Squadron Scrapbook
Ops Summaries and Prop Wash

Page Twenty Three

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



The article below is from the collection of Bill Lester, a former member of VR-24 Det Naples. The article is a fitting tribute to the personnel who were in the squadron at the time and to those who carried on the tradition of service throughout VR-24's operational history. It appears to be a "rough draft" written by LT Duke, whose affiliation with VR-24 is presently unknown. The article dates from sometime after VR-24 Det Naples began operating the Grumman TF/C1A Trader, during the time Capt Knowles was Squadron CO, which was from April 1956 to 25 July 1958. It is not known if the article was ever published.

For the men in the middle of the Med.

A sailor stationed on a destroyer with the U.S. Navy’s sixth fleet in the middle of the Mediterranean sea is a long way from home, yet a letter from his wife temporarily eases the miles, and as he reads it, he is" back home" c.o.d. Brings him that letter! A sixth fleet cruiser’s medical officer decides that an immediate operation is necessary for one of the ship’s chief petty officers, the doctor deems the operation be performed at the U.S.Army hospital in Landstuhl Germany. c.o.d. flies the patient there! A million dollar jet aboard one of the fleet’s aircraft carriers needs a vital part to keep it flying.From a shore based supply center, The essential equipment is flown to the carrier, because c.o.d. delivers!

Missions of morale,mercy and maintenance are some of the functions of co.d. Carrier onboard delivery (c.o.d.) is part of the Navy’s VR 24 detachment stationed at Naples, Italy. Its parent squadron is fleet tactical support squadron Twenty-four based in Port Lyautey, Morocco. C.O.D uses the transport version of the Grumman Trader airplane to complete its missions. The T.F,it is called, is a sister to the Grumman S.2.F sub Killer. It is a twin-engine, dual-Pilot aircraft capable of carrying eight passengers or almost two tons of cargo and can land on any aircraft carrier in the U.S.Navy.

The detachment came into being in August of 1951, and in the following February, it started using the T.B.M "Turkey" to make its deliveries to the U.S. fleet in the Med. While the "Turkey" did a commendable job,its shortcomings(not enough cargo space, not fully qualified for instrument-flying, poor facilities for passenger comfort) were soon recognized, and the Grumman corporation brought forth the T.F,designed specifically for c.o.d. operations. In the summer of 1956, the TF replaced the obsolete TBM’S.

Operating on a day and night 24 hour schedule, the primary mission of the VR-24 detachment is tactical support of the sixth fleet, when the fleet is at sea,c.o.d. services the aircraft carriers every day. Subsequent delivery of personnel, mail and cargo to other units of the fleet is made from the carriers via helicopter, also in the line of duty is the transportation of VI.Ps to the ships at sea. Aside from numerous Senators and Congressmen, c.od. Has flown the Chief of Naval Operations, the Prime Minister of Turkey and the Shah of Iran, the Prince of Morocco and many other dignitaries to the various carriers. Corespondents from all over the world have been VR-24 c.o.d passengers. A recent c.o.d. Flight took Mr. Drew Pearson, the noted jounalist, to one of the carriers.

A remarkable feature of the VR-24 c.o.d. Unit is it’s outstanding record of flying safety. Never in its entire existence, has it had a passenger fatality. VR-24 commanded by Capt. R.C. Knowles, U.S.N, recently received a safety award plaque issued by the Navy and a copy of it is proudly displayed by the VR-24 detachment.

When the areas of operation of the sixth fleet are geographically distant from Naples, an advance base for c.od.’s is established, under the guidance of the detachments officer in-charge, CDR J.A.McKeon, U.S.N. using the squadrons R5D Skymaster transport planes, the material is flown to the advance base and then delivered to the ships at sea by the TF'’, the advance bases are set up in proximity to the fleet to expedite service. Thus, c.o.d. Has made supply to the sixth fleet an over-flowing reality.

No matter what the manifest, c.o.d. Delivers it the best!

LT. D.J. Duke,USN

(lester collection)

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