Squadron Scrapbook
Ops Summaries and Prop Wash

Page Nine

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Anyone who has photos, stories, and material they wish to share is encouraged to send them to Dick Prather, Webmaster/Editor of the VR-24 website.


Not all VR-24 missions were the same. Some flight crews went on trips that would be the envy of any world traveler. The following certificate contributed by Pete Owen documents one such flight he made as radioman. Note the signature.

A separate enlargement of the text and article on the flight are included below for those wish to read the "citation" and learn more about the mission.

(owen collection)

(owen collection)

VR-24 sent two aircraft to support VP Nixon's trip, one from Port Lyautey and the other from Naples. They rendezvoused in Tripoli and flew to Entebbe, Uganda. Nixon arrived on a "plush" Air Force C-118 (R6D), accompanied by two other C-118s loaded with his staff and press corps. The Air Force was reportedly concerned about sending loaded C-118s into Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the next stop on the itinerary. The field elevation there was 8,000 feet above sea level and the daytime temperature routinely ran into the high 90s. Whatever the reason, the VP staff and press corps transferred to the Navy R5Ds and proceeded to Addis Ababa where they landed safely, and departed after their visit without incident. The two VR-24 aircraft and crews then flew the staff and press to Khartoum, Sudan where they transferred back to Air Force aircraft for the remainder of Nixon's safari. Both Navy crews flew back to Naples and resumed their normal duties, with another memorable mission in their logbooks.

Port Lyautey Crew:

LCDR Dusty Rhodes, Plane Commander
LCDR Les Sipes, Copilot
LCDR Dale Gailbraith, Copilot
ADR1 Jim Dickinson, Plane Captain
PRC Jack VanLandingham, Flt Ordly
AL1 Pete Owen, First Radio
AL1 HL Smith, Second Radio