December 18, 1934 – October 30, 2018
Dear TACAMO Veterans,
We learned today of the passing of the 'father' of TACAMO, Vice Admiral Jerry Owen Tuttle, U.S. Navy (Retired) on 30 Oct 2018. VADM Tuttle first enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 10 March 1953, was designated a Naval Aviator on 17 October 1956 and served until his retirement in January 1994 as Director, Space and Electronic Warfare, OPNAV OP-094/N6. His long and distinguished career included two combat tours to Vietnam aboard USS INTREPID, flying 260 combat missions (220 over North Vietnam) earning three Distinguished Flying Crosses and 23 Air Medals (5 individual and 18 strike/flight awards.) He flew A-4 Skyhawks with Ernie Lewis who was later the TACAMO PMA in NAVAIR when the Merc was purchased. Throughout his career Jerry Tuttle was a driving force in the Navy for numerous tactical, operational, C4I, and technological advancements, many of which continue to benefit the Navy today. He received the 1978 Navy League's John Paul Jones award for inspirational leadership.
We call him the 'father of our mission because he personally led the efforts of a technical team to prove out and then field the first operational TACAMO systems. With the first nuclear deterrence submarine, USS George Washington, SSBN-598 setting to sea in October 1960, the need for connecting to the submerged force was born. Shore based VLF transmitters needed a less vulnerable back up in case of war. Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, PA was the Navy’s development lab for TACAMO. In 1962 they conducted tests with an EC-121 Super Constellation aircraft that proved VLF could be transmitted from an aircraft. LT Jerry Tuttle, working in the Navy’s Communications Office, was given the task to field such a system and he was given the project name, Take Charge And Move Out or TACAMO in 1963. A KC-130 was borrowed from the Marines and the LT and a group of engineers and contractors built and then tested a system all over the globe. From that point on the acquisition staffs at Naval Air Development Center, Naval Electronics Systems Command, and the Bureau of Weapons, contracted with Collins Radio of Richardson Texas and Lockheed Georgia to build systems that would roll on and off Hercs. By late 1964 they arrived at TACAMO Dets in VR-1 and VR-21. LT Tuttle went back to being a fighter pilot. Near the end of his very distinguished career, VADM Tuttle was again back in the Pentagon in what had formerly been the Navy Communications Office, this time as its leader. Once again he was supporting TACAMO, this time with budgets and influence at the very critical time of the Wing standup and force relocation to NAS OKC. He agreed to be the guest speaker for the wing commissioning ceremony in 1992. The establishment ceremony was a BIG DEAL. Also there as a measure of the importance of TACAMO was then Vice President Dan Quale was the keynote speaker. From start of the community to its reaching full maturity, Jerry Tuttle could say he was in the middle of both. On three separate occasions, the late Norm Tindall, myself, and lately Lew McIntrye, all interviewed VADM Tuttle and captured his part of our history and his thoughts about what was in 1962 and 1992 and today, one of the CNO's top priority programs.
TCVA extends its sympathy and prayer for peace to Barbara and her family during this time of the passing of a great American Sailor, Jerry O. Tuttle.
Funeral Information: https://www.moneyandking.com/obituaries/Jerry-O-Tuttle-VADM-USN-Ret?obId=3412802
Friday, 9 Nov
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Money & King Funeral Home
171 W. Maple Ave. Vienna, VA 22180
Arlington National Cemetery at a later date