For those who served in the RVAH Community, their families, and friends!

Donald Stoffel's Comments

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At 12:16am on August 20, 2018, peter c derose said…

Thanks for reply Don ! I guess about that's what would happen out in Antelope Valley ! Sure hope all those fires haven't mess you up . I remember some of those around the LA area plus earthquakes also in the early 70's . And I didn't think they would close the L-1011 plant ! I use to commute from near the LA airport to Palmdale till I rented a house there !

At 10:07am on July 16, 2018, peter c derose said…

Hi Don , Are you still living in Palmdale Ca ? I lived there back in 72-73 working for Lockheed at the L-1011 plant . Wasn't much out there them ! Have a great birthday !

At 10:06am on June 4, 2018, Kaylynn S Wilster said…

Dear Don,  Your comments are the main reason I joined RecceNet.  I know there are other  men, like yourself, out there who served under my beloved Captain and hearing from you, and perhaps them, helps so much.  I was blessed to serve him for the better part of 30 years and so thankful for the many sea stories, the new ones and the ones told over and over.  I never grew tired of hearing them.  He told me of Cdr. Meyer and I am too old to remember much, but I do remember he held him in high respect.  Finn remained an "officer and a gentlemen" up to the end and I will always be thankful for the honor of being his wife. His last "sea story" was in the form of an article for a magazine about the building of his last wooden boat.  Not sure how to get it out there for the RVAH community, but am working on it.  .  Thank you so much for writing.  Sincerely, Kaylynn

At 7:12pm on November 12, 2017, Wes Thompson said…

Hi Don, me email is wbt@prodigy.net.  ....Wes

At 5:54pm on November 12, 2017, Wes Thompson said…

HI Don, thanks for the welcome. Yes that is my name on the plate of the first deployment and install of the van complex at Rota.  .....Wes

Thanks for the offer, I'd like an electronic copy of the nameplate if you can send it. 

PS - Here's another RVAH website I discovered a while ago.  ===> http://rvahnavy.com/5home.html

- Cruisebook website for the Saratoga that shows most of us. I don't remember when they took the pictures for the book but it might have been when I went out before the 1971 cruise to check out the on board SATE systems.  I found the website around the time of the decommissioning of the Sara. 

====> https://www.navysite.de/cruisebooks/cv60-71/246.htm 

At 12:41pm on June 14, 2016, David H Small said…

Hi Donald,

I actually observed a pilot eject just after takeoff. If I remember correctly he was flying an A-3. I was on the flight deck by the fan tail when I observed the plane go down in front of the Carrier, and then the pilot ejected. From my vantage point it looked like the carrier was going to run over pilot as the chute and pilot sank in front of the bow. Luckily they picked the pilot out of the water about 15 minutes later. He recovered. A harrowing experience to see.

Dave Small

At 12:32pm on June 14, 2016, David H Small said…

Hi Donald,

I got out in July 69 just

At 11:43am on October 9, 2015, Mac McCord said…

Thanks Don, I have been on here for a few years, just couldn't sign in with my old sign in and had to make a new one.  Bats forever..

At 8:25pm on August 4, 2015,
Steven R. Ewing


PS: if the photos you want to add are for the Last Full Measure of Devotion album please send them to rvahroster@gmail.com address, that way they can be added to the album. The only way you could do anything yourself would be to attach them as a comment to that album.

At 8:20pm on August 4, 2015,
Steven R. Ewing


Here's my theory: 1) At the top of any page on the site click on "Photos"

2) Click "My Photos"


3) Click "Add"

4) Click the camera icon and a new explorer window will popup that will allow you to find and select your pictures on your PC

At 12:45pm on June 3, 2015, Richard Affeld said…

Mr. Stoffel,

Thanks for the memories of a great squadron and some really great men who made RVAH-9 so significant for me.  I enjoyed hearing from you.

The North American ejection seat was not a zero-zero seat; as I recall it needed at leat 100 kts, 100 ft and wouldn't have time if the negative sink rate was too high.  It was meant to be a high-speed, high altitude system.  The RAN could initiate ejection for himself, but if the Pilot elected to eject, the RAN's seat would go first, and then the Pilot's seat would fire.  There was a delay in firing the Pilot's seat, since both seats were rocket-propelled (not a mortar-type charge like the Martin Baker seat) and the delay ensured that the Pilot's rocket didn't burn the RAN.

Glad to see your comments and congratulations on your continued interest in aviation-related subjects.  I envy your chance to see the Blue Angels;  living in Colorado Springs means we see the Thunderbirds annually, and the Blue Angels never. 



At 12:27am on May 31, 2015, peter c derose said…

WOW , Three of us swabbies scuba dove at a bay in Mallorca in 65 when the fleet pulled in for ship change of the fleet at the time ! [had fun ] Also was back to a Greek island Kafalonia in 95 for 10 days was great !  

At 8:35am on May 27, 2015, Michael E. Dombrowski said…

Hi Don.  It was great to hear from you.  I haven't kept with our guys from IMA very well.  Last I heard from Joe Ruff was probably 20 years ago and they were living somewhere in PA.  I just made contact with Donnie (Norman) Hammock a few months ago and he is Florida.  I attended the RVAH reunion in 2003 at Sanford.  Got to talk with Chief Hatten and several other older guys.  None of the otherguys from the Rota Van Project were there.

You either have a great memory or you kept a diary while we were in Rota.  I had forgotten most of the incidents (snafus) that you mentioned.  It was frustrating but rewarding.

At 1:07pm on May 13, 2015, peter c derose said…

Hi Don , I lived & worked in Palmdale in early 70's for Lockheed ! Never did find Edwards Airbase , even though the signs pointed to it ? And welcome aboard !! 

At 4:05pm on May 11, 2015, Terrill R. Saylor said…

Welcome Aboard Don!

Terry  RVAH-14

At 12:14pm on May 11, 2015, John Attanasio said…

Hi Don,

Welcome aboard.

Hoot Hoot

John VAH-9

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