Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
VF-84 Sidewinders - about 1954
From Gran Rhodus
VA-86 - 1959
Rodney F. Schall
VA-86 Sidewinders - 1971
From John H. Plourde
VFA-86 Sidewinders - 1998
From Robert Mauchin
VFA-86 Sidewinders 2001-2002
The Big Stick and the Big Snake
VFA-86 Sidewinders McClusky 2016
The squadron's first patch was initiated August 6, 1951.
A second patch with a top hat and snake was installed on April 7, 1954. This patch is illustrated above.
A third crest with a top hat and red snake motif was adopted in July 1987 as VA-86 was re-designated Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-SIX. This patch is illustrated above.
Harry S. Gann
Frederick R. Miller
John H. Plourde
Sidewinders, 1954 to present.
February 1, 1951, Reserve Fighter Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE (VF-921) called to active duty.
February 4, 1953, VF-921 was re-designated as Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-FOUR (VF-84).
July 1, 1955, VF-84 was re-designated as Attack Squadron EIGHTY-SIX (VA-86).
July 15, 1987, VA-86 was re-designated Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-SIX (VFA-86).
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
Prior to 1951 - - - - - - Naval Air Station St. Louis as a reserve squadron.
March 28, 1951- - - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville
June 11, 1952 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Oceana
March 15, 1966- - - - - - Naval Air Station Cecil Field
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
February 1951 - - - - - - - - - - - F4U-4 Vought Corsair I
June 18,1952- - - - - - - - - - - - F8F-2 Grumman Bearcat
September 1952 - - - - -- - - - - - F9F-5 Grumman Panther *
June 1955 - - - - - - - - - - - - - F7U-3M Vought Cutlass
May 26,1957 - - - - - - - - - - - - A4D-1 (A-4A) Douglas Skyhawk
December 24,1957- - - - - - - - - - A4D-2 (A-4B) Douglas Skyhawk
September 1962 - - - - - - - -- - - A4D-2N (A-4C) Douglas Skyhawk
April 28, 1964- - - - - - - - - - - A-4E Douglas Skyhawk
February 1967 - - - - - - - - - - - A-7A Vought Corsair II
October 1, 1970 - - - - - - - - - - A-7E Vought Corsair II
April 1972- - - - - - - - - - - - - A-7C Vought Corsair II
November 14, 1974 - - - - - - - - - A-7E Vought Corsair II
November 18, 1987 - - - - - - - - - F/A-18C Boeing Hornet
* The F9F through the F9F-5 Panther have straight wings; The F9F-6 through the F9F-8 Cougar have swept wings.
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
April 9, 1951- - - - - - - - E - - - - - - CVG-8
July 1955- - - - - - - - - - I - - - - - - ATG-181
July 1957 - - - - - - - - - AM - - - - - - ATG-181
January 15, 1958- - - - - - AG - - - - - - CVG-7
December 20, 1963 - - - - - AG - - - - - - CVW-7
October 16, 1967- - - - - - AE - - - - - - CVW-6
1969- - - - - - - - - - - - NL - - - - - - CVW-15
July 1, 1970 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - COMFAIRJACKSONVILLE
January 1971- - - - - - - - AJ - - - - - - CVW-8
September 1, 1987- - - - - - - - - - - - - COMLATWING 1
1988- - - - - - - - - - - - AB - - - - - - CVW-1
11-28-51 to 06-11-52 - CVG-8 - CV 40 - F4U-4 - Mediterranean
06-11-53 to 07-21-53 - None- - CV 36 - F9F-5 - NorLant
09-02-58 to 03-12-59 - CVG-7 - CVA 15 - A4D-2- Mediterranean
08-04-60 to 03 ? -61 - CVG-7 - CVA 62 - A4D-2- Mediterranean
04-19-62 to 08-27-62 - CVG-7 - CVA 62 - A4D-2- Mediterranean
08-06-63 to 03-04-64 - CVG-7 - CVA 62 - A-4C - Mediterranean
09-08-64 to 11-05-64 - CVW-7 - CVA 62 - A-4E - NorLant/Mediterranean
