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!

-----In Memory-----
Ralph Estes

Sadly, we have lost one of our leaders in the A-3 Skywarrior for Whidbey project in that I have been informed that Ralph Estes III passed away early on Saturday, 26 September 2020. After fighting off bladder cancer and other issues, Ralph had suffered a stroke to his right side earlier. More recently a brain bleed on the left side led to a comatose state. His daughters Vickie and Nancy were able to spend some limited time with Ralph on Friday.

Condolences to Ralph’s family may be sent to Mrs. Vicky Estes at 3436  “ I “ Street NE, Apt. N 104, Auburn, WA 98002.

After a VAH-2 reunion, it was decided to put forth a committee to bring an A-3 to Whidbey. In late March 2009 at the Farmhouse Inn, Ralph was appointed chairman of the project. With the aid of CDR Jim Vannice, a letter was sent to the CO, NASWI and an official request by NASWI was submitted on 23 July 2009. I first met Ralph at an organization meeting at the CPO Club on 09 October 2009, and the A-3 Skywarrior for Whidbey was underway. By January 2010 we had an EIN, was registered with the State of Washington and held our first membership meeting at Flyer’s Restaurant. By March we had raised over $50K. On 29 April 2011 Whidbey welcomed the arrival of BUNO 144825 in large part to Ralph’s negotiations, coordinating and amid much fanfare. He personally tracked every paver request for accuracy. When SONY opposed the use of Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings” on the Memorial, Ralph went to the source and got approval from Merle Haggard himself. He has the distinction of surviving an A-3 crash on takeoff in the Philippines. He will be missed. Whales Forever. R.I.P. Bill Young, CAPT, USN(Ret)

click on image for better view

Captain John “Iron Jaw” Dillon (USN Ret.)

With great sadness and a profound sense of loss, I announce the passing of a great Naval aviator and Whaler, Capt. John J. Dillon (USN ret.). He passed away peacefully at age 87 on Sept. 19, 2020, his wife, Lili, with him. John and Lili had three sons.

John was born in Indiana in 1933. After attending Indiana State University, he entered the Naval Aviation Cadet program in 1953, and earned his commission and wings in 1955. John was with a number of squadrons and deployments into 1966, which included duty on the USS Kearsarge (CV-33) that in 1963 recovered Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper.

In 1966 he reported to NAS Whidbey Island and became a Whaler flying the A-3 Skywarrior in VAH-123. Subsequently, John flew the Skywarrior in squadrons VAH-2, VAW-13, VAQ-130 and VAQ-130 Det. 65. In 1969 he became XO of the new Skywarrior squadron VAQ-133 and was deployed on the USS Constellation (CVA-64). John was next CO of VAQ-133 Wizards for a deployment on the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63. He entered the Navy War College in 1971 and after that held a classified assignment, which included the Navy’s only U2 Dragon Lady spy aircraft. John retired from the Navy in 1977.

For those of us fortunate enough to have known and flown with the “Skipper,” it was a sincere privilege. Even though his moniker was “Iron Jaw,” he was a fair leader and courageous aviator, setting the example to get the best from all of us. He will be deeply missed.

A-3 book released
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.


Click on images below for to view the full document.

The image on the right is the C.R.E.W. reunion announcement with links to make hotel reservations under our group or click here.

Check back here for regular updates.


2. Some new photos have been added at PHOTO pg 14 (more added 8/12/21}.

3. A world class model builder has honored one of our own, Captain Tom Maxwell (USN retired), with a diorama of an event that was special to those involved. It was a
"Fateful Day".

4. Click here to listen to "The Fighter Pilot Podcast", hosted by 
Vincent Aiello as he interviews author LCDR Rick Morgan, U.S. Navy (Retired) about non other than the A-3 Skywarrior. It includes a description of Capt. Maxwell's event featured in the above mentioned incident called "Fateful Day". Well worth the listen.


Click on the below image to see details


Would you like to donate memorabilia to a
dedicated A-3 Skywarrior display?

Click on the below image for the full details

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