Drawing of Chance Vought done in about 1915
The following people were important in the early professional life of Chance M. Vought, his company and its heritage:
Chance Vought, Max Lillie and Andrew Drew
Others included Glenn Curtiss, Harold McCormick, Sidney James, William S. Romme, Benjamin Foulois, Lincoln Beachey, E. Percy Noel, Glenn Martin, Billy Mitchell, Grover Loening, Jerome Hunsaker, H. B. Sallada, R. S. Barnaby, W. S. Diehl, T. G. Ellyson, J.R. Tate, and A.D. Turnbull,.
Chauncey "Chance" Milton Vought
Chance Vought and his wife Ena Lewis Willey Vought. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Jefferson Lewis of New York/Pittsburgh. They were married in 1920 in New York City. Mrs Vought was an officer (Secretary/Treasurer) in the Lewis and Vought Corporation and the Chance Vought Corporation.
Other important people in the early days of the company (no photo available) include:
Chance Vought's father, George W. Vought who served as the first President of the Chance Vought Corporation and invested money into the concern. Still others inluded Robert B. Knowles, William F. Bennett, John J. Rooney, Bert Wright, William Lewis, Fred H. Given, R. Glover, C. R. Brown and Chance's brother Russell R. Vought
Birdseye Blakeman Lewis, CMV's business partner in the Lewis & Vought Corporation. Shown here in his Wright HS in 1916. Contrary to published material, he was not CMVs Father-in-Law. He was two years older than Vought. They both shared an interest in the future of aviation. Vought supplied the talent while Lewis supplied the money. Birdseye Lewis was from a well off New York family who had made their money in the iron business. Birdseye B. Lewis was born February 23, 1888 to John Van Buren Lewis and Marianna Blakeman Lewis. Marianna's father was Birdseye Blakeman. Birdseye B. Lewis married Charlotte Pearsall Thorne on March 7, 1890. They had two children, Oakleigh Lewis and Birdseye B. Lewis, Jr. Birdseye B. Lewis died as a Major in the U. S. Army on General John J. Pershing's Staff in France in 1917.
Became President of the Chance Vought Corporation upon Chance Vought's sudden death, more importantly he was an old friend of Vought's. He was founder of the Wright Aeronautical Corporation and later the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft which produced the Wasp and Hornet engines which Vought used very successfully in his aircraft of the period..
Was at the Bureau of Aeronautics where he began his work with Chance Vought and subsequently became a manager in United Air and Transport Company. Followed Frederick Rentschler as President of Chance Vought Corporation, a position he held for six years and was an importat period for Vought's growth.
Charles J. McCarthy
Worked at the Bureau of Aeronautics with Vought, Rentschler, Wilson and Beisel. Joined Chance Vought Corporation as Chief Engineer and supervised the development of the O2U Corsair and other important Vought aircraft. He was made General Manager in 1940 and guided the company through the early war years of WWII.
Rex B. Beisel
Another veteran of the Bureau of Aeronautics, Rex Beisel was the Chief Engineer for the F4U Corsair. He took the company through the end of the war and the post WWII period. It was under his management (as a Vice President for United Aircraft) that the company was moved from Connecticutt to Texas in 1948.
Frederick O. Detweiler
Frederick O. Detweiler came up through the ranks of United Aircraft to be the Assistant General Manager of the Chance Vought Corporation and the General Manager in 1949. He became the first President of Chance Vought Aircraft, Inc. when it seperated from United Aircraft in 1954. When James J. Ling began an attempt to merge Chance Vought Aircraft into his conglomerate in 1961, Frederick Detweiler organized a resistence. The merger went though and he was asked to remain as President but he declined and left.
James J. Ling
Was never formally a part of Chance Vought Aircraft, but he certainly had an influence on the company. In the 1940s he worked in the North American Aviation plant that eventually housed Chance Vought operations, in the 1950s his fast growing company Ling Electronics absorbed Temco Aircraft that then occupied part of the old North American Aviation site and in 1961 he was able to absorb Chance Vought Aircraft Corporation, which was in the other portion of the NAA site, into his empire to create Ling-Temco-Vought which later became LTV, the 14th largest company in the United States.
Gifford K. Johnson
Gifford Johnson was Frederick Detweiler's General Manager when he declined to stay with Chance Vought as a part of Ling-Temco-Vought. Gifford Johnson was among the North American Aviation managers who helped build Texas Engineering and Manufacturing company into Temco Aircraft. Johnson was made President of Chance Vought Corporation, a subsidiary of Ling-Temco-Vought, Incorporated. He was not there very long as within the year he was promoted to be President of Ling-Temco-Vought.
William Paul Thayer
Paul was a WWII Ace fighter pilot. He came to Vought as a Test Pilot and worked his way up in management to become President when G. K. Johnson moved up to be President of Ling-Temco-Vought. Paul Thayer later became President of Ling-Temco Vought and saved LTV from bancruptcy. He brought the company back to profitability. During this time there was considerable reorganization. Vought became LTV Vought Aeronautics Division of LTV Aerospace Corporation. Thayer became President of LTV Aerospace.
Dan Gilmore was General Manager of the Vought Aeronautics Division of LTV Aerospace 1963- 1964
Russell "Russ" Clark
During his forty nine years associated with Vought, he moved through the ranks from design and project engineering to being the founding head of the Vought Astronautics division in 1959 and subsequently the head of the Vought Aeronautics Division from 1964 to 1969 with 26,000 employees and sales of $500 million at the division's peak. From 1969 to 1972 he was Senior Vice President, Technical, LTV Aerospace. Russ Clark moved up the engineering department into management. He assisted in the development of the F4U Corsair, was project engineer on the F6U-1 and the Cutlass and considered the father of the F-8 Crusader. Russ Clark played an important role in the development f the A-7 Corsair II.
Forbes rose from a draftsman at the plant in 1940 to President of LTV Aerospace Corporation in 1973. Forbes Mann was with Vought for nearly forty years.
As Chief Engineer, Sol Love played an important part in the winning of the A7 Corsair II contract. Previously he was on the F-8 engineering team and even earlier he worked on the design of the F4U. He was promoted to President of LTV Aerospace in 1970 and CEO of theVought Corporation in 1975.
I left Vought in 1976 and I am not as personally familiar with any managers after that time.
There are many other outstanding employees to talk about, but we can not name them all. I am reluctant to list any names for fear of leaving a deserving person off the list, but during my ten years and research for the book the following people were always held in high regard for the part they played at Vought. Mention must be made of long term employees like George Franko who served Vought for 50 years and Teddy Trept. Others like "Moe" Shwartz and V. V. Koodorff. In the Experimental Department there were several long term employees like Ludwig "Pop" Reichert, Herman Meiners, John Reiger, Peter Sperazza, Mike Bilchak, W. Hravda and Bill Mier. In 1975 there were nearly 2,000 employees who had been with the company for 25 years or more. Of those 1, 457 were with the company for more than 40 years of service. It was these people who made Vought a consistent producer of quality aircraft for more than 50 years.
Outstanding test pilots who come to mind include Lyman Bullard, Paul Baker, Boone Guyton, and John Konrad.
Vought Test Pilots, 1942
Engineers like Michael Watters, Bill Schoolfield, Connie Lau, Ed Cvetko, Felix Fentner, Edward McDonough, Jesse Santamaria, Milton J. Rudick, Billie Smith, Alan Starr, Claude "Jake" Benner, James E. Martin , Duane and Gene Schaezer, Fred Dickerson, Adrian Perry, Sam Perry, Sam Hodgson, George Darracott, S. T. Day, J. M. Shoemaker, Henry C. Nissen, , George Spangenburg, G. F. Scharfenberger, H. H. Fisher, N. Harrison, W. Z. Miller, G. B. Shaw, B. E. Sherrell , and Lee Stetson.
Administrators like the Andrasko brothers (Joseph B and Steven), Joe Barr, Bud Yinger, Bill Micchelli, John J. "Jack" Hospers, J. J. Gaffney, Bert Taliaferro, Morris Roth, J.D.P. Hodapp, Clyde Skeen, Donald Russell, Art Schoeni, D. Tache, J. Walton,William H. Espey, George V. Anderson, F. J. Delear, Robert Fisette, F. Allbright, A. Dunn, H. G. Ericson, John Innes, G. Peach, and Mary Anne Dupperstadt
Also to be remembered are the pilots and crew members of all the units that flew a Vought aircraft here represented by members of the
Blacksheep squadron (VMF 214)
In addition to Vought employees, military F4U Corsair aces during WWII brought a lot of good publicity in for the company. Men like James E. Swett, Robert Hanson, Ira Kepford, Kenneth Walsh and
F4U Aces Joe Foss, on left and Marion Carl, in middle with Charles Lindbergh during WWII.
Chance Vought's Grave
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