Great Navy Days, 1965
by Donald A. Jusko

colour cat

US Navy, Don Jusko PT2

1961 - 1966, Cecil Field, Florida

2006 - Don Jusko, 5-20-41, age 20, in the U.S. Navy from Sept. 27th, 1961 to Jan. 26th, 1966, Photo Intelligence, Second Class, PT2, based out of Cecil Field, Florida.

Pat Lemons and Ken Howell and I had some real good times together, are they still out there?

Peter Kissa and I played a lot of tennis on the base, I still play. I remember a Photo Chief Hill forcing me to play a game with him for the tennis tournament on the Forestal (Rhodes I think), it was hot and I had a terrible hangover. I shouldn't have lost.

LTJG Hewitt was a nice guy. LT Jerry Coffee was in and out of the Cecil Field PI office a lot. He was a main piolet during the Cuban Crisis. CDR Ecker had his own office so I didn't see him much except for the Cuban Crises, the PI office became the War Room, CDR Koch was our Photographic Officer.
Chief Art Scarborough didn't spend much time in the PI office, but I liked him, it was Chief Hill that I had problems with, he was jealous.

1962, Photo Intelligence VFP-62 Cecil Field, Cuban Crisis, Presidential Unit Citation was the first in peacetime history, it was given to us by President Kennedy, also the Joint Army-Navy Medal and the Joint Armed Forces' Campaign Ribbon.

I was on three detachments;

1963 USS Saratoga DET-60,
John McCall, C.B. Wilhelmy, J.R. Lingley, Bill Taylor, B.F.(Skip) Staub were our photo pilots in on Det-60, 1963, maybe Lt. Baucom also.

1965, Six months, U.S.S, Shangri-La DET-38, LCDR Lindsey, LCDR Hood, LT Bronk, LTJG Deputy, LTJG Green.
Bad News, We had an oil spill in Cannes.
Good News, Quote from the Aug. '65 Final Newsletter.
"Our last letter home should begin with good news and it certainly does from the "Sooper Snoopers" standpoint. Don Jusko and I have finally managed to "catch up" with our pilots.Our shelves (previously stuffed with film) are bare now that all our film has been titled, plotted, and submitted. With spare time in the evenings, PI is slowly being converted into an art studio - after all - with all this professional experience and foreign travel, "Snoopy" can't afford to pass up the chance to get "cultured" as well.
LT De Bronk
Don Jusko PT2

1965 USS Forestal DET-59, we flew the F8U-1P. I think this was VFP-62's heyday.

I remember taking every tour that was available, Paris twice, I guess that was my favorite city, I went to Venice twice also, I remember the plane flight from Barcelona to Madrid, it was actually windy inside the plane, Madrid didn't show me as much as Barcelona. So much to see.. Gibralter, Barcelona, Marseilles, Palma, Asinara Bay, Genoa, Livorno (Leghorn), Palermo, Catania, Naples, Florence, Capri, Palma, Suda Bay, Cannes, Rhodes, Malta, Athens, Taranto, Istanbul. One overnight I spent on Capri was thrilling, something happened on the ship and a detachment of SP's was sent to find me. the next day I found out they were 15 minutes behind me at every bar on the island.

On each cruse I painted portraits, LTJG Jack Lingley and LT De Bronk and LTCDR McCall's children.
1965, I still have the large painting palette LT Bronk gave me from Florence, another great city. We lost LTCDR John McCall (Mac) and LTJG Richardson in plane accidents while on the Saratoga deployment. Commander McCall was doing an air show and LTJG Richardson was lost at sea.

1966 - 1969, Art Director, Jacksonville, Florida.
1969 - 1972, San Francisco where I opened my own advertising agency.
1972 - 1976, I had a factory and 5 retail stores based in Sacramento (Tower Waterbeds). Hurt my knee skiing one night.
1976 - 2006, Moved to Maui, Hawaii to paint on location for the rest of my life. It has the best weather in the world. My nee hurt until I used some DMSO on it.
1996, I reinvented the artist's colorwheel, it now matches the way elements and crystals get darker.
I recorded everything on an art website that I now sell on a DVD.
2009, my color wheel site is now getting between 2-3 million hits per month.

This is a short tour of my Navy career.
Don Jusko PT2, age 67, 2008, Maui, HI. I've been here on Maui since 1976

Don Jusko

This is the light table I found the first photo proof that Cuba was setting up to receive SAM2 cruise missels. Someone was shooting pictures for posterity during the whole event. It was perfect, a circle with "S" shaped curves of wires leading to where the missile would be.Two hours later it was on President Kennedy's desk. That 70mm (2.25") negative is nowhere to be found now. We also shot 5" negative film from our side bays. The next picture is in St. Marks Square, Venice.

Cuban CrisisDon Jusko Venice Pigons

I just painted a mirror self portrait, 2011, I'm 70 and living in Makawao, Maui, still painting.

1958, Just out of Ewing High School, Trenton, NJ

High School Portrait
1960, College of Fine Arts, Trenton, NJ

1959, My new car. Trenton, NJ

Don 1959

1966, Jacksonville, FL, a year after I got out of the Navy.

This was 10 years after I got out of the Navy, Sacramento, CA, 1975, 34 years old. I guess I looked the same from 25 to 35.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion, where it all started.

The attack was carried out on April 17th, 1962.

On March 17, 1960, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower agreed to start a program to overthrow the Cuban Government. Run by the CIA, this program would train, arm, and recruit Cuban exiles to participate in an invasion of Cuba. When John F. Kennedy became President, he had to decide whether or not to go through with the attack. He decided in favor of it, largely because if he had called off the attack, there would have been more than a thousand armed, trained exiles who would complain and bring the matter into public domain.

The planning of the invasion was completed in the VFP-62 Photo Intelligence (War Room) with CDR Ecker and Commander Koch. I was there. It was soon after I arrived at Cecil Field in January, 1962. Today, 1-17-7, all the reports I can find to read calm the invasion happened on April 17, 1961. They are wrong, the invasion happened on April 17th 1962. Here's the proof: An Army memorandum from March 1, 1962 titled, Possible Actions to Provoke, Harass or Disrupt Cuba, outlines a number of ideas, including Operation Bingo, a plan to fake an attack on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. This had to happen before the Bay of Pigs Invasion, not after. Besides.. I wasn't there in 1961.
This is true, but here is where the date mistake is made, 1962 should have been added, the information was taken out of context and the date started to be confused.
"The landing began shortly before midnight on Sunday, April 16, after a team of frogmen went ashore and set up landing lights to guide the operation. The invading force consisted of 1,500 men divided into six battalions, with Manuel Artime as the political chief."

Two battalions came ashore at Playa Giron and one at Playa Larga, but the operation didn't go as smoothly as expected. The razor-sharp coral reefs, identified by U2 spy photos as seaweed and coral, delayed the landing enough to expose it to air attacks the following morning. Two ships sank about 80 yards from shore, and some heavy equipment was lost.

The Cuban Crisis.

President Kennedy awarding VFP-62 the Presidential Unit Citation to our CDR Ecker, January 23rd, 1963.

This Citation was for: Extraordinary achievement in the planning and executing of aerial reconnaissance during the period 15 October to 26 November 1962 on missions in support of operations of the utmost importance to the security of the United States. The successful completion of these flights in the face of adverse circumstances was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

On October 22 VFP-62 made the first low-level over flights of Cuban territory. One of our birds made 17 low level flights, we marked the planes with a picture of Castro holding a dead chicken and additional dead chickens below him. Our planes landed at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, closer to the photo lab. Our Photo Intelligence office was moved to the Jax main office.

The first image of proof they were constructing SAM2 sites came back on a flight by LT Wilhelmy, on October 16. I had the film from the forward camera using 70 mm negative film. The image showed a circle with four or five "S" shaped curves from its center to the outer circle. These paths were for the wires connecting the missile to the controllers. The photo was rushed to President Kennedy and on his desk in 2.5 hours. That photo that is not seen anywhere today, it seems to have been misplaced after it was sent to President Kennedy. Maybe it was lost when Time Magazine did a photo write up on Cuba the following week.

Pres. Kennedy
Those are our birds in the background and I'm in the row of squids.
This is the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon (November 26, 1962)
that was given to VFP-62 by President Kennedy.

Navy Commendation Ribbon

This is our crew for the Shakedown DET 38 cruse for the DET 60 cruse, I'm in the center bottom left holding the Purple Screw from the Enterprise to the Forestal. I'm 2nd Class, Photo Intelligence in this photo.

DET 59

My "onboard" time was very memorable, I painted a large portrait of the Photo Intelligence Officer's on each cruise.

LTJG Jack Lingley, Photo Intelligence Officer, Saratoga

LT De Bronk, Photo Intelligence Officer, Forestal


I designed this Snoopy patch for our cruse on the Shangra-La.

Here are some Navy photos that I've been saving all these years.

Athans, the cleanest city I visited.

The closest land to Venice is the island of Ledo, where they drive their cars with their lights off and click them on at intersections.

Venice Boat

LCDR McCall died in an air show on Feb. 19th, 1964. Pat Lemons (bottom right) and I were good friends.

He shot this aerial photo for me because I asked him to. Inside one could hear a whisper all the way across the Baptismal (the dome building).

I painted these two "fighting Cocks" on the hanger bay doors of the Saratoga.

I think were about 50 yards wide.

Captain F. T. Moore Jr., the Commanding Officer of the Saratoga gave me two 8" sterling silver fighting cocks for doing it.

The VA-34 plane was getting a paint job.

They were BIG birds.

Then we had a commemoration ceremony. Any excuse for a party

Photo Crusaders over Mayport, photo by Capt. Bob Kiem


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