Squadron Scrapbook
Ops Summaries and Prop Wash

Page ThirtyFive

The photos on this page were contributed by Vern Christensen who, with four others, reported to VR-24 at Port Lyautey fresh out of Air Controlman (AC) Class A school. After a short period spent loading airplanes at Port Lyautey Air Terminal, the new ACs were sent to the Hendon Det, then on to Naples where he spent two years (Aug '52 to Oct '54). When not standing duty as an air controller in Capo Tower, Vern found time to fly in aircraft of VR-25 Det, FASRON-77, and VR-24 Det. The photos below were taken on a COD flight that Vern went on to the USS Randolf CV-15, which was steaming somewhere in the Med off Italy.

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


Approaching the break for landing aboard USS Randdolf CV-15. Note that the few aircraft visible on deck have been spotted well forward, standard procedure before recovering aircraft.


Given the apparent height above the ocean, and the ripples in th lower left part of the photo, it is a good guess that he photos shows one of Randolf's steaming off the carrier's right flank.


Entering the break, i.e., about to make the upwind turn across the bow of the carrier. Following the break, the landing aircraft will fly downwind past the carrier before beginning a decending 180 degree turn to line up for a short final before landing aboard the carrier.


At the '90', other wise known among land-based aviators, including Air Force and civilian pilots, as 'being on base leg to final approach'.


Coming abeam another escort DD. During air operations, one of the carrier's escorting destroyers is assigned 'plane guard'. In addition to protecting the carrier's left flank, the DD assigned plane guard duty is responsible for rescuing any pilot or crewmen whose aircraft ends up in the water.


Vern Christensen likely took this photo immediately after his pilot successfully landed aboard the USS Randolf. The photo shows the part of the carrier island superstructer commonly known as "Vultures' Row". From here observers can watch landings, and occasional mishaps, that add to the thrill of carrier aviation for partipants and spectators alike.


Ship's cooks are about to serve pieces of a cake to celebrate the Randolf's 50,000th landing. A long standing tradition, such cakes give members of the entire crew a chance to celebrate an event that denotes the safety and efficiency of the ship and its aviators.


Enlisted Plane Captains, identified by their brown jerseys, line up to get slices of the cake. Vern Christensen reported that his pilot was made to remain in 'starboard Delta', a term applied to an orbital pattern off the right side of the ship, awaiting permission to land while aircraft from Franklin's airgroup were given priority to make the 50,000th landing. However, Vern and his fellow VR-24 Det aircrew were invited to partake of the celebratory cake.


It appears as though the F2H Banshees shown here are being 'respotted', i.e., moved to other loacations, or perhaps 'struck below', i.e., lowered to the hangar deck via one of the ship's two flight deck elevators. The Franklin's official history shows that Carrier Air Group Fourteen was aboard for the Med cruise during which time Vern took these photos. Barely visible on the wings of a couple of the Banshees is the letter 'A', which also identifies the aircraf as belonging to CVG-14.

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