VX-6 operated the P2V-7LP/LP-2J(post 1962) in support of operation DEEPFREEZE I and II. DEEPFREEZE I was the exploration of the South Pole conducted during the fall of 1955. VX-6 provided air support for Task Force 43 which was the surface group responsible for transporting supplies to the scientists in Antarctica. Of the 15 aircraft assigned to VX-6, two were P2V-2Ns, 122465 and 122466. 122466 was destroyed while en route to Antarctica to join the search for a missing aircraft and 122465 was lost while attempting to land during a severe white-out blizzard.
DEEPFREEZE II got underway in September of 1956. Initially two P2V-7s were modified by Lockheed into the ski-equipped P2V-7LP (140434 and 140439). These two aircraft joined DEEPFREEZE II during December. In September 1957, 2 more P2V-7LPs (140436 and 140437)joined DEEPFREEZE III. During the late 1950s, 140439 was fitted with the Fulton Skyhook Retriever System. Eventually two of these aircraft were lost in accidents. On November 9, 1961, 140439 crashed on takeoff and 140434 was later lost in a crash landing. LP-2Js (as they were now known post 1962), continued to support DEEPFREEZE operations until their replacement by Ski equipped C-130 Hercules by 1964.
The last two remaining polar explorers were retired to Davis-Monthan AFB to await their fate. 140437 was eventually broken up while 140436 escaped the scrapper's torch and is reportedly in a private collection. VX-6 was credited with numerous accomplishments under very difficult conditions. Innovations in long range flights, takeoffs and landings from the ice, aerial mapping and photography and cold weather maintenance were all attributed to this unique squadron.
These pictures where taken during Operation Deep Freeze IV during 1959-1960 and are graciously provided by Jay Slagle
The "Unofficial" VXE-6 Website
"In the Shade of the Wing"
Ron Wheeler VP-23 1955-1958