Introducing the Sandeman logo, the Don, as the new VQ-2 Squadron Patch and Aircraft Markings

During 1971, after years of operational deception by avoiding the use of any Squadron markings and even tailcodes, VQ-2 adopted, in an epic change, the Sandeman logo, “The Don” for its Squadron aircraft markings, replacing the Electric Bat.  Sandeman is a brand of Port wines founded in 1790 and its well-known logo features a caped man named “The Don” dressed as a black cloaked Andalucian Don, over a red and yellow background.  The word Don in Spanish used when addressing an opulent citizen/official.  The red triangle signified the radar sweep and was replicated behind The Don on the aircraft tails.  The yellow background and the red recalled the Flag of Spain (until 1975 under General Franco leadership). The Don became the official insignia of VQ-2 in December 1974.  In 1975-78, the red radar sweep on the tail became orange, recalling the post-Franco Spanish flag colors.  In 1980, The Don would be ordered off the tails by the CO, being replaced by the Electric Bat (Cosmic) Bat.

Capture on the picture: Evidence of the first use of the Don is documented by this photo of 146455/JQ7 aboard USS Forrestal (CV 59), during the January-July 1971 Med Cruise with CVW-17.  USMC VMCJ-2 Det a EA-6As deployed for the first time as part of an Air Wing.  Note the Don and the red background triangle are very small compared to the larger version which became VQ-2’s trade mark for the following years.

Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron TWO VQ-2 COSMIC BATS

In 1979, when CAPT Taylor came back after the previous C.O. was unceremoniously relieved of Command, he did not want the Sandeman on the tail and directed a draftsman in Special Projects to come up with something else.

With this rather unpopular decision, reportedly based on copyrights restrictions on the use of the Sandeman logo, VQ-2 reverted back to a modified version of the Electric Bat, now call Cosmic Bat, adopted as the official squadron patch and painted it on the vertical stabilizer of each aircraft.  The callsign, however, remained Ranger.

Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron TWO Disestablished

Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 2 Command Master Chief (AW/FMF) Robert Lemons presents the commissioning pennant to Commanding Officer Cmdr. Mark Stockfish during the squadron’s disestablishment ceremony at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island May 17. The pennant symbolizes the moment when the life of a ship begins; in VQ-2’s case, it was Sept. 1, 1955. VQ-2 Rangers concluded 57 and half years of naval service during the ceremony.

In preparation for the Squadron disestablishment, which was to be effective on August 31, 2012, VQ-2 CO, CDR Stockfish organized a disestablishment ceremony at NAS Whidbey Island, on May 17, 2012.  This ceremony marked the end of 57 years of proud professionalism, accomplishments and sacrifice.  Several hundred personnel attended the ceremony, many of them were former VQ-2 men and women who had travelled long distances to say farewell to an entity they considered an old friend.  Since 1955, VQ-2 called three continents home, operated five different aircraft types, and collected intelligence on countless areas and units of naval and international interest.

Video of the disestablished ceremony

Source: From Bats to Rangers