||STONECIPHER, CAPTAIN E. Thomas
VP-49, VP-56, VP-215 and VP-204
My father, CAPTAIN E. Thomas Stonecipher Retired, passed away at age 83, on December 3, 2003, in San Antonio, TX.
Dad entered the Navy in 1940 and was commissioned in March 1941. He served as a black shoe officer aboard the USS Altair in the Pacific and Caribbean, attended flight school in 1943 at NAS Dallas, Texas and NAS Pensacola, Florida, and served the rest of the war flying PBM Mariners with VP-215 and VP-204 in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Post-war he served with the Atlantic fleet aviation training unit, with VP-49, and was Commanding Officer of VP-56 in 1955 when it earned the Navy "E." In those later years he was flying P5M Marlins. For most of the rest of his naval career he was in the nuclear weapons program in landlocked New Mexico and Germany, so had to grab what flight time he could get with the Air Force or Army -- and he always marveled at how comparatively easy land planes were to fly and operate! After retiring from the Navy in 1965, he went on to a great second career in youth training programs, but always looked back with profound satisfaction to his years with the patrol squadron Navy. A final farewell and "bravo zulu" to all VP'ers.