Recap and photos of
the 2015 A-3 reunion

It has been brought to our attention and we would like to extend our condolences to
the families and inform fellow shipmates of the following...
Thank you Wanda for your donation to the A-3 Skywarrior Association
in memory of your husband, Steve Hunker.

click on image to see the link.
The A-3 Association is seeking more information about the incident.
We do not have a record of this crash and are unable to find any record of it.
If you know any details, the BuNo, the squadron, etc. please contact us immediately.
The decendents of LCDR Robert Ramey are seeking more information.

Born January 29, 1931. Died on Thursday, December 8, 2016. US Navy Captain Ret. An avid boater and faithful servant of the United Methodist Church. He is survived by his wife, Mary G. Eckart; son David; daughters Lynda and Carol; and four beloved grandchildren. Family will be receiving friends from 10 to 10:30 a.m., on Thursday, December 22, 2016 at Lakeside United Methodist Church, Henrico, VA. Memorial Service following, 11 a.m. James will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Lakeside UMC or Friends of Barnabas Foundation.

Captain James “PacMan” Vambell passed away around midnight 31January 2017, at Kings Grant House Hospice, Virginia Beach, VA.  He earned the name PacMan for the way he gobbled up junior officers in the Ready Room. He was preceded in death a few days earlier by the death of Masaya Nakamura, the founder of the all time #1 PacMan Video Arcade game. Jim absolutely lived and breathed Navy life. He first enlisted as 17-year seaman in 1950 during the Korean War. He was in, or had a part, in almost every conflict from the Korean War to Desert Storm.  He rose from the enlisted ranks to commissioning and flight school as an A-3 BN, and continued up the ranks to Captain USN. He retired in 1991 as CINCLANTFLT N6E.  Every morning with Capt. Vambell in the ready room was an adventure. He was old school Navy, and you never knew what was coming from his mouth. He would announce “It’s a great Navy day…3 square meals a day, and a bunk to sleep in, what more could you ask for?  Now get your ass to work, and if I tell you to haul ass you’d better make two trips.” Captain Vambell was the high-time A-3 navigator with 6600+ hours in all versions of Whales.  He was an A-3 BN in VQ-2, and on one VQ-1 deployed detachment; maintenance officer of VAQ-33, NAS Norfolk and Pacific Missile Test Center (PMTC), Point Mugu; Commanding Officer of VAQ-33, NAS Key West; and Commander Fleet Electronic Warfare Group (COMFEWSG), NAS Norfolk. With Captain Rich Affeld they merged FEWSG with the Fleet Deception Group and other JCS J6 functions to standup the Fleet Information Warfare Center (FIWC), Little Creek Amphib Base, Norfolk-Virginia.  That command evolved over the years into the 3-star U.S. Fleet Cyber Command. Jim is survived by his wife of 62-years, Saint Helen of Key West, his daughter Liz, and 3 grandchildren from his decease, beloved son, Tommy (Brett, Gregory, and Erica), two great-grandchildren, and a myriad of many shipmates and friends.  He was a pillar in the A-3 community for 30 years. A devoted New York Yankees, heaven help you if you were a Red Sox or Orioles fan. His loss will be sorely felt throughout the Navy community, and by those friends and acquaintances who loved him. Funeral Services will commence with visitation at 11:00 AM, Sat. Feb. 11 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Virginia Beach, followed by Military Honors Funeral Services at 12:00 PM (high noon) and burial at sea to follow at a later date. May "Mon Skipper" forever Rest in God’s Peace and Grace. We will miss you!

Captain David E. Dearolph, USN (Ret).  He passed on July 2, 2015, just two days shy of his 89th birthday.  Dad flew the A-3 earlier in his career and later commanded VAH-5, which I knew them to be the “Savage Sons”.  Dad thoroughly enjoyed your organization and was, in general, a great Naval officer and supporter of the Naval service, the military, our great nation.

Doug Dearolph (son)
New Book

Available for immediate purchase is the book titled “Rota Naval Station 60th Anniversary halfway between anecdote and history” with new information in the form of a section titled "A personal view of Rota and Andalucia" as Captain Don C. East,USN Ret.; a former Commanding Officer of the acclaimed reconnaissance squadron VQ-2, highlights his times at the U.S. Naval Station  Rota, Spain and surrounding area.
The first run was authored by Agustin de la Poza, a resident of Rota, Spain, whose father was part of the Engineering crew involved in the construction of the base. While the latest run includes editorial revisions by Ed Smith who also served in VQ-2 in the 1960's.
The book contains 264 pages loaded with personal accounts and over 200 pictures; and is bilingual, written in English and Spanish.  It also talks about the cultural changes that transpired as a result of the opening of the base and the effect that the presence of the American military had on the town and people over the past 60 years. It is a must have for anyone that was stationed at the Rota base or who may have spent some time in Rota, Spain.  Order your copy now!
Available in print: $29.95 single copy  (price plus S&H)
$26.95 (Special–if purchased on-site at the reunion)
For discount pricing when ordering quantities of three (3) or more contact Ed Smith by email at or call 702-672-7819

by Osprey Books

The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior, though something of a cult favourite, remains a largely unremarked classic of Naval Aviation. Built for nuclear weapon delivery, the A-3 made its name in Vietnam as a conventional bomber, tanker and Electronic Warfare platform. It was the largest aircraft ever regularly operated from the decks of aircraft carriers, earning it the fleet-wide nickname ‘Whale'. It excelled in every mission area assigned to it and operated in the US Navy for more than four decades, from 1956 through to 1991. Fully illustrated to depict the incredible array of paint schemes and its awesome size, this volume focuses on the type's Vietnam service, which saw the aircraft briefly used as a bomber over both North and South Vietnam from March 1965, before the Skywarrior proved far more valuable as a multi-role tanker (KA-3B) and tanker/tactical jammer (EKA-3B). The title includes details on all of these operations as well as more clandestine reconnaissance missions, and provides information about the men that flew them.
Rick Morgan is the author of two previous books on Naval Aviation history (including Intruder: The Operational History of Grumman’s A-6 for Schiffer in 2005) and more than 20 historical articles on the subject of Naval Aviation. Twice named ‘Contributor of the Year’ by the editorial staff of The Hook - The Journal of Carrier Aviation, Rick is a retired US Navy lieutenant commander with more than 2300 hours of flight time to his name, principally in EA-6B, A-4 and A-3 type aircraft. He also has more than 450 carrier-arrested landings to his name, and flew 41 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He currently works in the aviation industry.

New memoir captures grandfather’s legacy for future generations
‘Grandfather’s Journal’ opens author’s heart, mind for readers

Web site:
BOONVILLE, Mo. – Author Tom Maxwell takes readers back through time as he regales them with the most touching events of his life in his new book, “Grandfather’s Journal: A Grandson’s Journey into His Grandfather’s Life” (published by WestBow Press).
Written as a journal for Maxwell’s grandson, “Grandfather’s Journal” captures Maxwell’s most poignant memories, the ones that profoundly affected his character. As a child growing up in the Philippines Islands just after World War II, Maxwell offers readers a rare glimpse at life in an area so heavily affected by the war.
“Grandfather’s Journal” follows Maxwell through his27-year career as a naval aviator and his 30-year career in business. His most life-changing moment, he says, did not come until June 9, 1997, when he accepted Jesus Christ into his heart. His writings showcase the healing powers of faith and its effect on a broken family.
Heartfelt and honest, “Grandfather’s Journal” collects the wisdom and knowledge Maxwell discovered throughout his life. He hopes his book will serve as a legacy to future generations and encourage all readers to seek Jesus.
“Grandfather’s Journal”
By Tom Maxwell

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 140 pages | ISBN 9781490850863
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 140 pages | ISBN 9781490850856
E-Book | 140 pages | ISBN 9781490850849
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

For a signed discounted copy contact Tom Maxwell

Whidbey Fly-In
144825 Arrives at NAS Whidbey Island, April 29, 2011.

Flight to Whidbey


New A-3 videos
A video of the restoration of RA-3B 144843
A video of the dedication of RA-3B 144843

Item of interest

from June 25 'Stars and Stripes' and 'San Francisco Chronicle'.
The (former) Alameda Naval Air Station (where you were assigned) has been - formally - turned over by the Navy to the city of Alameda. Which plans to develop the 1300 acre NAS to 2,700 homes, offices, shops, restaurants (expected to bring in 6,000 new jobs) - and - 700 acres of parks and open land.
Alameda NAS closed down April 25, 1997, with the loss of 14,000 jobs, and the Navy has been in negotiations with Alameda ever since. The Navy originally wanted to sell the NAS property for $1.8M, but in 2011, agreed to give it to Alameda - FREE.
Alameda NAS is one of the Superfund sites, and the Navy is expected to continue ongoing 'cleanup' for years to come.
The famed USS Hornet WWII aircraft carrier (which I've been on) is now a museum ship (for now). Rumors are the Hornet could either stay in Alameda or possibly move to San Francisco. Or possibly join the USS Iowa in the Port of LA. The Iowa was recently 'un-mothballed' (part of the shrinking 'mothball fleet' here in the Bay Area) and relocated to the Port of LA as a museum ship.
Another 'hidden' factoid is Alameda NAS (one of the runways) is frequently used as a site for the cable TV show "Mythbusters" (which is also based here in the SF Bay Area



If you haven't see the fall 2012 issue of Tailhook magazine, you need to see this article. It was written and compiled by our own Gary Meyers, the A-3 Assoc. museum officer. It is a great article!

click to read
A-3 Skywarrior: From The First Flight To The Last 

Attention Whalers

Well, you missed it. Last night, Sept. 29, 2011 the A-3 Skywarrior Assn. was on the radio. But we have a copy. See below and click on the play button to listen to the complete hour long show and hear interviews from Mark, Gary, and Mike. Several of our members even called in too. Enjoy.

Permission granted by Warbird Radio 



A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial

click here or on the picture

The below links are to the Whidbey Crosswind and the Whidbey News-Times

Click here for a story about one of the volunteers, Jeff Hansen.

Click here for a story about the move to Langley Blvd.




Sharlyn Marsh, the daughter of R.G. Smith, has graciously made arrangements for us to offer for sale the works of R.G. Smith depicting the A-3 Skywarrior. 25% of the sales will be donated to the A-3 Skywarrior Assn.

These are very high quality Giclee reproductions of Mr. Smith's legendary aviation art. They will make a great addition to your home. The funds raised from this project will supplement the A-3 Skywarrior Association's efforts to maintain the A-3 exhibits in the aviation museums around the country. 

Click on the links in the menu or click HERE to see more.
Click on the below images to read the article.
Used with permission from Warbirds International.
Published, March, 2016



Dateline 7 February, 2012

TA-3B, 144867, began an historic journey today. As pictured, it was transferred to a crane barge from a pier at Naval Air Station North Island, CA. Due to high winds, loading aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) was postponed till the 8th. It is then scheduled for departure to Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, HI. on monday the 13th where is will be restored and put on display at the Pacific Aviation Museum. Our own plane captain, AFCM, Ret, Mike Glenn will be accompanying her to insure a safe arrival.

Stay tuned for updates

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 8, 2012) A barge crane lifts a Navy A3 to the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at Naval Base San Diego.  The aircraft will be transported to the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane/Released)

Dateline Feb. 23, 2012

As the crew man the rails while the Bonnie Dick (LHD 6) passes by the USS Arizona Memorial, 144867 arrives at Pearl Harbor on Tues. Feb. 21, 2012. It was off loaded the following day. Mike Glenn and company will begin some preliminary restoration work while they are there to help some of the Pacific Aviation Museum crews get up to speed.


Edwards Project




Linked below are some first person comments by an early Douglas employee and his experiences with the first A3-D Skywarriors. Thank you Phillip Purpura.





From Eyesore to Airport Pride
by AOC Delbert Mitchel, USN (Ret.)


For dedication photos