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Vappers: The "Accomplishments" page is to be used for items directly related to missions, tasks, citations and stories of accomplishment by the Two VAP's and their predecessor squadrons. Please submit your articles to Vapper Bruce


" VAP-62, 1965, Rota / Tunisia "

In VAP-62 Det Rota May-September 1965.

We had a task to film the entire coast of Tunisia (vertical/obliques) and many stereo triplets of various bridges, road intersections, etc...and some city plans. No recon of Tunisia had been done since WWII. Since VAP-62 would be the first U.S. Military plane to land in Tunisia since WWII, I was called to CINCUSNAVEUR for a briefing. I flew to Brize Norton AFB near Oxford and trained in to London and on to CINCUSNAVEUR. Capt 'Red' Shirley and a CDR Smagocki (sp) advised us that we were to be low key while in Tunisia. After landing at El Aouina (Tunis), I was to taxi to the last hangar far from the terminal. It was the Pam Am area and they would provide a power unit, starter, etc. The Tunisian Air Force would provide a sentry to guard the RA3B. Essentially, we were to sneak in and "stay out of sight" when not flying. The Attached people were to provide transportation and billeting. But stay out of sight as much as possible...!!!!

When I landed I noticed that I had to taxi through a throat directly in front of the terminal in order to get to the taxi-way leading to the Pam Am area way down the line.
As I approached the throat, I noticed the Terminal had a semi-circular observation deck on the 2nd deck and it was crowded with people watching me. Suddenly the tower had me hold my position just before entering the throat and pointing right at the main entrance to the terminal. Then, I was requested to FOLD MY WINGS..! I declined (against Sqdn policy for fear of busting a wing fold piston). After twice more refusing to do it, an American voice came up identifying himself as one Major Bonner from the DAO. He asked me to PLEASE fold my wings. Reluctantly I did and as they were folding I noticed the people on the Observation deck started cheering. After unfolding the wings I was directed to shut down to be towed to the Pam Am line. Getting out of the plane, Major Bonner came out to greet us and escorted me, my P/N (LT Tim Travis) to the terminal where the Tunisian Minister of Defense was there to welcome the U.S. Navy to Tunisia!!! Bonner explained to me that they had never seen an A/C fold its wings! Big welcome by the Tunisians.

He took us to the Tunisian Palace Hotel in downtown Tunis where a crowd greeted us clapping , etc. I asked him what the hell was going on. He smiled a whispered to me "They think you are Astronauts!!" I thought I was dreaming..But they loved our orange flight suits.
Needless to say we didn't sneak into town. I often wondered how the old left hand and right hand could be so out of touch. Our visit to the U.S. Embassy is another story. Bonner took us there for lunch and to show us the Embassy photo lab we planned to use to reload magazines etc..
Later on that deployment, I had a real run-in with Capt Shirley over my week in Turkey. Another story..!!

(contributed by: Jerry Pizzo, VAP-62, 1964-1968)


Citation
Navy Unit Commendation Awarded Vap-62
Nas Jax Pic 1
NAS Jax Pic 2

Article 1

conclusion of article

Article 2
(Contributed by: Dick Pitman)

Navy Unit Commendation
(Contributed by: Roger Eidenschink)

Citation 1
Navy Unit Commendation, VAP-61, Jun64 - Jun68
(Contributed by: Doyle "Woody" Wood)

Citation 2
From The US Navy and Thailand, Meritorious Unit Commendation VAP-61, Jun68 - Feb70
(Contributed by: Doyle "Woody" Wood)


Citation 3
Commendation, VAP-61, Sep61 - Oct 61
(Contributed by: Doyle "Woody" Wood)

Citation 3 Page 2

VAP-61 Patch 77
Commendation, VAP-61, Sep61 - Oct 61
(Contributed by: Carl Johnson)


Citation 4
VAP-61 Det., Two RA-3B's, Two Crews, Nine Maintenance Personnel, One Big Job Well Done.
(Contributed by: Doyle "Woody" Wood)

Citation 5
VAP-61 Det., Two RA-3B's, Two Crews, Nine Maintenance Personel, One Big Job Well Done.
(Contributed by: Doyle "Woody" Wood)

Citation 6
Citation for Det Thailand
(Contributed by: Doyle "Woody" Wood)

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