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Provided by John Gabbard
Provided by John Gabbard
VMA-212 Devil Cats
No info yet.
1942 - Hell Hounds
1950 - Heavy Haulers
1965 - Lancers
1 March 1942 - VMF-212 established.
194? - - - - - VMF-212 re-designated VMA-212.
196? - - - - - VMA-212 re-designated VMF(AW)-212.
19xx - - - - - VMA-212 disestablished.
March 1942 - - - MCAS Ewa, Hawaii
November 1942- - West Coast, USA
No data to date.
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk
|Deployments li>Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier -Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
May 1942- - - - - - Tontouta, New Caledonia- - - - - - - Pacific
1942- - - - - - - - Efate, New Caledonia - - - - - - - - Pacific
1942- - - - - - - - Espiritu Santo (Detatchment) - - - - Pacific
1942- - - - - - - - Henderson Field, Guadalcanal (Det) - Pacific
June 1943 - - - - - Midway Atoll - - - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
August 1943 - - - - Espiritu Santo - - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
August 1943 - - - - Solomon Islands- - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
October 1943- - - - Barakoma - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
December 1943 - - - Torokina - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
20 January 1944 - - Piva - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
20 March 1944 - - - Green Island - - - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
8 January 1945- - - Samar- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
June 1945 - - - - - Okinawa- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Pacific
1950- - - - - - - - Japan- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Korea
18 September 1950 - Kimpo Airfield, South Korea- - - - - Korea
Late 1950 - - - - - Yonpo Airfield, North Korea- - - - - Korea
Early 1951- - - - - USS Bataan (CVL-29)- - - - - - - - - Korea
5 March 1951- - - - Wonson Harbor, South Korea - - - - - Korea
April 1965- - - - - USS Oriskany - - - - - - - - - - - - Vietnam
Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
1962 -- Lt. Col John Lowman
1962 -- Lt. Col Ed LeFavre - First Marine WWII aviator to shoot down a Japanese "Betty" at night with the "new" night radar
No info yet
No additonal info
November 21, 1961: 2nd Lt. William H. Wright was killed when his A4D Skyhawk (142831) collided with A4D Skyhawk (142819) piloted by USMC Lt. Anthony D. Miller on an approach to MCAS Kaneohe Monday night and crashed into two houses in suburban Kailua. The plane demolished the home of Coast Guard Cmdr. Frank C. Schmitz, whose son Stephen Schmitz, 8, was killed, and the home of his neighbor Henry Clark. The downed pilot was the wingman in a two-plane section. Long Beach Press-Telegram, Ukiah Daily Journal and Honolulu Advertiser, all Tuesday, November 21, 1961. Photos courtesy of Norm Spilleth and David Trojan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Excerpts for the official accident report courtesy of David Trojan “The basic cause of the accident was considered to be pilot error. In that Lt. Wright failed to maintain adequate separation between both aircraft during the changing of the lead.” “A contributing cause of the accident is considered to be that Lt. Miller erred in judgment in the manner, time, and execution of the lead change.” “It appears most probable that this collision occurred as a result of each pilot assuming that he had the lead of the section and consequently, neither of them was maintaining position with visual reference to the other.” “It appears conclusive that that Wright made no attempt to eject prior to impact. Rather, that despite his obvious disorientation caused by the collision and the blast of air in his face with his visor up, he orientated himself, applied all the proper recovery procedures and would have pulled out successfully had he had a few more feet of altitude available.” “It is the consensus that Lt. Wright recovered from any confusion, and realizing he was in a diving attitude, attempted to pull out without success due to insufficient altitude remaining.” “These findings, coupled with the ground scar indications of a pull out attempt, led to the assumption that the aircraft did not sustain uncontrollable damage at the time of the mid-air collision.” “The fact that the aircraft collided with the ground in such a relatively flat, wings level attitude, and that the airspeed had apparently been reduced from the time of the mid-air collision, led the board to the conclusion that the aircraft was under control of the pilot at the time of impact.” The report also stated that it was possible that some confusion existed between the aircraft lights and the lights of Kailua town below. Paul Brennan and Panel Discussion by Eye Witnesses to Marine Jet Crash, November 20, 1961
Greetings, I was a plane captain in VMA 212 MAG 13, Kaneohe MCAS from 1961 to 1963. I was on duty the night of November 20, 1961 when two of our A4s had a mid-air over Kailua while returning from a run at the target island (Kahoolawe). One plane made it back with vertical stabilizer and rudder damage, the other plane went down in Kailua taking out two houses killing a six year old boy and the pilot. The pilot was 2nd Lt. William Wright. In reconstructing the pieces of the plane in a base hangar, it was evident that Lt. Wright survived the initial impact and could have ejected, but chose to stay with his airplane and tried to dead stick it over the town and into Kailua Bay. Unfortunately, it wasn't successful despite the heroic efforts of Lt. Wright. Please add this incident to your website.
Another thing I remember from those days is that for a short period, our A4s and I believe 214 A4s were flying (at the time) top secret missions with spray tanks. Each A/C had what looked like 300 gallon drop tanks mounted on the wing racks, but the fins had spray nozzles along their trailing edges. Missions were always at night, and we were told (as plane captains) to not touch the planes or let the pilots out when they returned until after they were washed down on special wash racks. Supposedly they were testing live bacterial agent that was loaded from freezers in the 232 hangar. I have recently become aware of what was really going on. Very interesting -- read about it here. http://fhp.osd.mil/CBexposures/shad.jsp Norm Spilleth, Cpl-E4, 1915587, 1960-1964
The incident Spilleth mentions as Top Secret was an ordnance operation operated out of VMA-311 hangar. It was not Top Secret.
I know, I was there, I was in charge of the ordnance-men.
When the squadron flew AD aircraft I was also there.
February 7, 1962: 1st Lt. John F. Young, 24, was killed Wednesday night when his Skyhawk (BuNo 144868) crashed on the uninhabited target island of Kahoolawe while on a night training mission. Marine authorities said he apparently did not attempt to eject while on a routine target run with two other planes. The Bridgeport Post, Friday, February 9, 1962.
March 1, 1963: Capt. R.P. Connolly ejected safely when A-4B 142941 departed the Kaneohe Bay runway after an arresting gear cable snapped. Two Marine A-4B pilots made individual takeoffs for a section instrument hop with a climbing rendezvous. The flight leader was climbing through 5,000 feet at 100% RPM normal TPT when he felt or heard a grinding noise and noticed the oil pressure fluctuating rapidly between 28-35 psi. He reduced power to 91% and leveled off at 7,000 and had his wingman join up and turned back toward the field. Soon after they arrived overhead and after notifying his wingman that they would orbit to burn down fuel the oil pressure started to fluctuate again. This evidently made him sure of impending engine seizure as he decided to jettison his external tank and take the MOREST at 16,000 pounds gross landing weight. He passed the runway duty officer at 300-400 feet and 200 knots, realized he was high and fast, pulled the throttle to idle and then to off and committed to landing. The A-4B touched down at 180-200 knots a few feet short of the MOREST and engaged the wire. After a few feet of runout the pendant snapped and the A-4B back into the air in a steep nose up and slightly port wing down at 140-160 knots. At this attitude, 15-20 feet off the ground and the engine shut down he ejected. The pilotless A-4B righted itself, returned to the runway and rolled out for 3,300 feet into the ocean beyond. NAN, Pettibone, September 1963. Retrieving the remains
March 21, 1963: Capt. Kenneth W. McCoy, 29, ejected from his uncontrollable VMA-212 A-4B Skyhawk ( BuNo 142943) near Kahoolawe yesterday while on a training mission. He was rescued by HMM-161 helicopters from MCAS Kaneohe 45 minutes later, 100 miles southeast of Honolulu. The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, March 22, 1963 courtesy Earl D. McCoy. The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, March 23, 1963 courtesy Earl D. McCoy.
1961-63: 1962: A couple of our A4s, WD 4 (142676) and WD 20 (probably 144870) on the flight line at Kaneohe MCAS probably taken in 1962. Norm Spilleth, L/Cpl USMC. Plane Captain VMA212 Devil Cats.
1962: MAG-12, VMA-212 Devil Cats, Skyhawk BuNo 145016, WD-1, in formation with BuNo 142886, WD-9. Col. John Lowman.
1962: In-flight view of Devil Cats Skyhawk BuNo 142941, WD-13, configured as a tanker. Col. John Lowman.
1962: Devil Cats Skyhawk BuNo 142946, WD-15, as she makes a JATO assisted take-off. Col. John Lowman.
28 FEB 1963: A-4B BuNo 142941 goes to sea. Surfs up... VMA-212 Devil Cats Capt. R.P. Connolly ejected from A-4B Skyhawk BuNo 142941, WD-2, on 28 February 1963 when the aircraft departed the MCAS Kaneohe Bay runway after an arresting gear cable snapped. Norm Spilleth.
No info yet.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VMA-212: