Vietnam U.S. Navy Deployments


During the Vietnam Conflict a U.S. Navy carrier deployment to the West-Pac (Western Pacific) meant a tour in Tonkin Gulf for about nine months.

U.S. Navy A-4 Skyhawk Units.

U.S. Navy Carriers in the Tonkin Gulf.

OPS MAP 1968

Task Force 77

OCT 1965: An CVW-7 A-4E Skyhawk of either the VA-72 Blue Hawks or VA-86 Sidewinders off the USS Independence (CVA-62) starts to pull up after an attack on railroad boxcars at Van Hoi, North Vietnam, October 1965. A Bullpup missile explodes next to the boxcars.

1965-1968 Oriskany Rolling Thunder (1.35MB PDF)

The Thesis above on-line at the 'Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library'


Link to Satellite image (inter-active) of Subic Bay and Cubi Point, PI. Texas Tech University's Vietnam Center

The TA-4F goes to sea with CVW-21- 1972 as a Lazer Target Designator.

While the Marine’s use of the TA-4 as a visual reconnaissance and airborne forward air controller platform has been called the most extensive combat use of the two-seat Skyhawk, during the 1972 western Pacific combat cruise of CVW-21 aboard USS Hancock, pilots of VA-164 logged some serious combat time in the two-seat A-4. On that cruise, the A-4 squadrons in Airwing 21 were assigned responsibility for developing expertise in unique types of missions - an example being VA-55’s specialization in the Iron Hand mission. VA-164 deployed on that cruise with their aircraft wired for equipment to facilitate the delivery of laser-guided bombs, and worked on developing tactics for delivery and control of those weapons in a high-threat environment.

Then Commander Stan Arthur was Commanding Officer of VA-164 in the summer-fall 1972 time-frame when 164 flew a number of missions to deliver laser-guided bombs in North Vietnam. We asked Admiral Arthur to provide his recollections on that period.

Here is the information I (Bruce Corbett) recall from the 1972 cruise.

We deployed with part of our VA-164 aircraft (A-4F's) with a Laser Spot Tracker (LST) in the nose cone. The other piece of equipment that came with the LST was a new gun sight- Ferranti - which could display the spot where the laser energy was directed. As I recall, not all of our aircraft had this mod. When we got to combat, we were tied to either an airborne or ground FAC (forward air controller) to put a laser on the target. China Lake had been working on building a hand-held laser for our use to allow us to do our own lasing. Needless-to-say, this wouldn't work in a single-seat aircraft. We initially deployed these prototype hand-held designators to an F-4 squadron on one of the other carriers deployed to Westpac. Johnny Bittick (who now lives in the Dallas area) was our Operations Officer, and he ran this project. This was not a good solution as the carriers worked different line schedules.

In August 1972 we were able to get two combat configured TA-4F's transferred to us from the USMC (Bureau Numbers 154325 and 153491). Since we were pilot limited in the Squadron, with every pilot doing three man-up's per day (two actual flight's maximum), we trained other CVW-21 folks to do the lasing from the back seat of the TA-4. We had some of our RF-8 and E-2 folks qualified do the lasing. The designator box was very cumbersome, and both people in the aircraft had to wear laser protective glasses. It was almost impossible to hold a steady spot under any “G” load, so the TA-4 had to do a 1 to 0 “G” arc around the target, or knife-edge pass, over the target to allow the back-seater to see the target and have a chance at holding the laser steady. We had good success with the tactic, but the folks flying the TA-4 were not happy to be in such steady-state flight (in the target area), especially up North! David Dollarhide and Bruce Corbett.

164 had two TA-4Fs assigned for the 72 cruise, beginning in August 72 (I can't remember if they kept them for the 73 cruise, but Pete would know that). They were used for lasing targets for the prototype LGBs we had then. China Lake made them a hand-held laser box about three times the size of a Brownie, so it was called the "camera." It wasn't stabilized in any way, so the back-seater would look through the view finder to locate the target, then try to hold it on the target during a wing-over type pass. The single-seaters in 164 had the Ferrante laser-spot tracker, so they would get a lock on the target prior to release. That would verify that the laser was on and allow the pilot to set up for the delivery. You didn't have to see the target - the LST reticle centered over it. The later A-4Ms had this capability (and more). Bob.

A quick look-see shows these two-seaters with VA-164.Gabby

152859,"TA-4F",13505,04/03/69,"VA-164","NAS Fallon, NV"
152865,"TA-4F",13511,03/05/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
152877,"TA-4F",13523,02/13/73,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
152877,"TA-4F",13523,06/01/73,"H&MS-12","MCAS Iwakuni, Japan "
152877,"TA-4F",13523,12/18/73,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"
152877,"TA-4F",13523,06/18/74,"VA-164","NAS Pensacola, FL"
152877,"TA-4F",13523,06/18/74,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"
153459,"TA-4F",13525,03/11/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
153491,"TA-4F",13557,08/03/72,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
153491,"TA-4F",13557,09/18/72,"H&MS-12","MCAS Iwakuni, Japan"
153491,"TA-4F",13557,05/24/73,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
153491,"TA-4F",13557,06/19/73,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"
153506,"TA-4F",13572,05/24/73,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
153506,"TA-4F",13572,08/08/73,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"
153678,"TA-4F",13616,06/01/70,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA "
154323,"TA-4F",13711,04/04/69,"VA-164","NAS Fallon, NV"
154325,"TA-4F",13713,08/02/72,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154331,"TA-4F",13719,01/14/75,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"
154331,"TA-4F",13719,03/04/75,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154331,"TA-4F",13719,04/07/75,"VA-164","NAS Cubi Point, RP"
154331,"TA-4F",13719,04/07/75,"VA-164","USS Hancock "
154331,"TA-4F",13719,10/20/75,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"
154343,"TA-4F",13731,03/11/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154615,"TA-4F",13733,03/28/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154618,"TA-4F",13736,04/01/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154622,"TA-4F",13740,01/17/75,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"
154622,"TA-4F",13740,02/21/75,"VA-164","NAS Alameda, CA"
154622,"TA-4F",13740,03/11/75,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154622,"TA-4F",13740,04/07/75,"VA-164","NAS Cubi Point, RP"
154622,"TA-4F",13740,04/07/75,"VA-164","USS Hancock "
154622,"TA-4F",13740,10/20/75,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"
154652,"TA-4F",13770,02/28/73,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154652,"TA-4F",13770,06/01/73,"H&MS-12","MCAS Iwakuni, Japan "
154652,"TA-4F",13770,12/18/73,"VA-164","NAS Lemoore, CA"

"Buick, Her are the T-Birds that went to sea with VA units in the Pacific. Can't say with certainty they all went into combat. Hope I didn't miss any." Gabby

152849,"TA-4F",13495,11/13/69,"VA-22","USS Bon Homme Richard"
152850,"TA-4F",13496,07/12/68,"VA-22","USS Bon Homme Richard"
152855,"TA-4F",13501,09/25/68,"VA-23","USS Oriskany"
152859,"TA-4F",13505,10/07/68,"VA-192","USS Oriskany"
152859,"TA-4F",13505,04/03/69,"VA-164","NAS Fallon, NV"
152859,"TA-4F",13505,06/23/69,"VA-152","USS Shangri La"
152865,"TA-4F",13511,03/05/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock", 152877,"TA-4F",13523,02/13/73,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
153459,"TA-4F",13525,03/11/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
153459,"TA-4F",13525,03/13/69,"VA-55","USS Hancock"
153467,"TA-4F",13533,10/19/68,"VA-112","USS Ticonderoga"
153677,"TA-4F",13615,11/23/69,"VA-94","USS Bon Homme Richard"
153678,"TA-4F",13616,11/13/69,"VA-144","USS Bon Homme Richard", 154314,"TA-4F",13702,07/08/68,"VA-22","USS Bon Homme Richard"
154314,"TA-4F",13702,10/31/68,"VA-195","USS Oriskany"
154320,"TA-4F",13708,09/27/68,"VA-23","USS Oriskany"
154321,"TA-4F",13709,08/07/68,"VA-144","USS Bon Homme Richard"
154323,"TA-4F",13711,10/07/68,"VA-192","USS Oriskany"
154331,"TA-4F",13719,03/04/75,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154336,"TA-4F",13724,06/08/68,"VA-22","USS Bon Homme Richard"
154336,"TA-4F",13724,11/08/68,"VA-195","USS Oriskany"
154338,"TA-4F",13726,03/11/68,"VA-55","USS Hancock"
154338,"TA-4F",13726,06/12/68,"VA-22","USS Bon Homme Richard"
154338,"TA-4F",13726,03/13/69,"VA-55","USS Hancock"
154341,"TA-4F",13729,03/04/68,"VA-163","USS Hancock"
154342,"TA-4F",13730,03/11/68,"VA-163","USS Hancock"
154343,"TA-4F",13731,03/11/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154615,"TA-4F",13733,03/28/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154615,"TA-4F",13733,07/10/68,"VA-144","USS Bon Homme Richard"
154616,"TA-4F",13734,03/21/68,"VA-163","USS Hancock"
154616,"TA-4F",13734,10/31/68,"VA-195","USS Oriskany"
154617,"TA-4F",13735,03/25/68,"VA-163","USS Hancock"
154618,"TA-4F",13736,04/01/68,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154618,"TA-4F",13736,07/09/68,"VA-144","USS Bon Homme Richard"
154622,"TA-4F",13740,03/11/75,"VA-164","USS Hancock"
154652,"TA-4F",13770,02/28/73,"VA-164","USS Hancock"

01 AUG 1963 10 MAR 1964 USS Oriskany CVA-34 CVW-16 VA-163 A-4B
        VA-164 A-4B
17 OCT 1963 20 JUL 1964 USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63 CVW11 VA-112 A-4C
        VA-113 A-4C
28 JAN 1964 21 NOV 1964 USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 CVW-19 VA-192 A-4C
        VA-193 A-4C
14 APR 1964 15 DEC 1964 USS Ticonderoga CVA-14 CVW-5 VA-55 A-4E
        VA-65 A-4E
05 MAY 1964 01 FEB 1965 USS Constellation CVA-64 CVW-14 VA-144 A-4C
        VA-146 A-4C
05 AUG 1964 06 MAY 1965 USS Ranger CVA-61 CVW-9 VA-93 A-4C
        VA-94 A-4C
21 OCT 1964 29 MAY 1965 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-21 VA-216 A-4E
        VA-216 A-4C
23 OCT 1964 16 MAY 1965 USS Yorktown CVS-10 CVSG-55 VMA-223 Det T A-4C
07 DEC 1964 01 NOV 1965 USS Coral Sea CVA-43 CVW-15 VA-153 A-4C
        VA-155 A-4E
20 FEB 1964 11 AUG 1964 USS Bennington CVS-20 CVSG-59 VA-93 Det Q A-4B
19 JUN 1964 16 DEC 1964 USS Kearsarge CVS-33 CVSG-53 VA-153 Det R A-4B
06 MAR 1965 23 NOV 1965 USS Midway CVA-41 CVW-41 VA-22 A-4C
        VA-23 A-4E
05 APR 1965 16 DEC 1965 USS Oriskany CVA-34 CVW-16 VA-163 A-4E
        VA-164 A-4E
10 MAY 1965 13 DEC 1965 USS Independence CVA-62 CVW-7 VA-72 A-4E
        VA-86 A-4E
21 APR 1965 13 JAN 1966 USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 CVW-9 VA-192 A-4C
        VA-195 A-4C
12 AUG 1965 23 MAR 1966 USS Hornet CVS-12 CVSG-57 H&MS-15 Det N A-4C
28 SEP 1965 13 MAY 1966 USS Ticonderoga CVA-14 CVW-5 VA-56 A-4E
        VA-144 A-4C
26 OCT 1965 21 JUN 1966 USS Enterprise CVAN-65 CVW-9 VA-36 A-4C
        VA-76 A-4C
        VA-93 A-4C
        VA-94 A-4C
10 NOV 1965 01 AUG 1966 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-21 VA-212 A-4E
        VA-216 A-4C
19 OCT 1965 13 JUN 1966 USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63 CVW-11 VA-113 A-4C
10 DEC 1965 25 AUG 1966 USS Ranger CVA-61 CVW-14 VA-55 A-4E
        VA-146 A-4C
22 MAR 1965 07 OCT 1965 USS Bennington CVS-20 CVSG-59 VA-113 Det Q A-4B
04 APR 1966 21 NOV 1966 USS Intrepid CVS-11 CVW-10 VA-15 A-4B
        VA-95 A-4B
12 MAY 1966 03 DEC 1966 USS Constellation CVA-64 CVW-15 VA-153 A-4C
        VA-155 A-4E
26 MAY 1966 16 NOV 1966 USS Oriskany CVA-34 CVW-16 VA-163 A-4E
        VA-164 A-4E
21 JUN 1966 21 FEB 1967 USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42 CVW-42 VA-12 A-4E
        VA-72 A-4E
        VA-172 A-4C
29 JUL 1966 23 FEB 1967 USS Coral Sea CVA-43 CVW-2 VA-22 A-4C
        VA-23 A-4E
15 OCT 1966 29 MAY 1967 USS Ticonderoga CVA-14 CVW-19 VA-192 A-4E
        VA-192 A-4C
05 NOV 1966 19 JUN 1967 USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63 CVW-11 VA-112 A-4C
        VA-144 A-4C
19 NOV 1966 06 JUL 1967 USS Enterprise CVAN-65 CVW-9 VA-56 A-4C
        VA-113 A-4C
05 JAN 1967 22 JUL 1967 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-5 VA-93 A-4E
        VA-94 A-4C
26 JAN 1967 25 AUG 1967 USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 CVW-21 VA-76 A-4C
        VA-212 A-4E
29 APR 1967 04 DEC 1967 USS Constellation CVA-64 CVW-14 VA-55 A-4C
        VA-146 A-4C
11 MAY 1967 30 DEC 1967 USS Intrepid CVS-11 CVW-10 VSF-3 A-4B
        VA-15 A-4C
        VA-34 A-4C
06 JUN 1967 15 SEP 1967 USS Forrestal CVA-59 CVW-17 VA-46 A-4E
        VA-106 A-4E
16 JUN 1967 31 JAN 1968 USS Oriskany CVA-34 CVW-16 VA-163 A-4E
        VA-164 A-4E
26 JUL 1967 06 APR 1968 Uss Coral Sea CVA-43 CVW-15 VA-153 A-4E
        VA-155 A-4E
04 NOV 1967 25 MAY 1968 USS Ranger CVA-61 CVW-2 VA-22 A-4C
18 NOV 1967 28 JUN 1968 USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63 CVW-11 VA-112 A-4C
        VA-144 A-4E
28 DEC 1967 17 AUG 1968 USS Ticonderoga CVA-14 CVW-19 VA-23 A-4F
        VA-192 A-4F
        VA-192 A-4C
03 JAN 1968 18 JUL 1968 USS Enterprise CVAN-65 CVW-9 VA-56 A-4E
        VA-113 A-4F
27 JAN 1968 10 OCT 1968 USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 CVW-5 VA-93 A-4F
        VA-94 A-4E
        VA-212 A-4F
04 JUN 1968 08 FEB 1969 USS Intrepid CVS-11 CVW-10 VA-36 A-4C
        VA-66 A-4C
        VA-106 A-4E
18 JUL 1968 03 MAR 1969 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-21 VA-55 A-4F
        VA-163 A-4E
        VA-164 A-4E
07 SEP 1968 18 APR 1969 USS Coral Sea CVA-43 CVW-15 VA-153 A-4F
        VA-216 A-4C
26 OCT 1968 17 MAY 1969 USS Ranger CVA-61 CVW-2 VA-155 A-4F
01 FEB 1969 18 SEP 1969 USS Ticonderoga CVA-14 CVW-16 VA-112 A-4C
18 MAR 1969 29 OCT 1969 USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 CVW-5 VA-22 A-4F
        VA-94 A-4E
        VA-144 A-4E
14 APR 1969 17 NOV 1969 USS Oriskany CVA-34 CVW-19 VA-23 A-4F
        VA-192 A-4F
        VA-195 A-4E
02 AUG 1969 15 APR 1970 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-21 VA-55 A-4F
        VA-164 A-4F
        VA-212 A-4F
05 MAR 1970 17 DEC 1970 USS Shangri-la CVS-38 CVW-8 VA-12 A-4C
        VA-152 A-4E
        VA-172 A-4C
02 APR 1970 12 NOV 1970 USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 CVW-5 VA-22 A-4F
        VA-94 A-4E
        VA-144 A-4F
22 OCT 1970 03 JUN 1971 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-21 VA-55 A-4F
        VA-164 A-4F
        VA-212 A-4F
07 JAN 1972 03 OCT 1972 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-21 VA-55 A-4F
        VA-164 A-4F/TA-4F
        VA-212 A-4F
08 MAY 1973 08 JAN 1974 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-21 VA-55 A-4F
        VA-164 A-4F/TA-4F
        VA-212 A-4F
18 MAR 1975 20 OCT 1975 USS Hancock CVA-19 CVW-21 VA-55 A-4F
        VA-164 A-4F/TA-4F
        VA-212 A-4F

CVA-34 Fire

USS Oriskany A-4E Memorial

Oriskany A-4E Memorial


Virtual Wall - Vietnam Veterans Memorial - USS Oriskany CVA-34

Oriskany Reunion Association

Oriskany Stamp

U.S.S. Oriskany in OCT 1966. Photos from Tom Herold, a VA-163 Whitehat.

Oriskany Fire

Scorched Skyhawks

CVA-59 1967 Flight Deck Fire.

CVN-65 1969 Flight Deck Fire.







The Back of a 1967 Liberty Card

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