VFP-63

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Light Photographic Squadron 63
VFP-63 Squadron Patch.jpg
VFP-63 squadron patch
Active20 January 1949-30 June 1982
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Navy
RolePhoto-reconnaissance
Part ofInactive
Nickname(s)Eyes of the Fleet
EngagementsKorean War
Vietnam War

VFP-63 was a Light Photographic Squadron of the U.S. Navy. Originally established as Composite Squadron Sixty-One (VC-61) on 20 January 1949, it was redesignated as Fighter Photographic Squadron (VFP-61) on 2 July 1956. Redesignated as Composite Photographic Squadron Sixty-Three (VCP-63) on 1 July 1959 and finally redesignated as Light Photographic Squadron Sixty-Three (VFP-63) on 1 July 1961. The squadron provided a detachment of reconnaissance planes for each of the Carrier Air Wings of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The squadron was disestablished on 30 June 1982.[1]

Operational history[edit]

VC-61 F9F-6P Cougar over NAS Miramar in 1954
F9F Cougars of VA-192 and VFP-61 over Formosa (Taiwan) c.1957
VFP-63 RF-8G Crusader over Vietnam in 1966
VFP-63 RF-8G at NAS Midway in 1974

Korean War[edit]

VC-61 detachments of F4U-4/5P Corsairs served until mid-1951 when they were replaced by the F9F-2P Cougar.[2]

Vietnam[edit]

VFP-63 was the only Navy combat unit with elements continuously deployed throughout the Vietnam War.[1]:492 Detachments of RF-8A/G Crusaders served the following deployments:[3]

  • 17 October 1963 – 20 July 1964 Detachment C USS Kitty Hawk. On 6 June 1964 RF-8A [BuNo 146823] was shot down by anti-aircraft (AAA) fire near the Plain of Jars, Laos, becoming the first Crusader lost in combat.[3]:91 The pilot Lt. C. F. Klusmann was captured but escaped and returned to US forces on 31 August.[4]
  • 28 January-21 November 1964 Detachment E USS Bon Homme Richard
  • 14 April-15 December 1964 Detachment B USS Ticonderoga
  • 5 August 1964 – 6 May 1965 Detachment M USS Ranger
  • 21 October 1964 – 29 May 1965 Detachment L USS Hancock
  • 7 December 1964 – 1 November 1965 Detachment C USS Coral Sea. On 13 August RF-8A [BuNo 146849] was hit by AAA over North Vietnam, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[5] On 8 September RF-8A [BuNo 146826] crashed into the sea 5 miles east of Quảng Khê, the pilot LTJG Charles Goodwin was listed as presumptive finding of death.[5][6] until 3 June 2017 when he was accounted for[7] On 8 October RF-8A #145617 was lost due to mechanical failure, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[5]
  • 6 March-23 November 1965 Detachment A USS Midway. On 8 May RF-8A [BuNo 145628] was hit by AAA fire over North Vietnam, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[5] On 1 June RF-8A [BuNo 146881] was hit by AAA fire over North Vietnam, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[5]
  • 5 April-16 December 1965 Detachment G USS Oriskany. On 29 August RF-8A [BuNo 146828] was hit by AAA fire near Vinh, the pilot LT Henry McWhorter was listed as missing in action until his remains were returned in April 1986.[4][5] On 8 September RF-8A [BuNo 146825] was lost to AAA fire, the pilot LTJG Robert Rudolph was listed as missing in action until his remains were returned in December 1988.[4][5]
  • 21 April 1965 – 13 January 1966 Detachment E USS Bon Homme Richard. On 1 June 1965 RF-8A [BuNo 146852] was shot down over Thanh Hóa Province, the pilot LTCDR Frederick Crosby was listed as killed in action, body not recovered[6][8] until May 2017 when his remains were identified[9]
  • 28 September 1965 – 13 May 1966 Detachment B USS Ticonderoga. On 19 April RF-8A [BuNo 146843] was lost to AAA, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[5]
  • 10 November 1965 – 1 August 1966 Detachment L USS Hancock. On 9 April RF-8A [BuNo 144611] was hit by AAA fire, the pilot LTJG Thomas Walster ejected but drowned before SAR forces arrived.[5][10] On 5 May RF-8A [BuNo 146831] was shot down by AAA, the pilot Lt John Heilig ejected and was captured, he was released on 12 February 1973.[4][5] On 21 June RF-8A [BuNo 146830] was shot down by AAA, the pilot Lt Corbett Eastman ejected and was captured, he was released on 12 February 1973.[4][5]
  • 26 May-16 November 1966 Detachment G USS Oriskany. On 31 August 1966 an RF-8A was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into Haiphong Harbour, the pilot LCDR Tom Tucker was rescued by a helicopter from USS Kearsarge.[1]:458[5]
  • 29 July 1966 – 23 February 1967 Detachment A USS Coral Sea. On 8 October RF-8A [BuNo 146899] was lost to AAA, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[5]
  • 15 October 1966 – 29 May 1967 Detachment E USS Ticonderoga
  • 5 January-22 July 1967 Detachment B USS Hancock
  • 26 January-25 August 1967 Detachment L USS Bon Homme Richard. On 5 June RF-8A [BuNo 145614] was shot down by AAA and the pilot Commander Collin Haines was captured and held prisoner until 4 March 1973.[1]:459[4]
  • 11 May-30 December 1967 Detachment 11 USS Intrepid
  • 16 July 1967 – 31 January 1968 Detachment 34 USS Oriskany
  • 26 July 1967 – 6 April 1968 Detachment 43 USS Coral Sea. On 21 September RF-8G [BuNo 144623] was lost to AAA fire, the pilot LTCDR Milton Vescelius was listed as missing in action until his remains were returned in August 1985.[4][11]
  • 27 December 1967 – 17 August 1968 Detachment 14 USS Ticonderoga. On 28 March 1968 RF-8G [BuNo 144616] was shot down by anti-aircraft fire over Laos, the pilot LTCMDR M W Wallace was listed as missing in action until his remains were identified in December 1988.[3]:92[4][11]
  • 27 January-10 October 1968 Detachment 31 USS Bon Homme Richard. On 22 May RF-8G [BuNo 146830] was shot down by AAA, the pilot LTJG Edwin Miller ejected and was captured, he was released on 14 March 1973.[4][11]
  • 4 June 1968 – 8 February 1969 Detachment 11 USS Intrepid. On 21 July RF-8G [BuNo 145642] was lost due to mechanical failure, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[11]
  • 18 July 1968 – 3 March 1969 Detachment 19 USS Hancock. On 3 October RF-8G [BuNo 144620] crashed into the sea, the pilot LT James Merrick was killed.[12]
  • 7 September 1968 – 18 April 1969 Detachment 43 USS Coral Sea
  • 1 February-18 September 1969 Detachment 14 USS Ticonderoga
  • 18 March-29 October 1969 Detachment 31 USS Bon Homme Richard
  • 16 April-17 November 1969 Detachment 34 USS Oriskany. On 24 May RF-8G [BuNo 146884] was lost in a non-combat incident, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[13]
  • 2 August 1969 – 15 April 1970 Detachment 19 USS Hancock. On 16 December 1969 RF-8G [BuNo 145611] was hit by antiaircraft fire and crashed at sea, the pilot LT Victor Buckley was listed as killed in action, body not recovered.[6][14]
  • 23 September 1969 – 1 July 1970 Detachment 43 USS Coral Sea
  • 5 March-17 December 1970 Detachment 38 USS Shangri-La
  • 2 April-12 November 1970 Detachment 31 USS Bon Homme Richard
  • 14 May-10 December 1970 Detachment 34 USS Oriskany. On 14 November the landing gear on RF-8G [BuNo 145624] collapsed during launch, the pilot LT Joseph R. Klugg ejected but drowned before SAR forces could arrive.[6][15]
  • 22 October 1970 – 2 June 1971 Detachment 1 USS Hancock
  • 16 April-6 November 1971 Detachment 3 USS Midway
  • 14 May-18 December 1971 Detachment 4 USS Oriskany
  • 12 November 1971 – 17 July 1972 Detachment 5 USS Coral Sea
  • 7 January-3 October 1972 Detachment 1 USS Hancock. On 5 September RF-8G [BuNo 150299] collided with F-8J #150299 of VF-24, both pilots ejected and were rescued.[13]
  • 10 April 1972 – 3 March 1973 Detachment 3 USS Midway. On 16 June RF-8G [BuNo 145613] was hit by AAA near the Thanh Hóa Bridge, the pilot ejected and was rescued.[13] On 22 July RF-8G was hit by AAA, the pilot LTCDR Gordon Paige ejected and was captured, he was released on 29 March 1973.[4][13]
  • 5 June 1972 – 30 March 1973 Detachment 4 USS Oriskany. On 13 December 1972 RF-8G [BuNo 144608] was destroyed in a non-combat incident.[13]
  • 9 March-8 November 1973 Detachment 5 USS Coral Sea
  • 8 May 1973 – 8 January 1974 Detachment 1 USS Hancock

1970's to Disestablishment[edit]

In August 1972 with the Crusader being replaced as a frontline Navy fighter, F-8 training squadron VF-124 transferred its remaining aircraft and the training mission to VFP-63.

On 28 May 1982 the squadron's last two RF-8s were flown to Davis–Monthan Air Force Base for storage.[1]:495

Home port assignments[edit]

NAS Miramar

Aircraft Assignment[edit]

Notable former members[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Campbell, Douglas (2014). Flight, Camera, Action! The History of U.S. Naval Aviation Photography and Photo-Reconnaissance. Syneca Research Group, Inc. p. 511. ISBN 9781304471734.
  2. ^ Thompson, Warren (2012). F4U Corsair Units of the Korean War. Osprey Publishing. p. 90. ISBN 9781782006800.
  3. ^ a b c Mersky, Peter (2012). RF-8 Crusader Units over Cuba and Vietnam. Osprey Publishing. p. 86. ISBN 9781782006534.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "U.S. Accounted-For from the Vietnam War (Sorted by Name) Prisoners of War, Escapees, Returnees and Remains Recovered" (PDF). Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Vought F-8 Crusader Losses & Ejections Part 2: 1965 - 1966". ejection-history.org. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "U.S. Unaccounted-For from the Vietnam War (Sorted by Name) Prisoners of War, Missing in Action and Killed in Action/Body not Recovered" (PDF). Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Sailor Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Goodwin)". Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. 3 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  8. ^ "LTCDR Frederick Peter Crosby". The Virtual Wall. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Navy Pilot Killed In Vietnam War Accounted For (Crosby)". Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  10. ^ "LTJG Thomas Gavin Walster". The Virtual Wall. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d "Vought F-8 Crusader Losses & Ejections Part 3: 1967 - 1968". ejection-history.org. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  12. ^ "LT James Lee Merrick". The Virtual Wall. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Vought F-8 Crusader Losses & Ejections Part 4: 1969 - 1973". ejection-history.org. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  14. ^ "LT Victor Patrick Buckley". The Virtual Wall. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  15. ^ "LT Joseph Russell Klugg". The Virtual Wall. Retrieved 29 December 2015.

External links[edit]