Captain Benjamin Cloud was a U.S. Navy pilot who worked in reconnaissance at various stages of his long career, including
on the cusp of the Vietnam War. Eventually he would be assigned command of that unit making him one of the first African-American
officers to command a squadron. This collection focuses on photos taken by Cloud or his reconnaissance squadrons. This Collection
includes numerous photos taken by Cloud.
Benjamin Cloud was born November 6, 1931, in San Diego. He grew up predominantly in El Cajon, a small city in San Diego County.
After briefly majoring in Civil Engineering at San Diego State, he joined the US Navy and began pilot training in 1952. In
1954, he was assigned to the fighter reconnaissance program VC-61 (later designated as VFP-63), in San Diego, flying Grumman
F9F Panthers. The unit was deployed to the Pacific several times. After participating in a Navy special program, Cloud earned
a degree in Chinese language and culture and was returned to VC-61 in 1963 at the cusp of the Vietnam War. One of Cloud’s
team, Charles Klausmann, was among the first to be wounded when his plane went down during a reconnaissance mission.