Attack Squadron Fifty-Five
1st contact is Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contacts in [THE ASSOCIATION] drop down menu.
James Joseph Connell
July 15, 1966, VA-55, CVW-14, USS RANGER:
Lieutenant James Joseph Connell flying A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151024 side number NK 410 was shot down by AAA anti-aircraft over North Vietnam. LT Connell ejected and was captured and made Prisoner-Of-War by the North Vietnamese. LCDR Connell was killed by the North Vietnamese while in captivity.
JAMES JOSEPH CONNELL
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy
For extraordinary heroism as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from April 1968 to June 1969. Under constant pressure from the North Vietnamese in their attempt to gain military information and propaganda material, he experienced severe torture with ropes and was kept in almost continuous solitary confinement. As they persisted in their hostile treatment of him, he continued to resist by feigning facial muscle spasms, incoherency of speech, and crippled arms with loss of feeling in his fingers. The Vietnamese, convinced of his plight, applied shock treatments in an attempt to improve his condition. However, he chose not to indicate improvement for fear of further cruelty. Isolated in a corner of the camp near a work area visited daily by other prisoners, he established and maintained covert communications with changing groups of POW's, thereby serving as a main point of exchange of intelligence information. By his exceptional courage, determination, and resourcefulness in this most difficult line of resistance, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
VA-Torpcat - 1946
Provided by David Sheeley
Torpcat - 1943
Drawn by Bud Southworth
VA-Torpcat - 1946
Drawn by Bud Southworth
Winged Seahorse - 1955
Drawn by Bud Southworth
No info on this patch
Provided by: Dave Sheeley
son of a Naval aviator
Winged Seahorse - 1969
Winged Seahorse - slightly different
Chief Fred Rhodes (ret.)
Warhorse - 1983
From Jim Ritchie
Yet another version
Provided by: Dave Sheeley
son of a Naval aviator
Torpedo Squadron FIVE's first patch, the "TORPCAT" patch was used early in 1943. This patch was of a horned black cat, grasping a rat, astride a torpedo.
July 10, 1946, Torpedo Squadron FIVE designed a new "TORPCAT" patch, that retained the cat and torpedo motif. The new "TORPCAT" design was the face of a cat grasping a torpedo in its mouth. The new "TORPCAT" patch was used by VT-5, VA-6A and VA-55 until September 1955.
Note that CV-20 patch was the last cruise before VA-55 received Skyhawks.
On September 27, 1955 VA-55 had a new "Winged Seahorse" patch approved. The "Winged Seahorse" patch has now became a well-known design and was used until VA-55 was disestablished.
Late 1967/Early 1968: VA-55 adds the Shrike to the squadron patch
1969 while the Warhorses were engaged in combat this version of the "Winged Seahorse" was used.
On May 12, 1983 the re-established VA-55 adopted a reverse image of the "Winged Seahorse" patch and added a banner at the bottom with the identification "ATKRON-55."
Harry S. Gann.
Chief Fred Rhodes (ret.)
Harry S. Gann
George L. Landrum
Terence T. Finn
Torpcats, 1943 to 1955.
Warhorses, 1955 to 1975.
Callsign: Garfish, or Gar
February 15, 1943, Torpedo Squadron FIVE (VT-5) established from personnel of disestablished aviation squadron VGS-30.
November 15, 1946, VT-5 re-designated as Attack Squadron SIX A (VA-6A).
August 16, 1948, VA-6A re-designated Attack Squadron FIFTY FIVE (VA-55).
December 12, 1975, VA-55 dis-established.
Feb 1943 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Norfolk (Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Pungo)
Jul 1943 - - - - - - Hawaii
May 1944 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Alameda
Aug 1944 - - - - - - Naval Air Auxiliary Station Monterey
Oct 1944 - - - - - - Naval Air Auxiliary Station Santa Rosa
Feb 1945 - - - - - - Hawaii
Apr 1945 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Seattle
May 1945 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Klamath Falls
Sep 1945 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Pasco
Dec 1945 - - - - - - Naval Air Auxiliary Station Brown Field, Chula Vista
Mar 1946 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Barbers Point
May 1946 - - - - - - Naval Air Station San Diego
Mar 1952 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Miramar
Jan 1962 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Lemoore
Feb 15, 1943 - S* - - - - - CVG-5
Apr 23, 1951 - (X)† - - - - CVG-19
May 29, 1951 - B- - - - - - CVG-19
Sep 11, 1951 - W/NB‡- - - - ATG-2
Apr 01, 1958 - NF - - - - - CVG-5
Aug 18, 1958 - ND - - - - - ATG-4
Jan 19, 1959 - NF - - - - - CVG-5/CVW-5§
Jun 01, 1965 - NK - - - - - CVW-14
Feb 05, 1968 - NP - - - - - CVW-21
* December 12, 1946 the air group and squadron were assigned the tail code S.
† The squadron was assigned to Air Group 19X (X-ray), an air group based in Japan that replaced squadrons in Air Group 19 operating in Korean waters aboard the United States Ship Princeton CV 37.
‡ On July 24, 1956 ATG-2 was assigned the tail code letter W. The tail code was changed to NB in 1957.
§ On December 20, 1963 CVG-5 became CVW-5 when Carrier Air Group designations were changed to Carrier Air Wings.
Mar 1943: Grumman TBF-1 Avenger
Oct 1943: Grumman TBF-1C Avenger
Sep 1944: Grumman TBM-3 Avenger
Jun 1945: Grumman TBM-3E Avenger
Oct 1946: Grumman TBM-3Q Avenger
Mar 1947: Grumman TBM-3J Avenger
Jun 1949: Douglas AD-1 Skyraider
Oct 1949: Douglas AD-4 Skyraider
Jul 1954: Douglas AD-6 Skyraider
Dec 1956: Douglas AD-7 Skyraider
Nov 1957: North American FJ-4B Fury
Mar 1959: Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
Jan 1962: Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
Jul 1963: Douglas A-4E Skyhawk
Sep 1966: Douglas A-4C Skyhawk
Dec 1967: Douglas A-4F Skyhawk
* November 30, 1962
The A4D-2 designation was changed to A-4B
The A4D-2N designation was changed to A-4C
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
08/22/43 - 09/07/43 - CVG-5 - CV 10 - TBF-1--Pacific
09/27/43 - 10/11/43 - CVG-5 - CV 10 - TBF-1 --Pacific
11/10/43 - 12/09/43 - CVG-5 - CV 10 - TBF-1C -Pacific
01/16/44 - 05/11/44 - CVG-5 - CV 10 - TBF-1C --Pacific
03/03/45 - 03/19/45 - CVG-5 - CV 13 - TBF-3 --Pacific
03/31/47 - 06/16/47 - CVG-5 - CV 38 - TBM-3E/Q/J -WestPac
05/01/50 - 12/01/50 - CVG-5 - CV 45 - AD-4/4Q -WestPac/Korea
05/16/51 - 08/29/51 - CVG-19- CV 37 - AD-4/4Q/4W -WestPac/Korea
06/16/52 - 02/06/53 - ATG-2 - CVA 9 - AD-4/4B -WestPac/Korea
12/01/53 - 07/12/54 - ATG-2 - CVA 9 - AD-4/4B -WestPac
04/01/55 - 11/23/55 - ATG-2 - CVA 47 - AD-6 - WestPac
04/06/57 - 09/18/57 - ATG-2 - CVA 19 - AD-6/7 - WestPac
08/21/58 - 01/12/59 - ATG-4 - CVA 20 - FJ-4B -WestPac
03/06/60 - 10/11/60 - CVG-5 - CVA 14 - A4D-2 -WestPac
05/10/61 - 01/15/62 - CVG-5 - CVA 14 - A4D-2 -WestPac
07/25/62 - 09/17/62 - CVG-5 - CVA 64 - A4D-2 -SoLant/West Coast
01/03/63 - 07/15/63 - CVG-5 - CVA 14 - A-4C - WestPac
04/14/64 - 12/15/64 - CVW-5 - CVA 14 - A-4E -WestPac/Vietnam
12/10/65 - 08/26/66 - CVW-14 - CVA 61 - A-4E -WestPac/Vietnam
04/29/67 - 12/04/67 - CVW-14 - CVA 64 - A-4C -WestPac/Vietnam
07/18/68 - 03/03/69 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F - WestPac/Vietnam
08/02/69 - 04/15/70 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F -WestPac/Vietnam
10/22/70 - 06/03/71 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F -WestPac/Vietnam
01/07/72 - 10/03/72 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F -WestPac/Vietnam
05/08/73 - 01/08/74 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F -WestPac/IO
03/18/75 - 10/20/75 - CVW-21 - CV 19 - A-4F - WestPac
Feb 1943 - - - - - LCDR Richard Upson
Apr 1944 - - - - - LT. Andrew C. Lett (acting)
Jun 1944 - - - - - LCDR Allan C. Edmands
May 1945 - - - - - LT. Charles H. Carr (acting)
May 1945 - - - - - LCDR Tom B. Bash
Aug 1945 - - - - - LT. John D. Cornwell (acting)
Oct 1945 - - - - - LT. William L. Dodd (acting)
Oct 1945 - - - - - LCDR Allard G. Russell
Oct 1947 - - - - - LCDR William A. Rawls (acting)
Dec 1947 - - - - - CDR Charles H. Crabill, Jr.
Jan 1949 - - - - - LCDR Norman D. Hodson
Jan 1951 - - - - - LCDR A. L. Maltby, Jr.
Oct 1951 - - - - - LCDR L. W. Chick
Feb 1953 - - - - - LCDR Jack T. Dowler
Oct 1953 - - - - - LCDR R. J. Thompson
Aug 1954 - - - - - CDR Jack T. Dowler
Nov 1955 - - - - - CDR Franklin V. Bernhard
Mar 1957 - - - - - CDR Billy D. Holder
Feb 1958 - - - - - CDR D. H. Stinemates
Feb 1959 - - - - - CDR J. E. McQuary
Nov 1959 - - - - - CDR H. M. Richey
Nov 1960 - - - - - CDR Lloyd F. Cooper
Feb 1962 - - - - - CDR Earl F. Godfrey
May 1963 - - - - - CDR E. J. Lawrence
May 1964 - - - - - CDR H. Urban, Jr.
May 1965 - - - - - CDR J. E. Krimmel
Apr 1966 - - - - - CDR M. J. Chewning
Jun 1966 - - - - - CDR R. E. Holt (acting)
Aug 1966 - - - - - CDR R. E. Holt
Oct 1967 - - - - - CDR Robert E. Kirksey
Dec 1968 - - - - - CDR John F. Wellings
Sep 1969 - - - - - CDR Frederick W. Lawler
Mar 1970 - - - - - CDR Richard A. Hendricks
Jun 1971 - - - - - CDR Maurice D. Fitzgerald
Jun 1972 - - - - - CDR George J. Fenzil, Jr.
Jun 1973 - - - - - CDR P. M. Feran
Jun 1974 - - - - - CDR Almer C. Vold
01 Jul 1948 to 30 Jun 1949
01 Jul 1949 to 30 Jun 1950
1965 and 1966
02 Aug 1964 to 05 Aug 1964
11 Aug 1964 to 22 Sep 1964
07 Oct 1964 to 29 Oct 1964
02 Nov 1964 to 06 Nov 1964
21 Nov 1964 to 28 Nov 1964
02 Dec 1968 to 04 Dec 1968
30 Oct 1969
03 Jan 1970 to 08 Jan 1970
22 Feb 1970 to 25 Feb 1970
21 Aug 1969 to 31 Mar 1970
20 Nov 1970 to 07 Mar 1971
02 Aug 1964 to 05 Aug 1964
10 Jan 1966 to 06 Aug 1966
18 May 1967 to 26 Nov 1967
01 Aug 1968 to 22 Feb 1969
08 Feb 1972 to 14 Sep 1972
30 Mar 1972 to 15 Jul 1972
15 Jan 1966 to 12 Feb 1966
23 Feb 1966 to 22 Mar 1966
30 May 1966 to 30 Jun 1966
08 Jun 1967 to 11 Jun 1967
18 Jun 1967 to 25 Jul 1967
01 Aug 1967 to 03 Sep 1967
25 Sep 1967 to 15 Oct 1967
24 Oct 1967 to 12 Nov 1967
23 Aug 1968 to 04 Sep 1968
13 Sep 1968 to 15 Oct 1968
23 Oct 1968 to 28 Nov 1968
20 Dec 1968 to 15 Jan 1969
29 Jan 1969 to 10 Feb 1969
31 Aug 1969 to 24 Sep 1969
03 Oct 1969 to 27 Oct 1969
24 Nov 1969 to 17 Dec 1969
18 Jan 1970 to 11 Feb 1970
09 Mar 1970 to 26 Mar 1970
19 Nov 1970 to 08 Dec 1970
29 Dec 1970 to 15 Jan 1971
23 Jan 1971 to 31 Jan 1971
09 Mar 1971 to 10 Apr 1971
17 Apr 1971 to 04 May 1971
07 Feb 1972 to 09 Mar 1972
25 Mar 1972 to 02 May 1972
11 May 1972 to 01 Jun 1972
12 Jun 1972 to 14 Jul 1972
24 Jul 1972 to 17 Aug 1972
27 Aug 1972 to 14 Sep 1972
31 Aug 1943
05 Oct 1943 to 06 Oct 1943
19 Nov 1943 to 05 Dec 1943
29 Jan 1944 to 23 Feb 1944
29 Mar 1944 to 30 Apr 1944
31 Aug 1943
05 Oct 1943 to 06 Oct 1943
19 Nov 1943 to 04 Dec 1943
29 Jan 1944 to 08 Feb 1944
16 Feb 1944 to 17 Feb 1944
21 Feb 1944 to 22 Feb 1944
30 Mar 1944 to 01 Apr 1944
21 Apr 1944 to 24 Apr 1944
29 Apr 1944 to 01 May 1944
17 Mar 1945 to 19 Mar 1945
27 Jun 1950 to 03 Nov 1950
29 May 1951 to 16 Aug 1951
26 Jul 1952 to 25 Jan 1953
27 Jun 1950 to 03 Nov 1950
29 May 1951 to 16 Aug 1951
26 Jul 1952 to 25 Jan 1953
February 15, 1943: VGS-30 was disestablished and personnel were used to form VT-5 and VF-1.
March 1943: VT-5 was assigned the Grumman TBF-1 Avenger.
July 6 to 24, 1943: VT-5 departed Norfolk embarked in USS Yorktown CV 10, enroute to Hawaii via the Panama Canal.
August 31, 1943: Embarked in USS Yorktown CV 10, VT-5 participated in a raid on Marcus Island.
October 5 and 6, 1943: VT-5 participated in a raid on Wake Island.
November through December 1943: VT-5 supported landings on Makin and Tarawa, in the Gilberts, and flew strikes against Kwajalein in the Marshalls.
January 1944: VT-5 provided air support for the invasion of the Marshalls.
February 16 to 17, 1944: VT-5 aircraft flew strikes against the Japanese stronghold of Truk.
February 22, 1944: VT-5 participated in a raid on the Marianas, striking targets on Saipan.
March 30 and 31, 1944: VT-5 aircraft struck ships and facilities at Palau in the Caroline Islands. The strike on 30 March was the first time the squadron's TBFs used torpedoes in combat.
April 21 to 23, 1944: VT-5 flew strikes against targets on Wake Island and Hollandia in New Guinea. These operations were in support of the landings at Hollandia by General Douglas MacArthur's forces.
April 29, and 30, 1944: VT-5 participated in another strike operation against Truk.
April 30, 1944: VT-5's commanding officer, LCdr. Dick Upson, failed to return from a SAR mission to locate a downed pilot.
May 14, 1944: Following a ten-month combat tour beginning in August 1943, Air Group 5 was relieved aboard USS Yorktown CV 10, by Air Group 1 and returned to CONUS to reform on 25 June 1944.
February 07 to 13 February 1945: VT-5 traveled from NAS Alameda to Hawaii, aboard the USS Franklin (CV 13).
March 19, 1945: VT-5 was preparing to launch its aircraft for an attack against the city of Kobe, Japan, when the USS Franklin CV 13, was hit by two enemy bombs from a Japanese aircraft. Fires were ignited on the second and third decks from the first bomb and the second triggered munitions on the carrier. All VT-5's aircraft on the flight and hangar deck were destroyed by the ensuing explosions and fire. The damage was one of the most extensive experienced by an Essex class carrier during World War II. A total of 724 men were killed and 265 wounded. VT-5's commanding officer, LCdr Edmands, was lost in the action. All surviving VT-5 personnel were transferred from Franklin and returned to CONUS.
November 15, 1946: VT-5 redesignated as Attack Squadron SIX A (VA-6A).
August 16 1948: VA-6A redesignated Attack Squadron FIFTY FIVE (VA-55).
June 1949: VA-55 was assigned the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider.
July 3, 1950: Participated in the first combat strikes by carrier aircraft against the North Koreans. The squadron flew its AD-4 Skyraiders on strikes against airfields, supply lines and transportation facilities in and around Pyongyang, North Korea. This was also the first use of the AD Skyraider in combat.
September 12, 1950: Pre-invasion strikes against targets in and around Inchon and Seoul, Korea, began in preparation for the landing at Inchon.
September 15, 1950: Strikes were flown to support the landings at Inchon.
May 16, 1951: All VA-55 personnel, except 16 officers and 5 enlisted men, embarked USNS General William Weigel (TAP 119) enroute to Japan for duty with Air Group 19 aboard USS Princeton CV 37. The remainder of the personnel were airlifted to Japan on 17 May.
May 29, 1951: VA-55 embarked on USS Princeton CV 37, replaced VA-195 in Air Group 19, and proceeded to Korea for combat operations.
March 1954: The squadron was deployed to the Western Pacific aboard USS Essex (CVA 9) when the carrier was ordered to operate off the coast of Vietnam during the Viet Minh's assault against the French at Dien Bien Phu.
July through September 1957: Operated intermittently off the coast of Taiwan due to the build-up of Chinese Communist forces and the threat of a possible invasion of Taiwan or its offshore islands.
November 1957: The War horses were assigned the North American FJ-4B Fury.
September 1958: Operated in the Formosa Straits during the Chinese Communist shelling of Quemoy and Matsu.
March 1959: VA-55 was assigned the Douglas A4D-2 / A-4B Skyhawk.
August 10, 1959: Lt Carlos G. Font . . . 1014 Commenced operating aircraft for carrier qualifications. 1015 When the starboard catapult failed to fire properly, A4D BUAER #142951 of VA-55, crashed into the sea off the starboard bow and sank in 660 fathoms of water. 1016 Ceased operating aircraft. 1025 The pilot of the aircraft LT Carlos G. Font was recovered by rescue helicopter and returned on board. Report of injuries to follow. 1227 Received report of in the case of LT C.G. Font. Diagnosis: simple fracture of the middle phalanx of the left little finger, contusion of the left knee and over anterior calf. Treatment administered by the medical officer. Disposition: Admitted to ward and placed on binnacle list. USS Oriskany deck log, Tuesday, 1 September 1959.
June 9, 1960: Cdr. Samuel J. Brocato (VA-55 XO) was lost at sea when his aircraft (A4D-2 BuNo 145018) was struck by a drop tank from a VF-51 F4D Skyray. The units were practicing for an airshow for President Eisenhower during his visit to Formosa. The air group was conducting an aerial demonstration consisting of four plane divisions from four squadrons, The F4D's lead off by firing rockets from Aero 6A pods followed by A4D's with 250-pound bombs and then AD's and A4D's with rockets. The F4D's fired their rockets followed by the first A4D division and each division then made a climbing left turn to reverse course. The A4D's proceeded to close the interval so at the completion of the turn they were in a parade formation 300 yards astern and 150 feet below the F4D's. At 2800 feet and 325 knots the following radio transmissions broke the silence: Stand by to drop hung ordnance; A4D's are behind us; Stand by to drop pods; Stand by -- Drop. Before a warning could be shouted the F4D's dropped their empty rocket pods which came tumbling through the A4D flight and one struck the A4D division leaders' plane squarely on the windshield shattering the canopy. The plane made two complete rolls to the right turned inverted and plunged into the ocean. Charles B. Howard was on CDR Brocato's right wing when the incident occurred. Charles B. Howard - August 2006. NAN Grampaw Pettibone, November 1960. 1655 A4D Bureau Number 145018 crashed in 2200 fathoms of water at latitude 15-08.4N longitude 118-36E. The pilot, Cdr. Samuel Joseph Bracato was not recovered and presumed dead. 1800 Discontinued search, results negative. USS Ticonderoga deck log, Thursday, 9 June 1960.
June 27, 1960: Lt.(jg). Robert R. Smiley, 27, ejected safely and another pilot is missing after their Skyhawks (A4D-2 BuNo 145019 & 145009) crashed into Mt. Kashimayari in the Japan Alps near Omachi in Nagano Prefecture about 8:40 a.m. Monday. Both pilots were on a low-level navigational flight from Atsugi when they encountered a heavy rainstorm. Search aircraft and helicopters were dispatched to the scene Monday afternoon but were unable to land because of bad weather. Pacific Stars and Stripes, Wednesday, 29 June 1960.
August 17, 1961: Lt.(jg) R.L. Nicholis in A4D-2 BuNo 142932 crashed into the sea off the starboard bow at Lat. 15-25'N, Lon. 119-21'E and sank in 1500 fathoms of water. Pilot presumed dead following fruitless search. USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) Deck Log, Thursday, 17 August 1961
October 30 and 31, 1962: Participated in cross deck operations on HMS Victorious (R 38) in the South China Sea.
April 1963: USS Ticonderoga, with VA-55 embarked, deployed to the South China Sea following several defeats of neutralist forces by the Communists in Laos. After a cease-fire agreement was arranged, the ship resumed normal Seventh Fleet operations on 5 May.
May 2, 1963: Lt(jg). Frederick W. Hamilton was rescued uninjured from the wreckage of his A-4C BuNo 149602 by Airmen Arnold M. Steele and Gary L. Booker after Hamilton attempted an emergency landing aboard the USS Ticonderoga while it was operating in the South China Sea. The plane struck the stern of the ship, slid up the flight deck and came to rest in a mass of flames. US Armed Forces, Pacific Stars and Stripes, Tuesday, May 7, 1963. Lt(jg). F.W. Hamilton made an emergency landing (barricade rigged at 1859) in VA-55 A-4B #508 due to cracked landing gear, crashed into the barricade and burst into flames at 1912. Pilot sustained no injuries. Damage to aircraft: major. Received injury report on Lt(jg). F.W. Hamilton involved in barrier landing. examination revealed only superficial bruise on left shin at 2012. Patient retained in sickbay for rest and sedation. USS Ticonderoga deck log, 02 May 1963.
April 14, 1964, to December 15, 1964: VA-55 flying the A-4E Skyhawk deployed with CVW-5 to WestPac on USS Ticonderoga, CVS-14 for the Warhorses first combat cruise to Vietnam.
July through September 1964: Participated in special Yankee Team operations involving missions over Laos and South Vietnam.
August 2 and 4, 1964: The squadron flew air support for USS Maddox (DD 731) and USS Turner Joy (DD 951) while the destroyers were on Desoto Patrol missions (intelligence collection missions begun in 1962) off the coast of North Vietnam.
August 5, 1964: VA-55's Skyhawks participated in operation Pierce Arrow, retaliatory strikes against the North Vietnamese. Along with other aircraft from CVG-5, they were part of the mission that struck the Vinh oil storage facility. Ninety percent of the complex was destroyed.
August 19, 1964: Lcdr. Richard A. Mauldin crashed into the sea off the starboard bow in VA-55 A-4E BuNo 150033 at latitude 15-12N longitude 110-50E in 500 fathoms of water at 1608. Pilot recovered by helicopter and returned to the ship at 1610. Received injury report on LCdr Mauldin upon ejecting from an A-4E after takeoff from the Ticonderoga. Diagnosis separation of the right sacroiliac, pubic symphysis, and left acromioclavicular joints at 1851. USS Ticonderoga deck log, 19 August 1964.
October through November 1964: The squadron continued to operate from USS Ticonderoga off the coast of South Vietnam and participated in special Yankee Team operations, flying missions over South Vietnam.
November 23, 1964: Cdr. Henry Urban Jr., VA-55 CO, ejected safely and was rescued when his A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 151037) crashed into the China Sea Monday after an engine failure during routine operations. Reno Evening Gazette, November 25, 1964. Pilot bailed out on the starboard side forward of the ship, Lat. 15-45.5, Long. 110-16, 305 feet of water at 1442. Pilot hit the water at 1445. Pilot Cdr. H. Urban Jr. VA-55 was recovered in good condition. USS Ticonderoga deck log, 23 November 1964.
December 10, 1965, to August 26, 1966: VA-55 flying the A-4E Skyhawk deployed with CVW-14 to WestPac on USS Ranger, CVA-61 for the Warhorses second combat cruise to Vietnam.
January 25, 1966: LCdr. Ted F. Koffman ejected and was rescued due to a bad cat shot. 0609 hours A4E, Bureau No. 152021 of VA-55, Pilot LCdr Ted F. Koffman crashed into the sea off the starboard bow at Latitude 16-40.5 N, Longitude 108-24.4E, and sank in 50 fathoms of water. 0612 Carpenter (DD-825, Sproston (DD-577) and helicopter commenced search for pilot... Pilot detected by Carpenter, recovered by helo at 0623 and returned on board. Injuries to pilot: multiple abrasions to legs, hands and forehead; treated and released to duty. USS Ranger deck log, Tuesday, 25 January 1966.
January 31, 1966: LCdr. Sylvester G. Chumley ejected and was rescued by a USN helicopter after his A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 152066 side number NK 407) was hit by AAA, became uncontrollable, and went down in the South China Sea a mile off the coast of North Vietnam. His flight was attacking a ferry crossing at the Kien Giang River south of Dong Hoa and he was making his third pass under a low cloud base dropping CBU-2 cluster bombs.
March 1, 1966: Lt(jg). David Joseph Woloszyk launched as the number two aircraft (A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 152057 side number NK 401) in a flight of four on an armed reconnaissance mission and disappeared after losing contact with his flight leader in poor visibility shortly after crossing the coast about 40 miles SE of Vinh. He reported that he was climbing above the cloud base and had sighted another section of Skyhawks and was going to join them. The leader then climbed above the cloud base and neither he nor the other section of Skyhawks saw Woloszyk. No sign of him or his aircraft were found despite an intensive three-day search.
April 23, 1966: LCdr. C.A. Gray ejected from his Skyhawk (BuNo 152025 side number NK 404) at 2,000 and was rescued by a U.S. Army helicopter after loss of flight controls while pulling out from a bombing run on a VC concentration in the Mekong Delta.
April 30, 1966: Lt. J.S. Buzby ejected from A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151145 side number NK 406 and was rescued by a USAF helicopter off the coast near Da Nang. Following a successful armed rec. mission over Laos he was returning to the carrier at a high altitude when his oil pressure began to drop. He commenced a shallow descent towards DaNang when the engine started to come apart.
May 2, 1966: LCdr. Walter Sutton Wood ejected from A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151034, side number NK 412, and was killed while returning from an armed rec. mission and made an attack on Hon Ngu island off the coast near Vinh as he had one rocket left in a LAU-3 pod. His parachute was observed to come down in the sea near the island, but he was not seen to move or seperate from his chute and his body disappeared beneath the surface 10 minutes after he ejected. Rocket disintegration was suspected.
June 1, 1966: Warhorse A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151057 was lost in an operational accident. Lt. J.J. Connell ejected and was rescued after he was catapulted from the Ranger on an armed reconnaissance mission. 1619 Lt. J.J. Connell piloting A-4C (sic) BuNo 151057 went in the water on launch. Captain assumed the conn. Maneuvered to avoid the pilot in the water. The pilot was picked up in about three minutes by helo. Pilot appeared to be uninjured. Aircraft sank in 42 fathoms at 17-37.6N, 107-08.8E. USS Ranger deck log, 1 June 1966.
June 3, 1966: The squadron's CO, Cdr. M. J. Chewning, while on a mission over North Vietnam, lost the use of his left arm due to a shrapnel hit. He continued his mission, striking a road target, and then returned to the carrier, making a one-handed carrier landing. For his exploits he was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
June 15, 1966: LCdr. T.F. Kopfman flying A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 152063 side number NK 403 was shot down by AAA anti-aircraft over North Vietnam. Commander Kopfman ejected and was captured and made Prisoner-Of-War by the North Vietnamese. Commander Kopfman was awarded the Silver Star, in absentia, for his actions over North Vietnam. He was released by North Vietnam and returned to the United States in 1973.
July 15, 1966: Lt. J. Connell flying A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151024 side number NK 410 was shot down by AAA anti-aircraft over North Vietnam. Lt. Connell ejected and was captured and made Prisoner-Of-War by the North Vietnamese. Lt. Connell was killed by the North Vietnamese while in captivity.
July 24, 1966: Lt. E.I. Foss ejected and was rescued by a Navy helicopter three miles offshore after his Skyhawk (A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150040 side number NK 415) was hit by ground fire 10 miles W of Mu Ron Ma. Lt. Foss saw fire warning and hydraulic failure lights and headed out to sea. His wingman reported fire in the port wing root area and as the fire progressed the controls began to freeze. Lt. Foss put the aircraft into a climb and ejected as it began to roll left.
April 29, 1967 to December 4, 1967: VA-55 flying the A-4C Skyhawk deployed with CVW-14 to WestPac on USS Constellation CVA-64 for the Warhorses third combat cruise to Vietnam. VA-55 did not lose any aircraft in combat this tour.
August 2, 1967: LCdr William M. Shewchuk ejected from VA-55 A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149632 No. 500 following launch. 1013 hours received report of downed aircraft 5 miles, bearing 080 from USS Constellation and was recovered by USS Forrest Royal (DD 872). USS Constellation deck log - Wednesday, 2 August, 1967.
1968-75: VA-55 A-4F assigned to the USS Hancock. VA-55 was on the Hancock with "Foxtrots" in 68, 69, 70, 72, 73 and 75.
July 18, 1968 to March 3, 1969: VA-55 flying the A-4F Skyhawk deployed with CVW-21 to WestPac on USS Hancock, CVA-19 for the Warhorses fourth combat cruise to Vietnam.
September 23, 1968: LCdr. Dale H. Osborne ejected from A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155015, side number NP 507, and became a POW. He was hit in the cockpit by a 37mm shell while pulling up after attacking a barge in a heavily defended area 10 miles north of Vinh with ZUNI rockets. Shrapnel from the rocket shredded his left leg and he was unable to control the aircraft.
September 28, 1968: Lt. D.J. Wright flying A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155011, side number NP 511, was rescued by USS Turner HC-7 Seadevils Det. 110 SH-3A Sea King 12 miles, 45⁰ from Vinh, five miles off shore, seven miles off Hon Matt Island, three miles Hon Ngu Island. He was hit by 37mm AAA at 4,000 feet as he was pulling up after attacking the Tam Da railway bypass 11 mile north of Vinh. The aircraft began to stream fuel, a large hole was observed near the port wing root and the engine flamed out as he crossed the coast.
July 13, 1969: A-4F BuNo 155004 was damaged in an accident and was stricken. No info as to the who, what, where or why.
August 2, 1969 to April 15, 1970: VA-55 flying the A-4F Skyhawk deployed with CVW-21 to WestPac on USS Hancock, CVA-19 for the Warhorses fifth combat cruise to Vietnam.
March 14, 1970: Lt(jg). Peter A. Schranz ejected from A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155035, side number NP 501, and was rescued the following morning by a USAF helicopter with no injuries after he was hit by 37mm AAA during a night attack on a target near Ban Kate in southern Laos. I happened to be on the ship when it happened. In fact, it was my first tour and had only been with 55 for a few days. From Denny Sapp. 2116 hours A-4 aircraft 501 failed to report back to ship. Pilot Lt(jg). Peter Schranz. Injuries to pilot unknown. USS Hancock deck log, 14 March 1967.
October 22, 1970 to June 3, 1971: VA-55 flying the A-4F Skyhawk deployed with CVW-21 to WestPac on USS Hancock, CVA-19 for the Warhorses sixth combat cruise to Vietnam. VA-55 had no operational or combat losses this cruise.
January 7, 1972 to October 3, 1972: VA-55 flying the A-4F Skyhawk deployed with CVW-21 to WestPac on USS Hancock, CVA-19 for the Warhorses seventh combat cruise to Vietnam.
March 8, 1972: Cdr. George J. Fenzil, Jr. (CO) ejected and was rescued when his Navy A-4 Skyhawk (A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 154205) fighter-bomber crashed Wednesday 12 miles northwest of the Da Nang air base because of mechanical reasons.Long Beach, CA, Press-Telegram, Long Beach, Thursday, March 9, 1972. He ejected short of Da Nang with 3,000 pounds of trapped fuel but wrote it off as a combat loss according to Denny Sapp. Cdr. George J. Fenzel ejected and was rescued by a USAF helicopter 12 miles NW of Da Nang after his Skyhawk was hit by AAA on his sixth bombing run on a Steel Tiger strike. Hobson.
April 1972: The squadron participated in Operation Freedom Train, tactical air sorties against military and logistic targets in the southern part of North Vietnam. It also provided close air support for forces in South Vietnam following a massive invasion by North Vietnam.
May 1972: Participated in the early phase of operation Linebacker I, heavy air strikes against targets in North Vietnam.
May 27, 1972: Lt. Thomas B. Latendresse ejected from A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155048, side number NP 512, 15 mile S of Vinh and was captured when his Skyhawk was hit in the port wing by AAA while pulling up from an attack on a flak site. He ejected about 14 miles south of Vinh and suffered severe injuries during the ejection.
May 27, 1972: Lt. Jack J. Zerr ejected from A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 154197, NP 502, and was rescued when the engine failed on launch. 1714 Plane in the water port side. Ships position 18-47.8N 107-26.3 W. Water depth 30 fathoms. Aircraft was an A-4. 1714 Pilot LT J.J. Zerr recovered in safe condition. USS Hancock deck log, 27 May 1972. Warhorse NP 502 was the replacement a/c for 502 lost on 08 March 1972 while flown by CDR Fenzil. No other aircraft was assigned side number 502 while Cdr. Fenzil was in command. Charles H. Trotter AO2 VA-55 1970-73.
July 11, 1972: LCdr. Henry D. Lesesne ejected and was captured when his A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155046, side number NP 501, was hit by a SA-2 missile during an Iron Hand mission attacking a SAM site near the Red River 20 mile SW of Hai Duong. LCdr. Lesesne had received a SAM warning and was diving in a split S maneuver at 11,00 feet when he was hit and flames engulfed the tail section and the aircraft began rolling uncontrollably.
March 6, 1973: Lt. Bill Harmon was bingoed to NALF San Clemente in A-4F BuNo 154210, ran out of fuel, ejected, and spent 3 hours in the water, at night, before the helo found him unhurt. From Denny Sapp. A4 pilot down in water, approximate position 32-58N, 118.52W, at 2000. Recovered pilot aboard by helo 006 at 2115. Pilot was Lt. Harmon and superficially and unofficially appears unhurt. USS Hancock, Deck Log, Tuesday, March 6, 1973. USS Hancock, Deck Log (cont.), Tuesday, March 6, 1973. The pilot commenced his approach to the ship but was waved off for being low and slow. During the second approach the carrier entered a rain shower and he was waved off again and told to rendezvous with the A-3 tanker and proceed to the divert field. The ship directed the two aircraft to tank at 5,000 feet: however, there were clouds at 5,000 feet, so the Skyhawk was directed to proceed to the bingo field and tank enroute. As the Skyhawk continued to climb to 30,000 feet it's fuel state was approaching a critical condition. Upon reaching 30,000 feet the Skyhawk commenced an idle descent and finally spotted the tanker. While attempting to plug-in in rough weather the A-4 flamed out due to fuel starvation. The pilot ejected and was picked up by the ship's helo. NAN, Pettibone, July 1973. I think it was just a night CQ evolution, but Billy got stacked over the ship and was running low on fuel. He asked to bingo and was told to standby. He was finally vectored to an A-3 tanker which wasn’t where they thought it was. Then he was vectored back overhead to plug the A-3. By this time, he was down to 500 lbs. or so. He’d never plugged an A-3 before, the basket wasn’t lit and was swinging around, and he couldn’t make contact. He broke off and headed to NALF San Clemente but flamed out in route. He spent quite a while in his raft before they picked him up and was suffering from hypothermia when they finally got him back aboard. Denny Sapp.
A-4 time was mostly "F"s from 1969-1977. Squadrons were VA-55 1970-72, China Lake 1973-1974, Blue Angel Solo Pilot 1975-76.
Attack Pilot's Creed
I will do my utmost to impress those around me that single-handedly I almost destroyed the Than Hoa bridge.
When amongst other pilots, I promise to use such terms as Rockeye, Shrike, Walleye, and if ladies are present, shall occasionally in a solemn, but nonetheless casual manner, say "Nuke".
I shall always approach the bar whenever crowded and loudly state that although I may never be able to win a hassle, no one will ever get a shot at me.
I shall never give succor or carry-on long conversations with civilians, old ladies, or fighter pilots.
When a fighter pilot approaches my table, I promise to chug my drink, eat my glass, and while his back is turned, tell my date that he has VD.
I promise never to let other pilots forget that off the Cat I must descend to cruising altitude, that I can attack Russia undetected and that I have more Air Medals than I care to mention.
Whenever in the presence of fighter pilots I shall scoff at night carrier landings and fuel conservation.
After every bombing mission I promise to confirm my wingman's secondaries and to swear that a span was dropped. If SAM's were fired I shall debrief that it was not necessary for the fighters to break because the missiles were obviously unguided. Upon return to the ship I will make every effort to enter the break ahead of a section of fighters, and dump fuel all the way to the 180.
While taxiing clear of the gear I promise to casually place my right arm on the canopy railing and frequently use my left to wave at pilots walking to the island.
With these objectives in mind, I shall terrorize the bars of WESTPAC and one day, just for the hell of it, I'll split from 50,000 feet and go supersonic.
May 8, 1973 to January 8, 1974: VA-55 flying the A-4F Skyhawk deployed with CVW-21 to WestPac on USS Hancock, CVA-19 for the Warhorses eighth combat cruise to Vietnam.
June 1973: Missions were flown in support of Operation End Sweep, the clearing of mines in the territorial waters of North Vietnam.
October 1973: With the outbreak of war between Israel, Egypt and Syria, the USS Hancock CVA 19, with VA-55 embarked, was directed to leave Yankee Station and operate in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden.
May 1, 1974: During a night round robin from NAS Lemoore, Bill Harmon in A-4F BuNo 155067 and Chuck Hastings took off in a two-plane and they’d barely gotten airborne when Billy’s engine started coming apart. He turned down wind and made an approach back to 32R. There was a four-plane of A-7’s holding short watching his approach and telling him he was on fire. He tried to add some power, but it had no effect except to make the flame out the back longer. I think he hit the overrun and collapsed the gear then ruptured the fuel tanks which created a great fireball, but the plane slid out of the fire on down the runway and came to a stop and he crawled out ok. Maintenance found a pair of safety-wire pliers in the intake. The CSD had just been serviced before flight. Denny Sapp. 155067 was transferred to NARF, NAS Pensacola, FL and was stricken 07 April 1977 with code 1S0. John Gabbard
December 12, 1975: Attack Squadron FIFTY-FIVE (VA-55) was disestablished at Naval Air Station Lemoore.
REFLECTIONS OF A "RARE BIRD"
1958: One Fury of VA-55, aboard CVA-33 in 1958, is about to launch on the port cat, and another is maneuvering forward to the starboard one. You can just make out the NF tail code on the nearest jet. Rick Albert, Ships Company provided photo. Rick worked the cat bridles.
1958: FJ-4B Fury of VA-55 (tail code NF) on the aft starboard elevator and an old-style "Angel" helicopter partially hidden by a radio antenna. Hard tell if it is a Dragonfly or Retriever. This was taken in the spring of 1958, possibly from the Surface Aft lookout station aboard USS Kearsarge, CVA-33. Rick Albert.
1959: VA-55 Warhorses A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 142931, NF-505, next to VA-113 A4D-2 BuNo 142858. MCAAS Yuma, 03 December 1959. Photo by W.L. Swisher.
01 APR 1962: China Lake: VA-55 Warhorse pilots at China Lake. back row: LCDR Fuller, LCDR Fenton, CDR Godfrey, LTJG Sproat, LTJG Powelson, LCDR Clarke; front row: LT Schmidt, LTJG Thomas, LT Cook, LT Peters, LTJG Gunter & LTJG Madden. Navy Photo.
1962 Lemoore: Warhorses ground crew prepares to turn up a Skyhawk NF-505 after a maintenance check at Lemoore. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1962 Ticonderoga: Chief McAnaly inspects J-65 work in hangar bay #3 aboard the Tico. Naval Aviation News Photo.
03 DEC 1962 Lemoore: Warhorses Skyhawk BuNo 149551, NF-500, as LTJG L.O. Cox exits after taxiing into the high speed refueling pits. U.S. Navy photo by PHC J.E. Eldridge.
1963: BuNo.150032, right side in flight view of Warhorses Skyhawk NF-502, with a pair of drop tanks and a Bullpup missile. Courtesy of Tom Bispo.
1963: Warhorse A-4C Skyhawks BuNos. 149608 and 149551. A VA-55 section, with Lieutenant Junior Grade Bob Krall in A-4C BuNo. 149608 side number NF 503 on the wing of A-4C BuNo. 149551 side number NF 00, flies past United States Ship Ticonderoga (CVA 14) during the CVG-5 WestPac cruise from January 3, to July 15, 1963. Photograph by RF-8 Crusader probably from VFP-62 via Bob Krall.
1962-1963: VA-55 Warhorse A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149494, NF-507, trapping aboard an unknown carrier. U.S. Navy photo via Tom Bispo.
18 JAN 1963 Tico: Warhorse Skyhawk landing on board, after a simulated strike on "enemy" forces during an operational readiness inspection. A VAH-4 A-3 & VF-54 F-3 are parked at left & another A-3 is in the upper left making its approach. US Navy Photo, Gary Verver.
18JAN63: VA-55 Warhorses A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149489, NF-505, BuNo unknown NF-508, BuNo 149551, NF-00, BuNo 149608, NF-503, and VA-56 Champions A-4B (probably BuNo 144974) NF-407, USS Ticonderoga, CVA-14, CVG-5 WestPac cruise, 03 January to 15 July 1963. Joe Trupen
16 SEP 1963: Warhorses Skyhawk BuNo 150032, NF-502, with Bullpup missiles on the the outboard pylons and an MBER with six iron bombs on the centerline. Douglas Aircraft.
1963-64 Lemoore: right side view of Warhorses Skyhawk BuNo 150039, NF-509, parked next to Lemoores R4D. Photographer Unknown.
1964: A VA-55 Warhorse A-4 "leads the way" as she is launched from the U.S.S. Ticonderoga. Navy Photo from Gary Verver.
1964: VA-55 Warhorses A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150035, NF-508, from Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5) aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) in-flight refueling Royal Navy De Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.1 s/n XN694 of 893 Naval Air Squadron assigned to the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (R38), 14 April to 15 December 1964. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1964: VA-55 Warhorses A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo unknown) NF-507 in formation with VA-56 Champions A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo unknown) NF-409. Photographer unknown.
DEC 65 - AUG 66: Four Skyhawks aboard CVA-61 during DEC65-AUG66 WestPac Cruise. A-4E BuNo 150088, NK-413; and NK-415 and NK-401.
VA-55 A-4E being manned, pilot unknown.
A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 152066, NK-407, tied down aboard the USS Ticonderoga, 1965-1966. Photo from Plane Captain Jim Kirwan.
Closeup of VA-55 NK-407 showing Plane Captain names.
Warhorse insignia on a VA-55 A-4E. Photos from Jim Kirwan.
USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) and CVW-5 (NF) aircraft including VA-56 Champions A-4E Skyhawks and VA-55 Warhorses A-4E Skyhawks, 1964-1966. The Air Group squadrons/aircraft were VF-51 Screaming Eagles F-8E Crusaders, VF-53 Iron Angels F-8E Crusaders, VA-52 Knightriders A-1H Skyraiders, VA-56 Champions A-4E Skyhawks, VA-55 Warhorses A-4E Skyhawks, VAH-4 Four Runners Det. B A-3B Skywarriors, VFP-63 Eyes of the Fleet Det. B RF-8A Crusaders, VAW-11 Early Elevens Det. B E-1B Tracers and HU-1 Pacific Fleet Angels Det. B UH-2A Seasprites.
VA-146 BuNo 147768 NK-615 trapping, with VA-55 NK-401 on deck. Photos from Jim Kirwan.
1966: USS Ranger (CVA-61) with aircraft from CVW-14 (NK) including VF-142 Ghostriders F-4B Phantoms, VF-143 Pukin Dogs F-4B Phantoms, VA-145 Swordsmen A-1H Skyraiders, VA-146 Blue Diamonds A-4C Skyhawks, VA-55 Warhorses A-4E Skyhawks, RVAH-9 RA-5C Vigilantes, VAH-2 Royal Rampants Det F A-3B Skywarriors, VAW-11 Early Elevens Det F E-2A Hawkeyes, HC-1 Fleet Angels Unit F UH-2A/B Seasprites, VQ-1 Det EA-3B Skywarriors and VAP-61 World Recorders Det RA-3B Skywarriors, 1965-1966.
AUG 1966: Warhorses Skyhawk insignia on one of the squadrons A-4F's. Nick Williams.
1967 SE Asia: Warhorses Skyhawk BuNo 147678, NK-500, parked on the ramp with damage to the vertical fin.
1967 SE Asia: Warhorses insignia on Skyhawk BuNo 147678, NK-500. U.S. Navy.
1967: BuNo 149523 as she recovers aboard an unknown carrier. Tailhook Association.
1967: BuNo 149558, a VA-55 Warhorse bringing some "packages" to the enemy up north.
1967: A-4C BuNo 149508? NK-500, USS Kitty Hawk, CVA-63, 1967.
1968: BuNo 154977, NP-513, parked on the ramp. Photo by B. Trombecky, G. Verver collection.
1968 - 1975: Three CVG-21 VA-55 Warhorses A-4F Skyhawks NP-501, NP-504, and unknown from the USS Hancock (CVA-19) dumping fuel with their hooks down, 1968-1975. Official U.S. Navy from the Tailhook Association.
MAY 1968: Right rear view of VA-55 Warhorses TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo 154336, NP-596, on the ramp, NAS Lemoore, May 1968. Copyright R.W. Harrison.
1968: newly aquired F model Skyhawks over the Sierras. From top: NP-582, NP-581, NP-583 and NP-584. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1968: Warhorse officers who earned awards for action during the 1967 Constellation war cruise pose in front of an unknown squadron Skyhawk. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1968: Westpac deployment aboard the Hancock, three Warhorse Skyhawks fly over the carried in San Francisco Bay. Top to bottom are probably NP-581, NP-583 & NP-584. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1968-69: although it looks like this deck crewman has found a way to beat the cold, he was caught off guard when this unknown Warhorse Skyhawk, NP-517, made an unexpected turn. Naval Aviation News Photo.
LT Neal Evans (LDO)was the Maintenance Officer with the Warhorses in the 1968-69 time-frame during the Hancock WestPac. LT Canup was with the Warhorses in the 1968 time-frame. Fred Rhodes, ATC with the Warhorses 1967 to 1970.
1975: CVA-19 Flight Deck crowded with Skyhawks. VA-55 Warhorses A-4F Skyhawks NP-5xx, VA-164 Ghost Riders A-4F Skyhawks BuNo 155027, 155025, 155026 (NP-400) and 154971 and VA-212 Rampant Raiders A-4F Skyhawks NP-302, NP-314, NP-311 and NP-312. USN Photo via Boom Powell.
1968 or later: BuNo 155010, VA-55 NP-500, on the ramp.
1968 or later: Skyhawk BuNo 155010, NP-500, parked on the ramp. Jim Brady
1968 or later: Skyhawk BuNo 155037, NP-513, parked on the flightline. Jim Brady.
1968-1969: A-4F Skyhawk NP-5xx being catapulted from the USS Hancock. VA-55 was on the Hancock 18 July 1968 to 3 March 1969 on a WestPac Cruise. From Clark Wilson by CVW-21 pilot.
1968-1969: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155017, NP-507, on the catapult with a Snakeye on stations 1 and 5 and 2 Snakeyes on TER's on stations 2 and 4. VA-55 was on the Hancock 18 July 1968 to 3 March 1969 on a WestPac Cruise. From Clark Wilson by CVW-21 pilot.
1968-1969: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155017, NP-507, trapping aboard the USS Hancock with empty TER's on stations 1, 3 and 5. VA-55 was on the Hancock 18 July 1968 to 3 March 1969 on a WestPac Cruise. From Clark Wilson by CVW-21 pilot.
1968-1969: A-4F Skyhawk NJ-510 over the USS New Jersey with ZUNI FFAR's on stations 4 and 5. VA-55 was on the Hancock 18 July 1968 to 3 March 1969 on a WestPac Cruise. From Clark Wilson by CVW-21 pilot.
1968-1969: A-4F Skyhawk NJ-512 trapping aboard the USS Hancock with empty TER's on stations 1, 3 and 5. VA-55 was on the Hancock 18 July 1968 to 3 March 1969 on a WestPac Cruise. From Clark Wilson by CVW-21 pilot.
1968-1969: A-4F Skyhawk NJ-512 taxiing to the cat. VA-55 was on the Hancock 18 July 1968 to 3 March 1969 on a WestPac Cruise. From Clark Wilson by CVW-21 pilot.
1968 or later: A-4F Skyhawk NP-515 aboard the Hanna. VA-55 was on the Hancock 18 July 1968 to 20 October 1975 on 6 WestPac Cruises. Randy Wilson.
1968-69: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155017, NP 507, of CVW-21 in the shadow of Hancock's island during the July 18, 1968 to March 8, 1969 combat cruise. The AT is doing maintenance on the ECM "ALQ" in the "Hump." The squadron deployed with a new ECM receiver (APR-25) that gave audio and visual indicators of radar controlled threats. David Weber ATN2.
1968-69: A-4F Akyhawk BuNo 155017, NP-507, waits behind Hancock's JBD (jet blast defector) for its turn on the catapult. The A-4E Skyhawk on the catapult is with VA-163. These Skyhawks are going to war. David Weber.
1969-70: VA-55 Warhorse over the Gulf of Tonkin.
Warhorses and Ghost Riders Skyhawks line the Hanna's deck edge. L-r: VA-55 NP-514, VA-164 NP-412, NP-402, NP-411 and Lady Jessie NP-401. Art Tarver, AQF2 of VF-24.
A Russian Trawler "Fishing" along side the USS Hancock during the 69-70 WestPac. Photograph courtesy of George L Landrum.
SEP 1969: VA-55 Warhorses, VA-212 Rampant Raiders and VA-164 Ghost Riders A-4F Skyhawks (l-r: NP-310, NP-308, NP-315, NP-501, NP-512, NP-406 and NP-412), USS Hancock, September 1969. VF-211 Checkmates F-8J Crusader BuNo 148710, NP-103, in the foreground.
SEPT 1969: NP-503 snagging the 3 wire aboard CVA-19. Photo from Tailhook.
SEPT 1969: NP-511 coming aboard CVA-19. Photo from Tailhook.
1970: Warhorse BuNo 155046, NP-501, in formation with Warhorse BuNo 155048, NP-502. U.S. Navy photo via Tailhook Association.
1970: Warhorses Skyhawk BuNo 154977, NP-513. Naval Aviation News
21 DEC 1970: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo.154205 NP-502 from the Hancock, approaching to land at NAS Atsugi, Japan. Color photograph by and from Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
19 Oct 1970: NAF China Lake: VA-55 A-4F BuNo 154200. The name on the plane is LT Max Schranz Photo courtesy of Gary Verver.
JUL 2004: BuNo.154200 was restored by students of the New Jersey Academy of Aviation Science, a public school that teaches airframe and powerplant, Dennis Pierce coordinator. Photo by Terry Wolf.
Circa 1970: Skyhawk BuNo 154205, NP-502, and BuNo 15504x, NP-501, flying past Mt. Fuji. Navy Photo via Tailhook Association.
Circa 1970: Right side in flight view of Warhorses Skyhawk BuNo 154205, NP-502, and BuNo 15504x, NP-501, flying past Mt. Fuji. Navy Photo via Tailhook Association.
1970-71 USS Hancock: VA-55 Warhorses AE3 Kneipshield (left) and AE-3 Coffey (right) and VA-212 Rampant Raiders AE-3 Jim Polen (center) atop a Warhorses Skyhawk. Photo from Jim Polen.
1970-71: USS Hancock at Hong Kong. VA-164 Ghost Riders Skyhawk NP-414 on deck (left), VA-212 Rampant Raiders Skyhawk (middle) & VA-55 Warhorses Skyhawk (right) on deck while docked in Hong Kong. Photo by Jim Polen.
1971: Photo taken towards the end of the 70-71 cruise. CO, was CDR Dick Hendricks. In the photo maybe you can make out Senior Chief Bennardo and AT3 Chris Brown standing next to him. I'm the tallest guy in the back row over on the right side. BuNo 155008 in the background. Mack Richards.
1971: Warhorse pilots at the end of the 1970-71 WestPac aboard the USS Hancock. C.O. Dick Hendricks in the cockpit of an unidentified Warhorse A-4F. Courtesy of Denny Sapp.
25 MAY 1972: A-4F Skyhawk aircraft of Attack Carrier Wing 21 (VA-212 Rampant Raiders, VA-164 Saints and VA-55 Warhorses) on the flight deck of the attack aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CVA 19), 25 May 1972. L-r: VA-164 NP-412, VA-212 NP-316, VA-164 NP-416, VA-55 NP-510 . Photo by PH3 Adrian.
17 Nov 1972: BuNo.155000. The "Warhorses" of VA-55 made eight war cruises to the Gulf of Tonkin, one aboard the USS Ticonderorga (CVA-14) with A-4Es, one aboard the USS Ranger (CVA-61) also with A-4Es, one aboard the USS Constellation (CVA-64) with A-4Cs, and five aboard the USS Hancock (CVA-19)with A-4Fs. BuNO 155000 was photographed at NAS Lemoore on 17 November 1972 shortly after the fourth deployment aboard Hancock. Picture and information from Randy Bob Wilson.
APR 1973: Rampart Raiders Skyhawk BuNo 154975, NP-307, and Warhorses Skyhawk BuNo.155000, NP-511, parked on the flight line at NAS North Island. Doug Siegfried via Tailhook Association.
APR 1974: BuNo.155048, LT Eliot Tozer's A-4F parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
March 1974: Warhorses Skyhawk BuNo 154989, NP-505, moments from touchdown. Centurian Enterpises via Tailhook Association.
Nov 1974: BuNo 154203, NP-512, parked on the ramp. Tailhook Association.
1974: NP-514 snagging the 3 wire aboard CVA-19. Photo from Tailhook.
1974-1975: VA-55 Warhorses A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 154996, NP-506, NAS Miramar. Name below the canopy rail is Charlie Roach. Official U.S. Navy photo.
JAN 1975: BuNo 154989, NP-505, taxiing by the photographer. Jan Jacobs via Tailhook Association.
JAN 1975: BuNo 154989, NP-505, taxiing by the photographer. Jan Jacobs via Tailhook Association.
08 June 1975: Skyhawk BuNo 154173, NP-500, taxiing alongside NP-514 at Kadena AB. Photo by Masumi Wada, G. Verver collection.
1975: Left front view of Warhorses CAG Skyhawk BuNo 154173, NP-500, parked on the ramp. Photo from Tailhook Association.
1975: BuNo.155008, NP-510, parked on the ramp. Tailhook Association.
1975: Warhorses CAG Skyhawk BuNo 154173, NP-500, parked on the ramp. Photo from Tailhook Association.
Aug 1975: BuNo.154194, NP-514, parked on the flight line. Doug Siegfried via Tailhook Association.
Aug 2005: BuNo.154200 on the ramp at MAAFM Museum in NJ. Photo by Terence T. Finn via "Boom" Powell.
Liberty and Chow Passes for Cubi Point.
28AUG67: L to R: Mel Taylor, D. "Nick" Nichels, David Weber. Sky Club NAS Cubi Point, Phillipines.
FEB69: VA-55 aboard the USS Hancock. L to R: Bob Troughber, David Weber and D. "Nick" Nichels.
L to R: D. "Nick" Nichels, Chinese Beauty, David Weber. Liberty in Hong Kong, while with VA-55 and the USS Hancock.
1969: ATN2 David Weber at NAS Lemoore barracks. Pic provided by shipmate Richard D. Williams.
Y2011 VA-55 Reunion. Photo from Denny Sapp.
August 2017: From Mack Richards to David A. Weber.
ATAN Chris Brown (made Chief and passed away last year in Whidbey Island)
Being in the squadron during the Vietnam War was an exciting and fun time. Did a lot of growing up back then and have many memories..........the line periods, flight quarters, long chow lines, movies in the Ready Room after FQ, exotic port visits, etc.
Looking forward to the next issue of the A-4 Ever magazine. Enjoy reading the articles and see the old pics.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: