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HISTORY - ACCOUNTS - Craig Player
Recalling 251

In my two years at 251, the most memorable events were the loss of two F4J on a deployment to Turkey. Dick Lamers (RIO) and 1/lt Ayers (pilot) jumped out of one either in Spain or the Azores (I saw Lamers name in the lists). The other occurred in Sigonella, Sicily, where an F4J piloted by 1/lt Bill (?) Woods stalled in the pattern. Woods was killed as was his RIO and one of my best friends in the Marines, Capt Robert W.(Jake) Jacobs. Jet Jacobs was one of the most outstanding men and Marine I have ever met. His best friends were Lt Scott D Ketchie, USMC, an A6 BN, shot down in Laos and still MIA to my knowledge, and Capt Ron Gilbert USMC, an RF4C backseater. The three were all from Birmingham, AL.

I was a RIO and usually flew with an Air Force exchange pilot from Buffalo, NY, Capt Terry Glavin, USAF. Terry was an exceptional pilot but had a hard time getting used to our "kick the tire light the fire" attitude. He had won a DFC in RVN when he found an NVA battalion in the open in Laos while in an F4G. He pretty much decimated them as the citation reads. He perished in an F101 Voodoo fire at Whiting AFB while with the NYANG in the 70's.

251 did deploy several times to Key West and had hot pad duty, but it was 451 that flew the first mission there when the Cubans sank the 2 fishing boats in the Straits of Florida in 72-73 (not sure of the times). Oddly enough, when 451 scrambled 4 F4J's to Key West, it is my recollection that of the 4 planes, only one Aim-9 Sidewinder would tune. I was in one of the 4 planes. Not a good feeling knowing you couldn't shoot.

I served under CO's Major Joe Byram and later Lt/Col W.C. Service. Col Service was a good and honorable man, but 72 and 73 were not good years for 251.

I left the Marines while with 251 in November of 1973.