For those who served in the RVAH Community, their families, and friends!
Greg Giesing has not received any gifts yet
Finding this Site brought back many memories. Some I will never forget and of course some I wish ..... Yeah well, we try to remember the good ones most of all.
I spent 2 years in NAS JAX at the rework facility where they reworked/refurb'ed A-4's. A-7's and of course the most beautiful RA-5C. Since the fleet had very few Vigilantes compared to the other birds it was indeed a treat when we got a couple in.
We were about 50 enlisted and maybe a half dozen chiefs and officers along with probably 2000 civilians who did the real work. Us enlisted did all the line work, our officers the test flights and the civilians the actual work.
I have no recollection of just how long the hangers were but once the paint was stripped off it entered the hanger as clean metal, It was totally disassembled mid way through and by the end it came out a new bird with every fix and update to all the systems the navy had at the time. A trip to the paint shop completed the transformation.
our small hanger was at the end of the runway next to the St. Johns river and the Navy hurricane hunters in their super Connie's. the aircraft were parked backed up to the river and made a nice backdrop when the twin engine Vigilante took off and hard banked up the river.
A quick note about the hurricane hunters. I am not sure I ever saw them return with all four engines running. That was some flying by those guys compared to the birds they fly now! Job well done hurricane hunters!
Made E-3 quickly and studied / took the photographers mate test and pasted it. I was quickly transferred to NAS Albany and the Fleet Air photo Lab.
I spent a year in the photo lab learning all aspects of the rate in what to me was a modern photo lab with then great cameras that we always had access to. taking of photos was even encouraged as a new chief began a monthly mandatory photo contest. I suppose it showed our photo areas of expertise. Some of us were great at portraits and presentations and all poeple related imaging while others tended to concentrate on industrial type photos, machines, accidents, crimes etc.
We were allocated 2 slots enlisted flight crew and I was fortunate enough to apply and assigned flight crew status along with the extra 55 bucks flight pay.
After a year and some months I passed the E-5 exam photographers Mate 2nd class and was transferred tp heavy 6 that was just coming back from a cruise. I quickly learned that what they taught in the recon maintenance classes had little to do with what really happened out on the line. I quickly determined that line work was not where I wanted to be so when a 3 month early out came along I took it and the same day I was discharged I went to the air force to enlist hoping to get more flight time and aerial experience.WOW, did I get a shock.
It seemed that when I took the Vigilante reconnaissance maintenance course that my MOS was changed to that as a primary and the PH rate was now my secondary. The airforce told me they have no Vigilantes (DUH) and that they also don't have any rates with my new MOS. They would let me enlist but at E-4. No thanks
In the civilian world the closest thing to what I loved in the navy was Photogrammetry and so I worked and worked until I was given a job with Pacific Western Aerial Photography in Santa Barbara CA. They did a very large business in stock aerial photography as well as topographic mapping.
I stayed in photogrammetry for the next 40 years and retired after having my own company here in Fayetteville, TN for 12 years. I've worked for several fine companies along the way including Surdex, Corp, Benatec, Atlantic Aerial, UAM, Inc and of course my favorite and my own G-Squared!
Feel free to message me if any of this sounds familiar