Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
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Thomas D. Eleassen
Major Tom Ringo USMCR
April 1951: Advanced Training Unit TWO HUNDRED TWO (ATU-202) established.
May 21, 1960: Advanced Training Unit TWO HUNDRED TWO (ATU-202) redesignated Training Squadron TWENTY-ONE (VT-21).
1951 - present - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.
Present - - - - - - - - 3F - - - - - - - - - - - TW-2 (Training Wing TWO)
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
????-???? - - - - - Capt. Paul Schulz
1978-1979 - - - - - Capt. Billie Gunter
???? -???? - - - - - L.D. "Larry" Nagel
1985-???? - - - - - Cdr. Paul Habel
1962 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1965 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1971 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1974 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1976 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1976 - - - - - Vice Admiral Robert Goldwaite Award
1979 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1988 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1990 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1996 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1998 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1999 - - - - - CNO Aviation Safety Award
1982 - - - - - CNATRA Training Effectiveness Award
1984 - - - - - CNATRA Training Effectiveness Award
1985 - - - - - Vice Admiral Robert Goldwaite Award
1996 - - - - - Vice Admiral Robert Goldwaite Award
April 1951: Advanced Training Unit TWO HUNDRED TWO (ATU-202) established at Naval Auxillary Air Station Kingsville, Texas. ATU-202 was assigned the Grumman F6F Hellcat.
1954: ATU-202 was assigned the Grumman F9F Panther.
1958: ATU-202 was assigned the Grumman F9F8 Cougar.
May 21, 1960: Advanced Training Unit TWO HUNDRED TWO (ATU-202) re-designated Training Squadron TWENTY-ONE.
August 19, 1969: Lt. D.C. Anderson from Kingsville, TX, suffered minor back injuries when he ejected from his Skyhawk trainer (BuNo 155104) seven minutes after taking off from an Air Force base which crashed in a remote area of northern Douglas county, Wisconsin according to a spokesman for the 343rd fighter group at Duluth, MN. The Waco News Tribune, Tuesday, 19 August 1969.
August 28, 1969: Capt. Ronald Suter and student Lt. Melvin Turner ejected safely when their TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 155086 crashed 20 miles SW of Kingsville while on a routine training flight. The Abilene Reporter-News, Friday, August 29, 1969.
February 16, 1970: Unknown IP ejected safely (BuNo 155108) and student David P. Laskey suffered severe flailing injuries to both his legs and one arm. From Robert Gernat June 22, 2015.
February 1, 1971: unknown pilot of a Navy Skyhawk (BuNo 156895) ejected safely Monday from his craft before it crashed during landing attempt at NAS Kingsville. San Antonio Express - Tuesday, February 2, 1971. Possibly insufficient fuel on take-off.
April 12, 1972: Lt(jg). Thomas P. Lawton, 23, ejected safely and was rescued by helicopter when his TA-4J Skyhawk (BuNo 155114) crashed about 10 a.m. into the Gulf of Mexico 50 mile east of Corpus Christi. He was practicing carrier landings and takeoffs on the USS Lexington and was circling the ship when his aircraft lost power. Corpus Christi Times, Wednesday, 12 April 1972.
April 27, 1972: Lt(jg). Lt(jg). Thomas P. Lawton Jr., 23, was killed when his TA-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 155116) crashed about two miles east of Falfurrias in South Texas Thursday. Del Rio (T) News-Herald, Thursday. April 27, 1972.
September 16, 1972: A student pilot from NAS Kingsville was killed Monday when his TA-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 158472) crashed about 20 miles south of Falfurrias in South Texas while on a routine training mission Thursday. The Victoria Advocate, Tuesday, September 19, 1972. Ens. Gregory A. Schilling, 23, was killed Monday in a plane crash at Kingsville, TX. Ens. Schillings died when his plane went into a spin and crashed during training. The Times (Munster, Indiana,) Friday, September 22, 1972, Page 19.
September 8, 1976: Jack Ekle ejected safely (BuNo 156938) during a PMCF due to the aileron trim being rigged backwards.
October 12, 1976: Lt. Joe Hoenig (IP) and Gene Ridder (USMC) ejected (BuNo 158123) safely after a low level bird strike at 360KTS. I (Gene) was in the front seat as a student flying my first low level. Just past Rachel, TX we flew through a flock of buzzards and one came through the right side of the canopy next to my head. The remainder of the bird hit Joe in the face. I zoom climbed and slowed, Joe thought we had a midair and pulled the ejection handle. We landed on the King Ranch and the a/c crashed outside of Falfurrias. Took 3 hours for them to find us and a Huey took us to Corpus for a medical exam, just scrapes and bruises. "This flight was my first low level navigation as a Student Naval Aviator. My instructor was Lt. Joe Honig USN (now a retired American Airlines Captain). We were based out of NAS Kingsville, TX. First checkpoint was south of Baffin Bay, Texas at 500 feet and 360 KIAS. Second checkpoint was the small town (a few houses) of Rachal, TX. As we passed this checkpoint, I looked down to check my fuel. When I looked up all I saw were large black wings of a flock of buzzards. One came through our canopy next to the right side of my head. It sounded like a stick of dynamite exploding in the cockpit. We had briefed bird strike procedures, so I began a climb and brought the throttle to idle and extended the speed brakes. Joe was hit by the remains of the bird in the face in the rear seat. He never saw anything, and he assumed we had a midair, he ejected us both. There is no mistaking the feel of an ejection, so there was no question in my mind as to what had happened. At seat/man separation my arms and legs were flailing. When the parachute opened there was dead quiet. I looked for the aircraft which was long gone. I saw Joe in his parachute below me. We landed on opposite sides of a barbed wire fence like two sacks of potatoes. I got out of my harness and ran over to Joe. He had minor cuts to his face and smelled God awful from the buzzard guts. Joe didn't appreciate me trying to clean up his face. Joe made the decision to walk back to Rachal, his wife was pregnant, and he wanted to be the first person to call her (no cell phones back in the day). I disagreed, but I was the student so away we went hiking on the King Ranch. As a Marine I had been trained in land navigation at the Basic School, so I led the way on a reciprocal force. Along the way we ran across our seats (that's where I got my face curtain), and the canopy all in a row. We saw aircraft circling, so we knew they were looking for us. We used penlight flares to signal but no help. We also ran across some Santa Gertrude's bulls to which we gave a wide berth. After three hours of walking, we arrived in the back yard of a house. A T-2 flew over, Joe popped a smoke flare and the T-2 started circling over us. A few minutes later a Huey landed in the backyard (much to the surprise of the residents). It picked us up and flew us up to the NAS Corpus Christi Hospital for evaluation. Two days later I was flying the same low-level route. It took me a few years to get over being skittish about birds on low levels." Gene Ridder.
July 1, 1977: unknown crew members ejected safely after a flame-out at 31,000 feet and their Navy TA-4 (BuNo 156930) crashed in an open field about nine miles SE of the Roswell Industrial Air Center. Hobbs Daily News-Sun, Sun., July 3, 1977.
April 14, 1978: Unknown pilot ejected safely when a U.S. Navy jet (BuNo 155091) from NAS Kingsville crashed in the Median on Highway 281 in Northern Hidalgo County Friday. Witnesses said the aircraft was burning before it crashed scattering debris across the highway. The pilot was picked up by a Navy helicopter. Valley Morning Star, Saturday, 15 April 1978.
July 18, 1982: Lt(jg). Gregory M. Frederich, 27, (IP) and 1st Lt. Thomas Shinn, 24, ejected and were uninjured when their TA-4J trainer (BuNo 153677) crashed through a fence at Beeville Municipal Airport Sunday during an emergency landing. A fuel delivery system warning light caused the attempt to land at the municipal airport and the too short runway resulted in both pilots ejecting before the plane nosed through the grass at the end of the runway, slid about 300 yards, crashed through a barbed-wire fence and slid across Highway 59 before coming to rest in a cornfield. The plane was being returned to Kingsville after a routine cross-country flight from Norfolk, VA. Victoria Advocate, Tuesday, 20 July 1982.
August 31, 1983: unknown pilot ejected safely, crashed shortly after take-off from Kingsville, TX. VT-21 TA-4J BuNo 156907 was destroyed at Kingsville when aircraft crashed into ground shortly after takeoff. 31 August 1983. Pilot ejected successfully. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
September 16, 1984: Lt. Richard Kurrus and Lt. Alan Cheak ejected safely, when its tail caught fire and crashed near the El Paso city limits. The plane was from NAS Kingsville and was enroute from China Lake to NAS Corpus Christi via El Paso. Pacific Stars and Stripes, Wednesday, September 19, 1984. VT-21 TA-4J BuNo 156946 was destroyed at El Paso when aircraft stalled and caught fire during climb. 16 September 1984. Aircrew ejected. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
November 20, 1985: VT-21 TA-4J BuNo 158082 was destroyed at Kingsville when aircraft crashed into the ground during precautionary approach. 0 fatalities. Naval Safety Center via Jim Winchester.
February 1992: VT-21 was assigned the Boeing - McDonnald Douglas - British Aerospace T-45TS Goshawk. Goshawk student training combined the newest technologies and teaching techniques enabling the Naval Aviation Training Command to produce a more capable Naval Aviator. Students are taught on state of the art visual simulators, more up-to-date instrument simulators, a computer classroom with better visual displays, and the best and newest training aircraft in the world.
Presently - 2000: Training Squadron TWENTY-ONE is alive and well at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.
Circa 1969: Ramp crewmen direct newly arrived CNAVanTra Skyhawk BuNo 155072, 3E-000, assigned to RADM F.C. Turner, to it's parking spot on the flight line.
Circa 1969: Ramp crewmen secure newly arrived CNAVanTra Skyhawk BuNo 155072, 3E-000, assigned to RADM F.C. Turner, on the flight line.
MAR 1970: Right rear view of VT-21 Redhawks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 156891, 3E-146, on the ramp, NAS Miramar, March 1970. At right is F-4J Phantom II BuNo 155799. Copyright R.W. Harrison.
1970: BuNo 154314, B-129, TA-4F converted to TA-4J while at VT-21. Gary Verver Collection.
1971: BuNo 158095, 3E-140, assigned to LTJG Wantz parked on the ramp. Photo by Harry Gann, G. Verver Collection.
22OCT1972: assigned 05 MAY 1972 - 21 OCT 1976: NAS KIngsville, TX VT-21 partial left side view of Skyhawk BuNo 158123, #00, assigned to CDR C.S. Wood parked on the line on the starboard side of BuNo 155000, #002 by N. Taylor.
JAN73: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 156936, 3E-116, assigned to R.T. Rabensburg, being guided into position by a deck crewman using a tillie bar aboard the Tico. Lionel Paul.
1973: Unknown BuNo, 3E-121, parked with single seat ladder attached. Note the 3F Bird at left. Suspect this T-Bird is BuNo 156898. Gary Verver Collection.
16 Oct 1973 BuNo 155113, 3E-133, parked on the line. Gary Verver Collection.
Beautiful "Hawk" image created and provided by Gerald M. Clarke.
1979-1982: BuNo 153677, B-118 on the flight line. Left front view of VT-21 Redhawks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 153677, B-118 on the ramp next to VF-154 Black Knights F-4J Phantom BuNo 155580, NK-13, location unknown. Gary Verver Collection.
04 Aug 1974: BuNo 158505, 3E-125, parked on the ramp. Left side view of VT-21 Fighting Redhawks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 158505, 3E-125, on the ramp, 04 August 1974. Name below the canopy is LT Robinson. Unknown USAF F-104 Starfighter in the background. Gary Verver Collection.
VT-21 TA-4J BuNo 158082, 3E-121, on the ground at Milwaukee, WI courtesy of Bob Lawson.
Date unknown: Right side view of VT-21 Red Hawks TA-4J BuNo 158082, B-121, on the ramp. Name below the canopy rail is 1/LT J. L. Maroney. Photographer unknown.
19 OCT 1975: Left rear view of VT-21 Red Hawks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 158087, B-130, on the ramp. Name below the canopy rail is LTJG Hess. Photographer unknown.
1975: BuNo 158495 B-131 parked on the rampe. Gary Verver Collection.
19 April 1975: BuNo 155113, B-124, parked on the line. Photo by T.R. Waddington, G. Verver collection.
19 Oct 1975: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 155106, B-113, assigned to CAPT Hohn parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
19 Oct 1975: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 155109, B-141, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
19 Oct 1975: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 155112, B-135, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
19 Oct 1975: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 155113, B-124, assigned to LTJG Cannell parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
May 1977: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 155099, B-128, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
17 APR 1978: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 156907, B-100, assigned to USN CAPT B. Earle manned on the flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
Circa 1978: Skyhawk BuNo 156939, B-106, parked on the flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
17 APR 1978: Skyhawk BuNo 156946, B-120, parked on the Kingsville flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
17 APR 1978: Skyhawk BuNo 156947, B-105, manned on the flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
17 APR 1978: Skyhawk BuNo 158490, B-129, parked on the flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
17 APR 1978: BuNo 158494, B-111, parked on the flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
17 APR 1978: Skyhawk BuNo 158500, B-101, assigned to CO CDR Willie Gunter parked on the flight-line. G. Verver collection via R. Dowers.
17 APR 1978: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 159797, B-127, parked on the flight line & configured with a pair of drop tanks.
Aug 1979: BuNo 155099, B-126, parked on the flight. Gary Verver Collection.
APR 1980: VT-21 Red Hawks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 158505, B-125, on final at Tinker AFB. Copyright photo by Joe Cupido.
Date unknown: BuNo 158505, B-125, parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
Feb 1984 BuNo 155109, 3E-134, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection.
15 NOV 1984: Right side view of a Redhawks Skyhawk AB-103 on a weapons training flight out of NAF El Centro.
03 JUN 1984: Right side view of VT-21 Red Hawks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 158073, B-128, on the ramp at Offutt AFB. Photo by D. Brown.
15 NOV 1984: A student pilot and an instructor perform a preflight check on a Redhawks Skyhawk B-122 before a weapons training flight.
MAR 1985: VT-21 TA-4J BuNo 158505, B-100, MAR 1985 at Andrews. Name below the canopy is CAPT Jim Cartwright. Photo by G. Lebaron from Verver Collection.
22 SEP 1985: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 158494, B-111, seconds from trapping aboard the Lex. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy.
22 SEP 1985: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 158494, B-111, seconds after launching from the Lex. Dr. C.A. "Sketch" Eddy.
May 1986: Fighting Redhawks Skyhawk BuNo 155088, B-101, assigned to CDR Erickson parked on the flight line & configured with a pair of drop tanks. Photo by S. Van Aken, Gary Verver Collection.
BuNo 158464 side number B 104. This Redhawk Skyhawk was photographed on the tarmack at Naval Air Station Atlanta, Georga, October 2, 1992. From a photograph by Frank J. Mirande.
04 SEP 1993: 2TW-2 Skyhawk BuNo 159796, B-100, assigned to CAPT "Coach" Counts, parked on the flight line at NAF Andrews. Jim Burridge.
14 APR 1986: An air-to-air right side view of four Training Squadron 21 (VT-21) TA-4J Skyhawk (L-R: BuNo 155099, B-103, BuNo 158494, B-111, unknown B-124 and unknown B-120) aircraft flying in formation during a strike weapons training flight over Naval Air Facility, El Centro. Photo from Robert L. Lawson.
MAY77 to JUN86: BuNo 156909 parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
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A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: