Links pertinent to the history of Fleet Air Reconnaissance

Captain Don East:  A history of Fleet Air Reconnaissance, starting in WWII.
Ref: 00d History of Fleet Recon Squadrons 1 and 2

History of Fleet Air Recon Squadron 1 (Until 1964)
Ref:  00c History of Fleet Air Recon Squadron One

1992 Command History, VQ-1
Ref:  00dd 1992 Command History.pdf

History of the A3D Skywarrior
Ref:  00e The Whale:  History of the A3D Skywarrior

Pilot’s Flight Manual, P4M-1
Ref:  00ee Pilot’s Flight Manual, P4M-1Q (PDF File)

VQ-2 Cruise Book 1973-1974
Ref:  00eee  VQ-2 Cruise Book 1973-1974
VQ Command History Ref./00eee Rota Spain VQ-2 Book.pdf

Robert Morrison’s History of NSG (CT) Involvement in Vietnam.
Ref:  00f NSG Involvement in Vietnam, Part One
Ref:  00g NSG Involvement in Vietnam, Part Two

Chuck Huber’s listing of VQ-1 and VQ-2 fatalities, 1950-1987:

John Herndon’s History of VQ-2 Aircraft mishaps:

A Dangerous Business:  The US Navy and National Reconnaissance During the Cold War:

Lessons from the Capture of the USS Pueblo and the Shootdown of a US Navy EC-121—1968 and 1969 by Richard A. Mobley.

William Crane:  NSA, ASA and 1st SAD
Ref: 25a History of Army COMINT

VQ Association Website:

A-3 Skywarrior Association Website:

Cold War Website:

Super Constellation PR-26 Memorial Website:

P4M pilot Don Morgan: Life in VQ-1 in the late 50s:
Ref. 00 Donald Morgan Excerpts.

Notice of move by VQ-2 at Rota, Spain to NAS Whidbey Island, WA.
Ref. 00a:  VQ-2 Notice of Move from Rota.

Electronic Warfare Training given to the Japanese Self Defense Force, mid 1960s.  By Rick Heckler
Ref.  00b  The Genesis

Bill Beard recollections on the P3 conversions to Aires II
Ref:  055 Aires II EP-3


This history of Navy Airborne Intelligence Gathering relates to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons One and Two and Supporting Groups.  These are stories by those who lived it, supplemented by surviving records and images, and depict events in the history, hopefully, from a more personal standpoint.

Naval Air Reconnaissance (EW)
History Index

Early Years, World War Two.
Early pioneers
Howard Lorenzen, NRL Scientist
Ref: 001 Howard Otto Lorenzen
CPO Jack Churchill
PO1 Robert Russell
Conducted first trials (Cast Mike) of Electronic
Counter Measures in the South Pacific.  Aircraft utilized (piggyback), USAAF B-17, Navy PBY, and PB4Y.

Early Aircraft
World War Two
B-17, PBY, PB4Y
Ref:  002 Early Aircraft
Ref:  003 Early Cast Mike Aircraft

Fifties Era Aircraft
PB4Y-2, P4M-1Q, TV-2, A3D-1Q, P2V-5F, F9F-8T.
Ref:  004 Early VQ Aircraft in the 50s
P4M-1Q Configuration
Ref:  005 P4M Layout
A3D-1Q Configuration
Ref:  005a A3D-1Q Layout

VQ-1 Lineage
VC-11, NAS Miramar, CA, Special Projects Division/Com Unit 38C, NS Sangley Point, VW-1Detachment Alpha, VW- 3A Detachment Alpha, ECMRON ONE (VQ-1), Sangley Pt. and Iwakuni and Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1), Atsugi.

Known patches of unit evolution.
Ref:   005b VQ-1 Logo Evolution


Melvin Davidow, P4M pilot, discusses the first pilots that would form Special Projects, and the TRANSPAC of the aircraft to Sangley, Point, Republic of the Philippines.
Ref:  006 In the beginning.

Robert Bublitz, P4M pilot, discusses operations in Special Projects, relationship with VW parent squadrons and everyday life.
Ref:   007 To Speak of Many Things

Pete Bohley, P4M Radioman, discusses life at Sangley Point in the early 50s, operations flying the P4M-1Q.
Ref:  008 Pete Bohley early VQ-1

VQ-2 Lineage

VP-26 Det. A, Naval Patrol Force/ ComUnit 32G, Port Lyautey, French Morocco. VW-2 Det. Alpha, Port Lyautey, French Morocco, ECMRON TWO, Port Lyautey and Naval Station, Rota, Spain.

History of VQ-2 Logo
Ref:  008a Description of Logo

Recollection 0f Port Lyautey

John F. Hewson, P4M-1Q pilot, discusses early life and operation at Port Lyautey, French Morocco.
Ref:  009 Early VQ-2

Robert Ottensmeyer, P4M-1Q evaluator, describes his first hand account of the ditching of a P4M off Nicosia, Cyprus and a description of the P4M-1Q.
Ref:  010 A Sad Day in the Cold War

Loss of PB4Y-2 from VP-26 Det. A, which was shot down by Soviet fighters off Latvia.
Ref:  011 Shoot Down PB4Y 1950

1 June 1955
VW-3 Det Alpha becomes ECMRON ONE (VQ-1), with LCDR E. R. Hall as first Commanding Officer.
Ref:  012 1st VQ-1 CO
Ref:  012a  Original ECMRON One Plankowner Certtificate

ECMRON-ONE moves from Sangley Point to Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan in late 1955.


LTJG Park discusses Sangley Point operations and the move to Iwakuni, Japan.
Ref:   013 William Park’s History

Hugh Ward’s account of P4M-1Q losing an engine as in, “Falling off of the aircraft!”
Ref:  015 LT Hugh Ward

Bill Langland, a P4M-1Q plane captain, describes taking CO’s dog to Iwakuni on a P4M.
Ref: 016 A Dog Story on the move to Iwakuni

1 September 1955

VW-2 Det. Able becomes ECMRON TWO (VQ-2) at Port Lyautey.  CDR Kalin, first Commanding Officer.
Ref:  017  First CO VQ-2/Officers of VW-2A


Adron Joyner discusses VQ-2 in the Fifties.
Ref:  017a VQ-2 In the Fifties

VQ-1 P4M-1Q shot down by CHICOM Migs off Shanghai on 22 August, 1956.  Sixteen brave sailors lost.  Crew list and some details of shoot-down are in the reference.
Ref:  018 Shoot Down P4M-1Q

Ens. Harry Sunder’s sworn deposition on the events of 22 August 1956 when P4M-1Q was shot down off Shanghai.
Ref:  018a Harry Sunders Statement

VQ-1 and 2 receive Douglas A3D-1Q aircraft.

Stars and Stripes chronicle the first arrival at MCAS Iwakuni. Photographs of first A3D-1Q arriving in Port Lyautey.
Ref:  019 First A3D-1Q

VQ-2 Detachment at Incirlik Air Base, Adana, Turkey
Ref:  019a   J. Adron Joyner  Recollection
Ref:  019aa US Army SAD at Incirlik
Ref:  019aaa Brief history of Incirlik by Chuck Huber

ECMRON TWO moves from Port Lyautey to Naval Station, Rota, Spain.


Adron Joyner describes life at Port Lyautey just before the move to Rota, Spain.
Ref: 019b Life in Port Lyautey in the late 50s

Operation, “Blue Bat”, Lebanon Crises of 1958
Adron Joyner describes VQ-2 participation.
Ref:  019c  Operation “Blue Bat.”

VQ-1 receives the Lockheed TV-2 Shooting Star jet trainer.
Ref:  019d TV-2 in VQ-1

Both squadrons receive Lockheed P2V-5F aircraft.
Ref:   019e P2V-5F in VQ Squadrons

VQ-2 also had a P2V-3, ostensibly for training but in actuality it was used for logistics and liberty runs.  It was affectionately called the “Toonerville Trolley.”
Ref:  020  Tony Musco describes a liberty run.

P2V-5F were utilized to gathering ICBM intelligence, primarily at Incirlik, Turkey (VQ-2) and Shemya, Alaska.VQ-1).

Recollection by Don Gibbs flying crew on P2V-5F at Incirlik.
Ref:  021 Recollection and photographs.

Recollection of Chuck Christman  configuring P4M/A3D-1Q /P2V -5F at Shemya, Alaska.
Ref:  022  A3D-Q, P4M-1Q and P2V-5F

VQ-1 P4M-1Q (PR-9) shot up over the Sea of Japan by North Korean fighters.  Makes emergency landing at Miho, Japan.  Pictures and details from the incident are in references.
Ref:  023 Attack on P4M-1Q, PR-9
Ref:  023a Eye witness account of attack by Robert Harrelson.

US Army Operations with VQ

Special Activities Detachment One (SAD-1, Japan)
Ref:  024  Bill Crane describes operations at Shemya, AK.

Recollections of Shemya, Alaska
Ref:  024a Richard “Dick” McClellan describes life at Det Shemya

Special Activities Detachment Two (SAD-2, Rota)
Ref:  025  Army SAD at VQ-2


Sixty’s Era Aircraft

A3D-2Q/EA-3B, WV-2Q/EC-121M, EP-3B, EP-3E,

F9F-8T  (P2V-5F left early 1960)

EA-3B Configuration
Ref:  026  EA-3B Layout and recollections.

EC-121M Configuration
Ref:  027  EC-121Layout

EP-3B Configuration
Ref:  028  EP-3B/E Layout

VQ-1 moves from Iwakuni, Japan to Atsugi, Japan.
Ref:  029 Atsugi Pictures

VQ-1 and 2 receive WV-2Q and A3D-2Q aircraft.
Ref:  030  Early aircraft.
Ref:  030a P4M-1Q Landing Mishap by Hubert Hunter.

VQ-1 retires last P4M-1Q at Atsugi.
Ref:  031 P4M-1Q Retirement at Atsugi.

VQ-1 and 2 are re-designated, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons (FAIRECONRON)

On 4 January 1961, VQ-1 WV-2Q, PR-24, BUNO 135747, was attacked by Chinese fighter aircraft.  In the ensuing evasive actions, the upper radome left the aircraft.
Ref:  031a  PR-24 sans upper radome.

VQ-2 loses an EC-121M over Germany, all hands perish.

Accident contributed to failure of the aft cargo door.
Ref:  032 Accident over Germany

Early EA-3B involvement in Vietnam
Ref:  033 EA-3B Pilot Ted Cunningham’s participation.


Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the acceleration of VQ-1’s involvement in Vietnam.

EC-121M  BRIGAND and Big Look comes on the line in VQ-1’s electronic arsenal.
Ref:  033a Alan Cranston’s recollection.

VQ-1 Det Bravo started at USAF Base, DaNang, Republic of Vietnam.

Recollections of DaNang.

Allan Prevette describes first permanent EC-121M Detachment at DaNang, Republic of Vietnam on 3 September 1965.
Ref: 034  Start of Det. Bravo

Sidney Wood’s account of VQ operations in Vietnam from an Intelligence Officer’s viewpoint.
Ref:  036 VQ-1 in Vietnam

Douglas Sherbourne’s follow on account of VQ operations in Vietnam from an Intelligence Officer’s viewpoint.
Ref:  037 VQ-1 in Vietnam follow on.

Robert E. Morrison’s History of NAVCOMMSTA PHIL Support Det, DaNang describes the NSG role in Vietnam operations.

Mike Palmer’s recollection of VQ-1 Special Projects and Civilian Elmer Akerberg, Electronic Engineer.
Ref:  039 Elmer Akerberg

Richard Bukowski’s recollection of the rocket attack that destroyed VQ-1 enlisted quarters July 15,1967.
Ref:  040  Rocket attack at DaNang


April 15, 1969, PR-21, EC-121M, BUNO 135749, shot down by North Korean MiG fighters.
Ref: 041 Shoot down of PR-21
Ref: 041a Recap of events of the shoot down and rescue attempts.

VQ-1 receives two EP-3B Batrack aircraft.
Ref:  042 EP-3B


March 16, 1970, PR-26, EC-121M, BUNO 145927, crashed on landing at DaNang Airbase, Republic of Vietnam.  Twenty-three perish and eight survive the crash.
Ref:  043 Crash of PR-26

A Vietnam Story 1970
Ref:  043a  Chuck Landers describes his “Rocket Stopper.”

VQ-1 changes home port from NAS Atsugi, Japan to NAS Agana, Guam.  VW-1 and VAP-61 are dis-established and become part of VQ-1.
Ref:  044  VW-1 and VAP-61

VQ-1 Detachment Atsugi is established.
Ref:  045 Clint Epley’s history of VQ-1 Det. Atsugi and Tale of Two Typhoons.

VQ-1 participates in Son Toy, North Vietnam raid to free US POWs.
Ref:  046 Son Toy Raid

VQ-1 Det Bravo (Vietnam) disestablished

Ref:  047 Mike Gallegher, last OINC recollections

Last EA-3B combat flight flown from DaNang, RVN
Ref:  047a  Last Flight from Vietnam

EC-121M aircraft are retired from VQ-1 and 2

Arrival of EP-3 Deepwell and description of equipment
Ref48 Arrival of EP-3E Deepwell;  C. Lyle Fisher’s narrative

Recollections of an EP-3B Flight Engineer on 1 May 1975 mission to Vietnam.
Ref: 48a A May  1975 EP-3B flight to Vietnam and subsequent events.

A VQ-1 manned listening post was set up on Arote Point, near Naval Station, Guam.  It was dubbed PR-29.

Recollections of PR-29.

Robert “Bob” Fritzius, OINC PR-29

Chuck Christman, Special Projects Civilian.

Ron Williams, CPO in charge of setting up.
Ref: 049  A Thumbnail History of PR-29

1 October 1983    Russian Shoot down of Korean Air Flight 007
Ref:  050 KAL B747 Shoot down

23 January  VA-3B 142672 lost at sea.  CO of VQ-1 and eight others perished.
Ref:  051 1985 loss of VA-3B Triple Sticks

Late 1980s an early 1990s

April 1  Eleven Days of Heroism, Inflight Collision of PR-32 and Chinese Fighter.
Ref:  Eleven Days of Heroism.  EP3 in Hainan.

Presentation on VQ-1 given at Grapevine, Texas 21-25 September at VQ Association Reunion.
Ref:  060 XO VQ Assoc Brief w photos.ppt