FALL  2002                                                                                                          John G. Esposito, Editor  

VPB-111/VP-21

VAGABOND NEWS

A MESSAGE FROM THE LEFT HAND SEAT:

The big story for this issue of the Vagabond News is the inauguration of the new VPB-111/VP-21 web site. Our Webmaster Frank Balogh has put together a site of which we can all be proud.  It already contains a wealth of squadron information including the on-line version of the Newsletter Association Membership List.  It has the ability to grow, and over time will become even more valuable. My sincere hope is that its availability will prompt you, our members, to provide stories regarding your time in the squadron and news of interest to all of us.  We also expect the site to attract the attention of former squadron mates with whom we have not yet established contact.  In fact, that has already happened in at least one case. You can enter the site at either www.vp-21.org ,or www.vpb-111.org .

I want to express my personal thanks to Frank for his efforts in developing this wonderful asset. Please visit the site, and when you've personally observed the benefits, why not drop Frank an e-mail expressing your appreciation?  He put a lot of work into this effort, and I know that he would appreciate hearing from you.

Our other success story for this quarter has been the sale of our VP21 coffee mugs. We've gotten past the initial start up costs, and expect to break even on our future expenses.

The mugs are just great.  I ordered one that reflected my second tour in the squadron (rank and nickname).  I liked it so much, I'm getting another one to cover my first tour of duty.  Our able storekeeper, Gary Gross, has done another super job making these wonderful mementos of our time in the squadron available to us.  Thank you, Gary. Go to StoreKeeper page.

Harry Dunlap and his able team are locking in the program for our 2003 reunion in Pensacola.  It's shaping up to be another great time.  Information will be coming along as soon as it is developed.  Another good reason to visit our web site. Go to reunion page

Our finances are liquid (although we can always use more contributions). Our roster and e-mail lists are up to date.  Our history is developing, and our museum is growing, thanks to the efforts of Dick Webb, Ron Lenhoff, Bob Nelson, Fred Schuster, and Ed LaFontaine, respectively.  

Last, but certainly not least, I want to mention the efforts of our editor, John Esposito, who provides us with this quarterly link to our past - to our time in VPB-111, or VP21 - to the friends of our youth.  As they say in the ad - some things are priceless.

I hope that all of you enjoy a wonderful holiday season, and that you're already making your plans for attending the reunion on 5-7 November 2003.

All the best,

Bill    

REQUEST FROM RON LENHOFF:
We need an original photo of the group picture of the 1953 Christmas party. Send same to Frank Balogh for inclusion in the Web Site. It will be returned to the owner.     
'03 REUNION UPDATE:
Harry Dunlap has provided us with a little info regarding the November '03 reunion reservations in answer to recent inquiries from those who wish to come early, and/or stay late. The rate of $69 is good for three days before and three days after the reunion. The reservation numbers are 1-800-Holiday, or 1-850-474-0100 (direct).  Mention VP reunion.  More to come as it becomes firmed up.

TAPS:

It is with great regret that I make mention of the following loss to our association:
-    James Mann of Saginaw, MI.  Served with VP21 from'55 to '56. Retired from Saginaw Police Dept. died of a heart attack on October16th.
-    John F. Browne, AD1, '52 to '55 passed away on 15 June, '02. No details.
-    Arthur `Buzz' Furstenberger passed away last spring.  Cause of death was due to several illnesses. He  had been ill for several years. Buzz was the Crew Chief of CAC 13, VPB111 for two tours.  The 1st was a short tour to N. Africa, which included Normandy D-Day patrols in the bay.  The longer tour of duty was in the Pacific.  Gordon Forbes reported being the PPC, and that together, all told, their crew flew 50 missions.  Gordon also stated that, “One of the reasons the survivors are here today is because Buzz was our crew chief”.
-      Jerry W. Thomson of VA Beach, VA. 9 February '02.  No details.
Tony Lanzarotta.  AD2.  `57-'61. Passed away in VA Beach Health & Rehabilitation Center on 23 September,'02 of . Tony flew with Bill Locke on CAC #8. Cause of death was heart disease, kidney failure, and diabetes. See Tony's obituary here.
Harold Freid. Montgomery, MN. No details.

Our thoughts and prayers go with them and their families.  

A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR:
Continuing the Call for Board of Directors Back-up: We are continuing to seek `back-up' persons to support our Board of Directors in the unforeseen event that one of us should suddenly become incapacitated.  If you feel that you would like to assist us on any of these position that are referenced on the back cover of this newsletter, contact the respective person at the address shown.  We would like very much to have you stand by to become a member of our team. This readiness on your part is considered to be vital to the future success of our association. Do something different. Make a difference.

ANSWERING THE CALL:
In response to the above `call for back-up', Dale Woods has stepped forward to back-up the `ON-LINE ROSTER' post.  Dale is a strong and positive supporter of the association as attested by his attendance at the `off year' meetings of the Directors meetings.  I'm sure the he will be a great asset to our team.
PLEASE NOTE The VPB-111/VP-21 Veterans Association charges no dues. Our operations are totally supported by the generous contributions of our membership, and by the sale of our squadron products.  The Association comes under Section 501 © (19) of the Internal Revenue Code as “not for profit” organization.  As such, contributions are legitimate tax deductions.  Please make your contribution checks payable to the `VPB-111/VP-21 Veterans Association', and forward them to Treasurer, Richard S. Webb, 219 Montoya Drive, Lady Lake, FL, 32159-8642.

CHANGES TO ROSTER:
Enclosed find printout copies of changes to roster. If anyone knows the whereabouts of those members whose names appears in the `lost' column, please contact Ron Lenhoff, and advise him accordingly.  Ron's address appears on the back of this newsletter.

 STOREKEEPER /DIRECTOR, GARY GROSS, REPORTS:

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES ARE AVAILABLE FROM SMALL STORES:
The following items continue to remain on sale:
Khaki hats with your choice Blackjack, Turtle, or Dumbo patch. $18.00.
White golf shirts: super quality VPB111/VP21 Veterans Association. $25.00.
White ball caps with VP21 logo. $10.00.
White ball caps with Flight Wings and VPB111/VP21. $10.00.
Patches: Blackjack, Dumbo, or Turtle.  $6.34.
Buttons: Blackjack, Dumbo or Turtle. $1.84
Books:
The Story of VPB111  Contact Gary for cost.
Low Level Liberators  $29.00. Only 1 copy left.
Black and white print of P2V7 signed and numbered by artist David Howath. $10.00

NEW ITEM: Customized coffee mugs $25.00. Please print your name as you wish it to appear and your choice of rate, or flight wings.  
All prices include postage.
Contact Storekeeper:
Gary Gross
4595S. Robert Blake Ave.
Inverness, FL 34452-7820
E-mail address: gitmo@tampabay.rr.com

WELCOME BACK, CLAUDE VERNAM:
In 1963, I was the co-pilot of Crew 2 when VP21 was deployed to Sigonella, Sicily.  We had been to Athens, Greece and on our return flight, an engine began to backfire and we returned to an Air Force Base outside of Athens.  The needed parts and equipment were sent from Sigonella, accompanied by Al Acker from the maintenance dept. For some reason, the rest of the crew was somewhere else when I asked Al if I could help him with the repairs.  That day I learned a great deal about the inner workings of the engine while working with Al.  As a result, Al became my mentor and I learned a great deal from him the rest of my time in the squadron.

About 10 years later, I was a squadron commanding officer and there were a series of conflicts between the senior enlisted men and the junior officers in the aircraft maintenance department. I called the senior enlisted men together, and remembering my experience with Al Acker, I told them that they might be training future commanding officers.  I saw an immediate change in the environment.  Look at the influence that Al Acker had!

VPB-111: SCRODER CREW (1945) HOLDS `MINI' REUNION.
     Five of the remaining seven members of Dave Schroder's crew of 1945 met in reunion in Frankfort, KY in mid-May '02.  Ed LaFontaine made arrangements.  Other attendees and spouses were Walter (Bud) Ingham and wife Jo, Chet Merritt and wife Char, Harry Shuford and Daughter Barbara, and Bud Becker with wife, Marilyn.
     The three-day schedule began with visits to a candy factory (Bourbon Balls), the gravesite of Daniel Boone, the Kentucky Viet Nam Memorial, the State Capitol, and a personal greeting by Governor Patton. The 2nd day was occupied with an unusual special tour of a large thoroughbred horse farm, an operating distillery (bourbon, that is), a wine tasting trip to a local vineyard, and a `scrumptious' dinner at Claudia Sanders Dinner house (that's the original KFC). The 3rd day was topped off with a bus trip to Churchill Downs, Louisville, where the crew and spouses were treated to an afternoon of racing, viewed from the famous `Millionaire's Row', where every inch of the racetrack was visible from the fourth floor. Needless to say, all members were numb with pleasure and satisfaction…mostly from being with old friends.
     One thought always rests with us on such occasions.  We can only look to each other, and say, “We owe our lives to each other!”
     What a glorious time!
NOVEMBER EDITION: 2002
VPB-111/VP-21 VETERANS ASSOCIATION
A non-profit, fraternal, and historical association devoted to the reestablishment of contact with shipmates of the past, to strengthen the camaraderie among its members, to record and preserve the memories and incidents of the Association, to preserve the memory of departed shipmates, and to promote the comfort and welfare of its members and survivors. No dues are assessed!

Directors:
Wallace L. Lightfoot, Chairman Emeritus, 349 McIntosh Ave., Orange Park, FL 32073
William Locke, Chairman, 255 Meerpoint Point Rd., Brunswick, ME 04011
Ron Lenhoff, Director/Secretary, 972 Wedgewood Dr., Independence KY 41051
Richard S. Webb, Dir/Treasurer, 219 Montoya Dr., Lady Lake FL  32159-8642
John G. Esposito, Editor/Director, 862 Central Ave., Southampton, PA 18966
Edward Lafontaine, Museum Director, 161 Jackson Dr., Frankfort, KY  40601
Fred Schuster, Dir/Historian, 2713Cabin Creek Rd., Edwardsville IL 62025
Robert Nelson, Online coordinator, / Director, #49 Woodland Drive, Tequesta, FL 3346
Harry Dunlap, Director, 5803 Eastshore Dr., Pensacola, FL 32505
Gary Gross Director/Storekeeper 4595S Robert Blake Ave., Inverness, FL 34452-7820.  
Frank Balogh, Web-site/Director1749 Burroughs Dr, Dayton OH 45406

 The `Vagabond News' is the official publication of the Association, and is circulated quarterly in the Winter (January/March), Spring (April/June), Summer (July/September), and Fall (October/December), as a third class bulk-rate mail from Southampton, PA, Post Office (Permit #61). All costs of the publication are supported by voluntary contribution only. To ensure that materials of interest are promptly published, members should  submit same prior to the publishing quarter to John G. Esposito, 862 Central Ave., Southampton, PA 18966. All inputs will be published in a timely manner.