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VF-916 Roaring Bulls - about 1950
Courtesy Doctor Robert W. Driscoll
VA-83 Attack Eagle - 1955
Courtesy Doctor Robert W. Driscoll
VA-83 Rampagers - 1957
Courtesy of Doctor Robert W. Driscoll
Hellcats to Hornets 1945-2005
Estocin E award 2009
Originally known as the Roaring Bulls the first insignia consisting of a black bull with machine gun barrels for horns was approved by the Chief of Naval Operations on 16 May 1950. The squadron was renamed and the first Rampagers insignia was approved on 12 April 1957.
Doctor Robert W. Driscoll, M.D.
Harry S. Gann
Mr. R. L. Smith
Rampagers, 1957 to present.
February 1, 1951, Reserve Fighter Squadron NINE HUNDRED SIXTEEN (VF-916) Roaring Bulls was called to active duty.
February 4, 1953, VF-916 was re-designated as Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-THREE (VF-83) Roaring Bulls.
July 1, 1955, VF-83 was re-designated as Attack Squadron EIGHTY THREE (VA-83).
March 3, 1988, VA-83 was re-designated as Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHTY THREE (VFA-83).
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
February 1, 1951 - - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
September 1951 - - - - - - Naval Auxiliary Air Station Oceana.
June 15, 1966- - - - - - - Naval Air Station Cecil Field.
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
February 1951 - - - - - - - - - - - - - Vought F4U-4 Corsair I
December 1951 - - - - - - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-2 Panther *
May 1952- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat
September 1952- - - - - - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-5 Panther *
August 1954 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Vought F7U-3 Cutlass
April 1955 - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - Vought F7U-3M Cutlass
March 1957- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk **
December 15, 1957 - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk **
September 14, 1960- - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk **
May 1963- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A-4E Skyhawk
August 1967 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A-4C Skyhawk
June 19,1970- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Vought A-7E Corsair II
April 25, 1988- - - - - - - - - - - - - Boeing F/A-18C Hornet
* The F9F through the F9F-5 Panther have straight wings; The F9F-6 through the F9F-8 Cougar have swept wings.
** November 30, 1962
The A4D-1 designation was changed to A-4A
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:
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
April 1951 - - - - - - - - - - E- - - - - - CVG-8
October 15, 1957 - - - - - - - AP - - - - - ATG-201
November 18, 1958- - - - - - - AJ - - - - - CVG-8 / CVW-8
August 25, 1968- - - - - - - - AB - - - - - CVW-1
June 1, 1970- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - COMLATWING 1
August 1, 1970 - - - - - - - - AA - - - - - CVW-17
March 2, 1970 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - COMFAIRJACKSONVILLE.
Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
04-26-53 to 10-21-53 - CVG-8 - CVA 43 - - F9F-5 - - Mediterranean
03-12-56 to 09-05-56 - CVG-8 - CVA 11 - - F7U-3M- - Mediterranean
02-02-58 to 11-17-58 - ATG-201-CVA 9- - - A4D-2 - - Mediterranean/IO/WestPac
01-28-60 to-08-31-60 - CVG-8 - CVA 59 - - A4D-2 - - Mediterranean
02-09-61 to-08-25-61 - CVG-8 - CVA 59 - - A4D-2N- - Mediterranean
08-03-62 to 03-02-63 - CVG-8 - CVA 59 - - A-4C- - - Mediterranean
07-10-64 to 03-13-65 - CVW-8 - CVA 59 - - A-4E- - - Mediterranean
08-24-65 to 04-07-66 - CVW-8 - CVA 59 - - A-4E- - - Mediterranean
09-29-66 to 05-20-67 - CVW-8 - CVA 38 - - A-4E- - - Mediterranean
11-15-67 to 08-04-68 - CVW-8 - CVA 38 - - A-4C- - - Mediterranean
04-05-69 to 12-21-69 - CVW-1 - CVA 67 - - A-4C- - - Mediterranean
01-05-71 to 07-02-71 - CVW-17 - CVA 59- - A-7E- - - Mediterranean
09-22-72 to 07-06-73 - CVW-17 - CVA 59- - A-7E- - - Mediterranean
03-11-74 to 09-11-74 - CVW-17 - CVA 59- - A-7E- - - Mediterranean
03-05-75 to 09-22-75 - CVW-17 - CV 59 - - A-7E- - - Mediterranean
04-04-78 to 10-26-78 - CVW-17 - CV 59 - - A-7E- - - Mediterranean/NorLant
11-27-79 to 05-07-80 - CVW-17 - CV 59 - - A-7E- - - Mediterranean
03-02-81 to 09-15-81 - CVW-17 - CV 59 - - A-7E- - - Mediterranean/NorLant
06-08-82 to 11-16-82 - CVW-17 - CV 59 - - A-7E- - - Mediterranean/lO
04-02-84 to 10-20-84 - CVW-17 - CV 60 - - A-7E- - - Mediterranean
08-26-85 to 04-16-86 - CVW-17 - CV 60 - - A-7E- - - Mediterranean/IO
06-05-87 to 11-17-87 - CVW-17 - CV 60 - - A-7E- - - Mediterranean
08-07-90 to 03-28-91 - CVW-17 - CV 60 - - F/A-18C - Mediterranean/Red Sea
Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
April 1950- - - - - - - - - LCDR A. J. Fecke
December 16, 1952 - - - - - CDR W. R. Sisley
December 1953 - - - - - - - CDR R. J. Swanson
January 28, 1955- - - - - - CDR H. E. Vita
September 12, 1956- - - - - CDR James L. Holloway III
December 5, 1958- - - - - - CDR Albert H. Vito, Jr.
January 15, 1960- - - - - - CDR David S. Stear
December 2, 1960- - - - - - CDR James W. Nance
December 15, 1961 - - - - - CDR James Spargo
December 10, 1962 - - - - - CDR A. H. Cummings
December 20, 1963 - - - - - CDR R. G. Thomson, Jr.
December 19, 1964 - - - - - CDR F. B. Bromley
December 7, 1965- - - - - - CDR E. S. Carver
December 8, 1966- - - - - - CDR G. F. Brummitt
November 1967 - - - - - - - CDR D. M. Trimble
September 1968- - - - - - - CDR F. J. Almberg
September 2, 1969 - - - - - CDR Theodore C. Casimes
January 4, 1971 - - - - - - CDR William M. Shewchuk
January 12, 1972- - - - - - CDR D. B. Gilbert
January 3, 1973 - - - - - - CDR J. E. Craig, Jr.
February 14, 1974 - - - - - CDR G. A. Appelhof
May 15, 1975- - - - - - - - CDR A. H. Henderson
August 5, 1976- - - - - - - CDR John M. Waples
November 27, 1977 - - - - - CDR Robert J. Naughton
February 28, 1979 - - - - - CDR R. E. Wolf
May 29, 1980- - - - - - - - CDR Austin F.. Chapman
January 21, 1982- - - - - - CDR Douglas J. Bradt
April 28, 1983- - - - - - - CDR W. E. Franson
September 10, 1984- - - - - CDR S. F. Bloyer
April 24, 1986- - - - - - - CDR R. J. Nibe
September 28, 1987- - - - - CDR Terry A. Miller
June 3, 1988- - - - - - - - CDR Michael W. Longworth
November 30, 1989 - - - - - CDR Dennis M. Gillespie
Award - - - - - - - - - Inclusive Dates:
07-01-60 to 06-30-61
07-01-61 to 06-30-62
01-01-90 to 12-31-90
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
07-16-58 to 08-01-58
08-11-58 to 08-20-58
09-16-58 to 09-27-58
09-05-82 to 09-10-82
10-13-82 to 11-05-82
01-20-86 to 03-29-86
Navy Unit Commendation
10-10-85 to 10-11-85
03-23-86 to 03-29-86
01-17-91 to 02-28-91
08-22-90 to 09-21-90
10-23-90 to 12-09-90
01-06-91 to 03-11-91
01-17-91 to 02-28-91
February 1, 1951: Reserve Fighter Squadron NINE HUNDRED SIXTEEN (VF-916) was called to active duty. VF-916 was assigned the Vought F4U-4 Corsair I.
December 1951: VF-916 was assigned the Grumman F9F-2 Panther.
May 1952: VF-916 was assigned the Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat.
September 1952: VF-916 was assigned the Grumman F9F-5 Panther.
February 4, 1953: Reserve Fighter Squadron NINE HUNDRED SIXTEEN was re-designated as Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-THREE (VF-83).
August 1954: Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-THREE was assigned the Vought F7U-3 Cutlass.
July 1, 1955: Fighter Squadron EIGHTY-THREE (VF-83) was re-designated as Attack Squadron EIGHTY THREE (VA-83).
March 1957: Attack Squadron EIGHTY THREE was assigned the Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk. On December 15, 1957 the Rampager were operational in the new A4D-2 Skyhawks.
July 11, 1957: Lt(jg) Robert V. Driscoll ejected safely from his A4D-1 BuNo 142162 when it became uncontrollable and crashed in a wooded area 300 yards from the Hodges Manor housing project just west of Hodges Ferry Rd. near its intersection with Old Suffolk Boulevard in Portsmouth, VA. Kingsport, TN, Kingsport News, Friday, July 12, 1957.
November 20, 1957: Lt(jg). Tom Anderson was rescued after he taxied over the forward end of the angle deck while coming out of the arresting gear and hit the water inverted, 20 November 1957. He pulled the "ditching handle" underwater, cleared the plane and was picked up almost immediately by the Essex helicopter. Skyhawk 312 floated for two hours and was hoisted back aboard the carrier. Naval Aviation News, November 1958. 0844 A4D-1 BuNo 142161 of VA-83, pilot Ltjg S.T. Anderson, rolled over forward end of number two (2) elevator after releasing arresting wire. 0845 pilot rescued by helicopter. Injuries: none. 0904 commence maneuvering on various courses and various speed to salvage downed aircraft. 0955 Lowered lifeboat to assist in salvage operations. 1232 completed recovery of aircraft. USS Essex (CVA-9) deck log, Wednesday, 20 November 1957. 142161 in the water. 142161 being hoisted aboard.
July through August 1958: During civil unrest in Lebanon, VA-83 operated from USS Essex CVA 9. VA-83 flew missions during the U.S. Marine Corps landings in Lebanon. During the squadron's more than 500 flights, two of its Skyhawks were hit by small arms fire during road reconnaissance missions.
August through September 1958: VA-83 operated from USS Essex CVA 9, conducting flight operations while operating in the Taiwan Straits. VA-83 flew missions during the the People's Republic of China shelling assault on Quemoy Islands held by the Republic of China.
July 16, 1959: Lt.(jg) Ellis T. Riker III was pulled from his burning plane Wednesday after his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 145007) developed engine trouble shortly after takeoff and then overran a runway during an emergency landing try and burst into flames when it collided with a road building machine at NAS Oceana. The Troy Record, Friday, July 17, 1959. . . A Navy jet pilot, his helmet and suit blazing after an emergency landing, was carried to safety Wednesday by a civilian firefighter at NAS Oceana. The A4D Skyhawk developed engine trouble shortly after takeoff and its pilot, Lt.(jg) Ellis T. Riker III, made an emergency landing. The plane overran the runway, struck a piece of construction equipment and burst into flames. Riker, one leg broken, climbed out of the plane and stumbled around the area which had been set afire when the planes fuel tanks were ruptured. Loren J. Lukey, clad in an asbestos firefighting suit, ran through the flames, picked Riker up and carried him to safety. Another member of the crash and salvage crew put out the flames on Riker's suit and helmet. Capt. E.C. Konrad, CO of the air station, will present Lukey a letter of commendation Friday for his quick and effective action. Lukey, 40, is a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer. Riker, 24, lives at Virginia Beach with his wife, Carol. Kingsport News, Friday, July 17, 1959.
September 14, 1960: The Rampagers were assigned the Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk.
February 7, 1963: Lt(jg). Warren J. Blanke Jr. was killed was killed when his carried-based plane (A-4C BuNo 147805) crashed during a dive-bombing exercise in the Mediterranean last Thursday. He was one of three pilots killed in separate crashes while operating from the carrier Forrestal last week. According to the Forrestal Association newsletter Spot Sheet, he crashed into the water off the stern of the ship. The report states that pieces of the aircraft, uniform and human flesh were recovered. Lancaster Eagle Gazette, Wednesday, February 13, 1963. 1458 A4C BuNo 147805 of VA-83, pilot LTJG Jay Blanke, crashed into the sea off the stern at latitude 40-22.7N, 13-23.7E, and sank in 1000 fathoms of water, COMDESDIV Eight Two designated on scene commander. USS K.D. Bailey (DD-713) and ships helicopters commenced search for pilot. 1551 Search concluded. USS Bailey recovered pieces of a/c, uniform and human flesh. LTJG Jay Blanke presumed dead. USS Forrestal deck log, Thursday, 07 February 1963.
May 1963: The Rampagers were assigned the Douglas A-4E Skyhawk.
August 31, 1964: LCdr. Hamlin of Carrier Air Wing Staff ejected from A-4E BuNo 151062 bearing 258 38 miles from USS Forrestal and was safely recovered by helo of HU-2. Ken Killmeyer (USS Forrestal Historian)
November 23, 1966: A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 15118: Lt.(jg) William M. Kurlak was killed in an aircraft accident (engine failure) off USS Shangri-La in the Mediterranean. Services were held on board ship, and at the Naval Air Station Chapel, Pensacola, FL.
