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VMF-223 - 1942(?)
Provided by John Gabbard
VMA-223 Trans Pac '70
VMA-223 Bulldogs AV-8B
VMA-223 A-4's forever
01 MAY 1942 adopted the caricature of Bulldog wearing boxing gloves
Cpl. Veronica Davis.
Frank J. Mirande.
C. J. Tapia.
01 MAY 1942 known as the Rainbow Squadron
01 MAY 1943
12 Sep 1955 Redesignated VMA-223, MAG-15, 2d MAW, Air FMFPac
23 Apr 1956 Embarked on board the USS Wasp and sailed from San Diego for a deployment to the Far East.
4 Nov 1956 Returned to MAG-15, MCAS El Toro.
30 Mar 1963 Departed El Toro for Far East tour.
2 Apr 1963 Arrived at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan and assigned to MAG-12, 1st MAW, FMFPac.
2 Apr 1964 Returned to MCAS El Toro and assigned to MAG-15, 3d MAW, Air FMFPac.
1 Sep 1965 Departed San Diego on board the USS Valley Forge for Far East deployment.
15 Sep 1965 Arrived at Iwakuni, Japan and assigned to MAG-13, 1st MAW, FMFPac.
16 Dec 1965 Deployed to Chu Lai, RVN and assigned to MAG-12, 1st MAW, FMFPac.
4 Dec 1966 Departed RVN for Iwakuni, Japan and assigned to MAG-15(Rein), 9th MAB, FMFPac.
1 Mar 1967 Returned to Chu Lai, RVN and rejoined MAG-12(Rein).
3 Dec 1967 Deployed to Iwakuni, Japan and rejoined MAG-15(Rein).
23 Apr 1968 Returned to Chu Lai, RVN and rejoined MAG-12.
28 Jan 1970 Departed Chu Lai, RVN on trans-Pac flight to California.
8 Feb 1970 Arrived MCAS El Toro and assigned to MAG-33, 3d MAW, FMFPac.
1 Jun 1972 Relocated to MCAS Yuma, AZ and assigned to Marine Combat Crew Readiness Training Group 10, 3d MAW.
23 Jul 1976 Deployed to Iwakuni, Japan and assigned to MAG-12, 1st MAW.
1942: Air Station Ewa Oahu Hawaii
From the end of WWII and the Korean war: Bulldogs operated at Marine Corps. Air Station El Toro and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan
FEB 1970: Marine Corps. Air Station El Toro, California.
JUN 1972: Moved to Marine Corps. Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
No info yet.
1942:------------ Brewster F2A Buffalo.
1942:------------ Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat.
JUN 1943--------- Chance Vought F4U-1 Corsair.
1945------------- Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair.
1953:------------ Grumman F9F-4 Panthers.
AUG 1957--------- North American FJ-4B Fury.
JAN 1961:-------- Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk*
Apr 1964:-------- Douglas A-4E Skyhawk *
AUG 1970: ------- Douglas A-4F Skyhawk.
1975:------------ A-4M Douglas Skyhawk.
OCT 1987--------- McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier.
* November 30, 1962
The A4D-2N designation changed to A-4C
The A4D-5 designation changed to A-4E
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
August 1942----------------- F4F-4 - Guadalcanal
10-23-64 to 05-16-65 Det T-- A-4C -- USS Yorktown CVS-10
Dec 1965 ------------------- A-4C -- Chu Lai, RVN from MCAS Iwakuni; picked up A-4E from VMA-311 at Chu Lai on arrival.
Dec 1965 - Nov 1966 -------- A-4E -- Chu Lai, RVN.
Dec 1966 - Feb 1967 -------- A-4C -- MCAS Iwakuni.
Mar 1967 - Nov 1967 -------- A-4E -- Chu Lai, RVN.
Dec 1967 - Mar 1968 -------- A-4C -- MCAS Iwakuni.
Apr 1968 - Oct 1968 -------- A-4C -- Chu Lai, RVN; picked up VMA-121 A-4E at Chu Lai.
Oct 1968 - Jan 1970 -------- A-4E -- Chu Lai, RVN.
Jan 1970 - Feb 1970 -------- A-4E -- Departed Chu Lai, RVN for Iwakuni and MCAS El Toro.
01 May 1942 – 31 Dec 1942 -- Capt J. L. Smith
01 Jan 1942 – 13 Jan 1942 -- 1stLt C. G. Winters
14 Jan 1943 – 25 Jan 1943 -- Capt H. K. Marvin
26 Jan 1943 – 03 Feb 1944 -- Capt M. E. Carl
04 Feb 1944 – 02 Jul 1944 -- Maj R. P. Keller
03 Jul 1944 – 13 Oct 1944 -- Maj D. Drucker
14 Oct 1944 – 30 Mar 1945 -- Maj R. F. Flaherty
31 Mar 1945 – 16 Apr 1945 -- Maj W. Teller
17 Apr 1945 – 23 Jul 1945 -- Maj H. E. King
24 Jul 1945 – 27 Feb 1946 -- Maj J. W. Ireland
28 Feb 1946 – 21 May 1947 -- Maj J. M. Johnson
22 May 1947 – 09 Jun 1947 -- Maj A. F. O’Keefe
10 Jun 1947 – 06 Mar 1948 -- Maj M. R. Yunck
07 Mar 1948 – 05 May 1948 -- Maj G. F. Bastian
06 May 1948 – 14 Jul 1948 -- LtCol N. T. Post
15 Jul 1948 – 24 Mar 1949 -- Maj R. W. Wyczawaski
25 Mar 1949 – 01 May 1949 -- Maj G. F. Vaughn
02 May 1949 – 15 May 1950 -- Maj D. D. Irvin
16 May 1950 – 19 Mar 1951 -- Maj T. G. Bronleewe
20 Mar 1951 – 09 Apr 1951 -- Maj R. R. Baker
10 Apr 1951 – 15 Jul 1951 -- LtCol F. E. Hollar
16 Jul 1951 – 08 Jul 1953 -- LtCol H. R. Barr
09 Jul 1953 – 28 Jan 1954 -- LtCol H. G. Dalton
29 Jan 1954 – 14 Jun 1954 -- LtCol A. W. Blackman
15 Jun 1954 – 31 Aug 1954 -- Maj J. M. Burris
01 Sep 1954 – 04 Nov 1954 -- LtCol J. McCuckin
05 Nov 1954 – 20 Sep 1955 -- Maj R. B. Laing
21 Sep 1955 – 04 Dec 1956 -- Maj V. E. Allen
05 Dec 1956 – 22 May 1958 -- LtCol W. C. Lemke
23 May 1958 – 21 Oct 1958 -- Maj E. A. Buford Jr.
22 Oct 1958 – 09 Nov 1959 -- LtCol D. E. Severance
10 Nov 1959 – 01 Aug 1960 -- Maj B. J. Frankovic
02 Aug 1960 – 12 Nov 1961 -- LtCol M. R. Stout
13 Nov 1961 – 30 Mar 1964 -- LtCol N. L. Hamm
31 Mar 1964 – 30 Sep 1964 -- LtCol L. H. Brandon
01 Oct 1964 – 15 Apr 1965 -- LtCol T. T. Gentry
16 Apr 1965 – 15 Jul 1965 -- Maj H. C. Colvin
16 Jul 1965 – 27 Sep 1965 -- LtCol R. C. Gray
28 Sep 1965 – 02 Apr 1966 -- LtCol A. Wilson
03 Apr 1966 – 26 Nov 1966 -- LtCol R. B. Sinclair
27 Nov 1966 – 25 Mar 1967 -- LtCol L. G. Taft
26 Mar 1967 – 26 Sep 1967 -- LtCol C. E. Deering
27 Sep 1967 – 30 Apr 1968 -- LtCol A. W. Anthony
01 May 1968 – 15 Oct 1968 -- LtCol E. D. Smith
16 Oct 1968 – 10 Apr 1969 -- Maj L. T. Preston Jr.
11 Apr 1969 – 27 Sep 1969 -- LtCol M. S. Newbill
28 Sep 1969 – 25 May 1971 -- LtCol J. W. Lazzo
26 May 1971 – 31 May 1972 -- Maj A. Oseguera
01 Jun 1972 – 07 Jun 1973 -- LtCol D. W. Dane
08 Jun 1973 – 20 Jun 1974 -- Maj M. J. Lenzini
21 Jun 1974 – 27 Jun 1975 -- Maj R. E. Merrihew
28 Jun 1975 – 22 Apr 1976 -- Maj J. A. Rooke
23 Apr 1976 – 11 Aug 1977 -- LtCol G. O. Booth
11 Aug 1977 – 10 Dec 1978 -- Maj P. R. Hemming
11 Dec 1978 – 12 Mar 1980 -- LtCol S. B. Turner
13 Mar 1980 – 12 Feb 1981 -- LtCol J. Keller
13 Feb 1981 – 04 Feb 1982 -- LtCol B. M. Greeley
05 Feb 1982 – 08 Sep 1983 -- LtCol R. A. Hellbusch
09 Sep 1983 – 31 May 1985 -- LtCol R. J. Short
01 Jun 1985 – 31 Oct 1987 -- LtCol M. J. Larson
01 Nov 1987 – 30 Jun 1989 -- LtCol R. H. Priest
01 Jul 1989 – 25 Oct 1990 -- LtCol L. M. Ricker
26 Oct 1990 – 17 Apr 1992 -- LtCol M. T. Triplett
18 Apr 1992 – 02 Dec 1993 -- LtCol W. F. O’Hara
03 Dec 1993 – 21 Jun 1995 -- LtCol G. W. Duncan
22 Jun 1995 – 30 Oct 1996 -- LtCol D. L. Lovejoy
31 Oct 1996 – 30 Oct 1998 -- LtCol R. F. Tomon
31 Oct 1998 – 04 Aug 2000 -- LtCol J. M. Davis
05 Aug 2000 – 21 Jun 2002 -- LtCol R. S. Pomarico
22 Jun 2002 – 11 Dec 2003 -- LtCol P. D. Woodmansee
12 Dec 2003 – 27 Oct 2004 -- LtCol J. T. Rahm
28 Oct 2004 – 26 Jul 2006 -- LtCol A. G. Shorter
27 Jul 2006 – 22 Feb 2008 -- LtCol D. W. Lancaster
23 Feb 2008 – 05 Mar 2009 -- LtCol M. W. Ketner
06 Mar 2009 – 13 Oct 2010 -- LtCol J. K. Adams
14 Oct 2010 – 25 May 2012 -- LtCol T. D. Gore
25 May 2012 – 10 Oct 2013 -- LtCol W. R. Sauerland Jr.
11 Oct 2013 – Present ------ LtCol R. T. McDuffie
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamer with One Silver Star
President Unit Citation Streamer with Two Bronze Stars Guadalcanal, 22 Aug - 13 Oct 1942 Okinawa, 25 Jun - 14 Jul 1945 Vietnam, 16 Dec 1965 - 1 Dec 1966 and 1 Mar - 15 Sep 1967
Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with Two Bronze Stars
WW II Victory Streamer
Navy Occupation Service Streamer with Asia and Europe Clasp
National Defense Service Streamer with One Bronze Star
Korean Service Streamer
Philippine Liberation Streamer with One Bronze Star
Philippine Presidential Citation Streamer
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions Streamer
Vietnam Service Streamer with Two Silver Stars
May 1, 1942, commissioned: Marine Fighter Squadron 223 was commissioned May 1, 1942, at Marine Corps. Air Station Ewa Oahu, territory of Hawaii, assigned to MAG 23.
August 1942: The first squadron committed to combat in skies of Guadalcanal equipped with eighteen Grumman F4F-4 "Wildcats"
August 1942: Commanding Officer Major John L. Smith was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
1942: Major Marion E. Carl became the Marine Corps. first "ace"; awarded two Navy Crosses.
June 1943: Grumman Wildcats replaced by the Chance Vought F4U-1 Corsair.
From the end of WWII and the Korean war: Bulldogs operated at Marine Corps. Air Station El Toro, Marine Corps. Air Station Cherry Point; Aboard the aircraft carriers: USS Leyte, USS Wright, USS Saipan, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, USS Taraw, USS Midway and USS Bennington. All the time flying F4U-4 "Corsairs" then changing over to Grumman F9F-4 "Panthers" during the Korean War.
December 1954: Returned to Marine Corps. Air Station El Toro from a deployment in Japan.
August 1957: Accepted and trained in FJ-4 Fury
1959: VMA 223 was in Lebanon to assist the Lebanon Government. As a result of this deployment, VMA 223 had painted a cobra on forward portion of all aircraft fuselage to signify the operation.
1957-1960: FJ-4B Fury WP-3 and squadron personnel.
1959-1963: Pictures were taken at El Toro marine base between 1959-1962. My husband, Cpl. Robert H. Glazier (Baby Huey) was stationed there. Some of his buddies were John Craig Smith (Smitty), from New Haven, CT and Willard Lucus (Luke), from Chicago, IL.
January 1961: Accepted the Douglas A4D-2N, later designated as the A-4C Skyhawk.
November 5, 1962: 1st Lt. Richard S. Horsfall, 25, was fatally injured Friday when his aircraft (BuNo 148563) crashed in landing at NAS Atsugi. The Bridgeport Post, Tuesday, November 6, 1962.
July 5, 1963: 1st Lt. James E. Graham, 27, was killed and Maj. William Oliver Bonsall, 34, was missing after an apparent collision. The VMA-223 A-4C Skyhawks (BuNo 147794 & BuNo 148451) crashed at the 2,800' level of Mt. Komagatke 17 miles north of Mt. Fuji. They were enroute from NAS Atsugi to MCAS Iwakuni. Pacific Stars & Stripes, Monday, July 8, 1963.
October 1964 to May 1965: VMA-223 Det T deployed USS Yorktown (CVS-10) flying A-4C Skyhawks.
December 7, 1964: 0942 a Sidewinder missile motor on A-4C BuNo 148482 ignited causing a jet fuel fire on flight deck. 0958 Injury report to follow. 1710 Received injury report Cpl. Reginald E. Matthews of VMA-223 received 1st & 2nd degree burns of feet and hands while working on the flight deck, admitted to ward. PFC David F. Prince received 1st degree burns on head, face and ankles. Treated and admitted to ward. USS Yorktown, deck log, Deck log (cont.), Monday, December 7, 1964. Note: A-4C BuNo 148482 was repaired by FAWPRA at NAS Atsugi, Japan and went to VA-153 on June 14, 1965.
April 1965: six pilots from VMA-223 set an impressive record while on board the USS Yorktown (CVS 10). With only four Skyhawks, the pilots made 1,200 carrier landings without a mishap. The squadron safety record was now one of the most envied in the Marine Corps.
February 17, 1965: Capt. Kent Roberts, 30, was killed today when he failed to pull out of a simulated target run during low altitude reconnaissance flight and his A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 150103) crashed in hilly brush country 15 miles SE of Idyllwild, CA. Redlands Daily Facts, Wednesday, February 17, 1965.
September 1, 1965: VMA-223 departed NAS North Island on board the USS Valley Forge (LPH 8). The Bulldogs arrived at MCAS, Iwakuni, Japan on 15 September where they were assigned to MAG-13, 1st MAW. The squadron remained in Japan training until 15 December. Then, under the command of LCol. Alexander Wilson, it joined MAG-12 at Chu Lai, Vietnam, relieving VMA-311 which returned to Japan after operating in Vietnam since 1 June 1965. Before the day had ended, VMA-223 had flown its first combat mission in Vietnam.
April 29, 1966: Capt. William Francis Mullen was killed when he was shot down (BuNo 151047) on his first low level pass during a strike against gun emplacements near the Ban Karai Pass in Laos. He was last seen on fire and entering cloud cover heading north.
June 3, 1966: Capt. Ralph Warren Caspole was killed when his Skyhawk (BuNo 152047) was hit by automatic weapons fire during his 7th strafing pass while attacking VC troops in the open approximately 75 miles south of Chu Lai in II Corps and two mile south of Gia An. Capt. Caspole, flying the lead position in a two-plane section, had expended his Mark-77 napalm bombs and was strafing with 20mm fire when his jet burst into fire as he was pulling out of a run. The A-4 crashed near the target area and the wingman plus two other Skyhawks of VMA-223, which were diverted to provide rescue cover, orbited the area while helicopters searched for the downed pilot. The rescue operations were terminated after it was apparent the pilot had not survived the crash.
June 24, 1966: Major Ralph K. Park's Skyhawk settled back onto the runway after takeoff rupturing the centerline fuel tank. The aircraft slid down the runway leaving a trail of flames behind it; approaching the end of the runway Major Park ejected. Major Park suffered a fractured ankle and first- and second-degree bums and the Skyhawk received major damage and was transferred to the rework facility in Japan.
November 25, 1966: Capt. Claude Nathanial Williams was part of an advanced party from VMA-121 in Iwakuni, Japan that was sent to Chu Lai ahead of the squadron's official arrival on 1 Dec 1966. Capt. Williams was killed in an operational accident while attempting to land VMA-223 A-4E 151123 at 0505 (5:05AM) on 25 November 1966. Chu Lai base weather (rain, fog and 800-2,000 foot overcast skies) caused cancellation of eight F-4 and 96 A-4 sorties. Winds were 280 degrees at 8-10 knots shifting to 050-090 degrees with gusts to 19 knots. Bottom line on the loss of Claude Williams was that he was on GCA final to Chu Lai 25 November 1966 and crashed north and short of the runway. Bill Egen.
March 16, 1967: Capt. Stanley P. Krueger ejected 15 miles off the coast after his Skyhawk (BuNo 151188) was hit in the stbd wing by ground fire and caught fire during a nighttime attack on an automatics weapons site just north of the DMZ. An Air Force SAR helicopter quickly arrived and returned the uninjured Capt. Krueger to safety.
May 11, 1967: Maj. Robert Lee Snyder (MAG-12 staff) was killed when his Skyhawk (BuNo 151997) was hit by an SA-2 missile during a night TPQ-10 (radar guided bombing) mission 15 miles north of the DMZ. Although Maj. Snyder was hit near Dong Hai as he was about to roll in on target from 17,000 feet, he managed to nurse his aircraft toward South Vietnam until it crashed in the DMZ.
May 13, 1967: Capt. George A. Kinser ejected after his Skyhawk (BuNo 152060) was hit by ground fire on his 2nd pass attacking NVN troops five miles W of Dong Ha. Capt. Kinser was rescued by helicopter approximately three miles northwest of Dong Ha.
August 13, 1967: Capt. Wesley Robert Phenegar (H&MS-12) was killed when the engine failed on his VMA-223 Skyhawk (BuNo 152054) as he was returning from a combat mission and crashed in Quong Tin Prov.
April 1968: Deployed to Chu Lai, RVN with the A-4C Skyhawk.
May 6, 1968: Capt. Manual A. Guzman ejected and was rescued by helicopter when he was leading a two-plane section to the A Shau Valley and was passing through 10,000 feet over the target when his jet (BuNo 145096) collided with VMA-311 A-4E BuNo 151198 that was leaving the target area. Capt. Guzman lost control of his jet and had to eject immediately, while Maj. Norman E. Pridgen, the pilot of the other Skyhawk, was able to reach the coast before having to eject. Both pilots were rescued by helicopter.
May 13, 1968: Cpl. Arthur L. Waldorf was critically burned in a flash fire which occurred during refueling operations on the flight line after a night combat mission. Cpl. Albert J. Faung, seeing Cpl. Waldorf engulfed in flames, rushed to him, tore off his burning clothing, and helped him to a nearby water barrel. Cpl. Waldorf was evacuated to Japan but died from his injuries on 22 May. Cpl. Faung was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroic attempt to save Waldorf from the flames.
May 24, 1968: Capt. Steven J. Driscoll was shot down (BuNo 148549) by .50 caliber fire while attacking an enemy gun position near Tien Phuoc, 30 miles northwest of Chu Lai. He flew several miles south before successfully ejecting and was rescued by a USAF helicopter.
June 6, 1968: Capt. Charles B. Coltrin was taxiing into the line when the left brake failed. The plane veered to the right and ran off the taxiway hitting a passenger boarding ramp with the right-wing tip. The nose and main gear then sank into soft sand and the aircraft overturned. Capt. Coltrin was uninjured, but the jet was seriously damaged.
June 25, 1968: Capt. Charles B. Coltrin ejected safely after his Skyhawk (BuNo 147804) was hit by .50 caliber ground fire while attacking an automatic weapons position near Khe Sanh. The aircraft went out of control and was recovered by helicopter.
October 1, 1968: All hopes of salvaging the squadron's safety record came to an abrupt end when an A-4 (BuNo 147767) flown by 1st Lt. David I. Habermacher, Jr., crashed. On take-off for a single plane ground-controlled bombing mission his left main tire blew, and he lifted off on the extreme left side of the runway. The right main gear struck the MOREST arresting gear engine and the left gear struck a revetment. As the aircraft began to settle Lt. Habermacher safely ejected while his Skyhawk hit the ground and burst into flames and was completely destroyed. From Mark Williams.
North Vietnamese gunners shot down an A-4 Skyhawk (H&MS-11 BuNo 153523) acting as an artillery spotter for the USS New Jersey but paid dearly. The mighty ship swung her 16-inch guns from the targets she was devastating near the DMZ and blew the AAA batteries to pieces. The two pilots were rescued as the U.S. chalked up its 902nd air loss of the war over the north. Two other Skyhawks (VMA-121 BuNo 151159 and VMA-223 BuNo 147767) were lost apparently by accident during landings and takeoffs at Chu Lai in South Vietnam. Both Marine pilots escaped. UPI, San Mateo Times, October 2, 1968
October 21, 1968: Capt. Don A. Wellman landed at Chu Lai just after dark on a return flight from Ubon. With his attention focused primarily on watching the runway ahead of him. Capt. Wellman did not notice that he was on the right edge of the runway until just before the right wing of his Skyhawk (BuNo 151122) struck the arresting gear revetment. The pilot suffered an injured shoulder, and the A-4 was destroyed. And from Mark Williams who knew him personally: The plane’s wing struck the revetment that protected the Morest spool and went off the right side of the runway. As it swerved, the left wing dug into the sand and the aircraft fuselage rolled off the wing and broke into two sections, the left side of which was still precariously attached to the wing. The cockpit section was almost upside down but had room for the pilot to open the canopy. I crawled under, safetied his seat, unstrapped him, and hauled him out. The blivet (old drop tank with a door cut in it) which contained soda picked up for our coffee mess broke up scattering coke cans for over 1,000 feet.
1965 - February 1970: Supported military operations in Vietnam including 1,234 sorties flown in May 1967, and delivering 1,723 tons of ordnance in December 1968
January 24, 1969: Capt. Michael P. Green was shot down while flying close air support for units of the 1st Marine Division near Thuong Duc. Capt. Green received several hits from enemy small arms fire, but he managed to get the crippled Skyhawk (BuNo 151097) out over the ocean before he ejected. A U. S. Navy boat picked him up and returned him, uninjured, to Chu Lai.
February 1970: TransPac the Squadron Skyhawk to Marine Corps. Air Station El Toro, California.
August 1970: Received the A-4F Skyhawk.
August 12, 1971: Capt. Raymond "Guy" Neely ejected safely from A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155041 after a flameout in the break at NAS Fallon due to a stuck fuselage fuel tank float valve. There was no fire after the airplane pancaked into a field and the fuselage tank was pretty much intact and dry. So, despite a fuel quantity reading of somewhere between 1500-2000 pounds, the engine quit. Guy was landing at Fallon to refuel prior to returning to El Toro following a A20R simulated nuke run from MCAS El Toro. From Bob Lange.
October 22, 1971: Major Ed Huff ejected from A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155038 and was picked up unharmed, but wet, in the vicinity of San Clemente Island/Catalina Island when the engine seized during a post maintenance inspection flight from MCAS El Toro. The cause was not conclusively determined but the engine had been worked on and one of the wrenches used during the work was missing from the tool room. It was surmised, not assumed, that the wrench had been left in the engine spaces and fod'ed the engine during the flight. From Bob Lange.
June 1972: Moved to Marine Corps. Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
1975: Became the first Fleet Squadron to receive the Douglas A-4M Skyhawk, the most advanced version of Skyhawk series.
March 1976: The World Famous VMA-223 Bulldogs posing in front of A-4M BuNo 159784, WP-17, Yuma, AZ, NAS Fallon Deployment, March 1976. For a kick all the pilots wore orange flight suits, cowboy hats and grew mustaches. When we parked on the flight line on arrival the advance crew met us with cold Coors (it was the thing back then) and a cigar (smoked it away from the flight line)! The base commander didn’t think much of our cowboy hats, but our Skipper said if his navy guys could wear baseball caps, our guys could wear cowboy hats! The Commander compromised and said we could wear the cowboy hats from the BOQ to the hangar and back, but not the rest of the base. One weekend we went skiing and wore the orange flight suits. Ah, the things we did back in the day. Today . . . well, it’s a different world. Ed Benes.
May 1976: All nine Fighter and Attack Squadrons in the Marine Air Wing competed in a 3-day Air to Ground firepower exercise. VMA-223 with the new "A-4 Mikes" won top honors.
July 1976: The Bulldogs deployed to Iwakuni, Japan for 12-month tour.
April 18, 1977: Capt. Cliff Gion was pulled off the runway because the MOREST was set on one side for an A-6 and departed the runway 800 feet after hook disengagement crossing a cement slab shearing the nose gear allowing the nose to strike the ground and pirouette around the nose landing gear, Iwakuni, 18 April 1977. From Cliff Gion. The flight leader briefed the pilots to make MOREST landings because of wind conditions. After the 1st A-4 successfully trapped an A-6 pilot called in for an emergency landing. Both arresting gear NCO's attempted to change the throttles on the arresting gear to accommodate the A-6, but one wasn't able to change the setting and informed the tower that the M-21 gear was down. Shortly thereafter the tower cleared the 2nd A-4 (BuNo 159482) for a MOREST landing. The pit NCO again advised the tower that the MOREST was down. The tower didn't respond, and the A-4 trapped. During the rollout sequence the pilot started to pull the lower ejection handle but elected not to when he saw mud spraying past the canopy. From the accident report. 159482 - The aftermath 159482 - The aftermath
August 1977: Returned to CONUS relocating to Marine Corps. Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.
August 14, 1978: 1st Lt. Michael E. Zuehlike, 27, was killed when his VMA-223 A-4M Skyhawk (BuNo 158157) crashed Monday night during bombing practice at the Navy's Dare target complex 15 miles south of Roanoke Island. Burlington Times-News, Tuesday, August 15, 1978.
October 31, 1980: Maj. James H. “Flash” Merrill, 38, XO VMA-223 Bulldogs, crashed leading a 2 ship Gun Run with Capt. Peterson near MCAS Cherry Point, NC in a A4M Skyhawk. According to members of the recovery team the outboard ½ of the right slat was found ¼ mi from the impact sight. From Sgt. Bobby G. Sides, USMC, 6012 (Plane Captain) 1979-1983, VMA-223, H&MS-32. The pilot of an A-4 Skyhawk died when the airplane crashed Friday morning, near Stacy, about 25 miles east of MCAS Cherry Point. The Marine Corps would not release the name of the pilot until it notifies his next-of-kin The crash occurred at 10:11 a.m. on private property in Carteret County. Burlington Times-News, Saturday, November 1, 1980. VMA-223 A-4M BuNo 158153 was destroyed at Dare County target after aircraft crashed into ground after bird strike during ordnance run, 31 October 1980. Pilot fatal. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
May 1981: Deployed to Iwakuni, Japan for six months.
September 9, 1981: 1st Lt. George M. Panasuk, 26, (VMA-223) ejected safely when his A-4M Skyhawk (BuNo 158151) crashed today into a mountain in western Japan about 60 miles NW of MCAS Iwakuni. The Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, IN, Wednesday, September 9, 1981 and Pacific Stars and Stripes, Saturday, September 12, 1981. Official Accident summary stated pilot ejected after aircraft departed controlled flight. According to a squadron pilot Tojo had a slat departure and ejected just west of Iwakuni. From Jim Winchester. VMA-223 A-4M BuNo 158151 was destroyed at Iwakuni after aircraft departed controlled flight, 09 September 1981. Pilot ejected. Minor injury. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
October 19, 1981: Tony “Pizza” Decandia ejected safely after an in-flight explosion doing gunnery practice over the South China Sea. Even though one shoulder was severely injured and dislocated, he managed to get in his raft. At this point, the other members assumed the scene command and set up a high/low cover so one guy could keep an eye on the raft and the other as radio relay since it was a couple of hundred miles out. We started to set up a cycle of A-4’s to make sure always to have eyes on Tony. The Navy launched an SH-3 crew who made a heroic flight to get Tony. They were at their max range, but they refused to leave him out there. They managed to pick Tony up and return to Cubi on fumes. From Pete Meyer. Official Accident summary stated aircraft crashed into sea following explosions, pilot ejected. Unofficially it was "Tony" had his jet blow up in the gun pattern off the Philippines. Speculation was that "Betty" shot him down, being out of position in the gun pattern. From Jim Winchester. VMA-223 A-4M BuNo 160241 was destroyed at South China Sea when aircraft crashed at sea following explosions, 19 October 1981. Pilot ejected. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
November 5, 1981: 1st Lt. Mark R. “Ragu” Savarese, 25, was rescued when his A-4M Skyhawk from MCAS Iwakuni crashed into Japanese waters and sank 10 miles south of Iwakuni Thursday. Pacific Stars and Stripes, Sunday, November 8, 1981. Saverese became the only A-4 Submarine driver… I flew with him in VMAT 102 when I was an instructor there. Later he told me he was flying wing and the lead got too low and dusted him off … he sank and had to manually release himself from the aircraft. As I recall he was about 15 feet deep. From Paul E. Backs, 28 January 2016. About 45 minutes after takeoff the flight encountered icing and informed the leader that he had lost his airspeed indicator. The flight leader called on Ragu to fly in close formation so they could make a section approach to Iwakuni. The leader would make a missed approach and drop Ragu off when the "meatball" landing aid was sighted. Just after lowering flaps and landing gear in light rain and fog they became separated, and Ragu ended up in the water. From Jim Winchester. VMA-223 A-4M BuNo 158421 was destroyed at Iwakuni when aircraft crashed into sea during night instrument approach, 05 November 1981. Pilot rescued. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
May 1982: Returned to CONUS at Marine Corps. Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.
1983-1987: Deployed numerous times participating in exercises throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
April 16, 1985: Maj. E.W. Powers, MCAS Yuma Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1, ejected safely before his A-4M jet crashed Sunday. Powers was flying back to the base after experiencing trouble, Arizona Republic, Tuesday, 16 April 1985. Lost control during post maintenance check flight near Yuma, AZ. VMA-223 A-4M BuNo 160257 was destroyed at Yuma when aircraft experienced fire and loss of control on PMCF. 14 April 1985. Aircrew ejected. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
October 29, 1985: 1st Lt. Robin Helton (30) was killed when his single seat A-4 Skyhawk enroute from Nevada to MCAS Cherry Point, NC crashed in a wooded area near Boiling Spring, SC. Rescue workers searched through woods littered with wreckage from an A-4M Skyhawk Wednesday for 30-year-old Marine pilot Robin Helton, not knowing if he ejected before the crash. The jet went down about 6 p.m. Tuesday in a wooded are in northers Spartanburg County. Shortly before the crash air traffic controllers heard the pilot say he was in trouble. At 6:05 he declared an emergency and started a descent. Official at MCAS Cherry Point confirmed the plane was one of three in VMA-223 returning after a refueling stop at NAS Millington. Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Thursday, 31 October 1985. Official reports after the crash pointed to a failure in the plane’s oxygen and communications system as a possible cause. VMA-223 A-4M BuNo 160242 was destroyed at South Carolina when the aircraft crashed into ground during ferry flight. 29 October 1985. 1 fatality. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester. Oxygen starvation was the final outcome of the AB. Scuttlebutt from Bill Egan.
Town recalls pilot killed in 1985 Skyhawk crash by Lee G. Healy - Times and Democrat, Spartanburg, SC, Sunday, November 7, 2010.
1987: VMA-223 was the last (as they were the first) operational A-4M squadron on the East Coast.
October 1987: Transitioned to McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier.
May 1989: Aboard the USS Nassau (LHA-4) in support of the 26th MEU.
September 1989: With the exception of personnel deployed on the USS Nassau (LHA-4), VMA-223 deployed to CFB Cold Lake Canada for training with Canadian Forces.
March 1990: Deployed aboard USS Saipan (LHA-2) supporting the 22nd MEU. Participated in "Operation Sharp Edge" flying armed combat air patrol missions supporting non-combatant evacuation operations in Liberia.
January 1991: Deployed a 6 plane detachment to NAS Rota Spain for contingency operations supporting "Operation Desert Shield/Storm"
June 1991: Deployed aboard USS Wasp (LHD-1) with 10 Harriers, supporting the 26th MEU.
December 1993: VMA-223 took delivery of the AV-8B II Plus Radar/Night Attack Harrier.
1994: Deployments to Hill Air Force Base, Utah; 29 Palms, California; Indian Springs, Nevada
1994: VMA-223 developed the first Harrier night system capabilities on the east coast.
October 1994: Deployed aboard USS Nassau (LHA-4) with the 22nd MEU. Flew sorties as part of operations "Provide Promise", "Sharp Edge", and "Deny Flight" supporting United Nations operations in Bosnia.
September 1996: Changed back to the day attack Harrier.
BuNo 150049, WP-8, as she taxies by the photographer. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
NOV-DEC 1964: Bulldogs DET T Skyhawks aboard the Yorktown, front to back BuNo 148482, WP-83, BuNo 150599, WP-84, BuNo 148501, WP-81 and BuNo 148525, WP-82 along with S-2 Trackers from VS-23 & VS-25. U.S. Navy from "Boom" Powell.
NOV 1965: A-4E BuNo. 150106, WP 16 and A-4E WP 4 pictured flying over Mount Fuji, Japan - November 1965. Photograph from Rusty Williams.
OCT 1966: BuNo 151140, WP-4, parked on the ramp next to BuNo 150011, WP-15. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
Date Unknown: A-4M BuNo 159487 on the ramp, location unknown. Name below the canopy is Lt.Col. Sam Turner.
1966: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 152051, WP-4, uses JATO bottles to hasten its ascent from the Chu Lai runway. The JATO bottles reduced the takeoff distance by half. National Archives.
OCT 1966: A-4E BuNo 150011, WP-10, parked on the line next to BuNo 151140, WP-4. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza
1968: A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151129, WP-20, the rudder painted yellow, landing at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
23 October 1968: A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151999, WP 17, the rudder painted yellow, landing at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
1968: In front of A-4C BuNo 148505, "Bombed, strafed, napalmed and rocketed. Other Stuff Too. Made Lots of Holes in the Ground. Tore up a lot of jungle. Killed some people. Saved a few Marines who were fighting on the ground. I flew with VMA-223 and 121 till going to Danang as a TACA (Tactical Air Controller Airborne)." From Col. R. Clapp, USMC (Retd).
1968: A-4E 149973 lifting off. "Me off to bomb some enemy trees. Friend of mine was runway duty officer and took this pic. Gave it to me later." From Col. R. Clapp, USMC (Retd)
1968: A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151033, WP-6, taxiing with empty MER's, SEA. Official U.S. Navy.
24 July 1968: A-4C Skyhawks BuNo 149605, WP-21, and BuNo 145103, WP-3, based at Chu Lai in-flight with bombs, rockets, and 20mm cannons over I Corps ready to support allied forces in that area. Official USMC photo by 1st Lieutenant Joe Collins. From the Jonathan Abel Collection (COLL/3611), Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections.
May 1969: A-4E BuNo 149661 WP-07 preparing to taxi.
20OCT69: A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151186, side number WP 1, is pictured holding short for takeoff at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. The Scooter came to Atsugi for repair. This close up of 151186 displays BULLDOG 1 painted on the nose section and identifies the pilot as Commanding Officer Lt. Col. M. S. Newbill, USMC. Photograph by and courtesy of Masaaki Hayakawa.
Chu Lai RVN 1968 to 1969: VMA-223 Avionics Tech Robert Bensle:
VMA-223 Drivers recognize the 5000th Combat Sortie.
10JAN70: A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 152099, WP 18, at NAS Atsugi Japan. A tug pulls 152099 to the Atsugi repair facility. Notice the engine inlet filters to protect the turbine from FOD (Foreign Object Damage). Photograph by and courtesy of Masaaki Hayakawa.
1970-1975: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155031, WP-8, on the ramp next to WP-12. Unknown source.
1974: A-4E BuNo 151193, WP-16, parked with her hook down. Gary Verver Collection.
March 1976: A-4M BuNo 158158, WP-18, assigned to LT Mike "Jingles" Thumm, parked on the line. Rob Mignard.
OCT76: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159479, WP-9, on the ramp, NAF Misawa, 30 Name below the canopy is CAPT PE Backs. At left is a VAW-115 Liberty Bells E-2B Hawkeye. Copyright R.W. Harrison.
October 1976 RNZAF A-4K 157905 NZ6202 and VMA-223 A-4M 159490, WP-10, (CAPT G.W. Pickett) at Amberley. RNZAF Official via Don Simms and Phil Thompson.
15 April 1977: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159483, WP-00, taxiing at NAS Atsugi, Japan. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
18 April 1977: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159482, WP-12, after Capt. Cliff Gion was pulled off the runway because the MOREST was miss-set on one side for an A-6 Intruder, Iwakuni. A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159482, WP-12, damage after Capt. Cliff Gion was pulled off the runway because the MOREST was miss-set on one side for an A-6 Intruder, Iwakuni. Official U.S. Navy photos.
07 JAN 1978: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159483, WP-00, parked on the ramp configured with a pair of drop-tanks, Kelly AFB. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy.
12 SEP 1978: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 160022, WP-2, on the flight line with a pair of MER's with practice bombs and a centerline drop tank. Name on the canopy rail is MAJ Phil "Guts" Hemming. Photo by G. B. Rhodes.
04 OCT 1978: A-4M BuNo 160039, WP-4, as it taxis by the photographer at NAS Memphis. Name below the canopy rail is CPL "Redneck" Myers. Photo by D. Wilton.
1978: In flight view of Avengers Skyhawk BuNo 158418, CF-14, VMAT-102 Skyhawks BuNo 159786, SC-13, VMA-223 Bulldogs BuNo 159486, WP-16 & VMA(AW)-242 Bats Intruder BuNo 152953, DT-14. Harry Gann.
Jan 1978: A-4M BuNo 160022, WP-2, on the flight line with a pair of drop tanks. Photo by C.A. Eddt, G. Verver collection.
10 Apr 1978: Avengers A-4MSkyhawk BuNo 159486, WP-16, assigned to LT Ron Schlitt taxiing under the direction of the plane captain. Photo by D. Wilton, G. Verver collection.
September 1978: VMA-223 Skyhawk Line. VMA-223 "Bulldog" Skyhawks at Pax River. Photograph by Tom Leavens.
12 Sept 1978: A-4M BuNo 159483, WP-00, parked on the ramp. Photo by G.B. Rhodes, G. Verver collection.
1978: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 158421, based at MCAS Cherry Point, NC, approaching NAS Jacksonville, Florida, on March 24, 1978. Color scheme is Gloss Gull Gray over gloss Insignia White, with colorful markings. This Skyhawk apparently crashed in November 1981. From a photograph by Frank J. Mirande.
27FEB79: Six Marine A-4M's in precise formation. BuNo's left to right are 159483, 158158, 149490, 159477, 158171 & 158187. Looks like well-used ZUNI launchers on the outboard wing stations. Douglas photos from Gary Verver Collection that were of the 27 Feb 1979 News Release from McDonnel Douglas.
12SEP78: Avengers A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159486, WP-16, assigned to LT Ron Schlitt being attended to by the ground crew. Photo by G.B. Rhodes, Gary Verver Collection.
13JAN79: Pic1 of Bulldogs A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159486, WP-16, as she taxies by the photographer. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy.
13JAN79: Pic2 of Bulldogs A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159486, WP-16, as she taxies by the photographer. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy.
AUG79: A-4M BuNo 160036 on the ramp at Scott AFB, photographer unknown.
Aug 1979: A-4M BuNo 159484, WP-14, as she taxies by the photographer at Andrews AFB, August 1979. Name below the canopy rail is CAPT Kevin Leffler. Gary Verver Collection.
OCT79: A-4M BuNo 159479, WP-9, parked on the line. Rob Mignard.
1980s: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 160259, WP-01, manned and ready to go. Phil Jarvis.
1980: A-4M BuNo 159483, WP-20, parked on the line. Name below the stbd cockpit rail is SGT Scott Woodring. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
March 1980: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 158158, WP-18, parked on the ramp. Name below the canopy rail is LT Mike "Jingles" Thumm. Gary Verver Collection.
May 1980: A-4M BuNo 160039, WP-4, parked on the ramp with a centerline tank. Name below the canopy rail is MAJ Enoch Sprietsma. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: A-4M BuNo 160036, WP-22, parked on the ramp with a centerline tank. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: A-4M BuNo 159478, WP-8, parked on the ramp with a centerline tank. Name below the canopy rail is CPL Sonny Davis. At right is A-4M BuNo 160244, WP-4. Gary Verver Collection
MAY80: A-4M BuNo 159479, WP-9, parked on the ramp with a underwing drop tanks. At left is A-4M BuNo 160252. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: A-4M BuNo 160246, WP-1, parked on the flight line with a centerline drop tank next to BuNo 159478. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: A-4M BuNo 160253, WP-7, parked on the flight-line with a center-line tank next to A-4M BuNo 159478, WP-8. Gary Verver Collection
Date unknown: A-4M BuNo 160253, WP-7, parked. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: A-4M BuNo 160036 on the ramp, location unknown. Name below the canopy is LCPL Frasier JJ.
JUN80: A-4M BuNo 160246 location unknown. Name below the canopy is Lt. Col. Gerry Keller. At left is USAF T-37B 68-8029. W. Hartman.
Circa 1980: A-4M BuNo 160258, WP-18, parked on the ramp. Photo from Gary Verver.
JUN80: A-4M BuNo 160258, WP-18, parked on the flight line with a centerline drop tank. Name below the canopy rail is MAJ Jim Merrill. Gary Verver Collection.
JUN80: A-4M BuNo 160252, WP-3, parked on the flight line. Name below the canopy rail is MAJ Rich Freeman. Gary Verver Collection.
JUN80: A-4M BuNo 160258, WP-18. Photo by Jim Nugent, Gary Verver Collection.
JUN80: A-4M BuNo 160261, WP-2, parked on the ramp with a centerline tank. Gary Verver Collection.
SEP80: A-4M BuNo 160253, WP-7, with a centerline drop tank, taken Sept. 1980 at the Elmira, NY airshow. Photo by John Freeman provided in concert with Gary Verver.
Circa 1980s: A-4M BuNo 160259, WP-01, wing drop tanks & Shrike missile without fins, taken at MCAS Cherry Point. Photo by John Freeman provided in concert with Gary Verver.
1981-87: A-4M BuNo 160247, WP-7, tied down on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
04JUN81: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 160261, WP-15, landing at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan, June 4, 1981. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
09JUN82: A-4M BuNo 160254, WP-4, parked on the flight-line next to VMA-223 A-4M BuNo 160261, WP-15, MCAS Cherry Point. At right is KC-130F Hercules BuNo 148899. Gary Verver Collection.
Date unknown: A-4M BuNo 160254, QP-4 parked with Flt. Gear ? stashed. Gary Verver Collection.
09JUN82: A-4M BuNo 160261, WP-15, parked on the flightline. Gary Verver Collection.
Circa 1982: A-4M BuNo 159477, WP-7. Official U.S. Navy photo.
12FEB83: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo.160255, WP-19, landing at NAS Atsugi, Japan, February 12, 1983. Photo courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
1983: A-4M BuNo 160252, WP-10, with access doors open for maintenance. Gary Verver Collection.
1983: A-4M BuNo 160261, WP-15, canopy open and fuselage access panel open. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY 1984: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 160244, WP-5, on the flight-line in a lo-vis grey scheme, 12 October 1976. Name below the canopy rail is CAPT Hayward. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY 1984: A-4M BuNo 160244, WP-5, parked on the flight line with a centerline tank. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY84: A-4M BuNo 160246, WP-14, parked on the flight-line. Gary Verver Collection.
JUL 1984: A-4M BuNo 160243, WP-12, as she taxies by the photographer on the Dover ramp in a lo-vis grey scheme. Gary Verver Collection.
A-4M BuNo 160243, WP-12, parked with hook down. Gary Verver Collection.
Date unknown: A-4M BuNo 159479, WP-9. Name below the canopy is Capt. D.F. Goold. A-4M in the background is VMA-133 BuNo 159479, ME-00. Photo from W. Munzenmaier.
A-4M BuNo 160039 taxiing at Memphis. Name below the canopy is CPL Myers. Photo by D. Wilton.
01JUN85: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 160249, WP-9) aircraft prepares to take off during an air show, MCAB Cherry Point. Photo by Sgt T.K. Burch.
1 June 1985. Unknown A-4M Skyhawk aircraft drops a bomb on Onslow Beach during Exercise Solid Shield '85, Camp Lejeune, NC. Photo by Sgt. T.K. Burch.
01 JUN 1985: A-4M Skyhawk takes off during an air show at MCAS Cherry Point, NC.
A-4M Skyhawk, WP-4, lands during an air show at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. Official photo by SGT T.K. Burch, from Gary Verver.
JUN86: A-4M BuNo 160244, WP-5, with Sidewinders, 2.75" launcher, center-line Mk-82’s, taken June 1986 at MCAS Cherry Point. Photo by John Freeman provided in concert with Gary Verver.
July 1987 A-4M BuNo 160258, WP-01, as she taxies by the photographer. Gary Verver Collection.
16 July 1987 A-4M BuNo 160243, WP-12, as she taxies by the photographer with a centerline tank. Gary Verver Collection.
Doug Foreback presents a nine-picture series of VMA-223 men and Harriers participating in a four-day war game code named Sentry Storm IV. This exercise took place in September 1988 at Shepheard Field, Martinsburg, West Virginia. The National Guard 167th Tactical Air Wing based at Shepheard Field hosted Sentry Storm IV.
No info yet.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VMA-223: