Attack Squadron Forty-Six
1st contact is Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contacts in [THE ASSOCIATION] drop down menu.
Clansmen Insignia for each aircraft flown, Cougar/Skyhawk/Corsair II aircraft. Provided by Dave Dollarhide
Cougar patch variant colors
Skyhawk patch variant tartan
VAF-46 Fighting Clansmen 1975
Battle Readiness E 1988
No Slack for Iraq
VA-46's insignia was approved by CNO on 25 November 1960. The circular insignia had a blue field outlined by two concentric black lines; the McDougal clan tartan, drawn from the heritage of the squadron's first commanding officer, had dark blue and white lines on a red background, interspaced with green squares; the crest was white, outlined in black with the Latin words Vincere Vel Mori, meaning to conquer or to die; a white stylized aircraft outlined in black; and the banner was white with the designation VA 46 in black.
Squadron aircraft historically used a variety of paint schemes, most using variations of tartan over the years. The painting of tartan on the Clansmen aircraft was complicated and time consuming, requiring several layers of masking tape and colors of paint. Unlike the squadron insignia, which remained the same, aircraft tartan was subject to the interpretations of many squadron painters over the years. It was an evolutionary process.
The McDougal tartan was first used, which was a close match to the squadron insignia design. In 1963, CDR McKensie became the Commanding Officer and the aircraft tartan was modified to more closely represent his family tartan, a darker design with black instead of blue stripes. In 1966, as A-4Es were assigned to the squadron for a Vietnam cruise, the squadron attempted to return to the McDougal plaid, but without the "corporate knowledge" of previous painters, it took on it's own unique look, with much more red and green displayed. During transition to the A-7, the 3M company provided decals, using the original McDougal tartan, which was used for a few years. It's difficult to reconstruct the variety of aircraft tartan in subsequent years. In fact, due to changing Navy directives concerning aircraft paint, it disappeared completely during the last eight years of the Clansmen's existence.
Captain Dave Dollarhide
Harry S. Gann
1955 - 1991 CLANSMEN
May 24, 1955 established as Attack Squadron FORTY SIX (VA-46)
June 30, 1991 - VA-46 disestablished.
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
May 24, 1955 - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida
Date - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - Air Wing
May 24, 1955 - - F - - - - CVG-4
Jul 0?, 1955 - - X/AQ* - - ATG-202
Feb 15, 1958 - - AB- - - - CVG-1
Jan 13, 1959 - - AF- - - - CVG-6
Aug 30, 1959 - - AB- - - - CVG-1
Dec 05, 1960 - - AK- - - - CVG-10/CVW-10†
Jan 01, 1966 - - AC- - - - CVW-3
Jan 01, 1967 - - AA- - - - CVW-17
Jan 01, 1968 - - AC- - - - CVW-3
Feb 12, 1970 - - AB- - - - CVW-1
Oct 01, 1986 - - AG- - - - CVW-7
Sep 0?, 1988 - - - - - - - COMLATWING 1‡
Mar 01, 1989 - - AC- - - - CVW-3
* ATG-202's tail code was changed from X to AQ in the latter part of 1957,
Carrier Air Groups were redesignated Carrier Air Wings
The squadron was detached from CVW-7 and came under
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
June 1955- - - - - - - - - - - - F9F-5 Grumman Panther.
August 1955- - - - - - - - - - - F9F-8 Grumman Cougar.
November 1968- - - - - - - - - - A-7B Vought Corsair II.
August 1977- - - - - - - - - - - A-7E Vought Corsair II.
March 1958 - - - - - - - - - - - A4D-2 Douglas Skyhawk.
August 1960- - - - - - - - - - - A4D-2N Douglas Skyhawk.
January 1967 - - - - - - - - - - A-4E Douglas Skyhawk.
September 1967 - - - - - - - - - A-4B Douglas Skyhawk.
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:
Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
07/14/56 - 02/19/57 - ATG-202 - CVA 15 - F9F-8- - Mediterranean
02/13/59 - 08/30/59 - CVG-6 - - CVA 11 - A4D-2- - Mediterranean
01/28/60 - 08/24/60 - CVG-1 - - CVA 42 - A4D-2- - Mediterranean
02/02/61 - 05/15/61 - CVG-10- - CVA 38 - A4D-2N - Mediterranean
02/07/62 - 08/28/62 - CVG-10- - CVA 38 - A4D-2N - Mediterranean
10/01/63 - 05/23/64 - CVG-10- - CVA 38 - A-4C - - Mediterranean
02/10/65 - 09/20/65 - CVG-10- - CVA 38 - A-4C - - Mediterranean
03/11/66 - 10/26/66 - CVG-3 - - CVA 60 - A-4C - - Mediterranean
06/06/67 - 09/15/67 - CVW-17- - CVA 59 - A-4E - - WestPac/Vietnam
07/09/69 - 01/22/70 - CVW-3 - - CVA 60 - A-7B - - Mediterranean
09/14/70 - 03/01/71 - CVW-1 - - CVA 67 - A-7B - - Mediterranean/NorLant
12/01/71 - 10/06/72 - CVW-1 - - CVA 67 - A-7B - - Mediterranean/NorLant
04/16/73 - 12/01/73 - CVW-1 - - CV 67- - A-7B - - Mediterranean/NorLant
06/28/75 - 01/27/76 - CVW-1 - - CV 67- - A-7B - - Mediterranean
09/02/76 - 11/09/76 - CVW-1 - - CV 67- - A-7B - - NorLant
01/15/77 - 08/01/77 - CVW-1 - - CV 67- - A-7B - - Mediterranean
06/29/78 - 02/08/79 - CVW-1 - - CV 67- - A-7E - - Mediterranean
08/04/80 - 03/28/81 - CVW-1 - - CV 67- - A-7E - - Mediterranean
08/23/82 - 10/30/82 - CVW-1 - - CV 66- - A-7E - - NorLant/Mediterranean/Carib
12/08/82 - 06/02/83 - CVW-1 - - CV 66- - A-7E - - Mediterranean/IO
04/24/84 - 11/14/84 - CVW-1 - - CV 66- - A-7E - - Carib/Mediterranean/IO
08/24/85 - 10/09/85 - CVW-1 - - CV 66- - A-7E - - NorLant
03/10/86 - 09/10/86 - CVW-1 - - CV 66- - A-7E - - Mediterranean
02/29/88 - 08/29/88 - CVW-7 - - CVN 69 - A-7E - - Mediterranean
08/15/90 - 03/28/91 - CVW-3 - - CV 67- - A-7E - - Mediterranean/Red Sea
Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
May 24, 1955 - - - - Lieutenant Charles L. Marshall (acting)
Jun 22, 1955 - - - - Commander Clifford A. McDougal
1957 - - - - - - - - Commander A. R. Hawkins
1958 - - - - - - - - Commander Kent L. Lee
1959 - - - - - - - - Commander Alfred J. Hall, Jr.
1960 - - - - - - - - Commander Hugh J. Tate
1961 - - - - - - - - Commander S. W. Callaway, Jr.
1962 - - - - - - - - Commander W. H. Sells
1963 - - - - - - - - Commander R. P. McKenzie
1964 - - - - - - - - Commander M. P. Mead
1965 - - - - - - - - Commander R. L. Lawler, Jr.
1966 - - - - - - - - Commander Fred S. Dunning, Jr.
1967 - - - - - - - - Commander Jack F. O'Hara
1968 - - - - - - - - Commander Alan G. Murdoch
1970 - - - - - - - - Commander Fred J. Withers
1971 - - - - - - - - Commander Marvin D. Reynolds
1972 - - - - - - - - Commander Dale Lewey
1973 - - - - - - - - Commander Jeremy D. Taylor
1974 - - - - - - - - Commander Ronald R. Boyle
1975 - - - - - - - - Commander Edward F. Bronson
1976 - - - - - - - - Commander David A. Page
1978 - - - - - - - - Commander James T. Matheny
1979 - - - - - - - - Commander Phillip J. Rooney
1980 - - - - - - - - Commander Morris M. Kemple, Jr.
1981 - - - - - - - - Commander Thomas R. Mitchell III
1982 - - - - - - - - Commander John W. Peterson
1984 - - - - - - - - Commander Dean M. Hendrickson, Jr.
1986 - - - - - - - - Commander Robert C. Kolsterman
1987 - - - - - - - - Commander Tommy H. Van Brunt
1988 - - - - - - - - Commander Edward J. Fahy, Jr.
1990 - - - - - - - - Commander Mark Fitzgerald
Award: Inclusive Dates:
01 Oct 1978 to 30 Sep 1979
01 Oct 1980 to 31 Dec 1981
01 Jan 1986 to 31 Dec 1986
01 Jan 1988 to 31 Dec 1988
29 Sep 1970 to 31 Oct 1970
01 Dec 1977 to 01 Mar 1979
03 Jun 1983 to 20 Dec 1984
29 Aug 1985 to 20 Sep 1985
01 Jan 1983 to 20 Jan 1983
06 May 1983 to 08 May 1983
21 Mar 1986 to 27 Jun 1986
17 Mar 1986 to 23 Mar 1986
17 Jan 1991 to 28 Feb 1991
04 Aug 1980 to 28 Mar 1981
23 Aug 1982 to 02 Jun 1983
15 Jul 1967 to 17 Jul 1967
23 Jul 1967 to 31 Jul 1967
12 Aug 1967 to 13 Aug 1967
17 Jan 1991 to 28 Feb 1991
14 Sep 1990 to 12 Mar 1991
May 24, 1955: Established as Attack Squadron FORTY SIX (VA-46) and assigned to fly the Grumman F9F-5 Panther.
June 1955: The Clansmen were assigned an upgraded Panther with swept wings - the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.
July 14, 1956: VA-46 departed the United States aboard USS Randolph CVA 15 for deployment to the Mediterranean, equipped with Sidewinder missiles. This was the first overseas deployment of the Sidewinder.
October through November 1956: VA-46, along with other units of ATG-202, provided air support for the evacuation of foreign nationals from Alexandria, Egypt, during the Suez War.
March 1958: The Clansmen were assigned a light attack aircraft, the Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk.
April 1961: VA-46 fires Live "Bullpups", becoming the first jet attack squadron in the Fleet Air Jacksonville area to fire live Bullpup air-to-surface guided missiles. Lt. W.H. Byng Sets Highest Mark
October 1962: In the (VA-46) deployments (above), I see no reference to a deployment during the Cuban Blockade ordered by President Kennedy in the fall of 1962.
AN Joe Fink arrived at Cecil Field, FL to join VA-46 on 23 Feb 1963 and his journal notes provide the following: 20 March 1963 to 26 May 1963 VA-46 and VA-106 (as part of CAG-10) boarded the USS Shangri La, at Mayport, FL, for a shakedown cruise to the Caribbean and Jamaica; 23 June 1963 to August 1963 they made a midshipman cruise to New York City and Canada 1 October 1963 to April 1964 they made a Med. cruise.
December 26, 1962: Ens. W.L. Randolph parachuted onto the A. M. Wolf farm about six miles NE of Rising Star, TX Wednesday while on a training flight from Cecil Field, FL to Hensley Field near Grand Prairie and to Briggs AFB near El Paso. Randolph apparently had trouble with his oxygen mask and that equipment inside he plane caught fire, forcing him to eject. The pilot of the lead plane, Lt(jg). G.L. Holmes, circled the crash area until Randolph was picked up. He was taken to Dyess AFB hospital in Abilene. The Abilene Reporter-News, Thursday, December 27, 1962. On a VFR low level training flight (1,000 ft.) destined for El Paso the pilot unstrapped the left side of his new oxygen mask to relieve the pressure and a short in his mask microphone ignited the oxygen resulting in a white hot flame from the mask and intense pain as the flame burned his cheeks, nose, eyelids and set his eyebrows on fire. While trying to beat out the fire the badly burned pilot realized the plane was out of control and headed for the ground and pulled back on the stick and ejected as the plane stalled. Grampaw Pettibone June 1963.
March 15, 1963: LCdr. Jack Tholl was killed when his A-4C BuNo 148523 crashed and burned during night field carrier landing practice after a touch-and-go. Carroll, IA, Carroll Daily Times Herald, article. Austin, MN, Austin Daily Herald, article.
January 07, 1964: Lt(jg). William L. Randolph regained control despite a severely damaged wing and ruptured fuel lines and returned to the USS Shangri-La Tuesday night after he failed to gain flying speed and hit the sea about half a mile from the ship. He was flying an A4C Skyhawk equipped for aerial refueling. Orlando Sentinel, Thursday, 09 January 1964. Tim Lynch says to his best memory, it was a night tanker flight, with Lou in the cockpit. The airplane was at maximum gross weight, with two 300 gallon drop tanks, plus the tanker package. Lou forgot to put the flaps down and the final checkers failed to catch the error. The airplane settled off the catapult and just as it hit the water, Lou jettisoned the buddy store and two tanks. That, plus some ground affect "bounced" him back into the air and he was able to continue his climb to pattern altitude. The airplane was damaged, but flying, so the ship rigged the barricade and Lou completed the emergency landing. He was unhurt and the airplane was repaired to fly again. From Dave Dollarhide.
Feburary 15 through September 30, 1965: The Clansman, flying A-4C Skyhawks, participated on a Med cruise aboard CVA-38 USS Shangri La.
March 18, 1965: Lt(jg) L.J. Conaway ejected safely. 1140 (hours) A-4C BuNo 150582 of VA-46 crashed into the sea at Latitude 37-05.6N, Longitude 16-10.3E and sank. Commenced search and rescue procedures. 1151 Pilot recovered from the sea by helo. 1155 pilot returned onboard: no apparent injuries. USS Shangri La deck log.
April 7, 1965: Lt Cmdr Freddie Jerrel Thwentt perished when his USS Shangri-La based A-4C BuNo 147766 crashed and burned five miles north of Aviano Air Base shortly after noon while taking part in a NATO exercise. US Armed Forces, The Stars and Stripes, article. US Armed Forces, The Stars and Stripes, article.
April 8, 1965: LCdr. Moss was recovered. 1803 A-4C aircraft rolled over the side while in a taxi forward. Pilot, LCDR Moss, of VA-46 in the water off stbd side. Area: 43-24.4N, 09-18.5E. Aircraft BuNo 147760. 1812 Crash on deck F8E Bureau no. 150292 lost forward landing gear on recovery. 1814 man overboard brought aboard USS Barney (DDG-6) apparently uninjured... 1803 Deal, J.R., AN, received a contusion of the right forefoot as A-4C a/c crashed over the side. USS Shangri-La deck log, Thursday, 08 April 1965.
August 1965: VA-46 and other units of the air wing aboard USS Shangri-La CVA 38 operated off the coast of Cyprus in response to a crisis in that country between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
July 8, 1967 through August 22, 1967: VA-46 Clansmen flying the Douglas A-4E Skyhawk from the from USS Forrestal CVA 59, deployed for their only WestPac/Vietnam combat cruise.
July 29, 1967: While aircraft were being prepared for the second launch of the day against targets in Vietnam, a fire broke out on the flight deck of USS Forrestal CVA 59. Flames engulfed the fantail and spread below decks touching off bombs and ammunition. Heroic efforts by VA-46 personnel, along with other members of CVW-17 and ship's company, brought the fires under control. Damage to the carrier and aircraft was severe and the casualties included 132 dead, two missing and presumed dead and 62 injured. LCdr. Fred White, in the aircraft that was struck by a Zuni rocket, was one of those killed.
January 24, 1968: LCdr. Thomas A. Brownsey perished A-4B BuNo 144869 in a crash on a desolate Hopi Indian reservation, about 90 miles northeast of Flagstaff, AZ while enroute from NAS Fallon, NV, to Albuquerque, NM. Long Beach, CA, Independent, article. Reno, NV, Nevada State Journal, article. From VA-46 pilot, Dave Dollarhide: Tom Brownsey was flying in formation with Max Wike, when he lost oil pressure and suffered an engine failure. He ejected and when the parachute opened, the detached ejection seat struck his helmet, breaking Tom's neck with a fatal blow. He was found in the snow by an Air Force rescue helicopter from Kirtland AFB.
February 28, 1968: Lt. Dave Dollarhide ejected safely when the engine of A-4B 144997 failed during a functional maintenance check flight accompanied by fellow check pilot Joe Halsmer. After a few seconds of minor thrust surges he was making a precautionary return to NAS Cecil from the south and shortly after switching to the tower frequency, the engine exhaust gas temperature (EGT) began to spike. Five miles south of NAS Cecil the EGT went through 800 degrees, the airframe began to shake and as smoke filled the cockpit, he ejected using the secondary handle. After the chute opened, the seat missed Dave by 25' and he landed approximately 200' short of the fireball in a mostly open field. After thirty minutes on the ground he was rescued by a Marine Reserve helicopter and taken to Cecil and the base infirmary. The "Clansmen" were flying A-4Bs due to the loss of their "E"s in the Forrestal Fire.
May 4 through November 15, 1968: VA-46 transitioned to the Vought A-7B Corsair II.
September 17, 1970: While enroute to the Caribbean for training exercises, USS John F. Kennedy CVA 67 with VA-46 and other units of CVW-1 embarked, received emergency orders to deploy immediately to the Mediterranean due to the Jordanian Crisis and the hijacking of four airliners by Arab terrorists. They remained on station off the coast of Israel until November.
October 1973: Due to the outbreak of war between Israel and Egypt and Syria, USS Kennedy and her air wing, while operating in the North Atlantic after just completing a Mediterranean deployment, were ordered back to the Mediterranean. During the latter part of October through mid November, VA-46 conducted flight operations while the carrier was on station south of Crete.
November 22, 1975: During night operations USS John F. Kennedy collided with USS Belknap CG 26 causing major damage to the cruiser. Eight VA-46 personnel received awards for their heroism and devotion to duty as a result of their actions following the collision.
September 17 through 19, 1985: VA-46, along with other units of CVW-1, were the first to conduct flight operations from a carrier operating inside a fjord. USS America CV 66 operated in Vestfjord, Norway, during this evolution.
April 14, 1986: Because of terrorist activities linked to Lybia, American forces struck targets in that country. During that action, VA-46 provided air-to-surface Shrike and Harm missile strikes against Libyian radar missile sites.
September through October 1990 and December 1990 through January 1991: The squadron participated in Operation Desert Shield, the build up of American and Allied forces to counter a threatened invasion of Saudi Arabia by Iraq and as part of an economic blockade of Iraq to force its withdrawal from Kuwait.
January 17, 1991: Operation Desert Storm, combat operations to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, was launched. The squadron's A-7E Corsair IIs participated in the first combat strike against Iraqi targets in Baghdad.
June 30, 1991: Attack Squadron FORTY SIX Disestablished.
DEC 1956 NavAirNews on VA-46:
1958-59 ?: Highlanders in formation. BuNo.142730 (AB401, BuNo.142771 (AB403) and BuNo.142726 (AB408).
02-13-59 to 08-30-59 - CVG-6 - CVA 11 - A4D-2 - Mediterranean:
1959: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 142718, AB-414, at left and unknown VA-172 Blue Bolts Skyhawk at right. Naval Aviation News.
1960-62: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 147760, AK-510, parked on the ramp. Neil Schnieder.
APR61 Naval Aviation News provided by John "Gabby" Gabbard. Clansman Skyhawk, #504, on the NAS Cecil flightline after CDR H.J. Tate, LCDR's C.Y. Dellinger & C.R. Long, LT's W.H. Fleischmann, J.H. Kirkpatrick & W.H. Byng & LTjg J.L. Buckley qualified with the Bullpup missile.
1961 MED Cruise: Ron Zillmann
1962 MED Cruise:
VA-46 BuNo 147726, AK-502 and BuNo 148536, AK-508, in-flight during the Shangri La MED cruise in 1962. Martin Treu.
1962 Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 147756, AK-505, tied down near the island during the 1962 Med cruise. Photo from Ron Zillman.
1962: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 147748, AK-507, launches from the USS Shangri-La (CVA-38) while she is at anchor in Genoa, Italy. Naval Aviation News photo by PH2 R.E. Hamm.
circa 1962: A-4C 148523,Taxiing onto the cat aboard USS Shangri-La. Pilot name on cockpit LTJG Dralle. Photo from Dave Dollarhide.
VA-46 A-4 Charlies pre-NOV, 1964. In formation are BuNo 148445, AK-505; 147760 AK503; 147748, AK-507; 148432, AK512. Also pictured is CVA-36, the U.S.S. Shangri La. USN Photo via Boom Powell.
1964-65: BuNo 149559 NK-610: LCDR Reg Witthoft took this picture of 149559 in "gas-station mode" during their WestPac deployment with CVW-14. Reg was with VF-143 at the time. Reg Witthoft VF-143
VA-46 Clansmen A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147806, AK-504, configured as a tanker off the USS Shangri-La, in-flight, circa 1964. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1965 Clansman Skyhawk formation from top-bottom: BuNo 148445, AK-505, BuNo 147760, AK-503, BuNo 147748, NK-507, and BuNo 148532, NK-512. Naval Aviation News photo.
Oct 1965 Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 148445, AK-505 flies alongside the USS Shangri La. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1965: Clansman Skyhawk AK-510 and Gladiators Skyhawk AK-303 and AK-305 aboard the Shang as a line crewman trudges by with a string of tow-bars. Naval Aviation News.
VA-46 "Greenie Board" created in spring 1967 by Dave Dollarhide on board the USS Forrestal, 4 months prior to combat deployment and the subsequent shipboard fire. The "Clansmen" were flying A-4Es. McCain and Saul show no landings since they had orders to VA-46, but had not yet reported. The "Greenie Board" represents the "grades" for the "Traps" (landings) by the VA-46 Pilots. Image provided by Dave Dollarhide.
1967: A-4E 150065, Air Force Exchange Pilot, Bill Deans. Photo by Pete Taylor, provided by Dave Dollarhide.
1967 (pre-29JUL67 fire): BuNo 150047, AA-402, on the ramp early 1967. Dave Dollarhide.
1967 pre-29JUL67 fire: BuNo 150013, AA-415, on the left; with BuNo 152081 on the right aboard CVA-59 for 1967 WestPac. Dave Dollarhide.
1967 pre-29JUL67 fire: BuNo 150025, foreground, and 150047 in the left background; aboard CVA-59 prior to 29JUL67 fire. Dave Dollarhide.
DOUGLAS A-4E SKYHAWK BuNo. 150064. This Aircraft was lost in the 1967 U.S.S. Forrestal fire. VA-46 "AA405" was flown by LCDR Fred White aboard Forrestal. He was in this aircraft at the time of that disastrous fire and was killed. Much research has gone into ensuring the correct details of "AA405". Drawing and information provided by Jim Caiella. Jim has provided several drawings for this site.
DOUGLAS A-4E SKYHAWK BuNo. 149996. According to the "Manual of the Judge Advocate General Basic Final Investigative Report Concerning the Fire on Board the USS Forrestal (CVA-59)", a 7,500 page report, "A review of the voluminous material contained in the Report of Investigation establishes the central fact that a ZUNI rocket was inadvertently fired from an F-4 aircraft (#110) and struck the external fuel tank of an A-4 aircraft (#405)...". Throughout the body of the findings there are numerous references to #405 and LCDR White. BuNo. 149996 drawing provided by Jim Caiella.
BuNo.150129 was lost in the Forrestal Fire. Dave Dollarhide, VA-46, was in BuNo150129 (AA417) just forward of John McCain when the fire broke out. They both scrambled out of their cockpits and survived with minor injuries, but 150129 was blown overboard by an M-65 1,000lb. bomb, as were other Skyhawks. Photo from Dave Dollarhide.
From left to right in this Gitmo photo are LCDR Ron Boyle, LCDR Gerry Stark (VA-46 Operations Officer) and LTJG Dave Dollarhide. LCDR Gerry Stark was killed aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal on July 29, 1967 during a flight deck fire. Gerry Stark, Fred White and Denny Barton were the only pilots to die that day, all from VA-46. Dave Dollarhide was the only one in his flight of four to survive. Photo from Dave Dollarhide.
DOUGLAS A-4B SKYHAWK BuNo. 142741 side number AC-403 - 1968. Clansman A4D-2 / A-4B BuNo. 142741 side number AC-403. The Clansmen were assigned the A-4B again after their Echos were blown up in the September 1967 United States Ship Forrestal fire. Photograph from Captain Dave Dollarhide.
Y 2001: POOR OLD BuNo. 142741 - 2001. BuNo. 142741 had successfully evaded the smelter and was under the sugar pines in Ackerman, Mississippi. Please note the VA-46 McDougal Tartan plaid was still visible on the fuselage. She is now at a new home, the National Vietnam War Museum in Orlando Fl.
A-4B 144997, destroyed in 1968 when Dave Dollarhide ejected following an engine failure. Photo from Dave Dollarhide.
23 March 1968: BuNo 144930, AC-400, parked on the ramp. Photo by Clay Jansson via Tailhook Association.
142121 A-4B 142121 of VA-46 at takeoff roll on runway 15 after weekend visit at NAS Willow Grove, PA, in April of 1968. Photo by Ron Picciani.
June 1968: Jack F. O'Hara, Clansman CO, Skyhawk BuNo 145035, AC-401, and his car with matching paint scheme. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1968: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 142741, AC-403, piloted by Dick Briner on a cross country flight fron NAS Cecil Field, FL to California. Dave Dollarhide.
1968: Another shot of Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 142741, AC-403, piloted by Dick Briner on a cross country flight fron NAS Cecil Field, FL to California. Dave Dollarhide.
Pic1 1968: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 142741, AC-403. LTJG Dave Dollarhide in the cockpit. Pic2 1968: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 142741, AC-403. Pic3 1968: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 142741, AC-403. LTJG Dave Dollarhide in the cockpit. Photos from Dave Dollarhide.
1968: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 142741, AC-403 and squadron pilots during a weapons detachment at NAS Fallon, 1968. Dave Dollarhide.
1970: USS Shangri-La (CVA-38) with CVW-10 (AK) including VF-13 Night Cappers (F-8E Crusader), VF-62 Boomerangs (F-8E Crusader), VA-106 Gladiators (A-4C Skyhawk), VA-176 Thunderbolts (A-1H Skyraider), VA-46 Clansmen (A-4C Skyhawk), VFP-62 Eyes of the Fleet Det. (RF-8A Crusader), VAW-12 Det. (E-1B Tracer) and HC-2 Det. (UH-2A Seasprite), 1970.
2005: Clansman Skyhawk BuNo 142741, with LTJG Dollarhide's name still on it hidden under the existing paint job, is ready to move to a new museum for display. Pic2; Pic3; and Pic4.
David Dollarhide, who experienced the Forrestal Fire, was invited to a rollout of a Commemorative Skyhawk. Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville, OR. with BuNo.152070 dressed up as BuNo.149996
The Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville, OR., has recently re-conditioned A-4E Skyhawk, BUNO 152070. It is painted it in the VA-46 Clansmen colors from the USS Forrestal WESTPAC cruise of 1967. The MODEX used on the airplane is that of AA 416, BUNO 149996, which was lost in the fire aboard Forrestal that year. The display, dedicated to those who lost their lives in the fire, was unveiled in a Veterans Day ceremony at the museum.
The USS Forrestal Association Historian, Ken Killmeyer, put me in touch with the museum's curator, Ben Kristy, with whom I corresponded concerning facts surrounding the 1967 accident. During those discussions, I decided to travel to Oregon to attend the event. Later, Ben honored me with an invitation to speak to the audience from the perspective of my experiences in the A-4 and as a Forrestal fire survivor.
The A-4E is a beautiful restoration and along with many other historic airplanes, is nestled under the wings of Howard Hugh's famous Spruce Goose seaplane. Glass display cases offer information on the airplane, as well as the USS Forrestal Fire. Future plans call for expanding the historical data and artifacts from the shipboard accident.
Shortly after arriving at the museum, I had the pleasure of meeting the men who restored the Skyhawk at the Evergreen facility in Phoenix, AZ, Mike McDougall and Mike Searle. It was fun to note that the first Commanding Officer of the Clansmen happened also to be a “McDougal," who used his family tartan for the squadron patch and airplanes. Expressing my gratitude for such an accurate restoration, especially the detail in the tartan from those years, I discovered that the primary source for the 1967 paint scheme was the Skyhawk Association's web site.
Last year, as the VA-46 "SDO" for the Skyhawk site, I had posted historical information, including graphics of the trademark tartan, as seen on the squadron's airplanes. It was both gratifying to know that my research had contributed to the accuracy of the restoration and ironic that I was also a guest speaker for the event. It is also indicative of the value of the Skyhawk Association's web site and their work to preserve the heritage of the A-4.
A number of USS Forrestal veterans attended the ceremony, some of who had been aboard during the fire. It was a special day to have this homage paid to them and their former shipmates. Before an audience of more than two hundred, I was humbled to speak for so many who suffered and those who died.
It was also with mixed emotions that I spoke. The A-4 was such a great airplane to fly and I spent so many thrilling hours yanking it around the sky. However, it was a somber moment as I stood in front of this replica from my combat cruise, abruptly halted by the tragic accident of July 29, 1967. I spoke to both issues and was overwhelmed by a standing ovation and positive response from the audience. We Forrestal veterans later joined in a group around the base of the airplane and cut the unveiling ribbon.
The Evergreen Museum has become a very special place for Naval Aviation and the men of USS Forrestal. Left front view of Skyhawk BuNo 152070 on display at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in the markings of VA-46 Clansman BuNo 149996, AA-416, which was destroyed in the Forrestal fire.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: