VAH-1 thru VAH-6

resource type: info    
 
HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON ONE

VAH-1 "SMOKIN' TIGERS"

Commissioned at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, on November 1,1955, as the heir of Patrol Squadron Three (VP-3), VAH-1 gained the distinction of being the first operational unit to receive Skywarriors when five A3D-1s were ferried from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, five months later. After initial training at its home base, VAH-1 completed carrier qualifications aboard the USS Forrestal (CVA-59) in October, 1956, and was thus ready to bolster the Sixth Fleet during the Suez Crisis in November. This first cruise, which lasted only one month, was followed by two full-length cruises aboard CVA-59 in 1957-58, one in the Mediterranean and one in the North Atlantic.

Moving to NAS Sanford, Florida, in January, 1959, HATRON One recorded the first operational launch and arrested landing aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62) in May of that year. Two Mediterranean cruises were made aboard this carrier in 1959-60 and in 1961. Between these two cruises, VAH-1 also provided inflight refueling for Project LANA, the Bendix Trophy transcontinental speed record set by McDonnell F4H-1 s to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of U.S. Naval Aviation.

 

 
HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON TWO

VAH-2 "ROYAL RAMPANTS"

This HATRON was formed from VP-29 to become PacFlt's first heavy jet attack squadron. Commissioned at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, on November 1, 1955, VAH-2 was initially equipped with Lockheed TV-2 jet trainers and with Lockheed P2V-5Fs and P2V-3Bs fitted with radar and navigation/bombing systems similar to those of their forthcoming Skywarriors. During 1956, a few Douglas F3D-2Ts were added. As pilot and crew training progressed satisfactorily, personnel from VAH-2 joined VAH-1 crews to participate in the A3D Fleet Indoctrination Program at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. Temporarily homeported at NAS North Island, California, from January, 1956, until December, 1957, the unit received its first A3D-1 in May, 1956, and its first A3D-2 two months later. Initial A3D-2 carquals began in May, 1957, aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), with Lt. Ed Mitchell—a future astronaut—becoming the first VAH-2 pilot to complete day carquals; the first night qualification was made by Cdr. H. L. Salyer.

While aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard, between July and December, 1957, VAH-2 Det. Bravo became the first A3D unit to deploy to WestPac; it was followed by Det. Mike aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) (Sep '57 - Apr '58). Homeported at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, from December, 1957, VAH-2 crews and support personnel then deployed several times aboard these two carriers; later, they also embarked aboard the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and Ranger (CVA-61) (initially in Sept. '60 and Oct. '64, respectively).

VAH-2's first war cruise was made aboard the USS Coral Sea (December 7, 1964-November 1965), with the unit being credited with the first A-3 bombing sorties (March 29,1965). During the Southeast Asia War, VAH-2 detachments made eight more deployments to the Gulf of Tonkin. In the course of these operations, VAH-2 primarily provided air refueling for the fleet with A-3Bs configured as tankers and later with KA-3Bs. Finally, as combined tanking/electronic warfare came into being, VAH-2 was redesignated VAQ-132 on November 1, 1968.

 

HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON THREE
 
VAH-3 "SEA DRAGONS"
 

On June 15, 1956, VP-34 was disestablished and VAH-3 was commissioned at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, as an operational A3D-1 squadron. After completing its carquals aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), VAH-3 deployed in July, 1957, for its only cruise with Skywarriors. In June, 1958, three months after returning from this Mediterranean cruise, the squadron moved to NAS Sanford, Florida, to be merged with the Atlantic Fleet's Heavy Attack Training Unit. In its new role as a RAG Squadron, VAH-3 took over HATULANT's Douglas R4D-7s and Grumman F9F-8Ts, and in late 1959 added A3D-2Ts to its mixed complement of A3D-1s and A3D-2s.

During 1960, VAH-3 was given the additional duty of training crews for the North American Vigilante, and the first A3J-1s were received in June, 1961. Training of A-3 crews then became progressively less important, with the last class of Skywarrior pilots and bombardiers graduating in January, 1964. As the RA-5C RAG squadron, the unit was redesignated RVAH-3 six months later, moved to NAS Albany, Georgia, in May, 1968, and to NAS Key West, Florida, in January, 1974. RVAH-3 continued operating TA-3Bs until disestablished in August, 1979.

 

HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON FOUR

VAH-4 " FOURRUNNERS"

HATRON Four, formerly VP-57, came into being on July 1, 1956 as the second Skywarrior squadron in PacFlt. Following a 14-month training program (during which one of its aircraft set a record of 4 hr. 29 min. 50 sec. between the West Coast and Hawaii), VAH-4 first deployed to WestPac in February, 1958, when Detachment Delta went aboard the USS Hancock (CVA-19). VAH-4's peacetime activities were also marked by its contribution of A3D-2 tankers to Project LANA in May, 1961.

Remaining homeported at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, throughout its 12-year existence, HATRON Four never deployed as a full squadron aboard a single carrier. During the early years, the squadron's deployment history was unique as its A-3B detachments only went aboard the smaller attack carriers. During the Southeast Asia War, however, VAH-4 detachments also embarked aboard larger carriers (initially aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62) in 1965) and, as there was a shortage of tanker-configured A-3Bs to support Task Force 77 operations, in 1966 the squadron also sent a detachment to operate from NAS Cubi Point in the Philippines and Da Nang AB in South Vietnam. Altogether, VAH-4 made 16 war deployments aboard carriers, more than any other Skywarrior squadron.

VAH-4 last deployed KA-3Bs aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) in December, 1967. It returned to Whidbey Island eight months later. By then it had been decided that on November 1, 1968, VAH-4 would be reorganized as VAQ-131 to provide tanking and electronic support.

 
HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON FIVE

VAH-5 "SAVAGE SONS" 
or "Mushmouths"

Originating at NAS Moffett Field, California, in September, 1948, as Composite Squadron Five (VC-5), this squadron was a pioneer of heavy carrier aircraft operations. Initially equipped with Lockheed P2V-3Cs, VC-5 converted to North American AJ-1 s during the spring of 1950 and flew Savages for seven years. During this period, it moved to NAS Norfolk, Virginia, in late 1950, to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, in 1952, and to NAS Sanford, Florida, in 1955.

Redesignated Heavy Attack Squadron Five on February 3, 1956, the Savage Sons had to wait 18 months to receive their first Skywarriors. With A3Ds, VAH-5 won several awards while compiling a brilliant record and made five Med deployments. Returning to NAS Sanford in March, 1963 at the end of a Mediterranean cruise, the squadron began transitioning to North American RA-5Cs and was redesignated RVAH-5 in May, 1964, thus ending its five-year association with the Skywarrior.

 HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON SIX

VAH-6 "FLEURS"

In January, 1950, Composite Squadron Six was formed at NAS Moffett Field, California, as the Navy's second nuclear attack squadron. Like its sister unit, VC-5, the squadron flew Neptunes and Savages for many years. It moved to NAS North Island, California, in June, 1952, and was redesignated VAH-6 on July 1,1956. In 1958, after moving to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, VAH-6 converted to Skywarriors. As part of CVG-61/CVW-6 the squadron then made several WestPac deployments aboard the USS Ranger (CVA-61) prior to transferring to CVW-8 for operations in the Mediterranean aboard the USS Forrestal (CVA-59). Transferred to NAS Sanford, Florida, the squadron was redesignated RVAH-6 in September, 1965, and commenced its transition to the RA-5C Vigilante.

VAH-7 thru VAH-123

resource type: info    
 
HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON SEVEN
 
VAH-7 "PEACEMAKERS OF THE FLEET"
 
or "go devils"
 

Commissioned at NAS Moffen Field, California, in October, 1950, Composite Squadron Seven moved to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, in 1951, and to NAS Sanford, Florida, in 1955. Redesignated VAH-7 on July 1, 1955, the squadron exchanged its Savages for Skywarriors in early 1958. However, VAH-7's association with the Douglas heavy attack aircraft lasted only a little over three years (during which only a partial deployment was made when some VAH-7 aircraft and crews supplemented VAH-1 aboard the USS Independence, CVA-62) as it began its transition to North American A3J-1s in August, 1961. After transitioning to the RA-5C, the Peacemakers became RVAH-7 on December 1, 1964.

HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON EIGHT
 
vah-8 "fireballers"
 

In existence for less than 11 years, VAH-8 nevertheless became one of the foremost proponents of the Skywarrior. Commissioned as VAH-8 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, on May 1,1957, the squadron received its first A3D-2 three months later and departed for its first WestPac deployment aboard the USS Midway (CVA-41) in August, 1958. At the end of its next WestPac cruise in March, 1960, nine of its A3D-2s accomplished a "first" when they were launched from the Midway some 2100 miles west of Hawaii; refueling at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, and NAS Alameda, California, these aircraft flew over 5500 miles in 10.9 hours to reach their homeport at NAS Whidbey Island.

 A four plane detachment (Det Lima) deployed aboard the USS Lexington, bound for the Taiwan Straits, on July 17, 1958. They returned in Dec. 18, 1958.

During the Southeast Asia War, VAH-8 made three combat cruises (one aboard the Midway and two aboard the Constellation, CVA-64) prior to being disestablished on January 17, 1968.

HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON NINE
 
vah-9 "hoot owls"
 

The squadron came into being in January, 1953, when it was commissioned as Composite Squadron Nine at NAS Sanford, Florida. Flying Savages, VC-9 conducted the Navy's first inflight refueling operations while deployed aboard the USS Midway (CVA-41) in 1953. Redesignated VAH-9 on November 1, 1955, the unit received its first Skywarriors 14 months later. Thereafter VAH-9 flew A3Ds for eight years, making six Med deployments aboard the USS Saratoga (CVA-60). Transition to the RA-5C began in April, 1964, the unit's designation was changed to RVAH-9 in June, and the last A-3B was transferred out on August 4, 1964.

HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON TEN


VAH-10 "VIKINGS"

Commissioned at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, on May 1,1961, VAH-10 was the last HATRON to be activated. It received its first A3D-2s six weeks after being organized. As part of CVG-8, the squadron took part in the shakedown cruise of the USS Constellation (CVA-64) in March-April 1962. During the following two years, VAH-10 deployed twice to WestPac aboard this carrier. It was there that VAH-10 and the other CVW-8 squadrons provided some of the first naval aircraft to go into combat in Southeast Asia as the Constellation was involved in the August, 1964, Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

Back at Whidbey Island in February, 1965, the squadron enjoyed a short leave before departing for the Med aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42). Thereafter, VAH-10 became a detachment squadron, with its Skywarriors deploying seven times to the Gulf of Tonkin between June, 1966, and August, 1970. Other VAH-10 detachments continued to operate A-3Bs and KA-3Bs aboard carriers of the Sixth Fleet in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. While Det 62 (USS Independence CVA-62) was deployed to the Med from June 70 to Jan 71, they became VAQ-129 as a part of the redesignation process. It is reported that they even sported dual logos during this cruise.

The last operational HATRON, as VAH-2 and VAH-4 had been redesignated TACELRONS in November, 1968, VAH-10 finally followed this path and was redesignated VAQ-129 on September 1, 1970.

HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON ELEVEN

VAH-11 "CHECKERTAILS"

HATRON Eleven was formed at NAS Sanford, Florida, on November 1, 1955 from Composite Squadron Eight and initially flew North American AJ-1 s. The unit received its first A3Ds in November, 1957.

Remaining homeported at NAS Sanford throughout its existence, VAH-11 deployed to the Med five times aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) and once each aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62) and the USS Forrestal (CVA-59). Between August, 1962, and January, 1965, the squadron was divided into two units: one with six Skywarriors performing all the normal duties of a Heavy Attack Squadron and the other taking up an operational readiness posture from other HATRONS while they converted from A-3s to A-5s. In turn, VAH-11 transitioned to the RA-5C and was redesignated RVAH-11 in July, 1966.

HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON THIRTEEN

VAH-13 "BATS"

On January 3,1961, VAH-13 was commissioned at NAS Sanford, Florida, to fly A3D-2s.The squadron was assigned to CVG-11 upon completing its initial training and deployed on the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) for her shakedown cruise in the Caribbean. Shortly thereafter VAH-13 transferred to the Pacific Fleet with the Kitty Hawk and its homeport became NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.

For the next three years, the "Bats" maintained readiness requirements and served with the Seventh Fleet. However, in anticipation of its transition to the RA-5C, VAH-13 moved back to NAS Sanford in August, 1964. The squadron was redesignated RVAH-13 on November 1, 1964.

HEAVY ATTACK SQUADRON ONE TWO THREE
 
vah-123 "pros"
 

The transition of HATRONs from the propeller driven Savage to the jet-powered Skywarrior created the need for jet transitional training. To accomplish this training, HATUPAC (Heavy Attack Training Unit, Pacific) was commissioned on June 15, 1957, at NAS North Island, California; two weeks later HATUPAC moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. The unit was redesignated VAH-123 on June 29, 1959.

Operating as a part of Replacement Carrier Air Group Twelve throughout its existence, VAH-123 retained as its primary mission the training of replacement pilots, bombardier/navigators, crewman/navigators, and maintenance personnel for all Pacific Fleet units using Skywarriors. To perform this mission the Pros initially flew Douglas F3D-2Ts, Grumman F9F-8Ts, and Lockheed P2V-3Bs to complement its A3D-1s. Soon, however, the squadron primarily operated various Skywarrior models (mainly A-3As, A-3Bs, and TA-3Bs) and the other types were phased out.

Over the years, the activities of VAH-123 were broadened, with low-level navigation and "log" bombing being added to its syllabus in 1961, and aerial refueling gaining in importance during the mid-sixties. Moreover, in 1964, VAH-123 gained sole responsibility for A-3 training as VAH-3 converted to Vigilantes. For 13 months beginning in August, 1966, VAH-123 was also responsible for A-6 crew training, but this duty was later transferred to VA-128.

VAH-123 was decommissioned on February 1, 1971 and its A-3 training responsibility was transferred to VAQ-130.

VAK-208 thru VAQ-34

resource type: info    
 
AERIAL REFUELING SQUADRON

TWO ZERO EIGHT
 
VAK-208 "JOCKEYS"

 
The left patch was the original when the squadron was formed. The "Alpha Foxtrot" was the CAG designation. When the squadron designation was changed to VAK, the whale logo was adopted.

When the Naval Air Reserve was reorganized in 1970 Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 208 was established on July 31 at NAS Alameda, California, as part of Carrier Air Wing Twenty. Equipped with KA-3Bs to support CVWR-20 operations, VAQ-208 also began providing air refueling and pathfinding for Navy and Marine tactical aircraft being ferried to Southeast Asia. During the 1971 India-Pakistan conflict and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, VAQ-208 jointly with VAQ-308 provided crews and aircraft to support emergency deployments of U.S. naval aircraft.. During the seventies, the squadron also provided tanking platforms for test and development of the Lockheed S-3A Viking and Grumman F-14A Tomcat. On October 1, 1979, in recognition of its primary use as a refueling and pathfinding unit, the squadron was redesignated VAK-208. They were disestablished 30 September, 1989.

AERIAL REFUELING SQUADRON

THREE ZERO EIGHT
 
vak-308 "GRIFFINS"
 

 

As a result of the overhaul of the Naval Air Reserve, at NAS Alameda, California on May 2, 1970, VAQ-308, under the command of CDR Gregory Bambo Jr., was the first squadron of the first reserve Carrier Air Group to be commissioned. Comprised of a unique complement of civilian reservists and active duty personnel, VAQ-308 was assigned KA-3B’s. At 0750, November 10, 1970, VAQ-308’s Skywarrior, made the first arrested landing for the newly formed Carrier Air Group 30. The landing was made during low ceilings and 14 foot seas aboard USS TICONDERGA (CVS-14) while cruising approximately 100 miles southwest of San Clemente Island. Never before had non-active duty reservists been day and night carrier qualified! This was the first A3 Skywarrior and the first Heavy Attack Squadron ever assigned to the Naval Air Reserve. VAQ-308 along with its later formed sister squadron, VAQ-208, established a new precedence by flying combat support missions in S.E. Asia during the Vietnam War with civilian reservists (not recalled to Active Duty) during short leaves of absence from their civilian occupations. The squadron supported peacetime as well as critical emergency deployments to the Indian Ocean (e.g., during the India-Pakistan conflict in 1971 and the transfer of aircraft to Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973). The AERREFRON designation was adopted on October 1, 1979, thus making VAK-308 and VAK-208 the only Navy units ever to have been given air refueling as their primary mission. After adding over 19 years to the "Whale’s" already long operational tenure, VAK-308 was decommissioned at NAS Alameda on September 30, 1989.

AERIAL REFUELING SQUADRON

ONE ZERO TWO ZERO
 
VAQ-1020

During the 1970s, the Navy Reserve had more A-3 aircrewmen than they had squadrons or airplanes in which to fill. So it was decided to form a couple of non-hardware squadrons at Alameda in which to stash these people and keep them current in type. VAQ-1020 was one of two of these stepchildren who had a full chain of command including a CO, XO and on down the line, all of which where aircrew. There were no A-3s aircraft assigned to them though. They drilled on the weekends and flew VAQ-208's and 308's A-3 Skywarriors.

 

HEAVY PHOTOGRAPHIC

SQUADRON SIXTY-ONE
 
vAP-61 "WORLD FAMOUS"

Tracing its ancestry to Photographic Squadron Five (VD-5), which had been commissioned June, 1944, and to Composite Squadron (VC-61), which had been organized in January, 1949, this unit was first designated Heavy Photographic Squadron 61 (VAP-61) on July 2, 1956. Homeported at NAS Agana, Guam, VAP-61 was redesignated Composite Photographic Squadron 61 (VCP-61) on July 1,1959 in preparation for its transition from the AJ-2P to a mix of F8U-1Ps and A3D-2Ps. Two years later, the Crusaders were transferred out and the squadron was once again designated VAP-61.

During the Southeast Asia War, VAP-61 sent RA-3B detachments to DaNang AS, South Vietnam, and aboard CTF-77 carriers for operations over North Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Other operational detachments operated at one time or another from locations throughout the Pacific as well as on the Asian mainland, CONUS and Bermuda. VAP-61 was decommissioned on July 1, 1971.

HEAVY PHOTOGRAPHIC

SQUADRON SIXTY-TWO
 
VAP-62 "TIGERS"

Commissioned as Photographic Squadron 62 (VJ-62) on April 10, 1952, this squadron was redesignated VAP-62 on Julv 2. 1956 while homeported at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. It moved to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, in August, 1957 and soon thereafter evaluated the YA3D-1 P prototype.

After transitioning from the AJ-2P in late 1959, VAP-62 retained its A3D-2P/RA-3Bs until its inactivation on October 15,1969. During this ten-year period, in addition to performing its normal duties from shore bases and carriers, the squadron undertook several special assignments (e.g., photographing the launch of early manned satellites, cartographic survey of the Great Lakes region, photographic survey of flood damage, and tracking and seeding of hurricanes). Moreover, beginning in the fall of 1966, VAP-62 sent RA-3B detachments to Southeast Asia to operate under the control of VAP-61.  During this period of time detachments covered much of the world. Far East deployments include Vietnam and Austrailia while Europe detachments were sent to Italy, Greece, Norway, Spain and many other countries. Detachments also included Panama and Peurto Rico.

TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE

SQUADRON THIRTY-THREE
 
VAQ-33 "FIREBIRDS"

Providing realistic electronic warfare simulation during fleet exercises, VAQ-33 traces its origin to the commissioning of Composite Squadron Thirty-Three in May, 1949. The unit, which initially flew Grummann TBM-3Es and later became a major user of multi-seat Douglas Skyraiders, was redesignated VA(AW)-33 in July, 1956, VAW-33 in June, 1959, and VAQ-33 in February, 1968.

Making the last Skyraider carrier deployment in 1969 aboard the USS John F. Kennedy, VAQ-33 was reorganized at NAS Norfolk in early 1970 to become an "electronic aggressor" as the flying unit of the Fleet Electronic Warfare Support Group (FEWSG). To fulfill its new missions VAQ-33 has since operated several types of specially modified aircraft including A-3Bs (first assigned in 1970), ERA-3Bs (the unit's core equipment), KA-3Bs, and TA-3Bs. In October, 1977, VAQ-33 also assumed responsibility as the A-3 Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) and Fleet Replacement Aviation Maintenance Program (FRAMP). In 1978, most of the unit's activities were transferred to NAS Oceana, Virginia, and in 1980, VAQ-33 was finally relocated at NAS Key West, Florida.

TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE

SQUADRON THIRTY-FOUR
 
VAQ-34 "FLASHBACKS"

On March 1, 1983, as the need for electronic warfare training increased, VAQ-34 was established at NAS Point Mugu to support West Coast operations. The latest Skywarrior squadron flew KA-3Bs prior to receiving its four EKA-3Bs. It is also equipped with six Vought A-7Ls and one KA-3B. Like those of VAQ-33, VAQ-34s aircraft bear the GO tail code of their common operational commander, FEWSG.

The Red Star patch is the replacement for the Horsemen patch. It was designed by members of the squadron to better reflect their mission as 'The Aggressors'. The blue background and red and white stripes with the stars in the rockets trail represent the U.S. flag. The Cyrillic at the top says 'The Aggressors'. The patch in the center is a crewchief patch.

VAQ-129 thru VAQ-135

resource type: info    
 TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE

SQUADRON ONE TWENTY-NINE
 
vaq-129 "vikings"

When VAH-10, the last Skywarrior HATRON, was redesignated VAQ-129 on September 1, 1970, at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, its Det 38 was aboard the USS Shangfi La on Yankee Station. Thus, on its commissioning day the new squadron already had a detachment on the line as the personnel and KA-3Bs of Det 38 remained aboard the Shangri La for another 15 weeks following their paper transfer to VAQ-129. While preparing for the arrival of its EA-6Bs, the new squadron continued to operate KA/EKA-3Bs for a few months and sent Skywarrior detachments aboard the USS Hancock (CVA-19) for operations in the Gulf of Tonkin and aboard the USS Saratoga (CVA-60) for a Med cruise. Meanwhile the first EA-6B was received at Whidbey Island in January, 1971, and thereafter VAQ-129 became the Prowler Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS).

TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE

SQUADRON ONE THIRTY
 
vaq-130 "zappers"

Commissioned at NAS Agana, Guam, on September 1, 1959 and transferred to NAS Alameda, California, in July, 1961, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron Thirteen flew a variety of aircraft during its first eight years. In the spring of 1967 this unit received the first EKA-3Bs and KA-3Bs and soon began to deploy its Skywarriors to provide aerial refueling and electronic countermeasures while continuing to operate Douglas EA-1Fs until November, 1970. From November, 1967, until March, 1969, six VAW-13 detachments operated EKA-3Bs aboard the USS America (CVA-66), Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), Constellation (CVA-64), Enterprise (CYAN-65), Hancock (CVA-19), and Ranger (CVA-61).

On October 1, 1968, the squadron was redesignated VAQ-130 and 14 of its detachments served aboard carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin until the return of Det 4 in June, 1973. From May to October, 1974, VAQ-130 Det 4 made the final EKA-3B peacetime deployment aboard the USS Ranger (CVA-61). Following the decommissioning of VAH-123 in February,1971, VAQ-130 also took over the responsibility for training A-3 crews. VAQ-130 stood down on June 30,1974 and, moving to NAS Whidbey, Washington, began its transition to the EA-6B.

CARRIER AIRBORNE EARLY

WARNING SQUADRON THIRTEEN
 
vaw-13 "zappers"

See history of VAQ-130.

TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE

SQUADRON ONE THIRTY-ONE
 
vaq-131 "hollygreen"

VAQ-131 came into existence on 1 November 1968 when VAH-4 was re-designated.  Homeport for the new TACELRON was NAS Alameda, California.  The mission of VAQ-131 was to conduct electronic warfare and to provide air-to-air refueling in support of Attack Carrier Task Force operations.  In conducting this mission, VAQ-131 utilized KA / EKA-3B models of the Douglas A-3 “Skywarrior” aircraft.  The new TACELRON deployed their Skywarriors to the Gulf of Tonkin aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) with CDR T. L. Jackson as their first CO.

In September 1970, with CDR S.M. Corey, Commanding, the squadron was in a period of training preparing for an impending deployment.  VAQ-131 was aboard the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) as a member of Attack Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) preparing to undergo an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) when due to the Mid-East Crisis the ship was directed to proceed immediately to the Mediterranean.

For participation in this crisis, the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy and her embarked Air Wing (CVW-1) were awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

VAQ-131 ended its 1970–71 deployment, with the squadron returning to it’s home port of Alameda, California, on 28 February 1971.  The squadron then commenced stand-down in preparation to transition to the EA-6B aircraft community home ported at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.  (Details provided by Bill Laux  ADCS, USN Ret.)

 TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE

SQUADRON ONE THIRTY-TWO
 
vaq-132 "scorpions"

(Editors note: This is indeed the original Scorpion Whale patch. The previously displayed patch was the EA-6 Prowler version. The scorpion was facing right and skinny)

VAQ-132 came into existence on November 1, 1968, when VAH-2 was redesignated. Homeport for the new TACELRON was NAS Alameda, California, but already the squadron had a detachment on Yankee Station as it inherited Det 64 aboard the USS Constellation (CVA-64).

While equipped with (2) KA-3B’s and (3) EKA-3B’s VAQ-132 made two more combat cruises with CVW-9, one each aboard the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) and the USS America (CVA-66). The Enterprise cruise was complicated when the ship underwent a catastrophic fire at sea off Hawaii on January 14,1969. VAQ-132 lost one aircraft (EKA-3B 138918) and one squadron member to the fire. After repairs in the Naval Shipyard in Hawaii the cruise continued on March 7, 1969, arriving on Yankee Station on March 31, 1969. On April 16, 1969 the entire carrier group was sent north in response to an EC-121 being shot down off North Korea. The carrier group returned to Yankee Station on May 31, 1969 and completed its combat responsibilities on June 16, 1969 and proceeded back home. The five VAQ-132 KA/EKA-3B’s disembarked at Subic Bay, Philippines and transpacted back to NAS Alameda.

For the latter (USS America), two of the squadron’s KA-3B’s went aboard the carrier in Norfolk, Virginia, for the ocean voyage around South Africa after stopping at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, while three EKA-3B’s transpacted and rejoined the carrier at Subic Bay in the Philippines. Staying aboard the carrier after seven months of combat operations, VAQ-132 returned to Alameda by way of the Pacific Ocean and the South Atlantic making stops in Sydney, Australia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and finally her homeport of Norfolk. VAQ-132 aircraft launched off the ship in the Caribbean, prior to the ship reaching Norfolk, and flew home to NAS Alameda, California.

On January 15, 1971, VAQ-132 moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, and soon thereafter transitioned to the EA-6B.

 

TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE
 
SQUADRON ONE THIRTY-THREE
 
 

Commissioned at NAS Alameda, California, on March 4, 1969, VAQ-133 was the fourth squadron created for the primary mission of detecting and jamming hostile radar signals. For the next 29 months, VAQ-133 flew KA/EKA-3Bs and during that period deployed twice to the Gulf of Tonkin, once aboard the USS Constellation (CVA-64) and once aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). Beginning in August, 1971, the squadron stood down for one year. On August 4, 1972, it was reactivated at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, as a Prowler squadron.

TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE

SQUADRON ONE THIRTY-FOUR
 
vaq-134 "garudas"
 

 

Established on June 17, 1969, at NAS Alameda, California, VAQ-134 flew KA-3Bs and EKA-3Bs for 25 months. During this period it made two combat cruises aboard the USS Ranger (CVA-61). The Garudas stood down in July, 1971, and moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, in May, 1972, to fly EA-6Bs.

TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE

SQUADRON ONE THIRTY-FIVE
 
vaq-135 "black ravens"

On May 15,1969, one of VAQ-130 detachments was enlarged into a new TACELRON, VAQ-135, homeported at NAS Alameda, California. The new unit first deployed to Southeast Asia aboard the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) in September, 1969. In July, 1970, as other TACELRONs were transitioning to the EA-6B, VAQ-135 was reorganized into a permanently shore-based component and five sea-going detachments. From November, 1971, until January, 1974, these detachments deployed to Yankee Station twice aboard the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and USS Hancock (CVA-19), and once aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). VAQ-135 detachments also deployed to the Med aboard the USS F. D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), USS Forrestal (CVA-59), USS America (CVA-66), and USS J. F. Kennedy (CVA-67). Moving to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, in September, 1973, VAQ-135 received its first EA-6Bs in July, 1974.

 

VCP-63 thru NWC

resource type: info    
COMPOSITE PHOTOGRAPHIC

SQUADRON SIXTY-THREE

VCP-63 "EYES OF THE FLEET"

Commissioned on January 20, 1949, as Composite Squadron Sixty-One, this unit was successively redesignated Fighter Photographic Squadron 61 in July, 1956, and Composite Photographic Squadron Sixty-Three on July 1 1959. At that time, VCP-63 received A3D-2Ps to complement its inventory of F8U-1Ps. However, the photographic version of the Skywarrior was phased out after only two years with VCP-63, and the squadron's designation was changed to VFP-63 on July 1, 1961.

FLEET AIR RECONNAISSANCE

SQUADRON ONE

VQ-1 "WORLD WATCHERS"

VQ-1 traces its origin to the organization of a special project division at NS Sangley Point in the Philippines during October, 1951. The squadron itself was commissioned at Sangley Point on June 1, 1955, as Electronics Countermeasures Squadron One and, equipped with Martin P4M1Qs, moved to MCAF Iwakuni, Japan, in October, 1955.

Having flown Skywarriors ever since receiving its first A3D1Qs in November, 1956, VQ-1 shares with VQ-2 the distinction of being the squadron to have been equipped with the same type of aircraft for the longest period. However, the squadron also flew Lockheed WV-121/ EC-121s from February, 1960, until the summer of 1974, and continues to fly Lockheed EP-3s which it received in March, 1969.

The squadron moved to NAS Atsugi, Japan, in July, 1960, and took its current designation. Four years later, VQ-1 began deploying EA-3Bs in support of combat operations in Southeast Asia, with its aircraft deploying to CTF77 carriers and to Da Nang AB in South Vietnam to perform in the TASES (Tactical Airborne Signal Exploitation System) role. In addition, after moving to NAS Agana, Guam, in June, 1971, VQ-1 inherited the RA-3Bs and missions of the decommissioned VAP-61. This role, however, was relinquished in the summer of 1974 and the RA-3Bs were sent back to CONUS. Still providing electronic reconnaissance missions in support of fleet operations, VQ-1 frequently deployed detachments aboard carriers (this was notably the case during operations in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution and following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan). At the beginning of 1987, VQ-1 was still flying Skywarriors (EA-3Bs and TA/VA-3Bs) alongside its Lockheed EP-3s.

FLEET AIR RECONNAISSANCE
 
SQUADRON TWO

VQ-2 "BATMEN"

Counterpart of the Pacific Fleet's VQ-1, FAIRECONRON TWO has served with the Atlantic Fleet since it was commissioned at Port Lyautey, Morocco, as Electronics Countermeasures Squadron Two on September 1,1955. A3D1Qs began supplementing the unit's P4M1Qs in 1956 and Skywarriors have been operated by the squadron ever since. Homeported at NS Rota, Spain, since November, 1958, the squadron was redesignated VQ-2 on January 1, 1960. Over the years, VQ-2 has operated Lockheed EC

121 s and EP-3s alongside its Skywarriors to provide electronic reconnaissance for the Sixth Fleet. In addition to its normal operations, including regular deployments since 1965 aboard carriers operating in the Med and in the Atlantic, VQ-2 has undertaken several notable deployments: a deployment to NAS Key West, Florida, in the fall of 1962 to provide SIGINT during the Cuban crisis the deployment of Det Bravo to Da Nang AB,

South Vietnam, for four years beginning in 1965; and deployments to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean during various contingencies (including the confrontation with Libya during April, 1986). Skywarrior models operated by VQ-2 have included the A3D-1Q, A3D-2Q/EA-3B, and TA-3B.

FLEET TRANSPORT SQUADRON ONE
 
VR-1
 

At least one transport configured TA-3B is known to have been operated by this TRANSRON.

Misc.

AEROSPACE RECOVERY FACILITY (ARF)

 

The Aerospace Recovery Facility at El Centro, CA came into existence sometime in the 60’s in support of the space program.  Later it became known as Naval Aerospace Recovery Facility and then in the early 70’s, it assumed a joint usage role with the US Air Force and the US Navy as the National Parachute Test Range.   The local command operated several aircraft, which included an A3 Skywarrior from sometime in the early 60’s through 1979.  The original A3 was Buno #130353, which crashed at an air show in El Centro around 1964, killing all 3 onboard.  353’s replacement #142242, which operated from the NARF until April of 1976 when it was destroyed at Lakehurst, NJ during a test program.  142242 was replaced by Buno# 142630 and operated there until 1979 when the National Parachute Test Range was disbanded, 142630 was then transferred to the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake. 

 

 


 

COMMANDER, FLEET LOGISTICS SUPPORT WING

(COMFLELOGSUPPWING DET WASHINGTON DC)

Beginning in June, 1959, a single VA-3B (BuNo 142672) was operated from NAS Patuxent River as a VIP transport for the CNO, as well as for sundry projects at the Naval Air Test Center. In September, 1965, this aircraft and some personnel were transferred to NAF Washington D.C. thus marking the debut of the present COMFLELOGSUPPWING DET (or CFLSW Det). This detachment was officially formed in July, 1978 when it was attached to the Commander, Reserve Tactical Support Wing (COMRESTACSUPPWING) and received its current designation in May, 1982. Its mission ranges from executive transport of dignitaries—including cabinet members, the CNO, and foreign VIP visitors—to support for medical recovery teams from the Bethesda Naval Hospital, the National Institute of Health, and the Walter Reed Army Hospital. At the end of 1985 this Det. operated two VlP configured TA-3Bs and two North American CT-39Gs.

 


 


FLEET ELECTRONIC WARFARE SUPPORT GROUP (FEWSG)See VAQ-33 and VAQ-34.

 


 

NATIONAL PARACHUTE TEST RANGE (NPTR)

See Aerospace Rescue Facility.

 


 

NAVAL AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER (NADC)

Established on August 1, 1948, at Johnsville, Pennsylvania, the Naval Air Development Center has had the missions of performing research and development in the field of aviation medicine and of developing aircraft electronic, pilotless aircraft, and aviation armament. NADC is known to have operated at least two RA-3Bs.

 


 

NAVAL AIRBORNE PROJECT OPERATIONS GROUP(NAPOG)

To provide operational control airborne support to the Pacific Range Electromagnetic Signature Studies (Project PRESS), in 1963 NAPOG received an NRA-3B which had been modified by Douglas to mount infrared, visual and ultraviolet sensors in a dorsal turret. Based at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, the aircraft operated from the Kwajalein Army Test Site and the Eniwetok Air Force Auxiliary Airfield.

 


 

NAVAL AIR RESERVE UNIT ALAMEDA(NARU ALAMEDA)

In June, 1974, when VAQ-130 moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, to become an EA-6B unit, responsibility for training Skywarrior aircrew and maintenance personnel was transferred to the Naval Air Reserve Unit at NAS Alameda, California. Primarily operating TA-3Bs and RA-3Bs, NARU Alameda performed as the A-3 Fleet Replacement Squadron until October, 1977, when the Skywarrior's longer than expected life prompted the return of FRS/FRAMP functions to an active unit, VAQ-33.

 


 

NAVAL AIR SPECIAL WEAPONS FACILITY/NAVAL WEAPONS EVALUATION FACILITY(NASWF/NWEF)

Established at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, in August, 1952, NASWF provided naval participation in various programs involved in the application of nuclear weapons to aircraft. Later redesignated Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility, this facility conducted the special weapons phase of the A-3D1 BIS trials in 1956/57. Subsequently, additional tests were conducted to clear the Skywarrior for carriage and release of a variety of nuclear devices.

 


 

NAVAL AIR TEST CENTER (NATC)

NATESTCEN active participation in the Skywarrior program began on November 5, 1954 when one of the XA3D1s was delivered to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, for accelerated service tests. Subsequently, NATC tested all Skywarrior versions. The Center last used a KA-3B as a tanker in support of the F-18 program.

 


 

NAVAL AIR TEST FACILITY (NATF)

Established at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, on October 1, 1957, NATF was responsible for evaluating and supporting the development of aircraft launching and recovery systems. Among the aircraft types operated in support of its role, NATF was assigned at least one A-3A. In addition, time expired or otherwise no longer airworthy Skywarriors were used at NAS Lakehurst for ground training and non-flying tests.

 


 

NAVAL MISSILE CENTER/PACIFIC MISSILE TEST CENTER (NMC/PMTC)

During 1959, the U.S. Naval Missile Center at NAS Point Mugu, California, received its first two A3D1s. Since then PACMISTESTCEN has operated highly modified Skywarriors (NA-3A, NA-3B, NRA-3B, and NTA-3B) to support several of its activities, including captive flight testing of missile weapon systems, test and evaluation of electronic warfare components and systems, and electronic warfare exercises for the Fleet.

 


 


NAVAL ORDNANCE TEST STATION/

NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER (NOTS/NWC)

In support of its RDT&E activities, NOTS China Lake, California, (later redesignated NWC China Lake) has operated a small number of Skywarriors as testbeds for weapons and armament systems. In early 1987 a KA-3B was still in use at China Lake.

Over the years other users have included the Grumman Aerospace Corporation, the Hughes Aircraft Company, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and the United States Army.