For those who served in the RVAH Community, their families, and friends!
I came aboard Heavy One in December 1955, one month after the commissioning, which
I believe was the first Saturday of November 1955. We were in Hanger One, NAS JAX. Age
has deleted too much of my memory to remember the names of the CO & XO. The Air Intell
officer was LT Nick Oakley, who just passed away, and some of the B/Ns were Ensigns
Dick Dunleavy, Bill Fleischmann, Dave Folger and John Hoffer. I arrived as a PH2, advanced
to PH1 the following May and left the squadron as it was leaving for a North Atlantic cruise.
My four years were up and I was offered more money in the GI Bill than to re-enlist. The
other Photomates were PHAN Les Baker from San Antonio and PH1 Daniel Webster who
made chief on that deployment or the next. I went to college in Austin Texas, reaffiliated
with USNR, advanced to PHCA in 1961, and during my annual active duty covered the
commissioning of NTC Orlando and the return of the POWs to Balboa NH in 1973, serving
with Combat Camera Atlantic and Combat Camera Pacific. I later spent four tours as
an instructor in photojournalism at DINFOS(Reserve Component). As a civilian, I spent 12
years as a United Press International newsphotographer in Austin and New Orleans. I left
UPI and for twenty years ran the photo lab at Naval Support Activity New Orleans, serving
fifty Navy, Army and Defense commands and detatchments. I am presently the Director of
the Retired Activities Office, Naval Support Activity, New Orleans.
Richard: Back in the 50s & 60s, chiefs were advanced in an "acting" status.. All new chiefs had "A"
after their rating for about three years, then, if they kept their noses clean, were made permanent.
It was so long ago, fifty years, I have forgotten details. I recall, I had to request my permanent status.
Filled out a form, forwarded to District Commandant, came back OKed. Shudda skipped that detail.
BTW, first CO of Heavy One was CDR Paul Stevens, XO is tougher. I learned he crashed an A3D
(carrier accident) and died. I attended the 40th anniv.of VAH 1 at NAS JAX in 1995. Not many of the
early squadron members made it. You heard, didn't you, that A3D stood for All Three Dead because
of the two hatches, roof & belly. BRCleary