|VU-10 Squadron Pages
Utility Squadron Ten
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
|VU-10 Arrived in Guantanamo Bay on April 1, 1945. Commissioned in 1943 to provide service to fleet units in the Florida and Caribbean area. The squadron had been based in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami.|
|The services extended to the Fleet consisted of target towing for anti-aircraft tracking and gunnery. Working with CIC, radar, and radar countermeasure exercises, and providing radio-controlled aircraft target (NOLO) exercises. Although search and rescue was not a primary mission, the squadron was equipped to participate in such operations.|
| The information provided here, is a gathering of data and photos received from friends, shipmates, museums, the Net, and my own recollections as an Ordnanceman attached to VU-10 in the late 1950's. This is an unofficial site and in no way affiliated with the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Government.
It is this writer's hope, that through these pages old friendships will be re-established.
This is a site where VU-10 Squadron Mates and those of N.A.S Gitmo, can share their photographs and memories with anyone who has had a tie with Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
|Visit Our Shipmate's Interactive Site|
| VU-10 called her , Mallard
On the deck she was Jig-Dog or JD. In flight She became "Julia Delta". Call her B-26, A-26 or just the Invader. Very few WWII combat aircraft can match the Douglas bomber's performance and service record of three decades. With her two 2100 HP Pratt and Whitney R-2800-71 radial engines she could breeze along at 330 MPH.
The Navy used 150 surplus A-26C's as JD-1 target tow planes. and as I understand it, they were distributed to VU-3, VU-4, VU-5, VU-7 and VU-10.
The 4 man Crew consisted of Pilot, Plane Captain, Towman and safety Towman.
| ThePratt and Whitney R-2800-21 Engine
It was exclusively a powerplant for fighters and medium bombers during the war, being used in the A-26 and B-26 twin engine mediums, the P-47, the F6F Hellcat and the F4U Corsair.
P&W R-2800 double Wasp
Configuration:---Radial, Air cooled
Bore and stroke:-5.8 in. (146mm) x 6in. (152mm)
Displacement:----2800 cu. in. (45.9 liters)
Weight:----------2,350 lbs. (1,068 kg)
McCalla Field. Rich Miller
A familiar sight at the end of the day. I can almost feel the main gear touch the deck. Navigating the intersecting short could be tricky after some rain. On one occasion a JD did a 180 as it crossed the short. It passed the tower going backwards at about 80 kts. A fast thinking pilot (Lt. Jordan) and a full throttle stopped us just short of visiting the Sea Plane Ramp.
1957 and 1958 was record setting times for VU-10 with over 7700 missions or about 12000 hours. February 58 was the squadrons busiest month, 1411 hours were logged while flying 714 Missions for 27 Units of the Atlantic Fleet. Within this time frame we lost one JD-1 resulting in two fatalities.
I checked into the Squadron, mid June 1957 and was assigned to the Ordnance Shop. The work of Target towman and related equipment maintenance was the responsibility of the shop, not to mention the normal Ord. Duties. most everyone in the shop had full skins and would pull at least one hop per day.
The average day for a towman was one of routine. Check flight schedule, Perform scheduled maintenance on regular assigned aircraft, Draw gear from the loft, suit up at scheduled time, complete preflight check, then it was outbound to Unit exercises.
In earlier days, braided cable was used, which required splicing a loop through the target eye. A poor splice would surely lose a target. Armored cable introduced in late '57 offered greater ease and more efficient operations. A lead feral was slipped onto the cable, fed through the target eye and back through the lead and crimped.
The targets were red 18-foot tubes about 18 inches at the throat and approx. 30 inches at the closed bag end.
A fine metallic thread ran the length of the target spaced a few inches apart. Which was a feature that Radar could detect. ( it didn't in some cases) We often safety wired pieces of lead in the throat ring to aid in tracking. ( it didn't always work)..Too many times, the radar would track the cable up to the aircraft.
The two hydraulic cable rewind reels each contained greater that 7000 feet of cable. Disengaging the clutch while holding a break band lever, cable could be run out. The target being already attached and held in the after station was pitched down and out the hatch while holding the brake handle. Cable was run out to approx. 6500 feet and air speed was increased from 120 kts to the towing norm. of 240 kts.
|The Air Station. Guantanamo, Bay Cuba. Rich Miller
For the most part, the majority of us didn't stray to far from the barracks area. It wasn't necessary when you consider all your needs were located within a short walk. From the front of the barracks, a left turn took you to the Exchange, the Chow Hall and the Beer Hall. not to mention the swimming Pool. A right turn would take you to work or to the sea plane ramp, where the bowling ally and outdoor movie were located.
The regular route after work was, barracks to clean up, then to chow, locate the evening BULL session, which would gradually move to the beer hall. After which a nickel bag of popcorn and a movie put a cap on the day.
I remember one evening at the movie, when an R4 sputtered over head and landed on McCalla field. A few minutes later, some loud mouth was up on the stage hollering, "Turn on the Lights". After the Booing settled down we realized that the loud mouth was the funny man Jack Carter. He was on an USO tour and his plane needed our night check crews attention. He did about an hour show for us and left. You could still hear him cracking jokes as he went up over the hill.
| JD-1 was the Navy designation for the Douglas A-26C.
As a target tow plane, It had dual hydraulic reels mounted in the bomb bays. Eighteen-foot sleeve targets were towed from either reel. At 240 kts, streaming approx. 6500 ft. of cable. The average angle of dangle was 1000 ft. She carried a crew of three, PLUS one very sharp Pilot.
The JD-1 was in service with VU-10 from the middle 1940's to the mid 60's, being replaced by the banner towing US2C, a version of the S2F.