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VA-76 Spirits - 1956
The squadron insignia, showing a cockade (tri-corner) hat and musket, symbolic of Revolutionary War (1776) times, was created March 28, 1956
Harry S. Gann.
Frank J. Mirande.
"Spirits," from patch motto "Fighting Spirit of 76."-- 1956 to 1969.
June 1, 1955, Attack Squadron SEVENTY-SIX (VA-76) established.
Attack Squadron SEVENTY-SIX (VA-76) disestablished September 30, 1969.
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
July 1955- - - - - - - - - - - - McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee
January 1956 - - - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-6 Cougar *
April 1956 - - - - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-8B Cougar *
May 1959 - - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk **
March 1962 - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk **
* The F9F through the F9F-5 Panther have straight wings; The F9F-6 through the F9F-8 Cougar have swept wings.
** November 30, 1962
The A4D-2 designation was changed to A-4B
The A4D-2N designation was changed to A-4C
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
June 1, 1955 - - - - - - - - O* - - - - - - - ATG-182
November 1956- - - - - - - - T- - - - - - - - CVG-1
July 23, 1957- - - - - - - - AN - - - - - - - ATG-182
March 15, 1958 - - - - - - - AM - - - - - - - ATG-181
August 8, 1958 - - - - - - - AF - - - - - - - CVG-6
Aprill 8, 1959 - - - - - - - AJ - - - - - - - CVG-8
August 29, 1959- - - - - - - AF/AE**- - - - - CVG-6/CVW-6***
September 22, 1965 - - - - - NG - - - - - - - CVW-9
September 1, 1966- - - - - - NP - - - - - - - CVW-21
December 1967- - - - - - - - AG - - - - - - - CVW-7 AG
January 27, 1969 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - COMFAIRALAMEDA
*The tail code O assigned 24 July 1956.
**CVG tail code changed from AF to AE sometime in late 1962.
***Air Groups (CVG) were redesignated Air Wings (CVW) 20 December 1959.
Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
12-15-57 to 07-22-57 - CVG-1 - - CVA 59 - - F9F-8B - Mediterranean
06-09-58 to 08-08-58 - ATG-181 - CVA 11 - - F9F-8B - NorLant
08-04-60 to 02-17-61 - CVG-6 - - CVA 11 - - A4D-2- - Mediterranean
08-03-61 to 03-01-62 - CVG-6 - - CVA 11 - - A4D-2- - Mediterranean
08-03-62 to 10-11-62 - CVG-6 - - CVAN 65- - A4D-2N - Mediterranean
10-19-62 to 12-03-62 - CVG-6 - - CVAN-65- - A4D-2N - Caribbean
02-06-63 to 09-04-63 - CVG-6 - - CVAN 65- - A-4C - - Mediterranean
02-08-64 to 10-03-64 - CVW-6 - - CVAN 65- - A-4C - - Mediterranean -World Cruise
10-26-65 to 06-21-66 - CVW-9 - - CVAN 65- - A-4C - - WestPac-Vietnam
01-26-67 to 08-25-67 - CVW-21- - CVA 31 - - A-4C - - WestPac-Vietnam
04-30-68 to 01-27-69 - CVW-7 - - CVA 62 - - A-4C - - Mediterranean
Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
June 1, 1955- - - - - - - - CDR F. J. Gibson
July 30, 1957 - - - - - - - CDR W. R. McQuilkin
October 3, 1958 - - - - - - LCDR H. R. Cheuvront
December 4, 1959- - - - - - CDR H. Ricks
December 14, 1960 - - - - - CDR L. M. Nearman
December 18, 1961 - - - - - CDR W. R. Bascom
November 15, 1962 - - - - - CDR J. R. Sanderson
December 11, 1963 - - - - - CDR George A. Reaves III
November 30, 1964 - - - - - CDR Richard C. Boyd
October 21, 1965- - - - - - CDR James B. Linder
October 1, 1966 - - - - - - CDR Albert D. McFall
December 6, 1966- - - - - - CDR Robert B. Fuller
July 14, 1967 - - - - - - - LCDR R. A. Mauldin
1968- - - - - - - - - - - - CDR J. J. Barth
1969- - - - - - - - - - - - CDR R. A. Mauldin
Award - - - - - - - - - Inclusive Dates:
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
June 3 to June 6, 1965
October 24 to December 3, 1962
Navy Expeditionary Medal
October 19, to October 23, 1962;
June 4 to June 18, 1961
February 26 to July 30 1967
Vietnam Service Medal
December 2, 1965 to January 14, 1966
February 4 to February 23, 1966
March 16 to April 12, 1966
April 22 to May 14, 1966
May 23 to June 6, 1966
February 25 to March 21, 1967
April 17 to May 7, 1967
June 27 to July 29, 1967
December 2, 1965
December 11, 1965
December 21, 1965
December 24, 1965
December 26 to December 30, 1965
January 1 to January 2, 1966
January 4 to January 14, 1966
February 4, 1966
February 19, 1966
February 23, 1966
March 27 to March 28, 1966
March 30 to March 31, 1966
April 2, 1966
April 11, 1966
April 29, 1966
February 28, 1967
March 7, 1967
March 11, 1967
March 13, 1967
March 16, 1967
March 20, to March 21, 1967
April 29, to May 1, 1967
May 16, to May 18, 1967
June 1, 1955: Attack Squadron SEVENTY-SIX (VA-76) was established. The squadron was assigned the McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee.
January 1956: The Spirits were assigned the Grumman F9F-6 Cougar.
November to December 1956: During the Suez Crisis VA-76 Spirits were deployed on board USS Forrestal CVA 59, off the coast of the Azores awaiting a call to enter the Mediterranean if necessary.
May 1959: The Spirits were assigned the Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk.
June 1961: Deployed on board USS Intrepid CVA 11, in the Caribbean during the Dominican Republic crisis.
6 Jan 1962: Executive Officer LCDR James T. Peddy, Jr. lost in A-4C BuNo 148454 in an operational launch accident in the Western Mediterranean Sea.
March 1962: The Spirits were assigned the Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk.
October 19 through December 8, 1962: VA-76 deployed on board United States Ship Enterprise CVAN 65, off Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and naval blockade.
January 31, 1964: Lt. J.W. Thornton, 25, was still missing Saturday after his A4C jet (BuNo 148455) crashed in the ocean Friday night shortly after take off from NAS Oceana on an eastern coast training flight. Lt. Thornton's body has not been recovered. Longview News Journal, Sunday, February 2, 1964. Lt. J.W. Thornton, 25, was killed when his A4C jet crashed in the ocean Friday night shortly after take off from NAS Oceana on a training flight. The Montgomery Advertiser, Sunday, February 2, 1964.
March 1964: Deployed in the Mediterranean on board USS Enterprise CVAN 65, near Cyprus during Turk-Greek Cypriot crisis.
May 29 to June 15, 1965: While temporarily based ashore at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, VA-76 flew armed reconnaissance during crisis in Dominican Republic.
October 26, 1965 to June 21, 1966: The first of two VA-76 combat cruises to WestPac-Vietnam. VA-76 flew the A-4C Skyhawk with CVW-9 and struck from USS Enterprise CVAN 65.
December 22, 1965: Lt. John Douglas Prudhomme, No. 2 (BuNo 149521) in a four plane section, was killed when the section made a low level left turn approach to the Uong Bi power plant and he was seen to level his wings and fly into the ground.
January 2, 1966: Lt(jg). Donald Clay MacLaughlin (BuNo 147704) KIA, crashed on slope of mountainside in thick fog, Duc Pho, Quang Ngai Province, SVN
March 25, 1966: Lt(jg). Bradley Edsel Smith ejected (A-4C BuNo 148444) and was captured when he was hit by AAA while in a shallow dive and his aircraft burst into flames while attacking a road ferry across the Sou Giang River near Bau Khe and Tho Ngoa.
May 11, 1966: Attack Squadron SEVENTY-SIX Commanding Officer, Cdr. J. B. Linder, awarded Silver Star for leading a strike against a mobile SAM site at Thanh Hoa, North Vietnam.
October 29, 1966: While on a training flight, Lt. Charles Ranking Nelson perished in A-4C BuNo 149960, 22 miles southeast of NAS Fallon, NV. Albuquerque Journal, Sunday, October 30, 1966
December 6, 1966: VA-76 Commanding Officer, Cdr. Albert D. McFall, perished in A-4C BuNo 149549 following a night catapult launch from USS Bon Homme Richard CVA 31. Long Beach, CA Press-Telegram article. 2016 A4C BuNo 149549 of VA-76, pilot CDR A.D. McFall, crashed into the sea off the starboard bow after being launched from the starboard catapult at Latitude 32-28.8N Longitude 118-01.0W in 1,000 fathoms of water. Stopped all engines. 2017 Commenced maneuvering on various courses at various speeds while maneuvering to clear aircraft wreckage and execute Williamson turn. Helicopter commenced search for pilot. 2019 USS Edson (DD-946) ordered to close for search. 2026 All engines stop. Lying to in area of crash. Maneuvering engines to maintain position. 2046 commenced backing clear of crash site. 2114 USS Wedderburn (DD-684) joined the search. 2115 USS Fox (DLG-33) closed this ship. 2119 USS Fox assumed OTC of SAR effort. USS Gallup (PGM-85) joined the search. USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 deck log, Tuesday 06 December 1966.
January 26, 1967 to August 25, 1967: The second of two VA-76 combat cruises to WestPac-Vietnam. VA-76 flew the A-4C Skyhawk with CVW-21 and struck from USS Bon Homme Richard CVA 31.
April 25, 1967: Lt. Charles David Stackhouse ejected and was captured when he was shot down by a MiG-17 during an attack on POL and ammo storage sites at Haiphong. I had dropped my bombs, and was in the process of shooting a MiG 17 on my wingman's tail while another MiG was shooting at me. The second time he hit me I started rolling ... I was already on fire from the first hit from his cannons. Lt. Charles David Stackhouse.
May 1, 1967: During sortie against Airfield at Kep, North Vietnam, LCdr. Theodore R. Swartz received a Silver Star for shooting down a North Vietnam MiG-17 aircraft with air-to-ground rockets. The event was the only enemy aircraft downed by an A-4 Skyhawk during the Vietnam conflict.
Mig Killing Skyhawk - A-4C BuNo.148609. The Experimental Aircraft Association displays a very accurate replica of CDR "T.R." Swartz's MiG killer A-4C at Wittman Field, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The flying Scooter replica is actually A-4B 142112, originally owned by the Combat Jets Flying Museum of Houston, Texas, it was flown on the airshow circuit for several years before being donated to the Experimental Aircraft Association about 1994. Here is the replica Scooter, August 10, 1999 by Frank Mirande.
May 18, 1967: Cdr. Kenneth Robbins Cameron (XO) ejected (BuNo 147816) and was captured when his Skyhawk was by AAA while attacking the Thuong Xa transshipment area. He died in captivity.
July 14, 1967: Lt. J.N. Donis ejected (BuNo 147759) and was rescued by a Navy helicopter about 15 miles off the coast after his Skyhawk was hit in the port wing by AAA which caused a fire in a rocket pod which exploded fodding the engine.
July 14, 1967: Cdr. Robert Byron Fuller (CO) ejected (BuNo 147709) and was captured when his Skyhawk was hit by a SA-2 missile during a strike on the Co Trao railway and road bridge near Hung Yen. Cdr. Fuller was released from captivity on March 4, 1973.
December 21, 1968: During the MED Cruise LCdr. R.M. Mulrooney was lost off USS Independence for unknown reasons while flying an A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147683. It is believed he was flying #306, Plane Captain was Thomas Heindel. from John Lowry and Patrick Michael Mulrooney (son.) 1245 Received report of plane in water 090 (T) at 25 miles position of ship 34-26.8N 26-21.2E. Aircraft and all available surface ships in area directed to datum. 1252 A/C 316 reported parachute in water with an inflated life raft. 1252 Completed A/C operations. C/C (r) 28.5 C/S to maximum available speed, ship headed for datum. 1306 Plane in water determined to be A-4 #306 from VA-64, LCDR Robert Mulrooney, USN was the pilot. 1302 USS Ingram directed to datum. 1310 Helo #10 and C/A #044 over datum. Helo reports oil slick, green oxygen bottle seen and A-4 type nose wheel. 1325 USS Furer (DFG-6) being vectored to datum by rescue A/C. C/C (L) 091 (T). 1330 Helo 10 recovered green oxygen bottle with "64" written on it. 1331 Helo 10 has ejection seat in view. 1336 USS Furer (DFG-6) at datum and directed to attempt to pick up debris. 1350 Furer picked up crushed helmet with name Bob Mulrooney on it. 1415 ... search of area of crash site continuing with DD's and A/C. 1645 Discontinued search for missing pilot. USS Independence deck log, 21 December 1968.
September 30, 1969: Attack Squadron SEVENTY-SIX (VA-76) dis-established.
1961: USS Intrepid based Spirits Skyhawk Attack Bomber formation zooms over home. Joe Morris.
1961: BuNo 142784, AF-508, tied down on the deck of the USS Intrepid with six mk-81s on each wing and a centerline fuel tank. Gary Verver Collection.
1961: L-R: VA-76 A4D-2 BuNo 142718, AF-510, BuNo 142789, AF-501, BuNo 144953, AF-502 and BuNo 144990, AF-507.
MAY62: Air Group Six Centurions representing 12,010 arrested landings pose in front of Spirits Skyhawk BuNo 144976, AF-507, after completing a Sixth Fleet deployment aboard the USS Intrepid. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1965: BuNo.147704 being "hoisted" aboard the Enterprise in 1965. Photo is U.S. Navy.
1962: USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) with aircraft from CVW-6 (NE) on deck including VF-102 Diamondbacks F4H-1 Phantom II, VF-33 Tarsiers F8U-2NE Crusaders, VA-66 Waldos A4D-2N Skyhawks, VA-65 Tigers AD-6 Skyraiders, VA-64 Black Lancers A4D-2N Skyhawks, VA-76 Spirits A4D-2N Skyhawks, VAH-7 Peacemakers A3J-1 Vigilantes, VAW-12 Det. 65 WF-2 Tracers, VFP-62 Eyes of the Fleet Det. 65 F8U-1P Crusaders and HU-2 Fleet Angels Det. 65 HUP-2 Retrievers, August-December 1962.
OCT-DEC 1962: BuNo 148452 AF-503 parked forward on CVN-65 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dave Leiber - VMA-225
NOV-DEC 1962: Skyhawks parked forward of the island on CVN-65 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. CVW-6 Tail Code was "AF" until late in 1962, when it changed to "AE". Normally VA-66 and VA-76 Skyhawks provided the light attack jets for CVW-6 aboard CVN-65; the "CE" A4-C Skyhawks are VMA-225 brought aboard for additional fire-power as were VA-64 Skyhawks. Shown are BuNo 148606 of VA-64, 149522 as AF-606 of VA-76, 149618 of VA-64, an AD-6 Skyraider "SPAD" of VA-65, 147769 as CE-12 of VMA-225, 145131 as CE-16 of VMA-225, 147776 as CE-02 of VMA-225 and 147739 as CE-14 of VMA-225.
BuNo.147704, AE-501, ready for launch from the USS Enterprise with a pair of drop tanks attached. Wynn Foster.
05 APR 1965: VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147704, AE-501 launches from the waist cat of CVA-66 during trials for the first cruise. Ships XO CDR K.B. Austin in VA-76 Skyhawk BuNo 147704, AE-501, is ready for the 1st launch. In the cockpit for this first launch is CVA-66 XO CDR Kenneth B. Austin. Jack R. Hansen USS America CVA66 Cruise Book.
05 APR 1965: VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147704, AE-501, traps aboard CVA-66 during trials for the first cruise. Jack R. Hansen USS America CVA66 Cruise Book.
1965-1966: VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147704, AE-501, being re-spotted aboard CVA-66 during trials for the first cruise. Jack R. Hansen USS America CVA66 Cruise Book.
13 DEC 1965: VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 147843 , AE-506, aboard CVA-66 during trials for the first cruise. Jack R. Hansen USS America CVA66 Cruise Book.
1965: VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149521, AE-502, being spotted on the cat aboard CVA-66 during trials for the first cruise. Jack R. Hansen USS America CVA66 Cruise Book.
1965: VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149521, AE-502, fire fighting exercise aboard CVA-66 during trials for the first cruise. Jack R. Hansen USS America CVA66 Cruise Book.
21 JUN 1966 Taken from Golden Gate Bridge, from l to r, bottom to top; 147724 VA-76 NG-714, 147807 VA-76 NG-5xx, 149629 VA-76 NG-503, 149498 VA-76 NG-515, 148610 VA-76 NG-501, 147696 VA-36 NG-7xx, 147747 VA-36 NG-711, 148484 VA-36 NG-707, 147678 VA-36 NG-715, 147764 VA-36 NG-710, 148520 VA-36 NG-713, 147709 VA-36 NG-716, 149520 VA-36 NG-705, 147809 VA-36 NG-704, and at the point a unknown VA-36 Road Runner NG-7xx. Willam Larkins.
1966: USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) with aircraft from CVW-9 (NG) on deck including VF-92 Silver Kings F-4B Phantoms, VF-96 Falcons F-4B Phantoms, VA-36 Roadrunners A-4C Skyhawks, VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawks, VA-93 Blue Blasters A-4C Skyhawks, VA-94 Mighty Shrikes A-4C Skyhawks, VAH-4 Fourrunners Det M A-3B Skywarriors, RVAH-7 Peacemakers RA-5C Vigilantes, VAW-11 Early Elevens Det M E-1B Tracers, HC-1 Fleet Angels Det M UH-2A/B Seasprites, VQ-1 Det EA-3B Skywarriors and VAP-61 World Recorders Det RA-3B Skywarriors, circa 1965-1966. Pic 2.
MAY 1967: CDR Homer L. Smith launches in an A-4C Skyhawk. VA-76 was with CVW-21 aboard CVA-31, the Bon Homme Richard, cruising the WestPac. Photo by JOC Robert D. Moeser.
24 MAY 1967: Right rear in-flight view as Spirits Skyhawk BuNo 147843, NP-684, bolters from the Bonnie Dick after it failed to catch an arresting wire when returning from a combat mission. U.S. Navy.
1967: VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawks from the USS Bon Homme Richard over the USS Sproston (DD-577). L-r BuNo 147843, NP-684, BuNo 147792, NP-687, BuNo unknown, NP-689, and BuNo 148314, NP-681. Official U.S. Navy photo.
1968: USS Independence and CVW-7 (AG) aircraft in 1968. The Air Group squadrons/aircraft were VF-41 Black Aces F-4J Phantoms, VF-84 Jolly Rogers F-4J Phantoms, VA-76 Spirits A-4C Skyhawks, RVAH-7 Peacemakers RA-5C Vigilantes, VAH-10 Vikings Det. 62(KA-3B Skywarriors, VSF-1 Warhawks A-4C Skyhawks, VA-64 Black Lancers A-4C Skyhawks, VAQ-33 Firebirds Det. 62 EA-1F Skyraiders, VAW-124 Bear Aces E-2A Hawkeyes and HC-2 Fleet Angels Det. UH-2B Seasprites, 1968./p>
1968: VSF-1 Skyhawk BuNo 150598, AG-514, BuNo 147703, AG-503, and Spirits BuNo 147749, AG-310, as they prepare to launch from the Independence. Note the Plane Guard is about to launch. U.S. Navy from "Boom" Powell.
1968: Spirit A-4C Skyhawk. Spirit Skyhawk parked on the USS Independence CVA-62. Plane Captain John Lowry in the cockpit. Picture from John Lowry.
BuNo.149540 with VA-76. Michael Blackstock.
FEB69: Left side view of Fighting Spirits Skyhawk BuNo 149645, AF-301, assigned to CDR Joe Barth parked on the line. Note the MiG marking on the port intake. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
2004: BuNo.149540, Spring 2004, as it rests at the Marana Airport awaiting its fate with ATW Aviation.