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VMF-324 Devil Dogs
VMA-324 from George Ertlmeier
VMA-324 from George Ertlmeier
VMA-324 from Nicholas Carton
1971: Third Patch from A-4M Era via Nicholas Carton
Peggy & George Ertlmeier
Harry S. Gann
Sam M. Richardson
1 Oct 1943
15 Oct 1945
17 Mar 1952
1964 - - - - - - - MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina.
1971 - - - - - - - MCAS Yuma, Arizona.
1 October 1943 - - - - MAG-32 3rd MAW
11 November 1943 - - - MAG-34 3rd MAW
1 April 1944 - - - - - MAG-34 9th MAW
6 September 1944 - - - MAG-23 3rd MAW
17 March 1952- - - - - MAG-31 3rd MAW
15 February 1954 - - - MAG-32 2nd MAW
18 July 1954 - - - - - MAG-31 3rd MAW
28 February 1958 - - - MAG-33 3rd MAW
2 July 1958- - - - - - MAG-24 2nd MAW
10 August 1959 - - - - MAG-14 2nd MAW
13 September 1960- - - CmdGen 1st MAW
23 September 1960- - - MAG-12 1st MAW
8 October 1961 - - - - MAG-32 2nd MAW
10 January 1966- - - - MAG-31 2nd MAW
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
1952 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Grumman F6F Hellcat
1952 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Chance Vought FG-1 Corsair
195? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas AD-4B Skyraider
13 April 1959- - - - - - - - - -Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
3 August 1964- - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
18 November 1963 - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-5 (A-4E) Skyhawk *
13 April 1971- - - - - - - - - - Douglas A-4M Skyhawk
* November 30, 1962
The A4D-2 designation changed to A-4B
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:
Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
01/55 to 03/55 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - AD-4B - - - - NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico
08/63 to 03/64 - - - - - CVG-7 - - CVA 62 - - - A-4B - - - - Mediterranean
01/65 to 03/65 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A-4E - - - - NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico
06/66 to 02/67 - - - - - CVW-7 - - CVA 62 - - A-4E - - - - Mediterranean
07/67 to 05/68 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A-4B & A-4C - NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico
Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
1954?: - - - - - - - - - LtCo. Kenneth Reusser
1959: - - - - - - - - - -LtCo. Donald J. Gehrig
June 1963 - July 1965: - Maj. Charles "Chuck" Hiett
1964?: - - - - - - - - - LtCo. Wayne Johnson
1966?: - - - - - - - - - LtCo. Thomas G. Elder
1971?: - - - - - - - - - LtCo. George Ertlmeier
No info yet
No additonal info
October 1, 1943: VMF-324 was established at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 32, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force.
October 12, 1943: VMF-324 moved for training to Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Facility, (Oak Grove) Pollocksville, North Carolina (near Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point). Later that month the Squadron was transferred.
November 11, 1943: Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 34, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force to New Bern, North Carolina Simmons Knott Field. Later that month the Squadron was transferred to Mitchell Field, New Bern, North Carolina.
April 1, 1944: VMF-324 was detached from the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and joined the 9th Marine Aircraft Wing.
July 15, 1944: Detached from the 9th Marine Aircraft Wing and departed from Marine Corps Air Facility, Kinston, North Carolina for Marine Corps Air Depot, Miramar, San Diego, California.
July 20, 1944: VMF-324 arrived at Miramar and attached to Marine Fleet Air, West Coast for pre-combat training.
August 31, 1944: Detached from Marine Fleet Air, West Coast and sailed from San Diego for Ewa, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii for staging to Midway Island.
September 6, 1944: VMF-324 joined Marine Aircraft Group 23, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force.
September 10 - 16, 1944: VMF-324 arrived at Midway. At Midway the Squadron acted as training and replacement unit for the Pacific theatre.
September 1, 1945: Transferred in increments to Headquarters Squadron, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force at Ewa, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii.
September 22, 1945: Attached to Headquarters, Marine Fleet Air, West Coast.
September 28, 1945: Arrived at San Francisco, California and proceeded to Marine Corps Air Depot, Miramar, San Diego, California.
October 15, 1945: VMF-324 was disestablished at Marine Corps Air Depot, Miramar, California.
March 17, 1952: Re-established as VMA 324, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic based at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.
April 5, 1952: Transferred to Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, Florida. The Squadron was assigned the FG-1 Chance Vought Corsair and F6F Grumman Hellcat for training.
November 1952: The Squadron was assigned a complete complement of FG-1 Corsairs and the Grumman F6F Hellcats were retired.
January and February 1953: VMA-324 was deployed to Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for Training Exercise III. The exercise was comprised of close air support strikes on Vieques, Culebra Desecheo and St. Croix Islands.
June 1953: Carrier Qualifications on the USS Saipan.
September 1953: Carrier Qualifications on the USS Saipan.
October 13, 1953: Sailed from Naval Auxiliary Air Facility, Mayport, Florida for duty on board the USS Saipan to the Western Pacific.
November 1953: Arrived at Kokosuka, Japan and Task Force 95.
February 15, 1954: Reassigned Marine Aircraft Group 32, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.
April 1954: VMA-324 flew its Corsairs from the USS Saipan to an airport in Indo-China and turned the planes over to French pilots.
May 1954: The USS Saipan and its Air Group were relieved and returned to Mayport Florida via the Suez Canal.
July 18 1954: Arrived at Mayport and changed location from the USS Saipan to the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, Florida. Operational control transferred from the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet to the Commanding Officer, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.
January through April 1955: VMA-324 deployed to Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for training. The VMA-324 January 22, 1955 fly-away schedule.
MODEX - - - - - - BUNO - - - - - - PILOT - - - - - - - - - - RANK
August 1, 1955: Redesignated VMA 324, Marine Aircraft Group 31, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.
August 23, 1955: Departed from the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami for the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia where it embarked on board the USS Lake Champlain the following day for a Mediterranean cruise, during which it was attached to Carrier Aircraft Group 6.
March 29, 1956: Disembarked from the USS Lake Champlain at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk and moved to Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, arriving the same day.
April - May 1956: The Vagabonds were reorganized and assigned Douglas AD-6 Skyraiders.
June 1956: VMA-324 was deployed to Naval Air Station Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone for training.
January 6, 1957: Arrived at Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California.
January 12, 1957: Departed U. S. for Japan where it arrived 15 January and joined Marine Aircraft Group 11, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
September 8, 1957: Sailed on the USS Lake Champlain from the Marine Barracks Annex, Bayonne, New Jersey for Operation DEEPWATER.
October 30, 1957: Arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, Florida.
February 28, 1958: Departed from Japan and arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro on 1 March where it was attached to the Marine Aircraft Group 33, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing.
March 14 - 18, 1958: Departed by elements from Marine Corps Air Station, Miami for about six weeks temporary additional duty in connection with Single Squadron Operations at the Naval Air Station, Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.
April 16 - 19, 1958: Returned to the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami from the Naval Air Station, Roosevelt Roads.
May 1959: The Vagabonds were assigned the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk.
July 2, 1958: Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 24, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.
August 10, 1959: Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.
August 24, 1959: 1st Lt. William Foley, 25, ejected safely when his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 144969) collided with a small civilian plane and crashed into the sea. Foley was making a radar-controlled instrument approach to MCAS Cherry Point when he felt a violent explosion and fire flashed into the cockpit at 1,500 feet. The safety officer of another jet flying on Foley's wing as observer noticed a burst of smoke and saw Foley eject from the burning plane. A search was launched in the nearby Newport marshes for the civilian plane. Statesville Record & Landmark, Statesville, NC, Monday, August 24, 1959. 1st Lt. William (Mike) Foley, 25, ejected safely when his Marine Skyhawk and a civilian plane collided in midair at 1,000 feet near Moorehead City, NC. Foley was making a controlled approach to MCAS Cherry Point and parachuted into a marsh. He was picked up by Ted Honeycutt and Hubert H. Fish who saw the collision from their fishing boat. Jesse G. Taylor, 28, who was on a fish spotting flight in the civilian plane was killed. Galesburg Register Mail, Tuesday, August 25, 1959. Jesse G. Taylor, 28, a veteran fish spotter pilot from nearby Beaufort was killed when a Marine Corps jet collided with his Piper Cub over the Newport River. 1st Lt. William M. Foley, 25, parachuted to safety and was pulled from the water by two fishermen who also recovered part of the wreckage of Taylors plane. Stars and Stripes, Thursday, August 27, 1959.
September 18, 1959: 1st Lt. Peter B. Lee sustained minor cuts and bruises Friday when his engine flamed out at 20,000 feet and he ejected at 5,000 feet after steering his crippled jet fighter (BuNo 144968) away from a populated area. He landed about three miles from MCAS Cherry Point and the plane crashed into a swamp about a mile away. The Gastonia Gazette, Saturday, September 19, 1959.
April 11, 1960: Capt. Edwin F. Jackson perished when his A4D-2 BuNo 144991 exploded over a runway, returning from a training flight
Statesville, NC Record & Landmark, Monday, April 11, 1960
September 13, 1960: Attached to the Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
September 23, 1960: Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Japan. VMA 324 deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. During the five months the Iwakuni runway was being rebuilt the Squadron deployed aboard USS Coral Sea CVA-43.
February 1, 1961: Redesignated VMF(AW)-324.
February 11, 1961: Capt. Charles S. Popok, USMC, was killed when he crashed into the water immediately after launch as he was attempting to join up on his section leader during rendezvous. It was estimated that he crashed when he got too low mistaking a star for his wingman and went into the water. No visual nor voice communication was ever received from Popok. The surface search was not successful. From Fred Shaffer. 1940 A light was reported going into the water at 25-09.2N, 128-49.6E, possible aircraft crash. Lost contact with A4D BuNo 142880 of VMA-324, pilot Capt C.S. Popok, USMC. USS Benner (DD-807) and USS Larson (DD-830) commenced search of area. Capt. James Gurtner USMC who was following in a section CCA approach to Coral Sea during a rain storm by Major Harvey Keeling USMC, the 324 XO. Keeling landed aboard the carrier safely and Gurtner went into the water behind the carrier on final approach. No visual nor voice communication was ever received from Gurtner. A surface search was not successful. From Fred Shaffer. 2143 A4D BuNo 144910, VMA-324, pilot 1st Lt. J.F. Gurtner, USMC, was reported going in the water at 25-02N, 128.35E. Benner and Larson commenced search. 2222 Detached USS Ruppertus (DD-851) and USS Mackenzie (DD-836) to assist in search. USS Coral Sea deck log, 11 February 1961. As far as Charlie goes we should have moved rendezvous up a lot higher at night than 1,000 feet. I think the flight leader would be at 250 knots, 30 degree bank which forces anyone joining up into steeper angle of bank OK in daytime but not at night with no visible horizon when we should have been on instruments. From Andy Anderson.
My recollection that night is Major Keating was the flight ldr and got vertigo at altitude. Jim took the lead for the recovery and in the transition from 1,000 feet to 500 where gear and flaps were extended (by radio calls). Keating overran Jim and may have said I lost you. My best quess is that Jim looked away from the instruments while all the speed, altitude, and configuration changes taking place and decended into the ocean. It was a terrible dark night and radio altimeter and autopilot would have been a big help. From Andy Anderson
April 21, 1961: Capt. Lorenza H. "Duty" Hill Jr., 26, VMA-324, MAG-12, Cubi Point, P.I., was killed after his Skyhawk (BuNo 142888) flamed-out and clipped a rooftop in a residential area two miles south of NAS Atsugi at 9:10 a.m. Five buildings were destroyed in the crash Ichiro Sawano, 43, was killed when the building he was in was set afire. Mrs. Sawano was burned on the face and was given a 36,000 yen ($100) solatium by Capt. James A, Masterson, NAS Atsugi, CO. Pacific Stars & Stripes, Saturday, April 22, 1961. Capt. Lorenza H. Hill Jr. has been recommended for an award for guiding his crippled plane away from a densely populated area. Hill, 26, of VMA-324, MAG-12, Cubi Point, P.I., was temporarily assigned to NAS Atsugi near Yokohama when the fatal crash occurred. After his A4D Skyhawk flamed out at about 500 feet Hill stuck with it and brought it down in a grove of trees away from the heavily populated section of Fujisawa, about 6 miles from NAS Atsugi. Hill's plane struck a group of homes not visible from his altitude killing one Japanese farmer and destroying five homes. The investigating board established that Hill probably could have saved his life by ejecting and would have had more of a chance to save himself if he had dropped his wing tanks. Pacific Stars & Stripes, 11 May 1961. Flamed out at 250-500 feet on a post maintenance check flight and Hill took evasive action to avoid crashing into a small village outside the base. From Fred Shaffer.
July 1, 1961: Redesignated VMF-324.
October 8, 1961: Redesignated VMA-324, Marine Aircraft Group 32, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Beaufort, South Carolina.
December 13, 1962: 1st Lt. George Osterman and 1st Lt. Norman St. Amand ejected safely after a mid-air collision (BuNo 145049 and A-4B BuNo 144890) near Parris Island at 7:25 p.m. while on a routine training flight. The SAR helos piloted by Capt. F.H. Yingling and Capt A.M. Echols were dispatched at 7:31 and the combined radar units from Parris Island and the Air Station directed Capt. Yingling to Lt. Osterman at 8:24. Two Parris Island Corporals dispatched their vehicles to the beach are where the collision occurred and flashed their lights on the water which assisted in the rescue of Lt. St. Amand by Capt. Echols at 9:20 p.m. The Jet Stream, MCAS Beaufort, February 1, 1963.
August 18, 1963: Capt. Wilbur Eugene "Bill" Skinner was killed when he flew into a mountain on one of the Operation Riptide strikes. He was in the clouds under the control of a FAC who gave him an altitude that did not provide terrain clearance. Source R.G. "Leaky" Hoch. Capt. Wilbur E. Skinner of MCAS Beaufort was killed when his A-4B crashed near the coast of France shortly after launch from the Independence. The Stars and Stripes, Wednesday, August 21, 1963. 1345 Received report that aircraft side number 502 is overdue for recovery but has not returned to the ship. Aircraft BuNo 144945 of VMA-324, pilot CAPT W.E. Skinner, USMC, was on an exercise strike mission to BELFORT FONTAINE airfield and was last contacted by Moselle control at about 1130. Continuing search with aircraft and surface units. 1746 Received CTF 401 message that aircraft BuNo 144945 of VMA-324, pilot CAPT W.E. Skinner, USMC, crashed at about 1130 in vicinity of BELFORT FONTAINE airfield. CAPT Skinner reported killed in action. USS Independence deck log, 18 August 1963. The pilot's remains were recovered, the a/c was abandoned since it was too difficult to recover.
Note: "As a 41 years old french history teacher, I'm looking about any informations about air actions over east of France. I'm living near Belfort not far from Swiss border and I've found an A-4B crash site, very close from my home. This was plane # 144945/DX-502 from VMA-324. Pilot ... Skinner was killed in the crash on August 18 1963." Stéphane Muret.
August 30, 1963: Capt. Jackson Mize disappeared after a practice inflight refueling and was never found. Source R.G. "Leaky" Hoch. 0001 hours completed recovering aircraft, except for one A4C (sic) (BuNo 145054) last reported at 41.40, 08. 20. USS Independence Deck Log, 31 August 1963. Jack was the section leader (two A-4B Skyhawks) and Jed Pierson was his wingman. Jack launched from the starboard catapult and Jed launched from the port catapult (forgot to ask what time) for a night practice inflight refueling mission. After launch they climbed to rendezvous with the KC-130 (four engine) tanker off of the southern tip of Corsica. The two A-4B Skyhawks (Jack & Jed) would have climbed to 15,000 feet and would have then descended to 10,000 feet and met up with the KC-130 when it was their turn to take on fuel. The KC-130 can refuel two aircraft at a time (see attached photo of a USMC KC-130 tanker where one A-4 Skyhawk is hooked up and the refueling hose is trailing for a second) and Jack connected to the port (left) side refueling hose and Jed connected to the starboard (right) refueling hose. After taking on 2,000 pounds of fuel (6.8 pounds = 1 gallon) Jack disconnected from the tanker and rolled to the left either intentionally or he stalled and his plane dropped out of sight. There was a three day search by ships and planes and they did find some aircraft flotsam (debris in the water) off the east coast of Corsica that may, or may not, have been from Jack’s Skyhawk. From LCol. Charles “Chuck” Hiett, VMA-324 CO (June 1963 to July 1965)
January 10, 1966: Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing.
June 13, 1966 - February 1, 1967: VMA-324 in USS Independence participated on a Mediterranean Cruise flying A-4E Skyhawks.
August 15, 1966: 1st Lt. Chuck Woodworth ejected from A-4 E BuNo 150093 due to A/C fire during in-flight refueling. 1830 A4E BuNo 150093 of VMA-324, pilot 1st Lt. C.B. Woodworth crashed into the sea 18 miles from this ship bearing 048 (T), LAT 39-01.7N, 10-39.8E in 1,400 fathoms of water. Pilot ejected to safety, picked up by helo and returned to this ship. Any injuries to pilot presently unknown. USS Independence deck log, Monday 15 August 1966.
March 3, 1967: Capt. Dick Barker ejected from A-4B BuNo 142939 due to engine failure.
November 16, 1967: 2ndLt. Bob Stamper crashed A-4B BuNo 145020 on a night landing at MCAS Beaufort.
June 14, 1968: 2nd Lt. Brian Lucas was killed when his A-4E (sic) Skyhawk (BuNo 145016) crashed near NAS Roosevelt Roads on a night rocket firing exercise in Puerto Rico. Lucas was a member of VMA-324 at MCAS Beaufort. The Greenville News, Tuesday, 18 June 1968. 1st Lt. Brian Lucas was killed on a night rocket run when operating out of Roosevelt Roads. From John Souders.
June 6, 1970: 1st Lt. Thomas Boyd (USMC) ejected safely when the brakes of his A-4C (BuNo 149535) failed while landing at the El Paso International Airport near Ft. Bliss, TX. He attempted to take off again, but power failed and the Skyhawk crashed through a chain-link fence and onto Airport Road. El Paso Herald-Post, Monday, June 8, 1970.
June 12, 1970: 1st Lt. Robert Jay Johnson, 24, of MCAS Buford (sic), SC, was killed when his A-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 150035) crashed Friday only minutes after a refueling stop at NAS Meridian. His body was found after a four hour search. Biloxi Daily Herald, Monday, 15 June 1970. Crashed 11 miles from Meridian, MS, due to an inflight fire. From Stuart McNames, nephew.
November 30, 1970: 1st. Lt. William R. Bunker ejected safely after he was assigned an inadvertently unrefueled plane (BuNo 150029), pilot took off at night and flamed out on climb out from Roosey Rhodes. Pilot attributed unexpected takeoff performance to fact his previous flight was with 500 lb. bombs. Mark Williams. 1st. Lt. William R. Bunker was on a local night bombing hop using MK-76 practice bombs and was running considerably behind schedule due to various delays. In an attempt to keep pace with the flight leader he took various shortcuts including curtailed post-start checks and conducting pre-takeoff and turn-up checks from memory as he noted the leader was already taxiing to the marshalling area. On takeoff he attributed the sooner than usual leap into the air to the light weight of the practice bombs. As he began a 300 knot rendezvous at 11,000 feet he noticed the amber fuel transfer light and zero reading on the fuel gauge. Between three and four thousand feet he ejected and was picked up by a USCG helicopter. NAN, Pettibone, April 1971.
February 4, 1971: 1st. Lt. Andrew K. Long, on a cross country training flight from Beaufort, SC, ran off a runway at NAS Corpus Christi at 11:10 a.m. today. His A-4E aircraft (BuNo 149988) hit a truck, injuring himself and a civilian workman who was installing new runway lights when the accident occurred. The Corpus Christi Times, 04 February 1971.
February 11, 1972: 1st Lt. John Kemper ejected safely (BuNo 158172) after an inflight explosion and flameout over targets at Glynco, GA. CSD disintegration. Mark Williams.
January 21, 1974: Capt. Joel C. Ward, 29, was missing in the Atlantic Ocean after he ejected from his A-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 158159) late Monday about 78 miles SE of Beaufort, NC. He was on a routine training flight from MCAS Beaufort and his wingman saw him parachute into the ocean. Big Spring Herald, Big Spring, TX, Tuesday, January 22, 1974. Unusual attitude loss of control, unsuccessful ejection attempt. Steve Richmond.
March 5, 1974: 1st Lt. Mike Coleman ejected safely after aircraft (BuNo 158163) pitched up immediately after liftoff (probably about the time he raised the gear and flaps) and he was not able to push the stick forward and hold it there long enough even with two hands to get the nose down. Whenever he took his left hand off the stick to use the elevator over-ride lever, the nose would pitch up again, so he used the rudder to get the nose down in a series of wingover type maneuvers. I think the aircraft made one or more 360 degree turns before he ejected and the plane crashed in a residential area near MCAS Beaufort. From Jim Williams VMA-324 Safety Officer. Runaway nose up trim loss of control, low altitude, successful ejection. Steve Richmond.
Crashed in Greys Hill, SC Just West of MCAS Beaufort. It is a more rural then residential area. It landed on a (trailer) Mobile Home, only one day after the resident family moved out. The Pilot was Lt. Coleman. It's not visible from these Beaufort Gazette photos (photo1, photo 2) but the horizontal stabilizer was in the extreme nose up position. The cause of crash was a runaway stabilizer, which is controlled by an electric motor driven screw actuator. Lt Coleman fought the stick trying to keep the Sky Hawk from wanting to go into a loop and ejected safely when he realized he was not going to archive stabilized flight. I was there. David Rosowski.
As luck would have it, I was the Safety Officer in VMA-324 when that accident occurred. The Naval Safety Center assigned one of their highly experienced investigators to assist in the investigation. I learned a lot from him and we had an open door to NARF Pensacola for their assistance during the mishap reconstruction. The cause officially listed was run-away nose up trim on take-off, but the aircraft wreckage was destroyed by fire to such an extent that physical evidence was not conclusive.
The pilot indicated that the aircraft pitched up immediately after liftoff (probably about the time he raised the gear and flaps) and he was not able to push the stick forward and hold it there long enough even with two hands to get the nose down. Whenever he took his left hand off the stick to use the elevator over-ride lever, the nose would pitch up again, so he used the rudder to get the nose down in a series of wingover type maneuvers. I think the aircraft made one or more 360 degree turns before he had enough and decided to eject.
1955-56 MED Cruise:VMA-324 Skyraiders craned aboard for 1955-56 Mediterranean cruise aboard the USS Lake Champlain, which had a straight wooden flight deck and no hurricane bow (only gun tubs). Andy Anderson of VMA-324.
1956: Devil Dog A-1H Skyraider Line. A color photograph of VMA-324's ramp at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, February 1956. At the time the squadron was assigned the trusty single seat Douglas AD-4B Skyraider -- lovingly called the SPAD (a trusty WW-I French fighter) by its pilots. At times on the boat the SPAD wasn't so trusty. Here we see the result of "torque roll" when the Devil Dog pilot cobbed the power at slow airspeed. Comment by Bill Headley. Photograph by Harry S. Gann.
JUN59: Big transition from the Spad to the Skyhawk is taken by USMC Capt. George Fritschi of VMA-324 as he moves from the piston driven AD-6 to the jet powered Skyhawk, BuNo 144955. Naval Aviation News Photo.
VMA-324 A-4B. A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142937, side number DX 17 is pictured on the VMA-324 ramp. Harry S. Gann.
1963: BuNo 145039 traps via ground gear, MCAS Beaufort S.C. Photo from Jet Stream, Beaufort Base Paper. Provided by Mike MacNealey.
1962: USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and CVG-15 (NL) aircraft sail under the Golden Gate bridge 1961-1962. The Air Group squadrons/aircraft were VF-151 Vigilantes (F3H-2 Demon), VA-152 Fighting Aces (AD-6 Skyraider), VA-153 Blue Tail Flies (A4D-2 Skyhawk), VF-154 Black Knights (F8U-1E Crusader), VA-155 Silver Foxes (A4D-2 Skyhawk), VMA-324 Devildogs (A4D-2 Skyhawk), VMA-121 Green Knights (A4D-2 Skyhawk), VAH-2 (A3D-2 Skywarrior), VFP-61 Det. D (F8U-1P Crusader), VAW-13 Zappers Det. D (WF-2 Tracer), HU-1 Pacific Fleet Angels Det. D (HUP-2 Retriever).
1964: VMA-324 A-4C. A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 145080, side number DX 19 was on the USS Independence CVA-62 cruise from August 63 to March 1964. The picture was taken May 1, 1964 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. Shortly after the picture was taken VMA-324 was issued the A-4E Skyhawk. USMC photograph from Allen Feldman.
1965: THE VAGABONDS. VMA-324 in a group photo at Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads in March of 1965. BuNos of the Skyhawks in the picture: 150064, 150098, 150090, 150061, 150068, 150006, and 149995. USMC photograph from Steve Waldschmidt.
26MAR66: Head on view of Devildogs Skyhawk BuNo 151051, after it failed to clear a ridge line on approach to MCAS beaufort, SC, and cut some 68 trees 30-40 feet above the ground. Birmingham AFB. Naval Aviation News.
1966: VMA-324 Maintenance Hangar. Squadron Skyhawks are getting last minute maintenance work at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina before the 1966 USS Independence (CVA-62) cruise. Scooters were having the tail DX identification changed to the Indy Air Group's AG identification; and the normal orange trim was being replaced by the Airgroups blue trim. BuNos of some of the A-4E Skyhawks making the Indy cruise: 150123, 150082, 151072, 150110, 150095, 152067, 150138 and 150090. From a Steve Waldschmidt 35mm slide.
1966: VMA-324 on the "Indy". VMA-324 Devil Dogs and VA-86 Sidewinder tinkertoys are shown lined up on the Indy's port side before a mission in May 1966. The Devil Dogs were assigned 300 series numbers and the Sidewinders were assigned 400 series numbers. During the cruise Lt.Col. Elder received the 1966 CNO Safety Award for VMA-324. From a Steve Waldschmidt 35mm slide. USN photograph from a Steve Waldschmidt.
1967: USS Independence (CVA-62) with aircraft from CVW-7 (AG) including VF-41 Black Aces F-4B Phantoms, VF-84 Jolly Rogers F-4B Phantoms, VMA-324 Vagabonds A-4E Skyhawks, VA-86 Sidewinders A-4E Skyhawks, VA-75 Sunday Punchers A-6A Intruders, RVAH-1 Smokin Tigers RA-5C Vigilantes, VAW-33 Det. 62 EA-1F Skyraiders, VAW-12 Det. 62 E-1B Tracers, VQ-2 Batmen Det. EA-3B Skywarriors and HC-2 Det. UH-2A Seasprites, circa 1966-1967.
29 May 1967: VMA-324 A-4C. Photo of a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 148575, side number DX 11, from VMA-324. The photo was taken May 29, 1967 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. Photograph by Harry S. Gann.
APR68: BuNo.145033 Devildogs Skyhawk, DX-1, tied down on the ramp. Courtesy of Scott Van Aken.
1968-1970: VMA-324 Devil Dogs A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 148501, DX-8, JATO assisted take-off. Photographer unknown.
22 April 1971: VMA-324 A-4M. A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158158, side number DX 3 was on Detachment at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona on April 22, 1971 and is shown firing a Zuni rocket. VMA-324 was the first operational Marine squadron to receive the A-4M Skyhawk. The A-4Ms were received by VMA-324 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. Photograph by Harry S. Gann. Photograph scanned by Fred Lewis.
April 1971: VMA-324 A-4Ms. A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158158, side number DX 3 flies close parade right eschelon on A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 1 near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier.
VMA-324 A-4M Skyhawk 158164, side number DX 7, rests on the ramp. he photograph is from Michael Klaver, Webmaster of the F-4 Phantom II Website.
1971-74: BuNo 158614, DX-07, parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
April 1971: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158171, side number DX 16 and A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160 DX-1 in left eschelon near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier.
1971: VMA-324 A-4M and Squadron Pilots. This photo was taken in April 1971 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma with A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 1 and A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 150138 in the backgound. VMA-324 was on a det from Cherry Point to receive their A-4Ms. They were the first squadron to be outfitted with the A-4M aircraft. The skipper was Lieutenant Colonel George Ertlmeier shown eighth from left on rear row. Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier.
1971: Commanding Officer's A-4M. A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 1 stands ready for a mission at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, April 1971. Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier.
After 1971: VMA-324 A-4M Loose Deuce. A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 19 leads A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158171, side number DX 16 over the mountains near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier.
After 1971: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 19 rolls in on a target near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier.
After 1971: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 19 breaks near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier.
1971: BuNo 150031, DX-4, parked on the ramp next to BuNo 151074. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
1971: BuNo 151074, DX-15, parked on the ramp. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza
MAY71: BuNo 152012, DX-8, parked on the ramp next to a TF-9J Cougar. J. Wible.
1971: Skyhawk BuNo 151040, DX-22, piloted by John Garretson over Mt Rainier taken by his wingman. Mark Williams.
1971-1974: VMA-324 Vagabonds A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 158158, DX-3, on the ramp at MCAS Beaufort next to A-4M BuNo 158157, DX-4, 1971-1974. VMFA-251 Thunderbolts F-4J Phantom II BuNo 153908, DW, at right. Unknown.
27MAY72: Vagabonds Skyhawk BuNo 158160, DX-19, releasing a TV guided Walleye over one of the practice ranges. Harry Gann.
BuNo 158157, pilot shot, 1972 at MCAS Yuma with VMA-324. Photo from Robert Oetting, VMA-543 flyer.
VMA-324 A4-M BuNo 158158 fires rocket. Looks like it is a 5" ZUNI FFAR (folding fin aircraft rocket). Douglas photos from Gary Verver Collection that were a part of the 27 Feb 1979 News Release from McDonnell Douglas.
No info yet.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VMA-324: