posted with permission... This project by George Feher is beautiful gift made to his friend Kim Miller, a former VAQ-135 A-3er. It is a step by step walk through of the model building process. George's attention to detail is outstanding and he earned a well deserved award for his efforts. I'm sure Kim MIller will always cherish it. Bravo Zulu!

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...

Richard A. Hovious (circa 1958 med. cruise)
Richard A. Hovious passed away after a brief illness in Madrid, Spain on August 18th, 2019 at age 85 - though his official age was listed in all of his records as 88, a direct result of his service in the US Navy.

Richard walked into the Navy recruiting office in Campbellsville, KY in 1948 just before he turned 14, convinced the recruiter he was about to turn 17, and passed the entrance exam. He served in the Korean War and was always very proud of his Combat Aircrew wings. After flying as a crewman in AD's and F3D's for several years, he flew in the A3D as a Bombardier/Navigator for his last six years in the Navy. Richard joined VAH-3 in 1955 and made the 1957-58 "Med Cruise" with them aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42), where he sustained injuries on the flight deck that ultimately led to his disability discharge from the Navy in 1961. He joined VAH-8 in '60 and VAH-6 in '61, his last duty station being Whidbey Island, today the site of the A-3 Skywarrior memorial. In his as yet unpublished autobiography he reminisced about flying in and out of Whidbey and his experiences in the A-3, and named in the book's dedication four of his friends and fellow aviators who were killed in assorted A-3 accidents.

After leaving the Navy, Richard went into aerospace engineering and worked for Aerojet and General Electric on some of the military's most sophisticated satellites, weapons and equipment, among them the F4, F15 and the W71 nuclear warhead, and on significant space-related programs including the Apollo Support Program in the years immediately before the moon landings. By the mid-1970s his military injuries and multiple heart attacks had taken a serious toll on his health, forcing him into early retirement, but not - fortunately - requiring him to give up golf. He spent the next four decades travelling the world, living at various times in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, Italy, France and Spain, which he had first visited in 1953 aboard the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43).

Captain Donald Kerry (Deke) Forbes, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, on January 5, 2020, in Virginia Beach, VA. He was 93 years of age.
Born February 4, 1926, and raised in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Minnesota, he entered the US Navy in 1944 upon graduation from high school. He gained a fleet appointment to the US Naval Academy in 1946 and graduated with distinction in 1950. Upon graduation, he entered flight training, winning his Navy Wings of Gold in early 1952. His first fleet squadron was the world-famous Jolly Rogers (VF-61) where he flew 4 versions of the Grumman F9F jet
fighter from 1952-1955, while making several extended aircraft carrier cruises. ln July 1955, he reported to the U.S. NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL, Monterey, CA., earning his BS, Aeronautical Engineering in June 1957. The following year he was awarded an MS, Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Later career assignments were with VX-4 at Pt. Mugu, CA, the US Naval War College, and three tours in Heavy Attack Squadrons at Whidbey Island, WA; two squadrons of which he commanded. Sandwiched among the three Whidbey assignments were assignments to the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and the Naval Air Systems Command. Post Whidbey tours were as Operations Officer, Commander Carrier Division TWO, and as a distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
He commanded NAS Quonset Point, RI in 1972 and was the 65th Commandant of Midshipmen, US Naval Academy from 1973-1976. Retiring from the Navy in 1977, he worked for Booz, Allen & Hamilton until final retirement in 1986.
In retirement, he traveled, played golf and researched and wrote extensively on the natural causes of climate change.
He was a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam; a Trustee Emeritus, U.S. Naval Academy Foundation; and a former member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
He was predeceased by his wife of 63 years, the late Rosamond Marshall Forbes, who passed away in March 2013. He is survived by their three children, Kerry Forbes Johnson (Rick), Dale Kimberly Forbes, and CDR Donald Christopher Forbes, USNA Class of 1981 (Erin); 12 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, April 27, 2020, at 1300 in the US Naval Academy Chapel, followed by a reception in Alumni Hall. Inurnment will take place in the Naval Academy Columbarium. Memorials may be made to the US Naval Academy Foundation (Athletic and Scholarship Program), 25 Maryland Ave Annapolis MD 21401.
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.

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 


Become a member of the A-3 Skywarrior Association.
Tragic Loss


Mark Swisher and Bill Mego were returning home to Fort Worth after delivering A-3 parts to the USS Lexington and our A-3 there when a semi crossed the center lane and stuck their truck head on. They did not survive the crash. We will post funeral details here when they become available.
Links to funeral arrangements for A-3 association treasurer, Mark Swisher,
and A-3 association lifetime member, Bill Mego.
Note one of the memorials the Swisher family designated is the A-3 Skywarrior Association.
Mark Swisher
Bill Mego

2019 A-3 Skywarrior reunion

Some of the crew attending the reunion gathered for a photo op in front of
Oakland Aviation Museum's A-3, 147666, prior to visiting the other exhibits
and enjoying a meal together later in the evening. More photos coming soon.

 Attendee list (9-30-19)

Reunion photos

If you shop on Amazon, you can help the A-3 Skywarrior Association.

Amazon will donate a percentage of your qualified purchase to our organization with a charitable gift of money to help support us. All you do is click on the below link and log into "" with your normal Amazon login information. Then your purchases will benefit the A-3 Skywarrior Association. We encourage you to do this and tell your friends about it.

The A-3 Crew.


Miss the sights and sounds of an A-3?

On 6-30-2011 after several days of consulting with Raytheon, NAVAIR, NMNA, and the A-3 Association. It was agreed to fly the jet to Pensacola for display. The A-3 Association deposited $15K with Raytheon and on the 29th, Ron Woltman and crew departed Van Nuys at 1945 CST arriving NAS Fort Worth at ~2215. We (A-3 Assoc) met Ron and crew at the aircraft and transported them to the hotel. Early the next morning we readied the jet for it's last flight and Ron and his crew took off for the last time at 9:10 CST Fort Worth, TX for Pensacola, FL. We'll miss the sound of those J-57's and we will miss the A-3 Skywarrior. Remember, we have 20 of these in museums so please donate to the A-3 Association so we can keep them all looking as good as Raytheon kept this one.

click on the link below or the above picture to see the video.

 'Whale' saves 700 planes during Vietnam War

Click above to read the story.

Whidbey Memorial update....
Attached is a copy of the letter received from the Department of the Navy. They have accepted the gift of the Whidbey Memorial.
There are lots of thanks and congratulations that need to be passed around as this project was a huge effort on the part of many, many people. They include donors, volunteers, workers (retired and active duty), contractors who donated part or all of their time, the membership and board of the A-3 Assn., and the Whidbey Memorial Board and their staff and helpers, just to name a few.
I’m not sure how to make it known, but we also owe the command at NAS Whidbey a huge thanks for their part if making this happen and hope it adds to the heritage of NAS Whidbey.
It is indeed a proud and fitting memorial to those it honors, and the display should make a statement to those entering the base through that gate.
Personally, I just want to humbly say how exceptional this memorial is and again, acknowledge the tremendous effort it took to accomplish.
Well done, all!
President, A-3 Skywarrior Association

A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial

click here or on the picture


Sunset of the A-3 Skywarrior Program


Mike Glenn was digging through his footlocker the other day and found this...The rational by NavAir for shutting down the A-3 Skywarrior fleet.

The Department of the Navy, Naval Air Systems Command
A-3 Sunset Plan cover letter

This link is the full 24 page proposal.
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