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VF-172 Blue Bolts
USS FDR CVA-42
VA-172 Blue Bolts
USS Shangri-La CVA-38
The chess piece patch was used from June 12, 1946 until October 19, 1950. This patch is displayed at the top of this page.
The Blue Bolt design was the second patch and it was used from October 19, 1950 until the squadron was disestablished on January 15, 1971. This patch is displayed at the top of this page.
Harry S. Gann
Captain David Jaynes, USNR (Ret.)
The Tailhook Association
1946 to 1950 - - Checkmates
1950 to 1971 - - Blue Bolts
August 20, 1945, Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTY TWO (VBF-82) established.
November 15, 1946, VBF-82 was re-designated as VF-18A - Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN A.
August 11, 1948, VF-18A was re-designated as VF-172 - Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO.
November 1, 1955, VF-172 was re-designated as VA-172 - Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO.
January 15, 1971, VA-172 - Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO disestablished.
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
August 20, 1945 - - - - Naval Air Station Alameda
January 15, 1946- - - - Naval Air Station Quonset Point
March 4, 1949 - - - - - Naval Auxiliary Air Station Cecil Field
March 24, 1950- - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville
February 22, 1958 - - - Naval Air Station Cecil Field
||Air Wings Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
August 20, 1945 - - R*- - - - - - - CVG-82 / CVAG-17**
July 21, 1951 - - - S - - - - - - - CVG-6
March 25, 1952- - - R - - - - - - - CVG-17
1957*** - - - - - - - - - - - - - - COMFAIRJACKSONVILLE
March 15, 1958- - - AB- - - - - - - CVG-1 / CVW-1****
August 25, 1968 - - AJ- - - - - - - CVW-8
*December 12, 1946, the tail code R was assigned to CVAG-17.
**November 15, 1946, CVG-82 was redesignated CVAG-17; And CVAG-17 was redesignated CVG-17, September 1, 1948.
***In early 1957, the squadron was transferred from CVG-17 and operational control was assigned to COMFAlRJACKSONVILLE.
****December 20, 1963 CVG-1 was redesignated CVW-1 when Carrier Air Groups (CVG) were re-designated Carrier Air Wings (CVW).
10-22-46 to 12-21-46 - CVG-82*- CV 15- - - F4U-4- - Mediterranean
02-02-47 to 03-19-47 - CVAG-17- CV 15- - - F4U-4- - Caribbean
06-07-48 to 08-06-48 - CVG-17 - CVB 43 - - F4U-4- - Mediterranean/Caribbean
01-04-49 to 03-05-49 - CVG-17 - CVB 41 - - F4U-4- - Mediterranean
09-09-50 to 02-01-51 - CVG-17 - CVB 43 - - F2H-2- - Mediterranean
07-21-51 to 03-25-52 - CVG-5- - CV 9** - - F2H-2- - WestPac/Korea
08-26-52 to 12-19-52 - CVG-17 - CVA 42 - - F2H-2- - NorLant/Mediterranean
09-16-53 to 05-01-54 - CVG-17 - CYA 18 - - F2H-2- - World Cruise
03-05-55 to 09-29-55 - CVG-17 - CVA 43 - - F2H-2- - Mediterranean
02-13-59 to 09-01-59 - CVG-1- - CVA 42 - - A4D-2- - Mediterranean
01-28-60 to 08-24-60 - CVG-1- - CVA 42 - - A4D-2- - Mediterranean
02-15-61 to 08-28-61 - CVG-1- - CVA 42 - - A4D-2- - Mediterranean
11-19-61 to 11-30-61 - CVG-1- - CVA 42 - - A4D-2N - Caribbean
09-14-62 to 04-22-63 - CVG-1- - CVA 42 - - A-4C - - Mediterranean
04-28-64 to 12-22-64 - CVW-1- - CVA 42***- A-4C - - Mediterranean
06-28-65 to 12-17-65 - CVW-1- - CVA 42 - - A-4C - - Mediterranean
06-21-66 to 02-21-67 - CVW-1- - CVA 42 - - A-4C - - WestPac/Vietnam
08-24-67 to 05-19-68 - CVW-1- - CVA 42 - - A-4C - - Mediterranean
01-07-69 to 07-29-69 - CVW-8- - CVA 38 - - A-4C - - Mediterranean
03-05-70 to 12-17-70 - CVW-8- - CVS 38 - - A-4C - - WestPac/Vietnam
*CVG-82 was re-designated CVAG-17.
**The squadron departed Naval Air Station San Diego on July 16, 1951 embarked on United States Ship Antietam (CV 36) and arrived in Hawaii on 20 July. On July 21, VA-172 embarked on United States Ship Essex (CV 9) on a combat cruise to Korea.
***In October 1964, United States Ship Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) returned to the United States for emergency propeller repair. During repair the squadron was based at Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida. The FDR and Blue Bolts returned to the Mediterranean following the repair.
August 20, 1945 - - - - LT Benjamin T. Pugh (acting)
September 10, 1945- - - LCDR Jacob W. Onstott
May 28, 1946- - - - - - LCDR Pierre N. Charbonnet, Jr.
February 12, 1948 - - - LCDR V. P. de Poix
April 19, 1950- - - - - LCDR C. A. Blouin
March 15, 1951- - - - - LCDR Marvin E. Barnett
June 17, 1952 - - - - - LCDR James B. Cain
August 4, 1954- - - - - LT R. P. McCloskey (acting)
August 26, 1954 - - - - CDR Glenn G. Estes, Jr.
October 31, 1955- - - - CDR Robert M. McConnell, Jr.
April 25, 1957- - - - - LCDR F. A. Fox (acting)
June 10, 1957 - - - - - CDR Robert J. Robison
July 25, 1958 - - - - - LCDR Henry O. Cutler
September 21, 1959- - - CDR Arthur Barker, Jr.
December 19, 1960 - - - CDR John D. Kidd
December 19, 1961 - - - CDR William S. Stewart
December 19, 1962 - - - CDR M. Blaylock
December 9, 1963- - - - CDR E. D. Herbert
December 8, 1964- - - - CDR K. A. Burrows
December 23, 1965 - - - CDR Bruce A. Nystrom
December 3, 1966- - - - CDR Robert D. Harris, Jr.
November 24, 1967 - - - CDR Thomas A. Francis
November 27, 1968 - - - CDR John D. Yamnicky
October 31, 1969- - - - CDR Conrad B. Olson
Award - - - - - - - - - Inclusive Dates:
Navy Unit Commendation
08-21-51 to 03-05-52
Korean Service Medal
08-13-51 to 03-05-52
Navy Expeditionary Medal
11-20-61 to 11-29-61
04-11-70 to 11-06-70
Republic of Vietnam GC
21 Oct 1966
Vietnam Service Medal
07-09-66 to 09-12-66
10-01-66 to 10-03-66
10-19-66 to 11-14-66
11-24-66 to 12-28-66
01-20-67 to 01-21-67
04-10-70 to 05-02-70
05-12-70 to 05-29-70
06-13-70 to 07-04-70
07-28-70 to 08-19-70
08-30-70 to 09-30-70
10-20-70 to 11-07-70
August 20, 1945: Bomber Fighter Squadron EIGHTY TWO (VBF-82) established at Naval Air Station Alameda, California. VBF-82 was assigned the Grumman F6F Hellcat.
September 6, 1945: VBF-82 was assigned the Vought F4U-4 Corsair I.
January 15, 1946: VFB-82 was stationed at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
October 22, 1946 through December 19, 1947: VFB-82 flying the Vought F4U-4 Corsair I embarked on USS Randolph CV-15, for its first cruise. This tour was to the Mediterranean theater.
November 15, 1946: VBF-82 was re-designated as VF-18A - Fighter Squadron EIGHTEEN A.
1946: VF-18A was assigned the Grumman F8F Bearcat.
February 2, 1947 through March 19, 1947: VF-18A flying the Vought F4U-4 Corsair I embarked on USS Randolph CV-15, for its second cruise. This tour was to the Caribbean.
June 7, 1948 through August 6, 1948: VF-18A flying the Vought F4U-4 Corsair I embarked on USS Coral Sea CVB-43, for its third cruise. This tour was to the Mediterranean and Caribbean theaters.
August 11, 1948: VF-18A was redesignated as VF-172 - Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO.
January 4, 1949 through March 5, 1949: VF-172 flying the Vought F4U-4 Corsair I embarked on USS Midway CVB-41, for its fourth cruise. This tour was to the Mediterranean theater.
March 4, 1949: VF-172 was stationed at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Cecil Field, Florida. VF-172 was assigned the McDonnell FH-1 Phantom I.
March 24, 1950: VF-172 was stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
September 9, 1950 through February 1, 1951: VF-172 flying the McDonnell F2H-1 Banshee embarked on USS Coral Sea CVB-43, for its fifth cruise. This tour was to the Mediterranean theater.
July 16, 1951 through March 25, 1952: The squadron departed Naval Air Station San Diego on July 16, 1951 embarked on USS Antietam CV-36. Antietam arrived in Hawaii on July 20. On July 21, VA-172 flying the McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee, embarked on USS Essex CV-9, for its sixth cruise and its first combat cruise to WestPac/Korea.
August 23, 1951: VF-172 conducted its first Korean War combat sorties in the F2H-2 McDonnell Banshee.
August 25, 1951: The squadron's F2H-2 aircraft, along with F9F Panthers from VF-51, provided escort for thirty U.S. Air Force B-29 bombers raiding the marshaling yards at Rashin, North Korea.
August 26, 1952 through December 19, 1952: VF-172 flying the McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its seventh cruise. This was a tour to the NorLant/Mediterranean theater.
September 16, 1953 through May 1, 1954: VF-172 flying the McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee embarked on USS Wasp CVA-18, for its eighth cruise. This was a World Cruise.
March 5, 1955 through September 29, 1955: VF-172 flying the McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee embarked on USS Coral Sea CVA-43, for its ninth cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
November 1, 1955: VF-172 was re-designated as VA-172 - Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO.
November & December 1956: USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, with VA-172 embarked, deployed off the coast of Spain during the Suez Canal crisis, for its tenth cruise.
December 16, 1957: VA-172 was assigned the Douglas A4D-l (A-4A) Skyhawk.
February 22, 1958: VA-172 was stationed at Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida.
May 1958: VA-172 was assigned the Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk.
August 15, 1958: Lt. Edward L. Ney, 26, was killed yesterday when his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 142740) crashed near Cecil Field. No distress signal was given and no cause for the crash could be determined. Newport Daily News, Saturday, August 16, 1958. Flew into the ground during a high speed, low altitude turn after an apparent structural failure. Parts of the aircraft were found short of the crash site. From "Pat" Patrick.
November 17, 1958: Lt(jg). James "Jim" McKinney rolled left (BuNo 142793) and crashed after cat shot due to asymmetrical slat extension or a partially loaded drop tank, or tanks, that caused the rotation into the stall. From Bob Graham and Dunkirk Evening Observer, Wednesday, November 26, 1958. Naval Aviation News, Grampaw Pettibone, September 1960
November 18, 1958: Lt(jg). Stanley "Stan" Peter Waleszczak was killed when his plane (BuNo 142785) rolled to the right (asymmetrical slat extension) when launched or a partially loaded drop tank, or tanks, caused the rotation into the stall. A spokesman said Waleszczak righted the plane but it pancaked into the ocean and crashed. From Bob Graham and Dunkirk Evening Observer, Wednesday, November 26,1958.
February 13, 1959 through September 1, 1959: VA-172 flying the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its eleventh cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
March 27, 1959: After a gyro failure in A4D-2 BuNo 142791, Paul Strong was on a buddy approach at night on the wing of the XO. Consensus is that the XO got too low and pulled up quickly (probably when he saw the reflection of the lights in the water) and scraped Paul off into the water. Strong had his hands on the ejection seat handle at impact and the impact ejected him. He seriously injured his back but survived and was rescued.
May 8, 1959: Lt(jg). Charles Mohr's ejected form A4D-2 BuNo 142810 when it developed engine trouble off the cat. according to Charlie … I was still a JG. It was a night flight off the FDR, but it was still light when my wing mate, Howie Young, and I were catapulted. A few seconds later, I noticed my engine was at about 102% and TPT was pegged. I throttled back a bit and heard some unusual noises and flamed out. I had accelerated to about 250 kts, so pulled up and told my wing mate that I had flamed out and would attempt a relight and, if not successful, I would eject at the top! We were a few miles ahead of the ship by now and he called Mayday for me. I reached about 2,000 ft and, no relight, so I ejected. Everything worked well and my chute opened soon enough for a couple of swings before entering the water. I caught a glimpse of my plane entering the water! (I had ejected on my first hop in a jet at Corpus so was pleased that I was doing OK on this one also.) When I entered the water there was no wind, so the chute came down over me! I did not have presence of mind enough to swim away from it before coming up. I got tangled and the more that I tried to get away the more tangled I got! I could not even reach to inflate my may west. I was sinking fast when I remembered that I had just had the riggers sew a knife on my lower pants leg. I managed to reach it, pull it out and cut the shroud lines away and inflated my life vest. I was under water a long time and I did not think that I was ever going to reach the surface. When I did, the copter was overhead and lowering "my way up." Another Patrick, Ens. Patrick, had heard Howie give the Mayday and came out to get me before the ship even called him.
January 28, 1960 through August 24, 1960: VA-172 flying the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its twelfth cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
February 9, 1960: Lt(jg) Carl J. Rohsenberger was lost when his aircraft (BuNo 142794) was catapulted from the FDR and sank directly in front of the ship. The Roosevelt was en route across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Destroyers and helicopters searched for the pilot without success. Salt Lake Tribune, Wednesday, February 10, 1960.
January 13, 1961: Lt(jg). Anthony J. Russo was presumed to have crashed into the sea in the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, area after his A4D (BuNo 142756) was catapulted from the carrier Roosevelt Friday on a night training flight. The Aiken Standard and Review, Aiken, SC, Wednesday, January 18, 1961. 1950 (about) A4D BuNo 142756 of VA-172, pilot LTJG Anthony J. Russo, believed lost at sea. Plane was launched from position 19-38.2N, 75-14.2W with orders to proceed on course 100. No further reports received. 2210 Searchlights turned on to guide missing a/c. USS Ingram (DD-938) commenced searching for missing aircraft. 1250 (sic) Destroyers released to proceed on duty assigned. USS Ingram continued search. USS Franklin D. Roosevelt deck log, Friday, 13 January 1961.
February 15, 1961 through August 28, 1961: VA-172 flying the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its thirteenth cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
September 6, 1961: VA-172 was assigned the Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk.
November 19, 1961 through November 30, 1961: VA-172 flying the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its fourteenth cruise supporting the newly established Dominican Republic democratic government. This was a tour to the Caribbean.
February & March 1962: The Blue Bolts flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, deployed aboard USS Enterprise CVAN 65, on a shake-down cruise in the Caribbean.
September 14, 1962 through April 22, 1963: VA-172 flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its fifteenth cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
March 20 1963: Lt(jg). Gary Francis Wheatley (BuNo 149589) and Lt(jg). Paul Meinhardt (BuNo 149584) ejected safely following a mid-air collision enroute from Taranto, Italy to Athens, Greece. 0946 (hours) Stationed USS King within visual signaling range. Discontinued search for LTJG Janiak (VF-14, F3B BuNo 145281, AB-103) Two A4C type a/c BuNo's 149586 (sic) and 149584 were involved in a mid-air collision at estimated position 33-55.5N and 21-21.5E, bearing about 175 (T), yards from this ship. Plane altitudes were estimated to be 9,000 feet and the depth of the water 2,130 fathoms. Pilots were Lt(jg). Gary Francis Wheatley and Lt(jg). Paul Meinhardt. Both pilots and planes from VA-172. Sighted two parachutes bearing 175.5 (T) and 184.5 (T), estimated range 5 miles. 0952 both parachutes hit the water. 0953 Both pilots recovered by helo. 0957 Pilots on board and in good condition. USS Franklin D. Roosevelt deck log, Wednesday, 20 March 1963. On the evening of 20 March 1963 two A-4Cs of VA-172 collided at 9,000 feet over the Mediterranean. A Mk 108 OST (a training version of the Mk 101 “Lulu” depth bomb) was onboard Gary Wheatley’s Skyhawk, which crashed 10,000 yards from Roosevelt, which was enroute from Taranto, Italy to Athens, Greece. Both Wheatley and Lt(jg) Paul Meinhardt ejected and were rescued within ten minutes. A salvage operation was mounted and recovery of the OST required the weapon to be disassembled to facilitate its removal. Wheatley later became the captain of Kennedy and retired as a Rear Admiral. From Jim Winchester.
May 1963: VA-172, on USS Roosevelt CVA-42, supported the Haitian government in response to a rebel attack on the government.
February 5, 1964: Lt. Donald W. Malone, 33, of VA-172 based at NAS Cecil Field was killed Wednesday night when his A-4C Skyhawk (BuNo 149545) crashed into the water after being launched from the carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Caribbean. Malone was catapulted from the deck on a night training flight, went a short distance without rising, then struck the water and exploded. The Gazette, Emporia, KS, Thursday, February 6, 1964. 2115 Commenced launching aircraft. First aircraft launched (A4C) made contact with the water and crashed. Lat. 19-19.5N, Long. 75-08.5W in 1800 fathoms of water. 2116 Maneuvering various courses and speeds to avoid crashed A4C. Vectored ships helo and USS Perry (DD-844) to scene of crash to effect rescue. 2250 Recovered helo, results of search negative. Released USS Perry (DD-844) and USS Borderlon (DD-881) to proceed independently on duty assigned. USS Franklin D. Roosevelt deck log, Wednesday, 05 February 1964.
April 14, 1964 through December 22, 1964: VA-172 flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its sixteenth cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
August 1964: VA-172, on Roosevelt, patrolled near the island of Cyprus after fighting erupted between Turkish and forces on the island.
June 28, 1965 through December 17, 1965: VA-172 flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its sixteenth cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
June 21, 1966 through February 21, 1967: VA-172 flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its seventeenth cruise.
August 1966: VA-172, on USS Roosevelt CVA-42 and flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, commenced combat operations in Vietnam.
December 2, 1966: Cdr. Bruce August Nystrom, VA-172 CO, (BuNo 145143) and his wingman Ens. Paul Laurance Worrell (BuNo 145116) were killed when their aircraft were hit by SA-2 missiles or flew into the ground while on a night armed reconnaissance mission near Phuc Nhac. Ens. Worrell had been heard to warn Cdr. Nystrom that he had a SAM warning. Cdr. Nystrom told him to commence evasive action and then announced a SAM launch. Another pilot saw two flashes on the ground about 1 minute apart followed by two explosions in the air.
December 18, 1966: LtCdr. Ed W.Oehlbeck was wounded over North vietnam while flying A-4C BuNo.148608. He bingoed to Da Nang and safely landed his aircraft. The a/c was returned to the ship on 12/19/1966 by Dale Content, Ohehlbeck's wingman.
August 24, 1967 through May 19, 1968: VA-172 flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, for its eighteenth cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
January 7, 1969 through July 29, 1969: VA-172 flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, embarked on USS Shangri-La CVA 38, for its nineteenth cruise. This was a tour to the Mediterranean theater.
July 31, 1969: Per US Naval aircraft history records, A-4C BuNo 148441 was stricken from the US Navy inventory with a strike code of 1S - STRIKE DUE TO DAMAGE, while on board USS Shangri La CVS-38. According to the USS Shangri La deck log for 31 Jul 1969, she was moored in Mayport, FL. and therefore not launching aircraft. Any information on this loss, please notify the a-4 Skyhawk Association.
November 25, 1969: Lt(jg). John R. Martin, 24, and Lt(jg). Robert A. McLeery, 24, were killed when their VA-172 A-4 Skyhawks (BuNo 149523 and 147839) collided at low level while in formation with a 3rd VA-172 Skyhawk. Portions of one crashed into a home along State Road 13 about 30 miles south of Jacksonville, FL and the other cut a quarter mile long fiery swath through an orange grove in the Switzerland area of NW St. Johns county. The third plane landed safely at NAS Cecil Field. Fort Pierce News Tribune, Wednesday, November 26, 1969. Photo Sarasota Herald Tribune, Wednesday, November 26, 1969.
January 10, 1970: AA Stuart B. Williams, 21, and AN James E. Sexton Jr., 21, were hospitalized at NAS Jacksonville with serious burns and AMS3 George Rose, 21, was hospitalized at NAS Jacksonville with a fractured pelvis after a flash fire aboard the USS Shangri-La at sea off the FL coast Saturday night. The fire erupted as flight crews were fueling an A4 Skyhawk on the ships forward flight deck. Wichita Falls Times, Monday, 12 January 1970. AA Stuart D. Williams, 21, died in the Jacksonville Naval Hospital of burns and AN James D. Sexton Jr., 21, and AMS3 George L. Rose, 21, remain hospitalized as a result of a flash fire aboard the USS Shangri-La during flight maneuvers off the FL coast Saturday night. The fire erupted as flight crews were fueling an A4 Skyhawk on the ships forward flight deck. San Antonio Express, Tuesday, 13 January 1970. BuNo 147795 went to NARF Jacksonville 27 January 1970 from VA-172 (Shangri-La). SOC NARF Jacksonville 02 June 1971.
March 5, 1970 through December 17, 1970: VA-172 flying the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, embarked on USS Shangri-La CVA 38, for its twentieth cruise.
April 22, 1970: Lt(jg). John Bryan Golz was killed when his Skyhawk impacted the ground and exploded during a night attack on trucks on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He was the #2 aircraft in a flight of two on a night strike bombing mission over the southern panhandle of Laos. The target area was located approximately 100 miles west-southwest of DaNang, South Vietnam; 23 miles northeast of Ban Nong Boua, 1 mile northeast of Toungyun and 35 miles southwest of the Lao/Vietnamese border, Salavan Province, Laos. Once the flight entered the target area, Lead checked in with the on-site Forward Air Controller (FAC) for attack instructions against communist forces located in the jungle-covered mountain foothills with the mountain range to the north and dense jungle to the south. The flight was immediately cleared in on an enemy target. Lt. JG Golz made his bombing pass as directed, but did not recover at the end of it. Both the flight leader and the FAC saw where the Skyhawk impacted the ground, then exploded. In the darkness, no parachute was seen and no emergency beeper signals heard from the crash site. When no trace of the downed pilot was found, John B. Golz was immediately listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.
June 22, 1970: Lt. J.S. (John Stiles) Earle was killed when A-4C BuNo 148495 crashed. 2112 Commenced launch. 2118 A4C #310, VA-172, Bureau number 148495 piloted by LTJG Earle was reported down 2 miles 10 degrees on starboard bow at 2118. Pilot apparently did not eject. Cause of a/c failure unknown. SAR effort by helicopter and destroyer begun. 2224 Still no report of pilot at sight of crash. 2345 Reports by SAR commander CO Shelton (DD-790) that various debris including foam rubber, papers and part of seat only objects found. USS Shangri-La deck log, Monday, 22 June 1970.
September 23, 1970: Lt(jg). J.G. Hartman ejected safely when A-4 (BuNo 149525) of VA-172 went in the water off the starboard catapult at 0026. 0043 Ships helo has recovered pilot who ejected from A-4. Lt(jg). J.G. Hartman was returned to ship and suffered only minor injuries, but was retained in sick bay. USS Shangri-La deck log, Wednesday, 23 September 1970. (bridle hook failed on launch)
January 15, 1971: Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO was disestablished.
1958-59: Cruise Book for USS FDR - 1958-59 Med Cruise
1958-59: Commander Hank Cutler, Skipper of the BlueBolts for 1958/59 Med cruise aboard FDR.
1958-59: Richard Werkmeister (center) gets "expert" advice from Douglas Rep. John Rosen (right), and Bob Casecla of Wright Aircraft Corp. (left) who were with VA-172 during the FDR 1958//59 Med Cruise.
1958/59 Med: Boss for the moment, is LTJG Jim "Snoopy" Populorum as SDO.
1958/59 Med: 1958/59 Med: Ed Wingerter, Dick Cook, Howie Young, Herm Turk and Pat Patrick answer the call to "Man'em on the Double".
1958/59 Med: 1958/59 Med: LCDR "Dad" Young strapped in by Plane Captain Tony Whitehead.
1958/59 Med: "Hook me Up"! Blue Bolts Skyhawk AB-301 being maneuvered into position on one of the FDR's cats. Cruise book photos above from Harry Clark.
1958/59 Med: VA-172 A-4 breaks the "Holdback" as the "Cat" begins its stroke.
1958-59 Med: A-4 "leashed" to the steering bar.
1958-59: Blue Bolts Skyhawk BuNo 142758, AB-304, being maneuvered into position on the hangar deck. USS FDR 1958-59 Cruise Book via Harry Clark.
1958-59: 1958-59: BuNo 142790, AB-308, being maneuvered onto the cat. U.S.S. Franlin D Roosevelt 1958-59 Cruise Book. via Harry Clark.
1958-59: VA172 Roger Widney and Ray Waush working in the nose. USS FDR 1958-59 Cruise Book via Harry Clark.
1958-59: VA-172 "Nap" Napoli digs deep doing maintenance. USS FDR 1958-59 Cruise Book via Harry Clark.
1958-59: VA-172 James Paris is working on the radio. USS FDR 1958-59 Cruise Book via Harry Clark.
1958-59: Blue Bolts Skyhawks lined up, manned, and ready to go aboard the USS F.D. Roosevelt. BuNo 142827, AB-300 in the foreground. Cruise book photo via Harry Clark.
1958-59: Loading practice bombs on a Scooter.
1958-59: 1FDR's Portable Laning Mirrors.
1958-59: In-flight formation of Blue Bolts Skyhawks: BuNo 142790, AB-308, BuNo 142758, AB-304, BuNo 142798 and unknown Skyhawk. USS FDR 1958-1959 Cruise Book. From Harry Clark.
1958-59: Blue Bolts Skyhawk BuNo 142758, AB-304, being moved into position on the cat. USS FDR 1958-1959 Cruise Book. From Harry Clark.
1958-59, maybe: BuNo.142771. Highlanders in formation: BuNo.142730 (AB-401, BuNo.142771 (AB-403) and (AB-407).
1958-59: BuNo 142790 (AB308) participating in the "Deck Shuffle". First they move me here, then they move me there. Webmaster's note: An uncommon site t this former Plane Captain, the boarding ladder laid back against the intake. A sharp application of the brakes could cause it to come forward and strike the deck hard, not to mention anyone standing there. USS FDR 1958-1959 Cruise Book. From Harry Clark.
1958-59: BuNo.142790 "Gassing Up". USS FDR 1958-1959 Cruise Book. From Harry Clark.
1958-59: BuNo142794, and two sister A4D-2s in formation during the Sept. 1958 to Aug. 1959 Med Cruise.USS FDR 1958-1959 Cruise Book. From Harry Clark.
1958-59: BuNo 142795 (A4D-2) in the hanger Bay onboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Sept. 1958 to Aug. 1959 Med Cruise.
1958-59: 1958-59: BuNo 142795 on the Flight Deck. Webmaster's note: An uncommon site t this former Plane Captain, the boarding ladder laid back against the intake. A sharp application of the brakes could cause it to come forward and strike the deck hard, not to mention anyone standing there. USS FDR 1958-1959 Cruise Book. From Harry Clark.
1958-59: BuNo.142795 AB-305 of VA-172 being fueled by Fred Wilms and Leon Lambert. USS FDR 1958-1959 Cruise Book. From Harry Clark.
1958-59: VA-172 AB310 on the FDR Flight Deck.
Bob Cole, Bob Graham, Tony Cabot and Ken Nutt are four tired "Tigers" at the end of a long day in the air. All photos from Harry Clark's Cruise Book.
1959: A-4B BuNo 142827 AB-310 Photograph from Gary Verver.
1959-1960: "The smoking lamp is out throughout the ship while re-winding A4D's," was the word passed one fine morning by the VA-15 Valions to their cousin squadrons the VA-172 Blue Bolts and the VA-46 Clansmen aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, CVA-42. The occasion of this intra-Air Group One harassment was Operation Tinker Toy performed by the VA-15 AD-6 Skyraider prop drivers during the FDR's current deployment. Equipping the two squadrons of A4D's with a "wind-up key" was the work of VA-15's Lt. Gordon F. Udall and AMC Jesse B. Hartley. News of the day aboard the FDR was that in-flight rewinding should double the range of the A4D. Front to back VA-172 Blue Bolts A4D-2 Skyhawks AB-301, AB-307, AB-308, and VA-46 Clansmen A4D-2 AB-40x, with the auxiliary wind-up keys installed, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, CVA-43, MED, 1959. Name below the canopy of AB-301 is Cdr A. Barker Jr. From Jack Woodul.
1961: BuNo 142697 A4D-2 refueling VF-14 F3H Demon BuNo 145521, AB-102. Gary Verver.
1961: VA-172 Blue Bolts Skyhawks, VAH-11 Skywarrior, VF-11 Crusaders and VF-14 Demon at the top operating from the USS F.D. Roosevelt. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1962: BuNo 149563, AB-300, parked on the ramp during an open house. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
1962: Blue Bolts Skyhawk BuNo 149565, AB-301, assigned to CDR W.S. Stewart parked on the ramp. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
1962: (L - R) BuNo 148468 AB-309, 148446, 149566 and 149566. In the background is CVA-42, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. This was taken during the Cuban Missle Crisis. Photo from Stanley S. Martin.
1963-64: BuNo 149611 with Special Weapons Loading Team. Stanley "Marty" Martin is bottom front right, with Tim Cook second to his left. They are in front of AB-311, A-4C BuNo 147XXX. BuNo 149611 is at left. Photo from Stanley S. Martin.
JAN64: VA-172 A-4C BuNo 147811 Carrier and squadron skippers, including Captain John Lacouture (Saratoga) and Gerald Miller (Franklin D. Roosevelt) pictured in front of VA-172 A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147811, AB-312, probably at NAS Jacksonville, FL. Photo courtesy of Bob Lawson.
Circa 1964: Two VA-172 A-4C Skyhawks trailing their tanker. Boom Powell.
1964: USS Franklin D. Roosevelt and CVW-1 (AB) aircraft in 1964. The Air Group squadrons/aircraft were VF-14 Tophatters (F-4B Phantom), VF-11 Red Rippers (F-8E Crusader), VA-172 Blue Bolts (A-4C Skyhawk), VA-12 Ubangis (A-4E Skyhawk), VA-15 Valions (A-1H Skyraider), VAH-11 Checkertails (A-3B Skywarrior), VAW-12 Bats (E-1B Tracer), VFP-62 Eyes of the Fleet (RF-8A Crusader) and HU-2 Det. (UH-2A Seasprite).
1964 CVA-42 MED: A-4Charlies of VA-172 form up and tank from A-3B AB-604, BuNo 162656, of VAH-11 during the FDR MED cruise of 14APR64 to 22DEC64. Bottom Skyhawk is BuNo 149566 as AB-303 and the top is BuNo 149563 as AB-300. Tom Meyers.
1964 CVA-42 MED: VA-172 "Charlies" formation over the FDR. Left to right: BuNo 148468 as AB-309, BuNo 148446 as BuNo AB-307 and BuNo 149565 as AB-301. Photo taken by VFP-61 DET F-8 Driver Tom Meyers. Tom Meyers.
1964 CVA-42 MED: Left in-close is VA-172 AB-305 BuNo 148305, in the background on the left is an VA-172 AB-310 BuNo 14xxxx. Plugged into the tanker is VA-172 AB-300 BuNo 149563 and providing the fuel is VA-12 AB-402 BuNo 149499. Photo taken from a VFP-61 DET F-8 by Tom Meyers during the 1964 FDR MED Cruise. Tom Meyers.
1964: BuNo 148573 in flight over NAS Cecil Field. The "Blubolts" were stationed temporarily at Cecil Field while the USS FDR was having a propellor repaired. Then then returned to their interrupted MED Cruise. Photo from Stanley S. Martin.
1964: BuNo 148468 aboard the FDR on the 1964 MED Cruise during a "re-spot" on the flight deck. Stan Martin.
1964: Three VA-12 A-4Cs, middle right is BuNo147823; and VA-172 A-4C middle left is probably BuNo149537 AB-302. Most likely 1964 MED cruise aboard the FDR.
1964: BuNo 149611 traps aboard the FDR. Most likely during 1964 MED cruise. Stan Martin.
1964: Blue Bolts 307, most likely BuNo.145083, undergoing engine maintenance aboard the FDR in the MED. Stan Martin.
1964: Skyhawks being launched from the FDR in the MED. Stan Martin.
1965: VA-172 Blue Bolts A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145116, AB-304, refueling from VAH-10 Vikings KA-3B Skywarrior BuNo 138939, AB-605. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1966: VA-172 Blue Bolts A-4C Skyhawk Tanker BuNo 145143, AB-300, prepares to launch from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42). Official U.S. Navy photo.
1966: LTJG Fred Purrington onboard the United States Ship Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, during its 1966 Vietnam cruise. Fred was shot down and held POW until the war's end. He is pictured with AB-313, BuNo.149564. Photograph from Bob Hinckley.
1966: Blue Bolts LTJG Morris Kempl, Jr., exits his Skyhawk, AB-307, after making FDR's 152,000th arrested landing in the South China Sea. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1966: Blue Bolts Skyhawk AB-310 and other aircraft crowd the deck of the USS F.D. Roosevelt as she operates in the Gulf of Tonkin after deploying from Mayport, FL to the Seventh Fleet. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1966-67: Right side in-flight view of Blue Bolts Skyhawk formation dumping excess fuel as they pass by the Roosevelt. L-r: BuNo 147673, AB-309, BuNo 148528, AB-305, BuNo 147735 and BuNo 148438. U.S. Navy.
JAN 1967: Blue Bolts Skyhawk BuNo 147728, AB-308, parked on the ramp. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
MAR 1967: Blue Bolts Skyhawk BuNo 148611, AB-301, parked on the ramp. Neal Schnieder.
1967: Ordnance handling on the hangar deck of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt with Blue Bolts Skyhawk AB-305 providing an occassional resting place for the Bluejackets. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1967: A Blue Bolt flight of four A-4C Skyhawks. CAG's bird BuNo. 150585 AB 300 leads BuNo. 147735 AB 303 on the left wing, BuNo. 147726 AB 319 on the right wing, and BuNo. 147741 AB 320 in the slot over White House Auxiliary Field north of Cecil Field, Florida in 1967. Photograph from Bob Hinckley.
1967: A Blue Bolt flight of four A-4C Skyhawks over the Mediterranean.A-4C Skyhawks BuNo. 149513, AB-316; BuNo. 148586, AB-311; BuNo. 147811, AB-301; BuNo. 149564, AB-313. They even painted the Bluebolt insignia on all four aircraft! Picture taken in late 1967. USN photograph from Bob Hinckley.
MAR 1968: partial left side tail section view of Blue Bolts Skyhawk BuNo 145083, AJ-307, parked on the line. H&MS-14 TA-4J BuNo 154637, CN-1, in the foreground. Nick Williams.
Mar 1968: Kashin class Soviet missile destroyer, pennant number 504, alongside the FDR in the Med. Blue Bolts Skyhawk BuNo 145083, AB-307 in the foreground. Naval Aviation News Photo.
November 1969: VA-172 Blue Bolts A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 148555, AB-307, sporting icicles. Note the tanker package. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1969-70: Blue Bolts Skyhawk BuNo 149537, AJ-302, coming in for a landing. Dave Steinbacker.
A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 147673 - 1970. Blue Bolt A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 147673 side number AJ 506 taking off. Notice the patch on the fuselage that proclaims "Laotion Highway Patrol." The "LHP" mission was attacking the Ho Chi Minh trail that ran through Laos. Masaaki Hayakawa took this picture July 10, 1970 at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan as CVW 8 aircraft rested while waiting for United States Ship Shangri-La CVA 38 to depart port call in Yokohama. This Shang tour was from March 5, 1970 to December 17, 1970. Photograph by and courtesy of Masaaki Hayakawa.
18 June 1970: VA-172 Blue Bolts A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149498, AJ-314, taxiing forward on the USS Shangri-La, 18 June 1970. VFP-63 Eyes of the Fleet RF-8G Crusader BuNo 146846, AJ-601, at left. Official U.S. Navy photo.
16 July 1970: A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 149621. Blue Bolt AJ 300 the Carrier Air Wing Commander's bird (check the CAG's colors on the rudder) is about to land at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan . Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: