Douglas A-3 (A3D) Skywarrior
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11.12.2023 23:15

11.12.2023 14:06

11.12.2023 00:31

10.12.2023 19:16

10.12.2023 14:55

10.12.2023 08:29

Boeing XP-9

10.12.2023 08:29

Boeing Model 200 Monomail

10.12.2023 08:29

Boeing Model 221 Monomail

10.12.2023 08:28

Boeing F4B / P-12

10.12.2023 08:27

Boeing XP-7 / Model 93

10.12.2023 08:26

Boeing F3B / Model 77

10.12.2023 08:26

Boeing Model 74 / XF3B-1

10.12.2023 08:26

Boeing Model 80

10.12.2023 08:25

Boeing XP-4

10.12.2023 08:25

Boeing XP-8 / Model 66

10.12.2023 08:24

Boeing B-1

10.12.2023 08:23

Boeing Model 15 / PW-9 / FB

10.12.2023 08:22

Boeing Model 21 / NB

10.12.2023 08:15

Boeing Model 40

10.12.2023 08:14

Boeing F2B / Model 69

10.12.2023 08:09

Boeing Model 1

09.12.2023 16:54

Lockheed 1329 JetStar I / II

08.12.2023 21:21

Grumman OV-1 Mohawk

08.12.2023 01:29

Consolidated B-24 Liberator

07.12.2023 08:00

Nieuport-Delage Ni-D 52

07.12.2023 01:45

Douglas A-3 (A3D) Skywarrior

06.12.2023 20:51

06.12.2023 02:05

Canadair CL-41 "Tutor"

06.12.2023 00:04

05.12.2023 21:26

Bruce Edney, e-mail, 07.12.2023 01:45

After training in The TV2 and F9F Panther in Corpus Christy I was sent to NAS North Island San Diego to join VAH-2 in 1955 as a Bombardier/Navigator with our squadron commander Al Irish. We went through the 2 week Fleet Introduction Program along with VAH-1 in Pax River, MD. Pilots from VP29 were chosen as the pilots of our A3Ds.
One was future Astronaut Ed Mitchell, Apollo 14. All our B/Ns were new jet pilots from Corpus Christy and we were not happy with that B/N position! Commander Irish chose me as our Special Weapons Officer. My 2 year active duty commitment was June 1956. I wanted to fly single engine jets and I put in a formal request for a transfer to a fighter squadron. Without that transfer I would transfer to the Navy Reserve and return to my previous Engineering Occupation. I had a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. My request was denied so I choose to leave the squadron and active duty. At that time the squadron was to start carrier landing qualifications for our pilots. I was previously assigned to fly as a B/N for CDR Tom Bolton who was selected to be our first pilot to qualify. Since I was about to leave active duty I was replaced with one of our Chief Petty Officers to fly with CDR Bolton. I don't know why another B/N did not replace me.
CDR Bolton made several touch and go landings on the carrier then set up for this first arrested landing. It was reported that his approach was
low and slow and he failed to wave off and struck the ship - the plane broke in half and ended up and into the water! What a disaster! Of course both on board did not survive. I can't find any record of this A3D loss!

John Clifford, e-mail, 31.07.2023 15:15

Capt. East, I flew S-3s in the Navy, but before that I knew a Terry Hanson at NAS Cubi Pt. and NAF Washington, D.C. in the mid 70 who had flown A-3s. I am thinking he might be one and the same. I have lost track of him, but always wanted to thank him for his special kindness at a time when I needed it. If by chance you get this and are in contact with your Terry Hanson, if you might forward my name and email address to him, and my thanks, it would mean a lot. Thank you, Sir! John Clifford

Clifton Kip burke, e-mail, 23.02.2023 02:29

I was stationed at NAS Alameda and assigned first with VAQ 130, then VAQ 132 and VAQ 135 Det2.
My first assignment was to the Line Dept., then an opportunity to apply for an enlisted Flying Plane Captain opening was offered to me and I accepted. After attending air crew school hold at NAS Whidbey Island I returned to NAS Alameda and reassigned to VAQ 132. The squadron was deployed aboard the USS America March of 1969 for approximately 9 months. I logged over 100 carrier landing and got to see a part of the world I would not have.
My last squadron was VAQ 135 DET. 2 and we made a Med-cruise aboard the USS America. Wonderful experience

Pete Barrow, e-mail, 07.02.2023 15:43

I was in VAQ33 1981-83 EMAIL ME BACK

Anonymous, 06.12.2022 03:08

I was aboard cva31 on 07 level and saw the crash!

Andrew Iorio, 23.01.2022 22:02

I served aboard the USE Forrestal the A3D was in our flight orders she was magnificent to watch her launch and land.

James Henderson, e-mail, 12.01.2022 22:56

give me a call your pc in vq-2 704 263 1706

Samuel P Clegg, e-mail, 03.08.2021 17:06

Hello Ed,
This is Sam Clegg. I am married to Marta Ralston, daughter of Ltcdr John Ralston. We were discussing the A3D incident this morning. We sure would like to know more about what you might recall about this event.
Thank You,
Sam Clegg

Samuel P Clegg, e-mail, 03.08.2021 17:02

Hello Ed,
This is Sam Clegg. I am married to Marta Ralston, daughter of Ltcdr John Ralston. We were discussing the A3D incident this morning. We sure would like to know more about what you might recall about this event.
Thank You,
Sam Clegg

Al Adeeb, e-mail, 18.07.2021 22:26

Are you up for a dogfight or at least a game of handball!! Email me I am trying to locate Bill Pippin from Heavy 9, Last saw him in Olongapo officers club 1967-8. Hope all is well with you! Cheers, Al Adeeb

Michael Jacobs, e-mail, 17.07.2021 21:50

Hi. You mentioned Moon Mullins. Was he a photographers mate, sometime on the Coral Sea?

L.W. (Larry) Murphy, e-mail, 10.07.2021 00:43

I was assigned to the VAP-61 Photo Lab on Guam from 1969-1971.
Were you there during that time?
L.W. Murphy
Former Special Assistant for Veteran Affairs

Blaine Hiatt, e-mail, 25.06.2021 03:39

Nolan, I joined VAH-2, Mar 1956. AE, I knew Punchy and remember several Gut punches. I was on the DET Mike cruise on the Tyconderosa in 57-58. I became a Gunner/Navigator, but was grounded because of my eyes. Got out went to college, joined the Utah Air National Guard, and in went to the Air Force Navigationl School as a second Lt. Flew 5,000 hours, and retired a Lt Col. I still dream about VAH-2, and the CAT Shots.

Sandra Phelps Laws, e-mail, 09.06.2021 00:54

My father served in VQ-1 twice, one in Iwakuni and the other time in Atsugi, 1965 to 1969, I may be off one year one way or another. His name was Lt Laws at that time and he was enlisted in 1958 in Iwakuni. Did you by chance know my father? I lived in Japan and babysat for and knew many of the VQ-1 people there. After that, he served at Kirtland Air Force Base at NWEF until he retired on the Independence in 1973, I believe it was. He was also stationed at China Lake in the middle 50s. I miss my father. He died of Alzheimer's 3 years ago. He did not tell us much about what he did because he couldn't but I bought him an autobiography book and there are some interesting stories in there but he still did not talk about what he did in Vietnam or while we lived in Atsugi or anywhere else for that matter. I wish I knew more about his life.

Anonymous, 29.04.2021 18:09

Ron Grason was a fried of mine and I was going to join him as his Nav when my tour teaching Nav at Whidbey was over. Luck was with me I guess. Saw his name on the wall.

Michael Clark, ATN-3, e-mail, 18.02.2021 20:00

Well, Dan, Ault Field was a good duty station, but I was never there for long. I did have three months there with VAH-123 right out of A school, though. I was with VAH-4 from 64-67 and always detached to one carrier or another or Fallon, Yuma, or North Island on bombing practices. But I did meet my wife of 53 years on a liberty with a buddy, Link Shadley, in Bellingham between cruises. He worked in supply for about a year (1965) and married my wife's sister. I would have died to get NAS Whidbey as a duty station, but no such luck.

Michael Clark, e-mail, 18.02.2021 19:15

Thanks, Jim, for your reply. I remember LCDR Crain. He was tall and fair complected with sandy hair. He was a good man. So did you bunk with us under the number three arresting wire on that cruise? No rest for the weary. I worked the flight deck as the standby ATN was up there most of the time during flight ops. I am glad you made it through that hell flying over the North as you did. Thanks for your service.

Jim Denly, e-mail, 17.02.2021 17:30

I was C/N with LCDR Carrol Crain and LTJG Dick Davenport on that cruise. We were airborne at the time of the crash and ended up staying up for another cycle. We also flew Kohlrush's body back to Cubi Pt. LCDR Crain was lost on his next cruise with Det Charlie on the Kittyhawk.

Michael Clark, ATN3, e-mail, 30.11.2020 02:10

Does anyone remember Cmdr. Grayson, Lt. Kohlrush and PR2 Kretch? They were all with VAH-4 and died when their KA3B nose gear collapsed on a cat shot off the Enterprise in April 1966 off of North Vietman. We were in Det. Mike together. I found their names on the Vietnam Memorial wall in D.C. and took a rubbing of them and still have it my cruise book.

Michael Clark, ATN3, e-mail, 30.11.2020 01:59

Larry, your name rings a bell. I was with Heavy Four from 64-67 on det. Lima, Mike and Bravo, two cruises on the Hancock and one on the Enterprise and was also on a nuke loading team. I only landed once a a carrier and never catted off, but that was on a COD.

Jack Fant, e-mail, 22.08.2020 06:00

was it Klien that blew the tires landing at Argentia, Newfoundland?? I was doing Leapfrog comms... and I think we were carrying mail to Argentia...

Fred Parker, e-mail, 05.07.2017 23:48

Served in VAP-61 from '69-'71 AK3 with AKC Steve Poppish. Went on dets to Australia, DaNang, Thailand, and Korea. Great squadron and great people. Even got to fly on a few hops in the old whales! LOL I loved the experience!

Joel McEachen, e-mail, 07.04.2017 05:26

John "Bear" Shattuck-did you work for United Air Lines, spent time in VAH-11 to get multi-engine jet time prior to United's DC-8's. I was with you in VAH-3 1960. Rumor had it that United called you back "or else". The other anecdote is that you were the voice of the documentary of the DC-10 that lost some jet engine fan blades and went down in Iowa.

George Haloulakos, e-mail, 15.02.2017 21:36

Prior to officially being named to Astronaut Group 3, Roger Chaffee (pilot for the Apollo 1 spacecraft) was awarded the US Air Medal for flying several photographic missions in a photo-recon variant of the Douglas A-3 Skywarrior over Cuba during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Phillip Hurbace, e-mail, 03.11.2016 10:09

Plane Cpt on A3D 1967 to 1969

Bob Harville CWO, e-mail, 24.10.2016 21:12

I was in VAP-61 1966-1969,Photo warrant, Aircraft Maintenance Officer and det maintenance, numerous flights, Guam to Johnsville,PA. Guam to Australia, Viet Nam and Thailand. Took det from P.I. to DaNang four days before 68 Tet. One of the greatest tours in my thirty year U.S.Navy career

Bill Isakson, e-mail, 31.08.2016 01:31


My Dad, Carl O Isakson Jr, passed away July 26, 2016. He flew as a Bombardier/Navigator on the Forrestal in '57-'58.
I have some of his squadron memorabilia: photos, patches, squadron beer stein with "smoking tigers" logo, copy of 1957 German magazine cover depicting "3 men in a bomber", digitized 8mm film clips (including early JATO tests in Sanford, and footage of a F4D breaking up whilst doing a low, high-speed formation pass abeam the ship).
I can find no VAH-1 squadron memorabilia repository in any association or museum.
Could members direct me where these items could be donated for posterity to honor the A3D crews? I can be reached at

Mark Johnson, e-mail, 15.07.2016 22:20

My father (Gunnar Edward Johnson) was an A3D Bombardier/Navigator on the U.S.S. Midway from 1956-60. I was looking for information on the flight crews, etc. and came across this site. He passed this past Thursday (July 7th, 2016).

Leonard Harvey, e-mail, 02.07.2016 11:53

As a young AE3 I joined VAH 2 at NAS Barbers Point in July 1957. Was selected as member of the Barbers to Cubi en-route maintenance team with stop overs at Kwajalein and NAS Agana. Remained at NAS Cubi until April 1958 then deploying back to NAS Whidbey. A wonderful experience that I’ll never forget

Bob Knotts, e-mail, 29.06.2016 06:47

I went to Vap-61 in 1960. A friend, Freddy Flitter, PH1, was a third crewman in I think VAH-4. When he told me that the "whales" had an enlisted man as a crewman, I was in VAH-123 going to a "fan" school on the A-3. I pput in for 3rd crewman school.ut with only one night nav flight left, I discovered that after 4 hours flying, my eyes would get too tired to get a decent celestial fix. After talking to the VAH-123 crew traing officer, I dropped out of the program. But after getting to VAP-61, Freddy told me he had never had an A3 flight over 4 hours. So I asked the aircrewman leading chief if I could finish qualifying as a crewman, He said no, he was going to use me for a permanent touch and go right seater. I didn't like thst idea, so when CDR Deveas, the photo officer, asked me how things were going, I told him I didn't like the idea of "bouncing" in the right seat for two years, he told me I could go to the photo lab. Talk about a REALLY irritated E-8!!!When I mentioned the deal to Ray Boll, he got a little upset. Actually, a lot upset. He said they never had enough crewmen. So I ended up making warrant, going to Ranger boat as the photo officer, then to RVAH-3 as the Recon Division officer. I retired early as a PHCM, my permanent grade, because my wife had a serious medical problem, and the navy decided to cut my shore tour from 3 years to 2. And back to sea. Nope!

Ray Johnson, e-mail, 12.01.2016 17:36

Flew in both the EC-121M and the EA-3B as Electronic Warfare Operator in VQ-2 1969-70. Flew both land based and carrier missions in the EA-3B. Flew off carriers Kennedy and Roosevelt. Some of my most memorable EA-3B pilots were Glen Hatch, Lou Hettinger, Tom Maxwell.

Steve Rodgers, e-mail, 06.11.2015 01:28

Looking for anyone who might have known my Father. Flew the A3D and was the very first pilot to land one on a carrier. James F. Rodgers, LCDR

Joseph Kaposi, e-mail, 28.08.2015 06:17

Jim Schmook, if you have any movie footage of those couple of hairy traps i'd be very interested in talking to you about getting a copy for my collection.

Jim "Bat" Schmook, e-mail, 31.07.2015 07:23

I was a Bombardier/Navigator in VAH-4 Det Bravo. Two cruises in 1963 and 1964 aboard USS Ticonderoga. Pilots were CDR Rupe Legare, and LCDR Fred Backman....two of the best ever. LCDR Lee Kollmorgen assigned me the callsign "BAT' because I tended to come alive at night. Had two exciting landings aboard the Tico, one day landing when we broke the nose strut and ended up looking UP at the crash crew, since we were right flat on the deck. A night landing where we broke the arresting cable, and then dropped off the angled deck was almost a disaster, but LCDR Backman struggled with the yoke and the

Leo Berard, e-mail, 30.07.2015 22:16

I never flew in the A3D but was an instructor on the flight simulator in Sanford VAH-3 61 to 63.Had hundreds of hours flight testing the simulator. I do recognize the name Lcdr John Bear Shattuck must have had him as a student in the simulator

Michael E. Miller, e-mail, 02.07.2015 07:27

Assigned to VAH123 out of AEA school in 1961. I remember working on the Liquidometer fuel quantity system on the T bird. The A3D-2 had the Avian system. Spent many hours on a ladder in the bomb bay swapping cg control amps, etc. got out of the Navy 11/1964. Came back in in 1969 and was assigned to VAQ308 NAS Alameda. I will never forget changing out horizontal stabilizer actuators and the 'extremely lightweight' AC generators! Retired in 1985 as AECS. Thanks for the memories...

Dave Stevens, e-mail, 18.04.2015 06:19

Served in VAH-123 from March63-July66.Flew right seat in the A3B and TA3B.Interesting flying with student pilots.Most of the staff pilots are goneOne of my CO's,Comander Fritch,put me behind the wheel for a hour coming back from mirmar to Whidby.High point of my enlisted stint.Mike Bouchard best pilot I ever flew with.

Frank Ballo, e-mail, 07.03.2015 02:17

Not about the aircraft but would like to hear more about Admiral Earl Yates with whom I served at Quonset Point NAS, R,I. from Earl Blaker, 16.08.2012?????

James Orr, e-mail, 22.02.2015 08:17

Joined VAH-4 out of ADJ school in June65 went on carrier quals in Aug, then West pac as a P/C abord the tiny Ti. Learned a lot about that plane and to this day I can still sit in the pilots seat and start her up. After I left the squadron in 67 got out of the Navy but inlisted the reserves in 78 and worked and flew on P-3 until I retired in 96.

Lcdr John Bear Shattuck, e-mail, 17.02.2015 08:53

I flew A3D from 1957 to 1962 and had more hours than anyone in it. Have special plaque from Douglas. Seedbed hurricane Ester, flew over Soviet Union, have over 100 traps on Roosevelt in VAH-11.

Gregg Bambo, Capt USN-ret, e-mail, 10.02.2015 20:36

Fun Skywarrior memories: First night car quals on a 27C. Black moonless night recoveries to a pitching, heaving & rolling deck with the fuel low level light illuminated . Max weight JATO takeoffs out of Cubi P.I. Night refueling rendezvous. Midnight dropping of parachute equipped frogman Marine Recon team out of the bombay. California to Yankee Station transpacs. My aircraft featured on the cover of LIFE magazine after USS Forrestal disaster. The camaraderie of some great and trusting enlisted aircrewmen (especially when asked to go back in the bombay to free a jammed refueling hose). Catastrophic engine failure with later second engine flame out culminating in a disconnect manual control “dead stick” landing and arrestment at Whidbey (had to be towed off the runway). Lots of other interesting experiences but overall, a great aircraft that always brought my crew back safely.

Jim Hood, e-mail, 30.12.2014 21:37

A3D Transcontinental Flight

I remember it vividly even though it happened over 50 years ago! I was in the Equipment and Interiors (E & I) Design group. E & I designed anything that interfaced with the pilot, …from ejection seats, instruments to air conditioning and pressurization I was the engineer helping to design bleed air systems on the new A3D-2P and -2Q (ECM) versions. The early A3D’s were usually ferried from Los Angeles to the Jacksonville FL NAS. Having your name on any world aviation record is still quite an honor, and holding the record for fastest USA Trans-Continental flight was possible for the A3D in those days. There were faster jet fighters and bigger jet bombers, with longer range, but the A3D was the fastest jet that could go Coast-to-Coast. Several ferry flight pilots tried for that Trans-Continental speed record in those days. The delivery fight from LAX on the Pacific ocean to NAS Jacksonville on the Atlantic ocean. was the shortest distance for the ocean-to ocean Trans-Continental hop.

These Trans-Continental flights were originally timed from lift-off on one coast to touch-down at the other coast. The FAI (French Aeronautique Institute) times them and keeps the aircraft records. The FAI now also allows an alternative elapsed flight time from a high speed pass over the tower on one coast to the time of a tower pass at the other coast…… rather than the original lift-off to touch-down. This particular A3D pilot was trying to beat the world record, and he started with the high speed pass over the LAX tower. The LAX tower informed him that he was not clean, his skag (tail bumper) was not retracted. The Skag is designed to retract when the airplane’s weight goes onto the landing gear, but apparently this one was wired backwards. TheA3D pilot “jostled” the landing gear retraction handle….. But that was the wrong thing to do. He was flying much too fast to drop the gear! The nose gear and one main gear dropped down, but not the other main wheel failed to deploy. …and its wheel well door blew off with all its hydraulics and back-up pneumatics plumbing.

The A3D pilot tried several maneuvers trying to “throw” the un-retracted wheel out of the wheel well, but to no avail. He took the plane out over the desert, dumped most of the fuel and put it on an autopilot circle and the flight crew bailed out.

Edwards AFB notified George AFB that an A3D was going to crash in the desert... and they could send some of their F-100 fighters for a little clay pigeon target practice. They also said to shoot it down if it threatened anything in the desert. As the A3D approached the desert floor, the ground-effect lifted the nose a bit and the landing was not catastrophic. The plane broke up but the crew compartment was hardly damaged. I heard that it had three bullet holes in its tail, but nothing serious.

Douglas picked it up and trucked it back to El Segundo where we had probably the best crew compartment “Mock-Up” in the aviation engineering business.

Lee Mehsling, 03.12.2014 18:35

Spent 4 yrs. AMS2 in the RAG outfits, Teaching other AMS' about the Whale, Many,many Carrier Quals. Still like the old Bird.

Thomas Benedict, e-mail, 23.10.2014 06:10

My first assignment out of AT/A school was VAH-123 then to Heavy 4 Det Charlie in Aug of 65, worked as a tweet and PC, loved flying every chance I could. then in June of 68 transferred to Det Bravo. In Oct of 68 I was transferred to Heavy Ten then went to shore duty at NAS North Island OPS. Went to VAQ-308 in Feb of 71, and C/N school. in Feb of 75 went to the Air Force as a C-141 Flight Engineer. Loved the 141 but still missed flying the Whale. Retired after the Gulf War in 91.

Jack Burson, e-mail, 18.08.2014 03:27

I was stationed at Whidbey Island and initially assigned to VAH 123 and then transferred to VAH 2. I was there from May 1959 until April 1960 andI was an AT and worked primarily on the UHF communication gear,along with nav gear. I never was on flight status while there, but have many memories of my time there. As I recall, the "bird" was somewhat trouble prone, and the comment by one of the earlier writers about the radar controlled rear gunnery system was absolutely true. I think that system was called the AERO 21, and it seldom was operation
One bad memory that I have is the death of CDR Porter When the A3D he was flying crashed during a training flight. He was a fine C.O.and the best officer I served under during my stay in the Navy.

Jack Burson, e-mail, 18.08.2014 03:21

I was stationed at Whidbey Island and initially assigned to VAH 123 and then transferred to VAH 2. I was there from May 1959 until April 1960 andI was an AT and worked primarily on the UHF communication gear,along with nav gear. I never was on flight status while there, but have many memories of my time there. As I recall, the "bird" was somewhat trouble prone, and the comment by one of the earlier writers about the radar controlled rear gunnery system was absolutely true. I think that system was called the AERO 21, and it seldom was operation
One bad memory that I have is the death of CDR Porter When the A3D he was flying crashed during a training flight. He was a fine C.O.and the best officer I served under during my stay in the Navy.

L B (Bingo) Wing, e-mail, 01.03.2014 21:17

Vah 13, Sanford & Whidbey,1961-64. Plane Captain on 138973-GP/NH 608. An ATN2 when discharged. The only "tweety bird" on the line crew, but it got me the title "Bingo". Pilots on a RON wanted to take my Plane cause they knew I could fix electronics as well as a/f, hydraulics and such - or so they told me. Two westpacs on Kitty Hawk in 62/63 and lots of cats & traps in 2nd, 3rd & 4th seats. Shook down Kitty Hawk in 1961 and ended up in Cuba making fresh water for Guantanamo after castro cut the pipe. The A3D was a great A/C developed so no raid like the Doolittle raid would ever have to be attempted again. Delighted to see the preservation efforts around the country. Hats off to all who served, particularly the A3D crews!!! Crossfire Center, This is Rockbridge 608, Over!!

Harold Young, e-mail, 29.12.2013 04:06

I was stationed at Whidbey Island, attached to VAH-123, I was really happy the U.S. Navy assiged me there, I was Aviation Structural Mecanic, Safty Equipment, I personally loved the A-3's, though changeing out the four explosive cartridges in the bomber, for the lower escape hatch, was at times scary. I served from 1965 to 1968 in that squadron, with three training temporary duties to the U.S.S. Midway, Enterprise and Constilliation. I wish I could turn time back, I regret now, not reupping, with another A-3 Squadron. I'm honored and proud of my service to my country, the U.S. Navy, and this squadron. I have a picture on my wall, of one of the TA-3B's I serviced.

robert hildenbrand, e-mail, 26.08.2013 04:26

First real duty station out of boot. Vah-123 Remembewr chief "Thummel"? Called him "Thumper" VAH-4 det Bravo X2 and one other I can't recall. Torqed many a tailhook, flew a few sortees, Cold times when the Pueblo was hijacked. Many Many wonderful memories..Lost some friends on an ill fated Mining run... Loved West-Pac. Went to another squadron in Alemeda carairewron or something like that.. Ate lots of tomatoes when a whale took out the back 40 in Pt Mugu....another West-Pac another thousand stories. God Bless all

Bob Whitman, e-mail, 29.07.2013 15:58

My brother Kenneth H. Whitman served aboard the Sarh with VAH-9 between1960-1963 as a AQ2 Aviation Fire Control Tech, second class. (exactly what were his duties?) That is all we know about his service. He died suddenly1/18/1964 at 24 years of age leaving no records of his service, photos, etc. I would like to know SOMETHING of his service, what his duties were, where else he served, and would appreciate contact with anyone who may have known Kenny.

Donald King, e-mail, 09.07.2013 18:28

My father by the same name flew the A3 in the 1960's. He was stationed on Whidbey Island, VAH 10 and VAH 123..If you knew him please drop my a line!

conrad everson, e-mail, 28.06.2013 18:50

Started flying in the A3 1960 at VCP63 in San Diego as tail gunner with the radar controled guns which never panned out.Next to FASRON in Whidbey Is for atomic weapons training then Crewman Navigator school.First Whidbey squadron was VAH6 and was flying into Vietnam for refueling and also mine laying practice.On to Vah123 as navigation instructor then VAH2,VAH10 until retirement in 1970.Lost a lot of friends in that A/C over the years.A great A/C but shit happens and they called it A3D all 3 dead for a reason.

Wes, e-mail, 25.06.2013 02:51

Correction: ....As we lost one A/C EVERY YEAR with the crew in it..........

Wes Swisher, e-mail, 25.06.2013 02:47

I should not be surprised there are some old A-3 vets still around. I started flying with VAH-123 in 1962 as right seat P/C. About a year later I was with HATRON 8 on the USS Midway as a Flight Deck P/C. I returned to VAH-123 to attend Crewman Navigator school. Finished just in time for deployment to the Tonkin Gulf in Feb 1965. We dropped 500 lb bombs for a few months before the aircraft were found to be overstressed by the repeated bombs being catted and then the basic were went ashore which put us in air refueling bussiness with our 5 tanker equipped birds.
One incident was worth noting. We had a Lt B/N who jettisoned 6 500lb-ers on the flight deck by pulling the emergency bomb door handle instead of pushing to close the doors. I was in the aircraft but it wasn't my normal crew.
At least he got 6 direct hits on an aircraft carrier!
I ended that cruise with 3 Air Medals and a Navy Commendation with a Combat V.
Back to VAH-123 as a Right Seat P/C. Jim Reese coined the term "Zoomie" and it stuck. As we lost one aircraft with the crew in it, the flying was exiting and dangerous.
Later on I served in VQ-1, VQ-2 as Flight crew EWOP and P/C.
It was a fine A/C and usually took pilot error to bring one down. I'm too old to do it again but if I could relive those days I would. Maybe correct a few errors of my own.

Al Archer, e-mail, 14.05.2013 19:48

Great life with the Skywarrior. Watched the first Skywarrior at NAS Whidbey assigned to VAH-4 land, I believe it was early 1957. Watched the last Skywarrior to land at NAS Whidbey on April 29, 2011. We acquired #144825 from Raytheon in Van Nuys, CA to serve in a memorial site to honor the 263 lost crewmen, those who were fortunate to serve as crew members and the support staff who maintained the Skywarrior. One of the great things about the Skywarrior was that it gave many enlisted people the opportunity to fly. I was a flying plane captain on #138970 which crashed at NAS Whidbey on take-off on June 7, 1960, a year after I had left the Navy. Pilot and B/N were lost, 3rd and 4th crew members survived.

James T. Wilson, e-mail, 26.03.2013 16:06

I was in VAQ-33 Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron - The Firebirds from 1981 - 1983 in Key West Florida. I was a qualified PC on the A3/A4/A6's. I got to fly in the RA-3B and TA-3B. If I remember correctly on the ships they use to call her the "Whale" due to its size.

E.P. Sykes, e-mail, 15.02.2013 06:52

I flew in 135440 as the third crewman while in VAH1. My pilot was Richard Davis.I flew in her on Dec. 4,6,7,8 and 10. On JUNE 2nd flew in her twice did 14 fclp and on June15 did 6 cats and 5 traps along with 6 bolsters all on the Indepence shake down. These dates are according to my log book.

Rickey Mayfield, e-mail, 25.11.2012 21:27

I served in VAQ 208 from 71-74 with "Little Billy Chartrand' and many other fine sailors under Skipper's Tad Bingham and Jim Jefferson. What a fine aircraft. I started on the line then became P/C and ended up a qualed right seater. Wish I could do it again.

Bill Chartr;and, e-mail, 24.11.2012 22:07

Had a memorable experience while stationed at Nas Alameda 1970-1974 attached to VAQ 208 as aircrew.Went through a Hammer Head Stall in the A3, followed by a ATM failure. Climbed down the "hole" an did a reset. Cleaned my pants.

Robert H. Briggs, e-mail, 19.11.2012 21:35

I was assigned to the A3-Crew at Point Magu California Naval Missile Center (NAS) IN 1965 I worked my way into flight status and flew as 3rd seat crew member 1965-66. then I was transferred to NAS Whidbey Island Washington, State where my orders to Bombardier Navigator?(BN)School was cancelled due to needs of he Navy needing Aircraft Mechanics Hydraulics more than BNs. So off I went to flight controls and hydraulics schools and after that Hello Vietnam! Oh well at least I got back in one piece THANK GOD for that! So many others didn't make it back at all.

A.W.Pierce, e-mail, 21.08.2012 19:03

at one time I WAS THE only A3-A6 P/C on the whole west coast.I was assigned to VAH 123(to become VA 128) Flight line

Ed Blaker, e-mail, 16.08.2012 16:25

Looks like most of the comments were from the west coast. I was in VAH-9 stationed in Sanford FL from 1/57 - 8/60. They still had AJ's when I checked in. We recieved our first A3 around Jan, 57. It was so early it was delivered in Navy Blue, we had to change it to the new paint scheme of gray & white. We shook down the Sara (CVA-60) and I was on it for the NATO, 1st. & 2nd Med cruises. We also were on the Forrestal for several carrier quals and the Ranger for it's shakedown in Cuba. This was truly a fantastic airplane with the ability to do much more than it was designed to do. Our skipper, Com. Earl Yates would fly an A3D as if it were a fighter. On one of the Med cruises flying with the Brits he had the limies going nuts. Great pilot but nobody wanted to sit next to him. He went on to become an Admiral.
God Bless and goodluck to all of you "WHALERS"
...............Ed Blaker

Ralph Estes, e-mail, 14.06.2012 09:41


Nolan Watson, e-mail, 09.01.2012 06:57

I was a member of VP-29 which upon returning from deployment was became VAH-2. We took our first two A3D at North Island and returned to Whidbey Island where I left the Navy in June 1957. I was fortunate to make memorable flights in the A3D, ones I will always remember. "Punchy" Gamble was my Chief Mechanic on the P2Vs as well as the A3Ds.

Ed Sykes, e-mail, 29.11.2011 06:31

In 1958 and 59 I flew in the above plane Bu#135440 14 different times as third crewman while in Vah-1. I was suprised to see her since she crashed in June of 59. I was in her June 15th on the Indy. Just did 5 cats and 6 landings. I flew in her three different times on that day. Flew in her 14 different times.If I'm not mistacken LTJG Golden was the pilot when a cold cat got her. I flew with Golden the day before on Night quals.

Fred Freddy, e-mail, 17.09.2011 01:45

Qualified as A3D third crew in HATRON 123 and re-asigned to VAP 61 on Guam Unable to pass flight physical and spent 1966 through 1968 as ground crew mostly with with my friend San Migual in Olopo City In th PI Anybody know Big Jim Shaw. Shot down over Hipong Harbour and lived to tell about it. Gret bunch of guys on "Agony" Guam especily Moon Mullins The Navy in their Wwisdnm moved the P I det from Da Nang just in time for the Tet Offencive Pardon the spelling Parkonkisum Mayer PH1 Retired

Tim Dowdy, e-mail, 27.06.2011 07:02

I have an actual TA-3B/ A-3 Crewmember Seat if anyone is interested. Seat is in great shape, just dont have the need for it any longer. Would be nice in your collection. Thanks for your service gentlemen!

Melvin L "Reb" Mabry, e-mail, 25.06.2011 15:02

The A3 influenced me so much that I got qualified as a third crewman(bomidear\\navigator and flew over 700 hrs and I reenlisted in the navy and went on to make a career in aviation and retired a AFCM. Yes theA3 was the finest aircraft to fly as a crewman andI flew P-3's and C=130.

larry wiggin, e-mail, 12.04.2011 03:13

Iwas a weapons loading crewchief with happy heavy four (VAH-4)from 1961 to 1965. Deployed with det golf 2 times on the USS Oriskany CVA-34,once on the Bonnie Dick and I think that det was echo. VAH-4 flew the A3D-2 in those days and I was lucky enough get to ride the jump seat and the 3rd crewmens seat from time to time, what a blast.The VAH-4 pilots are a special breed in my book, having to land that beast on those 27c class small essex carriers, the best of the best, guys like Cmdr Don Houlk, Lt. Wheeler, Cmdr DK Forbes, Lcdr Backman,.Those where great days, lots of hard work, but lots of fun also. Hail to the fourrunners of VAH-4!!!!!!

Michael Fitzwater(Little Fitz), e-mail, 20.03.2011 19:31

Boot Camp San Diego Jan. 1957, transferred to NAS North Island with brother, Carl Fitzwater AM-3 (Big Fitz) March 1957, carrier quals on Bon Homme Richard, moved to Whidby Island with squadron then deployed USS Ticonderoga Far East Cruise, back to Whidbey then USS Bon Homme Richard Far East Cruise, transferred to VAH-123 for "SHORE DUTY"
for 1 1/2 years. Was plane captain in VAH-2 and VAH-123 flew 2nd seat in VAH-123 on Carrier Quals and flight training. Big "Fitz" mustered out in 1959 from VAH-2 and I was released in Dec 1961 from VAH-123 after 5 years in A3D's.
Made AMS-1 in VAH-123 but because of a glich in time as 2nd class was not advanced, or so they told me.
Great time in service!!!!!!!!!!!

George Maddox, e-mail, 09.03.2011 07:43

For Dan Siddens.I reported to VAH-2 Jan.of 57 at North Island moved to Whidbey,then flew to Cubi point on 1st
deployment waiting for Ticonderoga.From the carrier our A3D's flew the Taiwan Straits doing recon to see what chicoms were doing around Qemoey/Matsu Islands near Taiwan.
Our A3's being new,gave us fixers few problems and were an
easy fix when necessary.
When I was transferred in fall of 61 to AT instructor duty
I had gone from ATAN to AT1(P2)- A3D Gunner/navigator.Have too many storys to relate including loss of all hydraulic
fluid which required air blowdown of flaps/landing gear.CDR
Barron calmy handled it by calling me when he wanted each.
On touchdown after stopping safely I climbed down with the gear pins,installed them and we taxied to the hanger ramp like nothing had happened.I loved the A3D and Whidbey.
A note for M.J.Luszik :I have old home movies of our JATO
takeoffs at Whidbey.Have converted to DVD.Your bottle numbers are off a little.But you are very right about it being a kick in the butt.All 3 of our demo A3Ds jumped off the runway!I was G/N crew#1 piloted by CDR Barron, B/N Farrar.

WALTER EWANUS, e-mail, 04.03.2011 02:10

NRA-3B- Called "Westinghouse-256" from Friendship should also be recalled. This is the one pictured in JANES. It was our test bed for about 20 years.
Walt- "W" engineer= retired.

Rex Swindle, e-mail, 02.03.2011 20:28

Was ADJ, VAH-2, Whibey Isle.WA. 63-66, and VaQ 130 ( DET-2) Alameda, 70-73 Retired 1975 !

LCDR Bruce Edney USNR- Ret., e-mail, 26.02.2011 09:36

In early 1956 Heavy Attack Squadron VAH-2 was formed at NAS North Island, San Diego. As a brand new jet pilot I was selected to participate in the Fleet Introduction Program for the A3D-1 at Pax River Maryland, along with crews from VAH-1 on the east coast. We were in training there in Feb. and March of 1956. I was a Bombardier/Navigator and flew with our C.O. CDR. Art Irish. All of us newly trained jet aviators were designated B/N's but we were not happy with this role as we wanted to fly the aircraft, but we had no controls in our seat position. We did later get TV-2s and F3ds to able us to get flight time, which was good! By early 1957 we started to prepare for carrier deployment. This required the plane commanders to complete carrier landing qualifications. All the plane commanders were former P2V pilots with no prior jet experience. I was the B/N with our operations officer CDR Tom Bolton. To deploy with the squadron I needed to extend my service as I was near completion of my service obligation. I really wanted to fly single piloted jets so I requested a transfer to a fighter squadron, but this was not approved. Since I was not going to deploy with the squadron I decided to leave active service and return to my engineering occupation. With this decision I left my B/N assignment and was replaced. I became a staff instrument flight instructor until my release from active duty in July of 1957.
The squadron was ready for carrier quals in the spring of 1957. CDR. Tom Bolton who I was originally was selected to fly with, was slated to be the first in our squadron to make the first arrested landing off San Diego. He with my replacement made several touch and go landings and set up for his first arrested landing. He made his approach, but got low and slow, and was unable to add enough power to avoid hitting the stern of the ship. The aircraft broke in half and the plane and crew were lost over the side. No recovery was possible. This, to my knowledge, was probably, sadly, the first aircraft and crew loss for the A3D. This was obviously a huge setback for the squadron and families of the lost crew.

Jim Woolley, e-mail, 25.01.2011 00:26

I was stationed at NPTR El Centro from 1971 to 1975 as a Navy Test Parachutist and made five parachute jumps out of the A-3 at 30,000 Ft. 250 knots. Down the slide. What a rush.

John Dudek, e-mail, 15.01.2011 17:54

First flew in A3a's as an enlisted in flight instructor in Weapons Attack division in HATUPAC at Whidbey Is .Most of the student B/N's were junior LTJG's naval aviators assigned to fly as Bombardier/ Navigators. Most didn't like the assignment because there were no controls in the second seat therefore no stick time.. Also flew in the TA3B when they first became available. Transfered to VAP-61 on Guam and flew as Photo/nav crewman. Transfered back to VAH-123 at Whidbey and flew as instructor in Crewman/ Navigator school. Transferred back to VAP-61 on Guam for anotheer three years and flew as third crewman. Have 2460 logged hours in the airplane as well as 211 catand traps. Flew in dets aboard 11 different carriers, Bonny Dick, Tico, Oriskany, Forrestal, Ranger, Independence, the Connie, Intrepid Enterprise, Saratoga. all most any ship that showed up on Yankee Station. Flew many combat missions and was awarded ten Air Medals and a DFC. There will never be another aircraft like the good old Whale. I loved the bird and was proud to serve with so many great people. Officers treated enlisted crewman with respect Spent a total of six years on Guam and ten years total associated with the greatest aircraft the navy ever bought. Have flown in the A3A, A3B, TA3b, RA3B and KA3B.

Michael J. Luszik Jr., e-mail, 06.01.2011 19:01

I was in VAH-2 from 05-57 to 09-60. It was a wonderful experience for young man of 18 yrs. In my last 2 yrs. I was a plane capt, who was assigned a plane to take care of and service. We also got to fly as part of our job. What a great exciting time that was. I got to experience five take-offs and landings from the carriers we were on. Also I had the thrill of a 12
Jato bottle take-off with Lt. Commander Henderson. Last but not least, on a flight back from Spokane, Ltjg Everet landed long in a rain storm, and overran the runway by about 500ft. Blew the main tires sheared the nose wheel back into the underbelly. I was in the 4th seat, which was a rigged jump seat attached to rear cockpit wall. It didn't take four guys long to exit the plane thru the top hatch and jump to the ground and run like you know what.
We had so many nice people in our Squadron. It was hard to get out.
Thanks for the great times,Vah-2
Michael J. Luszik jr

Michael J. Luszik Jr., e-mail, 06.01.2011 18:57

I was in VAH-2 from 05-57 to 09-60. It was a wonderful experience for young man of 18 yrs. In my last 2 yrs. I was a plane capt, who was assigned a plane to take care of and service. We also got to fly as part of our job. What a great exciting time that was. I got to experience five take-offs and landings from the carriers we were on. Also I had the thrill of a 12
Jato bottle take-off with Lt. Commander Henderson. Last but not least, on a flight back from Spokane, Ltjg Everet landed long in a rain storm, and overran the runway by about 500ft. Blew the main tires sheared the nose wheel back into the underbelly. I was in the 4th seat, which was a rigged jump seat attached to rear cockpit wall. It didn't take four guys long to exit the plane thru the top hatch and jump to the ground and run like you know what.
We had so many nice people in our Squadron. It was hard to get out.
Thanks for the great times,Vah-2
Michael J. Luszik jr

Darwin "Hap" Litzell, e-mail, 05.01.2011 02:23

Was attached to VAH2 in 1959 - 1961. Although I was in the personnel office, my brother, Dave "tweets" litzell was a plane captain on the A3D. He came to Whidbey from North Island in 1958 (I think) He made a cruise on the Bonnie Dick and I made a cruise with heavy two on the Coral Sea (60-61) I remember standing hangar watch at Whidbey in the middle of the night. I was in total awe of those birds sitting in the hanger just itching for a take-off. It was a real honor to have served with the crew that manned those planes. CDR Porter, our CO who was killed in a crash near Spokane, Wa. was one of the best I ever served with, as was CDR Wm. Barron, Ltjg Whitehead, Ltjg Herring to name a few.

Pat Bailey, LT, USNR (Ret)., e-mail, 06.12.2010 01:45

I'm another Leapfrogger. Was RM3 in early 1964 on Kitty Hawk. Flew as 4th crewman with VAH-13. Had another 3rd class in the program as well. We'd alternate between being in the air and keeping the radio log back on the ship. Morse Code still rules!

Chris Thompson, e-mail, 27.11.2010 05:34

To all who have responded on this web page about this aircraft. I deployed in 1986 on the Enterprise. VQ-1 was flying th A-3 Whale. How cool was that? So much history, and one hell of a platform for frontline testing of avionics. Kudos to all of us from the past, for if it were not for us, there would be no now. ****NOTE****Virtual Aircraft Museum! Please screen out those idiots such as; ralph,alhaji,larry,mary,daniel,cadilac loan lenders. They are just a bunch of pricks looking to steal our money. Please do us this one damn favor. Chris

Ron Collins AQB2, e-mail, 15.11.2010 03:09

Whidbey Island,VAH-4 Det.Echo,1961-63, Two cruises aboard the Bonnie Dick,(CVA-31). 61 cruise, 4 Birds, all 138 series with G/N seat and Tail Guns. 62 Cruise with 142 series with the Duck Butt. Got to ride along as Maintenance to check the Loft Module during Sandblowers in Oregon. Was in the 4th seat in 62 when the LCDR pilot managed to wipe out the Mirror and a couple of feet of the port wing tip. Half a roll of 200 MPH tape and i was "volunturd" to fly 2nd seat when we flew it to Atsugi for repair. Got out in Feb 62. Cdr Cates was OIC.

Howard Nickerson, e-mail, 25.10.2010 01:05

Although a Naval Aviator, I flew in the A3 as a Bombarder/Navigator with VAH-2 and VAH-4, Det Charlie on the Hancock with Ed Grady as my pilot in 1959-60. Went back to VAH-123 and checked out as plane Commander. Met my squadron VAH-8 at sea on the Midway and finished my 2nd cruise with them in 1962 when I was released to inactive duty. In 1971, I joined as a Reservist VAQ-208 in Alameda where I retired from the Reserves in 1977. I had over 100 traps on the Midway with the Whale. What a workhorse!

Lee Fant RMCS, e-mail, 18.10.2010 20:14

Flew with VAH-11 det 8 aboard the Indy in 1964 establishing Operation Leapfrog... most unforgettable time of my navy career and life...

James Pennock ,LT USNR, e-mail, 13.10.2010 21:48

Flew as an Electronic Warfare Officer in VQ-1 from March 1966-May 1969 flew in both the EA3B and EC121 (approximately 1000 hours in each aircraft). Many near misses but the excellent pilots and wonderful aircraft always pulled us through. Would like to "Salute" Captain Don East (1st entry) this is truly a great leader--we went through Pre-Flight and several other schools together. Don was one of the most inspiring officers I have had the pleasure to serve with. "GO NAVY!!)

Capt. Don C. East USN (Ret.), e-mail, 19.09.2010 19:42

Flew in both the EC-121M and the EA-3B as Electronic Warfare Evaluator in VQ-2 1967-70. Flew both land based and carrier missions in the EA-3B. Flew off carriers such as the Kennedy, Forrestal, Independence, and Roosevelt. Went back to VQ-2 as X.O. and C.O. 1981-83 and again flew Electronic Warfare Evaluator missions in the EA-3B as well as the EP-3E. Flew EA-3B missions off the Nimitz, Forestal, and other carriers during this tour. Some of my most memorable EA-3B pilots were Glen Hatch, Stu Corey, Lou Hettinger, Ted Daum, Terry Hanson, Walt Gromada, Charles Gore, Al Gallotta and the legendary Jack Taylor. The old bird was getting old during my latter tour and it required lots of mainteance hours to keep the old lady in the air.

Dan Siddens, e-mail, 10.09.2010 15:41

Stationed at NAS Whidbey,64 thru 66, and still remember those early morning sounds of A-3's being ready for flight. Strange that hardly any comments here from NAS Whidbey Whale drivers/fixers

Joseph Prusacik, e-mail, 28.07.2010 21:46

I was a 2nd mech p/c in VAH-11 ..made a med cruise on the FDR CVA-42 1960. GOT my 1st cat shot and flt...fell in love with the Skywarrior..what a air craft just beautiful..went on to VAH-3 and really got to fly as p/c and 3rd crew.Ended up with over 2,000 hours flew every chance I got and flew on my own time ..Retired as a chief AWC..flew many a/c and models S2,s all models..P-3,s up to charlies.. none compared to the 1st thrill of a Skywarrior...hands down..Would do it again if I had the chance ..

Larry Grahams, e-mail, 15.07.2010 16:13

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A.W.Pierce, e-mail, 09.07.2010 21:53

I flew in the A bird,B bird,T bird,K bird even got one cat shot in the P bird(Adm. Z'S VIP bird)

Jeff Jones, e-mail, 08.07.2010 02:04

Was plane/cap in VAH-11 Det8 in Sanford,Fla. Loved the A3 Aircraft. Flew with LT/Commander Klien off the Forrestal & Independence.

Robert H. Briggs, e-mail, 01.06.2010 00:40

31May,2010 1756 Was assigned to A3-Crew (Weapons Test & Evaluation Unit) at the Naval Missile Center Point Mugu California, 1965 1967. Severed with AMS1 Wade,AMH1 Stout, and Mike Cariseah,AMS E3-Striker from New Jersey and several others, as Aircrew I flew with Pilots LtCDR(Animal)Best, Test Pilot,(CDR(Pinky Nord)I spent a lot of weekends in Texas) and last but not least, Airforce Exchange Pilot Lt. Ayers, who like flying down in the Grand Canyon with a cockpit full of smoke & really enjoys flying with the top hatch open to clear out the smoke! He was a very good pilot and fun loving crazy guy,although I must admit I had to scrub some stains outta my skives more than once.AMS2 Briggs, We flew several Weapons Test & Evaluations in Areas like China Lake and White Sands and several other locations not known by the Crew. Best Duty Station I've ever had.

Lupe Medrano, e-mail, 27.05.2010 03:47

My dad's name is Richard Vasquez he was on the 4- sforrestal in 1965-1969 CVA42 abd CVA59 he was also on the Roosevelt .If you served with my dad please send me an e-mail thank you .

Tom Maxwell, e-mail, 29.03.2010 17:06

A truly great Navy aircraft. Flew the Whale for two years in Heavy Four Det. Golf in 66-67 in the Gulf and then all over Europe with VQ-2 in 67-69 doing a two month tour at Danang.

The A/C was a pleasure to fly and as bloged above the J-57s were a blessing. Had a little over 100 landings on the Oriskany (27C) and it did get a little tight at night bring her aboard with, if you were lucky three passes of fuel remaining.

If you are fond of this historic A/C you can join the
A3 Skywarrior Association by going to their web page ( You can also support the bring of an A3 to Whidbey by going to the A3 for Whidbey web page, which is linked on the A3 association page.

Nick Alvaro AMS3, e-mail, 22.03.2010 00:43

I was a plane captain with VAH-9 on the Sara in 62 &63 Med crusies--The A3D was a sweet bird, I miss hearing the roar of those J57 engines

Earl B. "Red" Wynn, e-mail, 20.03.2010 11:10

Flew the "whale" from 1961-1980 off and on as regular Navy and Naval Reserve pilot. Never had a moment's concern about those wonderful J-57 engines which made not having ejection seats more palatable. The EKA3B's were the heaviest I flew (aboard 27 Charlie carrier" Bonnie Dick" in 68 during VN. The 147 series CLE(cambered leading edge) model was an excellent operational a/c but for cross country flying, the TA3B was unbeatable.

Art Irish, e-mail, 12.03.2010 00:40

My father, CDR Art Irish, was the first CO of VAH-2, transitioning from VP-29 (P2Vs) to the A3D. When I looked at the drawing above the specifications it rang a bell and I looked at the large scale model of the A3D that had been presented to my Dad by his Chiefs (I think) and it has the same tail number as the drawing. The model has a green lightning bolt on the tail and the "Flying Hippo" patch used by the squadron at the time. I recall visiting my Dad at NAS North Island one summer and crawling all around that particular aircraft, under the stern eye of one of those Chiefs. Memories...

pat minahan, e-mail, 07.03.2010 01:15

plane captain vap-62 1965-1969 was a great time!!!!!!

Mike Starke, e-mail, 13.02.2010 05:53

I was just going through my late father's papers this evening and found a flight manual for the A3D 2 T and decided to look up the aircraft on the Web. All the posts here from those who served as pilots and crew members on the Skywarrior have been very interesting.

My dad worked at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California and must have aquired the manual there.

John (Ed) Edwards YN3, e-mail, 05.02.2010 18:23

Was in Heavy 9 Hoot Owls at Sanford, Fl and aboard the Sara from 59 thru 61, bummed several rides with LT Tracy, LT Cooke, Dave Roach (3/C) and was thrilled at take-off, scared to hell at landing. Witnessed one of our whales go into barricade and stop 14 ft from going over -- it was at night and pouring down rain, LCDR John Ralston was the pilot, and Paradis was 3/c, forget who the B/N was. What a thrill for a pilot wannabe. Best time I had in my 15 years in the Navy... Love the Navy!!! GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY....HAHA

Ted Cunningham CDR. ret, e-mail, 01.02.2010 22:05

On 7 July 1961, 50 miles SW on Naha AFB, Philiphines, we had a dual engine failure at 5000'. Tried two relights, no luck. Told the crew to standby to bail out. I pulled D-handle and ended up with the d-handle and about 2' of cable. Told the crew to bail out out the upper ditching hatch. A great crew, we all got out, slid dowm the top, through the tail, and clear.. No injuries and I got out at 1100'. We were back flying in 72 hours.. A3D-2 138924...

Darrell Troutman, Capt USN(RET, e-mail, 01.02.2010 21:54

I have over 1000 hours in the EA-3B (A3D-2Q)with VQ-1 from 1960-63. Flew it all over the United States and the Pacific and Far East. Fellow pilots included Stan Eldredge, Charlie Chute, Gerry Hesse, Bill Mayo, and Ashley Hodges. Thanks to Stan, I think that I was the most junior officer ever designated aircraft commander. Beautiful aircraft in flight and great performance. It would have been a much safer aircraft with ejection seats. I'm living proof that you really needed the drag chute and hytrol breaking system on anything less than an 8000 foot runway, especially a wet one.

Ben Austro, AMS3, e-mail, 01.02.2010 09:14

I was plane captain of 142246 with VAH-8 during '59-'60 Far East Deployment on USS Midway, CVA-41. I also had the good fortune to make 6 cat shots and landings as fourth crewman, WOW! (And they rave about rollercoasters)

Al Murray AFCM Retired, e-mail, 16.01.2010 04:51

Started my 28 year Navy career with VQ 2 in Rota, Spain. Time frame 1965- 1967. Worked my way up from mees cook to EA 3B Plane Captain. Flew with great pilots such as Cdr Ed Laney,Bob Arn, Daum,Ad Burkett Jack Taylorand Lcdr Lilliboe. ^41 hours in 19 months and 58 missions over N Vietnam. Then with VAQ 33 as FRAMP instructor, 1978-1981. Love the Whale.

Guinn Clark, e-mail, 06.01.2010 19:16

It's hard to match the trill of cats & traps in an EKA-3D on a 27C class carrier.

Chris Overton, e-mail, 05.01.2010 05:27

Photo/Nav VAP-61 Guam '68 to '70. Jumped out of 144826 over Laos in Aug '69 with CDR Jim Berry, an E3 maintenance tech and our CAI camera tech rep. All safe and sound in the end. Flew carto flight lines to one-half degree with Ray Thompson over Thailand. Beautiful and forgiving aircraft. Transitioned to the workhorse of VN A-6s but have the fondest memories of the RA-3B and flying photo recon out of Da Nang and carto throughout the South Pacific, Asia and Australia.

Larry Wiggin AO2(AC), e-mail, 05.01.2010 04:55

Served with VAH-4 as a Nuclear Weapons Loading Crew Chief 1960-1964. Heavy four pilots were the best as they had to land that beast on the 27C class carriers (small Attack carriers). Uss Oriskany, Hancock, Bonnie Dick,Ticonderoga, that was a tough job in heavy seas and during night ops. Got to ride the jump seat some, what a blast !!!!!!

Frank Fink Jr. AE2, e-mail, 02.01.2010 23:20

1957 Med Cruise VAH 1, 1957 N. Atlantic VAH 1. on USS Forrestal out of Jax Fl. Got to fly as 4th crew a few times. That was something in "57". Still proud to have been U.S. Navy. God Bless America.

Jim English, e-mail, 09.11.2009 20:48

VAH 11 Det 8 - "eightballers" best time in my life. Lost my flight jacket w/patch. Anyone know where I can find one for VAH 11 Det * ???

J.L. Fant, e-mail, 06.10.2009 21:21

I was an RM2 and August to November 1964 flew with VAH-11 Det 8 off USS Independence in North Atlantic and Med developing Leapfrog comms. Was time of my life thanks to PO2 Richard Marklin (3/C), Lt. Field (B/N) and Lt. D.E. Nichols (pilot)

Kip Wylie, e-mail, 27.09.2009 19:03

Silver, I was probably one of the jumpers you dumped out over El Centro (1969). As I recall you were "supposed" to stay under speed for my exit... and you jacked it up a bit. WOW, going out of that "whale" in free fall you get to know what a blown leaf feels like in a category 5 hurricane.

RON JORDAN, e-mail, 03.09.2009 06:30

I was an A3 Plane Captain for just over a year and one cruise on the "Bonnie Dick" 1964. Spent most of the cruise in the PI. Nothing I did before and nothing I have done since was as exciting as catshots and traps in the A3. Been many times I wish I had stayed in the NAVY. I am a Tailhook member. VAH4

A.W.Pierce, e-mail, 28.07.2009 23:43

I was in VAH 10 And was plane captain on A/C 204 (138944)on board USS Constellation CVA 64 in 1964 when we got orders to welcome the PT Boats into the war.The very A3D now sets on the USS Lexington at Corpus Christi Texas as museum display.

Ken Fox ADJ2 (AC), e-mail, 28.07.2009 22:36

Served in VAH-5 out of Sanford, FL and abord USS Forrestal, then in VAH-11 during the transition to vigilante's 1961-64, went to "B" school the back to VAP-62, 1964-66. Then to shore duty at NAS China Lake,CA, assigned to flight line and flight crew on the only A3, which crashed on March 15,1967 Great aircraft !!!

Ralph Whistler, e-mail, 25.05.2009 06:27

Our Mugu A3D disappeared on fligt from NMTC in 1959 and was never found to my knowledge. Anyone know what happened to the plane and 3 flyers?

leo rudnicki, e-mail, 26.04.2009 15:02

Missing from this fine site is the littlest A-plane, the Skooter, the A-4(D) Skyhawk. I saw one at the side of the road in Texas, on a stick. Beneath it, in it's shadow, was a thousand sparrows, not one outside the shadow. Little birds worshipping the big God Skyhawk, very Twilight Zone.

jim velde, e-mail, 22.04.2009 00:42

scrolled right by the B-66 entry

i'm an idiot

jim velde, e-mail, 22.04.2009 00:31

us air force flew it as the B-66 and RB66 i believe

jim velde, e-mail, 22.04.2009 00:30

us air force flew it as the B-66 and RB66 i believe

Dan Smith AMS3, e-mail, 30.10.2008 04:41

VAP-62 1964-66. Great plane. I was low power turn qualified on the A3D, what power! I still have my VAP 62 name tag

Charles Lindberg. Capt. USN, R, e-mail, 14.10.2008 02:48

First flew the A3D at Patuxent River in 1955 and have since flown almost 2000 hrs in this beautiful bird, including development of loft tactics in VX-5, Director of training in the A3D RAG Squadron, and CO VAH-2. Loved every minute of it.

Charles Lindberg. Capt. USN, R, e-mail, 14.10.2008 02:46

First flew the A3D at Patuxent River in 1955 and have since flown almost 2000 hrs in this beautiful bird, including development of loft tactics in VX-5, Director of training in the A3D RAG Squadron, and CO VAH-2. Loved every minute of it.

Silver, e-mail, 14.07.2008 10:12

Got to fly this plane in El Centro and had my last Navy hop in the Whale. Enjoyed it's power and range. We were able to use it for many parachute tests while sharing it with the Cat and Arressing people on the East Coast. Had many a hook-up getting fuel from the A3 used as tankers and electronic jamming on our missions off the Hancock in VN. Many F8 pilots enjoyed the extra fuel we got from the A3 over the A4 tankes. Great seeing the A3 come aboard a 27 Charlie, especially at night. The F8 was tough enough, but not that large. It was a mini Tin Cloud for us.

Loved flying this plane especially at El Centro and not on the ship.

I was a Crusader driver most of my career.

Need one of you Whale drivers to comment on the fleet flying of a single pilot aircraft that was one of our most valuable planes on the ship. Never thought I'd have so much to say about the A3. It was a great plane.

Dan Eidson, AQ 2, e-mail, 02.05.2008 17:51

Served with VAP 62 at NAS Jacksonville, FL from 1967 to 1969, then with VAQ 33 in Norfolk, GA from 1969 to 1970. The "Whale" still has first place in my heart among the planes. Vappers, email me.

Joe Champagne, e-mail, 05.04.2008 04:03

I was a plane captain in VAH-5 in 1960-61 on the USS Forrestal and had the privilege of flying as 4th crew several times on this aircraft. What a thrill!

Ron Sebosky ATN2, e-mail, 22.05.2007 04:04

VAP-62 Nas Jax 1964-1966.
The best years of my life.

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