Grumman A-6 "Intruder"
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Adam, e-mail, 01.12.2023 07:23

Ken Lee was my grandfather

Adam, e-mail, 01.12.2023 07:22

Ken Lee was my grandfather

Ken Hopke, e-mail, 01.07.2023 06:10

Anyone who knew my dad Charles Edward Hopke, A-6 rep at El Toro please contact me. Dad passed away in Jan 1975. I continued a full career flying G-2,3,4 and 200 aircraft.

Ken Hopke

William G Schultz, e-mail, 27.01.2023 04:54

Did you make VA-35's first cruise '66-'67.? I was the Grumman WSI with the squadron...I still stay in touch with Denny Westhoff...Hugh Chitwood has passed.

At the last Intruder reunion I had Nick Carpenter and George Malleks widows, Don Ross and wife and Ken van Lue and wife at my table.

Like you, I did my "A" school (28weeks) at Millington in 1949-50, left the Navy in March, '53 as a slick arm 1st Class.. just months under 4 years...we were AT's in those days. Spent a career (34 years) with the Intruder as a rep and marketing manager...loved it.

Alden Schofield, e-mail, 16.10.2020 19:05

Joined the Navy in 1965-1969. Went to A-school in Millington, Tenn. from there was assigned to VA-35 in NAS Oceana, Va. was an AQB2 by the end of my Career. Ran the “Hot Bench” DIANE system on the USS Enterprise for two cruises. All led to an incredible career in the computer industry ( Honeywell large systems) after leaving the Military.

David McClellan, e-mail, 19.12.2017 23:55

Went from Memphis to VA 42. Got assigned to GD to help rewire missile system on shot up B Bird. When I came up for rotation to sea duty, they said oh no, you have to stay here and train on Standard Arm. So, entire active duty tour at VA 42.
P.S. never trained a soul

Allen C. Ericksen, e-mail, 27.11.2017 18:55

did three WestPACS one on the USS Ranger and two on the USS Enterprise as a member of VA-196 AMH 4 got to know this bird inside and out. great plane best all weather plane to fly

Bruce Shaffstall, e-mail, 20.11.2017 18:34

I cannot believe this site and the comments from everyone. What an aircraft! Inertial navigation system, D I A N E, with spinning drum memory that I ran into in the telephony career, which was the database for an electroning switching office at General telephone, after my 4 years as an Avionics Tech, at Cherry Point, VMA AW 332, (hat and Cain Squadron)and overseas at Iwakuni, Japan, 71 -72. For aw hile at Cherry Point I was even cross trained so I could do all three Avionics Shop, AE, AT, AQ, preflights AND go through ALL the other preflight Check cards 250+ to be a Plain Captain. Even worked HMMS intermediate Maintenance fixing what had to be one of the first ANTI Lock brake systems. I lOVED my work in Avionics as a SGT QC in Iwakuni and Naha Okinawa. Wouldn't trade my 4 years on this aircraft for anything. Iwakuni was in VMA-AW 533. Then left the Marines.

Robert Lamberson, e-mail, 27.02.2017 02:44

I worked in Grumman's Plant 5 (Ken Lee's) test hangar in the early 1960's, doing static, fatigue & drop test on the
A6. How exciting to see it perform so well in service. It was a fantastic aircraft and still is with the fact that
EA6B's (same airframe) are still in service.

Wendell J. Clarke Jr., e-mail, 25.07.2016 23:19

Just love reading through all these stories! I saw the name Bruce VanTassel a couple times. I remember working with him when I was the new guy in the VA-95 AQ shop back in 1980. It amazes me to this day what a great responsibility we had maintaining these aircraft and most of us were barely out of high school! There hasn't been a day go by that I have not thought about something that happened during my short 6 year Navy career. I enjoyed working on Intruders and the people I worked with. Sorry to see them gone but all good things must come to an end. The experience led me to a career with a major defense contractor maintaining targeting systems (FLIR, etc.) on Apache helicopters. Thanks to all the other veterans out there for your service!!

Kenneth Pipkin, e-mail, 11.06.2016 05:03

I flew the EA-6A at Cherry Point right out of flight school in Dec '68. At that time they had us do several flights in the A-6 with the wing tip speed brakes. When we transitioned to the EA-6 without the wing tip speed brakes the roll out on landing was much faster and it was not uncommon to over heat the brakes. After reading the NATOPS manual concerning the max speed to open the canopy I came up with the idea of opening it as soon as I dropped below the max speed. It was amazing what a good speed brake the canopy turned out to be. It became standard practice of many of my fellow pilots after that. I also flew the EA-6A in VMCJ-1 in Nam from Nov '69 until we pulled out in late '70 and went to Iwakuni. I loved this plane and sure hated to see it totally replaced by the B model. Even worse to see the A-6 taken out of service. Actually saw 10-12 of them dumped in the ocean to make artificial reefs. That was sad.

Doug Young, e-mail, 30.01.2016 04:17

I neglected to mention the squadrons I was in, mostly because most that I was in while in A6's were already mentioned, but I was in some of them at the same time or close to the same time as others here, so I will list them and make some attempt to relate them to a time schedule when I was there. I went to VA42 the tilted pawn, the East coast Rag Outfit for training on A6A's right out of AQA school in Memphis, in 69 after 1 1/2 years during which I made AQFAN due to a mix up in tests ordered, then made AQB3, before I sewed on AQFN. When I made third everyone was excited to see the results posted in Personnel, when I arrived at work, until personnel called down to the Shop to assure us absolutely no one made AQ3 on the east coast from that test. I trudged up the outside Ladder to the Catwalk with my head hanging to see for myself, after being told by my shift supervisor we didn't have time to check useless lists, but it wasn't useless to me. My wife was outside the fence just 3 miles away from me at the time pregnant with our second child, and a $50 raise meant the world to us. looking up and down the list amidst many Personellmen, chanting no one made it give it up, when I found my name followed it all the way across the very wide green formfeed computer paper to where it said advanced. I had to check 4 time to make sure I'd followed the correct line and it was correct, then couldn't stop laughing with tears of joy in my eyes, as I walked out on the catwalk looking toward home thinking we would finally have enough food and gas for the car every month. I couldn't wait to get home that night to tell my wife. since I'd made An in the last increment and third in the first increment, Id actually gotten orders to VA52 NAS Whidbey as an AQBAA, then made AQFAN, but would be arriving as an AQB3. When I informed Personnel I was advanced, the Personnelman asked if I wanted to accept it, cause itmeant changing from AQF to AQB. I said are you nuts? that's a $50 raise. I have a wife and 2 kids and am working on Bombers anyway. The F was wrong not the B, and will only last 6 months, and doesn't really matter anyway, and besides I'd accept ADJ3 or BM3 for a $50 raise. I had the sorest arm in history when I had AQ3 tacked on with my arm still purple from AQAN 6 months earlier, then it was off to VA52 and Vietnam, on the the Kitty Hawk, returning home as an AQ2 in 71, then after 2 years outside back in the world, something just seemed to be missing, and I went back in and went to VA128 West Coast Rag, then back to Vietnam two more cruises in VA145, and VA165, then a somehow got off the wall orders to VF71 I believe it was, and was retreaded to F4's and sent to AIMD. was retreaded again, made a med cruise in VF74 with F14's. came back as AQ1 and was sent to Oceana as an instructor on Terrain Clearance, Video Tape recorders, and Micrologics, back in A6's, then back to VA42 framp then To VAQ133 key west, with numerous planes:A3s,A4s,A6As,A7s,and P3s and finally Dam Neck to run an ITCS Station, Flying drones. Truth is even after all this time I still miss working on planes, and wish I was still working on them. Working on consumer electronics just cant compare. It seemed like our jobs meant something more there, like we meant something there. The fun things I did there just cannot be matched on the outside. I think I could still put an A6 system fully up in short order, and love doing it.

Doug Young, e-mail, 29.01.2016 21:55

Wow! When I saw this site, it really brought back good memories. Not necessarily the 3 tours in Viet Nam, but, I went all the same places as most everyone Posting here. I'm amazed I don't recognize a single name. Maybe its my age creeping up on me. As an AQ, a new rate that had just got started up when I enlisted in 67, and would be Phased out as I retired 22 years later, and receiving my third choice of A schools also, having scored 3rd in an enormous Avionics class, and going through a 15 week course on fast track, in 11 weeks, I went nearly everywhere everyone else here did, except the Marines of course, "tho in my second time in Va42 East coast "Rag outfit" (training squadron) at NAS Oceana, I did schedule many Marines for their schools on the A6. I always prided myself on my ability to find and repair difficult problems on the A6A,C,E, EA6A before the B and KA6D. I always got a kick out of that, and just walking out on the Tarmac at Cubi with my toolbox to do battle with the A6's before hitting Po city for the evening. Bruce Vantassel was one of my favorite Tech Reps. I just loved his no B.S. direct to the point fixes. Inertial Nav system don't work, "jus' reach up unner da splash curtain and Fwap da J-box. and his fixes worked 99.99% of the time. the other .01% of the time left you feeling like maybe you just some how didn't do it right. I too wanted to get out and become an engineer, but somehow barely missed that, instead repairng Tv's for a couple a years then back to the Navy, as a "LIFER" (a term we had all shudder at the mere mention of in my first hitch) and back to Nam. funny thing was my supervisor when getting out first time, asked me to write an ORT Manual on the A6A DIANE system, which I did. on my return I was told I couldn't work on a plane without this ORT manual on the Aircraft with me. first glance told me it was the same manual I'd written 2 years earlier, basically my little gen Wheel Book, cleaned up spell checked, abridged and published as a feather in someone elses cap, and possibly a dollar or two in their pockets. and now it had my old Shop Chief and our Tech Rep at the time, listed in the front as its authors. so I threw it on my tool box and when ever the new Shop Chief came out to ask what the ORT manual in my tool box said, Id quote from memory the passage that might apply, and continue troubleshooting. My old Shop Chief hardly batted an eye when I waked into the Weapon system Specialist class he was teaching at NAMTRADET, he just handed me the lesson guide told me to take the class and went to the Club. OH and by the way some of that shoe polish on the aft ped came from my flight deck boots. Bruce said the tuning fork that was the basis for the half second iteration time of the Q61 clock, got stuck, and you had to "fwap" de Aft ped to unstick it (never knew if that was technically accurate, but it always worked, so was functionally accurate in any case). God I miss those days.

Larry Reddick, 24.07.2015 22:45

I joined the Navy in 1968 with little idea what I might end up doing. Out of boot camp, I got my 3rd choice of "A" schools. I was sent to NATTC Memphis for Avionics Fundamentals and then Aviation Fire Control training. My first duty station was with VA-42 at NAS Oceana. I went immediately into "C" school training on the A6. After graduation, I transferred to VA-65 for 2 Med cruises 69-70 and 71-72. I loved working on the A-6. After serving my 4 years, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an engineer and somehow work in aviation. I attended college on the GI Bill (which paid for everything back then) and earned a BSEE from ODU in Norfolk. After graduation, I received a job offer to go to work at NASA at the Johnson Space Center. They were just starting a new program (the Space Shuttle) and they were looking for a few engineers with degrees and prior experience with avionics. The guy who hired me said that what caught his eye on my resume was not that I had graduated with honors from college, but that I had served in the Navy with AQ training. He had the same training. He hired me on the spot over the telephone. That was in 1977. I recently retired from NASA as a Senior Staff Engineer after 37 exciting and rewarding years. None of that would have happened had it not been for the A-6A and the Navy giving me my 3rd choice of "A" schools after boot camp. "You never know what you are going to get."

Rita "Modok" Beigh, e-mail, 23.06.2015 04:42

I worked on these birds for ten-and-a-half years. It really pisses me off that these super attack aircraft were supposedly "replaced" by that Mattel rinky-dink F18. There is nothing flying today that can do what the Intruder did on a routine basis. '242, 533, 202, 121, H&MS 12, 14

Semper Fi !!!

Wayne Massing, e-mail, 23.02.2015 02:18

Had the luck to be assigned to Intermediate Maintenance of the A6 right out of A-school in Millington, Tenn. First went to VA-128 (RAG)as staff, then attended the C-school to learn to maintain the Vertical Display Indicator (VDI-the TV screen in front of the pilot that allowed all-weather flying and navigation). Went to VA-145 on the USS Ranger for two Westpac cruises to Yankee Station off Vietnam. Worked the VDI the first cruise, then the ASQ-61 D.I.A.N.E. navigational and bombing computer system the last cruise. Went back to shore duty at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., still working the DIANE system, then went to school on the replacement for the tired old ASQ-61 computer. Worked that until my last sea duty tour with VA-52 on the USS Kitty Hawk in March, 1978. The old DIANE system was very quirky to work because of the all the boxes, cables and connectors. Many boxes had pigtail cables that had a rash of intermittent shorts and opens. The forward pedestal unit was a 75 lb. rotating memory drum with all the computer data and bombing data stored on it. That drum didn't like to be moved around while it was rotating. Occasionally, a cat shot would send the floating read/write head into the drum surface to cut a groove into the drum's surface. Bad drum at that to depot maintenance. The aft pedestal had the BN's joy stick and data entry keyboard. Judging by the amount of shoe polish we had to remove from the unit during maintenance, the BN's did a lot of kicking to get the computer to work. Good old 1960's technology. When the war was on, most A6's seemed to fly (IMHO) with a few systems shut off, such as the Radar Data display on the VDI. When "peace broke out", all systems were expected to be working and our work load increased significantly. The newer computer system was easier to maintain, and I suspect to use by the crew. Grumman seemed to have reps around most of the time that helped in troubleshooting some pretty wacky problems, then in getting the parts that we needed. Bruce Van Tassel was one. I was proud of the work I did during my 10 years of active duty with the A6A, A6C and A6E birds.

mike burr, e-mail, 07.11.2014 03:05

was in vmcj-2 at cherry point 1969-70 went to danang 1970 and from danang to iwakuni japan 1971. after japan finished tour out at cherry point, was discharged june 1972. worked on A6 intruders (powerplants) my whole tour.SSGT JJ cadle was my shop leader at cherry point first tour, SSGT George Smith was over shop my second tour at cherry point, I was in an all weather attack squadron when discharged. had some good times working on the A6s. would like to hear from some of the guys( Armstrong,Dillard,Rogers,Mcmullen,Gilbert,Lewis,Ottinger. Call or write If you don't E-mail! Mike Burr/ 404 frontier circle/ china grove N C 28023/ 704 857 6369

Chris Rogers, e-mail, 28.08.2014 04:13

My father flew the A-6 when they were first deployed, was a Navy Cross recipient and he flew hundreds of missions in Vietnam. He was in multiple squadrons from the 128 (XO) to VA-95 (CO) to 165, etc. He was a test pilot and flew ~50 different types and loved the A-6. I see a lot of familiar names from our next door neighbor at Whidbey, Rupe Owens and our neighbors across the street and my little brothers buddy Brian Wood.

Michael Parkef, e-mail, 31.07.2014 02:14

Was with VA-165 74-76...Plane Captain on KA6D 524 bunk 149952...There were none better in getting the job done..

Ed Bates, e-mail, 16.01.2014 16:21

I worked on these awesome machines during my tenure @ Grumman back in the seventies. I was on the retrofit program for major fusalage overhaul and outer wing retrofit of these fine birds and it was one of the most awesome tasks I have had in my over thirty years of aviation. I know that fusalage back to front. Wing tip to wing tip. Gosh how I miss those days...We had a strong pride in America back we would watch our completed bird fly back into service.

Phil Ruede, e-mail, 26.05.2013 19:07

the Cadillac of all-weather attack

warren laquee, e-mail, 26.05.2013 02:09

I was with vma-533 all of 68and most of 69. saw tet of 68. not good!we got totally leveled.a6a was very tough. did a lot of rolling thunders in 68.lost some good crews.

Joe Brewer AKA Country, e-mail, 28.03.2013 22:45

A-6A and A-6B B/N, VA-28 and VA-196, CVW-14 USS Enterprise 1971-1974.
Linebacker 11. River Rat, It was great while it lasted. Great maintenance and flight crews. (LDO/NFO) HAVE FLORIDA LIC TAG # A6 F4 A3 in honor of aircraft flown and men and officers served with. Butch Phelps was my my A-6 stick. Best boarding rate ever!
I Live In Pensacola.

Tom "Parky" Parkinson, e-mail, 23.08.2012 18:45

Was involved with the Intruder from early 1968 to Dec 71. VA-42, VA-85, VA-165. West Pac 1971 on the USS Constellation. The A-6 was a work horse. To borrow a phrase "It took a licking - and kept on ticking"

Freddie Curry, e-mail, 19.07.2012 16:07

The A-6 was first taken into battle in 1965 aboard the aricraft carrier USS Independence. Several of the planes and their crews were lost as soon as they went into service. I was there.

joe b, e-mail, 29.05.2012 03:30

was pn3 with 75 on kh dec67-june68

krunch, e-mail, 20.05.2012 20:34

18 yrs on intruders and prowlers life just didn't get no better. miss the flight deck and the people. the people made them work

Anthony Aguirre, e-mail, 26.04.2012 08:29

I was in VA-75 as an AQB2 during the westpac deployment aboard the Kitty Hawk in 1967-1968. I believe we were the first to test the Arm Bird in a combat situation. I think there were 2 aboard.

allen smith, e-mail, 16.04.2012 01:52

Served as a planecapt with VMA(aw)533 with the A6a Intruders at CherryPoint, and went to ChuLai with them in 1967-68. Great aircraft. I understand they stayed in service almost 40 years. That alone says alot for the Intruders.

george Cook Ret MSGT, e-mail, 23.03.2012 19:50

Grew up working on the A6A , attended first Marine class in Oceana Va . Had the most excitement actually flying right seat due to shortage of B/Ns . Actually performed almost everything needed from replacing fuel cells to changing wings and engines. Absolutely loved the aircraft . ended up as Maint/material chief for VMAQ-2. If able to do again would change nothing !!!!

Brian Wood, e-mail, 27.05.2011 22:07

My dad flew the A6 as part of VA-115 in the later hours of Vietnam. Was also at the retirement at Oceana. You could say the A6 was like my big sister. Miss seeing her fly

Tom Ockuly, e-mail, 15.05.2011 06:14

I was in the RAG (VA-128) for two years and made one cruise to Viet Nam on the Kitty Hawk with VA-52 as a Fire Control tech. The Avionics were state of the art when it came to navigation, bombing and terain avoidance. To say it was a work horse was an understatement; we flew 10 missions a day, seven days a week and were the first squadron to deploy the Standard Arm missile. When the A-6 left the deck every SAM site in Viet Nam shut down. What a great weapon system.

Bob Bloor, e-mail, 27.04.2011 03:13

I was in VA 75 from 3/63 to 3/15/66 We were the first sea going squadron to get the A6. We also were the first squadron to take it into Viet Nam in 65. The first A6 we had had a lot of problems, and one of the biggest was the leaky wing fuel cells. We were kicked off the Indy, and told not to bring the planes back until we had the fuel leak problems fixed. We never did until we got the newer planes, which weren the ones we took to Viet Nam. We lost four planes to enemy fire. Two crew members were captured, two were killed, and four were rescued. I worked for Gruman for a while after I got out.

kirk kuykendall, e-mail, 24.04.2011 16:44

was in VAH123/VA128 when the A6 first arrived at Nas Whidbey Island. I later served in VA 115, VA 145, VA 128, VA 165, and was at the A6 retirement, Was very proud of the A6 and all of its accomplishments! What a work horse!

JOHN R KRUGER, e-mail, 24.04.2011 09:27


Harry Barnes, e-mail, 10.04.2011 07:08

I was a structures mechanic with VMA (AW) 242 when we first received the A6 in Oceania Va. Being a new aircraft for the Marine Corp. I was sent to Plane Captain School and worked on the line until we brought our squadron back to Cherry Point. I truly enjoyed every minute of my time spent with the A6 and the men that in our unit.

AL Almore, e-mail, 28.03.2011 03:32

I was a sheetmetal mech. on this bird in te Marine Corps (VMA 224). I did a tour in Nam on the USS Coral Sea 71-72.This was a tuff aircraft that could take a lot of punishement and still get the crew home most times. A great bird.

Bob Beckmann, e-mail, 26.03.2011 17:14

I was a tool designer at Grumman and worked on the assembly tooling for the wings and control assemblies of the A2-F as the A-6 was originally designated. GRUMMAN had a "Name the Plane" contest before the A-6's first flight. I am one of the 10 employees who named the A-6 the Intruder.

GATOR, e-mail, 14.03.2011 02:03

I like most of those above flew all models of the Intruder from 1970-1991. The "BUF" and its crews proved themselves in every threat environment and against every possible target set from Hanoi to Libya to Iraq. The guys flying the jets evolved tactics to maximize effectiveness and minimize risk, but were never hesitant to go in harms way, as it should be! Fuzed Bombs On Target First Pass!

Carl Newman, e-mail, 07.03.2011 04:50

I was a pilot in VA35 on the USS America from 1972 through 1974 and survived 135 missions in Vietnam and a "Med" cruise with 300+ landings, 110 at night. I flew all models, A/B/C/D/E, although our Es were converted A models which Grumman converted to Es after returning from Vietnam. The digital system was a big improvement over the old analog Litton computer system. Seven years, I ended up in the Air Force flying F-111s and was shocked to find the F-111A still had basically the same old system as the A6A. Both planes had the same mission, but because of the swing wing the F-111 was a real Cadillac down low. Where the A6 did normal low levels at 360Kts the F111 did 480 or 540Kts.

John Ochs, e-mail, 17.02.2011 21:50

I was a pilot with the Attack Squadron Sixty Five (VA-65) from 1974-1976. The aircraft picture above is painted with our livery. I flew every model of the Intruder ever made. I also flew the four seat electronic warfare model, EA-6B Prowler. I also flew the F-14, F-4, F-9, and all models of the A-4. My favorite was flying the low level flight profile of the Intruder! In addition the Intruder was second only to the B-52 in total bomb load.

Don Ohnemus, e-mail, 08.02.2011 01:20

I was an A-6 B/N from 1968-1979, and flew in every version of the A-6 ever built. It was a magnificent bird even if it wasn't a supersonic "godaddy". I had the pleasure of flying with some great pilots, and the thrill of having SAMs shot at me in Vietnam. Thank goodness they missed. Many of my best friends are from the A-6 community, because they were genuinely great people.

Phil Fusilier, e-mail, 02.02.2011 00:20

Was in VA-75 for a few months before it departed onboad the Sara for Yankee Station during Linebacker II. The squadron lost excellent men and officers during that tour. Have Florida "Navy" tag # VA-75 in memory of them on my car. Former VA-75 B/N and retired Capt. John Peino lives here in Tallahassee along with Old skipper of VA-72.

jeff, e-mail, 01.02.2011 03:47

rich,my father was an a-6 piolet on the kitty hawk when you were there.wondering if you know anything about vf-85 thank you jeff

Larry Hamilton, e-mail, 21.01.2011 18:05

I served with VMA(aw)242 as a Plane Captain, while at Danang Air Base RVN, 66-67, for DT-12 BN 152612. That bird was shot down in Nov67, pilot and B/N lost. The Intruder is not so pretty on the ground, but there is not a more graceful bird in flight.

Ben Beekman, e-mail, 11.01.2011 23:48

In 1967-68 Grumman converted nine Gulfstream I's into flying classrooms for the A-6A. Designation was the TC-4C "Academe". Had A-6A radar mounted on an extended nose and an instrumented A-6A "cockpit" built in rear of Gulfstream cabin. Repeater DVRI radar and navigational displays were provided at each of four student consoles (located further forward in cabin) so that five B/N trainees could learn how to operate the DIANE/DVRI radar system from experienced instructors while in flight. The four trainee B/N's, seated at the repeater consoles, could follow the attack procedure being worked at the A-6A simulated cockpit by the supervised fifth trainee.
Aircraft later upgraded to A-6E configuration.

Gary Mcmillan, e-mail, 16.12.2010 19:06

Did two WestPACS on the USS Enterprise with VA-196. As an AE I got to know this aircraft very well, it was great to work on. Did a couple of right seat flights, that was the highlight of my A6 TOUR.

Larry Davenport, e-mail, 07.12.2010 00:19

My older brother Jim Davenport was left seat in VMA AW 225 Vikings, MAG 11. I have a photo showing him in flight suit under port wing with racks loaded and ordnance painted "Merry Christmas". I assume photo was taken in Da Nang in Dec '68 or '69. Tail number seems to be 155706 or 708, but is partially obscured. Above Viking insignia on tail is "06". I was wondering if anyone knew Jim, or knew where this bird ended up. I know some are guarding gates and some are feeding fish off St. Augustine.

Bill Brenemen, e-mail, 02.12.2010 23:25

Served in VMA(AW)242 & 225 in Danang, 121 & 332 at Cherry Point. I was in the Com/Nav and ECM shop.
Systems on this bird were way ahead of the times.
Many aircrews dropped off Aussie beer and VO at our shop
because the ECM saved the day.

Phil "Combat" Conroy, e-mail, 29.11.2010 22:56

Flew in VA-115 on USS Midway (CV-41) from 1976-1979. A-6A's, -B's, -E's, plus KA-6D's. 300 traps, 100 at night. Lots of good B/N's - Tom Wycoff, Tom Bootes, "Sluggo" Steve Lugg, "TnA" Tim Anderson. Seawater over the bow, monsoons, pitching-rolling-heaving deck. These airframes took a beating and kept on ticking. Here's to good old Grumman Iron Works.

Dave Ricci, e-mail, 25.11.2010 00:48

Served in Vietnam with VMA(aw)-242, Nov. 67 to Dec. 68. Was trained as a J-52 engine mech. but once in country was assigned to the flight line as a plane capt. Amazing that this bird could fly. Loved them! Unbelievable all around durability. Some came back with elephant grass in their landing gear and many with holes from small arms. Many great pilots and B/N's.

mack648, e-mail, 17.11.2010 17:00

There are no A-6's operating at NAS Whidbey Island anymore. They were decommissioned quite a few years ago. The only ones there are static displays and a few parts planes on jacks. The planes in operation you might be confusing them with are the EA-6B's which are being phased out as well, and giving way to the EA-18G's, which are an electronic attack version of the F/A-18E's.

Dave Christopherson, e-mail, 02.11.2010 15:51

The venerable A6 Intruder, I served in VA-128, 165 and 115. I was an airframer and later a CWO then LDO. It was a bitch to work on at times and you had to know your shit, no fancy flight control computers etc, had to rig the flight controls. removed and replaced struts and repacked them in the shop for the sake of expediency. Everything we did was with an extreme sense of urgency. When I was MMCO of VA-115 we out flew both VFA-192 and 195 (sortie generation). This is the epitome of a carrier based jet.

Dave Christopherson, e-mail, 02.11.2010 15:50

The venerable A6 Intruder, I served in VA-128, 165 and 115. I was an airframer and later a CWO then LDO. It was a bitch to work on at times and you had to know your shit, no fancy flight control computers etc, had to rig the flight controls. removed and replaced struts and repacked them in the shop for the sake of expediency. Everything we did was with an extreme sense of urgency. When I was MMCO of VA-115 we out flew both VFA-192 and 195 (sortie generation). This is the epitome of a carrier based jet.

Roger Peterson, e-mail, 31.10.2010 03:26

I'm in aircraft restoration at the Yankee Air Museum. We are putting togteher a "composite" EA-6A from the parts of a number of different a/c and need erection and maintenace manuals for the job. Would appreciate any help or leads in this area.

bill trice, e-mail, 28.10.2010 09:20

i served as an aircraft electrician,cherry point,and danang....vma(aw)242....67/68.....we had a couple of a6's that were hanger queens,but most flew daily sorties,many came back with holes in the fuselage,and wings,but they came that i worked on is in virginia on display.....haven't seen it yet..."03",may be at the Marine corps musem outside of quantico

Don Safer, e-mail, 17.10.2010 20:51

I was aboard the Kitty Hawk on it's '65-'66 deployment working in IMA "Production Control". We knew the avionics status of every aircraft aboard. I believe this was the second depoyment of the A-6. (VA-85?) Anyhow, as I recall, the A-6s were rarely 100% "up" and when they were, they were not on recovery. Even then, they were very effective at peturbing Uncle Ho.

husky, 24.09.2010 21:01


Woody Baldwin, e-mail, 08.09.2010 18:29

VMA-533 '72-'73 nam phong power plants...the A-6 was the best damn flying plane ever built considering the design was alot like that of a humming bee...should not have been able to get off the ground and fly at all. From the three types of aircrafts I've trained and work on; A-6, F-4, F-14; The A-6 was always my favorite.

Craig Dougherty, e-mail, 02.09.2010 21:14

Grew up with this dad CWO-4 Jas. H. Dougherty was Maint Off. for VA-165, 123, 128, Q-131, Q133--made 4 Deps to Nam, they didn't have the A-6 ready for 165 on their first deployment, they flew A1-Spads in '66, they went from Alameda to NAS Whidbey and recieved their new planes...I grew up around so many A6 Jockeys, there was a parade of them thru my sister loved that part!! I was there when 2 crews from VA165 were given the Navy Cross for the same mission, a low level volunteer night mission over Haiphong, the damage of which was monumental...and the danger which was over the top. Knew several H-Hilton "guests" of them a Pow outa VA196 came back once with a 6 foot hole in the fuselage on a previous down on the deck mission...these puppies were THE workhorse for the Navy...rain or shine, they brought a mountain of heat!!!! the old man was Maint. Chief for Heavy Ten in the early sixties flying the A3D, that was a beast of a plane as well. The first real Heavy for the Navy off a Carrier. He was asked by PAC NAV CMD build one of the the first VAQ squadrons from the ground up and ready them for DEP to NAM in the early 70's, I think that was VAQ131, they were first deployed on the Enterprise,X-MAS bobmbings of Hanoi in '72 they were there, that is when that VA196 guy above went down hard....his BN was busted up, they both made it back, before the Enterprise did !!!

Norm Scruggs, e-mail, 01.09.2010 03:15

I flew a variation of the original A-6, the EA-6A, from 1977-1979. This was the predessor to the current EA-6B Prowler. There were 28 of the original A6-A's converted to the EA-6A, and they proved the viability of the A6 as an Electronic Countermeasures platform. Grumman then lengthened the airframe to accomadate 4 people, with more extensive capabilities. The A6 was, and probably still is one of the toughest aircraft ever built, and could take all kinds of punishment and still keep on ticking.

Ron, e-mail, 29.08.2010 07:07

I was a Plane Captain (Crew Chief) on A6A's in 1967 on Ranger. While working ashore, a crewmate spotted an A6 just returned from a complete makeover/restoration - with footprints on the UNDERSIDE of the tail. A6s had a one piece (both sides connected together) horizontal all moving elevator/tail. The one piece tail had been installed upside down! A6's were the only aircraft the US wouldn't sell to other nations, because while old, it was very effective, day or night, clear or typhoon.

Richard Dinsmore, e-mail, 17.08.2010 04:11

Correcting my email in case the pilot and or nav would like to get in touch. Wrong email address in prior comment on being sucked into an A-6

Richard Dinsmore, e-mail, 17.08.2010 04:08

I know this a/c very well. I was a catapult topside p.o. on Kitty Hawk in 66-67-68 during Vietnam. One night in March of 67 I got a lttle too close while bringing side no. 501 up for a midnight launch in monsoon weather. They were the only birds flying. The ship was pitching and rolling and about 50 knotts of wind coming over deck. Got a little to close and that powerful engine took me to the mat. All the way in. Luckily my used pilot's helmet and my foul weather jacket saved me from meeting my maker. Was in sickbay for two days trying to regain my hearing and let my internal organs reposition. When relased, went to chow up to berthing comp., showered and right back on the deck shooting more A-6's on the dreads in NVN. I thoroughly enjoyed hooking up the A-6. There was a certain mystique to that bird.

Cpt. Fucko :), e-mail, 16.08.2010 07:24

My second favorite USN plane in the world!!!!!!

Dan Highland, 26.04.2010 11:00

I worked com/nav/ecm (6614) on the A6E and after 'Nam on the EA6 Prowlers in the USMC. It was easy to work on as it was designed with an eye to maintenance form the start. The ECM load was great, but the one fellow above was correct, it was VERY pricey. There was one hardline coax for the ECM which was 23 feet long and cost over $200,000 by itself. I had flight skins on the A6 and often flew as an enlisted man when there were com/nav problems which only showed up at altitude. The aircraft was immensely strong and took a good deal of battle damage, as all Grumman aircraft will. The only part which gave us continual fits other than under-pressurized radios was the radar altimeter. For some reason the blasted, two-box thing had to be changed out on a regular basis. We even tried mounting it on extra shock mounts figuring it didn't like the takeoff and landing jarring. I served in Nam Phong (Rose Garden), Thailand during 'Nam. I worked on the EA6 Prowlers at Cherry Point, N.C.

Alan Shackelford, e-mail, 02.04.2010 04:14

It is nice to read some of the comments of those who truly appreciate this fine aircraft. When I first enlisted in the Marine Corps, I worked on the F-4 Phantom. I transferred to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan in November, 1975, and was assigned to VMA(AW)533. I stayed with this squadron until my separation in September, 1978. I still love the old Intruder and still believe that she can "Penetrate deeper, linger longer, and drop a bigger load." Semper Fi!

Tom Dahms, e-mail, 02.04.2010 02:56

Very sorry that should have been 40 years old

Tom Dahms, e-mail, 02.04.2010 02:54

I am proud to say I helped build these great air ships in the middle 60's at Grumman. I just saw one on display on the deck of the USS Lexington. Last weekend I went to Kingsville TX to see an air show and they had 3 EA6A's there what a thrill and honor to meet the brave pilots who fly them. It is hard to believe that they are at least 60 years old and still in service.

greg a. perrin, e-mail, 05.03.2010 23:54

i was onboard USS Midway from 1982-84. while i worked on H-3s i soon grew to love the sound of the A-6's engines as they spooled up and although at first thought it an ugly aircraft i came to to respect as the best bomber the navy ever had.

joe, e-mail, 11.02.2010 06:25

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 copies of 'privately' filmed (8mm or video) carrier films as a hobby as well as PLAT footage, mishaps 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 mishaps film.

If you have any footage and are interested in sharing with a fellow ship mate, please reply and ask for my swapping list.
Long time Tailhook member.

Regards Joe
Sydney Australia.

Jim Schou, e-mail, 28.01.2010 01:21

I was with VA65 as a B/N during the famous Forrestal fire and following year on the Kitty Hawk. This was a great plane that was always trying to prove itself. I do remember one occasion going down to Bethpage to pick a new bird right out of the factory. I also had the honor of taking this new plane down to the Tangier bombing range for evaluation. We had 12 MK-76's on the racks and made 12 runs at that old freighter. After you pickled the bomb and knew exactly where to turn your head, you could actually see the bomb falling. I saw 11 of the 12 hit the ship and 3 went down the stack. When that system was working it was amazing.

The other thing I remember was how we would do double missions over Laos, come back for recovery and sometimes even dump a little fuel just to upset the Phantom jocks who were close to bingo fuel.

Rupe Owens, e-mail, 28.01.2010 00:41

The A6 Intruder provide Navy a long range strike package unequalled today. One night, I departed Yankee Station with a centerline drop tank, 5 APAM and 17 Mk 82 LDGP bombs to interdict the Ho Chi Minh trial. We checked in with an AF controller and were directed to an AMTI target coming down the trail. During descent from 20K, our holding altitude, the ASQ-61 froze up as it sometimes did. We continued toward the target, the B/N working to get the computer back. Just as we reached the target,I saw a guy get out of his truck, walk to the left front bumper and light a cigarette. His nonchalance pissed me off; I pulled back on the stick for a roll ahead visual bomb delivery and told the B/N to go manual. He reset the armament panel switches and we made five visual dives against the trucks hiding in the trees. It was much fun. We had several burning vehicles following our attacks. There were some smaller caliber AAA but, since it was after sundown, they really couldn't see us so it was like Winston Churchill said: "There's nothing so exhilarating as being shot at without affect". Returning to RANGER, I was low state and diverted to Danang for an evening in Dog Davidson's famous Bar. The A6 was a wonderful all weather attack aircraft. Thanks to the Grummans and the aircrews and maintenence teams who made it so.

Doug Rauch, e-mail, 10.01.2010 16:43

I was right there with Tom Murphy (writing above) in Va-85 and woking ECM (ALQ-41, ALQ-51 and APR-28 + BDA equip) gear to go on and protect the A6A'sd flying. I was also there 66,67,68,69 with VA-85 on the Kitty Hawk, America, and Constalation. West Pac was an life changing experience for this young Texas Boy. I even helped on the flight deck loading bombs on these babes. I do remember the guys that never came back and the A6As that came back shot full of holes.
I have now spent 38+ years on the streets of North Texas protecting at home carrying a bit of a different gun than the guys used in Nam. Doug Rauch

John "Big Kahuna" Klein, e-mail, 07.01.2010 03:50

It was a great plane to fly in any weather, any time. I can recall many memorable events over the 2100 hours I flew as a B/N and the one that really stands out is the night barricade trap Ray Benson and I have in our log book (CV-62, 1973). The A6E sustained minor damage and was flying again 3 days later.

Marlene Asher, e-mail, 24.11.2009 03:35

My Dad, Edward A. Wagner, joined Grumman in 1950 as an engineer. He was very successful and became a project manager on the A-6E and F-14. I have great memorabilia from Grumman and these projects which I am planning on donating to the museum. While going through Dad's things I also discovered he was a model for Grumman advertisements in the newspaper! Can't wait to give that to the museum. My brother was an engineer on the LEM. I worked in the summers on the space shuttle program but decided, even though I also became an engineer, not to join Grumman. God Bless America!

Harvey Lovejoy, e-mail, 13.06.2009 01:57

Con/Nav was nicely bundled and allowed quick and easy field replacement. The ECM gear was another story. Far ahead of everything else. The electronics were said to cost more than the main frame. MOS 6214 DaNang 6/68-7/69

Frode Bergfldt, e-mail, 01.02.2009 17:56

Do you remember the early morning some years ago, when American F-111's bombed Gadaffi's Libya? Prior the bomb-drop a couple of EA-6A jammed the entire south-western part of the Mediteranian Sea with their fantastic equipment. The jamming was so strong that we were not able to listen to ordinary radioes in southern Spain! I can imagine that it is necessary to have the canopy glass coated with a thin gold layer to protect the crew from the radio emissions of the electronic warfare equipment.

TOM MURPHY, e-mail, 31.10.2008 17:44

VA 85 IN WESTPAC: '66,'67 & '68

"Holly" Hollandsworth, e-mail, 09.05.2008 20:45

The best aircraft for its assigned mission in the world. Nothing has really replaced it yet.

Harry Steindorf, e-mail, 02.05.2008 05:52

As a Marine Aviator, I piloted A6A's in VMA(AW)-225 at Da Nang AB, SVN, from Jan-Jul, 1969, for 150+ combat missions. At that time, VMA(AW)-242 flew A6A's from Da Nang and VMA(AW)-533 flew them out of Chu Lai. Several Navy squadrons also flew them off the carriers at Yankee and Dixie Stations. Our standard ordnance load was twenty-eight 500 # iron bombs, but we also used nape, Zuni rockets, 2.75 rocket packs, and a few CBU's and Walleye glide bombs. We flew mostly night interdiction hops over the HC Minh Trail, plus TPQ, Beacon and CAS missions in northern SVN, Laos and occasionally into Cambodia. It's a great bird, very dependable and airworthy in combat with excellent radar and ECM gear when operated by a proficient B/N. It was in reality a B/N's plane; the pilot merely followed the steering bug and committed the system to drop on B/N-selected targets; the B/N handled all the finesse stuff. The ALQ-100 ECM gear worked fantastically, providing the aircrew with audio and visual indications of all ground threats. Nightime in-flt refueling off KC-130 tankers could be a handful due to the buffet from the 130's props and the airwave passing over the Intruder's bulbous nose. It made the basket rise dramatically just when you neared the nose-mounted IFR probe to the basket. You needed to use 3-5 kts positive closure on the basket to catch it just as it was rising up. We carried about 2 hours of fuel internally giving us excellent time-on-station. The Intruder's bombing accuracy was unparalleled when flown with a seasoned B/N. All in all, if you had to go to war, the A6A Intruder was a trustworthy airplane to do it in.

Michael Tenzyk, e-mail, 22.04.2008 03:16

Originally it was born as the A2F. the first three built had tiltable tailpipes which was supposed to aid in short field take-off and carries ops. However, the benefit derived was penalized by the weight. I was a flight test Bombardier Navigator for Grumman. Have flown over 1600 hours flight testing as a B/N.

Michael Tenzyk, e-mail, 22.04.2008 03:16

Originally it was born as the A2F. the first three built had tiltable tailpipes which was supposed to aid in short field take-off and carries ops. However, the benefit derived was penalized by the weight. I was a flight test Bombardier Navigator for Grumman. Have flown over 1600 hours flight testing as a B/N.

Jack Sullivan, e-mail, 16.04.2008 19:50

The only jet that could replace the AD on the Carrier. In performance it has to be considered one of the best we ever produced. Nothing has taken it's place as yet.

Joe Brewer, e-mail, 03.04.2008 04:51

There was also a 2 seat electronics variant, the EA-6A as well as the A-6B SAM Superission Variant and of course the KA-6D Tanker version.
You have a great website.. Thanks.. Joe

Jeff Kutz, e-mail, 21.08.2007 07:38

The two crew members were positioned in side-by-side seating. There was also an electronics warfare variant that had four crew members, the two extra seats added behind the two original seats. This plane was notable for the gold-colored shine that could be seen in the canopy glass. The story was that the glass was coated with a thin gold layer to protect the crew from the radio emissions of the electronic warfare equipment.

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