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Just dropped in to say hello. A person doesn’t have to be retired Navy to be proud of having served. I served 3 years 8 months and 19 days, honorably discharged on a early out due to a military personel downsizing in 1970. I went to RTC in SanDeigo then 2 years at Nas Norris flight line, coup cleaning, security dept. and wheels watch. (an interesting and fun time). The rest of my time was spent being incharge of all the ground support equipment in HATRON TEN (another interesting and fun time). I like the association site it’s interesting and fun ha ha. Richard W. Myers Former ASH-3
This my first visit to this website. I found it very interesting. I am just getting started to see what all the A-3 sites have. I started working on a-3’s just out of the service (AF) in 1972 for Hughes A/C at NAS Point Mugu Ca. Little did I know that I would finish and retire still working on A-3’s (2004) 32 years I owe alot of the knowledge that I aquired from my first supervisior (Mike J glenn) as I worked for Hughes and then Raytheon and had a varied aircraft experience along the way, but none as interesting as our Whales. In the end we had over 7 aircraft flying and many more as parts. I am retired now and living in Prescott Arizona not far from the local airport. Just wanted to let you know (JET3411@MSN.COM)
My name is Mel Owen. I was in HATRON 2 VAH2 from 63 to 65. I worked in the air frames shop as AMS Did a few wheels watch at NAS Whidbey island worked as ground crew did my time at Cubi point loved the bbqs at the enlisted beach and san miguel beer . Any way my email
The site brings back many memories. I was with VAH 2 in 57-58 and VAH 6 in 59-61 and again 64-65. I was a third crew for about 4 years and did ASB-1 maintenance for the rest of the time. I’m retired in the Phoenix area and still love flying, but I fly remote control models. I’d love to build an A3, but I can’t find any plans. If you have a lead, let me know.
Hi Bob. I’m retired (PHCM) in NW PHX. I’ve seen plans for a model A3. Are you still looking? I went thru all of third cm school except the last night nav mission. My eyes would crap out at 4 hours, so I dropped out. Later, when I got to Guam (VAP-61), I found out from Fred (Flitter) Adams that he had never seen a 4 hr mission. When I checked into the squadron, the aircrew CPO, AECS Robbins, told me he wanted me to “bounce” for two years. When I asked if I could work my self into a full crewman, he said “Nope”. The photo officer, CDR “TED” deveas, walked in, and asked me how things were going. I told him I’d like to go to the photo lab if I couldn’d qualify as a crewman. Chief Robbins was quite irritated. I made PHC in 1967, and Warrant PH in 1969. Bob K
A Navy A3 Sky warrier classified as experimental flew yesterday in the Morenci MOA east of Tucson, AZ, near the New Mexico Border, about 2 pm local. The Air Traffic controller was not familiar with the Alpha 3 designation, and the pilot told him to check out this website. He had the airspace 18,000 feet and below to himself. I was flying near, and advised in clear language that the airspace was going hot in 4 minutes. I didn’t see the plane, but it might be the Raytheon project.
Found this site via Google and it has brought back tons of memories. My dad was a Pilot for VW-1, 60-62 and 66-68. VAP-61 was there also and my family befriended a Whale driver. He was lost 14 October, 1967 over Nam. He was LCDR Robert R. Vaughan, and he was a very dear friend.
Thank you for reviving the memories.
I was stationed at Whidbey and worked in Vah-2 and 10 as an At3. Made two cruises aboard the Ranger in 67 and 68. They are making progress on turning the Ranger into a musieum in Portland. Check out their website at http://www.ussrangercv61.com Had a great time working on the whales. Changed hundreds of Arc-27’s on the flight deck. I had a pair of safety-wire plyers that had many hours of flight time from being left in the hell hole!
I am Steve and was in vaw-13 and vaq-130 stationed in alameda also detached on the bon homme richard. I took carrier quals on the ranger in 67 i believe and new a couple of jet mechs by the name of wynn and ed sullivan. do you remember them. maybe if you have cruise books it will pick your mind some. thanks for your help and the best in the new year. steve berg of spring tx
I was attached to Heavy Four Det. Golf from 1965 to 1967at NAS Whidbey Island, WA and Det. Detachment Cubi Point, PI and onboard USS Oriskany. (Supply Dept. AKAN)
Heavy Ten 1967 to 1968 Whidbey Island,WA (Supply Dept.)
VAQ-131, 1968 to 1969 Aladema, CA (Supply Dept.)
Happy and Healthy New Years to all Heavy Shipmates from Retired in Dallas, Texas
Zane Predmore, USN (Ret.)
Very nice web site guys, check out ours. we shared flight deck space with some of you Heavys ,on various carriers . I was a brown shirt with A4s (VA155) , another great plane from the boys at Douglas Always loved to see the whale accelerate down the cat, the skin actually rippled . clear skies and hot jets
Hi, is awesome to share in some of the stories and memories connected to the ”Whale”. I served an AQ from1962 to 1966. I was assigned to the Kitty Hawk (VAH-13) and detached to the Independence (VAH-4) -SHELLBACK- and the Oriskany (VAH-4), but my memories often drift to the Beach DET to Cubi Point. This morning I think that I solved a nagging question that I had for several years. I remembered seeing on an illustration for the removal on the AN-ASB1 bombing computer that was on a “Propeller Powered” plane. I now believe that the other plane that shared the same equipment was an AJ-1 Savage.
I happened to be driving near the flight line on NAS Rota in 1991 and when I heard the distinctive and familiar sound of two J-57s in the flight pattern. Thinking that the A3 had long since been out of service I wondered what type of plane it was. To my amazement it turned out to be an A3 landing during the last flights of the ‘Whale” at Rota. The whales were returning to the US for decommissioning following week. It was great to hear from “skiski ”that the whale still lives. Nice site.
To Bob Flaherty
I was in Heavy two from 57 to 59 made two trips overseas with VAH2 on the Bon Homme Richard CVA31.
I have in my possession some plans of the A3 that were sent to me from McDonnell Douglas by Harry Gann.
If You would contact me With your addtess I could supply you with copies of what I have.
My name is Mickey cunningham. I was a adj3 on Bon homme Richard squadron in 1956-1958. I am looking for any navy buddies I served with. If you know of any I’m happy to give you my information.
My name is John Phipps. Was CTI crew member with VQ-1 out of Da Nang in the early 70’s. I too would love to see any plans that you have. We are contacting members of the Naval Security Group detachment and planning a reunion in October. Most of us flew in EA-3Bs. The plans would be great to show.
I joined the A-3 Association and plan to attend the gathering at NAS Whidbey Island this summer.
I am the daughter of Edward “Jake” Jacobs that flew the A3 back in the 60’s
I was only 5 months old when he became MIA on Aug 25, 1967. I am looking for anyone that knew him or has information about my father.
I served at NAS Whidbey, VAH-6 (TAD to NAS) from February 1958 when we split the squadron leaving the AJ’s at NAS North Island and went north with the A3D’s, until March of 1960. Was on the first Westpac with Heavy 6 on USS Ranger CVA-61. Have a good friend, Jim Turpin, parachute packer that I still communicate with, lost touch with everyone else. Would like to find A.R (Al) Britten a personnelman who lived next door to me at Whidbey.
Now on the board of Directors to save Ranger as a museum ship (and you can bet I will find a place for a Whale if we are successful)!
I note the mention of the USS Ranger above. I haven’t been keeping up with the status of that great ship, and with so many of the Navy’s great ships being sunk as a form of disposal I sort of feared that it also might be a fish motel. I believe sinking is a terrible idea, incidentally. But back to the Ranger, our unit, VAH-9, went aboard the Ranger when it was newly operational–at Guantanamo–and we got carrier qualified aboard it. As I recall, C.T. Booth was the CO, and it was the summer of 1957. Our aircraft was in the slot to make the first operational landing, but we were waved off so that the aircraft behind us could have that honor. The pilot of that aircraft was CDR Norman McInnis, our ops officer, and his B/N was LT(jg) John Stevens. Our A3D landed behind McInnis, but he was kind enough to allow our crew to experience the first cat shot, which we did. Our crew consisted of LCDR Jim Nelson, myself, and Chief Bolger as third crew. We returned to the Ranger at the end of the year and VAH-9 brought recognition to the ship by skillfully dropping five inert nuclear weapons on the target range at Eglin AFB during an Atlantic exercise.
Great site,served in heavy 3 and heavy 9
seeking info on deceased scpo joseph L Hofecker he was Stationed at Sanford
when the Base closed and moved to Albany also served on the Saratoga
don’t know Sq pr his Career field
I was contacted by his son who was young at the time of his fathers death
and is seeking any info that may be available on his father concerning his time at NAS Sanford and his Naval cereer
Anyone who knew SCPO Hofecker please contact me so I can put you in
contact with his son,Im sure you can appreciate a sons desire to learn
of his Fathers Career
Ben Bruner/Heavy 9 /Hooter
Just browsing thru some Guam connected interest. I was stationed on Guam (VJ-61) 1956-1957, AIMD NAS 1969-1973. Noticed some changes in the 12 years I was gone. The biggest change seemed to be the WWII leftovers were almost completely gone when I returned in 1969. Enjoyed the island and met many wonderful local people. The Fiestas were great. My children were learning bad words in three different languages so decided it was time to return to Duva Duva. Retired in 1975.
If you are interested in a good quality model of any type of A3, William Randolph of Jacksonville, Fl, is the man to contact. I recently bought an EA3B configured model from him and the detail was excellant. He will build the model according to your specifications. His website is http://www.12oclockhigh.com and his email address is TwelveHigh@aol.com
I just returned back to Minnesota from visiting the USS Midway museum in San Diego. It was awesome! I served aboard that old gal with VAQ 130 det.2 in 72-73 Westpac cruise.Tonkin Gulf. Sooooo many memories! Of course, while “on the line” for 30 days at a time, we flew round the clock sorties and worked 12 on 12 off, 24/7. The best part of the trip was seeing old 612 which I spent many an hour working on. I was an ADJ3 and they pulled that ship out of the desert to display on board. WOW.had to give her a kiss!! Are there any of my old mates from 130 det 2 on here? My crew chief John Ireland .you here?? Just joined here, what a great site! Time goes by fast and it’s great to connect with old and new friends. God bless!
Don, was with you on that awesome VAQ 130 Det 2, USS Midway, 72-73 NAM. One of your pilots. Now working to get proper recognition of Det 2/NF-612 on board Midway. To include a plaque with Det 2s accomplishments and names of all Det 2 personnel. Hope you wear the Presidential Unit Citation we all exclusively earned for that cruise, with pride. Am also a Minnesota boy, from farm in South near Waseca. You?
Terry, I didn’t realize that was one of your Det airplanes. One of mine when I was OINC for VQ-1 on Kitty Hawk and Ranger, 146457, I believe is now a museum piece somewhere. I don’t know where it finally ended up. It was on a pedestal at the Rota BOQ for a number of years. The pictures on the Whale website seem to stop at Norfolk. Originally it was said to be destined for Mobile, Alabama, and then I heard it was going to USS Yorktown Museum? Drop me an email if you have a chance. I have a couple of ‘off-line’ questions for you. trijet0 (that’s a zero) at comcast dot net.
Hi, Was an AQ 58-61 first in VQ2 at Rota 58 and 59 (flew ECM), then VAH 7 at Sanford, detached to VAH1 for Med cruise 1960. Cracked a few windshields removing those LARGE computers! But the hardest was working in the tail area on the gun control equipment. Had so many flight hours at Rota yhat VAH-7 people wanted me to fly in A3s had to correct that as my hours were in P4M and P2V
I hope you still have this email address. I was on that 1960-61 Med cruise also, TAD from VAH-7. My 1st deployment and I was assigned to the line (Brown shirt). I wonder if you would mind to email me so I can ask you a couple of questions regarding that trip.
HELLO ALL A3 WHALERS= HELP! I AM TRYING TO LOCATE FOUR (4) VAQ-33 SQUADRON PATCHES. I AM PUTTING TOGETHER NYLON FLIGHT JACKETS WITH SQUADRON AND NAS PATCHES FOR MY SONS FOR CHRISTMAS. I CAN NOT FIND ANY FIREBIRD PATCHES ON LINE. IF YOU HAVE ONE OR TWO AND WOULD BE WILLING TO SELL THEM PLEASE CONTACT ANDY BARBRE AT email@example.com or call 714-771-2291. THANKS SHIPMATES, ANDY BARBRE
I was checking out your site, and man is it good. I served with VQ-1 on Guam from 1976-1980. Pulled boat dets on the Coral Sea and the Ranger with a stint in Cubi Point in the middle. Sure do miss this plane! So many stories to tell, not enough time. Wish all well.
Was in Heavy 10 detachment aboard Forrestal during the 67 disaster. Instead of going home we flew to the Med and finished a cruise aboard Saratoga. Served as Ships Company aboard USS Midway 1963-65. She is now a well managed museum in San Diego. Toured her last week and was pleased to see that she had a nicely restored Whale on the flight deck. Retired in 1975. VAH-10, VAQ-308, VAQ-1020.
Hi, was just looking around and ran across Grant Looney’s name. Hey Grant , I haven’t heard from you since the 60s. Hope you are well and hope you check this site again, I know I will. I was an ATN3 with VAH2 aboard Coral Sea in 1960.
I was a spook before I was a seabee. Iflew with VQ1 during the xmas bombings in ’72. Our OIC with the det was Lcdr Gamrath. When I ran across this site, I thought it might be a good way to get in touch with the guys I flew with. My roommate and friend Gary Nelson stayed on as a spook, and I lost contact with him. It would be nice to hear how he’s doing. My tour with VQ1 was one of the high points of my life. Being carrier qualified on EA3B’s was one hell of an experience. We even managed to trap on the Hancock, being low on fuel. It looked pretty small from my vantage point. Anyway, you old VQ1 spooks give me a holler if you read this. And for those who served in VQ2, Lt. Don baumer is alive and well in Modesto, California. For me, life was too busy out there, so I moved to Jay, Oklahoma two years ago. I look forward to hearing from you oldtimers.
Your note says that….” Iflew with VQ1 during the xmas bombings in ’72. Our OIC with the det was Lcdr Gamrath. “.
I was at Fltsupdet Danang from 72 – 73. 40 years ago this month is when we closed the Det and moved back to San Migues and fewl out of Cubi Point. A bunch of us are trying to find old Boglook spooks that were in DaNang and plan a reunion in October. Trying to reconnect and see where people ended up and how they got there. We have about 125 names, and have found about 25 – 30 people.
Are you interested in joining the email distribution?
John, enjoyed the pictures. I was with VAQ 135 and shore based in DaNang from Jan 1972 until August 1972. I was a pilot and flew from DaNang to the Hancock, picked up the strike group and off we went to war. Believe it or not, the staff car in one of the pictures is the same car I borrowed for a date there on base. Took a waitress who worked at the club on the Navy side to the officers club on the Air Force side. Girls name was FeFe or something like that. Spent a lot of time on China Beach. George Sigler
this message is actually for jared mcilmoil. just wanted to point out the same last name. i have never met another mcilmoil other than my family members, and i googled mcilmoil and this site came up. drop me an email ifyou wanna chat!
Question for Whalers: Can anyone give me directions to National Vigilance Park from I95 (coming from the the north). I’m taking my dad (Lcdr Frank Mudgett, VQ-1) on a trip to Pensacola from NH in September, via RV and I’d like him to see the EA-3B there.
As always, I love this site.
AQ with VF-33, back in the late ’70’s to early ’80s
I am a plank owner of Heavy 2 and made three trips to the far east.I flew with our CO Captain Sayler and our maintenance office LCDR Bolt. On one deployment when the Tyconderoga was laid up in Alameda we had to go aboard the MIdway for about 6 weeks. The MIdway is now in San Diego maritime museum and they just recently loaded an A3 on the flight deck. I sure looks good and brings back some memories. I live in the San Diego area and dont get aroound much anymore. I dont know of any more of the originals that are active. I went to the reunion in Taho and enjoyed that byts my traveling days are just about over.
I reported into VAH-2 Jan/57 as an AT.Was on that cruise that
loaded our A3’s aboard Midway.I remember Charging Charlie.
Was on dets 57/58,58/59.Reenlisted for G/N and made 60/61
cruise on Coral Sea flying with CO Cdr Barron.
MN1 Robert Briggs USN Retired here: I deployed with Attack Squadron 52 outta Whidbey Island in 1968 to California where we boarded the USS Coral Sea and made a WestPac/Vietnam Cruise. I was AMS-2 back then. My enlistment was up before the cruise ended and I departed the P I Islands in Dec., 1968 for Treasure Island, California where I mustered out of the Navy.
I enlisted again in 1973 as AMH-AN Stricker and picked up AMH2 in two years and then three years later AMH-1 just before making a Med Cruise with VS31 TopCats on the Uss Independence.
The 1st Class assigned to the Master At ARMS had a heart attack and I had to replace him since I was new E-6 in the Squadron and wound up busting two Plane Captains for possession and smoking dope up inside the hell hole of a S3A just after of the LOX Bottle!
There were three non rates from ships’s company with them.
Me and the little Puerto Rican AE-2 nick named Rooster made over
fifty drug bust before the cruise was over.
Last but,not least we busted the all the Barbers in the Officers & Chief’s Barbershop where we recovered several packets of high grade Hashish in Hershey Candy Bars type forms.
I got my orders and left the Squadron when we got back to NAS Cecil Field, Florida and reported for duty with US Navy HardHat Shore Patrol Quarters in Pensacola, Florida.
We worked out of the Basement of the Pensacola Police Dept. where a single lane leading to our parking area separated us from the biggest Grave Yard I’ve ever seen!
There was an iron hand rail along the concrete steps leading to our front door.and every time we had a storm the lightning played all over that hand rail. I now understand why the grave yard was soo big AND THATS NO SHIT! HA! HA!
The way to tell the difference between a Sea Story & a Fairy is a Fairy Tale starts with Once Upon A Time and a Sea Story Starts with This Is No Shit. and that is No Shit!
Fare Thee Well Mate.
May you have wind in your sails and treasure in your chest.
The plane in front of the Q in Rota was PR-5 when it was in Guam. I watched as it was the last A-3 to touch the Island of Guam. I would have been on the boondoggle to Rota that turned into a 15,000 mile party but I had to go get married (It stuck too). The Photo of the Whale where all you can make out is the outline with the sun coming through the cockpit is of this bird! I burned up a whole roll of film and this is the only picture that came out alright as I had the aperture set wrong. That Photo has floated around for almost twenty years and now we have a chance to bring this baby home! I’m in, and I’ll donate as much time as I can when she arrives in Bama! Party on Whalers, Big ol Head
I haven’t been on this site for a while but I like to drop by and say howdy ever so often and leave a sea story. Even though I never made it to sea I have a few. I have a new E-Mail address it will be in the guest book if by some chance remembers me. I remember a lot of faces from Heavy 10 (10/68-3/70) but I can’t remember names to most of them. I remember a 1st or 2nd class P/O named Beatty from “69” who asked me to make coffee once I said I ain’t in the coffee mess and I said “no”. He implied that I should make it. Since I was only an ASH-3 I was obedient. I don’t recall how I made it but they all said, never ask Myers to make it again. I recall another Myers on the flight line in “69′ who wanted to be an optician. Another gungho by the book lifer 1st class(named ?) he had curly blond hair a short guy. During change of command he made another guy on the line (an AN) get a hair cut 3-4 times before he said was ok. A guy who married a local girl from Coupville, ha drove a sharp black 40 Ford coup. Another guy who drove a black 58 Chevy with a chrome chain steering wheel. Gary Lees who had a white 65 Impala, who said he usually had to put it on auto pilot coming back from the bar. And Cecil and friend who still owe me $20 they borrowed to gamble. I remember the car rental on the base, and not needing any credit card, only money to rent one for the whole weekend. Thats all I have to say about that. Richard W. Myers; former ASH-3
The Gladwin Genealogical Society is working on a book honoring the county military veterans. We had quite a bit on your father from the Gladwin County Record articles. I would be willing to email you a pdf of the information we have about him.
THOMAS A. BOULTON, son of Dr. and Mrs Arthur O. Boulton, of Gladwin, will graduate from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis on June 19. The new Ensign was born June 12, 1921. He graduated from Gladwin High School with the class of 1938, and continued his studies for one year at Olivet College. He was nominated to Annapolis from Gladwin county by Congressman Roy O. Woodruff of the 10th Congressional District of Michigan, and appointed a Midshipman in the United States Navy on July 26, 1939, entering with a class of 793 students. The class of 1943 completed the four year course in three years, and will graduate nearly 600 Midshipmen. Along with his Ensign’s commission, Tom receives his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He graduates in the upper ten per cent of his class, having received the coveted Midshipman “Stars” for academic distinction in his last two years. Mrs Boulton, Mrs Glen Wagar, Miss Mary Louise Wagar and Miss Grace Fox, left last week for Annapolis to be Midshipman Boulton’s guests during “June Week” and graduation.He will return with them for a short visit at his home here before going to sea about July first Dr. Boulton, who has been ill the past week, has entered the hospital until Mrs Boulton and Tom’s return. Gladwin County Record 6/17/1942
Dear George Thornhill, Yes their is still a few of us still above ground. I remember Cdr Bolt well . Flew with him several times. He was a great pilot. Is he still kicking..? Made the cruise on the Tico. in 57. I was the AE2 that kept em running on that one. I was called Wilky then. Also made the far easter with the Midway in59. I retired from the Navy in 1975. Worked at NADEP jax. till retiring again in 1998. I reside here in Orange Pk. Fl…….Jim Wilkins
I am looking for a former 3rd seater Donald E. Cox. AME-2 or 3. He was from Ill. I beleive he flew in the AD-3 off of Midway Island. I served with him in 1962-63 in VF-141 @ Miramar,NAS. Then again at VC-10 in Gitmo, Cuba, in 1969-70. Anyone knowing his where abouts, have him contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 901.359.0631. thanks.
Ireally enjoy the “sea Stories”
My father, Charles Hodgate, was a pilot of A3’s who was killed in a crash in Jan. 1961. I don’t know which unit he was with, but he was based in Sanford, FL. I did find, just this evening, that one of the A3’s he’d piloted (albeit for only 2.5 hrs) is on display in Pensacola. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone out there who was stationed with him – I really don’t have much information, other than family stories and a few old naval aviation publications that included him. If you have any info, you can contact me at email@example.com. Thanks much!
Just found the website. I was stationed at NAS Alameda with VAQ-308 from 76 – 79. (AE 2) Lots of friends and fond memories of those days and planes. Flew as a Plane Capt
I will keep this site on my favorites list.
Hi Steve Berg, good to hear from you. I was ADJ with VAH-8, VAW-13, VAQ-130 out of Whidbey & Alameda. Served on USS Midway, & USS Coral Sea (always in power plants shop). After this 10 yrs. spent 12 yrs with helicopters on east coast. Thanks to these fine shipmates for their service & my memories spent with you. May God bless you !
I want to leave a note about Dick Russell, a navigator on A3Ds who flew off the Constellation. Made three tours, I believe, at Yankee Station.
I don’t know if anyone here knew Dick, but when he left the Navy he went with the CIA. Dick had a stroke several years ago and spent the rest of his life in a nursing him in Northern Virginia. He couldn’t move and could barely speak, but he decided to study military history. A team of readers (I was one) shared the job of reading to him from his personal library of military history. I had the Sunday afternoon shift.
Dick had a ready wit and an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of warfare. He bravely endured the indignities of his condition, living on a feeding tube year after year, and stuck to his program of self-education. Pictures of A3Ds, yearbooks from the Constellation, and other memorabilia connected him to his Navy days.
Dick recently died. His readers are having a memorial service for him tomorrow night.
A good, brave man. Maybe someone on this board will remember him.
I was in VAQ-130 det 4 from 1970-1972 CVAN-65 AND 61 WESTPACS. WHILE IN THE P.I. I was hurt and medivaced to the states and lost touch with my friends. I would love to hear from anybody that might remember me. THANKS, Jeff Hill
Hi Jeff. I just discovered this Whale Chat site this morning and was surprised to see a familiar name. I do vaugely remember you (afterall, it was about 40 years and alot of brain cells ago!) I don’t recall the circumstances of your injuries, but I do remember it being quite serious and them medivacing you out of the P.I. when we were docked at Subic Bay. I left the squardon about mid-Dec. ’72 about a week or so before we lost one of our birds off of the Ranger, with LtCmdr. Sheehan, Lt. Christopherson and my good friend ATN3 Rick Wiehr onboard. Unless I’m mistaken, I think they quit flying the old Whales the rest of that cruise. I hope things have gone well for you the last 40 years and continue for 40 more! I moved back to Idaho where I own and operate a small Wildland Fire Support company. It’s alot of fun, but not even close to a week in Olongopo City. Hope you get this.
Well, it just goes to show the extent of gray matter loss suffered over the years. Don’t suppose it could have started from 5 days liberty in Olongapo City?!! Noooooooooo.
Anyway, I need to make a couple of corrections: It was LCDR Charles L. Parker, Jr that was lost in Jan. 73, NOT LCDR J. Sheehan. LCDR Sheehan was our CO during the MED cruise in ’70 on the Saratoga.
Also lost on that flight was LTjg Keith A. Christophersen and ATN2 Richard ‘Rick’ Wiehr, NOT ATN3.
I don’t see any Happy Heavy 10, folks i know. Joined VAH-10 June of 64, was there August 64, when we wouldn’t take it any more. I was AE-3, did a med cruse on USS Rosevelt CVA-42, and then the west pac, 66,67. I was on the flight deck the morning Oriskine burned. I beleave John McCain flew off Rosevelt after the fire, any one rember him? It’s been so long ago. CMdr. Ralston, AE-1 Gridley, my wife took care of your kids, Jimmey T Wagoner is gone good guy, we keep in touch with his wife. AE-1 Leotta, had the smartest kid i ever knew, AE-3 Berry Klivens, wasn’t a place we couldn’t get too, I would set on his sholders, and change out an 85 lb battery in the nose of that plane. I qualified crewman, but just flew maintance flights, just before i got out, cmdr. Von Hindey took me up to change out some compass parts in the air. I got sick and had no bag, so 2nd seat gave me his new pair of flight gloves, I filled it and hung it in the map drawer, changed out the black box and returned green, and the brunt of some laughter. I had a good time in 10, and the Navy, i would do it all over again.
Bob Spinks AE-3 VAH-10
I was at VAQ-33 in Key West from 1985-88, and have been looking for Bill Ruth (AVCM). Has anyone seen or heard from him lately? I sure would love to know what he is up to these days. Of all the people I knew while on active duty, he is probably one of the most memorable.
Recently the Oceans 2007 Conference was held in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Honorable BJ Penn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (I&E) was here as one of the Keynote Speakers. It was my pleasure to have flown with Mr. Penn when we were both in VAH-10 and onboard the USS Shangri-la. Mr. Penn ( Lcdr at the time ), ADJC Joe Jones and myself formed one of the five crews assinged to VAH-10 Det 38 during 1970. I had the honor of being one of the Committee Chairs for the Conference and hosted Mr. Penn and his Aide while they were here. Aside from the requirements of the Conference Mr. Penn and I spent time talking about the folks and situations we remembered from our days in VAH-10. Lots of laughs and some frowns during these rememberances. It was a pleasure to have Secretary Penn here for the Conference and I am looking forward to seeing him again the next time I am DC.
While I was Passing through Mojave last weekend. Took a Airport Tour to see the 4 Whales sitting out there. One of them I ordered Parts for in VAQ-34 from 88-90. It was a ERA-3B. They all looked like they had recently been moved. “Dirt marks on the tires”. They look like they could fly with little help. Anyone know anything about the future of these 4? The people at Mojave Airport didn’t know anything
Looking for old VAH-2 shipmates from 1957-1960 and VAH-123 from 1960 to 1962. Can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or POBox 3546 Sequim, WA 98382
I have both cruise books from VAH-2 and some pictures of shipmates and A3D’s from cruise.
Boy this will test your memory. Do you remember me in VAH 123. You can own up to knowing me as I promise not to tell any (well not too many) stories about you.
How have you been? I was surprised to see your post on the A3 site. I was also surprised to see that you are back up here in Washington. I’m still here. I married an Anacortes girl and when I retired..we stayed here.
Drop me a line if you want. My e-mail address is email@example.com
Has anyone else seen the Whale’s cameo appearance in the new movie “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”? They appear in a scene filmed in a hangar (I assume it’s Raytheon’s). It looks like they have old BH75 and BH77 from PMTC Point Mugu. I thought my wife was gonna have to stuff a sock in my mouth when I spotted them!
Hello Mike Galusha, I just read your post about the A3s from Point Mugu, Naval Missile Ca. when I was there 1965 thru May,1966 I flew 3rd seat in Navy Jet 144825 & 352409 while assigned to the A3 Crew. I flew with Lt. Eyer, Cdr Pinky Nord, Lcdr Animal Best Natops Test Pilot A3S. He scared the living crap out of me on a Test Hop of one of our A3s when we climbed to about 40K feet and he nosed the old Bird over in a 65 degree dive and cut both engines off. We wind milled them till he thought he should use the igniters to fire them back up. The wing tips on that old bird curled up like they were made of rubber. I didn’t expect to live through that one because all our Birds were restricted to 21/2 Gees except for 144825 and it was restricted to 3 Gees I think. AMS1 Wade was 2nd seat and I was 3rd seat. When they came over the mike they sounded like Donald Duck the Cartoon Characters. After we landed I remembered what AMS1 Wade said ” I’ve never been afraid of flying with any pilot up till now. That is my last flight with Mr. Best! After we landed we had to do an over stress inspection on the plane. They called in Civilians to do that. They grounded that bird for crystallized wing spars and it never flew again!
A crew of civilians came in and removed the wings and engines then loaded it upon tractor trailers and hauled the plane off.
I made myself a promise I’d never fly with that pilot again and I never did.
I am so excited that I found this website.
I was a CT-2 in 1967-1970 attached to VQ-2 flying A-3’s in and out of Rota and at various times off the Saratoga, America, Roosevelt and Kennedy. I would love to hear from some of my former mates. All the best to all of you. PH
I was a CTI with Fleet Support/VQ-1 Danang, Cubi, NCSP, and all the ships at sea.
I absolutely noticed tha A3’s in National Treasure. I about jumped out of seat, but my wife restrained me.
A happy and prosperous new year to everyone!
I am looking for anyone who may have known Louis (Mac) McDaniel. Also known as Pappy, I believe aboard the Oriskany. He was a navigator/bomardier on A’3s. He was stationed out of NAS Whidbey Island 57-60 and 62-66. Thanks a bunch. This has been a real great site to visit. I will freguent it a lot.
Just recently got online again and read your post re: Asst Sec Nav BJ Penn. Would live to have his e-mail address. I’ll never forget our cruise on the “Shang”. Just reviewed the photos in the 70 cruisebook. Lots of memories especially returning from night “BarCap” missions in bad weather and no radar with weak ARC-27’s.
In reply to Kate McDaniel (1/10/08). I served with Mac (and flew with him on occasion) on the oriskany in 1965. I have wondered about him for some time. It gets downright tough to find shipmates after so many years.
Found this web site chat room. I’ll give it a try. I served with VQ 2 from May 1965 through July 1967. Lcdr Lawrence O Connor, Pilot, took me flying off the America one day, asked me if I wanted to do it all the time. The rest is history. Wow what a thrill to be a PC in the “Whale”. Flew 58 missions over Vietnam with Cdr, R.W. Arn, some of them in PR 5. Moved on then came back in 1977 to help reopen the FRS/FRAMP when it was transferred to VAQ 33. Up graded and taught the Power Plant, Fuel System and Bleed Air System lessons till July of 1981. Lots of memories and fun. Started out as Seaman Recruit Murray and retired 28 years later as Master Chief Murray, Command Master Chief NAS Oceana
You might be interested, there’s an A-3 in Disney’s new 2008 NATIONAL TREASURE movie, sitting in a hanger. I think it’s an EW version. Beautiful old bird, but too antique for what they intend it to represent!
I’m an ex-USN dentist with “The Corps.” Semper Float; GRIFF
Just dropped by to say howdy. I haven’t written here in a while. If anyone was on the flight line of Heavy 10 from 1/69 -3/70 you might remember the guy incharge of the support equipment. That was me, I was the one who never passed the Navy drivers license. Once for not putting on my seatbelt, I turned the front wheels without moving in order to pull out of thr space. The instructer acted like I was going to wear out the tires doing that. Finally they gave up on me getting it. It kept me from being duty driver. I drove the equipment any way. The only thing I didn’t do was tow aircraft around, though I helped as a spotter a few times. I don’t remember any names with faces on the line except for Cooper, short stocky with blonde hair and glasses. He was so proud when he finally got his prescription flight glasses. Never forget the guy who would let the Mexican bean farts, the guy who had a 67 Firebird, and Cecil, tall slim with dark hair who still owes me $20 he and another guy borrowed to play poker and never payed back. Oh and Flynn a smaller guy with a “large Irish temper” when he was not sober. I remember trying to install a drag chute with Flynn, I was on my back pushing it in with my feet, my Friday night fun time at the OCH tavern kicked back in. We had an interesting time, after several minutes he got mad and went back to the line shack. I don’t remember if the chute ever got installed. I will never forget ordering pizza when working on the weekends on the line, it was very good,except you could get enough grease off of it to fry eggs. If you remember me say howdy sometime firstname.lastname@example.org. Well see ya dudes. Richard aka Wally former ASH-3
For Kate McDaniel regarding “Pappy” McDaniel. I was in Heavy 8 from August 57 thru June 60. We had a “Pappy” McDaniel although the first name doesn’t come to mind so it could be only coincidence. As I remember in ’57 he was the oldest Airman in the squadron and probably the Wing. If I remember right, he had broken service. Had been in the military got out and was out for several years before reenlisting just under the age limit for his age with prior service.
Yup, that was Mac aka Pappy. There is a pic of him on this site. The first group of pics. He is in the blue shirt. Must have not flown that day. I haven’t been on here in ages. Actually, since the first post. Lost the site. Anyway Dad died in his sleep in Iowa on August 18th, 2001. Thank God he didn’t see the towers come down. Would have killed him. No pun intended. My e-mail is email@example.com
Sorry Kate, the Pappy I spoke of wasn’t your Dad. Dug out my cruise books and found Louis McDaniel was an AE1 that I made cruises with on the Lexington and Midway. The memory gets a bit dim after 50 years.
Must have had two McDaniels and in the Navy at the time most enlisted over age 35 or so were “Pops” or “Pappy” and occasionally somewhat less respectful terms. Sorry about the messup and hope you can get better info from other persons.
Lets see… VAH 123 1961-1964 and VAQ(K) 308 1970-1975
I remember flight line mid-watches wearing everything I was issued, standing in the exhaust of an NC-7 ground power unit to warm up, drinking very old galley coffee issued by the P.O. of the watch, and still being COLD! Can’t beat that Puget Sound wind!
Retired in 1985 as AECS.
Michael, I’m a retired Chief Petty Officer looking for information on the crash of a plane coming back from New Mexico off the coast of Whidbey Island, March 1963 that killed Norman Vogt and LT Brown or Browning. Norman’s wife was pregnant at the time carrying twins when he crashed. One of the twins worked for me for 15 years and trying to find some info about her father. Believe he must have been the plane captain since it was just the two of them. Can’t find any info about the crash. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was a VQ-2 Seval who flew with Larry Conner and Hugh Havlick to WestPac in support of VQ-1 ops out of Cubi Pt. I flew a few missions with Larry in A-3 #146457 which is now in Rota and, hopefully, moved to the states as a memorial to A-3’s. We flew a few hope off USS INdependance and some in/out of Da Nang and Cubi Pt. The A-3 was a very reliabe platform for ELINT Recce and we all loved to fly in her. Hope the old bird makes it back to the USA soon.
Hello Basil: We worked together at Norfolk in VAQ-33 ~ 1978-1979 timeframe. As I recall, you went to work @ USAA after retiring from active duty… Missed you at the recent Whidbey Is. reunion. Hope all is well with you & yours.
Hey Terry. How the hell are you? Where are you hanging out these days and what are you doing? The reunion was great, although we thought there should have been a bigger ‘bang’ for the number of bucks spent on each event. They did a great job restoring the Whale. We also (everyone at our table anyway) were convinced that they were ‘watering down’ the drinks at the O’Club. Probably part of the new Navy. I had a martini at the O’Club that no one could identify as an alcoholic beverage. By the way, I think I found your uniform jacket from the ‘dining in’ in the parking lot. (;-)
Just a small strange coincidence I thought some may find interesting. Those who were at Whidbey know the side number on the A-3 is 263 commemorating the 263 who lost flying the bird. Even though I drove to Whidbey, I didn’t notice until I returned home that my license plate ends in “UR 263″. Strange.
I was in VAH-1 out of Sanford Fla.I was in the Power Plants shop,with Chief Ritchey,Chief Gay.I made the 1st,2nd,3rd Med cruises on the Independence,CVA-62.I was tranferred to VAV-11,extended for the Cuban Crisis,left the Navy Feb 1963.I retired from The Army Nat’l Guard Jan 1998 SFC, AH-1 Cobra Mech. Any Heavy One Tigers out there feel free to e-mail me. email@example.com I noticed Grant Looney an AQ made the 1st cruise with VAH-1,I couldn’t bring up his e-mail address.
God Bless,Take Care
In an recent article (see below) written by Navy Times Staff Writer Mr. Zachary M. Peterson, Mr. Peterson made an outrageously insensitive remark calling our proud ship USS FORRESTAL the, “FORREST Fire.” In extreme poor taste Mr. Peterson fails to think how proud the men an women that served aboard FORRESTAL are of their ship. Mr. Peterson does not take into account the tragic fire and explosions of 29 July 1967 that claimed the lives of 134 of our shipmates, nor the 161 who were injured, some with life lasting effect. Mr. Peterson fails to think of the sacrifice made by the Wives, Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Sons, and Daughters of those departed and injured men. Mr. Peterson fails to take into account the extreme sacrifice made by an additional 142 Officers and enlisted men made during FORRESTAL’s 38 year history. Those of us who on 29 July 1967 fought the fire, smoke, toxic fumes, searched for survivors, and saved FORRESTAL feel this type of reporting is uncalled for by an American newspaper, and find it incomprehensible that a Staff reporter for an American Military newspaper would use such language.
Mr Tucker: I agree with you about the insensitive remark. I proudly served aboard the USS Forrestal (CVA-59) from April 1960 through Early 1962 with Heavy Attach Squadron Five (VAH-5) out of NAS Sanford, Florida. The Forrestal was and is a wonderful vessel that was our home in the Med during cruises in 1960 and 1961 as well as the Cuban Missle Blockade of 1962. The people I served with were professional, dedicated and a great group of guys to work with. Our Maintenance Officer (CDR Goben) was one of the best officers on board the ship. The guys in the ASB shop were always up to something but kept the birds flying with UP equipment. Many thinks to all for some wonderful memories of VAH-5 and the USS Forrestal (First in the Fleet).
Yep, Chief, those were the days. To tell the truth; even a lousy day flying with you and Mr. Penn was a good day as far as I was concerned. Also – I still have access to some Leather Flight Jackets if you are interested.
Hello Ray Murphy Robert (Bob) Briggs former AMS2 when stationed at Whidbey Island with VA 52 A6A type aircraft.
I use to hunt and run around with a Murphy and even went Bear Hunting with him is that you?
When I take my dog for a walk my thoughts drift back to more exciting days, and I usually focus on where I was exactly 50 years ago. I joined Heavy Nine in August 1956, went to B/N school at HATU, and the first A3Ds finally arrived in April 1957, when I got five flights. I must acknowledge that the A3D was a lot more fun than the AJ-2. In just a couple of months we found ourselves at Guantanamo preparing to land on a carrier for the first time. I’d like to emphasize this point for you old-timers–neither the pilot, me, or the Third-crewman had ever been on a carrier before. From 20,000 feet the Saratoga looked just like a postage stamp. It would become quite a challenge! Thinking back, why did the Navy assign so many old “Plane Commanders” to such a demanding job? At any rate, there were setbacks, and we were to lose two crews. But we got through Strikeback in the autumn, which took place west and north of Norway, took care of the Ranger shakedown cruise and ORI in the winter of 1957, and again embarked on the Saratoga on 3 January 1958 for a nine-month cruise to the Med. So, right about this time 50 years ago, the squadron was discovering the joys of Barcelona, Spain. For a time, everything seemed worthwhile; but there were more formidable challenges just up ahead. All in all, the A3D was a fine flying machine, honest, but in some circumstances unforgiving. However, at my age–75–it wiould be marvelous to take just one more flight from the deck of the legendary Saratoga. But wait, I seem to have lost my dog…
I served on the USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 from 68 to 71. I was a Boiler Tender or BT, if you will. When I was out of the fireroom, I loved to watch flight ops. And the Whale was one of my favorite to watch! But because the A-3 was so heavy, we hated it when one was launched. We had to jump up the steam for each one. And that meant bringing in extra burners and adding extra water to the boilers. That wasn’t so bad, but just after the cat shot, we’d have to back that all down.LOL
And as a Smoke Watch, up on the 0-7 level, we had to inform the boiler rooms that a Whale was about to be launched. And even with the sound powered phones on, it was LOUD when it spooled up the engines! So the Whale kept us busy for sure!
There was one onboard, called the “Killer Whale”. I was told it was because it had gotten in a “dog fight” with a fighter plane, and had gotten on the “6” of that plane. Anybody know if that’s true?
Good luck to all, Steve Robinson BT-3
hi i was married to james spicer he served on the bonnie from 67-69 worked in the communication and later in kitchen . dont know if you knew him he passed in 2003 and e had some great times on the ship in port.
I was a BN with VAH 4 and flew with Det Golf on the Oriskany 63-64 with Louis McDaniel. He was a crewman navigator flying with another crew in our detachment (Det). IIRC, Mc flew with Lcdr. Hawley and Ltjg Ebers.
Go to the website, on the menu on the left side click on Flight Deck/Photos/page 3 and look at the 8th, tenth and twelfth picture. Mc is in the back row sixth from the left, dark blue dungaree shirt. I’m knelling in bottom row fourth from the right, sunglasses. The guys in the flight suits are from Det Echo on the Bon Homme Richard.
Two detachments at one place, in this case NAS Cubi Point, PI, was a rare occurrence. It was the only time in three years for me.
to the Med. So, right about this time 50 years ago, the squadron was discovering the joys of Barcelona, Spain. For a time, everything seemed worthwhile; but there were more formidable challenges just up ahead. All in all, the A3D was a fine flying machine, honest, but in some circumstances unforgiving. However, at my age–75–it wiould be marvelous to take just one more flight from the deck of the legendary Saratoga. But wait, I seem to have lost my dog…
I was a Plane Captain at Pax River on A3D-1 130355, A3D-1Q 130361, and A3D-2Q 144855 have about 270 hours flight time. Was at Pax River Weapons Systems Test from Dec 1959-31 August 1962. I see the old 130361 is on outside display at the Pima County Air Museum, with the Weapons Systems “Dayglo orange W still on the Tail. Thanks to everybody responsable for this site.
I was a member of Heavy 13 (VAW-13) Det 61– WestPac 67-68. Along with Heavy 2 aboard the USS Ranger. She was CVA-61 then. I hated to see the ol’ Girl downgraded to a CV. We had the first EKA-3Bs of VAW-13. Heavy 2 sent KA-3Bs aboard. Before being transfered to Alameda, CA I was in Heavy 2 so had a lot of friends from there as well as Heavy 13.
I would like anyone who was in either squadron during this time to contact me. My EMail is firstname.lastname@example.org
I spent three years in VAH-123 as an AQ and plane captain. The name I most remember is Will Haney. Although I didn’t know it at the time, or fully appreciate the honor ov being a member of such a team, I now realize that those years were indeed wonderful. Its sad to note that the one A3 I remember fondly is 142404. Its a shame that it is not relegated to target practive at Pima. I did visit the bone yard in Yuma and was treated to an afternoon among the birds. Even the hydraulic fluid smells brought back memories.
Great bird 142404. Had many hours in her during the 1971-73 era with VAQ-135 Det 3 onboard USS Coral Sea. Sadly, recently saw a photo where the wings, cockpit and tail were gone; apparently being readied for scrap metal. There are very few Whales left, and many are being chipped or demolished for scrap metal. All at Mojave Desert are gone. Check out the Whidbey Project as we are trying to save 144825 for permanent display. We hope to memorialize the 251 souls lost in A-3s. Individuals can be remembered by purchasing pavers for the walkway with personal info thereon for $35. We will be attempting to have the first and only display A3 on poles/sticks. Thanks for keeping 142404 flying for as long as she did.
Mr. Young , I don’t know if you remember me , Rick Crews, but I too was in VAQ-135 Det.3 from ’71 to ’74 as a plane captain and aircrewman. I follow the bu.#’s of the old birds ,142403,142404 &142647 from our det. It’s nice to see some of you are still around.
I was the PR for 142404 working for (then) Lt. Bill Young. I have many pics and a scale model of that aircraft. I too am unhappy all the A-3’s I worked on are bomb fodder. I just hope the trainees that used them as practice will be the sure shots we may need when the fat flies. My timing was terrible, in that, I was planning a vacation and was going to stop by the boneyard and take some pics only to hear they had been spirited away to the lonely desert. Thank you for serving.
Hello fellow shipmates,
I served in the Royal Australian Navy as an Aircraft Handler (enlisted rating) on our last carrier HMAS Melbourne during the late 70’s.
I now collect ‘privately’ filmed carrier footage as a hobby as well as PLAT footage and other items filmed by Navy cameramen aboard carriers. I would like to swap copies of any carrier flying footage you may have, especially home video or PLAT film.
If you have any footage and are interested in sharing with a fellow ship mate, please reply and ask for my detailed swap list.
Hello, my name is Richard Anton Mergl Jr., my father is Lt. Richard Anton
Mergl Sr. When I was 2yrs. old he and four other military personel were killed while perfoming a bombing training mission over Lake George in the town of Seville Florida Volusia county. He was attatched to heavy attack squardron VAH-7 of NAS Sanford Florida. They were all were presumed dead, the A-3D crashed into 8ft of water. Lt Cmdr. Weigles was the pilot
flying that day. When I was old enough to understand what happened to my daddy my mommy was to sick to expain anything to me, she past away when I was 15yrs old. Just recently I made a trip to Lake George and Sanford even Jacksonville hoping to find something about my father
and his crash. The only thing I found was 3 articles in the Sanford Herald
at the Sanford Museum. I couldn’t even print them because they had no printer for microfish. I only found 3 articles on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th.
And found nothing in the paper about bodies or plane parts being taken out
of the water. All it said was a recovery team was sent from Jacksonville NAS. and that he crahed 5 miles east of Seville. Thats a whole lot of plane
for nothing to have come out of the water when the recovery team went out. I went to records and vital statictics and there is no death certificate.
He crashed April 22nd 1959, anyone if you can please help me.
i was attached to vah 7 at the time of this accident,and i know that almost all of this aircraft was recovered and roughly reassembled in a hanger at nas sanford. i also recall that some body parts were recovered,but i don`t know this as a fact. i recall this wreckage in the hanger and and i remember it was hard to believe how badly this aircraft was destroyed. but as i remember only four people were aboard this aircraft!!the only name i recall is lt. cdr weigel an extreemly safety concerned pilot,although i think this accident was ruled as pilot error. lake george was drug for days after this accident. they were preforming a loft bombing mannuver when this happened, i hope this was informative….
Hello, my name is Bob Taylor. I was a member of VAH-8 from 1957 until my discharge 7/31/60. I was deployed on the Lexington from June, 1958 until December, 1959. I was a parachute rigger third class. After the Lexington cruise, I went through navigation school and earned my “Air Crewman wings.” I was also promoted to parachute rigger 2nd class.
Lt. cmdr. Fritz Smith was my pilot and Lt. jg. Proctor was the Bombardier. We were deployed on the Midway from late summer 1959 until early spring, 1960. I would like to hear from anyone from “Hatron eight” during those times. I would especially like to hear from Mr. Smith, the pilot and Mr. Proctor, the bombardier. I would also like to hear from Vernon Lass a parachute rigger 1st class in 1958.
Just found this web site..I was in heavy eight in air frames for 3 years..Went aboard Lexington in 58 with about a third of our outfit..Was with plane number 2 with Matt Dillon,Bailey and Holden and myself while we sailed the Formosa Straits for 44 days..Remember “Boulder” buzz Bores??Commander F.R. Fearnow was our C.O.I remember Lass-parachute rigger and also Mr. Proctor..I was discharged in june 1960 with a guy from Wisconsin named Bob Reinie..Did a lot of liberty in Bellingham Washington with Mike O’mara from Chicago and Gene Brown from Kansas..’m about a year late with this reply but just happened to hit on this web site..Take care..Dave
I was a spook in VQ2 from 84-86. I was just watching National Treasure II, and there are 2 (TWO!) Whales in the hanger – look at the folded wings in the background. Love to know where that hanger is. Saw one in a small museum at the Oakland airport as well. Too many good memories to detail!
To the family of John Mcilmoil: I knew your dad in guam when he ws a tech rep for VQ-1. I was an NFO in the squadron where I got close to 300 traps in the A-3 Skywarrior. He (your dad) was a kind and wonderful gentleman and a consummate pro. It was an honorand pleasure to have known him. I never knew what ever happened to him. I was there from Sep 1983-Oct 1986 and he often worked the Cubi Pt. det workup site. AAAAAAhhhhhhh, the good old days i will never forget and always treasure. I retired in 1999. Comments welcome please.
Looking for info on my father. He was stationed in China Lake, Guam for two years, Da Nang 70′-71′. Squadron VQ-1. HeavyPhotoron 61. He flew in EA-3 Skywarrior. He recently suffered a major stroke. Wondering if any body knew him? Photos? Links?
Great Site, is now on my Favorites list….I actually know one or two of those making comments. I was in The Heavies (VAH 4 1960/63, RVAH 123 1963/67) as an AQ, worked out of the ASB shop under Chief Clark also with AQ 2 Gene Hartley. Went through A School along with Joe Flood in 1957/58, I was saddened to hear he passed away not too long back. Would love to hear from any of the old crew….email@example.com
Hope all had a Merry Christmas and will prosper in the New Year
With sadness I must report that Captain Robert (Bob) LeRoy Skillen, USN, Ret. passed away in Bakersville, North Carolina on Friday, January 2nd, 2009 of cancer. He served in VAP 62 and was CO of VAP 61. He is remembered by his wife Mary Frances Plummer Skillen and children Elizabeth Skillen & Benjamin Vann Wilson, Katherine Skillen & Frank Louis D’Andrea, Robert Stewart Skillen & Alesia Bryant-Laws, and James McPherson & Robin Byrum Skillen.
Please notify any Vappers you know. I can email a copy of Mrs. Skillen’s memorial announcement to anyone who emails me with a request.
My dad is CWO-3 (Ret) John Cultrera, photo supply officier for VAP-61 Guam (69-71). I was pleasently surprised to find this sight on the web and will pass it on to my dad. As I read through the “whale chats” I was looking to see if I might recognize any of the names my dad spoke about. One of those names was Capt Robert Skillen (CDR and CO of the squadron back then). I’m saddened to read the passing of Mr. Skillen earlier this year. I called him Mr. Skillen back then. You see, I had a paper route and delivered his morning paper to his home for about a year. And when I wasn’t dropping off the paper, I was dropping by to visit his daughter Kathy. I don’t know who was more nervious my dad or Mr. Skillen. Anyways, that was a long time ago and time marches on. I’m very lucky to still have my dad around, he’s a very healthy 80 years old now. He works out three times a week, plays cards at the local casino in Temecula California. Frank, I don’t know if you know my dad or not but if you do here’s his email address firstname.lastname@example.org. If by chance you happen to have a copy of Mr. Skillen’s memorial please email to me at email@example.com I’d really appreciate it.
I am deeply saddened by the news that Bob Skillen passed away. I have very fond memories of the many hours I flew with him as his crewman; sometimes he made me wince a little, and sometimes I made him winch. And as he said to my wife several years ago, God we’re lucky to be alive with all the things that happened. He was an immensely skillful pilot and because of him I am the pilot and flight instructor I am today. When students ask who taught me to fly, I tell them “the best”; Bob was the best. Then there was his humor ….. but then those of you who had the pleasure of knowing him know what I am talking about.
The first time Bob Skillen took the throttles of an A-3 in his hand, I was sitting behind him. We have laughed together many times since, expressing our different recollections of the flight and the landing. Most recently while sitting on the front porch of the home he and his beautiful wife Mary built with their own hands on top of a mountain in their beloved Western North Carolina. Looking at the sweeping vista from his front porch, he said to me that there was only one thing he couldn’t see from there. When I asked what that was, he said “…my nearest neighbor.” Bob has moved-on now, but we can be sure he has moved-up. Our hearts go out to Mary, the love of his life…
Until we meet again.
I was a member of the A3 crew at Pt. Mugu in ’66. I worked on BT 75 144825 ‘Snoopy’ and all the other A3’s we had. I remember Harold, the civilian QC inspector . I worked nights with ‘Good Timin’ Johnny Adams and Wally Cheers.
Cmdr. Jackson used to pull negative ‘G’s and roll our planes in flight until we noticed that rivets were popping out of the vertical stabilizer.
Thanks for the site. This all brought back some wonderful memories of some great rides in the Skywarriors.
Hey Stern here is a pic of me, Len Fortuna, & John Moy I don’t know if you ever met Moy or not but, here is the pic.
Well I guess you can’t post pictures here. Do you have a facebook page maybe I can past them there. or maybe not!
I guess you have to have a google account to post pics on facebook.
MN1 Robert Briggs
Hello DJ Stern
Robert Briggs here I remember Johnny Adams & Wally Cheers both plus Dale Buttons, Billy Hogue and a 1st class named Jim Stout, and Mike Careaseou. I know I didn’t spell Mike’s last name right (better known as the (WOP) ) AMS1 Wade and a couple of others but, I can’t recall their names. Is any of the old A3 Crew still alive?
Stern you must have been my replacement in the A3 Crew. I departed there in May,1966 for Whidbey Island BN School but, my orders got changed and I went to A6As /VA-52. I was assigned to assist the Civilians with the installation of Armor Plates underneath the wings of all the A6s before they ever got to VA 52. We worked our butts off and the civilians gave me high marks for my hard work.
This got me assigned to line crew as assistant line crew supervisor which I did not want at all! I hated working on the flight line! I wanted to jack them big Mothers up and put them on jack stands so I could operate the Hydraulic Jenny so I could get a shot at being assigned to AMD When I came up for Shore Duty again but, that didn’t happen either.
So now I’m here in Tennessee writing a book titled:
Bobby The Sea Going Hillbilly.
Hopefully it will be out as an E-Book and Kindle by late 2014 or early 2015 if I live long enough to finish the book.
If you know how to get in contact with any of the guys I listed above please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would be grateful if you did.
MN1 Robert (Bob) Briggs former AMH1 Briggs with the A3 Crew
I remember you and when you left for Whidbey. I do remember Mike Carrecia. he married a Chief’s daughter and moved back to New York or Jersey. do you remember Lenny Fortuna? he was from the east coast too.
I have not heard from anyone from Mugu. I have no idea where they are.
good luck with the book.
Hey thanks for the reply and yes I know Len and here is his E-mail address Leonard J Fortuna I don’t think he would mind me giving you his E-mail address.
Thanks for the good luck with the book; there ain’t a whole lot in it about the military but a lot of things I encountered while I was on the beach better known as Liberty A Shore there matey! Ha! Ha!
Just remember if I get it finished that all of the contents ain’t necessarily going to be true or correct because it is written for entertainment and not so much for historical accuracy.
DJ do you know how to get in contact with Mike C if so give him my E-mail.
DJ was you an ADJ2, AE or AQ I just can’t recall everyone’s name anymore and after being in a couple pretty bad car wrecks and a helo that made a hard landing while I was traveling to & fro on liberty to some off shore island whose name I have long since forgotten not to mention I couldn’t pronounce anyway! HA!HA!
Well I’ve got to hobble down stairs and get the mail which just delivered my book on how to play the Piano its OK go ahead and laugh I laughed at myself when the thought first entered my head about me learning how to play a piano.
I never dreamed I’d ever want to play one of those SISSY type musical instruments until I heard Floyd Crammer a country Music Type play all the country songs. I really liked the way that man plays the piano! Ole Floyd can make that piano sound like it comes from Heaven. I picked up an old Professional Keyboard from a Pawn Shop up in Knoxville, TN which is about 35 miles East of Kingston,TN . To get to where I live go to the next exit which is a couple or three miles West of kingston, TN to the Midtown Exit turn left go to Hwy 70 turn left and go approximately one and a half miles and turn left onto Bluff, Rd. and go two and a half miles then turn right onto Brown Ellis Drive. Go to the stop sign back up about two car or truck lengths according to which ever you’re driving. HA! hA!
Well I gotta run wishful thinking on my part! HA! HA!
Thanks for contacting me it was really great hearing from an Old A3D Crew Sailor and I know Len will love hearing from you. Lets keep in contact drop me a line every now and then.
May the Good Lord Bless You and All Your Family,Friends and Loved Ones.
MN1 Robert Briggs USN Retired
Bobby The Sea Going Hillbilly
An Old A3D Crew Guy
I feel like a puppy after reading all the entries on this web site. I spent 3 years ships company on board the USS Oriskany(June 65-January 1967). I was released from active duty December 1967. I am the only person to be a plank holder in both 208 and 308. I returned to active duty in May 1970 and assigned to VAQ-308. My first meeting the A3 face to face though physically we didn’t have any assigned to us yet. I was an AK3 working for AK1 Ken Caver. In July 1970, I was transferred to VAQ-208, being the second person on station. Walt Phillips and I along with Lt. Don Mazy, as they say, we held down the fort till other the personnel started to arrive. LCDR Jim Jefferson, was our first OIC, as LCDR McDougal was the first OIC in 308. I don’t remember who our first CO was, but I keep thinking Howie Nickerson. I know Greg Bambo was the CO of 308.
Hey, all you reserve Whalers get off your __ and be counted.
I finally retired in 1987 after changing my rate with a rank for rank exchange and returning to sea duty. Gbolis@aol.com
My Daddy is ADJC (Ret) Bob Sanders. I know he was with VAH-8 and VAQ-130 (where he retired in 1976). He was also stationed at Beeville (1972), was on the Oriskany (67?). I think either 8 or 130 split from Alameda and went to Whidbey, but I can’t remember which, or when.
He’s not a computer guy but would love it if I could find some old buddies of his (Like Dan Eagle).
I’ve heard so many old sea stories sometimes I can’t remember what he’s told me and what I feel like I actually saw! He is truly my hero. When I was 9 I told him I would outrank him and he laughed at me. Three years ago I pinned on Senior Chief (AND as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate to boot!) and am now waiting for the Master Chief board to meet.
Sherry, I sent it to the E-mail you had listed. I talked to Don Mazy last night for about two hours, he agrees with me that Nick Nickerson or Greg Bambo would be excellent contacts. They both have entries on this site. I know Nick at one point was the CO of VAQ-208 and Greg the CO 0f VAQ-308.
I just found this site during some down time at work. I am a flight dispatcher for American Airlines in Ft. Worth, Texas. I went thru A-3
training as a newly caught Ensign at NARU, Alameda, in 1975. Went to
Rota and was in VQ-2 1976-79. Again flew whales in VAQ-33 from 1983-85,
and again 1987-90 when I retired. A year later, I attended the A-3 retirement ceremony in Key West in September of 1991. I had initially
wanted A-6’s out of VT-86, but quickly grew to love the A-3 and all it’s
beauty. Got ovr 150 traps with VQ-2, and flew off every carrier on active
duty at the time that came into the Med.
I still make the pilgrimage to Key West every August for opening day of
lobster season. Anyone out there want to own up to having a McDonnell
Douglas emblem off the control yoke of any of the A-3’s? Every A-3 I ever flew in was missing theirs. I felt they must have gone missing decades before by original flight crews. Anyone wanting to commisserate can email
me at email@example.com…..with fondest regards
I was a CT with NCSP, Det Bravo, at DaNang in 1967 flying missions with VQ-1. I specifically remember the rocket attack on July 15 with many shipmates being wounded. I would like to hear from anyone who served at DaNang with VQ-1 or Det Bravo.
Just saw your post. I was a CTO detached from NavComStaPhil to Flt Supp Det Danang in 1972. I think this is what you refer to as De Bravo. We flew with VQ-1 on the “Biglook”. We had some harrowing rocket/mortor/sapper attacks. I wonder where all those guys are now. I was just looking at some old slides that I took back then so I thought I might try the internet.
the heavy 13 asb shop meets every other year. We have found just about everyone and usually have a good turn out. Met last October in Tunica Miss. We think the next one will be in Branson Mi. Contact me for further details We would like to hear from you.
I’m currently working (volunteer) on the USS Hornet as a docent. We have a number of aircraft manuals but … alas … I let all of my A-3 NATOPS manuals slip through my fingers. That sucker is heavy when you are moving all over the country. Anyway, is there anyone out there who would like to ‘part’ with one.
I was glad to find this site; I served from 1956-1960 as an AT2 and Gunner /Navigator at Whidbey Island NAS. Entered flight school from VAH-6 and transferred to VAH-4 after navigation and weapons Air-crewman graduation.
Deployed aboard the USS Lexington as to the Far East Tour in 1958-58.
Other Members I trained with were deployed aboard the Ranger with VAH-6 and on crew was lost near Subic Bay.
I had the experieance of Ditching over the side of the Lexington all three of our Crew survived; LCDR Grady and LTJG Johnston and myself. I still have fond memories of my service and am still actively employed.
Another of our crews was lost on take-off at Whidbey in 1960 after the siccessfull Cruise in 59.
sid humphreys, I say that we get ahold of Ron Woltman and if the Navy is going to shred up a Whale we ask that we be allowed to remove parts (with a donation to Navy/Marine Corps Relief) before it’s shredded.
I would have given my left nut to have been allowed to get the data plate (or rudder pedals or the yoke or the seat or the….) from 144846 before it was “disposed” of.
As a loadmaster we used to strap on a gunners belt and hand on to the seat stantion for take-offs and landings.
For this take-off they were having trouble getting the skis to ‘unstick” from the snow, they had blown a port main landing gear strut on landing, the runway had a slight uphill and there was a pretty good sized bump in the runway about midway.
One of the tricks to getting the nose ski to “unstick” is to move as much cargo and passengers as far aft in order to get the center of gravity as far aft as possible. (once you get the nose ski to unstick you pick up about 15 knots)
Pat had moved the cargo and passengers to the very back, then he went all the way to the back and strapped in.
As they went down the runway the nose started to come up but not unstick.
They hit the bump in the runway, the plane “bounced”, and with the main landing gear strut being blown out the port side dipped down far enough for the number one prop to contact the snow.
That ripped the prop off the engine, the prop went under the number 2 engine and propeller and went into the side of the aircraft, right where Pat would have been standing.
The rest of the squadron was at the New Years eve party, we were pretty shocked to hear what had happened, once we found out they were all right we started the party.
They were back in McMurdo and done with medical in time to come to the party!!
I’ll bet Pat still gets nightmares over that one.
Here’s a cool picture I took of Pat at the Rock Store (SoCal motorcycle hangout in the Malibu hills) back in 1994 with Arnold Schwarzenenegger.
Wow Joe, that’s pretty cool.
Thank you for sharing!
I did an internet search on him… I know his mom lived in Illinois, and I have her (then) phone number around here somewhere. But I saw there was a newpaper article about him in Illinois, I couldn’t read the whole thing without paying for it, but the snippet it did let me read said he was having issues with “Gulf War Syndrome”
Man did they ever sweep that one under the rug. Anyways… I hope he’s doing ok.
Joe Hawkins…How do we get a hold of Ron? You have a great idea about the donations,etc! Imagine , selling pieces of “junk” A3’s! Great idea! Anyone else in the association know how this could happen? I still have my zeus button opener, flashlight,logbook, A3 “handy dandy for in flight info, our squadron (VAH II ) hat and scarf. I even have a bottle (empty) of Navy stock numbered issued BRANDY given to me by the flight surgeon after an accident. Now all I need is a piece of an A3. My crew left small square foot pieces of “603” on a mountain top near Khania, Crete. My pilot< Jerry Knutson visited the site aday later and actually brought back my long screw driver that I left under my seat and it looked like a curled up pigs tail. Never knew what happen to it later.
Just dropping a note to says a big thanks to this web site the a3skywarrior.com. My wife and I lost contact with two very good friends after we got out for one reason or another and within the last year and half, we have been contacted by both because of this site and are now in constant touch. What a great site and a great job that has been done on it. Keep up the good work and happy whaleing
Proud to have served
Did i read a note from THE Joe Hawkins?????? I was in VQ1 72/75, then at Pt. Mugu, VAQ 34, & VAQ 33. Coyote is at Raytheon. Phone #805-493-2875. Anyone know the location or Orie Lester, kim Mesnard, Jim Henderson, Jim Deal
or Cdr Jim Andrews?? Take care everyone=== WHALES FOREVER=====
MAD DOG!!! SURE I REMEMBER YOU. HOW ARE THINGS GOING? AS FAR AS I
KNOW, THE # FOR COYOTE IS STILL GOOD. DO YOU HAVE A COPY OF THE PHOTO YOU MENTIONED? WHERE ARE YOU LIVING, I AM IN ORANGE, CA, NEAR
ANGEL STADIUM. TAKE CARE == ANDY
I served in VQ-2 from September 1970 thru November 1973. Arrived in Rota a young, innocent country boy from Georgia, left with more sea stories and adventures than I can remember. Some of the best times I spent in the Navy were with VQ-2. We worked hard and played even harder. Learned a lot about teamwork, taking care of your shipmates, doing your job and accepting responsibility. Got my first cat shot and trap with LT Larry Bell on the JFK. Worked in supply and even worked on the flight deck as a checker on the Whales, loving every minute of it. I guess I was too young and dumb to realize the danger. I finally retired in May 1996 from the Naval Air Reserves as an AKC. Any former shipmates that want to chat just send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was in VAH-4 and remember when one of our planes crashed during tack off at NAS Whidbey in 1960. All three were killed. What’s interesting is that Hollywood make a movie about the widow of Lt Dick North (the bombadier) and her subsequent marrige to CWO Frank Beardsley. The movie called his, hers and ours starred Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda
My A3 decal has come through by catching the attention of an Old A3 driver by the name of VAN BURKHART. Lives in Houston and was real excited to hear about the Association !! He will probably be joing up soon.
I need to settle a friendly argument..I was with VAH 6 in 64′-65′ we MED CRUISED with the USSFORRESTAL…
One of us says there were JBDs on the flight deck
I say there weren’t any at that time…
They could of been installed later but I don’t remember any wwhile we were aboard
JBD’s got bigger over time with the airplanes, but there is little doubt in my mind that the Forrestal had them. The Hornet (CV-12) has them … they rose vertically out of the flight deck and could only handle a centerline thrust airplane … but she had them. It seems to me that the JBD’s on the Oriskany (CVA-34) were not up to the task with the A-3 … but she had them. The jets hit the fleet well before the Forrestal was built. Actually, I am looking right now at a picture of AJ613, BUNO 138904, being launched from an unidentified carrier. The A-3 had no refueling probe … and had a tail turret, but the carrier had JBD’s … split.
Still working as a docent volunteer on the USS Hornet Museum, and still looking for an A-3 tailhook point. Anyone have one of these guys rusting away in your garage, or being used as a very adequate door stop? Actually, we have an F-14 aboard, and that hookpoint is almost as big. Did you know that the empty weight of an F-14 is 42,000 pounds … that’s almost as much as the Whale! Ours were about 45,000 pounds empty, although some of the EA-3’s were in the forty-six plus range.
RA / ERA
Max field takeoff weight = 78,000 lbs.
Max catapult weight = 73,000 lbs.
Max field landing weight = 56,000 lbs
Max arrested landing (ship and shore) 50,000 lbs
The RA / ERA held 33,149 lbs of usable fuel.
The ERA had the entire flash bomb bay filled with MG’s, MA’s, signal converters, cooling units and a bunch of other stuff.
Add into that the weight of the various antennas and generators on and under the aircraft, any pods hanging off the wings (especially the ALQ-99 pods) plus the weight of the ALE-43 and the rolls of chaff, the operational weight of the ERA went way up.
I know that at times the ERA’s of VAQ-34 were fueled about 5,000 – 9,000 lbs short of a full fuel load in order not to exceed the max take-off weight (even though I would usually fuel the plane until it was leaking out of the vents).
I would really be surprised if an EA’s basic weight was more than an ERA’s basic weight.
It is not for sale, nor is it being offered, but my family remains the proud owner of an A3 hook point, received by my father, Jack Lipski (VAH-4 circa 1960-1970), on the occasion of his centurion trap. Dad passed away several years ago, but the hook point remains, as you state, a very adequate door stop (and will for years to come)!
Rest easy knowing that the A3 legacy lives on (albeit in a very Marine Corps and very VSTOL household, now).
“I would not be surprised if the ERA-3Bs weighed more than the EA-3s.”
MadDog, I have no doubt that they did weigh more. But I don’t think the ERA-3’s deployed on aircraft carriers with a 50,000 pound max trap weight. I think it was Max Otto who took an EA-3 from VQ-1 way up in the North Pacific to land on a carrier doing ‘blue water ops’. Upon landing, the air boss read him the riot act and demanded to know how he got so critically low on fuel. He said, “well sir, I dumped (seven) thousand pounds to get down to max trap weight.” (;-)
I have been looking for “sea stories” about my Dad. Max Otto. I believe that is who you referencing in your post. He was quite a character and I dearly miss him. I would love to hear any stories or information you would care to share.
I was in VAH-123 with your father Max as a Navigation Instructor and frequently flew with him. As we flew over of the Cascade Mountains, Max would point out good fishing and hunting locations. I flew mostly in the TA-3B, but on occasion we would fly the bombers for pilot checkouts and other bomber specific flights. One day Max and I were scheduled to fly with a student pilot for his final demo/check out flight prior to being signed off for PIC (Pilot in Command). Part of the check out was a loft bombing demo. For those of you unfamiliar with the maneuver, it is a maneuver to sling a nuclear weapon forward in long arc, and while the bomb is in the air the aircraft reverses course to clear the area at high speed. It is accomplished by approaching the target low at three hundred knots and at a bombing computer designated point abruptly pulling up into an almost vertical climb at full power. The Bombay doors open automatically, the bomb is released and the aircraft is rolled left into a ninety degree bank reversing course, leveling off and departing at high speed. The pull up, pitch angle, roll and course reversal are accomplished by instruments. Now it should be noted that there was a bank limitation of 90 degrees for the A-3. Of course before flight the student pilot was well briefed on the maneuver and knew of all the aircrafts performance limitations and characteristic fro diligent study of the NATOPS manual.
For the loft bombing demo Max liked to go over to the coast where there were a few rocks in the ocean just off the coast. They were the aim point for the pull up. Max proceeded to demonstrate a couple of maneuvers. On the third run, as we were approaching the pull up point, Max calmly mentioned that one must be prepared for equipment malfunctions. The student nodded. So up we go, Max with a smile on his face as the bombays open and close, he rolls into the turning level off but Max keeps the roll going until we are inverted and falling down! Max looks at the student who now is very wide eyed and says “sometimes gyros go out and you end up like this”. Max then rolls us back to level flight. Lesson over. As an interesting aside, a few days later I flew with the same pilot on his first loft bombing flight at the bombing range with a bombardier and guess what? Yep, the gyros tumbled in the pull up and we rolled beyond 90 degrees and he calmly kept the roll going back to level flight. Lesson learned!
I might also mention, after releasing a practice bomb on the bombing range, bombardiers would look back to see where the bomb hit. Max liked to “initiate” bombardiers new to loft bombing when they would say that they couldn’t see the target. Max would rolled inverted and point straight up at the target. Ahhh, the good old days!
Cherie, hope you’re still checking in here. Max and Sue were my sponsor when I arrived at VQ1 in 1973 and I met you at that time. After you left Guam, I saw you again in 1976 in Jacksonville the day after you had a run-in with a windshield.
Max’s legend kept all the new guys spell-bound as one bigger-than-life story was followed by another. My non-flying story involves his practice of “hiding” his missing finger for a child and watching them tear the place apart looking for it. He would let them examine his hand so they were convinced it had really been removed. He finally got his payback when he pulled the trick on CO Tim Connoly’s daughter. When he “hid” his missing finger, she exclaimed “Hey that’s really neat,….. here, hold this” and she removed and handed him her artificial eye. For weeks he would retell the experience ending with an incredulous “…and she took out her eye!”
Most bigger-than-life people don’t live up to their legend, Max did.
What we were told was that we could not deploy on carriers because the internal equipment racks were not stressed for a cat shot and would have rocketed out of the tail on the cat stroke.
I had seven emergency field arrested landings in 2.5 years of flying the ERA-3B including a short field arrestment at Rosey Roads with broken nose wheel steering, minimal flaps and no brakes. Since I was in the belly of the Whale I was really glad the racks COULD take a trap.
My name is Dave Rossi, and I believe my recently deceased uncle, Navy Commander Edward C. Rossi may have piloted an A-3 in the early 60’s or late 50’s. He was stationed for a time at Quonset Naval Air Station in Quonset, Rhode Island, and am not sure if he was attached to one of the carriers Essex or Champlain that were tied up there.
Where would I begin to find out this information? He will be buried
at Arlington National Cemetary on Dec. 1st, and I’d like to add this
information to his memorial.
I am attempting to find Al Ward. He and I was in VAP61 in ’64-’65. I can’t remember where he worked…I was a personnelman. If anybody knows where he is I sure would like to know. I am available at email@example.com or 503 356 1894. Thanks in advance for your help
any one out there remember when heavy eight had the “golden Goddess”. I was with my buddy Bob Myers and a couple other guys in the Squadron duty office when about a dozen guys broke in the door ,dis obeyed a direct order from Mr. Wallacavage to leave..they grabbed me from behind and some guy and myself were rolling on the hangar bay floor.they shoved my buddy,who had wrapped himself around the statue ,out the window to a waiting car and took off with the statue..He managed to get out of the way before he was run over..That was not the way the statue was suppossed to be taken and no one knows what ever happened to it.Any body out there have the answer???
I recall stories of an incident happening in the early/mid 60s that may be what you are referring to. he tale included an Aircrewman named Flood and possibly Charlie Brown and an AQ named Snyder,all of VAH 4 fame. I knew Flood and later ask him about it over a beer down at the OHT and all he responded with was a grin, neither admitting nor denying.
I can be contacted at “firstname.lastname@example.org”
As a member of VAQ-208 and plank holder, I remember when it was hanging in our hanger for the longest time, up high in the overhead back in the early 70’s. I know there are one or two of our pilots and enlisted crew members involved in the obtaining of the statute can be located right on this web-site.
Spent a few years with the A-3 myself. Toured VQ-1 and did 4 westpacs with em. Made grreat friends and partied like I never knew how. Lotsa memories to tell when they stick me in the old folks home. Cant wait to tell em.
On a serious note for those of us who flew the ERA3B – I’ve been wondering what past exposure to high levels of electromagnetic radiation has done to us healthwise in the long-term.
When you consider that the EA-6B, EF-111, and the EF-18 all have gold-impregnated canopies and shielded crew compartments to protect them from the energy emitted by the same jammers we had on the ERA-3B and from which we were protected by a grand total of 1/16th inch of aluminum…
If you flew the ERA-3B, no matter in what capacity, I would appreciate if you would email me privately at email@example.com with a synopsis of your current state of health. All communications will be maintained in strict privacy.
I am interested to see (and so is the former AF flight surgeon I see at VA) if there is any sort of definable long-term effect from unshielded EMR exposure.
I am looking for the squadron pacth on my Deceased Brother-in-laws jacket, Kenneth Tooker CVA-19 Hancock. The patch had orange and white checkers with black, it had a large orange tiger in the center of the patch. Kenneth Tooker passed away in 1991, I used to have his copy of Hannahs log book but cannot find it, can you please check on his status, records and send me a photograph of his patch. Thank you and thank all of you for your service to this Great Country, GOD BLESS!
I am still looking for Allen Ward. We were stationed together on Guam with VAP-61 in 1964-65. I believe he was from Allentown, PA. I could be mistaken about that but it seems to ring true. If anybody has any knowledge of his whereabouts please contact me at the above e-mail or website. Thanks in advance for your help.
I’m writing a biography on my biological mother. She married a A3D pilot, William “Bill” Reyn (born in California). Bill was killed during a landing back in 59′ 60′ (sorry I need to get a firm date). Apparently he was “in the groove” ready to land but was asked to give way for a smaller plane low on fuel. Right after giving way, an instrument panel light came on. He attempted to land and his landing gear collapsed Bill Reyn and another crew member died when the plane flipped into the water after skidding across the flight deck.
Seems to be a big shortage of Sanford sailors from the late 50’s and early 60’s on these websites… Reckon they’re all dead??
Looking for those that couldn’t stay away from Daytona Beach and remembers Stansfields and Mac’s..
If anyone know any of them, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don: I was in VAH-3 when we came off the FDR (Feb 58). We went straight from the Ship to SANFORD (contrary to various Heavy Attach Histories). We deployed from NAS Jax (July 57).
Sanford in the late 50s was a great city. The city had a minor problem with the Navy. It seems that thous pesty pilots liked to make several FCLPs after a night training flight. Well the citizens felt that their sleep was more important than FCLPs. So the City Fathers had a meeting with the Base/HatWing Commanders. The result of that meeting was. Once a month a week-end was reserved for FCLPs (Friday and Saturday) till midnight.
The week prior the Papers Headling stated “FCLP WKND” (I think. After all that was over 50 years ago) see page ##. The article stated words to the effect “Public plan your party’s for this week-end.”
She crashed while assigned to VAH-123 (Pilot Brown Pc Voght) off Anacordes, Wash.
. PPC LtCdr Webb
Hey Victor I’m an old Sanford sailor VAH-7 from 4/60to 7/63. My first cruise was TAD to VAH-1. The Navy thought it would be a good idea to deploy with 18 A3Ds on board. So 6 A3s and crew from VAH-7 joined with VAH-1 and went out on The USS Independence first med tour. Because it was my first trip I had no idea that was unusual. Man, did I learn quick. I was a Brown shirt on that crowded flight deck, pretty exciting at times. We came back with 12 planes. We lost the first one while still in the Atlantic. Came in at night and snapped a cable. That pilot saved that aircraft and took it to Rota, Spain. He skipped along the water for quite a way before getting her back up. I can’t remember the pilots name, but after that he was called “Water Ski”.
For Richard A. Mergl Jr. Hi; You were asking about the fatal A3D accident in the Lake George area in which your father was killed. I can provide only a small bit of elaboration. I was in Heavy Three, the training squadron, at the time of the accident. My understanding is that there were two pilots on board because they were practicing the loft maneuver over Lake George. The Navy had a bombing range at lake George, where small practice bombs were routionely dropped. The loft maneuver was an extremely demanding procedure where the A3D would approach the target from a low altitude and at relatively high speed. Near the point where the bomb was to be released, the aircraft was pulled up abruptly into a near vertical climb, the bomb was released, the aircraft was brought to near level flight upside down, and the wings were righted so that the direction of flight was about 180 degrees from the original heading. The A3D was not designed for this maneuver, and the low altitude made it especially precarious. I had flown with your father on training flights, and found him to be an especially gifted aviator; he was certainly one of the youngest pilots in that squadron. Best wishes.
Might be that the other pilot was at the controls. I remember that when you rolled over on top you had to roll out 90 degrees and back to level horizon flite and screaming for the deck to escape the “blast” behind you. (practise) That top roll was critical because if the pilot let his nose go through the horizon upside down he would most likely roll out going straight down! The gyro horizon worked most of the time but if it “tumble” which it did alot then you had to go visually and that would prove disaster if there were heavy clouds. Cdr. D.B.F Brown VAH11 safety officer and expert loft pilot went straight in to Lake George most likely due to the above problems. A fisherman on the lake said he came out of the clouds going straight in. Richard Hennessey 3 crewman was my best friend in that one. Eberle was the B/N. The crew is in Arlington Cemetery.
I took care of safety records and was familiar with many A3 crashes and the loft manuever was so devastating and happened so fast the causes were specualtive.
I remember one thing about the bomb release is that I could observe the bomb going away through the top window as we rolled and report to the B/N if it was a smooth one or tumbling. I could follow it all the way till finally out of site or we went to the level position.
I enjoyed the manuever but was too young to fear it.!
Anyone that was stationed at Pt. Mugu NAS from about 1970 to 2000 and has an interesting story about The Green Dragon please post here or send me an email. I purchased it in 2006 and have been slowly getting it back into appealing shape. It is a green 1969 Dodge Polara 500 convertible (talk about “whales”) and it has a large Granpa Pettibone stenciled/painted on the passenger door. The Navy Recruiter that I bought it from claimed it was owned by various members of a particular squadron but I didn’t write down the squadron number or numbers. I would also be interested in any photos of the car. Scan them and send them to me by email.
JOE HAWKINS == TRIED TO E-MAIL YOU A COUPLE IF TIMES, NO JOY ! E-MAIL
ME A SHORT NOTE WHEN YOU SEE THIS. A3BULLDOG@EARTHLINK.NET . HOPE
YOU ARE DOING WELL. I AM STILL IN ORANGE. PLAZA AREA HAS ALMOST MORE
FOOD JOINTS THAN ANTIQUE SHOPS NOW. HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS. ANDY
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL WHALERS AND YOUR FAMILIES. WE STAND TALL AND PROUD TO HAVE SERVED. REMEMBER OUR SHIPMATES WHO HAVE GONE WEST BEFORE US AND THEIR FAMILIES. HONORED TO HAVE SERVED WITH YOU. SUPPORT OUR SHIPMATES AND TROOPS OF TODAY. WISHING YOU A JOYOUS
CHRISTMAS SEASON AND A HAPPY AND PEACE-FILLED NEW YEAR. GOD BLESS . . .
I have a Coral Sea book from 1971-1972. I lost Ken 8yrs ago and though somebody might like to have the book.It is a deployment book,with all the departments of the ship and all the salors that were on the ship.
Thanks shirley email@example.com if you would like to contact me
Hi, my name is Terry Barnett and I am Roger Eidenschink’s daughter. It is with great sorrow that I must let you know that Dad passed on Feb 3, 2010. He led a courageous battle against cancer but lost in the end. I tried to find a way to post some kind of memorial for him on your sight but was not sure how to do so.
Please tell me what the meaning of the codes A,B,C,D, are in the memorial section of planes lost. I noticed that not all of the air crewman that died in accidents are not listed in the memorial section. I do not understand that.. Great web site. Very informative and educational. The other thing I do not understand is comparing the B66 to the A3D. They changed the wing angle, engines, cockpit shape and size for ejection seats, landing gear, and hydraulics. Also they changed the flaps or ailerons or something to get better low altitude control, although that did not make sense either. They changed the cockpit because they said the pilots could not see good enough, and for the seats. When I say they, I mean the Air Force. It seems like it is nowhere near a A3D after all those changes. Just curious as to the comparing the two completely different airplanes. Another thought. ATCA Pritchett who was a crew member for Commander Bartholomew had received notice that he was going to be a Warrant Officer, and was awaiting final approval when he was in that accident. An outstanding gentleman and person to know. As for Commander Bartholomew, I served with him in two different stations. He was a very fine officer, always treating everyone great and respectful, and willing to listen before making a decision. He was as good in Naval Warfare Planning and Counter Intelligence as he was a pilot. The world lost a great man when he died, as well as his great family losing a great father.
I’m the Association secretary and researched all the accidents and built the data base to track them.
Codes A-G reflect the severity of the injuries. A is fatal and G is no injury. I have never found what makes an injury B, C D or E. I bailed out (Whales Tales) and all three of our injuries were rated G, hence no fortifier on the DLG.
And to Ed Parris and Sid Humphreys, the loft maneuver was from a IP 40 fifty miles from the target run at 450 knots 500 feet AGL. When the computer fired the pilot performed a 2.5 G pulled up and at 40 degees I would open the bomb bay doors, at 50 degrees the weapon release, I closed the doors and the pilot did a wing over coming back on a head 120 degrees from the run heading screaming for the deck. And you are right on, to get away from the blast. Those were the fun days. Two bulls-eyes at Boardman and and one at the Spokane RBS site.
For Frank Cogdell. In terms of the early loft maneuvers in the Florida area, we flew the entire route VFR. While crude, we didn’t use an IP, nor did we use the computer–it was usually a very rough ride. Over time, some pilots joked about pasteing chewing gum on the windshield at a strategic spot–thus the scientific evolution. The “weapon” was a pint-sized training bomb. I recall one Friday flight that was aborted, and we were rescheduled for Saturday morning. As we approached the target in Lake George I noticed a man in a row boat fishing. We made a low pass, and the pilot bent it around for another opportunity. However, the fisherman had made no effort to leave the area. So, this time the pilot took the aircraft to as low as the trees would allow, and the bomb bay doors were popped right above the fisherman. I had been unaware that a rowboat with oars was capable of generating a wake on the water, but it did. The next time we made a pass, the fisherman was well out of the danger zone, and the pilot executed his manuever. I am sure the fisherman had quite a story to tell.
I’ll send you a story a little later. We are expecting a grand-baby right now, so I’m a little busy with ‘stuff’. I will also forward your email to some Navy buddies who I know knew Max. So sorry to hear he passed away. I did not know that. We recently had a little reunion on the occasion of the birthday of one of my reserve friends. There was quite a group of A-3 pilots, navigators, and LSO’s. I think they all knew Max, or they certainly knew of him … and his sidekick George Gedney. Just a quick one. When Max and George ‘waved’ the A-3 they liked to get as far out on the flight deck as the cords on the ‘pickle’ and the headset would allow in order to get a good look at the lineup. Well, it was pretty windy out there … so Max would stand behind George and act as a windbreak for the ‘little’ guy. They were quite a team.
Sanford Fla Fleet Reserves is having a annual get together on June24-27 for all squadrons fron 1942-1968.. Contact Jerry Bohn 450 River Dr. DeBarry Fl. 386-688-4851 for more information. We stopped by Sanforn this winter . Man has that place changed. See you guys there. This may be there last get together due to lack of interest or age groups taking there toll.
Wonderful to see recent activity on this long-loved board. In ’75, the EA-3B was the most beautiful bird on Guam. I worked Pos 3 for 100 traps on 5 different carriers and remember distinctly when our PC, ADJ Stevie Fories fell out of the hatch north of Hawaii.
Flying below radar with an Alpha Strike group from the Constellation was really an awe-inspiring sight.
PR-02, I think (my favorite) had smoke in cabin problems for a couple of days. No one could find the problem. Finally, to electrically simulate flight while on deck, we ran engines for an hour one night and told the AE and AT types to turn on all avionics, to do an “All Systems” smoke check. Still, nothing burned. AE3 Bob Parr was the electrician. Fantastic nice guy. Gabriel ??? fixed radar. Such a wonderfully gregarious and dedicated giant of a man. He carried two magnetrons at a time on his shoulders, when it normally took two men to carry just a single one. I named my first-born after him.
Then, while countering the Australian’s Melbourne, I distinctly saw the smoke coming from the avionics bay starboard under the navigator. Was that Bala Lemak?
Stevie was sitting on a coffee can near the throttle when the pilot (probably Bingo/Cowboy Harris) yelled at him, “FIRE!” and he leaped down the ladder, pushed me aside, and ripped the port panel off the wall, ignoring my directions to starboard. Then, as before, the smoke simply went away.
(The pilot preferred “Cowboy,” but we had learned to get our bags whenever he carried his to the flight deck. Somehow he seemed to know in advance when we were going to break inflight and be forced to head into Cubi Point.)
Suddenly Stevie got really small. He dropped through the bottom hatch as I was standing next to him! I snatched his vest by the neck and yanked him back up, and we watched the blue water below as the door swung back and forth.
I held on to him as he buttoned up ship. Then we looked at each other and began to shake, laugh and cry all at once. Whew. Three safeties had yielded: the gasket was not inflated at only 800 feet, the handle had vibrated open, and the pin had rusted through.
Next day, the smoke appeared while we ran up on the port cat. I found the VOR/Omni overheated (in the starboard bay) and disconnected it. The deck crew was wondering why in hell we weren’t giving the go sign for blast off, and so Stevie, on deck that day, opened the hatch and yelled up to ask why we were delaying the launch.
In reply, I simply handed him a smoldering, smoking, burning 5-pound radio: he stared at it, then calmly walked over to the side and threw it overboard.
When we asked radio tech Carl Polumbo if he noticed anything the night before during the all systems smoke check, he honestly replied: “You mean, ALL systems?”
Pulling into port, Stevie swore he’d buy me a case of beer for saving his life. But at the crash’n’dash store, we discovered he was too young to purchase! This wasn’t a problem in the barracks in NAS Atsugi, though, where the beer vending machines were cheaper than the Coke machines. (Coke was a necessity, I guess, to keep AT2 Peter Prime awake during week-long battles on the RISK board game.)
Wow – I was just browsing and say your post. I also was in Guam at that time and it sure brought back memories. Gabe was indeed a gentle giant. Thanks for bringing back some memories. Bob (Yoda) Justice AT1 – for anybody that wants to say hi my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
How many of you know Mike Glenn? I don’t know what squadrons he was with, but he and I both retired out of Pt. Mugu’s reserve P-3 squadron VP-65.
Anyways, I wanted to drop a line to the community and let you know that Mike had an accident last week working on an A-3. Don’t know all of the details, but apparently he was under the wing while they were folding the wings. Somehow they lost hydraulic pressure and the wing came back down and hit Mike in the head.
Apparently Mike broke his neck, arm and some ribs. He is expected to make a full recovery, but it is going to take some time. Depending on when you read this logbook entry, you can contact Mike at:
Antelope Valley Medical Center
1600 W. Avenue J
Lancaster, CA 93534
Tele: (661) 949-5000
BTW, I have in my possession on of the last books that identifies where every A-3 was and where it ended up if anyone is interested. I believe I got it at the end of my tour in VAQ-34 which would have been in late 1987.
Very sadly starting Monday morning at Van Nuys, where I work at a flight school across the field from Raytheon Flight Operations, I watched A3s being unceremoniously torn apart and shipped off as scrap junk. For those of you that attended the fiftieth anniversary, all but two of the planes there have are now history.
Fifty Years Ago. I was with Heavy Attack for about 7 years, and from time to time I like to look back at what I was doing 50 years ago. I was the Navigation Officer in VAH-3 in the late summer of 1960. I had checked into Heavy Nine on 3 August 1956, and was sent the next month to HATU for B/N training. I emerged about the end of the year, and got integrated into the AJ-2, the monstrosity with two turnin’ and one burnin’. The A3Ds arrived in the spring, and we deployed aboard the Saratoga to the area north of England in the autumn, went aboard the Ranger on its shakedown cruise at the end of 1957, and deployed on the Sara to the Med early in 1958. We were extremely busy, and lost two crews during that period. Early in 1959, as Nine was reconfiguring, I went to Three as Personnel Officer, and then as assistant to LCDR Bauer in the Nav Department. I considered the A3D to be quite difficult to navigate if the B/N worked too hard at it. For example, celestial navigation had severe limitations, yet took a lot of time. It was always best to save time for thought, and look at the big picture. Simple DR was quite helpful.
I was with VAH 2 63 65 USS CORAL SEA CVA 43, NAS Whidbey Is, Cubi Point. I worked on the A3,s. Used to stow ammo box full of san magoos in the hell hole to the ship. Any one from that time zone? email@example.com AMS E-3
I know that we now live in different times; however, I do want to give you my opinion on the O6 in command of the USS Enterprise.
I still remember the difference between the shipboard white and green linoleum – the difference between the rank and file and officers. I was the plane captain and crew member and have enjoyed the company of officers (out of uniform). However, when the uniforms went on, the relationship changed – not for who the officer was, but for those things his uniform represented. I still have all of my squadron patches, decorations, and chevrons. Why? Because I am proud of them and the service they represent. That O6 – the Enterprise’s CO and his chain-of-command – just crapped on most of the things I hold dear and am proud of. I am proud of the Navy, my squadron service, and proud of the traditions the Navy represents. I hope those in the Navy hold the same things dear. Just remember that the ideals, conduct, and morals of an officer peculate down through those he commands.
The Navy had a chance to correct this situation four years ago – before the press got wind of it. Instead, they reprimanded the officer and then promoted him to CO. Every man-jack in his upper chain-of-command should be relieved for besmirching the service.
To Dale V. Clark
I was in VAH2, was there on the flight deck the day you went in the water. It looked much worse than you said and I was sure all of you were gone. If you are in Charleston I’ll tell you what it looked like from where I was standing. By the way you scared the hell out me.
I thought I would leave a note that Capt. G. Kimmons wife died and will be buried in Alabama. He was CAG was he not when the base in Sanford closed? I am sure many of the old timers remember him. I like the web page you have set up. Looks good.
I was in VAH-13 from Feb. 1962 to JUN. 1964. I have searched the web
for information about Heavy 13 ,CAW 11,and the USS KITTY HAWK CVA
I was a A3D plane captain during those years, and I have lost all contact
and information, pictures of the Squadron and air crews. I had a house
fire that destroyed everything. I am applying for VA benefits , and the
records in St.Louis, Mo. isn’t much heip. Nothing about flying into Siagon to deliver film or air re-fueling flights. I would appreciate any information.
I was a Plane Captain on 608 (138973). I didn’t witness the crash, but remember it well and recall some of the details 2nd hand. I’d flown with that crew on two other occasions. LCDR? Wilson joined the squadron after we had deployed. He hadn’t been aboard for more than about a month when the crash occurred. My tenure – Vah13 1962 -64 Sanford and Whidbey, mostly on Kitty Hawk. Two West Pac deployments. L B (Bingo) Wing ATN2. firstname.lastname@example.org.
They are still flying! While landing at Van Nuys with a student, EA-3B Bu No 144865. Callsign ‘RAYCO 75′ was holding short for take off. Several minutes after I landed they took off. What a beautiful sight! What a treat! The first time I saw an A3 flying was in 1957 aboard the Bon Homme Richard. It was as impressive then as it was the other day.
Still looking for anyone from the 63 to 65 time zone with HATRON 2 USS CORAL SEA. We forgot to put the inner wheel bearing on the Captains air craft 609 I think, at NAS Whidbey Island in 64. Anyone remember that? The CO found out before they took to the air. We all got a good butt chewing for that mistake. No one was hurt.
-Bloodhound base to Bloodhound 75…
It is with great sadness that I report that Jeffrey K. Downs passed away on March 2, 2011 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was a A-3D crewman from 1971 to 1974 at the Naval Missile Center at Pt. Mugu Ca. He was a TD-2 assigned to Test Operations, Electronic Warfare Division.
-Bloodhound base out.
I am adding this comment to my sons note of my Dads passing. He was the the first Pilot to add one of two A-3’s to the collection of VQ-1 aircraft at Iwakuni, Japan in 1956. Upon retirement he joined Douglas aircraft to continue his service as a field rep fixing whales aboard the USS Enterprise, Ranger, Carl Vinson, Constellation and and finally USS Midway until his second retirment in 1984.
With all of these Whalers passing perhaps we should have an old-fashioned “Tontine.” All former Whalers kick in a set amount of money, it gets put in an investment account, and the last Whaler standing collects.
DEAR JOHN = I WAS SAD TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR DAD. IF I AM CORRECT HE WAS ALSO A TECH REP FOR VAQ-34 AT PT. MUGU. IF SO THAT IS WHERE I KNEW HIM FROM. HE WAS A TRUE GENTLEMAN AND HAD A TREMENDOUS KNOWLEDGE OF THE A3 THAT HE ALWAYS ENJOYED SHARING WITH OTHERS. THE WHALE COMMUNITY WILL MISS HIM IMMENSELY. WISHING HIM RED SKIES AT NIGHT AND FAIR WINDS. ALL MY BEST TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. ANDY BARBRE
I WAS IN NARU VT LINE BEFORE THEY HAD ANY A3 AIRCRAFT. US2A WERE THE ONLY FLYING AC WE HAD THEN. I WAS THERE TIL 2-76 OR SO.WE ONLY HAD 8 ENLISTED AT A TIME EARLY ON. I WOULD ESPECIALLY LIKE TO HEAR FROM ANY OF THEM OR ONES WHO REMEMBER ME IN THE BEGINNING OF NARU HAVING A3 A/C. THANKS DALE
Hi all, my father, James Moore Coleman, was a member of VAH-10 from Whidbey Is. from about ’68-’70 (I’m guessing). He passed away Apr 17, 2007. If anyone remembers him and would like to correspond, please contact me at email@example.com.
I am the son of Richard Perkins Sr. who was stationed in Vietnam on an A3D (147659) from ’63 to ’65 attached to “The World Famous VAP 61″. Him and I were talking the other night about the plane he was assigned to so I asked him for the serial and actually found pictures of it! He was floored since he had not laid eyes on that exact plane since 1965. I posted them on one of my websites and would love for any of you to come see her and comment.
I want to personally say thanks for your service and we all have a connection through the “Whale”. I obviously did not fly on it but I grew up, as many of you probably have, hearing the stories of how she was a big and strong plane that was known for limping her crews back to the carrier full of holes.
Unfortunately this plane (147659) was dismantled in 2008 but if you want to see the pictures I was able to find of her please stop by, you are more than welcome and I would be happy to chat with you: http://postthread.com and my name is Richard.
I have a lot of flight time in 147659, and many carrier landings. It was assigned to VAQ-130 during the 1970 through 1973 time frame. But I’m a bit confused VAP-61 was a photo outfit, and they flew the RA-3B. I didn’t know VAP-61 had any ‘bomber/tanker/jammer’ variants. When it was retired (as I recall after a wheels up landing at Alameda), 147659 was an EKA-3B. To the best of my knowledge, all of the RA-3’s were 144XXX or 146XXX series aircraft.
I was in VAH-6 in 64-65 was AMH-3 made med cruise aboard USS Forestal discharged after cruise. Before heavy 6 was in VF-24attached to uss midway cva41 did west pac. Was just surfing ran across site ,Grandaughter teaching me to use computor says I need to keep up with the times.
Just came aboard and happy that I did….spent two fine years in
VQ-2 Rota, Spain 67-69 and actually I never left. I’ve been back there every year since for over 40 years. Many cat launches and over 600 fllight hours in the EA3B and 2000 hours in the EC121M Super Constellation. My son in later years after serving in the Marine Corps and on the WASP, as helicopter mechanic landed a job at Lockheed Martin. He was on the Raptor F22 team. He invited me for a tour through the plant one day….and as we walked through the hallway there were pictures of all their aircraft in chronological order ….and the last pic we came to was the old….
Super Constelation…..My son making the F22 and I was telling tales of the “Super Connie” “a million bolts flying in close formation”.
Ed Smith CTT2 aka Smitty
anyone heard of Booe, Fabus, Melhoff, Hettinger, and of course I’ve seen Don East’s name there abouts.
I am looking for either Commander Dick Hill or Commander Larry Connor. Both now retired traveled with me when I , as a Douglas Aircraft pilot, flew A-3Ds assigned to FEWSG back in the ’70s. These two planes were originally stationed at Pt Mugu. I flew the A-3 along with two Navy B-47s for ten years and have wrote a story about it. See “22 years with Douglas-Tulsa” on Google or Yahoo.
I know that no Whales ever flew off of the Wasp (CV-18), but I did in the T-2B. And ever since that first H-8 hydraulic cat shot I’ve been trying to remember the Wasp’s callsign … ever since the Captain of the ship said, “Off the cat, (as I was passing rapidly through 1500 feet like a homesick angel) this is “____”, have you got a hold of that thing yet, or is God still flying?” All the other ‘callsigns’ seem to be out there, but all I can find for the Wasp is their four letter radio call. Oriskany was Sealord, Hancock was Rampage, Enterprise was Climax, … but what was the Wasp?
“Whell!” … I still don’t know the callsign of the Hornet, but I do know you were not in my flight to the Wasp. You were, of course, in my A-3 reserve squadron. I don’t remember the names of the guys I flew with that day, but I know that you were not in my flight … but you were probably on the same carqual. It was in 1969 during a summer when we spent most of our time at the beach except for the one day per week we went out to Bronson Field to do six or so FMLP passes. (;-)
Mike, I must have been on the same qual but different flight as I don’t remember any calls from the ship about God flying the plane. What a hoot. By the way I think Tom Santell is also active on the Hornet as a guide. He was an NFO with VAQ 130. We got together recently on the Midway as he was looking for ideas to incorporate in the Hornet’s tour.
Richard `Dick` Jones VQ-2 third crewman `62 thru `65. Trying to locate my navigator that I was with on a mission that took us to Tripoli in late `64 or `65. This trip involved a port engine explosion on take off with a lot of other things that ensued. I have not been able locate an accident report and thought you might be able to help. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi! My father was a Parachute Rigger third class from 1955 to 1958. We have a lot of his papers and certificates but my boys would love to know what ship he was on. If you have any advice on how I could find this information, I would be forever grateful. My name is Angie Canter, email@example.com, My dad’s name was Jackie Keith Sergent, from Charleston WV. I know he got his parachute jumping certification at NATTU NAS, Lakehurst NJ on 06/21/57 and that he spent time in San Diego and overseas in Tokyo in 04/56. He got his certificate for rigger 06/16/57. Thank You!!
Angie & boys,
Let’s see what we can do. I assume since you posted on this web site that he was in an A-3 Skywarrior squadron or detachment. If so, do you know what it was? Being in the late fifties, was it a VAH-xx ? And where was he stationed, NAS ????? We have lots of info on carrier assignments for squadrons and detachments during the Vietnam era. Late 50s might be a bit more challenging.
Anyway, please pass on any specifics mentioned above or similar details and we’ll see what we can find out for you and the boys.
Man I remember firing off some rotten beer farts in the maintenance office. Smelled like kerosene and dog food burning. And remember Chief Kid’s ridiculous mustache?! Ha ha ha! What a pack of drunks we were in those last years of the squadron. Brings tears to my eyes just like those farts did.
Tom Kennedy Ret U.S. Navy: I flew in EA-3Bs in VQ-1 from 1980-1986 as an Aircrewman. It was a blast along with all the great liberty in the Pacific and Med. Looking for Whalers who served in the Q during my tour to chat. Det Bravo Rules!
Tom, great to hear you were in VQ-1 EA-3B Dets, 1980-1986. Great time for the Qs and EA-3Bs. Not sure if it was your Det Bravo, yet we may have crossed paths 1980 at Diego Garcia. We were with VQ-2’s Det Eisenhower from Rota and did a turnover to relieve VQ-1’s EA-3B Det there, while embarking USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Gulf of Oman/Iran crisis. I remember we took the trophy from VQ-1’s Dets (EA-3B and EP-3E)) there during the ” Dodge Annual Olympic Follies” (Memorial Day standdown?); Great healthy rivalry/ fun at a stressful time. Take care, Terry Hanson
Tom “Needlemire” Kennedy!!! Great to see your name on the web site. Don’t know if you remember me but we crossed paths several times. I believe I was one of your AFTA Instructors and was Shop “Chief” during the first part of your VQ tour. You might remember we even had a pretty good cruise on DET Bravo. Send me an e-mail when you can ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
To All pilots and crew who flew military aircraft with Pratt Whitney J-57 engines, This may involve the A-3 community. See below reference to J-57s and A-3 Skywarriors.
My name is B.V. Johnson and along with some other F-100 pilots I am afflicted with a fatal lung disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). This is a nasty disease that is usually fatal in 3 -5 years after one is diagnosed and there is currently no known cause or a medical cure for the condition.
THE VA AND DOD REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT OUR IPF IS THE RESULT OF EXPOSURE TO CONTAMINATES DURING OUR MILITARY SERVICE!!!
ONE of the possible causes of IPF that fit our back ground is, “PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO OCCUPATIONAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATES OR DUSTS. Some civilian aircraft engines use MIL 7808 engine oil. One of the civilian warnings concerning MIL 7808 oil, states this“Oil gives off fumes that can cause injury to personnel. Use oil in a well ventilated area”. A military Technical manual, TM 1-1500-204-23-3, gives this very same warning. The F-100 pilot Flight Manual T.O 1F-100D-1 contains no warnings for flight crews about MIL-L 7808 oil!!!! Most of us who have this disease have flown from 2,000 to 3200 hours in the F-100. An informal networking check of many friends that were military aviators found that a significant number of them are afflicted with IPF and MANY of them have already died as a result of this disease. We strongly believe that our IPF was caused by the exposure we had to the unfiltered toxic fumes of MIL-L-7808 Synthetic oil in our cockpits caused by the leaking bearings in the J-57 engine. We also strongly believe that many, if not all of the military aviators that we know of, and the many that we do not know of, were likewise affected by these unfiltered toxic oil fumes in the cockpit. The Pratt and Whitney J-57 was used in the USAF, F-100, the F-101 and RF-101, the F-102, the USN, F4D, F5D, F-8, and the A3-B. The J-57 without Afterburner was also used in the KC-135. The US Government purchased more than 21,000 J-57’s for military use.
We URGENTLY need to have contact with any of you that:
• Now have Pulmonary Fibrosis.
• Know an aviator (USAF, USN, ANG, USAFR, USA or Coast Guard) that has it.
• Think you may have it, and are awaiting a diagnosis.
• Know of someone who had PF and died from it like our friend Al Bache.
Call Ron Williams at Cell 785-452-8899, Home 785-825-7645 or e-mail at email@example.com
Call B.V. Johnson at Cell 775-530-7237, Home 615-396-8458 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE HELP US GATHER THE ABOVE INFORMATION TO CONVINCE THE DOD AND VA THAT THIS DISEASE IS SERVICE CONNECTED !
Anybody know anything of the whereabouts/fate of LT Jim “Rivets” Arthur who served in VQ-1 mid-70s and was (in)famous for his feud with an Admiral down at VQ-1 Det Cubi point? His girlfriend/fiancee was named Echo.
I do remember Lt. Arthur (rivets). As I recall he came to the Q after being with a squadron of OV-10’s. The whales not much to his liking after flying a bird with few limitations. Hence how he got the call sign rivets. You can’t barrel role an A-3 without some damage. He was a crazy S.O.B.
He was also my pilot on a seawing mission when we were joined by a mig 21. He removed his headgear put on a gorrila mask and a cowboy hat and communicated on IFF with a plastic laughing box. Of coarse there was also hand signals. I have not seen or heard anything of him since 1975.
He was subtle. He was Det OINC at Cubi and we were walking into the Duty Office and Rivets spotted an “Olangapo lady” about 45-50 years old standing in the passageway outside the door.
He walked in and loudly asked, “Whose grandmother is in the passageway?” When an Airman about 19 piped up, “Sir, she’s my fiancee!” the look on his face was priceless.
I also remember the evening that the Admiral (Jim’s nemesis) drove his staff car down to the Club, flags flying, and Jim (in a somewhat less than shipshape condition like the rest of us) spotted it and ran off, cackling. About 20 minutes later he reappeared with two crotchless lace panties, one black and one red, in-hand.
He failed to see the rest of us rapidly unass as he was intent on tying them to the staff car flagpoles from which he had just removed the Admiral’s flags. CAUGHT!
A few days later, as Det OINC he was going through all of the message traffic and official mail when he opened one letter and started a wicked chuckle. I went over to see what was cooking and looked over his shoulder…it was a letter from the Admiral to “Officer In Charge, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE Detachment Cubi Point” detailing the vile acts and continued harassment conducted by one LT James Arthur. I cringed.
Rivets, on the other hand, smiled broadly and pulled out some VQ-1 official stationery and then used a pad to rough out a reply. He handed this to the Yeoman.
My curiosity was REALLY piqued, so I waited around until the official response had been typed and returned to Rivets.
Looking over his shoulder I saw that the response was a long list of all of the horrific consequences which were to be visited upon “young Lieutenant Arthur.” With a flourish, Rivets then signed it exactly as follows, “Detachment O in C, VQ-1 Det Cubi Point.” He then got an envelope, sealed it, and put it in the “OUT” box.
My dad Joseph Monaco died in a plane crash on July 7, 1957in Sanford Fl….(I think, my mom never talked about it) I am just trying to piece together who, what, when and where. I think 7 passed away doing touch and goes.
I was three and have a brother and two sisters.
Anyone having any information would be great. 562-882-5303.
Thank for any help on this and thank you for serving our country!!!
Another VAK-208 whale tale. This one time I was fixing something or other in the cockpit, had to jam myself way up under the control panels so I was stuck right in there. Some of you no doubt have been there too. Anyway, this old boy named Jimmy Jack got up in there and shut the exit ramp. He had been feasting on mcdonald’s food and his gut was already distressed by the case of beer he had drank the night before. So he starts making some of the meanest farts I’ve met and I swear he also crapped his coveralls a bit, too. Smelled like death in that tright ariless place and to this day it brings tears to my eyes to recollect it.
VQ-2 will be holding a disestablishment ceremony at 1000 on May 17, 2012 at NAS Whidbey Island, WA. We have quite a few events planned to reminisce about the squadron since our establishment back on 1 SEP 1955. If you are interested in attending, please go to http://www.vq2.navy.mil/ and click on the VQ-2 Disestablishment Registration Form link on the right hand side of the web page for a POC. Very Respectfully, CDR Mark Stockfish, Commanding Officer, VQ-2
Hi, Former NFO/EW in EA-1f and flew A-3B at Pax River and have question for VAH squadron folks. How many A-3’s in a VAH in the 1961/1962 time frame? I know most squadrons had 12 aircraft, but how many A-3’s?
I was a BN in VAH 4 1962-65 and Heavy Four was unique, flying from five Essex class carriers. We always had a det. at sea and sometimes two or three. There were people in the squadron I never met. Each detachment had three planes and four crews. I think all the other squadrons had nine planes and twelve crew but I’m not sure. A-3 were called whales because they took up so much deck and hanger space.
I was in Heavy Five on the USS Forrestal from April 1960 to July 1962 with intermittant stops at NAS Sanford, Florida between crusises. We had 12 Aircraft operational with more crews than aircraft. Our aircraft went through several upgrads called the PAR program that changed them from having 20mm guns in the rear to the Boat-Tail confirguration with ECM gear. Our Maintenance Officer (CDR Goben) was one of the best guys to work with I had ever met. I don’t know about you other guys, but Heavy Five was a real proud squadron and I for one will always remember the good times we had working or on liberty. RS AQ1
Good to see your note. I think of you often and hope all is well for you.
Thanks for all you do for our “cause”. Sounds like we will gather at NAS Whidbey in 2013. Our Skywarrior is a dream come true.
You and others who came for the VAH-4 Reunion in ’06 were instrumental in the effort to bring a Skywarrior home to Whidbey.
Nice Video Bill: Sure brings back memories of my time on your sister ship and squadron (USS Forrestal & Heavy Five). We did not have the F3H as you did but did have the A4D, Spads (AD5), F8U, F4D and of course the beautiful A3D Skywarrior. Which I still think is the most beautiful aircraft the Navy flew. (my humble opinion)
I was with VAH – 8 from 1965, Midway, 66 and 67, Connie and VAH-10 at Whidbey 1968. Best time of my life. Names like senior Chief Dyhouse, Chief Bill Cole and Charlie Moore come back from time to time. Thanks for this site!!!
I served in the Royal Australian Navy as an Aircraft Handler on our last carrier HMAS Melbourne during the late 70’s.
I collect copies of ‘privately’ filmed (8mm or video) carrier films as a hobby as well as PLAT footage, mishaps, cruise video’s and other items filmed by Navy cameramen aboard carriers. I would like to swap copies of any carrier flying footage you may have, especially home video, mishap films or standard PLAT footage.
If you have any USN carrier footage from your time aboard your various NAVAIR related commands and are interested in sharing with a fellow ex sailor, please reply.
**I can easily organise for my ex USN friend who lives in D.C. to do expert free conversions for old reels filmed aboard carriers and slides onto DVD as well.
I have been a member of the Tailhook Assoc since 1990.
Kate, no , I did not know him, but I seem to recall the name. Did not serve on either Orisikany or the Hawk, but was on a few beach dets in Cubi Point, so met quite a few Whale guys, also maybe at Whidbey. This is a great site.
Stephen, I remember you father well.He was in Heavy from the time I got ther until the squadrn was decommed. I think your da was the guy that combined a plastic model of the A3 with something like moby dick and painted this thing with Heavy 8 logo. I also think he at one time lived in the Denver area as I do, but could never hook up with him.
Dennis, it seems to me I remember that whale model but, no, we never lived in the Denver area. He was transferred to Honolulu in about ’67 then retired New Years Eve 1969. Went to Chicago the next day where he became a manufacturers rep for a telecommunications firm. Retired from that in ate ’90’s and passed away in 2003.
I was reading about the restoration of the A-3D, and was wondering if anyone knew my father, Max Bent. He was a Tech-rep and worked for Douglas/McDonald Douglas for 35 years. I read the comments from Phillip Purpura and it seemed to mirror the places I lived growing up.
I was born in Manhattan Beach, CA when my dad was working for Douglas Aircraft. We then moved to Tall Timbers, MD for about 3 years. After that we went to Sanford, FL for the next six years. Word came they were going to close the Sanford base, and the Naval Squadron all moved up to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, and my family too.
I can’t imagine all you guys being so involved with the aircraft wouldn’t have known him.
Just wanted to touch base with all y’all, and say howdy.
Class of ’70 Oak Harbor High School. (Go Wildcats!)
Sure, I remember Max – great guy and I’m sure a great father. I flew in VAH-11 during the early 60’s and I know Max made one Med cruise with us and maybe two. I remember having Blue Crab feasts at your parents house — was your mom Marilyn? Good times in Sanford !
Lost my father to Vietnam. He was a A3 pilot. I hope to find someone that knew him.
LCDR Eugene Floyd McNally. I would love to chat about how he was and who he was to you. I never got the chance to know him..
I love you and miss you father
My father LCDR Max Otto left me many many slides of life on deck and in the air I would love to share, including a shell back initiation. Is there some place I can share these? They are mostly cruises from 59-78.
Cheri, we must have been neighbors in Penn Cove on Whidbey. I remember your father well. He was a friend of my father, LCdr Harvey Herzog. We lived on View Ridge Drive just up the hill. You must have been younger than me, I seem to remember little kids in your house. I remember his train set-up in the garage. I thought of him when I was visiting my mother in August and walked by your old house. I also remember that he applied to NASA but was rejected because the tip of a finger of his was missing. Another neighbor, Dick Scruggs, also applied but his wife wouldn’t let him do it. They lived down the street from you.
Oh lord he taught you to drive!!! He drove like he flew!! I remember your parents being friends with my parents. Did you go camping with us? I was born in 1960 and my brother in 64. How much older are you?
For Marcy Monaco, in reference to your message of 5 Apr. 2012:
I can answer almost any questions you might have regarding that terrible A3D crash at NAS Sanford in early July, 1957. The pilots were Charlie Carmen and Hank White, and they were making late afternoon carrier-type landings on Runway 27 at NAS Sanford. There were two Crewmen aboard–one had requested the flight in order to get his flight time for the month. All were killed. Both pilots were new to the squadron, and needed to get carrier qualified. Heavy Nine was scheduled to go aboard the Saratoga to participate in Operation Strikeback in the late summer, with flight operations west of Norway. I don’t recall whether Joseph Monaco was the plane captain or the crewman, but my recollection was that the crash was a result of pilot error. I lack the professional qualifications to judge, but it appeared to me that the aircraft was lacking sufficient airspeed as it was climbing and turnind after it had touched down. My recollection is that LT White had been on sick leave with a severe head cold, but had volunteered to fly that afternoon because the flight would be at a low altitude. I knew LT white to be a very highly motivated Academy graduate, and CDR Carmen was my boss in the Admin Department. He had accumulated a lot of time in the A3D, and had demonstrated his skills leading a four-aircraft formation at the 1957 Fleet Review in Norfolk. He was an outstanding Naval Officer. Heavy Attack was a strategic program for the Navy, and it served to deter the Soviet Union at a very dangerous time in our history. Each individual who served played an important role, and helped our nation to prevail. Best wishes, LCDR E. Parris, USNR (Ret)
A general question…How many traps was a hookpoint good for before we chucked them. Can’t remember.
Something got me to thinking about it. I was almost blown over the side of the USS Ranger in the Gulf of Tonkin on dark night after a F-4 Phantom trapped last behind our whale. So my bud and I were back there torqueing the thing and the F-4 goosed his throttles and turned to head up towards the bow to park. His blast hit us full force and away we went, tumbling and scratching for a hand hold headed for the edge of the elevator. Finally got my fingers in a tie down star and stopped short of the edge.
The hook point was retorqued after every trap, and replaced after ten traps. We had ten boxes painted on our planes near the hook, and a grease pencil “X” was put into a box until they were all full, and the hook would be replaced. I’m sure they had other record keeping, but the boxes provided a ‘visual’.
I remember Max Otto! My Dad, LCDR Joseph Gauthier was a B/N, and used to fly with him in VAH-123, I think. I was a kid but we used to shoot skeet together on the base at Whidbey and he used to let me shoot a sweet Model 12 that he had. He was very good to me.
Funny, I remember the deal with his finger, because it was his trigger finger and he had to use his middle finger to pull the trigger.
I’m guessing this was around 1967ish. I was around 11 or 12 years old.
Some of you may remember the A-3 that went into the water off NAS Alameda in 1977. That morning I was on Reserve duty. When I heard about the accident I went to the end of the runway and about 70 Crash and Rescue people were standing around, but no one was in the water. The aircraft had sunk to the bottom of the estuary with the crew still aboard. I didn’t need a committee to tell me what to do. I stripped to my underware and dove in. I am sick to think of what those men in Libya went through. I know the seals did not give up easlly. Whether you or Dem or Rep those men were Americans and we could have done something. I have directed all my staff in 18 states to lower the flag to half mast to honor these men and to keep it at half staff until the government gives us the truth. Today, I will be standing on a busy street corner here in Vero Beach and Ft. Pierce, FL with my sign asking the government to come clean on this issue. My desire would be that everyone of us do something. What if these men were your husband, father, kid? I didn’t need a committee meeting to tell me to jump in the water and try to save my friends, my moral compass told me what to do, no thought involved. We need to honor these men and hold accountable those that watched them die, “real time”.
Share in your concerns regarding appearance of cover up by Commander in Chief and his Wash. D.C. Administration of his desertion of troops in battle at Benghazi, No real commander would ever allow such an atrocity to happen. Can you post photos of your call for answers with street protest signs and your 18-state-staff half-mast flag flying with identification?
T. Hanson, will be glad to post pictures I have but I am not sure how to post them on this site. My email address is: email@example.com. I do know how to attach pictures from my email so will do so and you are welcome to post them to this site or any other. The picture of me and some other vets with our signs are taken in front of the Big Apple Pizza Parlor in Ft. Pierce, FL which is about 10 miles south of where I live. This is the now famous Pizza Parlor where the owner gave President Obama the “bear hug”. The owner has more access to the President than most Americans so I decided that would be an excellent place to protest. I was there every day last week. Least I could do to honor the men that died in Libya. I’ll get flags at half staff pictures also. Thanks for your comments and concern. I think this is the first time in our military history we have elected to let personnel we put in harms way fend for themselves when we likely could have helped. Is this a new policy from our Commander in Chief, i.e. your own your own?
Ray Menard ADC Ret, was staioned in VAH-3 from April of 1960,transfered to VAH-11 Oct of 61,made a few work ups and 2 Med Cruises with heavy 11,on the FDR,remember the great times in VAH-11 and the loss of Cdr Bartholomew and Lt Goldstien.July 1964.would enjoy hearing from old ship mates of both Squadrons,n the many friends made at Sanford
Hi Ray, I was also in VAH 11 in 63 to 65. I was on the FDR in the 64 Med Cruise. I remember you. We were in the Med together.
I would love to talk to you sometime. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Vinson, ADJ2.
Vic, share your outrage re Benghazi and am addressing in many National fronts. Liberty consprirancy has been debunked long ago. Might want to look at Ford’s abandonment of troops at Koh Tang, Cambodia re. Mayaguez incident. best, Tbone
My name is Robert.
I worked in the final shop on the A3 line at NARF Alameda Naval Air Station during the Viet Nam conflict and left in 1968.
I just viewed the video and just loved it!
I’ve been all over the A3 inside and out, I worked on the “TACO” change, converted them to in-flight refueling, Setup the RA3D, Converted the “E” model’s. we prepared the aircraft for pre-flight and sent it to the paint shop. I worked on every commissioned A3 except for 2, But, I never flew in one!
I just loved watching it launch!
Signed An A3 Lover… Gee do I miss crawling around in’em!
Thank you very much for your reply…
I am now one of the elderly and have difficulty with traveling.
About as far as I could travel from where I am is to NAS Lemoore.
which I do for the air shows.
I remember working 10 and 12 hour shifts. I once installed a horizontal stabilizer by myself in one 10 hour shift.
There were times when we were exhausted working 7 day weeks.
I once mistakenly screwed a dust cap instead of a pressure cap in a hydraulic tubing 1500 psi. pressure line on the left landing gear.
I climbed up to the cockpit fired it up and when I cycled the gear there was a 40 foot cloud of vaporized hydraulic fluid floating in the hanger. We all wore white coveralls and the entire crew but for me, was wearing pink!
I’ve taxied, but never got to fly. A3’s have come over so low I could see the screws and rivets.
I do really miss putting the last screw in a cover plate and signing off the hard copy work order.
The only thing that troubled me and many others, working on the A3 line was the war.
We all supported the troops 100% but had trouble understanding what the heck we were doing in Viet Nam, A place we had never even heard of…
I guess there is actually a domino effect after all, as we can see it in action in the middle east.
I eas/am a plank owner in 208. I don’t want to question your memory, but I was the second person behind Walt Phillips to be assigned in July, 1970. Then came Vic Lambert. John came along end of 1970, beginng of 1971. Don Mazy was acting OIC until Jim Jefferson check in then Mazy was the NATOPS officer for both 208 & 308. McDougle was the OIC in 308 and Greg Bambo the CO.
Again, 208 wasn’t even a sqdn in 1968. It commissioned in October 1970. He had to have been in another squadron during the time frame. I don’t reconize the name and I was in a position where everyone check in with me when they joined the squadron. I was an AK3 & Tom Kukorilli was an AK2 assigned from NARU to work with us. Ken Caver was 308’s AK and we shared the same office.
Well, from time to time, for quite a few years, I have entered comments on these pages. It is easy to see that we are coming to the finale, and it is kind of sad; a lot of good years were spent with the old A3D. I reported to Sanford on 3 August 1956, and departed officially on 30 June 1963, having served in Heavy Nine and Heavy Three. I arrived for flight duty as a B/N–out of HATU–at the beginning of 1957, and the AJ was my first taste of being an important member of a flight crew. Both engines went to full feather as we were half-way down Runway 27, and we were lucky enough to turn it around and try it again. We used to see the new A3Ds coming down from JAX for touch and goes, and it appeared that God was going to spare us; that wonderful aircraft had to be delivered from Heaven! But reality returned, and we lost two crews in the coming year. However, we were young, and we had fun spinning the wheel. We survived. And I believe that all of us who served in that capacity are bonded together; it was an honor to be able to participate. Strangely, we are a dying breed–there will be no more of us. And I am proud to have served with such a wonderful group of warriors. Teamwork allowed us to prevail. Best wishes to all of you!
My god. There R still plenty of us still around. I may not have been around until 1970, but here now. I flew with Jim Jefferson, Greg Bambo, Tad Bingham and Don Mazy just to name a couple of the original tanker fliers. Stick around s while.
Good to read your comments. Yesterday we said goodbye to another one of the older guys, CDR. Jim Vannice at Whidbey Island.
He was a ninety year old giant who came up through the ranks. Jim was the Maintenance Officer for VAH-4, which brought the Skywarrior and the jet age to NAS Whidbey. He was also on our committee which brought our A-3 Skywarrior to NAS Whidbey for a memorial site. During the Color Guard ceremony at his memorial service, an EA-6B went over, by chance of course, but then I thought perhaps God sent it over just for Jim.
CDR. Jim Vannice left us on December 16, 2012. Jim was an excellent leader in the Navy and a great friend in civilian life. I’ll
always remember Jim as the young Ensign who was willing to trust a teenage hillbilly with his A3D’s. Jim was a prime example of an Officer and a Gentleman. If Jim had lived forever my debt to him could have.never been repaid.
Hi to all the A3 family. My name is James Butcher (Jim). I was with VQ-2 in Rota in 68-69, then VAQ-33 before getting back to college. I flew as an Aircrewman electronic operator. Saw my old commanders name on the members list.
Wanted to note the passing of Senior Chief D.D. ” Bud ” Theesen NAS Wash. D.C. on Dec. 17th 2012 . The best I ever worked for and with . No coffee cup supervisor . Could out work or drink us all . Said ” if you’re gonna hoot with the owls….still gotta fly with the eagles .” Kept in touch over the years . Prayers for his wife Barbara and his family . I WILL miss you , Pop .
Dave Sahli Crewchief
VQ-2 72 – 76
NAS Wash. 76 – 80
Dave, news of Sr. Chief Bud Theesen’s passing, Dec, ’12 , crushed me. Please pass this to Barbara, and all of our gang from “Bud’s” tours at NAF Andrews.
As you know, I was a “young & dumb” junior Officer (JO) CNO A-3 pilot at NAF Washington D.C./Andrews AFB, concurrent with Sr. Chief Theesen’s and your tour there 76-80. Sr. Chief Bud Theesen was the greatest influence on my then, and subsequent Navy career, in properly setting the role that CPOs play in training JOs as well as leading the enlisted corps. I recall on one occasion as a JO pilot there, I dumbly tried to schedule one of “his” two A-3 “girls” for a training flight for a new transitioning pilot, all without consulting with him in advance as to the Skywarrior’s availability. Immediately the bird went into down maintenance status and I was rightly banned from the maintenance shop and from addressing “Sr” as “Bud”. He “reminded me” I must earn that privilege, and I obviously hadn’t. Because of great mutual respect, we later shook hands in a beer session I believe while on a CNO trip to Whidbey Island NAS. Later in one of my subsequent tours to VQ-2 Rota, while as OINC of an A-3 Detachment tasked in an “Around the World Odyssey” to USS Eisenhower in the Gulf of Oman during the Iranian Hostage crisis. We deliberately transited through NAF Andrews, where Sr. Chief “Bud” Theesen and crew rolled out the red carpet to ease our journey. My entire Det crew gained invaluable insight into A-3 maintenance and operations which served us well in the subsequent high success of that deployment. Then at Navy Pentagon in 1983 I was on the Navy’s E-8/E-9 Selection Board, when Sr. Chief Theesen’s portfolio for selection determination for E-9 Master Chief passed my review. I then realized the supreme career sacrifice Sr. Chief Theesen had made to the Navy in foregoing necessary Sea/Afloat tours as an E-7/8, for advancement to E-9. He realized his unique leadership and A-3 expertise skills were necessary in maintaining the confidence and respect that all CNOs under his watch at NAF Andrews demanded of him and would not allow his reassignment to sea duty. Meanwhile his tutelage of another Sr. Chief under his supervision at NAF Andrews allowed the easy selection for advancement to E-9/Master Chief of that E-8 during our review process. Such is the legacy of Sr. Chief “Bud Theesen” as we all know, who “worked” for him; singularly he is the most respected CPO I know.Rest in peace, “Bud”, and fair winds and following seas on your final journey West.
Captain, U.S. Navy, ret.
Jr. CNO A-3 Pilot, NAF Washington D.C./Andrews AFB, ’76-’80
CO, VQ-2, Rota Spain, ’84-’87
Captain,II can understand your early meeting with Bud . We had a new division officer ( a young JG ) who came to the shop to lay down new “rules”. Bud listened then replied ” Lt, I take advice from Admirals , listen to Captains and tolerate Commanders so where do you think that leaves you ? “.
I was a young E5 from VQ2 . Bud trusted me to fly Under Secretary Hidalgo . When President Carter promoted him to Secnav over the assistant , normally Bud flew with the Secretary.
But Bud had faith in me and saw the good report that I had with Mr. Hidalgo so I continued to fly with him .
My wife says I have tons of ” Bud stories ” . If you would like to share email me for my phone # . I miss calling Bud and would be honored to talk to you .
Been a lot of years gone by since I was in NAPOG in Hawaii 1965 and would like to hear from anybody I served with then. Left for NAM about a year later. I remember Paul Kane and Ragnar Avernarious etc. We were housed in Barracks 1893 I believe.
Norman, I remember you in NAPOG. My name is Will Haney (AMH)and left NAPOG Dec. 12 1966. I remember you and Avernarious, and knew Paul Kane well as we were stationed together before we went to NAPOG. email@example.com if you want to contact me.
I went on one mission to the Central Pacific and thought I was going back with a LOX Cart 500 Gal and instead I was sent to Subic Bay and the USS Constellation CVA-64. Returned once to Hawaii on the Connie on our way to SE Asia. Paul was a good guy and so was the rest of the NAPOG Crew. Do you hear from anybody. Been a lot of years.
In 1967 I was with Heavy 8 aboard Constellation. I dont remember what the month was, but John McCain from Oriskany was shot down. A massive rescue attempt launched. Air support from Oriskany and Bonnie Dick and Connie was launched. Tanker support from Heavy 8, and I think from VAH 2 and 4 cycled through Connies deck for what seemed an eternity. I think at one time we had about 8 tankers hot fueling. Anyone remember that?
Hi Dennis, I was ship’s company on the Constellation and flew when I could with VAH 8. I came aboard mid cruise by highline. My log book shows my first flight on September 27 with Stewart. So what you refer too must have been earlier in the year. I do remember Oriskany looked like a rust bucket at the time. I seem also to remember they had a fire on the forward hanger deck also. A compressor blade failure during an engine run up I think.
I really was not a passenger, before the Connie I was in VAH-123 as a Navigation instructor. I was on flight orders from the ship, I had a couple of thousand hours in the A3. I was on the flight with Brown when we had a hydralic failure, bingoed to Da Nang and then went direct to Cubi afer some hasty repairs. It was the last day on the line of the cruise.
LCdr Krusi’s crash was on November 3rd. My flight was on Nov. 11th. Cat hook broke if I remember correctly and it was a night launch was it not? His Crewman ADJ3 Richard W. Sanifer had been a student of mine in VAH-123. Didn’t realize the two events were so close togeather. Time plays games with old memories.
You are right, it was a night flight, but as well, the port side bridle seperated from the hook. I think if I remember right, it was off of cat 2. I visitd the wall in Washington. All three, Cdr Krusi, Lt Grauert, and PO Sandifer close together.
Just found my father’s name on your list, Frank M Morey. He was killed when his plane went over the side during night landings on the FDR on 8-19-57. Was so pleased to see that some people never forget.
William: Alvin Dorsey, flying P/C VAH-13,62-64 USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63. We were deployed in the Tonkin Gulf 18 May 64 to 10 June 6. VAP- 61 was aboard along with the VAQ’s. we were relieved by USS Constellation.VAP-61 transfered over.
Will, I am really starting to feel my age. My old highschool..gone. College dorm….demolished. NTC San Deigo and Camp Nimitz…gone, A-school at Millington…gone. VAH squadrons…gone. Aviation Fire Control rating (AQB and AQF)..gone. ASB-1, ASB-7 and Aero 18C…gone. Bombing Bordman…gone. The Connie and Oriskiny….gone. Yet, my memories of these places and things are as bright and clear as ever. I can still smell the hydraulic fluid in the lower hatchway and jet exhaust. I can even hear the “squeeling” and complaining of VP-17’s P2Vs as they taxied past our flight line, as well as VP-47’s P5Ms as the lumbered over enlisted housing on their way to landing athe Whidbey Is. seaplane base. I still remember trying to to stay warm on mid-watch by standing in the exhaust of a NC-7, and when finally achieving petty officer of the watch, taking coffee to those walking the line. Those memories will never be gone.
I know how you feel especially when friends leave. You can aslo add the Kennedy to that list of aircraft carriers. I believe every command i was assigned to between 1964 and 1980 are gone. Oceana is still there.
am new to site anybody out there from the whales from 1966 to 1971 remember buddha amh2 gary whitlock looking for people that knew me and any one that was on beach detachmenty with me in DA Nang in vah 10 and vaq130
Name doesn’t ring a bell but we were almost in the same spot. I never hit DaNang but was on Ranger Det 61 with VAW-13 and we had a Heavy Ten det with us in 67-68. Then I was in VAQ-130 on Ranger 68-69 and the 69-70 cruise. AMH2 Al (Allan) Rankin.
I am Bill Hamilton AO-2, I was C/N in VAH-10 off CV-38 1970 west-pac. I flew in and out of Da Nang sorry don’t remember to many names from that far back, but do remember Frank Drexler, LtCDR B.J.Penn,AO-1 Fred Davis, AK-2 Ray Murphy, LT Parker and a few more
Gary, I spent three years with VAH-8, but when it decommed, I went to 10, Jan to Oct 1968. I was with 10 at Whidbey, a line puke. There were so many 10 dets I don’t remember very many names, they cycled in and out like a school bus. Knew a few VAQ and VAP types. We might have crossed paths somewhere.
Hi! My name is Jim Emanuel. I worked with the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli, Thailand, 69-70. A member of the cast was the EB-66, a derivative of your A-3. I am trying to see if there is enough interest in producing a lapel pin of the A-3/EB-66. About an inch in length. Gold color. Cost: about $6. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlie Slee, man that name takes me back – way back. charlie and I served together with VAH-7 from 1960 – 1963. I think he also was on the detachment that went on board the Independence in 60-61. We were TAD to VAH-1. The great Navy experiment, 18 A3ds on one ship. We came home with 12.
God speed Charlie.
I cant imagine 18 A3 birds on any ship. In 65 I was on Midway with Heavy 8. We had 4 tankers and 5 bombers in the squadron. As well 1 squadron of F8s, 1 of F4s, 1 of A4s,1 of S2Fs, 1of Spads, the helos and daily visits fro VAP or VQ. The deck on that boat got real crowded real quick.
It was the first time I had ever seen the frikkin ocean, and I was also a brown shirt. The squadron had some issues with some personnel, and I was given the choice of line crew or mess cooking, a no brainer. I guess what I was saying the Midway class boats did not have an over abundance of flight deck space, but we made do. The next two deployments for me were on the Connie, a luxury liner. Fair winds and following seas shipmate. Not much ocean here in Denver.
My first visit to whale chat & Mike Fuller’s comments on 18 May 2013 really resonated with me. Was in VAH-1 from 60-62 then VAH-11 det8 til spring 1963. Then NAS Sanford till Dec 67. VAH-4 det Gulf (Det 34) in 67-68. Spent short time in 68 in VAH-10 in late 68 while whales were being phased into VAQ’s After going to B school was in VAQ 130 or 131 (memory cells are really vague these days.
While stationed at China Lake in early 70’s. always loved to hear the sound of 2 j-57’s whenever one of the whales visited. Spent 75 – 76 in VA-115 and when in Atsugi would try to give a hand on VQ birds. In reality, probably was in way more than anything else but just enjoyed being around the Whale. Stopped at Sanford while visiting FL this June. Only recognized 2 or 3 of the buildings. One of which was old squadron tin bldg. It’s next to a Customs bldg. now. Flight line looks about the same. Seems odd that display A/C at new terminal is an A5. Also visited Naval Aviation Museum. WOW ! The A3 is being an all-weather bird. Both are parked outside. For last 10 years have been living on my grandparent’s “century farm” just outside of Hawkeye,IA. Got a little more room than shipboard berthing. Have registered to attend reunion at Whidbey next month.
Hope to run across some old squadron mates there. Sure hope I can drag names out of memory.
Hello to all my old squadron mates! Though this isn’t my first site visit, it has been many years.
My first life with the whales was in 1972 -1974 – VAQ 130 Det 4 on the USS Ranger. Unforgettable times. This is where I earned my PC status, Shellback and many adrenalin rushes. We wer flying the EKA 3B’s off Yankee Station right up till the end of the war.
I was transferred to NAS Washington DC in July of 1974. There I joined the CNO – VIP flight crew flying the VA-3B’s. Cushy planes by any standard in 1974
THIS! was the best group of guys I ever worked with in the Navy and possibly ever. — Senior Chief Bud Theisen, Chief John Houch, Chief Joel Johnson, Dan “Screaming” Eagle, Dave Sahli, Thomas Dekemper, Rich McGuirre and more great guys whose full names escape me at the moment: George, Steve, Dave, and Rich.
I also had the privilege to server with some great flight officers there.
I have been spending the last three years sorting through many thousands of old photos from under the bed and in closets…. I even found some that I had forgotten.
Some were taken on the Ranger, in flight refueling at Yankee Station, and at NAS Washington D.C.
I have looked at so many pictures of these wonderful birds, but so far I have not seen any of the VA-3B in full dress colors. I found some of our entire crews and birds that were taken for publicity shots. They are still in remarkable shape.
I suspect that some of you would like to see these shots.
Can you tell me where is the best place to upload these photos to you? I think it would be a shame to lose these memories to a cardboard box again.
Still think about all the great times, and yes sad times. Whales have shaped me in no small manner.
For those that will be attending to Whidbey Island, WA Reunion on August 8-11th 2013 from VAH-2 I will have the Far East Cruise Books from the U.S.S. Ticonderoga (CVA-14)
16 Sept 1957 to 25 April 1958 (Det Mike) also for the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) 1 Nov 1958 to 18 June 1959 (Det Echo)
If anyone has any written material on VAH-123 please let me know.
I was in VAH-123 1960 to 1962 but do not have any pictures of my fellow mates.
Looking for George Strauss AMSCPO
Robert L. May AM-1
Doc Henry AK-1
Larry Graham AM-1
and so many others that I have looked for over the years.
Hope to meet some at the Reunion.
Michael A. Fitzwater AMH-2 VAH-2 & VAH-123
P.O. Box 3546
Sequim, WA 98382
Mike, Sorry I missed you during the A3 reunion. I don’t know about the others you were looking for , but Larry Graham passed away several years back. His son told me it was just a short time after his 60th birthday.
Thank you for the update on Larry Graham. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Is there a chance you have the contact info for his son or his wife?
Did you attend the reunion ? I understand there will be a VAH-2 reunion next year at Whidbey, if you hear anything on that please let me know.
I am sorry to have missed the Whidbey shindig. I hope all had a great time reuniting with old friends. It is my wish that more folks could send in their pictures for us to see. I am grateful for this fabulous web site; to be able to keep my memories alive thru your input. Good tidings to all…
I cut my AMS-AN teeth on the A-3s at The Naval Missile Center Point Mugu California from 1965 thru 66 left there as AMS-3 FLEW IN BU NO.144825 with the big nose and a couple of others but don’t remember their numbers.
What I remember most was flying with an Force Exchange Pilot LT. Eyer who took me and AMS-2 Mike AKA The Wop Plane Captain down into the grand Canyon for a closer look. Just as we got below the lip of the canyon lip the AC caught fire and filled the cockpit with smoke. We had to open the top hatch (no easy task) while in flight) to clear out all the smoke, then had to pull the circuit breaker! Don’t know why it didn’t pop it self. The last A-3 I flew in was 135409 on a test hop with LCD Best AKA (ANIMAL) . We over stress the plane by pulling over 4-Gs I think was the number anyway it never flew again due to crystallized wing spars as a result of the Test Hop. It was later dissembled and hauled off on flat bed tractor trailers. I made AMS-2 and went to VA-52 A-6 Squadron on board the USS Coral Sea which we engaged in Combat in Vietnam. I was aboard when we came under attack from missiles fired from the shore. We were just twenty miles off the coast but by the time we secured from GQ we were over forty miles off shore. That made me feel a whole lot better! That was the one and only time I ever heard All Hands Man Your Battle Stations this Is Not A Drill! Incoming Missiles on the Starboard side! I departed the USS Coral Sea in December,1968 and was discharged from the Navy at Treasure Island California.
I rejoined the Navy in 1973 and later changed rates to Mineman and retired after serving three years in the Naval Security Department at the Nato-Base Keflavik, Iceland form Oct.,1987 *Oct.,1990 went to Norfolk, Va where I retired and drove my 1982 Subaru, back to my home town in Harriman,Tennessee 37748 where I remain today and currently writing my Memoirs of Bobby The Sea Going Hillbilly due out in late 2014 or early 2015 if I live long enough to finish the book and get it printed. It most likely will come out as an E-Book and Kindle first before going into print.
Anchors Away My Boy!
MN1 Robert H. (Bobby) Briggs N Tennessee
Hello Mike Fuller, glad to hear you live close by. I live just out side Kingston, TN 37748 out where it is quit no whine of the Pratt & Whitney jet engines any where around here, just the bark of a fox ever now and then. Ha! Ha!
I certainly enjoyed flying in those big ole birds. I flew with AMS1 Wade,Dale Buttons, LCDR Pinky Nord,Lt. Ayers an Air Force Exchange Pilot & LCDR Animal Best- Test Pilot who scared the living crap out of me on a test hop one day when we climbed to about 40k ft and he nosed her over into a 65 degree dive I watched the wing tips curl up on the ends. I don’t know how the wings stayed on that old bird but, they did long enough for us to get back to the flight line. I refused to fly with him again after that. That A-3 never flew again all the wing spars were crystallized in both wings. The Sand Crabs came out removed the wings and loaded the wings and fuselage up on flatbed Tractor Trailers and hauled them off.
Well enough of the Sea Tales, we’ll have to get together some time and have a cup of coffee or coke or what ever.
You can Contact me at 865-285-9076 if you ever need to.
I am writing a book titled Bobby The Sea Going Hillbilly; I believe the best way to describe what is in it is to label it as a Heinz 57, because it has a little everything humor, teenage love, heart break, and more than a few laughs, a cops and bad guy scene in my home town of Harriman, TN after I got home from Vietnam on the USS Coral Sea, with VA-52 an Attack A-6 Squadron out of Whidbey Island, Washington State.
I’m totally disabled and writing is about all I can do except eat, sleep ,fart, and crap: not necessarily in that order. Well I’ll shut my face for now.
Thanks for getting in contact with me and please pardon my English
I dropped out of school in the eighth grade but did get a high school GED while in the Navy.
Thank you for your kind words and thoughts.
It took me years before the USN admitted his death. I finally have a casualty report. The Navy says they have no record of what happened to his remains! They say they don;t know if he was lost at sea, his body was recovered at sea, or if he died at a hospital. Either way, they say they don’t know where he is! Unbelievable.
I intend to have a marker placed at Arlington.
I have a theory that has received some acceptance by professors who specialize in US/Japan Relations asto the cause of Richard’s death. I have searched Government records of military and civilian air disasters during the late 1950’s until the early 1960’s, then scoured newspaper archives. If you draw a triangle connecting Guam anilla, and Okinawa as the apexes, a number of military and commercial planes went down with a few hundred casualties according to the newspapers but not in the Government records.
I don’t know if I have become a bore by now, but I would be more than happy to tell you about the stuff Richard was made of and to explain my theory if interested.
Charles R, Tyson
As it happens, there is a VAP-61/VAP-62 annual reunion next week that I am attending. Most of the attendees are aircrew. I’ll bring up the subject of your cousin. There are some attending the reunion that were in VAP-61 during the period your cousin was lost. At the very least I may be able to get a lead to someone who knew him personally.
Best regards, Paul Derby, CPO, USN Ret.
Do you know the type of aircraft your cousin was in and his rank. A Crewman/Nav I went to Nav school with was lost in an A3B (bomber) in the Tonkin Gulf around 1965. All we knew for years was that the aircraft was presumably lured over China and shot down/forced down. The circulstances and what happened to the crew are still murky; ie. classified.
29/29 killed on date of Richard’s death, which is contrary to USN Casualty report that there were 2 Marines/13 USN on board…
22 September 1960
Marine R5D-3 crashed off Naha, Okinawa.
Message was transmitted that #3 engine was on fire and they were diverting to Okinawa. The engine fire was extinguished, but a tire was ignited setting off an explosion of the fuel tank…
Dear Charles: MN1 Briggs again:
If he was on some kinda critical mission any records pertaining to the ops especially if he was involved in operations in Cambodia could have and most likely were destroyed by those on the mission to protect other US Troops and or on going ops in the Vietnam War Theater. Once again Sorry for your lose.
MY Prayers are with you God Bless You.
My research over the years through military records and international archives of newspapers turned up one AP account of the air disaster. The next day the same paer ran a second article regarding the incident. I theorize the story was censored since it was only in one newspaper..that the lone publisher (Chehalis WA) flubbed and didn’t follow a directive by the military to pull back the AP release.
If I can find the article I will post the link or at least pass on the info in it.
Please contact me at my email address for expanded information. There are a number of issues about that period of time and my personal knowledge that impact on the events of this period. . Email me at email@example.com.
Regards, Paul Derby
I have a picture of BU #144825 that you might like to have a copy of. It was given to me by one of it’s former pilots. Call me at 360-393-9425, the best time to get me is a on Friday or Saturday. I am on Pacific time three hours earlier than you. You can leave me a message if you miss me and I will call you back. My Email is A3DSkywarrior@Gmail.Com.
VAH-4 ’56 – ’59
Glad to hear from from you and served on the Connie. I was discharged on May 01, 1968. Was in Hong Kong in 1966 and we never went back. I believe there were protests. Left Japan end of 1966 due to a Typhoon. Spent most of my R&R in Olongopo Subic Bay.
Hello Norman Solo, Robert Briggs here I was there in Oct.,Nov.,1968
I had Shore Patrol Watch, one of the 12 hour ones, I came on duty
at 1400 hours untill it was over around 0700 hours the next morning. I was at Grande Island if you know where that was at. There was a small golf course there where I tried playing the game of golf for the very first time while being knee walking, snot slinging drunk.
That is one trip I do not recommend to anyone; not only is it hard on the knees but, you got to deal with the big and I do Mean BIG SNAKES that come out on the greens which were located at the edge of the jungle. If my memory serves me right it only cost 50 cents to play nine holes and $2.00 with a caddy and a full bag of clubs woods and irons.This made for a little heavier bag but, I was a lot younger and stronger back then than I am now.Ha!Ha!
I don’t remember what hole it was but, I do remember the caddy came running down the hill from the Green screaming a snake ate the ball! When I ask how big the snake was he grabbed me around my thigh and pointed back at the Green and then back at my thigh again in a highly excited manner. Hey Joe you get big gun from ship and shoot snake and we eat it later OK Joe! That was about all I could understand with the caddy lapsing in and out between English and what ever tongue he was speaking in. One of the other caddies came over to see what all the excitement was about. He had one of the biggest machetes I’ve ever seen and calmly walked up along side this huge snake and cut it’s head off with one swing of that Monster Machete he had. That was back in the Good Old Days as we are so fond of saying down here in Tennessee. Well I’ll close for now. May God Bless You All.
MN1 Robert Briggs
Bobby The Sea Going Hillbilly Briggs USN Retired
I was discharged on May 01, 1968. Joined the Connie Crew in 1966. Was transferred from my first duty station in an outfit called NAPOG at Hickam AFB. Passed the USS Forrestal in 1967 on our way back to the Gulf. Very sad site after the Flight Deck Accident. Was on the full cruise in 1967.
I do remember Grande very well. Spent about two weeks at Subic Bay as a mailman while I waited for the Connie that was in the Gulf.
I remember the Forrestal rendezvous. I was among the first off the ship that morning when we pulled into Subic. I was at the Chiefs Club haveing our second drink with the Marine Detachement First Sgt and CO (Drtinking buddies) when we saw the ship pulled out. (so ammunition could be loaded aboard) Then the word went out to report aboard. Analyzing the situation, we discerned that leaving the club, and our drinks, was a wasted effort until the ship was returned to the dock. So rather than go into town we decided to maintain a watch until we could return to the ship, and anyone that we recognized from the ship he would notify of the situation and encourage them to join us. We thought this was an excellent example of situational awareness and leadership responsibilities.
The Forrestal rendezvous was a sureal event as she came out of the fog listing and we offloaded by helo what we could.
I went on board the Forrestal for Carrier Quals with VA-52/A-6s outta Whidbey Island, WA.
The very first thing I noticed was the frame numbers stenciled just below the knee knocker so you could tell where you was at if the passageway was full of smoke. I really felt safer on the Forrestal after the fire, as tragic as it was; there were some very very good lessons learned which makes it safer on all our ships today as a result of that fire.
It drove home the fact that the Safety Regulations were written up to keep people safe and not for harassment like a lot of the younger non rates thought plus it drove the point home to me too.
I’m retired now I spent my last enlistment in Keflavic, Iceland.
I volunteered for that duty station because I thought I could get orders to Alaska where I wanted to retire at but, the Navy had other plans for me like sending me to Bahrain where the night time temperatures usually were usually about 80 degrees hotter that our hottest days in the summer heat wave that hit Iceland in 1990 when it got up to 71 degrees there for a couple of days in a row. The Icelandic, Women would sunbath in the nude most but, not all of them did. It was really hard to keep your eyes on the road which for the most part were two lanes and everyone drove really fast there.
The distances between farms and houses once you left the cities were rather a long ways between point A and point B. It wasn’t like living in a subdivision in the states.
I’m glad I had the experience of being there for three years but, I really wanted to go to Alaska.
I would have stayed for thirty years in the Navy if they had given me orders to Alaska but , the wanted to send me somewhere else.
Like they say in the movies the rest is History My Boy.
Thanks for contacting me may you always have Wind in Your Sails and Treasure in your Chest.
May The Good Lord pour out HIS Blessing upon You & Your Loved Ones.
MN1 Robert (Bobby The Sea Going Hillbilly) Briggs N Tennessee
It is my very sad duty to report the passing of Andres “Andy” “Bull Dog” Barbre, AMSC, USN (Ret). I have been informed by his son that he passed on November 11, 2013.
Andy served in VQ-1, PMTC, and VAQ-33/34 where he was a proud EA-3B aircrewman
Andy approached everything with unbridled enthusiasm, whether it was his Navy tour or his participation with the A3 and VQ Associations.
Fair winds and following seas, Bull Dog, as you make your final flight West.
Andy will be laid to rest in Orange County, CA. Details are being worked out.
Wow…..It’s been 3yrs since my last visit with Andy, we shared some photo’s and sea stories and he was just as I remembered him from 1973 -1975 in the Q. Andy, Joe Roth, Jimmie Henderson, Jamie Hood and Mike Setzer were my mentors (sea daddy’s) while becoming P/C qualified. On many occasions Andy helped me pull my 19 yr.old head out of my own $&#, and kept me safe and out of harms way. Thanks again Andy……
Smooth sailing my friend
Andy kept me updated on the many “whale” crew and how they were doing in the past 20 years. It was only last May that we had a long conversation about how we have missed our shipmates. Well Andy you are again untied once again to some of the best men that we have been associated with-“whalers”. I will miss our phone calls.
To Andy’s family we are sorry for your loss. He well be remembered. For Andy,God bless and Farewell big guy.
I need some help. I am trying to refresh my memory on operating from the carrier and the weight limitations for the Cat Shot. I seem to remember that we had a 73,000 lb. max weight limitation for the Cat. On the EA-3B our empty weight was about 41K or 42K, and we would load 33K of fuel so we would be down to 73K for the Cat. Does anyone else remember this. I think the 73,000 was the max peacetime weight for a cat shot. I know we had more fuel on board than an A-4s gross weight with full fuel and a full bomb load, I think the A-4s full gross was around 28K.
Thanks for any memories you may have on this.
I am not sure but 79000 seems to stick in my memory bank. With my memory, I could be completely out of range. Last outfit that I flew with as a third crewman was VAQ 132 Scorpions aboard the America `69-`70 Richard (Dick) Jones
I was with total tankers, VAH-8 We had 2, 147 series birds, and 3 142 or 144 series. The 147 birds had a max fuel weight of 29, 500 lbs. The others, 142 and 144 series, had a max fuel load of 30, 000 lbs. In no case was the max weight increased above 73000 lbs. This was aboard both Constellation and Midway, as well as Coral Sea. 79000 seems quite high to my memory. I had an issue with a faulty fuel totalizer that caused me great grief with the pilot.( PS, I was right.) He would have crashed in the sea without my insistence I was right.
Assuming this is the same Henderson who was in VQ-1 in the ’74-’76 time frame … don’t know, but what a terriffic sailor and aircrewman. The skipper called me to his home one Saturday evening and said, “You are opening a refugee camp tonight for 550 Vietnamese refugees. What do you need?” I said, “Henderson. I’ll let you know what else we need after I talk with him and we inspect the camp.” and away we went.
I knew Jimmy in Guam working with the refugees, then flew ERA-3Bs with him in VAQ-33 when I was there 1979-1982. He could only be described as a great guy and his wife took care of my oldest son while my now-ex wife was teaching. Would love to find him. Oh, and I also flew with Nathan in 33.
Jim Henderson AKA bull fighter (rodeo clown). Check with the Pro Bull Riders assoc.If he’s not there physically he’s there in spirit.
I remember when his house caught fire while he was on Det.
with good ole ” Lawrence of Atsugi “
“Lawrence of Atsugi” was LCDR Larry Ort (?) OIC VQ-1 Det Atsugi in the early 70’s. I picked up the “Lawrence of Iruma” tag during a 28 plane night divert from the Midway into the Tokyo area in 1976. Planes ended up at Atsugi and Yakota while I took the Whale into Japan Air Self-Defense Force Base Iruma. A blown tire at Atsugi, live ordnance at Yakota and an uninvited Whale at Iruma made for some pretty interesting cultural exchanges that night!
Just read in the paper that the pilot of a Cessna 208 was killed in a crash in Alaska over the weekend. The pilot’s name was listed as Terry Hansen. Sure hope it wasn’t the same Terry Hansen that flew Whales’s in the 70’s. Anybody know?
Memories ….. I remember a wheels up attempted landing VQ-1 Nas Agana. 1975 Pilot nick name “Hollywood” both engines and both wing tips struck the runway. He managed to git er back up and lowered the gear for his next try. I believe Richie Harrison and or Steve Lynch were aboard as P/C trainees.