Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
Courtesy of Elizabeth Johnston
Courtesy of Maxie Jarrell
Courtesy of Bob Herrman
VMA-331 Bumblebees Courtesy of Lynn Savage
From Lee Jackson
VMA-331 has always used a patch displaying a Bumblebee riding a bomb and guiding itself with a bombing telescope sight. The shape of the bomb and color change over the years but the basic patch remains the same.
Harry S. Gann
Major Maxie Jarrell USMCR-R
Major Fred Miclon USMC
Naval Aviation News
Lynn E. Savage
Captain Frank E. Sturges USMCR.
Cpl. David M. (Mike) MacNealy
1943 to present - - - Bumblebees.
During WW-II Squadron personnel used the name "Doodlebug" for the squadron.
1 Jan 1943- - - - Marine Bomber Squadron 331 (VMSB-331) was commissioned at MCAS Cherry Point.
Oct 1944- - - - - VMSB-331 was re-designated VMBF-331
30 Dec 1944 - - - VMBF-331 was re-designated VMSB-331
21 Nov 1945 - - - VMSB-331 was dis-established
ca. 1954- - - - - VMA-331 was re-established
ca. 1983- - - - - VMA-331 was ordered to Stand-down.
ca. 1986- - - - - VMA-331 was ordered to Stand-up.
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
1943- - - - - - - - - - Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina
195?- - - - - - - - - - Marine Corps Air Station Opa Loca, (Miami) Florida.
1960- - - - - - - - - - Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.
Dec 1975 - Mar 1983 - - Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina
08 JUN 1964 to 13 MAR 1965: - AJ - CVW-8
23 Jun 1970 to 31 Jan 1971: - AG - CVW-7
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
1943 - - - - - - - North American SNJ Trainer.
1943 - - - - - - - Douglas SBD (Speed-D-Bee) Dauntless.
194? - - - - - - - Vought F4U-4 Corsair.
1954 - - - - - - - Douglas AD-5 Skyraider.
1959 - - - - - - - Douglas AD-6 Skyraider.
15 July 1958 - - - Douglas a4d-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
14 June 1963 - - - Douglas A4D-5 (A-4E) Skyhawk *
8 December 1965- - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
5 November 1970- - Douglas A-4M Skyhawk.
1986 - - - - - - - ?????????
* 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 Dates: - Tail Code - A/C - - Group- - Location - Operations Area.
1959 (14 months): ??? - - - AD-6 - - ???- - - WestPac
June 1963: AJ A-4E - -CAG-8- - USS Forrestal;- - Carrier Qualifications
24FEB64 to 08APR64: VL A-4E MAG31 MCAS Yuma for Training
09APR64 to 18APR64: VL A-4E MAG31 MCRD P.I. (Page Field - SATS)
08JUN64 to 18JUN64: AJ A-4E CAG-8 U.S.S. Forrestal for ORI and Carrier Quals
10 July 1964 - 13 Mar 1965 - AJ 5xx- - A-4E- - CAG-8- - USS Forrestal - Mediterranean
JUN65 to 25AUG65: VL A4E- - MAG-31 - NS Roosevelt Roads, PR
14SEP65 to 20OCT65: VL A-4E- - MAG-31 - Larissa, Greece - NATO Exercise
30MAR66: VL- - - - A-4E- - MAG-31 - NS Roosevelt Roads, PR
MAR69 to 02 MAY 1966: VL- - - - A-4E- - MAG 31 - MCAS Yuma, AZ
OCT69: AG 3xx- - A-4E- - CVW-7- - USS Independence
FEB70: VL- - - - A-4E- - MAG 31 - MCAS Yuma, AZ
MAY70: AG 3xx- - A-4E- - CVW-7- - USS Independence
JUN70: VL- - - - A-4E- - MAG 31 - MCAS Yuma, AZ
23JUN70 to 31JAN71: AG 3xx- - A-4E- - CVW-7 - USS Independence - Mediterranean
DEC73 to JUN74: VL- - - - A-4M- - MAG 31 ; NAS Roosevelt Roads, PR
AUG76: VL- - - - A-4M------ NAS Roosevelt Roads, PR
APR77: EAF (Expeditionary Airfield) --29 Palms for a 5 day exercise.
1943 - - - - - - - Captain R D Cox
1943 - - - - - - - Major J L Beam
1943 - - - - - - - Captain J A Feeley
1944 - - - - - - - Major J C Otis
1944 - - - - - - - Major P R Byrum
1945 - - - - - - - Major J H Mceniry
1945 - - - - - - - Captain P J Ebsen
1945 - - - - - - - Major J H Stock
1945 - - - - - - - Major W E Jewson
1952 - - - - - - - Captain G W Curtis
1952 - - - - - - - Captain C H Jones
1952 - - - - - - - Ltcol J A Golchrist
1953 - - - - - - - Major W T Porter
1953 - - - - - - - Ltcol W L Gaffney
1955 - - - - - - - Ltcol G F Vaughan
1956 - - - - - - - Major E P Carey
1956 - - - - - - - Ltcol C C Lee
1957 - - - - - - - Ltcol E P Carey
1959 - - - - - - - Ltcol J E Barnett
1961 - - - - - - - Ltcol J C Prestridge
1961 - - - - - - - Ltcol Don Conroy
1963 - - - - - - - Ltcol S H Carpenter
1965 - - - - - - - Ltcol R F Warren
1966 - - - - - - - Ltcol G V Hodde
1966 - - - - - - - Ltcol E K Jacks
1967 - - - - - - - Major R L Critz
1967 - - - - - - - LtCol C E Tucker (Chester Everett)
9/13/1967 - - - - Lt.Col. P F Maginnis
1968 - - - - - - - Major T M D'andrea
1969 - - - - - - - Major F T Sullivan
1971 - - - - - - - Ltcol J J Caldas
1971 - - - - - - - Ltcol P E Brookshire
1972 - - - - - - - Ltcol T D Brooks
1973 - - - - - - - Ltcol S P Brutcher
1974 - - - - - - - Ltcol D E Baker
1975 - - - - - - - Major R L Wood
1976 - - - - - - - Ltcol R B Savage
1977 - - - - - - - Ltcol R H Ulm
1978 - - - - - - - Ltcol S M Horton
1979 - - - - - - - Ltcol M R Snedeker
Sep 1979-Jun 1981 -Ltcol M W Wehrung
1981 - - - - - - - Ltcol J L Adkinson
1983 - - - - - - - Standown
1986 - - - - - - - Standup
8 Jun 1964 - 18 Jun 1964: The Bumblebees accomplished 108 night carrier landings in 6 hours. This is believed to be the highest number of carrier qualifications in such a period aboard the Forrestal. The previous high was 89. (Naval Aviation News (Aug ’64, pg 33))
1990: The Bumblebees were selected by the Marine Corps Association as the "Attack Squadron of the Year."
No additional info
January 1943: Marine Bomber Squadron 331 (VMSB-331) was commissioned at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Rhode Island. The Bumblebees were assigned the Douglas SBD Dauntless - Slow But Deadly - which the Squadron dubbed the Speed-D-Bee.
1944: VMSB-331 flew the SBD in combat through the central Pacific islands, places such as Majuro Atoll or Nukufetau in the Marshall Islands.
May 16, 1960: 1st Lt. Eddie Smith, 22, was killed and Capt. Gerald Peterson, 29, died Tuesday when their jet aircraft (A4D-2 BuNo 142804 and A4D-2 BuNo 142812) collided during takeoff for a training mission about 11:30 a. m. Monday at the marine air station near here (Beaufort). Aiken Standard and Review, Tuesday, May 17, 1960 and The Danville Bee, Wednesday, May 18, 1960.
May 28, 1960: First Lt. Paul Leopold Drotch of Trumbull, Conn., was killed instantly when his A4D (BuNo 142813) light attack plane crashed three miles S of the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba on a routine training exercise, the Navy said. No other personnel were injured. Oakland Tribune, Sunday, May 29, 1960. A U.S. Marine pilot was killed when his A4D plunged through a boundary fence at Guantanamo Bay and exploded 500 yards away in Cuban territory while flying close ground support for a detachment of Marines engaged in maneuvers. The plane (VMA-331) from Cherry Point, NC, was on a training mission. Cuban Army officials cooperated in recovery of the body and the plane wreckage. Rocky Mount Telegram, Monday, May 30, 1960.;
August 12, 1960: Lt. Robert Roy Ladd, 25, was killed Friday at MCAS Beaufort when his A4D (BuNo 142853) crashed on landing when the plane came down short of the runway. Lt. Ladd was landing with three other planes of Beaufort based VMA-331 from a three month tour of the Caribbean. North Adams Transcript, Monday, August 15, 1960.
1961: I was in VMA 331 from Jul 57 until the spring of 62 just before I got orders to go to Fighters Weapons School at Nellis. We flew AD-5's at Opa Locka until the summer of 59 and then deployed to West Pac for 14 months where we flew the AD-6. We were the last AD Squadron in the Marine Corps. The Sqdrn. Flag was transferred back to MCAS Beaufort, SC. I was lucky enough to be one of two pilots who got to stay in the Sqdrn. We transitioned into the A4D-2. and spent about five months in 30 to 60 day increments in Gitmo and Rosie Rds. getting ready for the Bay of Pigs. I took a camera with me on most every flight. Ray Powell.
1962: VMA-331 deployed to Guantanamo (Leeward Point), Cuba during the Bay of Pigs (17-20 April 1961) and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico during the
of Cuba (October 22 to November 21, 1962). 10 aircraft deployed to Gitmo and 10 to Roosevelt Roads during each incident.
Two Skyhawks were lost during a two plane section take-off the day the Bumblebees left Beaufort for the Caribbean. A very gusty cross-wind blew the lead aircraft into the wingman. (BuNo 142802 was SOC 14 August 1962 and 142795 was SOC 22 August 1962)
At Leeward Point a Skyhawk making a low level practice gunnery run hit the base perimeter fence. Another Skyhawk flew into the ocean off Viegas, Puerto Rico.
No one was killed when a Squadron liberty run plane went in off the end of the runway and into the drink at St. Thomas.
After these Caribbean escapades the Bumblebees became known as the "Suicide Squadron."
April 11, 1963: 1st Lt. Robert D. Miller, 26, from MCAS Beaufort was lost at sea Thursday night during flight operations aboard the carrier Forrestal 60 miles off the Virginia Capes. After a wave-off by the LSO the A4D (BuNo 142766) flew about two miles ahead of the Forrestal before flipping into the water and disintegrating at 8:11 p.m. His squadron, from MCAS Beaufort, was aboard the Forrestal for CARQUALS. The Muscatine Journal, Muscatine, Iowa, Friday, April 12, 1963. 2110 plane crashed into the sea off port bow, Long. 36 degrees 25.5’N; Lat. 75 degrees 00’W, in 26 fathoms of water. Captain Lawrence R. Geis has the conn. Maneuvering on various courses and speeds while searching for pilot of downed aircraft. Directed destroyers to proceed to vicinity of crash to search. 2059 downed aircraft was an A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142766, of VMA-331 the Hornets, piloted by 1st LT R.D. Miller, USMC. 2112 port lifeboat away with medical officer embarked proceeding to USS Corry (DDR-817) to return recovered debris. 2304 port lifeboat returned to ship. USS Forrestal deck log, Thursday, 11 April 1963. Destroyers are conducting an expanded square search for downed pilot 1st. LT. R.D. Miller, USMC. Search and Rescue Commander is Captain Geis, Commanding Officer of Forrestal. USS Corry is directing Search and Rescue unit in search. 0400 LTJG. R. J. Everson assumed the OOD watch. Released USS Charles P. Cecil (DD-835) and directed her to report to Search and Rescue Commander in Coast Guard Cutter 82310 to continue search for 1st. LT. R.D. Miller, USMC. 0402 directed USS Corry to follow in the wake of Forrestal. 0403 discontinued search for 1st. LT. R.D. Miller, USMC. USS Forrestal deck log, Friday, 12 April 1963.
May 19, 1963: Lt. Glenn C. Ramin, 24, ejected safely at 3,000 feet over the Cooper River, 19 miles N of Charleston Wednesday. He was on a practice bombing flight to Myrtle Beach AFB when his engine developed an oil leak and he diverted to Charleston. His flaming A-4E (BuNo 150045) crashed in a vacant field and he had a soft landing in three feet of mud in a submerged rice field. A fisherman boated him to shore and a Beaufort helicopter brought him dry clothes and ferried him back to base. The Greenville News, Thursday, 20 May 1965.
June 8, 1964 - June 18, 1964: The Bumblebees accomplished 108 night carrier landings in 6 hours. This is believed to be the highest number of carrier qualifications in such a period aboard the Forrestal. The previous high was 89. (Naval Aviation News (Aug ’64, pg 33))
August 25, 1965: Capt. Ben Summers ejected safely when his Skyhawk (BuNo 150114) bound from Puerto Rico to Beaufort, SC crashed in the ocean Wednesday according to the USCG. Louis Jacob and Ronnie Black, from nearby Salerno, FL, heard the explosion, witnessed the crash and saw the pilot parachuting into the sea a mile and a half from their boat went to his aid and picked him up. The Danville Register, Thursday, August 26, 1965.
August 26, 1965: Jet Stream, the Beaufort Base Paper - August 26, 1965. Provided by Mike MacNealy via Norman Patterson
1965: VMA-331 MED Cruise Information, provided by Mike MacNeal via Norm Patterson.
March 24, 1966: Lt. Donald J. Beary, 22, ejected safely from his A-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 150014) before it crashed near the Point of Marsh bombing range at the mouth of the Neuse river (Cherry Point, NC). Lt. Beary was on a practice bombing mission and Marine personnel from the bombing range used a small boat to rescue the Lt. who was returned to the air station by helicopter. The Register, Danville, VA, Friday, March 25, 1966.
August 18, 1967: Capt. Michael Donovan ejected safely before his A-4 Skyhawk Jet crashed north of Laurel about 5:45 p.m. Friday in a pasture near Sandersville owned by Lynn Blackledge. Capt. Donovan landed in a field owned by Ed Lee Gatlin about 2 1/2 miles from where his plane hit. He was picked up about an hour after the crash by a rescue helicopter from NAS Meridian where both planes had been re-fueled moments before the crash. The pilot of the second plane, Capt. Peter Erenfeld, landed at the Laurel airport with only 200 - 300 feet of runway to spare after blowing a tire. A witness, Joe Swain, saw them flying in close formation when one seemed to roll over and nosed down. He said the other plane circled the parachute once or twice before flying on to Laurel. The planes were on a training flight from MCAS Beaufort, SC, to Tinker AFB, OK. Laurel Leader-Call, Tuesday, August 19, 1967. Capt. Michael Donovan parachuted to safety before his A-4 Skyhawk Jet crashed in the Rustin Community about 20 miles from Laurel Friday while on a training mission from Marine Corp Base in Beaufort, SC. A second plane on the training mission landed safely at the Laurel airport after the pilot, Capt. Peter Erenfeld, noticed his oil gauge registered empty. Laurel Leader-Call, Tuesday, August 22, 1967. Laurel Leader-Call photo.
September 13, 1967: LCol. Chester E. Tucker, 41, (CO, VMA-331, MCAS Beaufort) ejected and was killed Wednesday in conditions describes as "practically zero." Tucker was enroute from Beaufort to Sanford when the plane (BuNo 151195) crashed 10 miles SW of Daytona Beach, FL, near I-4 about 4 miles west of US-92. He apparently ejected too late and his body was found about 100 yards from the planes wreckage. Mount Vernon Register, Thursday, September 14, 1967. LCol. C.E. Tucker (CO) ejected and was killed while flying a profile refueling certification in preparation for a Translant to Turkey. The profile was Beaufort, Orlando, St Petersburg, direct Brownsville (refuel 100 nm south of New Orleans) then same track back to Beaufort with second refueling south of New Orleans. After second refueling and approaching St Petersburg, lead called for the flight to close up because of a line of thunderstorms in their path. LCol Tucker, who was last in the flight of 9 or 10 aircraft was rapidly closing on the flight when the flight went into the clouds. Lt Col Tucker was seen to break away and no further radio transmissions were heard from him despite numerous calls. A short time later a report of an aircraft crash between St. Petersburg and Orlando was received by the squadron and LCol Tucker's body was found in the wreck. From Bill Wehrung. Tucker apparently had turned over the lead to another plane and dropped back in a loose trail as #4. When he realized they were heading into some high clouds (storm tops), someone in his flight saw him trying to close on the flight at a very high rate of closure but wasn't able to join up before they went IFR. That was the last contact the flight saw or heard of him. About a half hour later, my group landed back at NBC and about the time we got into the ready room, the report came in that his plane had crashed in FL at high speed in an almost vertical dive. From Bill McVey. I was flying with LCol tucker the day he got killed. We were preparing for a deployment to Izmir Turkey and were practicing some long range flights for the ocean crossing with AR refreshers for the pilots going over. He disappeared into the top of thin cirrus at about 33,000 feet and he never came out the other side. Beneath was a well developed thunderstorm. He ejected but too late. A woman found him still in or near his seat. This occurred near Orlando FL. We had gone across the Gulf of Mexico and were returning to Beaufort when the accident happened. From Ray Rauenhorst. LtCol Paul Mcginnis assumed command and kept VL-02 "The Muscle Bee" as his plane for his entire tour.
May 21, 1970: Maj. Robert C. Blackington, Jr. ejected (BuNo 150081) right after launch due to a control malfunction. From John Caldas. 1243 Plane in the water off catapult #1 parachute with pilot spotted 000 deg. about 1 mile A/E stop, A/E back full, right 30 deg. rudder. Sounded man overboard. Manned port lifeboat. Rescue helo maneuvering to recover pilot. 1248 Pilot recovered and returned to ship. Requested USS Johnston (DD-821) to proceed through A/C impact area to search for and recover debris. 1252 Received word that pilot of A/C was Major R.C. Blackington, USMC. A/C was VMA-331 AJAR 333 BuNo 150081. Position of crash was 35-32.5N 74-32.6 W in 1200 fathoms of water. 2004 Received accident report on Blackington, Robert C. Jr. Major, USMC, who received a small compression fracture of the fifth lumbar, questionable small compression fracture of the seventh cervical, and an old compression fracture of the fifth thorax. Treatment to medical observation with temporary disability. USS Independence deck log, Thursday, 21 May 1970.
June 23, 1970 - January 31, 1971: VMA-331 flying A-4E Skyhawks deployed to the Mediterranean on CVA-62 USS Independence.
July 31, 1970: 1st Lt. "Ken" L. Heitel (USMC) ejected safely when the nose of his aircraft pitched down as he went off the angled deck after several hook-skip bolters. He was picked up by the Angel without injury. From Alan Morrison. 1214 A-4E aircraft crashed into the sea and sank at Lattitude 40-34.7 N longitude 11-47.7 E in 1400 fathoms of water. Aircraft was attached to VMA-331, Bureau No. 151180 and the pilot was 1st Lt. Kenneth L. Heitel, USMC. Pilot ejected safely and was recovered by helo No. 552 at 1219. USS Independence deck log, Friday, 31 July 1970. Lt. Ken Heitel (USMC) had a hook skip in A-4E BuNo 151180 and when he added throttle he couldn't get a positive rate of climb. The Skyhawk settled slightly and Ken ejected and was picked up by the Angel without injury. That's BuNo 151086 parked on the edge of the deck.
October 14, 1970: 1st. Lt. Rodney M. Smith, 26, was killed when he crashed (BuNo 152011) at sea during night bombing practice from the USS Independence. From Alan Morrison. 2038 Received report of A-4 aircraft No. 305 in water bearing 282 (T) at 22 miles from this ship. Ship's position at time of accident 39-32.75N, 24-47.75E. Aircraft position 39-37N, 24-18.5E. Ordered C.T.S. Iskkendrun, DD-343, (former USS Boyd, DD-544, transferred to Turkey as TCG Iskenderun, D343) to proceed to area of accident. USS Byrd (DDG-23) and I.T.S. Impavido (Italian D570) ordered by Commander Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla 8 to proceed to accident area and commence search for remains of A/C. 2142 C/C to proceed to accident area. 2205 Commander Destroyer Divison 22 embarked on USS Byrd (DDG-23) assumed tactical command of USS Byrd (DDG-23), I.T.S. Impavido and C.T.S. Iskkendrun for search purposes. USS Independence deck log, Wednesday, 14 October 1970. 1st. Lt. Rodney M. Smith, 26, was killed October 14 when his plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a training mission bomb run. He was assigned to the USS Independence and his body was not recovered. El Paso Herald-Post, Monday, October 19, 1970.
November 20, 1970: Capt. Leslie (Les) Herman ejected from AG-311 (BuNo 149648) when his engine failed on the cat shot. He was recovered by the HS-2 Angel and was back on deck 7 minutes after launch. From John Caldas. 1106 A-4 Bureau No 149648 of VMA-331, pilot Leslie B. Herman, Capt, USMC, crashed into the sea about 4,000 yards off the stbd bow at latitude 35-28.5N, longitude 22-32.9E, and sank in 2,000 fms of water. 1111 Pilot recovered by helo (HS-2) and returned aboard. Cause of the accident and extent of pilot injuries unknown. USS Independence deck log, Friday, 20 November 1970.
1970 MED: Med Cruise pdf
September 29, 1971: 1st. Lt. D.A. Williams, 25, was killed Wednesday when his A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 151196) crashed during a training mission at the Naval Target Facility, Camp Blanding, FL. The Bee: Danville, VA, Thursday, September 30, 1971.
1972: From Lee Jackson.
April 26 1972 Capt. Henry A. Robertson ejected safely shortly before his Skyhawk (BuNo 158190) crashed Wednesday when the engine caught fire. The jet slammed into a field near a barn on the grounds of Clarendon plantation two miles north of MCAS Beaufort. The Greenville News. Capt. Henry A. Robertson ejected safely from his disabled A-4M Marine attack plane coming in for a landing. The plane crashed in a cow pasture and burned. The Danville Register, Thursday, 27 April 1972. Capt. Henry A. Robertson, 32, parachuted safely from his disabled MCAS Beaufort A-4M Marine attack plane coming in for a landing. The plane crashed and burned in a pasture. The Index Journal, Monday, 01 May 1972. Pilot was "Robbie" Robertson. Muffled explosion and flame out while entering the break at MCAS Beaufort. Managed to steer clear of the airfield before he ejected. Aircraft crashed on some plantation nearby. After a preliminary investigation, I called in a rep. from the Navy Safety Center for help. We first thought it was the generator, but after sifting through lots of stuff at the crash site, discovered the failed parts of the CSD. That accident led to short time fix of beefing up the CSD housing of all A4M's with that particular manufacturer (do not remember which one) to prevent debris from causing an engine failure. This to allow us to fly the M's until the manufacturer could do a major change to the CSD. Col R.L. Upchurch USMC (Ret) XO of 331 and senior member of the board for this accident.
May 8, 1973: 1st Lt. Peter Kessler Williams, 24, VMA-331, was killed in a crash (BuNo 158175) and lost at sea May 8 while on a routine flight out of Beaufort. Arizona Republic, Friday, 18 May 1973. Pete a 24 year old Flying Leatherneck with only 425 jet hours in his logbook took off from MCAS Beaufort the morning of May 8 on his 1st flight as a new member of VMA-331. Flying alongside the XO the pair performed a perfect loop. They looped again, but this time Pete failed to pull out and started diving vertically. He radioed that he seemed to have a problem and was trying to correct it and those were his last word before his A4 slammed into the Atlantic. Arizona Republic, Friday, 30 May 1973. On the pull up I broke left, reversed, and saw him entering what appeared to be in a controlled near-vertical dive such as in the back side of a loop. Surprised that he had not rolled out on top of his Immelmann, I asked, something like, How you doing, two? I heard a garbled response about a spin. I saw no indication that he was in uncontrolled flight. I called for him to pull out at least twice. He did not respond. When he passed 10K I repeatedly called for him to eject. I lost him for a second in a low cloud and; then I saw the dye marker where he impacted the water. I can only surmise that he had a control or oxygen problem, or something happened in that maneuver that caused severe disorientation. Flight lead Dick Upchurch.
September 23, 1974: 1st Lt. David Leonard King, 26, (VMA-331, Beaufort) was killed Monday night when his A4 jet crashed in the desert 10 miles SE of Yuma on a bombing range. Arizona Republic, Wednesday, September 25, 1974. 1st Lt. David Leonard King, 26, (VMA-331) was killed Monday when his A4 Skyhawk (BuNo 158150) crashed on a night low level training mission near Yuma, AZ. Des Moines Register, Thursday, September 26, 1974. A/C impacted Rakish Litter at night under flares, spatial disorientation, no ejection attempt. Steve Richmond.
November 30, 1974: 1st Lt. Robert H. Dobrow from MCAS Beaufort ejected and was killed Saturday when his A-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 158188) crashed and exploded several miles west of Ariton, AL, near the Pike and Dale county lines while on a flight from Pensacola to Cherry Point, NC and then to Beaufort. Playground Daily News, Monday, December 2, 1974. 1st Lt. Robert H. Dobrow crash was caused by engine Failure (CSD), unsuccessful ejection attempt – seat pack hung up at seat/man separation, body found entangled in chute and shroud lines. From Steve Richmond. US Navy Accident Report (PDF File)
August 2, 1980: Capt. Charles Waters was killed while attending a WTI course at MAWTS-1. Capt. Waters was leading the final exercise flight into one of the targets east of Yuma. His first bomb run was a "No drop" for an unknown reason. His re-attack resulted in a too low pull out and he was fatally injured in the ground impact. From Bill Wehrung. VMA-331 A-4M BuNo 158415 was destroyed at Luke AFB after aircraft crashed into ground during weapons delivery, 02 August 1980. Pilot fatal. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
April 14, 1981: The date that shall go down in infamy. THAT was the date I (Capt Rodney “Pink” Panter) deep sixed BuNo 160250 after an engine failure. The engine failed during the climb passing ~15,000ft MSL after takeoff from runway 05 at Kadena AFB. And here is MY story:
It all began that day in VMA-331 Maintenance Control. While I was reading the maintenance history of the aircraft I noticed multiple write-ups for strange engine noise and vibrations. Whereupon I asked the MC Officer (CWO Wayne Paulson) in no uncertain terms what’s up (or WTF Over)? Wayne went on to say that several pilots had complained about the noises and vibrations, but maintenance could not identify any specific problem. BUT Wayne did go on to say that the (blade creep???) tolerances for acceptable limits had recently been relaxed by competent authorities??!! Soooo…I asked Wayne (several times) is the A/C up or down, and he said it was up to me whether I wanted to take it or not? When I pressed him for an Up or DOWN answer…..His final answer was UP. And being the MAN that I was, as well as a WELL SEASONED Marine Aviator, I therefore decided to SEE FOR MYSELF what’s up!?
Capt. Bob Conser (Cosnuts…aka Cos) was the Section Leader that day ( I believe he is now a Fed Ex pilot). He lead our flight of 2 A-4Ms from MCAS Iwakuni Japan down to one of the ranges off the east coast of Okinawa for some LATT work combined with low level bombing. All went well on that first sortie with no unusual noises or vibrations, which Cos continually checked as the good section leader he was but Ad Nausea to me!
We landed for fuel and lunch at Kadena AFB in Okinawa. Cos hand lunch (or funch?) with his fiancée/girlfriend (Leslie Williams???), and I headed off to the exchange for some wonderful hotdog fair or the like. Cos and I met up (at base operations?), where he asked me if I minded if he stayed behind to visit with his girlfriend. I said I did not mind at all, but we needed to get approval to conduct single aircraft operations from Kadena (Okinawa) back to Iwakuni (Japan). Cos called, got the approval, and he was on his way.
I headed off on my own (in a BIG hurry) to get back to Iwakuni. I remember my preflight was thorough, but fast. Soon I was airborne, having taken off from runway 05 at Kadena. Shortly after takeoff, passing through about 15,000 ft., came a loud explosive bang….as if sledge hammers had hit the inside of the intakes!! I then pulled the RAT for power.
I immediately declared an “engine failure” emergency with the Kadena controller, who then asked me to descend and maintain something and whereupon I told him I could descend but I could not maintain anything since I had ONLY ONE ENGINE. The controller’s voice then when up at least one octave (I later learned this was the first emergency for this rather new controller…, and I still have the taped conversation!). I then started a turn back to Kadena, with the intention of landing on runway 23. By the time I completed the turn back to Kadena I was approximately 25 miles from the runway and still near 15,000 ft. Just enough altitude I thought to be able to glide back to the runway for an emergency landing. The engine instruments showed a low RPM with a high EGT, but within limits. Never the less, with no visible smoke in sight, I tried to restart the engine several times while on my way back to Kadena, and still rapidly descending.
I was paralleling the coastline on my right on my way back to runway 23, and considering my options. It was becoming apparent that I was NOT going to have enough speed and altitude to make a safe emergency landing at Kadena. Knowing that 200kts and 2,000 ft AGL was somewhere near the heart of the ejection envelope, I decided to abandon my runway attempt in favor of turning the A/C to the right (90 degrees to the coastline) to DEEP SIX the A/C in the water, avoiding injuries to anyone on the island. I informed Kadena of my intentions and they said they had me on RADAR. Shortly thereafter, I turned the A/C ~ 90 degrees to take the A/C out to water and began to arrest my rate of descent, shooting for 200kts, 2,000 ft AGL and zero rate of descent before ejecting. About that time Kadena asked for a TACAN cut just to confirm my position, and at that point I was less than 10 miles from Kadena. They said the rescue helicopter was on its’ way.
The ejection went as planned, though the rate of deceleration was a bit faster than I had anticipated. It seemed as though my body had rotated forward just prior to chute opening, and when it opened….WHAM…my feet flew in front of me as I was rolled backward by the chute. When I looked up to confirm a good chute, I unexpectedly dropped the upper handle, which I had used during the ejection. Using the upper handle meant I could not “witness” my own ejection, but I decided that was the route for the fewest injuries (I had none except for my slightly bruised groin from the harnesses RAPID tightening during parachute opening process).
As I turns out, there WAS someone on the ground who DID witness the evolution as I crossed the beach and ejected. Apparently, there was an Air Force (name/rank unknown) gentleman who was somewhat of a military aircraft aficionado, and he had never seen an A-4M with “afterburners”! According to this gentleman, who provided his information to the accident investigation team lead by Major Randy (Tattoo) Justice, the aircraft had flames greater than the length of the aircraft coming from the tailpipe?!! He had taken pictures of the beach crossing and provided them to Tattoo. Unfortunately, I failed to get a copy of the photos.
Well, by now I was on my way down to the water, so I actuated the handle on the right side of the seat pan to release the life raft. It worked just FINE, and I observed the fully inflated life raft below. When it touched the water, I prepared for water entry just a few seconds later. Once in the water, I pulled myself to the raft, attached the safety strap (to prevent the raft from floating away should I lose my grip of it), released the upper portion of the seat pan to preclude damage to the raft, and entered the raft.
Once safely in my watertight raft, and feeling somewhat proud of myself for getting it all done just as they taught me in Water Survival, I pulled out my PRC (aka Prick) and began “trying” to signal the rescue helicopter (or Copter)….which I knew was headed my way, at least according to the new Kadena controller. And after a short while, a copter DID arrive on the scene. I “tried” to communicate with him, but as it turns out I was using the wrong button on the Damn Prick (So much for MY survival preparation of which I was Sooo proud of myself!). And much to my surprise, after circling at around 5,000 ft for just a few minutes, he took off down the coast leaving me behind!! The STORY IS, he had a full load of Chaplains and could not take on another soul, but THEY were all praying for the one they left behind! It also turns out, he was in communication with THE rescue copter that had been given the wrong coordinates by the new controller.
The real rescue copter (the Air Force version of a CH53??) arrived several minutes (15 -20?) later, for which I popped my smoke for him to get a visual on me and so he would know the direction of the wind for his approach (once again exhibiting my water survival skills!). He approached like a mobile hurricane, blowing the hell out of the water and me, and dropped a rescue swimmer who immediately swam to my side. The rescue swimmer asked me if I was OK, and I was, and then he asked me to get out of my raft to initiate the recovery. I of course said HELL NO….there are Great White Sharks in these waters (a fact that was verified by Cos later that day!). The rescue swimmer then informed me that they could not affect the recovery if I did not leave the raft behind, since it could be ingested by the copter’s blades. This of course made perfect sense to me (the Intrepid Naval Aviator but clearly the trepid swimmer shark enthusiast).
So…I left the relative safety of my raft behind, with the rescue swimmer leading the way. Once we were clear of the raft and the copter could approach without risking ingesting my raft, he came and dropped his jungle penetrator. Not knowing where the palm trees were, I asked the rescue swimmer “why the penetrator”, and, if I recall correctly, he said that was all they had that day. So we both CROWDED on to that penetrator for our ride up to the copter. On our way up we began to swing from side-to-side, a motion that became more frequent and prominent as the length of the cable shortened. It became clear to me that we were going to hit the bottom of the copter if we did not slow or stop our rate of ascent (something the rescue swimmer did not mind or was unaware of!) so I gave the cut signal, waving my hand with fingers extended across my throat, to the winch operator. He stopped the retraction and allowed the pendulum motion to subside, and then continued to haul us up and in to the copter.
Once inside, I began to remove my harness, but I was stopped by the other crewman (apparently THAT was their job…for my safety). I was then instructed to take a seat on one of the benches along the side. One of the other crewmen then stood up in front of me and began to attempt to remove my harness (the tactical jet harness with the parachute harness and emergency survival vest combined). He clearly was unfamiliar with this type of “combined” vest and after several unsuccessful attempts to remove it he took out a large survival knife and began to “try” to cut the central strap across the chest (and below my neck). Using his knife in this fashion to cut my very tough harness just seemed a bit too risky for me, with his knife ready to cut my throat should he slip. So I decided to take things into my own hands. At that point I stood up, took his knife hand and forcefully removed it from my presence, giving him the visual signal (we could not talk) to Back Off. He did back off, quite surprised by my response, and I then removed my harness by releasing the material from the central buckle, still uncut.
Soon we arrived at the hospital, where I had the opportunity to endure all manner of indiscretions, including having my bruised and naked groin photographed for posterity in the presence of many PRETTY nurses, which I normally would not have minded (I told the photographer I would sue if I found the pictures in Playboy….a “not so” fat chance!)! About that time Cos arrived, and I demanded a Rum and Coke. It seems I was concerned the blood alcohol test might not prove to be in my favor, since I had been up late the night before with Mike “Cherokee” Colliers. The name says it all, and the blood test was negative for I had metabolized all of the evidence of my possible intrusion on the military’s 12 hour limit long before. In any case…Cos could not provide the necessary solution and nerve calming R&C, which would have to wait for at least another 24 hours.
After all of the X-Raying, prodding and photographing, I was FINALLY shown to my abode for the night. A bed in the middle of an open hospital ward, with the guy across from me wearing a “halo” to protect his broken neck…which he achieved by blindly diving into a local swimming hole with a BIG rock hidden just below the surface (and most certainly after visiting his local watering hole). So there I was at approximately 2100 and STILL in my salt water infused flight suit in a room full of moaning “guests” and NO DINNER as of yet…and NO R&C!
When the nurse on the ward discovered I had not eaten since my visit to the exchange at noon that day, and after my exhilarating rocket ride, she went down to the galley and brought back a cold ham and cheese sandwich for me and a carton of MILK. No matter, it tasted GREAT. But that still did not stop me from complaining when she attached the heart monitor to me, which prevented me from rolling over on my side like I love to do when I sleep. So I decided to have some fun with her, since I could not sleep, and disconnected the monitor causing it to alarm her in her “window” view office at the end of the ward. She was NOT amused, and I discontinued my naughty behavior to preclude another assault. And that might have been why she so diligently performed her duties throughout the night, which included taking my vital signs…..every hour on the hour! It was NOT a good night.
When the sun came up the next day, I was READY to leave, but much to my dismay the Air Force Flight Surgeon would NOT authorize my release. He said he wanted to keep me for another 24 hours to observe my vital signs for stress, and THAT caused me much stress. I begged him to get in touch with my squadron’s Flight Surgeon, and he promised to do so. As the squadron’s Aviation Safety Officer, I knew the accident investigation team, including the Flight Surgeon, would soon be nearby. In the meantime, I intended to shower off the salt from my swim the day before.
When I attempted to enter the men’s shower room to shower myself, I was abruptly stopped by the nurse then on duty. I was NOT allowed to get out of my bed. I protested, complaining about the salt being an irritant. What could she say? She relented on the grounds that a nurse (all female) HAD to observe me while I was in the shower. Normally, this would NOT have been a problem for me if I had been allowed to choose the nurse, but that was out of my jurisdiction and I was stuck with the nurse (not too cute) assigned. So once again I protested (somewhat more mildly this time), and it was agreed the nurse could monitor my progress from just outside the men’s shower room door.
By the time I was all prettied up, my NAVY Flight Surgeon had arrived to RESCUE me, and God knows I needed rescuing. He spoke one-on-one with the Air Force Flight Surgeon and PROMISED not to let me out of his sight until he was convinced I would be OK. The Air Force Flight Surgeon BOUGHT IT, and I was free to go with my NAVY Flight Surgeon!!! I wish I could remember his name because I owe him for saving my life!!! Er well…at least my evening.
As we left the hospital the Flight Surgeon asked me what I would like to do, and I promptly replied that I would like to go get Shit Faced! He agreed. So we left for the Bachelor Officer’s Quarters where the rest of the accident investigation team had been quartered, and where my duds for the night had been delivered (Thanks Tattoo).
Later that night while Out On the Town and drinking heavily, the Flight Surgeon asked me if I felt OK. Of course by that time I was feeling GREAT, so he and most of the rest of the team departed. They would be busy for the next few weeks discerning the details of my adventure. They never determined the cause of the engine failure. Tattoo later wrote the following using a black felt tipped pen in my flight log book “ENGINE FAILED DUE TO UNKNOWN CAUSE. Pilot Ejected; acft lost at sea”.
My story was briefly mentioned by Paul Harvey during his WGN (a Chicago, Il station) Paul Harvey Comments the next day. The reasons for the honorable mention of my story by Paul Harvey were most likely twofold: the copter that rescued me was ”On Call” just in case the first space shuttle Columbia was forced to land at Kadena AFB, an alternate landing site (Instead it returned safely to the dry lakebed runway at Edwards AFB on April 14, 1981): and the fact that I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from Northwestern University in Evanston, Il just north of Chicago in June 1975.
A few years later in 1997 (?) I had the opportunity to take a weekend Sabreliner (CT-39G) “training” mission with Major (Ken?) Walsh, who had been an A6E pilot prior to his arrival at MCAS El Toro, which is unfortunately now closed. During that weekend we had countless hours to tell lies and other stories, when he began to tell me about an unusual engine failure he had experienced while flying the A6E, which had the same Pratt & Whitney J52-P-408 engines as the A4-M. He explained in vivid detail how the engine seemed to explode in the intake, and how the RPM was low while the EGT was high, but within limits. Everything he said was just as I had experienced it 16 years earlier. And since he had TWO of these wonderful engines, he was able to safely land the airplane and maintenance was able to determine the cause of the engine’s failure after a brief investigation.
Ken then called his Dad and (playfully) asked him “Are you trying to kill me?”. As it turns out, the engine’s inlet guide vanes had failed causing catastrophic engine failure. Ken’s Dad was the P&W engineer who had designed the PW J52-P-408 inlet guide vanes.
I had achieved full closure, thanks to the anonymous Air Force photographer…..and…… to Ken’s Dad.
1943:VMSB-331 Gunners - 1943. Tom Johnston (whose buddies have their arms across his shoulder) is top row, third from the left. The man seated behind the cowl was the head of the gunners, Frank Tackack.
1943: A Marine SBD-3 Dauntless - 1943. Marine Bombing Squadron THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE SBD-3 Doodlebug "Speed-D-Bee" probably piloted by Captain Frank Wright with rear Gunner Tommy Johnston looking for something to bomb near the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific. This pair flew more than 150 combat sorties together in the Pacific war. Official Marine Corps Photograph from Elizabeth Johnston.
1954: VMA-331 "Bumblebee" Marine Corsairs. Flying over the McArthur causeway at Miami in 1954, either April 5th or 9th. Official Marine Corps Photograph. Photo "AD-5" Aircraft piloted by Captain Frank E. Sturges USMCR.
1954: VMA-331 Marine Corsairs. Flying a combat spread off the coast of Miami in 1954, either April 5th or 9th. Official Marine Corps Photograph. Photo "AD-5" Aircraft piloted by Captain Frank E. Sturges USMCR.
1954: VMA-331 "Bumblebee" Marine Corsairs. Flying a "V" formation off the coast of Miami in 1954, either April 5th or 9th. Official Marine Corps Photograph. Photo "AD-5" Aircraft piloted by Captain Frank E. Sturges USMCR.
1954: A four section Corsair Bumblebee flight off the coast of Puerto Rico during an exercise in l954. The maintenance guys deserve all the credit for getting sixteen planes into the air at one time! Official Marine Corps Photograph.
APR54: April 1954 -- The last active F-4U 'Corsair' leaves the Miami Opa-locka Marine Corps base. Col. Richard A. Beard Jr., Commanding Officer of Marine Air Group 31, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and other officers turned out to see pilot Lieutenant David Teichmann depart. Corsairs, once standard equipment for Marines and a familiar sight over Miami, now have been replaced by newer and faster jet planes.
Circa 1960: Last of the ADs in the Marine Corps. Ray Powell.
Circa 1962: A4D-2s in training. Ray Powell.
Circa 1962: Circa 1962: A4D-2s in training. Ray Powell.
Circa 1962: A4D-2s in training. Ray Powell.
MAY62: BuNo 142815, VL-13, parked on the ramp with JATO bottles and 18 250 pound bombs. Bob Mikesh.
1962: Skyhawk A-4B - 1962. A Bob Herrman photographic study of an A-4B Skyhawk taken October 12, 1962, flying toward the practice target off Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, prior to deploying to Guantanamo, Cuba for the missile crisis. Bob was later killed in an airshow crash in California.
1964: Skyhawk A-4E BuNo. 150095. Bob Herrman's photographic study of a November 4, 1964, section tactics flight off the USS Forrestal (CVA 59). The pilot of the VMA-331 Skyhawk was Lt. Donald E. Gough (later a TWA Captain) who, along with his wife were lost on TWA Flt 800.
1964: A-4E Skyhawks. Bob Herrman photographic study of a flight of four Skyhawks off the Forrestal on a high/low high practice strike mission into Spain in October of 1964.
JUN66: A-4E BuNo 150066 The VMA -331 pix is an A4E, part of Mag 31 in Beaufort. They were called the Bumblebees, and the rudders were painted yellow and black. This is the first squadron I was assigned to after getting my wings from Kingsville in June 66. My first CO was Dick Critz, followed by LCol Tucker, and then Paul Maginnis (moved up when Tucker died in the crash). Bill "Frog" McVey.
1965-66: BuNo.150089, 150138 and 151038 aboard the Forrestal in 65-66 Note: Squadrons embarked during Forrestal's CVW-8, deployment were VF-74, VF-103, VA-83, VA-81, VMA-331, VAH-11, VAW-12, VAW-33, VFP-62, AND HU-2. CVW-8 had a tail code of AJ. But there are two sets of tail-codes pictured. AA AJ. Photo by Tony Redman.
19 August 1967: VMA-331 Bumblebees A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150090, VL-2. P/c is Cpl. W.D. Schultz Official U.S. Navy photo.
1968: VMA-331 Commanding Officer Lt.Col. Paul Maginnis dis-mounts from Skyhawk VL-02 of VMA-331. Col. Paul Maginnis USMC (Ret) via Jason Maisch.
JUL68: Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 151072, VL-3, assigned to MAJ Silars as she taxies by the photographer. USAF MAC C-141A Starlifter s/n 64-0616 in the background. R.M. Hill.
Late 60s: VMA-331 151072, photographer & location unknown (could be MCAS Beaufort) Photographer unknown, from G. Verver.
1070: Punch Out! Lt. Ken Heitel had a hook skip and when he added throttle he couldn't get a positive rate of climb. The Skyhawk settled slightly, and Ken punched out. Ken was picked up by the "Angel" without injury. This happened in the fall of 1970 on the USS Independence CVA-62. Photograph from the Naval Aviation News October 1970.
1971-79: BuNo 158184, VL-6, parked on the ramp. A-7 in the background. Gary Verver Collection.
NOV72: Left front view of Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 158150, VL-3, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY74: May 1974 Bumblebees Skyhawks BuNo 158178, VL-12, and BuNo 158182, VL-19. Harry Gann.
SEP74: BuNo 158416, VL-22, on the flight line being serviced by the ground crew. Photo by Don Spering, G. Verver collection.
27FEB75: BuNo 158415, VL-2, as she leaves the deck of the Kennedy. U.S. Navy photo.
1976: A-4M BuNo 158185, VL-10, undergoing maintenance, NAS Roosevelt Roads, 1976. Provided by Norman Patterson.
1976: Ground crew salutes the pilot of A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 158188, VL-4, as it taxies out, NAS Roosevelt Roads. Provided by Norman Patterson.
Aug 1976: VMA-331 A-4Ms VL-15, BuNo 158167, VL-7, BuNo 158185, VL-10, and unidentified others, NAS Roosevelt Roads. Provided by Norman Patterson.
1976: BuNo 158180, VL-14, parked and ready to be manned. Gary Verver Collection.
1976: BuNo 158181, VL-5, parked and tied down. Gary Verver Collection.
Flight of VMA-331 A-4Ms. Provided by Norman Patterson.
1976: A-4M BuNo 158185, VL-10. Harry Gann.
VMA-331 MAG-32 A-4M Skyhawks. Two A-4M Skyhawks, VL-00 BuNo 158167 and VL-17 BuNo 158151, on a Nevada gunnery range unloading their rockets. Photograph from Major Fred Miclon.
MAY77: BuNo 158182 and BuNo 8167 parked. VL-7 is being manned up for a flight. Gary Verver Collection.
1977: VMA-331 Bumblebees A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 158180, VL-14. on the ramp with a pair of drop tanks. Photographer unknown.
1978: VMA-331 Snake-Eyes. In 1978, Douglas Tech. Rep. Harry Gann visited a VMA-331 Detachment training at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. The Bumble Bee detachment had come from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina for live weapons training. Harry hitched a ride in a TA Skyhawk to snap this impressive photograph of four Bumble Bee A-4M Skyhawks doing their thing. Photograph by Harry S. Gann.
DEC78: Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 158415, VL-2, on on the MCAS Cherry Point flight line with a pair of drop tanks. Second shot of Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 158415, VL-2, on on the flight line with a pair of drop tanks. U.S. Navy photo, Sgt Cordova.
01DEC78: BuNo 158167, VL-00, sitting on the flight line. U.S. Navy photo, Sgt Cordova.
01MAY79: BuNo 160264, #2960 out of Long Beach. U.S. Navy photo, Cpl Burnett.
11MAY79: Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 160246, VL-6, waits to take-off as another Bumblebee A-4M prepares to land at Bogue Field. U.S. Navy photo, Cpl Burnett.
Sep 1979 BuNo 158180, VL-01, parked on the Pax River flight line. Name below the canopy rail is CO Lt Col "Dragon" Snedeker. Photo by S.H. Miller, G. Verver collection.
1979-81: VMA-331 160263, location unknown. Werner Munzenmaier collection.
Circa 1979: BuNo 160262, VL-000, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
1979: The Last Skyhawk - BuNo. 160264 - 1979
APR80: Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 158180, VL-01, parked on the line. Rob Mignard.
MAY80: assigned to Major Yassimini, parked on the ramp at the Crossroads of the Navy. Rob Mignard.
MAY80: BuNo 158180, VL-01, parked on the flight line. Note the plane captain checking the starboard intake. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: May 1980 BuNo 158185, VL-28, parked beneath the hangar "think" sign. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: VL-10, parked in the hangar. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: BuNo 160262, VL-000, parked in the hangar with a pair of drop tanks next to Bumblebee Skyhawk BuNo 159415. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: BuNo 160263, VL-3, parked in the hangar. Gary Verver Collection.
MAY80: MAY 1980: BuNo 160254, VL-4, assigned to Major Yassimini, parked on the ramp at the Crossroads of the Navy. Rob Mignard.
Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 158161, tail code VL, as she taxies by the photographer. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy.
25JUL81: 25 JUL 1981: Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 160243, VL-17, and BuNo 160246, VL-01 parked on the ramp. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy.
25JUL81: Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 160243, VL-17, and BuNo 160246, VL-01 parked on the Kelly AFB ramp. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy
18AUG81: Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 160254, VL-14, as she taxies away from the photographer. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy.
1981: Bumblebees Skyhawk BuNo 160042, VL-6, parked on the ramp and painted in the lo-vis gray on gray scheme Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
1981: A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 160256. Bumblebee VL-6 checks his leader in VL-16, to taxi to the NAS Atsugi, Japan, runway on February 8, 1981. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
SEP81: Sept 1981 BuNo 160258, VL-18, parked on the NAS New Orleans flight line next to BuNo 160253. Photo R.E. Kling, Gary Verver Collection.
OCT81: BuNo 160039, VL-4, parked. Gary Verver Collection
18APR82: 18 APR 1982: VMA-331 A-4M BuNo 160259, VL-2. Photo by R.R. Leader from Gary Verver Collection.
Undated: VMA-331 A-4M BuNo 158153 VL-15. Name below the canopy is LT RF Dietrich. From W. Munzenmaier.
JUN82: BuNo 158180, VL-302, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
BuNo 160260, VL-00, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection
No info yet.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: