Updated October 5, 2015
USS Saratoga CVA-60 - at anchor in the Med. & at sea
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Photos (L-R) Courtesy: Marion Swinford & Bill Faber
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INTRODUCTION: This page is reserved for special personal memories of former VFP-62 crew members. Stories which are unique, interesting, funny or sad, but most of all, stories that illustrate what life was like in VFP-62, serving on carriers, and how they transformed teenagers into men.
Contributions to this page are welcome. Remember, the statute of limitations has run out! - Webmaster.
Dave Stokes in Front of S2F
After I left VFP-62 I got out of Navy and applied to Airlines as a Jet Mech. I was hired by a airline and said they would send me to Atlanta for training. They told me I should get tickets to fly to Atlanta for training in about 2 weeks. So I waited and 3 weeks went by and no tickets. I called the airline and asked where were the tickets to Atlanta and start my training? They stated the union forced them to retrain their prop mechs, So I didn't get the job.
I had joined the reserves after leaving VFP-62 and worked in a GM factory and saw no future there so I went back on active duty 18 miles from my home at NAS Grosse Ile, a reserve training base. When I re-enlisted, I requested to change my rate to photographer and was sent to the photo lab but was still holding rate as a ADR3. I was told I had 18 months to change rate to PH [photomate]. We had 7 men in photo lab and not enough work for everyone to go around.
Later that year I went on leave and when I GOT BACK from leave I was assigned to working on AD5s and S2Fs and other aircraft. I was not happy with the Navy making me go back working on aircraft. I had stopped studying for photomate for over 8 months and had been working night check.
Someone came and woke me up and said to get into my whites and have my ID card with me to go to mess hall and take my PH test. Not having any sleep I went to mess hall and took the PH test. My passing that test was slim but I took it.
In my spare time I was shooting weddings on weekends off. The chief told me and a first class to fly to Memphis to fix a broken AD5. I told the chief I needed the weekend off to take some wedding pictures. He said, "NO you're going to fix that airplane" and this was on Monday. Thursday I received word I passed the PH test and was sent to photo lab to work and took my wedding pictures that weekend.
No more working on S2Fss and ADs in the cold winter.
A Helping Hand For a Brighter Future
An Officer who Cared and Made a Difference
Early in the cruise Ltjg H C North did a review of all the Detachment members' records and discovered that there were five members that had not graduated from high school. I was one of those along with Pop Corey, Alphonso Simmons, Bobby Graham and Bill Farrar. He pulled us all aside and requested that we spend some time in the evenings studying for the GED so we could get a certificate.
He spent several weeks with the five of us, refreshing our math, science, history, geography, etc. We then were all given the GED test. All five men passed the exam and scored in the top 10% in the nation for 1958 GEDs.
I have always credited him with turning my attitude around, which would later lead to my getting some college and correspondence courses without which, I most likely would not have had as much a promising post-Navy career as I did.
The best I can remember the other guys felt the same appreciation for what he did. I for one would like to find him and show him my appreciation first hand.
Photos of shipboard tuitoring class: (L-R)Emile (Pop) Cory ,Bobby Graham, Alphonso Simmons, Ltjg North, Bill Farrar, Marion Swinford
Click to enlarge picture
Addendum: It just occured to me that the single black player in the football team photo from the Capt. Ed Kiem scrapbook (Squadron History Page) is also Alphonso Simmons. He played with the officers at their request although we had an enlisted men's team that played intermurral. I remember this because I played on the 62 team and we wanted Al as he was a high school football hero. The officers wanted him more. We also played them and were beaten soundly.
From the webmaster: When I received this story from Marion, it brought to mind a similar experience:
Although I had a high school diploma, I was very unfocused about my future educational goals but thought I would like to go to college after the Navy. Ltjg Adam Miklovis, our PI Officer on the USS Forrestal detatchment (1962-63) helped to change that. Like Ltjg North, Ltjg Miklovis took Jim Barnett PT2 and me under his wing and started to tuitor us on improving our vocabulary. Each session we would be given 10 new words, which we never had seen, to learn and spell. Jim and I were sort of competitive with each other, having graduated from photo school together and then going on detatchment together (Shangri La and Forrestal).
This gave me new motivation and it all turned out to be fun. Once out of the Navy, I scored very high on my verbal component on the Scholastic Apptitude Test (SAT). I eventually completed a B.S., Masters, and post-graduate studies. Although my career was in a technical field, my verbal and oral skills were always an asset to me.
Stories like this are not rare. Thanks to the Navy and thanks to Mr. Miklovis, wherever you are.
UPDATE May 6, 2007: Mr. Miklovis finally contacted me and his entry is on Page 2 "Guest Log" - webmaster
Ken Jack, (former PH2)
Can a KC-130 Land on a Carrier?
It did! On the USS Forrestal
By John Sees, former PH2
Memory is rather sketchy but here goes. We were at sea [on USS Forrestal] and the aircraft were not aboard. Believe we left port with everyone but had not recovered the fly aboard... or the fly off was over and we had not gone into port yet. I was aboard when they did it and was assigned to shoot 16mm black and white movie film as a back up to all the other stuff being shot. Never had time to take any personal stills. The Air Group was not aboard so I helped out the ship's photo lab.
They repainted the angle deck center line to give the larger aircraft a better reference to avoid the Island. This all took place over several days and it built to a real cliff hanger. The first time the KC-130 got into the pattern and flew low over the angle. This was repeated lower each time for several more times.
Next time the 130 repeated but then did a couple of touch and go's. The next time he came in touched the deck and full reverse pitch and brakes stopping in plenty of room from the end of the angle.
The crew deplaned and hands were shaken and salutes rendered.
They moved the plane back to the stern and off they went well airborn before running out of angle deck. [Webmaster's Note: This varies with the Web information (see below). According to that, the take-off was down the length of the deck, with the wing-tip clearing the island by about 15 feet. The only requirement on the KC-130 was that he not roll (lift off) until he cleared the island. This was the reason that the planes were not aboard and consequently, why the landing of larger planes did not evolve into a standard operating procedure.]
They took off and landed several times each time adjusting the weight of the aircraft. They used a KC -130 tanker version and varied the full load to change the weight.
I understand this was done to test the concept of landing large aircraft on a carrier. In the Air Force Museum at Dayton, OH ( was just there as part of the Forrestal reunion) there was mention of landing a U-2 on the Ranger or Kitty Hawk to test the concept. I am sure that was the main purpose of the work to emergency recover U-2's if necessary. I have copies of the Log from the Forrestal and will send them along if I find them.
Addendum: John provided the following clarifications: "I took 16 mm black and white for the Forrestal Photo lab's records. There was a team that came aboard from somewhere who did the main coverage. The normal flight deck crew of the Forrestal photo lab did the TV video and the launch coverage as they would do on any Launch/recovery. I was extra cause the aircraft were not aboard so the Photo Officer had me take back-up black and white footage. That one landing sequence does look like it was black and white but it was a dull day so hard to tell. I don't know what the others were shooting so they many have official footage in both color and black and white. I was something to see the Herc come to a stop on Forrestal because at that point they were committed to the program."
For more information on the KC-130 carrier landing
External links on this event:
click on these links or do a Google (www.google.com) search
using the search pattern "KC-130 carrier landing"
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Created on ... November 12, 2006