FAGU (Fleet Air Gunnery Unit)

FAGU (Fleet Air Gunnery Unit)

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MCAS Yuma patch.

Contributed by Jerry Geer


MCAS Yuma patch.


David Weber

Gary Verver


No info yet.


26 MAY 1952: FAGU established.

29 FEB 1960: FAGU disestablished.

Home Ports

JUN 1956: NAS El Centro, California.

JUN 1959 to 29 FEB 1960: MCAS Yuma, Arizona.

Air Wings

No info yet.


Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:

AUG 1958: Douglas A-4B (A4D-2) Skyhawk

* November 30, 1962

The A4D-2 designation was changed to A-4B

For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:



Commanding Officers li>26 MAY 1952: LCdr. Alvin R. Lyle (Acting CO)


08 AUG 1952: Cdr. Hoffman

1956: Cdr. Elwood Butts

10 JAN 1959: Col. L.K. Davis

1959: Cdr. R. D. (Ace) King

10 July 1959: Cdr. James S. (Bud) Brown

19??: Capt. David S. Crockett


No info yet

No info


1928: The federal government leased 640 acres near Yuma, from Yuma County. The field was name "Fly Field" after Col. Benjamin F. Fly. "Fly Field" served as training base during World War II, training pilots on AT-6 single engine trainers, T-17 multi-engine trainers and B-17 Flying Fortresses. At the end of the war, all flight activity here ceased.

07 JUL 1951: The Air Force reactivates the base, and the 4750th Air Base Squadron resumed training. The airfield was known as the Yuma Air Base, but was renamed "Vincent Air Force Base" in 1956.

1952: My name is Terry Lyle, and I'm the son of LCdr. Alvin R. (Ace) Lyle, USNR 1918-1997. ... My dad served on the Yorktown (CV-10) during WWII, and on the Princeton and Valley Forge during the Korean War. My dad was named acting CO of the Fleet Air Gunnery Unit at its commissioning in May of 1952. A few months later, he was replaced by Cdr. Hoffman.

26 May 1952: Fleet Air Gunnery Unit, was commissioned at NAAS El Centro. Official U.S. Navy photos courtesy of Terry Lyle.

FAGU trained Weapons Training Officers for Navy and Marine Fleet Squadrons.

FAGU, LCDR Alvin R. Lyle. Photo from Terry Lyle.

FAGU, NAAS El Centro, CA. June 1956 to June 1959.

JUNE 27-28, 1956 The first annual Fleet Air Gunnery Meet was held at NAAS El Centro, Calif.
Six teams, selected from Navy and Marine Corps shore-based fighter units and composed of the squadron commander and three pilots, competed with two firings each at 15,000 and 25,000 feet. Top team honors and the Earle Trophy went to VF-112 of AirPac, and individual honors to LTJG H.N. Wellman of VF-43 and AirLant.

14 April 1958: The U.S. Navy today unveiled a new pod-mounted weapon, a 20mm aircraft gun capable of firing 4,000 rounds per minute. This gun, called the Mark 11, was shown to Naval Aviators and representatives of the press at the Third Annual Naval Air Weapons Meet, held at NAAS El Centro, CA. This new weapon, which will offer a significant contribution to Naval Air Attack Capability, is carried and fired in an external pod which is fitted to the bomb rack of carrier-based aircraft. Its primary application is in air-to-ground attack, where its controlled variable rate of fire makes it extremely effective. Ease of rearming, replacement of the gun, and maintenance are notable features which add to the practicability of the gun. RAdm. Paul D. Stroop, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, indicated that with the Mark 11 gun and POD meeting the firepower requirements of future attack aircraft, there will be a gain in aircraft structural simplicity, since there would be no need for internal fixed guns. Mr. Frank Markquaret, a Naval Ordnance Engineer in the Bureau of Ordnance, conceived the Mark 11 gun and POD. It was developed for the U.S. Navy by Flier Industrialist, Howard Hughes. The Mark 11 is presently undergoing evaluation at the Naval Aviation Ordnance Test Station, Chincoteague, Virginia, and is expected to be operational in 1959.
A4D-2 Skyhawk with a Mark 11, 20mm Aircraft Gun, in the Mark 1 POD, attached to the centerline rack.

Official U.S. Navy photos.

September 24-25 1958: Received six A4D-2 Skyhawks.

FAGU also flew the F4D-1, F8U, and FJ-4B aircraft:
A4D Skyhawk Flight Commander was Edward Armstrong.
F4D Ford/Skyray Flight Commander was Moon Mullin of Hanoi Hilton fame.
F8U Crusader Flight Commander was Al Schaaf, USMC.
FJ4B Fury Flight Commander was Larry Taft, USMC.

June 1959 to 29 February 1960: FAGU based at MCAS Yuma, Arizona.

01 JAN 1959: The facility is signed over to the Navy and Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station Yuma is born.

04 DEC 1959: Crack teams from selected Fleet squadrons completed 4 days of competitive gunnery, bombing, and missile firing at MCAAS Yuma in the championship round of the annual weapons meet.

The last Commanding officer was Bud Brown of F7U Cutlass fame.

29 FEB 1960: FAGU disestablished

Unit Photos

FAGU commissioning and change of command pictures. Photos from Terry Lyle.

08 AUG 1952: FAGU, LCDR Lyle 2nd from the left in front row. Photo from Terry Lyle.

08 AUG 1952: Alvin R. Lyle seated 4th from the left. Photo from Terry Lyle.

Circa 1957: Captain Slim Russell USN at FAGU.

March 1959 FAGU formation consisting of (cw from top) F4D Skyray TR-23, FJ-4B Fury TR-44, A4D-2 Skyhawk and F8U-1 Crusader.

March 1959: March 1959 FAGU BuNo 1428xx as LT D.N. Mealy discusses flight with students.

Date unknown: FAGU (NAF El Centro CA. and MCAS Yuma, AZ.) Photo taken from a frame of a U.S. Navy video, TR-5 is an A-4B assigned to the FAGU (Fleet Air Gunner Unit), either NAF El Centero, or MCAS Yuma, AZ. From Gary Verver.

Off-Duty Photos

No info yet.

A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to FAGU:

  • Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk
    • 142841 c/n 11903
      • 25 Sep 1958 - Fl Air Gun Sch - NAS El Centro, CA
      • 29 Sep 1959 - Fl Air Gun Sch - MCAS Yuma, AZ
      • 31 Oct 1959 -VA-112 - NAS Miramar, CA
    • 142843 C/N 11905
      • 25 Sep 1958 - Fl Air Gun Sch - NAS El Centro, CA
      • 05 Jun 1959 - Fl Air Gun Sch - MCAS Yuma, AZ
      • 07 Dec 1959 - VA-112 - NAS Miramar, CA
    • 142845 C/N 11907
      • 24 Sep 1958 - Fl Air Gun Sch - NAS El Centro, CA
      • 06 Jul 1959 - Fl Air Gun Sch - MCAS Yuma, AZ
      • 12 Jul 1959 - VA-112 - NAS Miramar, CA
    • 142847 C/N 11909
      • 25 Sep 1958 - Fl Air Gun Sch - NAS El Centro, CA
      • 22 Jul 1959 - Fl Air Gun Sch - MCAS Yuma, AZ
      • 12 Jul 1959 - VA-112 - NAS Miramar, CA
  • Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk (cont.)
    • 142850 c/n 11912
      • 25 Sep 1958 - Fl Air Gun Sch - NAS El Centro, CA
      • 31 Aug 1959 - Fl Air Gun Sch - MCAS Yuma, AZ
      • 19 Jan 1960 -VA-112 - NAS Miramar, CA
    • 142866 C/N 11928
      • 24 Sep 1958 - Fl Air Gun Sch - NAS El Centro, CA
      • 31 Aug 1959 - Fl Air Gun Sch - MCAS Yuma, AZ
      • 08 Dec 1959 - VA-112 - NAS Miramar, CA
    • 142874 C/N 11936
      • 24 Sep 1958 - Fl Air Gun Sch - NAS El Centro, CA
      • 25 Sep 1958 - VA-126 - NAS Miramar, CA

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