319FiS at Homestead AFB


319 FiS short (photo) story.

Thanks to IFS member Jan Stevens we were able to publish some unique pictures taken with 319FiS while the squadron operated the good old F-104 Starfighter in one of our ZIPPER magazines.
We thank him and other ex-319 FiS people for their very nice contribution!!

The 319FiS was based at Homestead AFB back in 1963 when they received their first Starfighters. The first 104’s landed on February 27th 1963 and the squadron started the 104 operations officially on March 1st that year. Their main task was interception duties under the ADC (Air Defence Command). When received by 319FIS the F104's had installed a vulcan cannon and lateron also a J79-GE-19 engine. The squadron operated from 3 flights being A, B and C.

On the tails of the aircraft they painted the official 319FiS badge showing an aggressive cat wearing a white/red bomb on a orange background. It also had a slogan 'We Get Ours At Night'.

In total the 319 FiS used 40 different F-104A and four different F-104B aircraft throughout their operational period before the last aircraft were brought over to Davis Monthan Storage. They arrived at this storage location from December 1969 till January 1970.

Now and then 319FiS reunions are held, most of the time in Reno just before the famous air-races are held at this location.

The first Commander at Homestead, Lt Col (later Colonel) Charles W. Jackson.  He was the Commander from 1963-1966. 
(Subsequent Commanders were Col Tom Curtis, 1966-1967, Col Walt Meyler, 1967-1968, and Col Harlan Ball 1968-1969.)
An interesting formation of four 319 FiS Starfighters in the air, flying over Miami, Florida.
The F-104A’s included 56-808, 810, 852 and 851.
This picture shows 319FiS Starfighters under a shelter at “Air Defence” alert duty - ready for take-off within 5 minutes.
A very interesting detail is that the 2nd aircraft in the row is a 479TFW F-104C Starfighter. Interesting mix!!
In front F-104A 56-808 (C-flight) next to the mentioned TAC F-104C 57-916.
The group standing and seated in front of Starfighter 56-878 are the pilots of the 319th, probably taken in the summer
of 1963 right after they became fully operational. They are:
 Standing left to right:  Dan Wise, Jim Whitted, Dan Klix,
Ollie Chase, Dick Williams, Bob Con-don, Ott Evans, Bob Dundervill, Jan Stevens, John Taylor, Don Parsons, J D Dunn,
Joe Fugate, Paul Shook, Gary Pearson, Jack Dale, John McCarthy, Bill Freeland, and Al Villaret (sadly half..).
Seated left to right:  Ulad Marsh, Gerry Boe, Howard Kidwell, John Kimmerly, Chuck Loyd, Ted Stuart, Paul Mulhern,
Charlie Neel, Charlie Jackson, Bernie Fisher, Bill Grenzebach, Ray Nyls, Ralph Carlock, Jim Allender, Jim Milner,
Don Kelley. Several of the original pilots are missing from this picture.

Credits : Jan Stevens.


  1. John Boardman

    I was in the 319 FIS at homestead 1966 thru 1969. worked in the Hydraulic shop. This brings back great memories .

  2. T Ritter

    I was there also 1966 to 1969, crew chief

  3. Roger Barker

    I was there in 1968/1969, a weapons mechanic! I went to a squadron reunion at Sam Antonio a few years back, 95% of the people there were pilots and their wives. I was welcomed with open arms. Had great discussions about flying with them and learned a lot. Great memories

  4. Les Clements

    In the early 60s my brother ( later NAL, PN, DAL pilot) Dan B ( later exec at Braniff and US Air) and I were flying our model airplanes at West Lab Elementary School one overcast Saturday. We watched a flight of B-25s and P-51s head south from MIA under the overcast.

    An hour later they returned without calling in apparently. A flight of F-104s from Homestead intercepted them low over Coral Gables, one F-104 flew underneath the formation and zoomed up between them scattering them in all directions. The 104s seemed to be back on their tails with afterburners on (?) trying to slow down. It was the most amazing thing to watch.

    Years later at a Homestead AFB open house we met Maj Joe Howard standing in front of an F-100 greeting the public. He said he was either in that flight or knew about it, I can’t remember. He was the first Thunderbird killed , at Transpo ’72, with Dan and my brother there.
    Any info?


  5. Mac Wade Maynor

    My twin brother and I were stationed with the 319th in May of 1966 after tech school training at
    Shepard AFB, TX. We were known as the MAYNOR twins (Mac and Zack) Both of us were crew chiefs.
    We still have lots of memories of Homestead and the problems the other guys had getting us mixed
    up. We were there for 1 and half years (my brother Zack) and 2 years (me Mac) before both of us were
    reassigned to Southeast Asia (Vietnam and Thailand)

    1. Leo P. Lamoureux Jr.

      Hello Mac,
      I just read your story and remembered being there (with you and Zack) at Homestead in the 319th. My name is Leo Lamoureux and my roommates were Willie Hathorn and John Hagen. Tony McLemore was also in our squadron. Great memories!! Hope you and Zack are both well. Give him my best.


  6. charles kirkland

    I was in the 319th Jan 63 to jan 66 crew chief on 827 and 829 before going to Nam.

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Thanks Charles. Both F-104As 827 and 829 were lateron transferred to Taiwan and flew operational until they both were written off due to accidents. 827 during a landingaccident in June 1972 and 829 crashed in November 1975.
      Have you been serving the F-104Cs at Udorn in Thailand in 1966/67?

  7. charles kirkland

    No Harry. I serviced RF4′ s at tan san nuht in Saigon


    I was at Homestead AFB from March 1963 to September 1966 working as an aircraft mechanic on tail number 60-852 in “C” Flight. When I first arrived at Homestead, Airman Manfred Jackie was the crew chief on that plane, and I was the assistant crew chief after going through tech school.
    When Jackie got orders to go to another base, I became crew chief on 60-852. the Pilot on that aircraft was James Hampton.
    Before I got out of the Air Force in 1966, I scribbled my name on the Hydraulic bay door not knowing
    that I would ever see that plane again.
    James Hampton and I was in contact about two years ago. He told me about the experience he had with 60-852 when he was on a mission to Patrick AFB. He said the the throttle stuck at about sixty percent, and he couldn’t pull the throttle back or push it forward to get it to work. He said he had to run most of the fuel out of it so he could land the plane. Needless to say. He was alright, but the plane had a broken nose landing gear when it went through the end of the run way barrier. Later they found that the throttle cable had got stuck in a pulley, and that was why it wouldn’t work properly.
    in 1978, I was on my way to my brothers home in Lincoln Park, and Judy, my wife said, “isn’t that your plane?” I said yes, and went in to see the person showing the plane on the flat top bed of the semi. That was when I joined the 127th in Michigan Air Nation Guard base at Self ridge. I am retired now from the AIR RESERVES with 20 years of service. Anyone interested in knowing anything about 60-852 James Hampton lives in Volcano CA. I live in South Lyon Mi.

  9. SSgt. Howard L. Neddo

    I was in the 391th in 1969 When a Mig 17 came in and landed at Homestead. I was on the flightline and called into our maint. control that a Mig 17 was on approach to landing. To notify the tower it was approaching. It landed and taxied right up to President Nixons Air Force one parked on the Fliightline. No one knew it was incoming to our base. After it landed and taxied right up to Air Force One our F104s scrambled and taxied up to the mig. Pilot asked for asylem to the United States. That is one day I will never forget.

  10. Les Clements

    Nobody has info on the ‘Battle of Coral Gables’? F-104s from Homestead intercepted a returning flight of zdouth Smerican B-25s and P-51s low over the Gables on 62-63?

  11. Cédric

    Nice pics !

    I have a 319th shell at home. No name upon/inside. I suppose it’s the last years on the Zipper (1967/69).

    I also recently catched on eBay a nice grouping from a pilot, Jan Stevens.

    I’d like to get in contact with a former member of the unit, 1966/69 era.

    Thanks !



  12. Ed Jones

    I was in the 319th from Mar ’63 to Jul ’64 when I was transferred to Yokota AB Japan. I was an A1c working as a Mechanical Accessory Repairman (Environmental Systems). SSgt Jerry MacDonald (Mac) was our ranking tech and Joel Sasser, Kennedy, and I comprised the shop. Possibly the best assignment I had in my 23 year career. Great plane, great squadron, great people, and many great memories. Used to be a fence around our compound with one side abutting a canal. I met a gator one day coming around the corner. I hit the fence about half way up and the gator hit the water. Who was scared the most? I’d bet on me.

  13. charles kirkland

    Anyone know where we can get patches from the 319th. building a shadow box

  14. ray davis

    I was in the engine shop 1966 to 1969 remember maynor twins because they were from north buncombe and I was from marshall

  15. Dave Sprague

    Do you remember another “BUBBLE CHASER” Dave Sprague ? I was also in the Hydeaulic shop from 67/68. I’m going to be 67 this month and I’m glad we are both still around. Do you remember Major STU the test pilot that would take a bird that was done having a phase inspection for a quick ride and and would impress all of us with his flying antics. Even at my age now I would go back into the AF in a heart beat.I would no ever go back to Nam! Hope you are well and get this note. Dave Sprague

  16. Aaron

    Good afternoon,

    Some years ago as a Realtor, I was hired to sell a residence in Mn. This home was owned by a former F-104 pilot, I believe 1958-1962. Everything that had beeneft behind by the owners was to be thrown away, however I did salvage some items from being thrown out.

    I’d like to learn more about some lighters /patches I have . I have a zippo type lighter with the insignia on each one , which match the patches.

    Below is a list of lighters with matching patches.

    I have an official usaf picture of the pilot and his name, however in regards to his privacy I’d like to hold off naming him at this time as I’ve never met the gentleman .

    61st fighter interceptor squadron, newfoundland.
    538th FIS
    460th FIS “Cave Tigrim ” (zippo has engraved bottom “Baby Ace”)
    Another zippo type lighter with “Grasshopper” riding on a missile
    I have 3 patches of the grasshopper riding the missile, two are worn as if they were off his jacket, one is new.
    3 new large patches from 61st FIS
    1 new 538th FIS
    1 with a Eagles claw holding a lightning bolt.
    And lastly, silver wings with a star above the wings. Not metal, under a loop it’s tiny silver/white gold woven and almost looks like there are diamonds in it, due to the shimmer.

    Thank you for any information anyone is willing to give me, and for those who were in the service , God bless you and thank you !

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Thanks Aaron. I will send you an email about this topic.


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