Hey, Stick. AK1 Don Spears here ... Came to Heavy Three in 1975 as AK2, reporting from Okinawa. LPO in Material Div. Ran Tool Room, Flight Packets, repair parts ordering, and squadron's budget OPTAR. Before I got there I thought I knew everything about being AK. But I had AKAN (3?) Marcia Huggins, AK3 Barneburg, and young AKAN Jim Rice. Later had a few new AKs but these are the ones I remember most because they made me have to step-up my game. I went and met all shop supers and CPOs and learned about what they did and needed and that's how I really became a good AK. If you got a wrong part I wanted to know what and why. The RA5C Vigi was a remarkable aircraft, I think ahead of its time. Took a lot of people to get her in the air and I knew carrier flight deck crews hated to see us come aboard because they knew we might leave a Hangar Deck Queen. I made AK1 in '76 or '77 and was selected SOQ then SOY (flukes, trust me). I remember my hair was too big and they sent me to get it "trimmed" for the SOY photo. Well, they sent me back to get more trimmed because my cover kept popping off. Back in those days we had hair, beards and this was the funniest thing to be a SOY looking like a merchant seaman. Finally got it to work and I have that photo today and showed it to young Sailors when I was AKCM and as CMC onboard USS Camden (AOE 2) in the '90s. They got a kick out of it. Anyway, back to Heavy Three, I left there in 1979 after having reserved parking for over a year. Carrier Quals, Pack-Up-Kits (PUK), Fuel credit cards and chits, all of that was really challenging and more fun than we deserved. But I loved every bit of it whether I was Carrier Det or Beach Det. And I look back at all of that time with RVAH-3 as a turning point in my career because I learned all about being a good leader as I watched the shop Chiefs, Maintenance Chief (a tough SOB) who would walk you through any issues with the VIDS boards ... we had darned good people in the Vigi community. I wish I could have deployed with one of the fleet squadrons but I got picked up by CNO for a special project and I gotta say, that sounded more interesting. So RVAH-3 set me on the right track and I am most grateful, and am honored to have had the opportunity to serve. Since the RECCE community was closed loop, I know all of the guys were good people, moving from squadron to squadron, fleet to three and back to fleet...except for the whale flight crews. So, I'm glad I was there and I put it up there with the best tours I ever served in the Navy.
Thanks much for the Welcome Aboard in 2013! My sincere apology for a year delay in acknowledging your warm greeting. I stayed away from the Web after a breach into my personal data in 2013.
I take greatest pleasure and much gratitude in joining our elite Vigilante group of men and women! The many wonderful memories I had had in Heavy 12 were the very incentives that made me serve the USNR from 1984 to 2007 retirement year. Thank you again!
Re: your request for military service data. I don't have any, BUT I've got a deep liking for the Vigilante due to my connection at the Empire State Aerosciences Museum's plane. Pls see my page for pictures of it or visit www.esam.org. I was instrumental in restoring that plane to it's current condition for exhibit on the museum's grounds. Unfortunately, the canopy could not be closed tightly, so it's profile is a bit distorted. Anyway, just being in and around such a fabulous aircraft inspired me to search out more information about it leading me to your organization. I hope that I can continue to be a "auxiliary member." I'm no longer associated with the museum; I've moved to CA. However, I continue to be a fan of the plane.
Hi Stick: Enjoyed your news letter and the history lesson. I was in for 7 years and enjoyed every second. I too should have stayed in. But we all do silly things when we are young. Keep up the good work with this site.
Stick. Delbert hayes here. Do you
Recall lcdr w p smith. I am trying find out what happened to him. I was in 5, 3, 14, and 1. Anyway when I was in 14(I think) smith was one of the pilots. If you can help I thank you. Delbert AEC retired 1975
Were you an AT in -13? I was an AT and worked in Chief McClures shop, Our berthing was on the 2nd deck between the cats on Kitty Hawk for the 66/67 WestPac. My rack was under Kenny Wirt's, and opposite of Everette Holmes. I can vaquely remember a Tucker but not sure if he was from Texas or Georgia. I was an SLR guy. Maybe you can help me out here? What is a BADGE here? I saw it when I logged in but not certain what it is. My profile pic is there and also photos of other members below. It says to set the background color but when I click on it all it says is to login or join? Is it some pin or something? If you can reply to this i'll be very interested. Thnk you!
Stick thanks for all the good work you are doing for us. I could use a bit of help in getting pictures on my sight. This is hard stuff foe me. I have this iPad which has a camera,so if any one can help me to take some pics and get them in the right place. Ha ha. This from a guy that worked on the flight controls of the viggie. Ha ha
Thank You Stick for welcoming aboard. I will be looking forward to the next RVAH reunion The things I remember is how tight we were when things got bad. I jioned RVAH -13 in 73 made 2 cruises, Ranger and Indy. Got hurt on the ranger cruise, Military record keeping lost my Med file. I have never regreted my time with the greatest bunch of guys on this earth. Remember God so loved the world he created the Heavy Squadrons. Micky
Heard yesterday that the NAS Sanford reunion is going to be held from June 27 - 30 this year. I make that one every year for my book signings and some "elbow" time at the bar. I was wondering if RVAH Navy was going to have a separate reunion as in the past?