VC-10 / VCF-10
Challengers
Call sign "xxxxxx"

Patch / Logo 1971 and Prior Patch / Logo 1972


Older Paint Scheme (1971 & Prior)



Newer Paint Scheme (1972+)




VC-10 Squadron Designation History

Date

 Milestone
 1 Dec 1943
 VJ-16 Established

15 Nov 1945

VJ-16 Redesignated VU-10
 1 Jul 1965
 VU-10 Redesignated VC-10

1972

Submitted Redesignation as VCF-10

 1 Jul 1993

VC-10 Decommissioned

VJ-16 was established at NAS Isla Grande in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1943. VJ-16's mission was to provide gunnery target tow services, radar tracking, search and rescue, and photographic services to ships and aircraft in the Caribbean area. Initially, the squadron's inventory consisted of Grumman J2F-5/6 Duck, Consolidated PBY-5/5A Catalina, Grumman TBF-1 Avenger, Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless and North American SNJ-4 aircraft.

After a brief move to NAAF Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico in April 1944, VJ-16 settled in at NAS Miami, Florida in May 1944 and added Martin JM-1/2 Marauder, Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, General Motors FM-2 Wildcat and Grumman TBM-1J/3J Avenger aircraft to its inventory. For the remainder of World War II, the squadron operated detachments in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Brazil, Cuba, Panama and Trinidad. VJ-16 consolidated its operations at NAS McCalla Field, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in April 1945 and was redesignated as Utility Squadron Ten (VU-10) on 15 Nov 1945.

Over the next fifteen years, VU-10 variously operated JD-1, UF-1, Martin PBM-5A Marine, Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina, Douglas R4D-5 Skytain, Beechcraft SNB-5, Grumman F6F-5D Hellcat, Grumman F7F-2D Tigercat, Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat, Grumman F9F-6/8 Cougar and North American FJ-3 Fury aircraft, as well as Grumman F6F-5K Hellcat, Culver TD2C, and Radioplane KD2R-5 target drones. In 1957, VU-10 also established an operating detachment at NAS Jacksonville, Florida that was absorbed into Utility Squadron FOUR (VU-4) in 1963.

In January 1960 with the closure of McCalla Field, VU-10 moved across the mouth of Guantanamo Bay to the Leeward Point airfield and added defense of the base as one of its missions after Communist rebels took over the Cuban government during the Cuban Revolution.

F-8A Crusaders were received in 1961. During the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, VU-10's Vought F-8A Crusader fighters became the front line defense force for the base against both Cuban and deployed Soviet forces. All dependents were evacuated and for three days the squadron continuously kept F-8's airborne on CAP station. Maintenance personnel worked around the clock to keep the aircraft in an "up" status. All men and officers moved to Leeward Point and pilots slept in the ready room to be constantly available. During the next few weeks, VU-10 flew 197 hours of CAP, 23 hours of escort, 85 hours of close air support and 330 hours of courier mission time. Subsequently VU-10 was relieved of its base defense commitment by a Marine Squadron and for the first time in its history it deployed. After a short stay at Roosevelt Roads, the squadron returned to Leeward Point on December 6, 1962 and resumed normal operations.

Redesignated VC-10 in 1965, the squadron subsequently acquired Grumman US-2C Trackers and in succession, Chance Vought F-8B/D/C/K Crusaders.

Since VC-10 was the only squadron assigned to GTMO and the base is located in a Communist controlled country, the squadron was required to provide alert fighters in support of reconnaissance operations in the Eastern Cuban region. Alert conditions varied from 2 minutes to 60 minutes so aircrew and maintenance personnel were required to remain in the squadron area 24/7.

In view of this mission the squadron patch/log was redesigned during 1972.  Simultaneously, redesignation to VCF-10 was requested and approved up to OPNAV, who ultimately disapproved it - primarily for financial reasons. However, the squadron continued to display the VCF-10 designation on the aircraft due to lower echelon approvals.

In 1976 the last of VC-10's F-8 Crusaders were replaced with Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk IIs able to carry air-to-ground ordnance and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. These were augmented by the Douglas EA-4F Skyhawk II in the late 1980s. VC-10 was disestablished at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on 14 August 1993.


F-8 Commanding Officers

1960 

CDR F. C. Nugent

1961 

CDR G. E. Buker

1962 

CDR W. B. Moore

1963 

CDR E. W. Keegan, Jr.

1964 

CDR H. E. Lang

1965 

CDR H. W. Kiker

1965 

CDR T. D. Brown

1966 

CDR R. C. James

1967 

CDR D. F. Cross

1968 

CDR P. Goslow

1969 

CDR B. H. Ashley

1970 

CDR T. D. Barrett

1971 

CDR L. P. Walsh

1972 

CDR E. W. Oehlbeck

1973 

CDR S. L. Zwick

1974 

CDR W. W. Miller

  1976

CDR K. A. MacGillivary





1965 - 1966 (Click picture to enlarge) Courtesy of Paul Forrest

 


 US-2 Towing target

 


F-8D At Cecil Field 1967

 



F-8C At Guantanamo 1968

Fall / Winter 1971 - Officers
From Bob Sandweg



BACK ROW: Bill Moon (Maintenance CWO), Bill Chambers (Maintenance LDO), Vern Larson (Poncho), Tom Ryan, Glen Lacy, John Carrier, Rick Hartman, Bob Sandweg (Papi), Mike Evans (Snivley), Unk name, (Flight surgeon), Jim Pointe, (Intel officer)
FRONT ROW:
Cal Staten, Herb Story (Herbie), Dick Willett, Pat Walsh, (CO), Ed Oehlbeck (XO), Unknown officer, Mike Garrett, Nate Brechbiel (Nate).
Missing: 
Roger Meek


1971 - 1972 (Click picture to enlarge) From Vern Larson

 
Joint exercise

 

 
Vern Larson

 
Bob Sandweg

 
Vern Larson

 
Bob Sandweg

 
Bombing practice
Offshore from Leeward airfield

 
Refueling



Late 1972 - Officers
From Buster Taylor



Back row: Bill Chambers, Dick Morrison, Steve Warren, Mark Swofford, Bill Moon, Ron Conner, John Carrier, Glen Lacy, unknown (WO)
Front row: Merle Keeney, Ed Oehlbeck (CO), Steve Zwick (XO), Buster Taylor
Missing: Duane Glisan, Frank Hecker



1972 - 1974 (Click picture to enlarge) Courtesy of Buster Taylor

 F-8Ks over Leeward Airfield
 

F-8K in Alert Status

VCF-10 F-8K #147030 in Cuba

 F-8Ks over Leeward Airfield

 #147030 repainted on Midway w/Buster Taylor


1974

In the summer of 1974, VCF-10 had a pilot “borrow” the Crusader sword from VFP-63 and mail it to Homestead AFB, After a suitable wait to allow VFP-63 to go crazy looking for it, a ransom was agreed to. Rich Redditt, the VFP-63 pilot holding the real Crusader sword (in the middle) flew to Homestead AFB with a load of target paint which had been taken from VC-7. When the VFF-63 pilot first landed, LTJG Ted Goldstone (at left) and LT Bill Steger (at right) tried to trade a wooden sword for the paint.

1974

1974

General Base Photos - Click pictures to enlarge


Entrance to Guantanamo Bay
Leeward airfield to left near ocean
McCalla Field on right edge of bay

Leeward Airfield looking Easterly
 
Just inside mouth of bay looking N.E.
McCalla Field (inactive) in lower foreground

Narrow portion of Bay in middle of picture is the Northern boundary of the base - bombing/mortar tgts are in foreground - picture is looking Northeasterly from over Leeward airfield

Northern boundary of base is at narrowing neck of bay - picture looking Westerly

Coming into the break

Marines doing mortar practice

Mortar and bombing targets on Leeward (west) side - Picture looking easterly with GTMO bay in background

Recreation beach on Leeward side

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