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VT-4 Mighty Warbucks - 1963
Duck patch used from 195? - present.
Mighty War Bucks.
195?: Basic Training Group NINE (BTG-9) established at Naval Air Station Memphis, Tennessee.
01 May 1960: Basic Training Group NINE (BTG-9) was re-designated as Training Squadron FOUR VT-4 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
195?: Naval Air Station Memphis, Tennessee.
1960: Forest Sherman Field, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
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Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
195?- - - - - - - - - - Lockheed T2V-1 Sea Star.
May 1960 - - - - - - North American T2J-1 / T-2A Buckeye.
December 1965- - - North American T-2B Buckeye.
May 1970 - - - - - - North American T-2C Buckeye.
September 1972 - - Grumman F9F-8T (TF-9J) Cougar *
24 March 1982- - - Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk.
2 November 1973 - Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk.
19??- - - - - - - - - - Beechcraft T-34C Mentor.
* November 30, 1962
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
No info yet
1960: CDR H. V. Weldon
A group of us Skyhawk drivers gathered over the weekend for a memorial for Jim "Taco" Potter at Goldthwaithe, Texas. Jim died recently of lung cancer and his family had invited us to a celebration of his life and to spread his ashes in his pecan grove at his ranch. Jim's association with the Skyhawk began in the RAG at VA-44, Cecil Field, in 1969 with orders then to VA-55 onboard USS Hancock from 1970-1972. Next followed orders to VA-127 in Lemoore as an instructor and thence to XO and Commanding Officer of VT-4 in Pensacola from 1974-1976.
No info yet
No additional info
195?: Basic Training Group NINE (BTG-9) established at Naval Air Station Memphis, Tennessee, flying the Lockheed T2V-1 Sea Star.
May 1, 1960: Basic Training Group NINE was redesignated as Training Squadron FOUR (VT-4) at Forest Sherman Field, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, flying the Lockheed T2V-1 Sea Star and North American T2J-1 Buckeye. The mission was to provide basic jet flight instruction consisting of basic and radio instrument procedures, formation, night flying, air to air gunnery and carrier qualifications.
Fall 1963: The Training Squadron FOUR flight instruction sylabus was changed to air to air gunnery and carrier qualification training.
1961: Training Squadron Four is tasked with all phases of basic jet training in the North American T-2J-1 Buckeye. VT-4 receives the top Training Squadron ONE graduates, students. VT-4 provides each student pilot about 200 hours of academic instruction and about 50 hours of flight support lectures.
VT-4 student Naval Aviators fly over 100 hours in the Navy's latest and only basic jet training plane the T-2J "Buckeye." The VT-4 training syllabus includes: transition, precision flying, acrobatics, basic instruments, radio instruments, navigation, night flying, formation flying, air-to-air gunnery and carrier qualification.
Students climax their flight instruction by jet carrier qualifying aboard the USS Antietam CVS-36, operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The Antietam was for VT-4 student and instructor carrier qualifications intil 1963.
VT-4 at Forest Sherman Field provided students air-to-air gunnery training from 1960 to 1971.
1962 to 198?: Student and instructor carrier qualifications on United States Ship Lexington CVS-16.
1963 to 1965: Student and instructor carrier qualifications carried out on varous carriers while Lexington in overhaul.
1963 United States Ship Intrepid CVS 11
1963 United States Ship Essex CVS 9
1963 United States Ship Shangri La CVA 38
1964 United States Ship Intrepid CVS 11
1964 United States Ship Wasp CVS 18
1964 United States Ship Essex CVS 9
1964 United States Ship Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA 42
December 1965: Training Squadron FOUR transitioned to the North American T-2B Buckeye aircraft. VT-4's mission was to be the Naval Air Training Command sole site for providing basic jet flight instruction in aerial gunnery and carrier qualification.
January 1970: Student and instructor carrier qualifications carried out on United States Ship Intrepid CVS 11 while Lexington in overhaul.
May 1970: Training Squadron FOUR assigned the North American T-2C Buckeye.
March 1971: The Navy switched training concept to parallel flow. VT-4 provided basic flight training in Transition, Precision Acrobatics, Basic Instruments, Radio Instruments, Night Flying, Formation Flying, Air-to-air Gunnery and Carrier Qualification
September 1972: Training Squadron FOUR was assigned the training concept of Basic and Advanced flight training. Training Squadron FOUR was assigned the Grumman TF-9J Cougar for advanced training.
November 1973: Training Squadron FOUR assigned the Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk to replace the Cougar. From 1973 to 1978, VT-4 provided summer jet orientation flights for midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy and the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.
FEB 1974: Last TF-9J Cougar retired from Navy use.
1975: Training Squadron FOUR tasked with Flight Surgeon flight training in the Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk. VT-4 was given the added mission of providing flight instruction for allied foreign military pilots. Flight training was given to student pilots from Kuwait, Spain, Singapore and Indonesia.
October 19, 1976: Lt. Joseph Sweetman III, age 28, VT-4 instructor pilot, was killed in the crash of his TA4 Skyhawk trainer early Tuesday afternoon. Sweetman was approaching Sherman Field for a landing when the engine apparently had a flame-out near the base golf course and plunged into Bayou Grande and came to rest 100 yards off shore inverted in 13 feet of water. The ejection seat was not used. The Pensacola News, Wednesday, 20 October 1976. A Navy pilot was killed Tuesday in a training plane when it crashed into the Bayou Grande as he started to land at NAS Pensacola. Panama City News-Herald, Wednesday, October 20, 1976. Wreckage retrieved by Army helicopter from Ft. Rucker, Pensacola News Journal, Friday, October 22, 1976. I was the Runway Duty Officer for VT-4 when this accident happened. From what I remember, the pilot was Lt. Joe Sweetman He was on a maintenance check flight and the throttle hung up at a low rpm. He attempted to return to the field using an LPA approach, but indicated that he didn't think he had the power or altitude to make it back to base. He declared an emergency with the tower, lined up for a straight in approach. When he went to drop the landing gear, the engine either reduced power or flamed out, not sure which but he transmitted his intention to eject. At that point he leveled the aircraft but couldn't eject. The aircraft impacted the water, broke apart and Joe was killed. If I remember right, there were two maintenance problems, one, the throttle linkage had become disconnected, two, the cartridge that fires to remove the canopy was incorrectly installed and never hit the firing pin. From Dan Perrine.
March 29, 1978: Lt. Abbas Al-Foudari. A U.S. Navy TA-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 158517)on a routine solo training mission crashed into the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday about 14 miles south of NAS Pensacola. The pilot, a foreign student, was alone in the VT-4 Skyhawk as it returned to the base about 9:30 a.m. and is presumed dead. Pensacola New Journal, Thursday, 30 March 1978. The Navy identified a pilot missing since Wednesday morning as Abbas Ahmed Al-Foudri, a 2nd Lt. in the Kuwati Air Force. Although the Navy said he is presumed to be dead the aerial and sea search continued at the crash site 14 mile south of Pensacola. Pensacola New Journal, Thursday, 30 March 1978. VT-4 lost an A-4 late 1977 or early 1978 when a Kuwait Student ejected after an instructor in another aircraft called for him to eject passing 10k feet during an ACM training flight. Neither pilot nor aircraft were recovered. Don't remember any data on the date or aircraft number. From Dan Perrine.
May 31, 1980: Unknown pilot and co-pilot ejected safely. A Navy TA-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 156910) crashed on a government range some 40 miles west of Yuma Saturday afternoon... The aircraft had taken off from MCAS Yuma and was attached to a Navy training squadron at NAS Pensacola, FL... The jet was destroyed upon impact without further property damage... It was the seventh military jet crash in the past six months for aircraft operating out of Yuma. Exactly two weeks ago, an A-4 Skyhawk crashed on the range east of Yuma shortly after takeoff. Four of the aircraft lost in the crashes have been Skyhawks, and three have been AV-8A Harriers. Yuma Daily Sun, Sunday, June 1, 1980. VT-4 TA-4J BuNo 156910 was destroyed at Yuma after aircraft was struck by ricocheting projectile during strafing run, 31 May 1980. crew ejects. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester. Lt Randy J. "Dutch" Deutschendorf and co-pilot ejected safely. A Navy TA-4 Skyhawk jet trainer crashed on a government range some 40 miles west of Yuma Saturday afternoon... The aircraft had taken off from MCAS Yuma and was attached to a Navy training squadron at NAS Pensacola, FL... The jet was destroyed upon impact without further property damage... It was the seventh military jet crash in the past six months for aircraft operating out of Yuma. Exactly two weeks ago, an A-4 Skyhawk crashed on the range east of Yuma shortly after takeoff. Four of the aircraft lost in the crashes have been Skyhawks, and three have been AV-8A Harriers. Yuma Daily Sun, Sunday, June 1, 1980. VT-4 TA-4J BuNo 156910 was destroyed at Yuma after aircraft was struck by ricocheting projectile during strafing run, 31 May 1980. crew ejects. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester. Lt Randy J. "Dutch" Deutschendorf ejected over a bombing range 40 miles west of Yuma, AZ during training. The ejection occurred at approximately 800 feet and an airspeed of 450 knots indicated. The cause of the ejection was a hit by a ricochet round that came up through the nose exiting through the canopy, with extreme wind blast causing incapacitation. "on this particular day I was flying as the Instructor Pilot with a student who was just beginning the Weapons Training portion of the Advanced Training syllabus. This day would be the first time Student Pilots would be firing live 20MM cannon rounds. As we came around the pattern setting up for our first run every aspect of the flight was normal. The Student Pilot made the turn while lowering the nose to the proper dive angle and once we pointed at the target, I cleared him to fire. At this phase of the flight the aircraft starts a 10 degree dive, accelerates from 350kts to 450kts, fires at 1,300 ft. AGL for approximately 1-2 seconds and pulls out of the dive no lower than 800 ft. It is not uncommon for the students to be a little nervous on their first strafing runs due to the high speed and low altitude requirements of the training. When we reached 1,300 ft. AGL the student began to fire and within seconds I knew experiencing "Target Fixation." With his two hands firmly on the control stick he continued to fire and there was no indication of the required pull up from the dive. With my hand loosely wrapped around the control stick I immediately started to pull back to bring the aircraft out of the dive and to this day I am not sure if it was my pull or the students pull that got the nose of the aircraft back to approximately level flight. During this entire time the student continued to fire the gun, so rounds were flying everywhere. As soon as the aircraft reached level flight, we were hit by a ricochet round that came up through the nose of the aircraft exiting through the canopy. We suddenly were sitting in a 450 kt. wind tunnel and the aircraft was shaking violently. As the Instructor pilot I was flying in the rear seat and due to the extreme wind blast I was incapacitated for the most part. Some of the broken glass from the canopy came flying back fracturing my visor and the wind force slammed my head against the seat rest with such force that my helmet suffered a 6-8 inch crack up the back. I initially tried to open my eyes to see if there was a chance of flying the aircraft but quickly realized that was not an option. My oxygen mask was gone, I could not breathe, my arms were pinned against the seat back and it was readily apparent we had to get out of the aircraft. Unable to reach the upper ejection handle due to the wind force I quickly realized my only option was the lower handle - - I grabbed it with both hands and gave it a strong pull (as the Instructor Pilot I had command ejection of both seats). The next thing I remember is I was approximately 600 ft. above the desert hanging in my parachute. I quickly looked around to hopefully see the Student Pilot hanging from his parachute and he was. After safely landing I quickly disconnected from my chute and started a slow jog to to find the student that was approximately 150 yards away. When I arrived he was unconscious and I could tell he had broken one of his arms, fractured his femur and I would later find that he had a third fracture in his neck. The neck injury prevented him from returning to flight status. Amazingly, I had no broken bones; I had a few cuts on my face and neck, a nasty headache and within a couple of hours I was extremely sore from muscle spasms and bruising. Approximately 3-4 days after the accident I was cleared back to flight status. It did take me 6-8 weeks to fully recover from the severe bruising muscle spasms I was experiencing as a result of the high speed ejection. In closing the Navy made a significant change to the Weapons Training Syllabus after the accident. On our flight we strafed the bullseye of the bombing target as opposed to strafing a raked designated strafing target. Bombing ranges are full of metal debris which greatly increases the potential for ricochets. I remember questioning this procedure when being checked out as an Instructor Pilot with VT-4 because of my experience flying the A-7E. During my A-7E fleet tour we never strafed anything but a raked target range. As my wife likes to say, 'There but for the grace of God go I.'" Randy J. "Dutch" Deutschendorf.
November 3, 1983: VT-4 TA-4J BuNo 158486 was destroyed at El Centro when aircraft crashed following uncontrollable fire. 03 November 1983. Pilot ejected safely. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
February 14, 1985: Capt. Richard Packard, 33, (IP) ejected just seconds before his TA-4J Skyhawk (BuNo 158483) clipped tree tops and the roof of a house and crashed between two houses at 4:02 p.m. Wednesday. The Skyhawk was returning to NAS Pensacola from a training flight and was leading another plane in a landing pattern. A witness reported popping noises as if the pilot was working to restart the engine seconds before the crash. Homes in the area of Gibbs Rd. and Baublits Dr. intersect sustained minor damage. Pensacola News Journal, Thursday, 14 February 1985. Part of the wreckage from the Navy jet which crashed came to rest only a few yards away from the bedroom of the Plummer's brick house at 419 Gibbs Road. Pensacola News Journal, Thursday, 14 February 1985. Staff photo by Gary McCracken. Navy crews work at formidable clean-up task. Pensacola News Journal, Friday, February 15, 1985. Staff photo by Gary McCracken. According to Cdr. John Carter, Ops officer for TW-6, planes will fly different landing patterns into Forrest Sherman Field at NAS Pensacola in an effort to prevent crashes in the Navy Point residential area. A Navy TA-4J Skyhawk crash into a densely populated Navy Point residential area Feb. 13 prompted the change. The pilot ejected safely, but it was the second crash in the same area in less than nine years. Pensacola News Journal, Friday, March 1, 1985. VT-4 TA-4J BuNo 158483 was destroyed at Pensacola when aircraft crashed into the ground on downwind leg. 13 February 1985. Pilot ejected. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
December 1985: Training Squadron FOUR mission was changed from strike training to being the sole site of E-2/C-2 intermediate training in CNATRA. The squadron was tasked with Grumman E-2 pilot training comprised of 68 training flights in the T-2C Buckeye.
April 16, 1986: VT-4's last TA-4J Skyhawk was transfered to Training Squadron SEVEN at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi.
January 1992: VT-4's mission changed to being the E-2/C-2 advanced training site using the T-2C.
1996: VT-4 grew from a small all Navy Advanced E-2/C-2 pilot training squadron with a student throughput of 36 per year it became a joint Primary and Intermediate Naval Flight Officer/Navigator training squadron with an annual student throughput of 450. Instructor ranks grew from fourteen Navy pilots to 71 Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force pilots and NFO/Navigators. The squadron transitioned from flying the T-2C to flying the T-34C Turbo Mentor and T-1A Jayhawk. VT-4 also instructs student navigators from Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Norway and Denmark.
April to September 1996: VT-4 conducted simultaneously primary NFO/NAV and advanced pilot training. Following the final CQ detachment in September, the mission converted entirely to NFO/NAV training. On 30 September 1996, the last VT-4 Naval Aviators earned their wings. Since its commissioning, VT-4 amassed over 600,000 flight hours and logged 42,000 carrier landings.
VT-4 Pre-flight Class. Photo from Stan Thompson.
1970: VT-4 Buckeyes. A pair of North American T-2B Buckeyes circle high above the Lex waiting for a "Charlie." United States Navy photograph.
TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo. 158094 - 1973. A Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo. 158094 side number 2F 373 flys past the Lex with hook down. United States Navy photograph.
12NOV74: BuNo 155083, 2F-364, parked on the flight line next to VT-4 TA-4J BuNo 158489, 2F-382. Gary Verver Collection
12NOV74: VT-4 156902 parked on the ramp, location and photographer unknown. From Gary Verver.
17 Feb 1975 BuNo 158519, 2F-387, parked on the ramp at an open house. Photo by R. Mills, G. Verver collection.
12 JUL 1975: VT-4 158519 parked on the ramp at NAS Glenview. From P. Stevens.
11 Sept 1976: Right front view of VT-4 War Bucks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 158526, F-380, on the ramp configured with a trio of drop tanks next to VA-127 TA-4F BuNo 154624, NJ-707, 11 September 1976. At left is USAF C-141A Starlifter s/n 66-0194. Gary Verver Collection.
Sept 1977: BuNo 158486, F-375, parked on the flight line as the Ordies load some practice bombs. Gary Verver Collection.
1977: BuNo 158519, TA-4J, F-378 parked on the ramp. Note the single seat ladder attached, must be a shortage of T-Bird ladders. Gary Verver Collection.
21 APR 1978: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 153505, F-361, parked on the ramp. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
21 APR 1978: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 156891 F-366, assigned to MAJ Cunningham parked on the ramp. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
21 APR 1978: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 156910 F-370, parked on the Pensacola flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
21 APR 1978: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 156912 F-371, parked on the flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
21 APR 1978: BuNo 158107, F-382, parked on the ramp. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
21 APR 1978: BuNo 158147, F-381, parked on the ramp. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
21 APR 1978: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 158501, F-367, parked on the Pensacola flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
21 APR 1978: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 158519, F-378, parked on the flight-line.
21 APR 1978: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 153505, F-361, parked on the Pensacola ramp. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers
1978-79: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 153505, F-361, parked on the ramp. Lionel Paul.
FEB80: BuNo 158143, F-376 parked on the ramp. Photo by R.E. Kling, G. Verver collection.
MAY80: May 1980 VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 158110, F-374, taxiing by the photographer. Gary Verver Collection.
Lt. Patricia A. Denkle
01JAN82: LT Patricia A. Denkler, assigned to VT-4. Denkler became the first Navy woman to be carrier qualified in a jet aircraft when she landed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (AVT-16). Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy photo by PH2 T.P. McAuliffe.
04DEC82: VT-4 Skyhawk BuNo 158474, F-362, parked on the Andrews AFB ramp. Photo by T. Paskowski, Gary Verver Collection.
JUN83: BuNo 158454, F-864, parked on the ramp.
JUN83: BuNo 158454, F-864, close-up of VT-4 insignia. Photo by T. Paskowski, Gary Verver Collection.
1983: BuNo 154310, F-384, parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
17SEP84: BuNo 154310, F-384, parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
BuNo 158078, TA-4J, F-800 parked on the ramp ready for flight. Gary Verver Collection.
1984: BuNo 154310, TA-4J, parked on the ramp as A-884. Gary Verver Collection.
No info yet.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VT-4: