KA-6B tanker. It was then determined that the A-6 couldn't be launched due to it was blocked in on the bow by other aircraft from the last recovery. After a discussion between the aircraft, CAG and VQ-2 CO, It was ruled out for the crew to bail out or ditch into the cold Mediterranean water. The barricade was rigged, then it was discovered that a big wrench used to tighten up the barricade was missing, so the barricade was sagging 8 foot. The EA-3B made a really nice approach to the carrier descending toward the barricade at a high angle, once near the barricade the LSO told the pilot to "Cut, Cut" meaning kill the engines, the pilot failed to do so flying into the barricade really high hitting the nose landing gear on the sagging barricade ripping it back and slamming the A-3 into the deck then skidding down the flight deck and off the angle into the sea. The rescue Helo hovered above the A-3 not noting any movement inside; the helo SAR swimmers did not enter the A-3. After 13 minutes of floating the EA-3B sank with its 7 men crew to the bottom of the sea.
CREWNAMES: SURVIVED: (7) LT Tim Dennis, Pilot. LT Downey Ward, Nav. Lt. Dave Crandall, Eval. AT2 Michael Lampe, ESM OP. CTI2 Ramos, Intel. + 3 more crewmembers names unknown.
On 09/12/1987 EA-3B was inbound to the USS SARATOGA CV-60 in the med. Aircraft made the landing and caught the wire and did a whale bounce and at this point the nose landing gear collapsed and folded up causing the aircraft to skid down the flight deck on its nose and belly, catching the nose strut area and stbd engine on fire. Aircrew escaped with no injuries. Crash caused major structural damage to the nose wheel well area and nose radome. The aircraft carrier made an unscheduled stop into Augusta Bay Sicily in order to crane the EA-3B off the ship. The EA-3B was placed on a barge and shipped to Brindisi Italy for major repairs. After 1 year of repairs the aircraft flew again, with the nose still slightly bent, the nose radome was hard to shut.
Note #1: This was the last ship detachment that VQ-2's EA-3B'S did, after the USS SARATOGA detachment the EA-3B was restricted to shore, land base operations only.
Note #2: Future CNO of the Navy RADM Boorda was onboard the carrier as Cruiser-Destroyer Group Eight.
CREWNAMES SURVIVED: (31) LTJG Briggs, Pilot (AC). LT Dzieciolowski "D+12", Pilot. LTJG O'Neill, Pilot. AD1 Grzybowski, F/E. + 27 other crewmembers.
On March 14, 1989 on a routine mission in the Eastern Mediterranean, during climb to 26,000 the co-pilot noticed the elevator control feeling stiff and not responding, Aircraft Commander then took the controls and noticed that the elevator controls felt stiff and soon became immovable. Aircraft Commander instructed F/E to pull the elevator boost shutoff handle, elevator control was then restored. At this time the mission was aborted and the aircraft headed back to the base, less than 2 minutes later the elevator began to bind in the boost out position, the pilot's decided to push back in the boost handle and the aircraft responded good for 3 or 4 minutes until the elevator controls stiffened again. A few minutes later the elevator bound completely and the crew elected to go boost out again, as the handle was pulled out the aircraft nose abruptly pitched up and would not respond, requiring the combined efforts of two pilots on the yoke to force the nose back to level flight and out of a mild stall buffet. At this time the Aircraft Commander declared an emergency and commenced a descent to a divert field, the flight crew donned their parachutes incase the aircraft lost control again. During the descent at 10,000 feet the elevator controls began to bind again. So the boost handle was pushed back in, freeing up the controls again. On approach to Cypress with approach flaps and the gear lowered the aircraft was responding well until 400 feet when the controls again began to bind and the nose began to pitch up, the Aircraft Commander immediately regained control by forcing the nose down to the runway. This event required all 3 of the pilots to periodically rotate in out of the pilots seats physically fighting the aircraft controls. Post flight trouble shooting of the elevator system discovered a partial failure of the hydraulic manual shut-off valve in the elevator boost package, causing the elevator channel of the aircraft's flight controls to gustlock. Additionally half of the 125 cable pulleys were broke by the pilots fighting the binding controls, it was discovered that the pulleys were not the correct type.
CREWNAMES: SURVIVED: (24)
On 09/23/1997 EP-3E was inbound to the NSA Souda Bay Crete @ 0230 AM Aircraft touched down at aprox the 7000 foot marker of the runway heading fast down the runway, the props could be heard reversing, the aircraft swerved severely to the right and left then several times, a couple of booms were heard when the main tires blew, the aircraft ran off the left side of the runway at 80 knots went into a power slide and impacted an old concrete machine-gun bunker shearing off the nose gear and port main mount slamming the aircraft into a pile of boulders ripping apart the #1, #2 and #3 engines with the props separating from the aircraft and impacting the fuselage. The #1 engine caught on fire and could be seen from far away in the pitch black dark night of Crete. The nose area sustained major damage as well as the port wing being ripped open and pouring fuel on the perimeter road. The aircraft had to be defueled and the destroyed pieces of engines removed. The aircraft was then placed on airbags allowing an 18 wheeler trailer to be backed up under the aircraft's main fuselage with another flat bed truck supporting the port wing. The Greeks assisted by laying down a combat metal runway in order to drive the aircraft out of the dirt and rocks and back on to the runway. Once on the runway the aircraft was taken back to the base flight line and jacked up and was supported with pallets. Several months later it was decided to strike the aircraft and remove all of the good parts cut off the wings and remove the tail and fly the tube back to Waco Texas onboard a C-5 aircraft.
CREWNAMES SURVIVED: (24) LT Brett Brunkenhaufer, Pilot (AC). LT Martinez, Pilot, F/E's AE1 Dan Varela, AD1 Mike Rockey + 19 other crewman.
On September 23, 1998, EP-3E was returning from a mission in the Mediterranean Sea when the aircraft experienced a #1 engine oil tank leak a #3 engine fire due to the Turbine exploding and the rudder binding in flight. The crew took the necessary emergency actions and made an emergency landing into Granada Spain's civilian airport. A maintenance crew was sent, headed up by AMHC (AW) John D. Herndon to change the #3 engine, #1 oil tank and to repair the binding rudder. The aircraft was repaired and returned to Rota Spain in 5 days.
CREWNAMES SURVIVED: (24) LT Nicholas Brandt , Pilot (AC). LT David Lundahl, Pilot. AE1 Michael Robinson F/E. + 21 other crewmembers.
On March 25, 2002 after a short 6 hour mission the EP-3E was returning to NSA Souda Bay Crete. On approach the crew heard a loud bang then the aircraft experienced massive airframe vibration which was getting worse as they approached landing. The AC noticed the #3 propeller was spinning oddly, wobbling like an off-balance washing machine. The AC directed the FE to shut down the #3 engine and the vibration stopped on shut down. The aircraft landed with 3 engines safely and the maintenance crew determined that one prop did not feather, that it had broken the gears on that blade inside of the valve housing.
Other Personnel Killed While Assigned to the Squadron
LT Fred Fry (SC) Squadron's supply officer was flown to Germany on the EA-3B after showing signs of rabies, when a dog that he adopted bit him. He died in the hospital. 1964
AE2 Robert Ruby, after working mid check, was driving home to San Lucar Spain when he was killed after falling asleep at the wheel on perimeter road near the Jerez road. His car hit a cement truck, cutting his car in half.
PR2 Kathy Bernard, was killed in a sky diving accident in Sevilla Spain on February 9, 1980, her chute failed to open.
AMHAN Terrance J. Harrison was killed after he tried to repair a lower door pressurization seal on EA-3B BUNO 146454 Ranger 16, during the pressurization operation, the lower door blew open impacting his head and knocking him into the nose strut. 08/17/1980
Web-editor Note! The following e-mail was received from Rick Gilmore, via John Herndon:
I was attached to VQ-2 from 78-81(special projects) and would like to say just for the record that Terrance "Terry" Harrison was a fine young man, He was a good friend of many and had a sense of humor the likes of which are seldom enjoyed. He was the first friend I ever lost and his passing went through the squadron like a shock wave. I have always wanted to contact his family and tell them how much we all missed him. His body was accompanied to his home by a well meaning but less than familiar wave.
I would like to locate his family and however belated, tell them his absence in the lives of his friends will last forever as I am sure it will in there own.
I am still in contact with some of the guys from those days and we speak of him often.
Rick Gilmore, e-mail: email@example.com
ATAN Joel Russo, was killed in a motorcycle accident in front of the Rota Spain hobby shop, his body impacted the wire supporting a telephone pole. March/April 1985
AT3 Dustin Phillips, was killed after slipping in his bathtub in Rota Spain. 12/1991
AT3 Neal Lonzerno, was killed in a car accident. 1985
AT1 Tom Pelton, was killed by smoke inhalation, after falling asleep on his sofa while he was smoking. 1986
AT3 Ken Friedley, was killed by gas inhalation while utilizing a butano heater in his bathroom whil
e taking a shower. 02/1987
AWC George Waller, died of sudden cancer. 1998
AME2 Michael J. Garcia was killed after he fell off the 3rd story stair rail at VQ-2's new barracks, he was drinking, went outside to smoke and was sitting on the hand rail. 1998
AD3 Jonathan Alonzo, was killed in a head on car crash on perimeter road. 11/2001
And as a follow-up to John's account of the VQ-2 crashes and casualties, the following e-mails have been received.
Sgt Wm (bill) Highland Tuslog
Det 4-2, 05k Incirlik AFB Adana Turkey.
Guess you have gone on your business trip by now. Good luck. Just read John Herndons story on VQ-2 crashes. He did a pretty darn good job I'd say.
I don't know why but thought maybe you would be interested in this story. He mentions VP26s 4Y that got shot down in the Baltic early in 1950. I was in VR24 at the time and flew all the widows from that crew back to the states a short time after they got shot down. We were living at Mehdia Beach at the time and Joe and Ruth Danen were our next door neighbors. Joe was Plane Captain on that 4Y. When all the other widows were flown back to the states Joes' wife Ruth stayed in Port Lyautey. She was working on the Base but at this time I don't remember where. She kept believing Joe would come back. Finally in 1953 or 4 she finally remarried. He was an ALC in VR24 named Miney. Shortly after they were married Miney got transferred to VR1 at Pax River. Ruth didn't go with him but stayed in Port Lyautey. He hadn't been in VR1 too long when in 1955 I think it was, that he was the Radioman on a trip to Port Lyautey when the Super Connie went down someplace between Bermuda and Lajes with all hands lost and no trace ever found. I was in VW2 Det A at the time and we were one of the planes flying the search for them. Ruth still remained in Port Lyautey. At some time along about then Ruth was working in the Station Admin office. When I Retired and left Port Lyautey in Aug. 1962 Ruth was still working in Admin. She had stayed there all those years and swore she would never marry another Airdale. When we left we lost contact with her so I can't put an ending to this story. We often wondered if she went to Rota when they finally closed the Port. I do know that in 1992 there was only one American left in Lyautey. His name was "Ski" (don't ask me the rest of it) and he worked in Supply and was married to an Arab girl. He finally died here a couple of years ago.
As I say Lou, I don't know if you have any interest in this or not but thought I would write it anyway.
Hope you have a good trip and take care. Pete
Just wanted to say what a great web site you have.
I flew with VQ-2 from 1984 thru 2000 and what memories (the good and the bad).
Unfortunately I knew the crew of Ranger 12 that crashed off the Nimitz. A sad day for all VQ & NSGA personnel. I was out on Nimitz two days later as part of the replacement crew and I'm not ashamed to say I was shakin in my boots on that first cat shot. Thank God they sent out the best pilot they had.
I also flew in the "Missing Man Formation" over Rota during a dedication of a plaque in remembrance of R-12. A very somber day, one I'll never forget.
All in all, the flying and the camaraderie were fantastic and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I remember seeing smoke spiraling up at the end of the runway and a helicopter hovering over the crash site. We ASA guys went out to the field (I thought it was a wheat field) and collected all of our wrecked equipment. It had been pulverized. It was a sad day indeed because the Navy really embraced us ASA types and considered us part of the VQ-2 family.
You did yeoman's work and putting together this site. I had no idea VQ-2 had lost so many planes.
PS: I thought the Ramstein bailout occurred shortly after I left in September 1968. I could be wrong.
The Navy never gave us Army types any survival training. All they told us was to "pull, pull, go, pull" if we had to jump. LOL. That meant pull your parachute release from the seat, pull the valve to open your emergency oxygen, go and jump out bottom of plane, and pull your D-ring to open the parachute if under 10,000 feet. Above 10,000 there was supposed to be a barometic release. One time we inspected the parachutes in the plane and several of them were inoperable.
Got your E-mail. Rozier (Rosy) was a part of my crew and Baine Thrasher (another Alabama boy) was the pilot
and Tom Walls was the navigator. Rosy was the plane capt. Some years later after Rosy retired (near the
old Glencoe NAS at Brunswick, Ga. in a small town named Townsend, Ga, I went by and visited him. I
guess he is still there. Sounds like you have added some data to your accidents package. I tried to pull
it up but it wouldn't show - Do you have it on a web page? You have done a great job and a great service
to our fallen shipmates by putting this study together and of course we remember them all today on Veterans
day. I had to put on the old uniform three times this past week for various local Veterans day events and I
noted that it had shrunk some! Thanks again for doing a great job on the accidents study and send me the web
site it is all on when you have time.
Adios, Don (Carlos) East
Hi John, your website brings back some excellent memories.
I was an AT in VQ1 Special Projects from 1963-1966. I was an EA3B EW Op in Crew 4 (Pilot - LCDR H.P. Hosey) temporarily stationed at Cubi Point during the time that those guys were lost to that storm. It was one helluva storm; we heard that a destroyer was battling impossible 30 and 40-foot seas while looking for survivors.
The incident in question occurred after dark the night of Saturday, 28 May 1966, because my crew took off from Cubi Point on a scheduled mission (Gulf of Tonkin, DaNang, and back to Cubi) just minutes after the other plane had returned to Cubi minus it's four crewmen. We flew through the same storm, bounced around somewhat on climb-out, and went about our business.
After that, my personal flight-hours log shows that on Friday, 3 June '66, my crew went out on a Search and Rescue (SAR) flight looking for survivors. We went on that flight as soon as the typhoon abated.
That SAR flight was a bit tense for us, specifically because we were flying in the same EA3B that those four guys had bailed out of! (What would YOU think, if you'd bailed out of a dead airplane and spent 3 days floating in the ocean, and then that same plane showed up looking for you?) I have approx. 15 minutes of Super 8 movie film that I took during that SAR flight, as we skimmed over the water looking for any sign of life. There were a couple of reefs that had some shipwrecks on them approx. 100 miles west of Cubi, and we checked them out.
My recall of what we directly heard about the fateful flight, is that during climb-out through the turbulence of the storm, the A3 suddenly had a rare, double flame-out of both engines at approximately 15,000-18,000 feet. (Thus it naturally "lost all of its instruments.") When it started dropping like a rock, the pilot activated the Ram Air Turbine to get power to the instruments, and initiated emergency engine re-start procedures but that didn't work, so he blew the lower-hatch door and ordered the crew to bail out, which the guys in the back then did. The plane had descended to approx. 8,000 feet, bouncing all over the sky, when suddenly the pilot was able to re-light the fires, at which time he grabbed the Plane Captain (who was just starting to jump down the lower hatch) by the seat of the pants just in time to keep him from going out. Both engines started back up and the pilot returned to Cubi. The crew remarked that it was very eerie, heading back to Cubi with the back seats empty and the lower hatch door locked open and roaring in the wind. They landed without further incident, except for the tremendous feeling of loss of their crewmates.
I think there were two versions of why the PC didn't bail out in a timely manner. We (enlisted crewmen) heard nothing about the PC freezing up and refusing to jump, but I think we would definitely have heard of that, if it had been the saving grace for those three lives and also the A3. If that DID happen, then he deserves a commendation for having the good sense ("sixth sense") to freeze up and not jump out into a raging typhoon.
In a recent (November 2002) phone conversation with LCDR Hosey, he commented that he also remembered hearing that the Plane Captain had supposedly frozen up and refused to jump, but that was the officer's scuttlebutt. I still recall the enlisted-crewmen scuttlebutt circulating around to the effect of the Plane Captain telling us "The pilot grabbed my parachute harness and yarded me back into my seat just before I jumped, because he'd just regained control of the plane." Maybe both scuttlebutt's are half-correct, who knows?
I don't recall that that plane had to "take the arresting gear wire" when it landed back at Cubi. Catching the wire on land is so unusual, it's my thought that we would definitely have heard about it. The crash trucks were definitely on-call, but it's my understanding that the plane landed normally, popped the drogue chute, and taxied around to the VQ1 ramp. I remember talking to one of the ground crew, and he said how strange it was to see that A3 -- that had left barely a half-hour earlier -- taxiing back to the ramp with the lower door locked open and the Ram Air Turbine hanging out, and when he looked inside there were four crewmen missing. Our crew showed up at the ramp for our previously-scheduled flight (approximately one hour after this ill-fated one had taken off) and we saw the plane sitting there, and heard what had happened. Then we went off on our own mission.
I can certainly appreciate Bob Feiklowicz' heated interaction with ATC Sam Dunaway at Atsugi. Sam started his Navy career with 18 years as a Bosun's Mate, and then changed his ratings over from BMC to ten years as an AT Chief by that time. He certainly knew how to be a crusty old salt, but I got along with him OK mainly because I worked under Chief Lapsansky and Lt. Hank Perry in Special Projects and not directly under Chief Dunaway, who supervised the AT's in Avionics. (Lt Jangenaut was Sam's boss in 1964.) Sam had a warm side at times; I have some good photos of an EC-121 charity toys-and-clothing mission that Commander Klein (Squadron Commander) flew from Atsugi to an orphanage at Kuma Station on Hokkaido in 1964, taking a bunch of us along for the ride. Sam Dunaway was responsible for masterminding that operation, from collecting the charity items to arranging for the Super Connie transportation.
Chief Dunaway is also the one who put the cute teddy bear on Commander Klein's lap when he was catching a power-nap in the back of the plane..... I have a photo of that touching scene.
I also have slides, Super 8 movies, and photos of Japan, Atsugi, Cubi Point, Olongapo, DaNang, and the carriers Enterprise, Kitty Hawk (my favorite), Constellation, Ranger, Coral Sea, and Bon Homme Richard. I even have a couple photos of southern Hainan Island in 1966; just 70 miles off our flight path, it was plainly visible during our many flights between Cubi Point and Viet Nam.
I have one photo, taken from a back side-window of an EA3B, that shows the sun shining on the BOTTOM of a J57 engine, with the Pacific Ocean above the horizon and the blue sky below. Hey, any good A3 pilot could do two or three barrel rolls and then pick up his coffee cup and take another sip, no big deal. So what if the gyro's went crazy for awhile? It was all in good fun. And then there was the time when we were curious as to just how high an EA-3B would fly, and we reached 42,000 feet before the pilot started mumbling something about the controls getting a bit touchy.
Then there was the time when we were intercepted by two E2 Hawkeyes at 350 knots, and 32,000 feet. Those little hummers really hauled ass.
Or, imagine having the boring duty of being the tail-gunner in a Badger, flying along high over the Sea of Japan on a dark night, when suddenly some quiet stranger turns on a flashlight less than 50 feet away, trying to read your side-number. Har-de-har, we bet he crapped his poopie suit. That same fellow was a lot more friendly to us a couple of days earlier, when we flashed that Playmate of the Month at him from our cockpit. I'll bet those photos that he took became highly classified.
Then there was the friendly MiG 17 pilot off Vladivostok who saw an EA-3B radio operator about to take his picture with a 35-mm camera. He held up his hand signaling "no, wait a minute", pulled off his leather flight-hat, slicked his hair back, put on his best Colgate smile, and then waved OK to the camera. That fella was somewhat more friendly than the locked-on MiG 19 who sent us diving back to the protection of the Kitty Hawk off North VietNam, meanwhile losing a bit of our plastic tail-section. Speculation was that our A3 had pushed the sound barrier a bit. I was the Seat 3 operator who located the MiG, and I recall yelling at Evaluator Ed Rish to give Mr. Hosey the direction, heading and probable distance of the offending party, whereupon we then hauled-ass out of there. He was definitely coming after US, and nobody else.
Seat 3 operation was 96% boredom, 2% curious intuition, and 2% super-high-anxiety. History has repeatedly proven why.
One night we landed on the Kitty Hawk and an F4 Phantom landed just after us. As soon as they parked the Phantom, both aviators came running up to our EA-3B and enthusiastically shook the hands of all 7 of us, repeatedly thanking us. It seems that we'd recently broadcast advice to "evade" in a certain combat area, whereupon the Phantom pilot had abruptly shoved the stick forward into a dive, and 4-5 seconds later what looked like 'a couple of telephone poles' exploded directly where they would have been, if not for our warning. They wanted to buy us a beer, in the worst way.
Japan was good duty in the 1960's. I once took 19 days leave and traveled by myself from Tokyo, clear down around the southern island and back again. My train ticket was already paid for, but the total cost of all other expenses for the entire 19 days came to less than $40. mainly because that's all I had! I ate a lot of rice, stayed at youth hostels, and learned a good deal of street-Japanese. The most sobering day was visiting Hiroshima, where the "A-bomb Dome" memorial is a stark reminder of the tragic slaughter that changed all of our lives in just those few short seconds.
I got out of the Navy in December 1966, and have been living in Alaska ever since.
--But that's another story or two.
High Regards to y'all,
Permission to land given. On final approach. we had to waveoff, A CAMEL WAS COMING DOWN THE RUNWAY. Sailor with too much beer decided to ride a camel.
A.D. MUSCO ATC USN RET. BURKE, VA.
"Vigilance is the price of freedom".
My name is Bruce Billings, I flew with LCDR Monard L. Lilleboe, Pilot. LTJG James H. Stilz, Nav. LTJG Victor C. Vogel, Eval. AT1 Lawrence Gallagher, ECM Op. ADJ2 Keith A. Kleis, P/C on the Det Alpha ( the nam run) we had good times they were good people I was discharged on 9 Sept 66, Close call I believe. Kleis was on extension at the time ... Was I lucky, or were they lucky .....whose to know ?? this is a great sight thanks for putting it together.At the time of Nam det alpha my evaluator was LTJG Robbidoux any word on him...?
Can you add this to the Personnel accident section of the ECM-2 accident page under personel:
AZ3 David Allen Cordero On March 2nd 1989 I was riding my bicycle to VQ-2 on Calle San Fernando. About a 1/4 mile from the gate I was struck by a semi truck. I suffered a compound fracture to right knee, 2 cracked vertebra and was in and out of consciousness. Was MedEvac'd to Old Base Hospital Rota. After putting my leg back together and numerous skin grafts I returned to VQ-2. JAG's investigation said that I was Injured In The Line Of Duty. The injuries eventually progressed to a point that The Navy Medically Retired Me. I served with VQ-2 from 1988 to 1990
John D. Herndon
Lou, First of all your site again has helped people!
I was sent an email from a Mrs Loper whose nephew was onboard the A-3 and bailed out and was not recovered. She saw our Accident page info and wrote to me for help in acquring info about the crash in order to try to get her nephew on the Vietnam Memorial. I was able to connect her with Captain Hank Schultz who had knowledge of the event and connections with people involved. I'm pleased to say that they have almost finished their tasks of getting the lost crew names on the memorial. (See Email Below). Lou thanks to your site, people are able to connect with the appropiate people to make honoring these vets possible.
Please update and change the spelling of the Navigator its currently listed as as LT Lindsey it should be LT Walter Al Linzy, he name is also listed in the text. Slide #
P.S. The Stocker family wrote me before and told me that the Navy never told them how their loved one had died, so this was news to them and they appreciated the info.
All, I got it wrong Hunt was Mrs Lopers Uncle: Heres her email to me.
EA-3B BUNO 142257 R-3?
From: Stephanie Loper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Sun 2/13/11 7:50 AM
You seem to be the expert researcher regarding the history of VQ-2 and I am asking for your help. My uncle, Richard C. Hunt, ATR3, USN, bailed out of a naval aircraft on May 26, 1966, his body was never recovered. During my research, I have been told that this flight was a combat mission and headed to Yankee Station, then on to a carrier or to DaNang. Do you have any documentation on this?
I believe if I can prove where they were headed (into the combat zone); then my uncle will qualify to have his name placed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall and will also be in the database of the Dept. of Defense, POW/MIA; which then would qualify his name to be placed on our local memorial wall in Crawford County, PA.
I feel this was just an oversight on the Dept. of Defense at the time the names were submitted for construction of the Wall, probably due to the sensitive nature.
From: Henry Schultz [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 8:44 PM
Subject: Crew of 142257
John Herndon asked me to contact Stephanie Loper, the neice of ATR-3 Richard Hunt, one of the backend crew of 142257 who were lost on May 26, 1966. With the efforts she has made to gather data, and with some assistance in the approaches to use, we have provided OP135, the MIA POW people, with records, including excerpts from the Log Book of Colin Pemberton, the Nav from the flight. We have also successfully gotten VQ-2 engaged. I believe that by the reunion, we will be able to announce that, since we have provided clear evidence that the mission on which they were lost was a 4V2, flight, a classification for a combat mission, qualifying the four for the wall, as combat casualties.
As part of the process, we have learned that the Eval was incorrectly listed, even on some official reports. He was LT Walter A. (Al) Linzy, not Lindsey, as reported in memorials, and even on the VQ-2 listing of Rangers still on watch located at the Squadron spaces at Whidbey. We have found his son, Walter A. Linzy, who currently flies a KC-135, tracking oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico. He is a retired Army CWO, having been an Army pilot.
OP-135 is trying to speed things along, potentially allowing an announcement at the reunion.
Just wanted to get you up to speed.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: RARE PORT LYUATEY DRAWING AND PIC
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011 02:13:07 +0000
This is from Jim Manning US Navy 1956-1960 ECMRON-2, a drawaing of the A3D-1Q side # 1 and a pic of the A3D Side #3 Buno 135425 only 2nd pic of this bird known.
Note to Jim, this is Lou Demas who has a great Port Lyuatey web site which includes ECMRON 2 here is the link. http://www.portlyautey.com/
John D. Herndon
Lou can you add this one to personnel lost:
On or around 7Jul79 Bill Heisey died while in custody of La Guardia Civil Thats the spanish civil guard. Fell from a Balcony during a raid on the party.
John D. Herndon