319FiS at Homestead AFB


319th 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-319th FiS people for their very nice contribution!!

The 319th FiS 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 Defense Command). When received by 319th FIS the F-104's had installed a Vulcan cannon and later on also a J79-GE-19 engine. The squadron operated from 3 flights being A, B and C. The 319th FIS flight colors on the trim rudder and the intake lips / shock cones were:
A flight : Yellow
B flight : Red
C flight : Blue

On the tails of the aircraft they painted the official 319th FiS 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 319th 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 319th FiS 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 319th FiS Starfighters in the air, flying over Miami, Florida.
The F-104A’s included 56-808, 810, 852 and 851.
This picture shows 319th FiS Starfighters under a shelter at “Air Defense” alert duty - ready for take-off within 5 minutes.
A very interesting detail is that the 2nd aircraft in the row is a 479th TFW 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 FIS, 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 Condon, 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.
This picture shows clearly the different inlet cone + inlet colors used by the 3 different flights at Homestead (A, B and C)
This picture shared by Randy Williams (son of Richard A. "Dick" Williams) shows eight pilots of the 319th FIS around 1963 or 1964. Thanks to ex 319th FIS pilots Lee Ransom, James Nelson, John Sweeney, Jim Birmingham and Joe Stuart we could identify the pilots:
Standing left to right are : J.D. Dunn, Bob Condon, Don Parsons and Jan Stevens. Kneeling from left to right are: Ulad Marsh, John Taylor, Bernie Fisher and Dick Williams.

Credits : Jan Stevens, added by pictures of the International F-104 Society and Randy Williams.


  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.

  17. Valorie Pearson

    Hello Aaron, I think the gentleman you are referring to may be my father. Please contact me !

  18. Valorie Pearson

    I think the gentleman you are referring to may be my Dad. Please contact me

  19. Sue Kidwell

    I remember you as a little girl at Homedtead AFB, Fla. and I believe saw you again many yrs later at your parents’ home in Mn. when my husband Howard and I visited your mother and dad while on a trip! Our youngest son Gary, born at Homestead 1968, is named after your dear Dad! At the last time we visited, I believe your dad had already retired as a Capt. with Northwest Airlines!!
    On that wonderful and last visit with them, they introduced us to Janes Crazy Mixed Up Salt seasoning! I think of them so often, and I believe I or Howard talked with you or your sister not long afterwards when they were going through a very challenging time in their lives!
    Valorie, I would love to hear from you! I gather your parents have passed away. If so, I’m so very sorry! Have thought of calling them so many times through the yrs and truly regret not following through! Howard passed away Dec. 18, 2010 as result of exposure to Agent Orange during Vietnam War!
    I hope you’re doing well!
    Many blessings.

  20. Leo Lamoureux

    Hello Valorie,

    My name is Leo Lamoureux and saw your post from April 2020. When I saw your name I knew that your dad and I were stationed at Homestead A.F.B. and members of the 319th F.I.S. I was a crew chief (66-67) on the F-104’s and launched your dad on several flights.

    The reason I wanted to contact you, is that I have a news article from the Lockheed Star dated Aug 24, 1966. They did a feature story on your dad and his family. It was something I saved after all these years. You may have copies of your own. There are several photo’s and it is in good condition. I thought if you would like to have it, I would be more than happy to send it to you. We would need to get some contact information. I’ll continue watching this Web sight.

  21. Leland B Ransom II

    It was a very lucky first assignment for a new USAF pilot. After F-102 checkout at Perrin and some parasail training at Lake Texoma I got to do a local checkout at the 319th FIS in the F-104A along with the new Squadron Commander to be, Col Tom Curtis. Col Jackson (known affectionately as “weak eyes Jackson”) led us on a hurricane evacuation to Georgia before he was reassigned. He would hold up his dark blue flight cap to the sky and declare the sky still not stormy enough to cancel training missions… “Launch the Force”.

  22. Alan Charlie Brown

    My name is Charlie Brown my dad was w the 319th at homestead when I was 6 an 7 yrs old. His name capt Alan R brown. I used to run a way from school to find my dad I knew he flew the jets. I would ride my bike down there walk around the canals near the flight line throw rocks at gators, till one of the pilots would find me ask me what I was doing? I said looking for my dad! With 7 yr old pride! He took me into a rm with all the pilots I loved it. Howard turner was one of the pilots I was friends w his daughters. My dad just passed away in may at 83yrs old.

  23. Gary Muto

    Good memories of all. Command Post/air operations 1966-1967.

  24. Joseph D. Renick

    This is for Sue Kidwell, Charlie Brown, Lee Ransom and Valarie (Pearson).

    I am Joe Renick and flew F-104’s at Homestead from May of 1965 till August of 1969. I have fond memories of those years and it was guys like Gary Pearson, Howard Kidwell, Al Brown and you, Lee, that made it special. I also flew F-102A with Gary Pearson in the 460th FIS at Portland, Oregon. Great airplane, great people, great memories. God’s blessings to all during these troubled times.

    Joe Renick

  25. Leslie mcandrews

    My dad flew with 319..his name is Ray Nyls .

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Hello Leslie, I have been in contact with your dad back in 2014 via email. He flew with 319th FiS indeed but also with 337th FIS.
      I hope everything is fine with him.
      Harry Prins (chairman Int. F-104 Society).

  26. Leslie mcandrews

    Hello, and thankyou for your message about my dad . My dad passed away at the age of 99 in 2019. I sure do miss him!

  27. Harry Prins

    Hello Leslie, I am very sorry to hear that.
    I am sure he will be missed indeed!
    Take care.

  28. Jim Birmingham

    I found this site today on 2021 Veteran’s Day which is certainly fitting and it brings back so many good memories. Names like Gary Pearson, Joe Renick, Lee Ransom, Charlie Neal, Charles W. Jackson (of course), Earl Grenzebach, Ralph Carlock, Bernie Fisher, Paul Mulhern, John Kimmerly, Don Kelley and so many others are really nice to see again. I was so blessed to get this assignment to F-104’s in 1964 fresh out of Perrin AFB. I got a call there that said I was assigned to the Zip and another saying that was a mistake. When I was about ready to jump out the window, the final call came that led us to Homestead. Thanks so much Jan and the others that put this excellent project together.

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Thanks Jim.
      Where you an F-104 technician?
      Have a great day.

  29. Jim Birmingham

    Morning Harry. I was a very young and inexperienced pilot until I arrived at this dream assignment. I liked my assigned airplane so much that my very capable crew chief and myself waxed it one day when on alert. It was a great two years and I wished it could have lasted longer.

  30. Luis Santiago

    I too was stationed at Homestead in 69 crew chief on F104 for the 319 FIS ,the day the mig landed at homestead,I was in the alert pad trailer,I remember my bird being call to action ,I dashed out the door to get my 104 ready to go for my pilot as I remember being told Nixon had grounded the aircraft that covered air to ground radar and the mig was able to sneak under radar ! Later we were told by the pilot of the mig that his Uncle had helped giving him extra fuel so he can get here ! I left for Nam in Jan 70 ,I think we might have been part of project Bluebook ,because we heard and saw weird stuff about UFO and I remember we were also training Arabs and Jewish pilot ,and there was the night I tell you had to be man in black came in black Van and took pilot that had just come back from chasing UFO we also escorted high jacked American aircraft to Cuba first wave of Cubans getting home sick would high jack aircraft to take them to Cuba ! Yes that was an exciting time for me !!! Lets not forget Nixon would come in to Homestead and we had quiet hour ??

  31. Mark Rubin

    My Father Marvin Rubin was the NCOIC of the Detachment from the 319th stationed at Patrick. I remember as a small child going inside the bomb shelter and the trailers. They had lights on the trailers. i think those lights identified alert level. I’ll check to see if I have a 319th patch that I can send for the shadow board mentioned above. It will take some time as it’s probably buried in storage.

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Thanks a lot Mark. Interesting story regarding your father! Do you have any pictures left of him with F-104’s at Patrick?

  32. Douglas Kidwell

    Good Evening from North Texas!

    My Father is Lt.Col Howard W. Kidwell, assigned to the 319 FIS and is in the Pilot group photo with Tail Number FG-878, as well as a self-portrait with an F-104. While growing up, and until his passing on 18 December 2010, he would periodically share his love for their aircraft and the camaraderie deeply shared within the 319 FIS. Especially during y’all’s reunions. ?

    I found this site a couple years ago looking for photos of my Dad as a Fighter Pilot and also saw my Mother made a post here as well. Anyway, within the past few months I had an itch to start working on a 1/72 Scale F-104C model Dad got back in the mid-1980’s but never started it. Then looked at the Pilot group photo with FG-878 I had downloaded from here and was now on a mission to find a 1/72 Scale decal set that had the 319 FIS Patch and Tail Number FG-878. To my surprise, I found an unused set containing exactly what I desired and bought it on eBay.

    Went a step further looking for a 1/48 Scale decal set and again found what I wanted on eBay. Then found a 2022 Kinetic 1/48 Scale F-104A/C model, asked for it as my July B-Day present and my boys got it for me. My objective: Airbrush the aircraft with same color scheme as the 319 FIS F-104C that Dad flew. I looked on this page for colored photos but only saw a group of F-104B’s in line on the tarmac but not sure if the color pattern would be the same as the F-104C. Through my research, there were varying color schemes based on the Squadron and assigned AF Base, so the assumption would be “YES” on the 319 FIS F-104B photo here.

    I have scoured the Internet looking for colored photos the 319 FIS F-104C aircraft and found only one complete photo of FG-851 assigned to B Flight. Additional research, to include here on this web page, Flights A-C were color-coded and reflected by the color of the Intake Cone & Letter Designator on the tail. I’m also fairly certain the aircraft’s body was ADC Gray, except the top of the wings (White), top of the nose (anti-glare Black) and the engine enclosure (Burnt Metal). What would be equally cool is if I could learn what Flight my Dad was assigned to replicate this model as accurately as possible.

    When the 1/48 Scale is complete it will set beside his Pilot Helmet on my desk at home (actually Dad’s Desk) as a way of honoring him. The 1/72 Scale will be in my office.

    Thank you for your attention and thank you for your service. AIM HIGH! and God Bless.

    P.S. “If anyone has such photos on hand, it would be greatly appreciated if you could send them to Douglas.Kidwell@reagan.com.”

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Hello Douglas. Thanks for your story and telling about the scale model project. Be aware that the 319FiS flew the F-104A and F-104B models only.

  33. Douglas Kidwell

    WOW!!! Boy, did I get my wires crossed. Okay, the Refueling Probe is definitely not going on.

    Appreciate the feedback , Sir!

  34. Harry Prins Post author

    Douglas, I also mailed you some additional color pictures of 319FiS birds.

  35. Mark Rubin

    Yes I have pics. Where can I send them.

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Hello Mark, I have emailed you. Thanks!

  36. Jay Less

    I was assigned to 19th BW combat support group, Nov ’67- Aug ’68. Our barracks along with the Navy & marine were all together. I was there when the base was transferred from SAC to TAC. Last week I was going through old photos and reminiscing about those days. Sad I only have a few photos.

  37. Bruce B


    I’m an old Phantom (Weasel) driver. In 1992 while deployed in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, I met a retired O-6 working as the Range Controller. He told a story about flying F-104s as escort missions for U-2s over Cuba. He said they had big engines, and modified intakes. I found out yesterday the 319th had -19 J79s (similar to the -17 we had in the F-4G) after 1967. He said prior to the change, they bingo’d out quickly when doing these missions…they had to use burner on the downwind to upwind leg while orbiting around the U-2. After the engine upgrade, they could cover the entire U-2 mission over Cuba. He said the intakes were modified. He also stated the squadron was going to do a time to climb record, but after practicing for some time, the Air Force shut it down. Any info on how accurate, who he was (forgot the name after 31 years!), or pictures of the modified intakes? Many have opined the story is BS, but I suspect it is true.

  38. Crourk72@gmail.com

    Charles l Rourk 1965-67 319th. FIS
    FOR TRAINING ON F4 phantom. I left Udorn
    In Oct 68 after TET offensive. Came home and Joined National Guard. My unit moved to Raleigh NC so I Join Navy Reserve
    Did a lot of traveling. I am now 79 years of age. Best of luck to guys still living.

  39. Kenneth Czubaj

    What a surprise to read comments by John Boardman a Dave Sprague. I went to Vietnam twice with the 31st TFW that was at Homestead also and I joined the 319th FIS in 67 then left the military in May of 68. Hope you both are doing good. I’m a snowbird between Tonawanda NY and Madeira Beach Fla.
    What a change in working the hydraulics on the F-100 and then the F104. My military 4 years was the best.

  40. Sra Hart.

    I was at Homestead much later in the 80s with different fighters, and if my accounting is right we only had 4 of the F 104s left in a bunker on alert at the EOR.

    Some of my best memories were watching them scramble out of nowhere. I was a newbie on the 31st TAC with F-4 and F-16s.
    Thanks for making this group. Even those that didn’t serve directly with appreciate your service and the F-104.
    I do remember being on Hazardous Response Team in the mid 80s and we got an IFE call on a F-104 inbound and the pilot had to ditch in the Atlantic. It was collected and stored in the older B 52 hangar. I do not remember the tail number but I think it’s tail stripe was yellow.
    Sra Hart. 31st TAC, HAFB.

  41. Roger Snyder


    Ron, I was stationed at Patrick AFB, I think it was around 1965. We were a small detachment from Homestead where I was from end of 63 and 64 or 65, till I transferred to Patrick. I remember clearly the F104 when it had the stuck throttle and ran into the end of runway netting. I remember putting in the landing gear safety pins and untangling the webbing from the aircraft.

    It was a great time of my life. I then transferred to Japan, Yakota AFB , F105, then Thailand F105.

    I still love the F104.

  42. Sergeant Daniel Tessitore

    Hi I’m Danny testatory I was one of two or maybe three taxi and run up men on the 104 between 1966 and 1970 I was there for the Meg I was there for the dash 19 upgrade I was a throttle jockey I was always at the trim pad checking things out making sure everything was good it was a fun time if I would have stayed on the Starfighter I would have stayed in the service for as long as I could but they put me on Phantoms and I hated that jump it was terrible for an engine man


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