05-10-65 to 12-13-65 - CVW-7 - CVA 62 - A-4E - WestPac/Vietnam
06-13-66 to 02-01-67 - CVW-7 - CVA 62 - A-4E - Mediterranean
04-10-68 to 12-16-68 - CVW-6 - CVA 66 - A-7A - World Cruise/ Vietnam
09-23-69 to 07-01-70 - CVW-15- CVA 43 - A-7A - WestPac/Vietnam
07-06-71 to 12-16-71 - CVW-8 - CVA 66 - A-7E - Mediterranean
06-05-72 to 03-24-73 - CVW-8 - CVA 66 - A-7C - WestPac/Vietnam
01-03-74 to 08-03-74 - CVW-8 - CVA 66 - A-7C - Mediterranean
09-06-74 to 10-12-74 - CVW-8 - CVA 66 - A-7C - NorLant
07-16-75 to 09-24-75 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - Carib/NorLant
07-07-76 to 02-07-77 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - Mediterranean
12-01-77 to 07-20-78 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - Mediterranean/NorLant
09-10-79 to 05-26-80 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - Mediterranean/SoLant/IO
08-29-80 to 11-17-80 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - NorLant
08-03-81 to 02-12-82 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - Mediterranean
11-10-82 to 05-20-83 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - Carib/Mediterranean
03-08-85 to 10-04-85 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - Carib/Mediterranean
08-15-86 to 10-16-86 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - NorLant
12-30-86 to 07-26-87 - CVW-8 - CVN 68 - A-7E - Med/SoLant/West Coast
02-08-89 to 04-03-89 - CVW-1 - CV 66 - F/A-18C Carib/NorLant
05-11-89 to 11-10-89 - CVW-1 - CV 66 - F/A-18C Mediterranean/IO
12-28-90 to 04-18-91 - CVW-1 - CV 66 - F/A-18C Mediterranean/RedSea/Persian Gulf
Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
1947 - - - - - - - - - - LT L. H. Pulford - was commanding officer of reserve squadron VF-921 and continued as its commanding officer when it was called to active duty.
July 1952- - - - - - - - LCDR Harold L. Buell
July 1953- - - - - - - -LCDR Herbert V. Ladley
May 1955 - - - - - - - - CDR Chester W. Gates, Jr.
September 1956 - - - - - LCDR Grant Boice
September 1957 - - - - - LCDR Jack H. Robcke (acting)
September 24, 1957 - - - CDR William A. Schroeder, Jr.
March 2, 1959- - - - - - CDR Rodney F Schall
1960 - January 7, 1961-- CDR. C.B. (John) Shuff (Lost in night mid-air collision - see Events below)
January 7, 1961- - - - - CDR Sam Rorex, Jr
January 12, 1962 - - - - CDR Richard J McAndrew
December 21, 1962- - - - CDR F. B. Koch
December 6, 1963 - - - - CDR Wilbur J. Burgin
December 11, 1964- - - - CDR William F. Sallada
November 15, 1965- - - - CDR William W. Bowers
November 16, 1966- - - - CDR C. R. Long
November 30, 1967- - - - CDR J. E. Russ
January 10, 1969 - - - - CDR D. E. Gordon
January 21, 1970 - - - - CDR Standley H. Block
January 15, 1971 - - - - CDR Grant Augustine III
January 28, 1972 - - - - CDR William D. Yonke
December 6, 1972 - - - - CDR Benjamin F. Short
December 14, 1973- - - - CDR Duane O. Schumacher
March 7, 1975- - - - - - CDR Perry W. Gard III
April 22, 1976 - - - - - CDR Leighton W. Smith, Jr.
June 2, 1977 - - - - - - CDR Herbert W. Taylor
June 2, 1978 - - - - - - CDR Bernard J. Smith
November 19, 1979- - - - CDR Virgil F. Jackson, Jr.
February 12, 1981- - - - CDR John P. Gay
June 23, 1982- - - - - - CDR Charles S. Abbot
June 16, 1983- - - - - - CDR Ralph J. Castor
January 29, 1985 - - - - CDR John L. Fitzpatrick
June 5, 1986 - - - - - - CDR John M. Johnson
January 28, 1988 - - - - CDR Howard A. Petrea
1989 - - - - - - - - - - CDR Ted J. Venable
November 6, 1990 - - - - CDR Matthew G. Moffit.
01 Jul 1962 to 30Jun 1963
01 Jul 1963 to 30 Jun 1964
01 Jan 1982 to 31 Dec 1982
01 Jan 1985 to 31 Dec 1985
24 Sep 1958 to 26 Sep 1958
15 Jun 1965
29 Jun 1965 to 03 Jul 1965
10 Dec 1969 to 11 Dec 1969
27 Oct 1969 to 01 Jun 1970
14Jul 1972 to 20 Feb 1973
04 Aug 1981 to 20 May 1983
19 Apr 1961 to 29 Apr 1961
14 Jan 1980 to 14 May 1980
05 Dec 1982 to 31 Dec 1982
21 Jan 1983 to 13 Feb 1983
18 Feb 1983 to 24 Feb 1983
19 Mar 1983 to 21 Mar 1983
18 Apr 1983 to 22 Apr 1983
05 Jun 1965 to 21 Nov 1965
12 May 1968 to 20 Nov 1968
23 Jan 1980 to 01 May 1980
17 Jan 1991 to 07 Feb 1991
21 Oct 1965
23 Oct 1965
25 Oct 1965 to 02 Nov 1965
09 Nov 1965 to 10 Nov 1965
30 May 1968 to 02 Jun 1968
20 Sep 1968
10 Oct 1968 to 12 Oct 1968
17 Oct 1968
04 Jul 1965 to 09 Aug 1965
25 Aug 1965 to 21 Sep 1965
14 Oct 1965 to 12 Nov 1965
29 May 1968 to 28 Jun 1968
06 Jul 1968 to 03 Aug 1968
17 Aug 1968 to 12 Sep 1968
27 Sep 1968 to 30 Oct 1968
26 Oct 1969 to 18 Nov 1969
22 Dec 1969 to 19 Jul 1970
17 Feb 1970 to 09 Mar 1970
19 Mar 1970 to l1 Apr 1970
28 Apr 1970 to 01 Jun 1970
02 Jul 1972 to 04 Jul 1972
11 Jul 1972 to 24 Jul 1972
10 Aug 1972 to 28 Aug 1972
06 Sep 1972 to 07 Oct 1972
11 Oct 1972 to 12 Oct 1972
20 Oct 1972 to 01 Dec 1972
09 Dec 1972 to 27 Dec 1972
09 Jan 1973 to 02 Feb 1973
12 Feb 1973 to 16 Feb 1973
21 Feb 1973 to 25 Feb 1973
15 Jan 1991 to 03 Apr 1991
17 Jan 1991 to 28 Feb 1991
February 1, 1951: Reserve Fighter Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE (VF-921) was called to active duty. VF-921 was assigned the F4U-4 Vought Corsair I.
June 18, 1952: VF-921 was assigned the F8F-2 Grumman Bearcat.
September 1952: VF-921 was assigned the straight winged F9F-5 Grumman Panther.
February 4, 1953: VF-921 was redesignated Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-FOUR (VF-84).
September 28, 1954: Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-FOUR operating the Grumman F9F-5 Panther embarked at Mayport, Florida on USS Lake Champlain CVA-39 for the Mediterranean. The Sidewinder's Panthers were painted in standard navy blue with yellow trim.
October 13 to 20, 1954 in port at Leghorn, Italy.
October 21 to 27, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
October 28 to November 3, 1954 in port at Cannes, France.
November 4 to 10, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
November 11 to 15, 1954 in port at Salonika, Greece.
November 18 to 21, 1954 in port at Istanbul, Turkey.
November 22 to 29, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
November 30 to December 5, 1954 in port at Laspezia, Italy.
December 7 to December 16, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
December 17 to December 26, 1954 in port at Genoa, Italy.
December 28 to January 2, 1954 in port at Marseilles, Italy.
January 3 to January 7, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
January 8 to January 14, 1954 in port at Barcelona, Spain.
January 15 to January 18, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
January 19 to January 25, 1954 in port at Algiers, Algeria.
January 26 to January 31, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
February 1 to February 8, 1954 in port at Naples, Italy.
February 9 to February 14, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
February 15 to February 24, 1954 in port at Toulon, France.
February 25 to March 2, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
March 3 to March 7, 1954 in port at Beirut, Lebanon.
March 8 to March 9, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
March 10 to March 14, 1954 in port at Athens, Greece.
March 15 to March 21, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
March 22 to March 27, 1954 in port at Naples, Italy.
March 28 to April 3, 1954 at sea for fleet exercises.
June 1955: VF-84 was assigned the F7U-3M Last Chance Vought Gutless Cutlass.
July 1, 1955: VF-84 was re-designated Attack Squadron EIGHTY-SIX (VA-86).
January 1956 to April 1956: Attack Squadron EIGHTY-SIX operating the F7U-3M's Cutlass embarked on a shake-down cruise on the USS Forrestal CVA-59. Once at sea the Gutless Cutlass was pronounced unsafe for carrier operation due to the nose gear collapsing on landing. Prior to arriving in Cuba, the aircraft were launched for NAS Leeward Point, Cuba. When the ship anchored at Leeward Point, the crew was transferred to Leeward Point for the rest of the cruise. Prior to the Forrestal departing the Cuba area, the aircraft were taken by barge out to the boat and loaded aboard by crane. Prior to docking in Norfolk, the aircraft were launched and returned to NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
May 26, 1957: VA-86 was assigned the A4D-1 (A-4A) Douglas Skyhawk.
December 24, 1957: VA-86 was assigned the A4D-2 (A-4B) Douglas Skyhawk.
September 5, 1958: Lt(jg). Thomas H. Reid, 25, was killed when his plane (A4D-2 BuNo 142135) crashed on port catapult shot at L 35-06N, Long 54-43.5W, at 0948 and sank in 2793 fathoms of water. The USS Haynesworth and helicopter commenced search for debris. USS Haynesworth directed to remain at scene of crash until 1215Q and continue search. Body of pilot not yet recovered. USS Haynesworth has recovered tip tanks, helmet and pieces of life jacket. The USS Randolph was steaming in TF 25 enroute from Norfolk to NELM. USS Randolph Deck Log, Friday, 5 September 1958.
March 8, 1960: Lt. Jay G. Stoker, 23, (A4D-2 BuNo 142419) is missing after radioing that he was climbing to 4,000 feet so he could eject after he hit a sunken target ships mast in Pamlico Sound, NC. Lt. Stoker and two other pilots were making low-level practice bombing runs at the time. The other pilots did not see a parachute. Salt Lake Tribune, Thursday, 10 March 1960.
March 17, 1960: Lt(jg). Ralph H. Von Glahn was missing after his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 144946) crashed into Currituck Sound NC while on a combination high altitude-low altitude mission. He had been up for about 20 minutes and had rendezvoused with a pilot of another squadron in the air group. The other pilot did not see the plane go in, but spotted a crash on the water. Kingsport News, Thursday, March 17, 1960.
May 8, 1960: Lt. John Arthur Johnson (VA-86) was lost at sea off the Virginia Capes Monday when his A4D (BuNo 142124) crashed into the Atlantic seconds after it was launched from the USS Independence. The pilot was able to eject "Just as the plane hit the water," but sank from sight. Kingsport News, Wednesday, May 11, 1960. At 1619 hours on 08 May 1960 LCdr. Dick Lewis, our experienced waste catapult launching-officer, launched an A4D single engine jet nuclear bomber with insufficient steam pressure. The plane went into the water immediately because of low air speed. The pilot ejected just before the plane hit the water but his chute did not open and we lost him and the plane. Cdr. G.E. Peddicord, USS Independence Air Officer (1958-1960).
June 24, 1960: Lt. G.T. Atkins ejected and was rescued by a helo from the Essex after his A4D flamed out 150 miles from the ship on 23 June 1960. (This was the same Essex I did tours on during the Korean War.) Cdr. G. E. Peddicord, USS Independence Air Officer (1958-1960). 1206 (hours) A4D-2 BuNo 142137, pilot Lt. G.T. Atkins, flamed out and crashed into the sea on bearing 000 T., distance 150 miles from this vessel at Lat. 37-42 N and Long. 72-05 W and sank in 1,700 fathoms of water. Pilot parachuted out at 5,000 feet altitude. Dispatched USS W.M. Wood (DDR-715) for search of pilot. 1220 SAR aircraft sighted pilot. 1423 received word that pilot in life raft appears to be in good condition. 1450 helicopter from USS Essex (CVS-9) picked up pilot. USS Independence deck log, Friday, 24 June 1960.
January 7, 1961: Two Navy pilots whose planes crashed in the Mediterranean over the weekend have been official declared missing and presumed dead. The planes of Cdr. John Winfred Shuff of Virginia Beach (CO of VA-86) and LCdr. John Howrd Thayer of Norfolk crashed about the same time Saturday night while operating from the USS Independence in the North Tyrrhenian Sea. The Bee: Danville, VA, Monday, Jan. 9, 1961. 2115 (hours) A4D BuNo 142705 of VA-86, pilot CDR John W. Shuff, crashed into the sea approximately one mile astern at Latitude 41-17N, Longitude 10-56E and sank in 775 fathoms of water. USS Hyman (DD-732) commenced search for the pilot. 2201 Completed operating aircraft. A4D BuNo 142423 of VA-86, pilot LCDR John H. Thayer reported missing. 2329 Launched one WF aircraft to join in search for the missing pilots. 0000 (hours) This ship is operating independently in the area where A4D BuNo 142705 crashed into the sea. The destroyers USS Hyman (DD-732), USS Purdy (DD-734), USS Leary (DDR-879), USS Zellars (DD-777) and USS Cecil (DDR-835) are searching for remains of the aircraft and the pilot CDR John Shuff. 0735 c/c to 020 T. Sighted wing tank in water. Maneuvering on various courses and speeds to investigate. 0800 USS Purdy (DD-734) recovering wing tank. 0824 Commenced maneuvering on various courses and speeds while conducting search for CDR Shuff and LCDR Thayer and remains of their aircraft. 0905 Commenced steaming to rendezvous with USS Saratoga (CVA-60). USS Independence deck log, 07 and 08 January 1961.
LCdr Howie Thayer and Cdr. John Shuff had a night time in-flight collision about 2 - 3 miles aft of the ship. One went straight in, the other one made a low pass over the angle deck, went out turned downwind and also crashed. All that was ever found of the two aircraft was one tip tank. One of the two was leading the other one back to the ship, because he had a major electrical failure, or had lost his navigation system. After the collision, nothing was heard from either aircraft. From Bill Sullens & Earl Galloway V1 Div.
*My Name is Robert L.Thayer, LCDR John Thayer's son and I would like to inform you that the above information is incorrect. My Father and John Schuff did not have a mid-air collision. CDR Schuff did experience an electrical failure and my father guided him back to the USS INDEPENDENCE. However upon seeing the meatball, CDR John Schuff crashed into the sea. My father was following John Schuff's plane and he disappeared as well. There was no inflight collision between the two planes.
April 7, 1961: Lt(jg). Gene K. Hooper, 24, apparently died in the mid-air explosion of his A4D Skyraider (sic) (BuNo 144886) which crashed into Pamlico Sound at about 9:05 a.m. yesterday after an apparent mid-air explosion. A Navy officer flying beside Hooper said it exploded in mid-air at about 500 ft. and no parachute was seen. Hooper, assigned to VA-86 at NAS Oceana, was on an operational training flight in the vicinity of Stumpy Point Bombing Range. The Greenville News, Saturday, 08 April 1961.
April 1961: VA-86 operated from USS Independence CVA 62, in an area south of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Bay of Pigs, the unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by American supported Cuban exiles.
September 1962: VA-86 was assigned the A4D-2N (A-4C) Douglas Skyhawk.
August 19, 1963: Lt. William R. Hall ejected during Operation Riptide when the carrier and the divert field Lann Bihoue at Lorient were WOXOF and was rescued in his life raft 30 miles from the Brittany coast. Source R.G. "Leaky" Hoch. 1930 Received report that one of four aircraft landed safely. Aircraft side #301, BuNo 149512, and aircraft side #305, BuNo 148579, A4C of VA-72 were lost when pilots bailed out over land as they ran out of fuel. Pilots were recovered safely. Aircraft side #407, BuNo 149631, A4C of VA86, was lost when pilot bailed out over water as it ran out of fuel. Search is continuing for pilot, LT W.R. Hall, USN. USS Independence deck log, 19 August 1963. The Last of four U.S. Navy pilots lost in a fog Monday was plucked from the sea about 30 miles off the Brittany coast by a U.S. Destroyer today after a French plane spotted Lt. William R. Hall on a pneumatic life raft. Charleston Daily Mail, Tuesday, August 20,1963. French and American rescue services picked up the Last of four U.S. Navy pilots whose Skyhawks crashed or made forced landings in fog Monday while flying from the USS Independence. Lt. William R. Hall was spotted on his rubber raft Tuesday by a French Neptune patrol plane. Eau Claire, WI, Daily Telegram, Wednesday, August 21, 1963.
April 28, 1964: VA-86 was assigned the A-4E Douglas Skyhawk.
June 5, 1964: Lt. A.A. Less (VA-86, NAS Oceana) ejected safely when his Skyhawk jet (BuNo 149997) crashed into Chesapeake Bay Friday a short distance west of the Tangier Island Navy target facility. Lt. Less was picked up uninjured by a Navy crash boat. The Salisbury Times, Saturday, 6 June 1964.
September 29, 1964: Lt(jg). J. Fletcher ejected from A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151128 and was recovered. 1219 a large splash was observed bearing 190 deg. 8 miles from this ship. Aircraft 308, beauweps # 150-587 (sic) went into the water after a flameout. Depth of water 1500 fms. Position 54-55.7 N, 12-03.8W. The pilot Ltjg. Fletcher bailed out and was recovered by helo #19( lined out) 16 and returned to this ship with no apparent injuries. 1230 Helo returned onboard with Ltjg, Fletcher. Uss Independence logbook, Tuesday, 29 September 1964.
July 1, 1965: Attack Squadron EIGHTY-SIX conducted its first combat mission, flying against targets in South Vietnam.
November 1, 1965: LCdr. Billy V. Wheat (BuNo.151142) ejected and was rescued by a USAF CH-3C, lost to 37mm AAA 7 miles south of Ha Tinh near Vinh during roll-in to target.
NOV 1965 "Sidewinder Sentinel," a VA-86 WESTPAC cruise newsletter. Nothing was sacred, and, you may note, YP in his iteration as "Carrasco," was already evident. No names have been changed to protect the guilty. "YP"
December 13, 1965: CDR Bill Bowers, CO VA-86, and wingman arrive in A-4Es 151165 and 151164 at NAS Oceana from a combat cruise aboard USS Independence. Many years later, this photo was given to Larry "Worm" Elmore by then CAPT Bower's son following his father's death. A4Es BuNo 151165 and 151164.
February 1967: VA-86 was assigned the A-7A Vought Corsair II.
October 1, 1970: VA-86 was assigned the A-7E Vought Corsair II.
April 1972: VA-86 was assigned the A-7C Vought Corsair II.
July through October 1972: Squadron aircraft participated in Operation Linebacker I, heavy air strikes against targets in North Vietnam.
December 1972: The squadron participated in Linebacker II operations, a more intensified version of Linebacker I operations.
November 14, 1974: VA-86 was assigned the A-7E Vought Corsair II.
August 1981: Embarked in USS Nimitz, VA-86 participated in a Freedom of Navigation Exercise in the Gulf of Sidra. During this exercise two F-14 Tomcats from Nimitz were fired upon by two Libyan SU-22 Fitters on 18 August. The F-14's returned fire and shot down the two aircraft. Tensions escalated and VA-86 flew refueling and reconnaissance missions over potentially hostile Libyan ships during the period.
November 1982 through May 1983: Embarked in USS Nimitz (CVN-68), VA-86 participated with the Multi-National PeaceKeeping Force of Beirut, Lebanon.
July 15, 1987: VA-86 was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-SIX VFA-86.
November 18, 1987: Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-SIX was assigned the F/A-18C Boeing Hornet.
VF-84 Sidewinders on USS Lake Champlain:
1954: VF-86 F9F-5 Panthers and USS Lake Champlain. A flight of four Sidewinder Panthers fly down Champlain's starboard side to break for landing. E-404 leads followed by E-415 BuNo. 125232, E-416, and E-402. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1954: VF-86 F9F-5 Panther BuNo. 125232. Sidewinder Panther BuNo. 125232 side number E-415 misses Champlain's 9-wire and proceeds down the deck. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1954: VF-86 F9F-5 Panther BuNo. 125232. Sidewinder Panther BuNo. 125232 side number E-415 performs an in-flight barricade to a crash landing. Look at the flight deck people running for their lives. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1954: VF-86 F9F-5 Panther side number E-416. Ship and Squadron personnel disengage Sidewinder Panther E-416 from the barricade after a crash landing. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1954: VF-86 F9F-5 Panther side number E-416. A tug drags Panther E-416 from the barricade after a crash landing. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1954: VF-86 F9F-5 Panther side number E-403. Panther E-403 was blown over by another Panther taxing past to the catapult. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1954: VF-86 F9F-5 Panther on the Lake Champlain Cat. Sidewinder Panther on the catapult gets ready to go flying. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1954: A Panther on the Lake Champlain. Sidewinder Panther gets a tip tank fueled by a grape. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1954: VF-61 Jolly Roger F9F-6 Cougar BuNo. 130960 side number E-108 on the Lake Champlain. One of the first F9F-6 Cougar squadrons was the VF-61 Jolly Rogers. Other VF-61 Cougars were: BuNo. 130961 side number E-107; and BuNo. 130969 side number E-109; BuNo. 130962 side number E-104; and BuNo. 130968 side number E-111. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
VF-84 White Hats - 1954
VF-84 RECORDS - 1954
VF-84 MAINTENANCE - 1954
VF-84 ORDINANCE AND TWEETS - 1954
VF-84 ON THE JOB TRAINING - 1954
CARRIER AIR GROUP EIGHT - 1954
1955: VF-86 F9F-5 PANTHER BuNo. 125473. A Squadron Chief conducts tailhook point service training on Grumman F9F-5 Panther BuNo. 125473 with side number E-415. BuNo. 125473 replaced BuNo. 125232 which was wrecked as pictured above. Sidewinder Panthers were painted blue with yellow trim. United States Navy photo from Gran Rhodus.
1958: Formation of BuNo 142142, AG-401; 142687, AG-410; 142687, AG-412; 142423, AG-407; all of VA-86. The larger formation is of unknown A4D-1. Naval Aviation News
SEP 1958: A4D-2 Aircraft of VA-86 conducting in-flight refueling in the eastern Mediterranean. Ship is USS Randolph - CVA-15. The visible BuNo's left to right are 142687, 142678 and 142124. Partially hidden is AG-407. From Gary Verver Collection, USN 1039207 Date 9-24-58 - Official US Navy Photograph via Gary Verver.
24SEP58: VA-86 Sidewinders A4D-2 Skyhawks conducting in-flight refueling in the eastern Mediterranean near the USS Randolph, CVA-15. Right to left are BuNo 142687, AG-410, BuNo 142678, AG-412, BuNo 142124, AG-401, and partially hidden BuNo 142423, AG-407. Official U.S. Navy photo 1039206.
MAY 1959: Sidewinders Skyhawk formation over the Mediterranean. BuNo's front to back are 142687, AG-410, 142678, AG-412 and unknown. Naval Aviation News photo.
1959: Sidewinders Skyhawk AG-417 is on its way to the hangar deck via the deck edge elevator. Naval Aviation News.
1959: Sidewinders Skyhawk AG-413 is tied down on deck near the island of CVA-62. Naval Aviation News.
Sidewinders Skyhawk BuNo 142683, AG-402, and L to R: Ralph Von Glahn, John Middleton, CO Rod Schall, XO Sam Rorex & Frank Rush. Captain Rodney F. Schall
SEP 1959: Sidewinders Skyhawk BuNo 142683, AG-402, and L to R: Bob Bristol, Johnny Johnson, Jay Stoker, Hermie Muller, Bob Fischer & Jan Martin. Captain Rodney F. Schall
Circa 1959: Navy Combat Artist, LT Richard A. Genders rendition of Sidewinders Skyhawk BuNo 142776 "Early Morning Flight Preparation" aboard an aircraft carrier. (Artists drawing in the colors of VA-66, but has VA-86 on the fuselage). Naval Aviation News.
SEPT 1959: VA-86 Officers in L to R = Ralph Von Glahn, John Middleton, CO Rod Schall, XO Sam Rorex & Frank Rush. Provided by Captain Rodney F. Schall, then Commanding Officer of the Sidewinders.
SEPT 1959: VA-86 Officers in L to R = Dave Rasmussen, Jim Moore, Ron Ryll, Bob Wright, ?-Maint. & Bob Vezina. Provided by Captain Rodney F. Schall, then Commanding Officer of the Sidewinders.
SEPT 1959: VA-86 Officers in L to R = Bob Bristol, Johnny Johnson, Jay Stoker, Hermie Muller, Bob Fischer & Jan Martin. Provided by Captain Rodney F. Schall, then Commanding Officer of the Sidewinders.
1961: VA-86 SNAKES ON THE INDY - three A4D-2 (A-4B) Snake Skyhawks prepare for a CVG-7 mission from the USS Independence CVA-62 during the August through December 1961 Mediterranean cruise. BuNo. 144898 side number AG 400 left; BuNo. 144888 side number AG 406 center; and AG 405 right are being spotted for start. United States Navy photo from Al Carpenter.
July 1961: VA-86 Sidewinders A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 142687, AG-410, at right, USS Independence. VA-72 Blue Hawks A4D-2N Skyhawk BuNo147845, AG-308, on the elevator. Official U.S. Navy photo.
Circa 1961-62: Sidewinders Skyhawk BuNo 145058, AG-404, parked on the line. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza
1962: VA-86 Sidewinders A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 142736, AG-410, in-flight refueling VFP-62 F8U-1P Crusader BuNo 145607, AG-910, both off the USS Independence. Official U.S. Navy photo.
JUL62: Skyhawk taxing onto cat CVA-62. JUL62 NAN photo.
1961-62: VA-86 Sidewinders A4D-2 Skyhawks BuNo 144898, AG-400, BuNo 144959, AG-409, and BuNo 144960, AG-408, off the USS Independence, in-flight, 1961-1962. Official U.S. Navy photo.
AUG63-MAR64: Skyhawk BuNo 149638, AG-409, parked on the line. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza
Circa 1963-64: VA-86 Sidewinders A-4C BuNo 150582, AG-406, at left as VAW-12 Bats Det. 62 E-1B Tracer AG-737 prepares to launch from the USS Independence, 1963-1964. Official U.S. Navy photo.
VA-86 in 1965: Boeing's photo caption was, "A total of 637 F-4Bs was manufactured. One of VF-41’s Phantoms, armed for combat air patrol over an A-4 Skyhawk strike force, is launched from the USS Independence on Yankee Station." The Skyhawk in the foreground is VA-72, BuNo 150007, and the one moving onto the cat is VA-86, BuNo 151149, modex 407. The Skyhawk behind 1149 is VA-86 modex 411. Boeing Photograph.
May 1965 - December 1965: VF-84 Jolly Rogers F-4B Phantom II BuNo 151477, AG-201, launches from USS Independence (CVA-62). On deck are VF-84 Black Aces F-4B Phantom BuNo 152234, AG-203, VA-72 Blue Hawks A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150022, AG-310, VF-41 Black Aces F-4B Phantom II BuNo 150627, AG-103, VA-86 Sidewinders A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151166, AG-400, two HU-2 Fleet Angels UH-2A Seasprites, VAW-13 Zappers EA-1F Skyraider VR-701 and VA-75 Sunday Punchers A-6A Intruders BuNo 149948, AG-510, BuNo 151589, AG-512, and BuNo 149944, AG-511. Official U.S. Navy photo.
24 January 1966: VA-86 Sidewinders A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151178, AG-406, bearing a Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club Insignia below the cockpit, sits outside an Oceana hangar. Photo courtesy of James Meehan from the Amy Waters Yarsinske Collection.
1966: VA-86 AND VMA-324 SKYHAWKS ON THE INDY. During the USS Independence CVA-62 Mediterranean cruise starting April 19, 1966 and ending August 27, 1967 --- CVG-7 attack squadrons VA-86 Sidewindesr and VMA-324 Devil Dogs shared the flight deck. VA-86 flew the A-4E which in the picture side numbers 400 and 410 have no letters on the vertical stabilizer. The VMA-324 Skyhawks 306 and 308 had the letters AG painted on the vertical stabilizer. BuNos. of some of the VA-86 A-4E Skyhawks on the Indy cruise were: 152041, 151155, 151149, 151117, 149967, 149973, 149984 and 152089. From a Steve Waldschmidt 35mm slide.
1966: Sidewinders Skyhawk BuNo 151164, AG-402, as she comes to a quick stop aboard the Independence. "Boom" Powell.
October 1966: A-4E BuNo 152041 and pilots
1966: SIDEWINDER A-4E 151178. VA-86 A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151178, side number AG 412 is shown trapping on the Indy. This picture was probably taken during the 1966 cruise. United States Navy photo from Puresome.
1967: USS Independence (CVA-62) with aircraft from CVW-7 (AG) including VF-41 Black Aces F-4B Phantoms, VF-84 Jolly Rogers F-4B Phantoms, VMA-324 Vagabonds A-4E Skyhawks, VA-86 Sidewinders A-4E Skyhawks, VA-75 Sunday Punchers A-6A Intruders, RVAH-1 Smokin Tigers RA-5C Vigilantes, VAW-33 Det. 62 EA-1F Skyraiders, VAW-12 Det. 62 E-1B Tracers, VQ-2 Batmen Det. EA-3B Skywarriors and HC-2 Det. UH-2A Seasprites, circa 1966-1967.
May 1969: Sidewinders Skyhawk BuNo 142124, AG-401, trailing the refueling drogue. Carrier may be the USS Randolph. Naval Aviation News Photo.
VA-86 SIDEWINDER A-7E Corsair II, side number AJ 402 from the United States Ship Nimitz. Photo from Robert Lay.
Date unknown: VA-86 formation of A-7Es, from Michael Kubat. Credit goes to CVN-68 OPS Dept.
Rod and Ilse Schall. Captain Schall (USN Retired) was the CO of the Sidewinders in 1959. This picture with him and his wife was taken in Fredricksberg Texas at the February, 2003 Skyhawk Association Board Meeting Gathering.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit;