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HistoryVU-4 HistoryHistory

Circa 1962

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VU-4 History ThumbnailCameraVU-4 Detachment "...Squadron detachment at NS San Juan, PR, in Jan-Mar 62 for Operation Springboard. I am in the front row second from the right. At that time the squadron still was flying a modified WWII B26 bomber to tow sleeve targets along with modifed F8 jets..." Contributed by WILSON, YN John jwilson9@erols.com WebSite: http://users.erols.com/jwilson9/ [19DEC2001]

Circa 1959

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...NS Roosevelt Roads, PR Detachment of 1959/1960..." NAYLOR, AE2 Richard F. richman7@verizon.net [03NOV2006]

Our mission at Oceana was to provide target service to the Fleet Training Center at Dam Neck. Our main tow aircraft was the JD-1, which was the Navy designator for the Army Air Corps A-26 Invader. The Army version had multiple fifty caliber machine guns. There was a bank of eight in the nose, six on the wings, and four more in remote controlled ball turrets on the empennage. All the guns were removed, and the hydraulics from the lower turret were redirected to operate the tow reel. The tow reel held about eight thousand feet of steel cable. The targets were big nylon sleeves in various colors. The reel operators sat in the after station and rigged the targets and operated the tow reel. Even though the gunners were briefed on the details of the target session, every so once in a while, the planes came back with shrapnel damage.

We also used the FJ-3 and FJ-4 Fury as a tow plane. This was a single place aircraft, so the pilot had to do it all. The tow rig was called a "Del-Mar" pod and was carried on one of the wing stations. The FJ series were similar to the F-86 as used by the Army Air Force, but heavier, and therefore slower, due to the catapult and arresting gear fittings. They engine was a rather mild Allison J-35 axial flow, with a thrust rating around four thousand pounds. Not much by today's standards. The fury was an interesting aircraft to work on, it was very compact, and the electronics were stuffed away in extremely cramped spaces. Engine replacement required the aircraft to be separated in two pieces, the tail section was supported on a special cradle which allowed it to be wheeled away. Then another rig was attached to the fuselage, and the engine slid back on rails.

Circa 1957

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VU-4 Squadron ThumbnailCameraVU-4 Squadron "...Circa 1957-1959. I happen to be in the 3rd down from top. The fourth person from the left of picture, and Larry Kroth is the 5 th over..." Contributed by Gene A. Flake gene_flake@bellsouth.net [26FEB2000]

UPDATE "...My father, CDR E.M Ward, was VU-4 Commanding Officer from 1957 to 1958. This squadron picture was taken on May 29th 1958..." Contributed by Ed Ward Jr. downnlock@aol.com [26JUN2018]

Circa 1954

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVU-4 History "..."Most Shot-At Unit" Would Like Someday To Reverse The Situation - JAX AIR NEWS - VOL 12 - NO 21 - NAS Jacksonville, FL - 19 AUG 1954..." WebSite: University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries http://ufdc.ufl.edu/ [30JAN2011]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVU-4 History "...Face Man-Sized Job - JAX AIR NEWS - VOL 11 - NO 50 - NAS Jacksonville, FL - 25 MAR 1954..." WebSite: University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries http://ufdc.ufl.edu/ [25JAN2011]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVU-4 History "...Coastal Defenses Have "Enemy" In VU-4 Detachment - JAX AIR NEWS - VOL 11 - NO 50 - NAS Jacksonville, FL - 25 MAR 1954..." WebSite: University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries http://ufdc.ufl.edu/ [25JAN2011]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News June 1954 "...VU-4 Small Outfit Big Job - Page 32 - Naval Aviation News - June 1954..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1954/jun54.pdf [02AUG2004]

VP History Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...00NOV54--In Nov 1954 NAS Chincoteague, Virginia. was selected to support Regulus Missile Operations on the East Coast. The Cruise Missile had a 500 mile range, carried a nuclear warhead and was tactically launched from carriers and submarines. Guided Missile Unit 53, under admin/ mat control of VU-4 combined with a VU-4 RAM Det. In Sep 1955 those two units were officially combined by CNO to establish Guided Missile Group 2, (the only Regulus unit on the east coast, another unit was on the west coast). GMGRU-2 received several plaques and commendations and became well noticed and ranked high in the annals of missilery. Approximately 40 officers and 320 enlisted personnel were assigned. Aircraft included F9F-2KD, F9F-6D, TV-2D, FJ-3D, AD-5, and KDU-1, a drone version of the Regulus Missile. In July 1958 CNO assigned Regulus operational control specifically to fleet submarines and GMGRU-2 became Guided Missile Service Squadron 2. The unit then moved to NS Roosevelt Roads, PR. Assigned aircraft at one time or another included an H-34 helicopter, JD-1D (USAF A-26/B-26), P2V-5 (Buno 128342), F9F-2/5/6KD, FJ-3D, TV-2D, and KDA, an aerial target subsequently superceded by the Q2C. In 1960 GMSRON-2 was designated VU-8, then VC-8 in 1965..." Contributed by Erik McMillan erikmcmillan@cox.net [E-Mail Updated 14DEC2003 | E-Mail Updated 22APR2001 | 17APR99]

Circa 1950

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...PBY BUNO: 63993 USN History Card..." WebSite: Yahoo PBY Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBY/ [11FEB2007]

Circa 1947

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraPB4Y Circa 1951 Crew "...My father was Gayle G. Varner, a CWO in the navy with the rating AMSC (Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Structures). He served in active duty from 1933 to 1953. During the Korean War he was made an acting ensign and an acting lieutenant (as there were no senior or master chief ratings then). After 10 years at reserve status he retired as a CW-2. During this time he became a missile engineer and eventually worked on the Apollo and Skylab missions in the 1960s and 1970. This photo shows my father, Gayle Varner, in the first row. He is the chief at right with no mustache. His crew are standing in front of a P4Y-2 Consolidated Privateer. I believe this is from about 1951. The aircraft has the new P4Y-2 designation. The BuNo is 59924. This patrol plane had an acceptance date of 26 May 1945 and a delivery date of 23 August 1945. It was assigned to patrol squadron VP-114. On 15 November 1946 the squadron was redesigned VP-HL-6. If Iím reading the remarks for the airframe history, it was detached from VP-HL-6 in late 1947 and became an aircraft in the small utility squadron VU-4..." Contributed by Steven Varner parsa9@yahoo.com 24JUL2023

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