UTILITY SQUADRON TEN
Utility Squadron TEN 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 was based at San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami prior to arriving here. The services extended to the Fleet consist 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 is not a primary mission, the squadron is equipped to participate in such operations.
In February 1953, nine aircraft from Utility Squadron Four combined forces with VU-10 for the heavy load of Fleet T ' ' raining Exercises in the Guantanamo area. The detachment was made up of four TBM-3U's, three JU-l's and two F6F-5's along with seven pilots and maintenance personnel. The squadron had a big hyear in 1953; over 15,000 ours were flown in support of Fleet operations here. The squadron led Utility Squadrons of the Atlantic Fleet in "utilization of aircraft' for the year.
In December 1954, the squadron received two F9F-6 "Cougar" jets. These aircraft were based at Leeward Point under an Officer in Charge. The incorporation of jets in VU-10 made Fleet Training Exercises more realistic for ships such as Heavy Cruisers, Guided Missile Cruisers, Cargo ships, Destroyers, Destroyer Escorts, and Repair ships, since these ships have little opportunity to handle jets for air controller proficiency except during the training deployment to Guantanamo.
Since February 1957, Utility Squadron Ten has maintained a permanent detachment at NAS Jacksonville, Fla. At the time, Utility Squadron Four detachment at Jacksonville with three JD aircraft was re-designated as the VU-10 detachment. In addition to its already diversified activities, VU-10 was assigned operation of the Advanced Undersea Weapons FASRON Augmenting Unit and in June 1957, assumed the management control of the consolidated maintenance shops at NAS Guantanamo.
Utility Squadron TEN accepted six FJ-3 "Furies" in January 1958, to replace the old reliable F9F "Cougars." In September 1958, the last F9F left the flight line at Leeward Point. During that same year, VU-10 had flown approximately 12,000 hours and completed over 7,700 missions. February was the squadron's busiest month 1,411 hours were logged while flying 714 missions for 27 units of the Atlantic Fleet
On June 1, 1959, two VU-10 pilots-LCDR Raymond K. McDonald and LTJG Donald W. Malone departed McCalla Field with the only remaining "Hellcats" in the Atlantic Fleet. These had been most effective in providing radio-controlled aircraft target (NOLO) exercises for units of the Fleet operating in the Caribbean. With the departure of the Hellcats, the only old-timer remaining on the VU-10 line, from among World War II operational class aircraft, was the JD-1. This aircraft, the Navy version of the Air Force B-26 "Invaders" had been in service with VU-10 since the middle 1940s.
The squadron's jet and propeller operations were merged January 11, 1960, when the squadron moved from McCalla to Leeward Point. Shortly thereafter, VU-10 found itself supplementing its primary mission, "Service to the Fleet," by giving air and ground support to the Naval Emergency Ground Defense Forces. In addition, from December 1960 through February 1961, VU-10 provided air defense for Guantanamo Bay and air escort for unarmed planes in the area.
With the outbreak of the Cuban Crisis on October 22, 1962, the squadron was called upon to perform to its maximum. All dependents were evacuated and VU-10 assumed the primary air defense for Guantanamo Bay. For three days the squadron continuously kept F8's airborne on CAP station. Maintenance personnel worked around the clock to keep the aircraft in an "up" status. All men and officers moved to Leeward Point and pilots slept in the ready room to be constantly available. During the next few weeks, VU-10 flew 197 hours of CAP, 23 hours of escort, 85 hours of close air support and 330 hours of courier mission time.
VU-10 was relieved of its base defense commitment by a Marine Squadron and for the first time in its history it deployed. After a short stay at Roosevelt Roads, the squadron returned to Leeward Point (December 6, 1962) and resumed normal operations. On April 11, 1963, it again "took to the road", this time to await repair of the Leeward Point runway. The squadron returned to Leeward Point on June 14, 1963.
A new milestone was marked in aviation history as VU-10 received its first US-2C (S2F-1) on July 23, 1963, from 0 & R, Pensacola, Fla., as a replacement for the UB-26J, a tow aircraft In addition, replacement of the F8A (F8U-1) by the F8B (F8U-lE) was completed in late 1963. This new plane has the advantage of radar, which will provide more realistic training for air controllers and gives VU-10 an all-weather intercept capability.
Go to Chapter Twenty-six