June 9, 1967: Lt. Denny K. Hassell ejected and was picked up unharmed by a Coast Guard helicopter after his A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 151166) crashed into the Gulf of Mexico Friday 20 miles west of Cross City, FL. Panama City News. Panama City, FL, Saturday, June 10, 1967.
August 1967: The Rampagers were assigned the Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk.
October 19,1969: LCdr. John D. Wolff was killed. 1007 received report from air ops that VA-83's A-4 (A-4C BuNo 148546), side number 300, and pilot LCDR J. Wolff crashed into a mountain at 1001 at 38-40N/29-25E. USS John F. Kennedy deck log, Sunday, 19 October 1969.
June 19,1970: Attack Squadron EIGHTY-THREE was assigned the Vought A-7E Corsair II.
August 18, 1981: VA-83 participated in a Freedom of Navigation Mission in the Gulf of Sidra; two F-14 Tomcats from the USS Nimitz CVN 68 shot down two Libyan SU-22 Fitters.
March 24, 1986: After Libya fired a SA-5 missile at United States naval aircraft operating in the Gulf of Sidra, VA-83 aircraft participated in a retaliatory strike against the missile site at Surt, Libya.
March 3, 1988: Attack Squadron EIGHTY THREE was re-designated as Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHTY THREE (VFA-83).
April 25, 1988: Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHTY THREE was assigned the Boeing F/A-18C Hornet.
Dec.57 to Sep60: NH303 BuNo142859 and NH308 142874 go "slow" for the camera man sitting in a WF-2 "WillyFudd". Note the "slats" are slightly open. Richard "Dick" Studebaker Photo via Bud Southworth.
Feature article on VA-83 in the November 1958. NavAirNews.
20 November 1957: A4D-1 Skyhawk BuNo 142161, AJ-312 afloat in the Mediterranean after LTJG Tom Anderson taxied over the forward end of the Essex's angle deck while coming out of the gear. Tom escaped uninjured. Naval Aviation News Photo.
20 November 1957: A4D-1 Skyhawk BuNo 142161, AJ-312 being retreived by the Essex after floating for several hours in the Mediterranean Sea after LTJG Tom Anderson taxied over the forward end of the angle deck while coming out of the gear. Official U.S. Navy photo from Jim Winchester.
1958: Rampagers Skyhawk safely back aboard the Essex after LTJG Swenson picked up a few bullet holes from a Lebanese rebel "Annie Oakley" just north of Tripoli. Also assessing the damage is CDR Holloway. Naval Aviation News Photo.
Nov 1958: Rampagers jet mechs pose with J-65 engine in front of Skyhawk BuNo 142132. Navy Aviation News Photo.
1958: Rampager A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 145001. Gerald Shelley poses, at Memphis TN, by VA-83 Rampager Commanding Officer Commander Albert H. Vito's A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 145001 side number AJ 301. Commander Al Vito replaced Commander James L. Holloway III as the VA-83 Skipper - Commander James Holloway later became Admiral Holloway the Chief of Naval Operations (He probably flew BuNo. 145001). This Skyhawk went on the December 5, 1959 through January 15, 1960 United States Ship Essex CVA 9 ten month cruise to the Mediterranean and Western Pacific.
25 June 1958: Oceana based Rampagers Skyhawk BuNo 142125, AJ-310, refuels NAS New York based VA-832 FJ-3 Fury BuNo 136096, 7R-6. Naval Aviation News photo, Gary Verver.
25 June 58: VA-83 Rampagers CO Cdr. James L. Holloway, III, seated in the cockpit of VA-83 A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 142128, AP-301, USS Essex (CVA-9). P/C C. Kitchen, ADJ3. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1959-1960: VA-83 Formation USS Forrestal (CVA-59). A-4's from top to bottom are: A-4B 145003 AJ-303, A-4B 145001 AJ-301, A-4B 145008 AJ-305, A-4B 142128 AJ-309. Photo Courtesy of Gary Verver.
Circa 1959: NAS Oceana VA-83 A4D-2 BuNo 142125, AJ-310, refuels NARTU NY FJ-3 Fury BuNo 135775, 7R-2, probably flown by LCdr Andy Avila. Photo from Andy Avila Jr.
January-August 1960: 1960: USS Forrestal VA-83 Rampagers A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 145004, AJ-304, and VA-81 Sunliners A4D-2 BuNo 144951, AJ-411, refueling VF-103 Sluggers F8U-2 Crusaders BuNo 145597, AJ-209, and BuNo 146909, AJ-204. Official U.S. Navy photo.
April 1960: USS Forrestal based Rampagers Skyhawks BuNo 145003, AJ-303, BuNo 142128, AJ-309 and BuNo 145008 in formation. U.S. Navy.
1960: VA-83 A4D-2N's tanking during the 1960 Med Cruise aboard the Forrestal. Photo from Bill Caldwel.
1960: BuNo.147745 during the 1960 Med Cruise aboard the Forrestal. Photo from Bill Caldwel.
1960: BuNo.147807 during the 1960 Med Cruise aboard the Forrestal. Photo from Bill Caldwel via Joe Turpen.
1960: BuNo.148600 during the 1960 Med Cruise aboard the Forrestal. Photo from Bill Caldwel.
1960: 1960: A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 145006 tanking a RF-8A. Photo taken by Mike Eberhard.
1961: 1961 USS Forrestal based Rampagers Skyhawk BuNo 145003, AJ-303, in formation. Gary Verver.
May-June 1961: A-4C Skyhawk Buno 147806, #303, from the USS Forrestal on display at the 24th International Air Salon at Le Bourget Airfield. Naval Aviation News photo.
May-June 1961: USS Forrestal VA-83 Rampagers A4D-2N Skyhawk BuNo 147806, AJ-303, on display at the 24th International Air Salon at Le Bourget Airfield. Name below the canopy rail is LTJG Bill Westerman. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1961: Skyhawks NJ-305 and NJ-311 prepare to launch. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1961: A-4C Skyhawk Formation A flight of four VA-83 Skyhawks. Lead is A-4C BuNo. 147807 side number AJ 302; 'ol number two is A-4C BuNo. 147801 side number AJ 306; three is A-4C BuNo. 147818 side number AJ 314; four is A-4C BuNo. 147814 side number AJ 312. The Rampagers were based on United States Ship Forrestal CVA 59. United States Navy photograph from Terry McGinnis.
Oct 1961: A-4C BuNo 147803, AJ-305, traps. Naval Aviation News via Tom Bispo.
1962-1963: CVG-8 VA-83 Rampagers A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147801, AJ-306, configured as a tanker, in-flight with VAH-5 Savage Sons A3D-2 Skywarrior BuNo 142661, AJ-601, from USS Forrestal (CVA-59) refueling a 803 Naval Air Squadron Supermarine Scimitar F.1 s/n XD327 from HMS Hermes (R12). Official U.S. Navy photo.
JUN 1963: JUN 1963 NAN photo of a launch. NAN photo.
SEP63: Rampagers Skyhawk formation over the USS Forrestal, from left to right: BuNo 148591, AJ-303; BuNo 147805, AJ-312; BuNo 148589, AJ-304 and BuNo 148598, AJ-302. Naval Aviation News.
1965 - 1966: VA-81, and VA-83 VMA-311 onboard the Forrestal. Photo by Tony Redman.
1964 - 1966: In-flight view of Rampagers Skyhawk formation. L-R BuNo 151061, AJ-301, BuNo 152012, AJ-302, BuNo 152040, AJ-303 and AJ-304. Photo from "Boom" Powell.
18 JUN 1967: A-4E BuNo 152079, AJ-303, assigned to LCDR Bob Taylor parked on the ramp.
1967 - 1970: A-4C BuNo 148572, AB-313. FAOW No. 3.
1968: A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147726, AB-303, off the USS John F Kennedy, in-flight with ZUNI rocket pods. Official U.S. Navy photo.
Chief Jon N. Ackley received these plaques while serving with VA-45 and VA-83. Photo provide by Master Chief Ackely's son, Alan N. Ackley.
BuNo.147726 on the line with VA-83.
26 NOV 1973: left side view of Rampagers A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 152018, AJ-306, parked on the ramp with USAF MATS C-141A Starlifter s/n 64-0609 in the background at NAS Brunswick, Maine. Photographer unknown.
A-7E Corsair II on the "Cat". Richard Anderson.
A-7E Corsair II as it leaves the "boat". Richard Anderson.
A-7E Corsair II coming over the stern. Richard Anderson.
A-7E Corsair II about to touch down. Richard Anderson.
A-7E Corsair II is burning rubber and has the "2" wire. Richard Anderson.
A Rampager Reunion (VFA-83, VA-83, VF-916, VF-83, VBF-83) was held on April 15-16, 2005 at NAS Oceana, Virginia.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit;