September–October 2002 NAVAL AVIATION NEWS

September–October 2002



The U.S. Navy’s Oldest Periodical, Established 1917

Volume 84, No. 6

September–October 2002


C o n t e n t s

De p a r t m e n t s

10 MAWTS-1 Hones Warfighting Edge

16 NADEP North Island:

Demystifying the Depot

22 NATTC Lakehurst Introduces

High-Tech Training

24 VAQ-141 Shadowhawks:

“Ready on Arrival”

26 Flight International Inc.:

Supporting the Warfighters

28 Dauntless Reborn

30 Naval Aviation in the Korean War Series:

Marine Aviation in Korea, 1950–1953

4 Grampaw Pettibone

6 Airscoop

40 People–Planes–Places

47 Professional Reading

48 Flightbag

ibc ANA Photo Contest

F e a t u r e s

COVERS—Front: Art Director Morgan Wilbur’s painting shows an aircrewman in

a Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 8 SH-60F Seahawk flying over the wake of

John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during Operation Enduring Freedom. Back: Marines

from the 31st Expeditionary Unit fast-rope out of a CH-46 Sea Knight during

Exercise Cobra Gold 2002 in Thailand (JO3 Wes Eplen). This page, Ted Carlson

captured two Marine KC-130 Hercules participating in the spring Weapons and

Tactics Instructors course sponsored by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics

Squadron 1 at MCAS Yuma, Ariz.

2 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

60 Years Ago . . .

Flying from carriers and land bases during WW II, Navy attack aircraft such as the

SBD dive-bombers above provided our country with a flexible offensive punch

when and where needed.

Today . . .

Our country has again called upon naval aircraft to take the battle to the enemy.

Over Afghanistan our attack aircraft, such as this pair of F/A-18 Hornets from

Strike Fighter Squadron 137 at right, await the call from our ground forces for

close air support.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 3

RAdm. Mike McCabe

Director, Air Warfare

Published by the Naval Historical Center under the

auspices of the Chief of Naval Operations

Dr. William S. Dudley

Director, Naval Historical Center


Sandy Russell Editor

Wendy Leland Managing Editor

Morgan I. Wilbur Art Director

JO1(SW) Ed Wright Assistant Editor

JO3 Dan Ball Assistant Editor


Hal Andrews Technical Advisor

Cdr. Peter Mersky, USNR (Ret.) Book Review Editor

Capt. R. Rausa, USNR (Ret.) Contributing Editor

Capt. Ted Wilbur, USNR (Ret.) Contributing Artist

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Painting by Morgan I. Wilbur

Human Tragedy

A section of F/A-18 Hornets was on a night

air-to-ground training mission. The section

entered the target area from the west at 6,100

feet, identified the target (two smudge pots

appearing as a single-point light source) and

circled the target once to set up for a 360-degree

final attack heading for practice 30-degree dive


The lead pilot overshot his run-in heading and

rolled in from a lower altitude and closer to the

target than the planned attack profile. The pilot

called in “live” but three seconds later impacted

the ground heading about 330 degrees, 60

degrees nose down and 30 degrees left wing

down. He suffered fatal injuries. The Hornet was


Grampaw Pettibone says:

Another controlled flight into terrain! The

immediate cause of this tragic loss of life and

aircraft was the pilot’s loss of situational

awareness and his misjudgment of the

distance to the target during the run. But

there are contributing factors that raise flags

of concern. In the squadron, this aviator was

noted to have difficulty with task loading in

flight, and his flight lead responsibilities were

reduced to afford him the opportunity to

regain proficiency. Other pilots also noted that he had

difficulties such as personality changes, typing skill

degradation and memory lapses. None of these were

correlated by the command nor admitted by the pilot

to the CO or flight surgeon. No Human Factors

Council sessions were held during the pilot’s eight

months in the squadron.

The intensity level of the missions conducted

during this exercise caused a degree of alarm in other

pilots, in addition to the pilot in question. The need

for aggressiveness might not have been balanced by a

degree of caution. The pilot had flown only three day

air-to-ground sorties in the seven months prior to the


We’re all human beings and, in this case, action by

a Human Factors Council might have been a sound

preventive measure and might have broken the key

link in the mishap chain. We are also our brother’s

keeper. Gramps knows that it’s a sensitive issue, but if

a shipmate is having trouble, get him or her to seek

help or alert leadership.

4 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

Gramps from Yesteryear

Two Navigators

An EA-3B Skywarrior was scheduled for a routine

flight of about three hours from NAS Small Island to

NAS Large Island. During the sortie, one of the

navigators was to receive his navigator check flight. The

crew consisted of the pilot, an electronic

countermeasures operator, two navigators and the plane

captain. Ltjg. Magellan was the designated Naval Air

Training and Operating Procedures Standardization

navigation examiner and Ltjg. Prince Henry was the

navigator who was to be checked. He gathered the

navigation equipment and, upon checking the sextant,

found that the bubble in the sextant could not be reduced

in size.

Following an uneventful departure, en route radio was

contacted and the flight proceeded on course. The crew

made aircraft position reports using a dead-reckoning

plot. Midway timewise into the flight, the crew noted the

wet compass was heading 290 degrees (the desired

heading was west) and drifting northward. The main

compass also appeared to be drifting.

The navigator decided to take a deviation check.

When he reviewed the air almanac, he discovered that

although the months were correct, he had the wrong year

(1972 versus 1973)! However, the navigators

interpolated the 1972 almanac for sun position and

subsequently took two deviation checks, both of which

were discounted as being inaccurate since neither was

close to the heading indicated on the compasses.

Approximately two hours and 45 minutes into the

flight, when land should have been in sight, the pilot

declared an emergency. He experienced some difficulty

convincing the controlling agency that his flight was lost.

Direction-finding steers, some of which were completely

unreliable, were received. One placed the Skywarrior

overland when, in fact, no land was in sight. It became

more apparent that the EA-3B would not reach land or an

airport before fuel starvation occurred.

Five hours after the start of the flight, the crew bailed

out. All were rescued at a position 1,000 miles off


Grampaw Pettibone says:

Thunderin’ thunderins! Do you believe an aircraft

with two navigators aboard got LOST? Sure there

were extenuating circumstances—like the compass

failure and inaccurate direction-finding steers—but

these couldn’t hold a candle to the people failures.

First of all, what good are navigators when they let

you down at the time you need them most. Anyone

can navigate when all the electronics are working

right, but real pros can do it when the chips are

down. Secondly, supervision at the home station looks

shaky. Why are old almanacs left lying around the

navigators office and why did one navigator claim

there were no other sextants in the navigation office

when he discovered the one he had was less than

satisfactory? Poor show.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 5


Edited by Wendy Leland

SHARP Enters


The Navy accepted the first

engineering and manufacturing

development version of the Shared

Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP), above,

on 24 June. The SHARP system will

provide high- and medium-altitude

tactical reconnaissance capability for

F/A-18 C and D Hornets, and is

projected to deploy on board Nimitz

(CVN 68) in mid-2003.

Scramjet Engine

Begins Testing

The Defense Advanced

Research Projects Agency and the

Office of Naval Research are

developing a scramjet missile

engine to cruise up to Mach 6.

Unlike conventional rockets,

which carry a mixture of fuel and

oxidizer internally, the new engine

will need only conventional liquid

hydrocarbon fuel and extract the

oxygen needed for combustion

from the air. The term “scramjet”

is used to describe the engine’s

supersonic combustion ramjet

design, which follows the same

principles as a ramjet engine in

which air coming into an engine is

compressed as it is forced through

a narrow neck on its way to the

combustion chamber, but at

supersonic speeds. On 30 May at

NASA Langley Research Center,

Va., the engine reached Mach 6.5

at 90,000 feet altitude in simulated

hypersonic conditions, marking the

first successful ground test of a

scramjet engine.

New Simulator Joins

the Fleet

Northrop Grumman delivered to

the Navy the first of five Mobile

Remote Emitter Simulators (MRES)

for the Atlantic test ranges at NAS

Patuxent River, Md. The simulator

provides a single workstation that

can generate virtually all of the

threats that may be encountered in

an air defense scenario, and can be

easily towed to different locations.

The MRES will be used to help train

naval pilots and other personnel to

identify and counter potential enemy

missile or artillery threats, and to

calibrate, test and validate the

operation of electronic warfare


Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 7



The Navy’s RQ-8A Fire Scout

vertical takeoff and landing

unmanned aerial vehicle began

its flight test program at Naval

Air Weapons Station China

Lake, Calif., on 19 May. The

Fire Scout is a fully

autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle designed to provide situational

awareness and precision targeting support for the Navy and Marine Corps.

Opposite, a Helicopter Combat

Support Squadron 6 CH-46E Sea

Knight transfers cargo from John F.

Kennedy (CV 67) to George

Washington (CVN 73) at the

conclusion of JFK’s service in support

of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Laser Eye Protection

a Reality

Spectacles to protect against the

threat of eye damage from

antipersonnel lasers will soon be

available to Naval Aviators.

Developed by the Naval Air Systems

Command Crew Systems Science

and Technology Division at NAS

Patuxent River, Md., the EDU-5P

multiple wavelength laser eye

protection spectacles can be utilized

in fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft

during both day and night operations.

They are also compatible with nightvision

goggles and heads-up displays.

For the Record

The X-31 thrust-vectoring

demonstrator resumed flight testing

on 17 May at NAS Patuxent River,

Md., following a year of

reconfiguration and ground testing.

On 14 June an F/A-18F became

the 100th Super Hornet delivered to

the Navy.

The Navy accepted delivery of

the first production AIM-9X

Sidewinder missile during a 1 May

ceremony at Raytheon facilities in

Tucson, Ariz.

Under a $10 million contract

modification that runs through

FY 2004, Northrop Grumman will

continue work on a naval

unmanned combat air vehicle,

including additional technology and

risk-reduction studies such as

modeling and simulation of

autonomous flight operations from

8 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

A 4 June test flight at NAS Patuxent River, Md., above, was the first for

the MV-22 Osprey since the aircraft was grounded in December 2000.

Senior Airman Cheresa D. Clark, USAF

In the skies above Wasp (LHD 1), two Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced) CH-53E Super Stallions

prepare to refuel from a KC-130 Hercules.

Vernon Pugh

an aircraft carrier.


A Naval Strike and Air Warfare

Center F/A-18A Hornet crashed at

NAS Fallon, Nev., on 6 June. The

pilot ejected safely.

A civilian was killed and a crew

member injured when a UH-1N

“Huey” of NAS Lemoore, Calif.,

made an emergency landing during a

search and rescue hoist on 13 June.

A Marine Attack Squadron 231

AV-8B Harrier II crashed while

operating from Nassau (LHA 4)

in the Atlantic Ocean on 22 June.

The pilot ejected safely.

A Helicopter Combat Support

Squadron 4 MH-53E Sea Dragon

was damaged when landing

following a takeoff emergency at

NAS Sigonella, Italy, on 27 June.

Two aircrew members were

injured when a Marine Medium

Helicopter Squadron 264 AH-1W

Super Cobra crashed near MCAS

Cherry Point, N.C., on 27 June.

A Helicopter Combat Support

Squadron 2 UH-3H Sea King crashed

on board Cushing (DD 985) and was

lost overboard while operating in the

Arabian Gulf on 5 July.

An F-14B Tomcat of Fighter

Squadron 101 crashed in the

Virginia Capes area on 8 July. The

aircrew ejected safely.

Three Helicopter Antisubmarine

Squadron H-60 Seahawks were

damaged during a flight line incident

at NAS Fallon, Nev., on 9 July. The

main rotor of a taxiing helo struck

the turning tail rotor of a stationary

helo, generating debris which

damaged another aircraft.

Two Marine Medium Helicopter

Squadron (Reinforced) 166 CH-53

Sea Stallions were damaged during a

flight line incident in Singapore on

16 July. The main rotor of a taxiing

helo struck the turning rotor of a

stationary helo, generating debris

which struck and killed a civilian.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 9

Left, Naval Air Depot Cherry Point,

N.C., airframe mechanics test the

hydraulics on an AH-1W Super Cobra

participating in the Integrated

Maintenance Concept. Most recently

instituted at MCAS Futenma, Okinawa,

the IMC allows preventive maintenance

to be performed on a more regular

basis at less cost than standard depotlevel

maintenance. The AH-1W was the

first Marine platform to integrate the

new maintenance concept.


The Marine Corps’ H-1 upgrade program is remanufacturing UH-1N “Hueys”

and AH-1W Super Cobras into UH-1Y and AH-1Zs, which will share a

common drive train, rotor head, tail boom, avionics, software and controls

to achieve 84 percent commonality between the two airframes. Another

common feature of the upgraded H-1s will be the TopOwl helmet-mounted

display and cueing system, above right. Flight testing on both airframes

reached milestones at NAS Patuxent River, Md. On 2 July an AH-1Z Super

Cobra prototype passed 300 flight hours. The next day the UH-1Y made its

first flight at Pax, above left. Right, Maj. Jeff Greenwood (left) and Bell test

pilot Gregg Shimp depart the UH-1Y on the flight line following the

successful first flight.

Larry E. Conley

Paul Davidovich

Paul Davidovich

Each spring and fall, pilots, weapons

systems operators and ground

combat, combat support and

combat service support officers from the

Marine Corps and other U.S. and

foreign services descend on MCAS

Yuma, Ariz., and its surrounding air

ranges for the Marine Corps’Weapons

and Tactics Instructors (WTI) course.

Under the cognizance of Marine

Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron

(MAWTS) 1, students receive classroom

instruction combined with a rigorous

flight curriculum. The course hones

their knowledge about

weapons and their

delivery, platform

tactics and

integration among Marine aviation and

other Marine, joint and foreign aviation

platforms and command and control

systems. Upon graduation, students are

designated weapons tactics instructors

and return to their commands to serve

as warfare instructors and planners.

Major James Reed, MAWTS-1

operations officer, explained the value of

the WTI training, “We ensure that

everyone does things in a uniform

manner so that all of the fleet squadrons

are consistent. It is an excellent course

for Marine Corps aviation, and we have

students from all of the other services.

They see the value in the course and it

helps them work in contemporary joint

operations worldwide.”



Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

Story and Photos by Ted Carlson

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 11

Background, as seen from the navigator’s bubble, a VMGR-252 KC-130F Hercules performs low-altitude

tactics training during the spring 2002 Weapons and Tactics Instructors course. Above, a formation of CH-

46E Sea Knights cruise low over the Arizona desert on their way to insert troops during a WTI mission.

Each six-week WTI course has approximately 175

students, with at least one student from almost every

Marine aviation unit. The first two and a half weeks

provide classroom instruction, beginning with the “big

picture” of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation—

offensive air support, antiair warfare, assault support,

aerial reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and control of

missiles and aircraft. Maj. Reed explained that “at the

beginning, students and instructors will train with their

own communities. As time goes on, they begin working

with other communities and integrate into various larger


Special guest speakers describing their real-world

experiences are a valuable component of the classroom

phase. Colonel Marty Post, MAWTS-1 CO, said, “One

who was memorable was a Special Forces master

12 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

sergeant controller who was one of the first to go into

Afghanistan. He directed airpower to targets including

more than 850 joint direct attack munition drops. He

talked about his equipment, different techniques,

directing different types of aircraft, what worked and

what didn’t work.”

The second half of the course involves three and a

half weeks of flight training to reinforce academic

objectives with hands-on experience. All flights include a

MAWTS-1 instructor, and both inert and live ordnance

are utilized. A complete command and control system is

operational throughout the Yuma Training Range

Complex during WTI to coordinate the approximately

2,500 personnel and 70 aircraft that participate in a given

course. Instead of a “final exam,” the students participate

in a week-long final exercise during which they plan and

carry out a fully integrated combined arms operation.

MAWTS-1 conducts several other courses during

WTI, such as an intelligence officers course; aviation

ground support and logistics officers course; rotary wing

crew chief and KC-130 navigator, loadmaster, flight

engineer weapons and tactics instructor course; and

enlisted weapons and tactics courses. Throughout the

year the squadron offers other curricula in addition to

WTI, such as the tactical air commanders course and the

air combat element (ACE) commanders course, as well

as a mobile training curriculum consisting of ACE

training, Marine air-ground task force aviation

integration and Marine division tactics courses.

MAWTS-1 maintains close, mutually beneficial

contact with the aviation and tactics schools of the U.S.

Navy, Army, Air Force and several allied nations, which

allows the WTI training to reflect the realities of joint

operations. The variety of aircraft participating in the

spring 2002 course illustrates the joint-training concept:

Marine EA-6B Prowlers, AV-8B Harrier IIs, KC-130F/T

Hercules, F/A-18A/D Hornets, AH-1W Super Cobras,

UH-1N “Hueys,” CH-46E Sea Knights and CH-53D/E

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 13

Above, a VMGR-252 C-130 Hercules

with Maj. John Peck of MAWTS-1 (left)

and Capt. Alex Miller of VMGR-352 at

the controls follow three other

Hercules during a WTI sortie. Right, a

VMGR-352 KC-130F and a VMGR-234

KC-130T return to MCAS Yuma, Ariz.

Sea Stallions were complemented by Navy E-2C

Hawkeyes, F/A-18C Hornets and F-5E/F Tiger IIs, as

well as Air Force E-3B Sentry, E-8C Joint

Surveillance/Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), EC-

130H Compass Call, F-16 Fighting Falcon, RC-135

Rivet Joint and A-10A Thunderbolt aircraft.

The WTI curriculum is continually updated to

integrate contemporary systems and methodology, such

as lessons learned from Operation Enduring Freedom.

For example, in the spring course, “We set up 15–20

Soviet-style vehicles around the Twentynine Palms

[Calif.] ranges,” Col. Post explained. “We sent F/A-18s

and AV-8Bs, using an armed reconnaissance method, to

find and destroy the vehicles. We had a JSTARS on

station to pass along the targeting information to the

strike aircraft, which would locate and engage the

targets. This was a great exercise and was pertinent to the

way we did business in Afghanistan. We also used the

AH-1W Super Cobras and UH-1N ‘Hueys’ to escort

light armored vehicles and light armored reconnaissance

vehicles, flying slightly ahead to ensure the area was

clear, and to give the ground troops instant on-call close

air support if needed.” The severe brownout conditions

14 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

Above, a VMFA(AW)-121 F/A-18D Hornet

lines up for a rocket attack at an MCAS

Yuma range. Left, armed with 2.75-inch

rockets and a GAU-17 minigun, an

HMLA-267 UH-1N “Huey” departs Yuma

for a sortie. Below, joint services aircraft

such as this Air Force E-8C JSTARS

participate in the WTI courses.

and high altitudes that challenged helicopter operations

in Afghanistan may become a training scenario in a

future course.

The biennial training can also be a test bed for

developing procedures and methods for new hardware

and equipment. Included in the spring curriculum was

the validation of the next-generation .50 caliber machine

gun, the M3M, on the CH-46E and CH-53D/E. Col. Post

explained, “It has a superior rate of fire, up from about

700–800 rounds per minute on our older guns up to

1,100 rounds per minute now. We have been

making refinements to how it mounts in the

windows and we may even adapt the weapon to the

ground side. Personnel from the Marine Corps

Warfighting Lab and Europe are here to help out

with the development of it, too. The fleet crew

chiefs have an opportunity to use and critique the

system, and by the time it enters production it will

be a proven design.”

Col. Post concluded, “All of the people

working for me here have been hand-picked by

their various communities, and I get the best of

the best. Having such quality people makes my job

easy—they are always looking for a better way of doing

something and they are proactive.” With that kind of

dedication, the personnel of MAWTS-1 can offer the

fleet unparalleled warfighting training.

Ted Carlson is a professional aviation photographer. Special thanks to Col.

Marty Post; Lt. Col. Bernard Krueger; Majs. Jon Hackett, Kevin Hudson,

Mike Huff, John Ostrowski, Tim Patrick, John Peck and James Reed;

Capts. Tanya Murnock and Scott Trail; Lts. Kevin Hyde and Jeremy

Yamada; Sgt. Eric Cantu; and the many others who provided assistance.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 15

Left, a CH-46E Sea Knight door gunner lays down

suppression fire with a .50 caliber machine gun

during a WTI sortie. Below, the AV-8B Harrier II Plus

is a key tactical component of the WTI training.

Somewhere in the fleet, the following conversation

might be taking place: Pilot to mechanic, “My

plane’s headed for the depot at North Island. What

happens to it there?” Mechanic to pilot, “Sir, you got me.

It just goes away and a few months later it comes back

all clean and shiny.” So what really happens to the F/A-

18 Hornets, E-2C Hawkeyes, C-2A Greyhounds, H-60

Seahawks, AH-1 Cobras and S-3 Vikings that disappear

into Naval Air Depot (NADEP) North Island’s hangars in

San Diego, Calif? The answer is: plenty!

Part of the Naval Air Systems Command, NADEP

North Island is the Navy’s largest aviation industrial

16 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002



By Mike Hammond Photos by Joe Feliciano

facility on the West Coast. Its civilian and

military personnel refurbish naval aircraft

and components, utilizing a unique

capability to test, disassemble, repair,

manufacture, rebuild and calibrate much of

the U.S. Navy’s aircraft and parts inventory.

When an aircraft arrives at NADEP

North Island, whether under its own power

or by truck, the first step is to induct it into

the depot. Paperwork is completed to turn

the airplane over to the depot, and the

squadron and depot versions of the Aviation

Discrepancy Book are checked for repair

and modification requirements to be

performed. Next, depot artisans begin the

examination and evaluation (E&E) process

to determine what needs to be done in order

to get the aircraft back to the fleet as

quickly and cost-effectively as possible. The

depot’s work center process then begins,

outlining all of the work necessary in

minute detail and estimating the costs, parts

and labor charges. The work may be

scheduled maintenance or unscheduled work

that was found to be needed during the E&E

process, modifications and upgrades, or

work done in response to squadron requests

based on their unique knowledge of how the

aircraft is flying.

The depot and the squadron or air wing

negotiate a completion date that takes into

account the depot’s need to give the aircraft

the best maintenance and repair possible and

the fleet’s need to get the airplane back for

training or to meet critical deployment

schedules. “Throughout the process,” said

AE1(NAC) Stephen Dyson, a C-2 crew

chief, “we may be in contact with

maintenance control at the squadron to ask

if certain things were already done, or if

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 17

Left, an artisan reinstalls a

panel on the leading edge of an

E-2C Hawkeye on the NADEP

North Island test line, where

aircraft are readied for test

flights. Right, the carriers Nimitz

(CVN 68) and Constellation

(CV 64) sit at the depot’s

doorstep at NAS North Island,

Calif. Below, an F/A-18 Hornet is

moved from induction at the

depot’s test line to the hangar

where it will undergo months of

maintenance and repair before

returning to the fleet.

paperwork is available that we

don’t have, and we keep the

squadron abreast of what’s

happening with their plane.”

A stop in the paint hangar comes

up next, where paint is removed by

plastic media blasting (PMB), a

more environmentally friendly and

time-saving method than the

customary chemical stripping,

which is still used in some applications. Tom Sapien,

Aircraft Paint/PMB supervisor, explained that “the

depaint process is crucial to the fleet because it’s our job

to identify corrosion on aircraft and arrest it before the

aircraft is repainted and reinducted into the fleet.”

However, this step can be a challenge due to the amount

of paint on the aircraft when they arrive at the depot. The

specification calls for only a 9mm coating, but aircraft

have arrived with 30mm of paint, adding up to 600

pounds to aircraft weight and requiring as much as an

additional six days at the depot for removal. Once all the

paint is removed, an anticorrosive or primer coating is

applied to protect the stripped surfaces from exposure to

the saltwater environment if the aircraft will remain at

North Island for a lengthy period.

Disassembly comes next, allowing

the aircraft frame and its component

parts to take different paths to

completion at the depot. The airframe

gets work on corrosion, stress damage,

cracks and an array of other

maintenance and repair activities. It

may be x-rayed to find hidden damage

and surfaces may be ground, heattreated

or examined nondestructively

for honeycomb or other internal damage. With a

composite material facility that was the first of its kind in

the Department of Defense, NADEP utilizes specialized

materials of extraordinary strength and light weight to

repair and replace surfaces that only a few years ago

would have needed to be bought new.

Component parts that need work are removed and sent

to shops that specialize in that type of part, such as

avionics, landing gear, stabilizers and flaps, instruments,

fuel cells, ordnance systems, canopies, parachutes, and

hydraulic and pneudraulic systems. This element

comprises the largest portion of the depot’s workload; in

FY 2001 NADEP North Island completed more than

63,000 component parts.

Once the complex dance of moving parts and

18 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

An F/A-18 Hornet gets washed down in

one of the bays in the depot paint area.

NADEP North Island must meet the

rigorous environmental standards of

California, the toughest in the nation, in

all its operations.

assemblies around the depot for

maintenance and repair is completed,

reassembly of the aircraft begins. Then,

it’s another visit to the paint complex,

where the aircraft get a new coat of paint,

decals, stencils and all the required critical

safety of flight markings.

The last stop is the depot test line

where depot artisans and military crews

perform a series of ground tests and

checks until they deem the aircraft ready

to fly. NADEP North Island pilots and

crew then take to the air and perform

another series of checks to ensure the

airworthiness of all the aircraft’s systems.

If any discrepancies are found or problems

develop, they’re corrected, and depot

pilots and crew again do a check flight.

When all agree the aircraft meets the

requirements of safety and a top-quality product, the

aircraft is removed from the depot’s books. Military

pilots, either those assigned to the depot or from an

active squadron, fly the aircraft to the organization

designated to receive it—which, due to the vagaries of

deployment and training schedules, may not be the

same as the one it left.

Tessie Pino, overhaul and repair supervisor in the

depot’s F/A-18 team, explained the challenge current

operations place on the depot. “With the war going on

right now, we have many ‘must-meet’ aircraft scheduled.

Actually, we had the first aircraft that came back from

Operation Enduring Freedom, which had 11 bombs

painted on it for 11 missions. It’s being worked on right

now as a must-meet, and will be returned to the fleet

soon to join the war again.”

NADEP North Island strives to develop new

technology and procedures to streamline the depot

process. Their engineers and artisans pioneered new

procedures in the late 1980s to disassemble an F/A-18

Hornet where it was never designed to be taken apart in

order to replace the center section, nose or tail. This

imaginative effort has saved $150 million to date and

will extend the service life of today’s Hornets until the

Super Hornet E/F models phase into fleet units.

Similarly, the depot instituted phased depot maintenance

for the C-2A Hawkeye and E-2C Greyhound, in which

the entire tail section of a C-2 or the center support

section of an E-2 is removed and replaced by one that

has been prepared ahead of time. These aircraft typically

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 19

Left, NADEP North Island artisan

John Ruiz carefully tests the fit of

a section of honeycomb in an

F/A-18 Hornet stabilator. The

depot was the first DOD facility to

repair aircraft components made

of or using composite materials.

Below, Leon Boykin, one of the

more than 3,000 civilian

employees of NADEP North

Island, performs fiberglass

repairs on an S-3 Viking nose

cone. While the majority of

NADEP artisans are veterans of

military maintenance operations,

only about 70 are active-duty

Navy personnel.

complete the NADEP process in half

the time as in years past.

The depot can also manufacture

many E-2/C-2 replacement parts that

are not available through any other

means, which can be used in the

depot or to supply the fleet as needed.

And the depot’s artisans have taken

the turnaround time for individual

aircraft components from an average

only a few years ago of 70–90 days

to under 30 days. Efforts like these

ensure that aircraft spend less time in

the depot and are thus more available

to the squadrons and aviation units of

the fleet, providing greater

opportunities for training time and

improving readiness.

NADEP North Island also brings

in-house engineering and logistics

support to the table. The depot’s

logisticians provide innovative

20 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

Above, Chu Fang of NADEP North Island’s research and

engineering department tests the global positioning

system and armament software of an SH-60 Seahawk.

Above right, NADEP North Island is the only Navy facility

performing depot-level maintenance on the LM2500

turbine engine, which powers many Navy surface vessels.

Right, the depot is capable of manufacturing wire bundles

and electrical components. Below, AT2(AW) Cesar Decena

(seated) and AT2 Stephen Applebaum perform a series of

tests in the depot’s Fleet Calibration Laboratory.

solutions to the challenges of getting parts, materials,

equipment, skills and expertise to the right place at the

right time, allowing the fleet and its aviation units to

function fully and capably while deployed. In a time

when information is at a premium, the depot provides a

flow of publications and drawings that the fleet needs to

take care of its immediate problems on site.

Two laboratories at the depot also provide critical

services to the fleet and the depot. The Navy Primary

Standards Laboratory ensures accurate calibration of the

electronic, microwave, flow, pressure, mechanical and

other systems in the modern Navy’s aircraft, surface

vessels and submarines, which are crucial for mission

effectiveness. The Materials Engineering Laboratory

supports investigations into breakdowns and wear in the

materials used in today’s aerospace systems, and assists

the depot in its efforts to identify environmentally

friendly materials for use in its processes.

“Every aircraft repaired, every component

fixed, every repair engineered, every logistics

plan developed here must have the stamp of

being delivered by the best and delivered with

quality, timeliness and cost value,” explained NADEP

North Island Commanding Officer Captain Pete Laszcz.

“America’s naval warfighters can have confidence as

they go in harm’s way that the products from here will

carry them safely to the accomplishment of their mission.

Instilling that confidence is our mission, and our people

have shown themselves to be equal to the task.”

With that, the opening conversation might now go

something like this: Pilot to mechanic, “My plane’s

headed for the depot at North Island. What happens to it

there?” Mechanic to pilot, “Sir, we don’t have time to go

over all the stuff they do to it there. Better read Naval

Aviation News for the whole story.”

Mike Hammond is the NADEP North Island Public Affairs Officer. For

more information on the depot, log on to

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 21

Above, an F/A-18 Hornet taxis from NADEP

North Island’s test line for a check flight. Depot

pilots, sometimes assisted by squadron pilots

and aircrew, fly check flights on all aircraft

before they are returned to the fleet. Left,

maintenance contol center personnel at NADEP

North Island brief depot pilots on the status of

aircraft before check flights.

Naval Aviation has come a long way since its

beginnings in 1911. Technological advancements

have provided not only new aircraft and ships, but

progressive training for the personnel who operate the

equipment. With the development, installation and

unveiling of a state-of-the-art electronic aviation

classroom and a one-of-a-kind catapult launch system

simulator, the Naval Air Technical Training Center

(NATTC) Detachment, Naval Air Engineering Station

Lakehurst, N.J., has made a quantum leap forward in

combining the latest technologies with aircraft launch

and recovery equipment education.

“We’ve taken Navy training into the 21st century,”

explained Lieutenant Alan Chuderski, the det’s training

officer. “We’re not just ropes and swabs anymore.”

The 11F12 Catapult Launch System Trainer Device

simulates catapult launch operations in a safe and secure

environment that incorporates 3-D graphics and surround

sound into a virtual reality classroom. “We can simulate

all types of weather, wind conditions and aircraft weights,”

Chuderski said. “We can also do nighttime operations.

About the only thing we don’t do is spray the students

with saltwater to simulate mist coming in over the bow.”

The new trainer incorporates 122 core scenarios

covering all carrier-based aircraft. “There’s no way to

interact with video, so we had to get smarter,” the

lieutenant continued. “We knew the technology was out

there. Why not use it to create a better, more realistic


The interactive nature of the new device is a big help

to instructors, who can now program in faults, change

scenarios and more closely monitor students’ progress as

each phase in their training progresses. “When you push

that fire button, you have to get it right,” he said. “It’s

not just an aircraft we’re launching; it’s someone’s son or

daughter. That’s what we teach.”

The development of the $1.3 million training device

was an 18-month-long “labor of love,” Chuderski

22 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

PH3 Angela Virnig

commented, but it was not without difficulties. “Getting

the animation right was the hardest part. The graphics

people really needed our coaching.

We had to make them understand that

a half step off or a hand gesture made

the wrong way would have a totally

different meaning.” Overall, NATTC

is happy with the final product, which

was unveiled during the first training

class in February.

In addition to the catapult launch

trainer, the first of six electronic

aviation classrooms at NATTC was

recently opened and ready to accept

11 students for instruction in visual

landing aids (VLAs). The classroom was designed to

enhance instruction for the interior communications

electricians (IC) who maintain and operate the improved

fresnel lens optical landing system, the long-range lineup

system and landing signal officer (LSO) heads-up display


“We give instruction in these VLAs to pilots and

LSOs so that they can safely execute landings aboard

aircraft carriers at sea,” NATTC instructor IC1 Thomas

Murdock said. The classroom’s components include

computer terminals and a

large display screen, which

projects equipment views

and actual operations of

individual aircraft.

“By inserting multimedia

technology into our

instruction, the students rely

less on their imagination.

Instead, they get to see

what really goes on,” Lt.

Chuderski added. Not only

will the training be easier and more efficient, it will be

more interactive. Individual keypads mounted on each

desktop require students to electronically answer

questions posed by instructors. “In this way, we’ll get

instant recognition of each student’s comprehension


“When they leave here,” Chuderski concluded,

“they’ll be ready to walk out on that deck and become an

immediate asset to their ship. It’s a big deal.”

Kathleen Bozan is editor of Air Scoop at NAES Lakehurst, N.J.

Opposite, “shooters” on board Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

observe preflight checks of a VF-102 F-14 Tomcat. Bottom, an

F/A-18 Hornet of CVW-17 launches from George Washington

(CVN 73). To more accurately reflect real-world flight deck

scenarios like these, NATTC Lakehurst has developed two

digital training systems. Right, the catapault launch system

trainer device provides a shooter’s-eye-view of flight deck

operations, while an electronic aviation classroom, below

right, is used to instruct students in the use of visual landing


PHAN Jessica Davis

24 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

© Chris Buhlmann

When the Shadowhawks of

Electronic Attack

Squadron (VAQ) 141

departed NAS Whidbey Island,

Wash., in April 2001 en route to

Norfolk, Va., and Enterprise (CVN

65) for a Mediterranean/Arabian

Gulf deployment, they expected a

typical cruise. They could not have

known how eventful the

deployment would become.

The Shadowhawks got their first

glimpse of Europe as the Big E

passed through the Straights of

Gibraltar on 8 May, followed by a

port visit in Spain. Enterprise and

Carrier AirWing (CVW) 8 went

on to conduct joint exercises with

the French navy, which allowed

the crew to observe the newest

French aircraft carrier Charles De

Gaulle in action, as well as her air

wing flying E-2C Hawkeyes, Super

Etendards and the newest naval

fighter, the Rafale.

After routine operations in the

western Mediterranean and a port

visit in Italy, Enterprise headed for

the North Atlantic and British

Isles in June. Later on the coast of

Scotland, the squadron spent two

weeks training with NATO allies

in the Joint Maritime Course.

Operations were intense and

included spectacular low-level

flights through northern Scotland

and integrated attacks against the RAF Stornoway

and RAF Lossiemouth airfields. A port call in

Portugal and two rigorous weeks at sea off Greece

preceded a stint in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian

Gulf, where the Enterprise battle group supported

Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the no-fly zone

over Iraq.

On the morning of 10 September, the Big E began

the long transit home. But the expectation of a

leisurely journey back to the United States was

shattered on 11 September as the Shadowhawks and

the world watched the despicable terrorist acts unfold

in the skies over New York City and Washington, D.C.

Soon after, Enterprise and CVW-8 joined other U.S.

Navy assets on station in the northern Arabian Sea

and brought the fight to the enemy. Providing a large

portion of the firepower unleashed during the initial

strikes into Afghanistan, Enterprise and her battle

group lived up to their motto, “Ready on Arrival.”

During Operation Enduring Freedom, the aircrews of

VAQ-141 provided the crucial element of electronic

attack in support of coalition air and ground forces.

Since their return to NAS Whidbey Island, the

Shadowhawks continue to train in order to maintain a

high level of proficiency in preparation for whatever

challenges the next deployment brings.

Ltjg. McGowan is VAQ-141’s public affairs officer.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 25

PH3 Joshua C. Millage

© Chris Buhlmann

Opposite, a trio of VAQ-141 EA-6B

Prowlers fly over snow-capped

mountains in April 2001. Left, a

Shadowhawks electronic

countermeasures officer prepares

for flight. Below, the flight deck

“shooter” aboard Enterprise (CVN

65) gives the launch signal to

catapult a Prowler of VAQ-141 in

October 2001. The Shadowhawks

conducted strikes against terrorist

training camps and Taliban military

installations in Afghanistan during

Operation Enduring Freedom.

Tucked away into a small corner of the Newport

News-Williamsburg, Va., airport is a little known

company that fulfills an important support role for

the U.S. Navy’s warfighting capability. Flight International

Inc. (FII) provides realistic training for both air wings and

the surface fleet.

Founded in 1976 as an airline training school in Atlanta,

Ga., FII is an aviation services company which offers the

government and the aerospace industry cost-effective and

flexible airborne testing platforms that have a wide range

of capabilities, including towed targets and decoys,

electronic warfare (EW) systems and customer-specific

payloads. The company is also an authorized Federal

Aviation Administration repair station specializing in

service and modification of Learjet aircraft. The

company’s global operations span the United States and

Europe. It relies on a large fleet of aircraft, mostly

Learjets, and an experienced staff of more than 150


Flight International provides airborne electronic warfare

and electronic countermeasures support for training of

aircrews and shipboard personnel, as well as for supporting

research and development, training and evaluating

programs conducted by government agencies such as

NATO, the defense industry and the scientific community.

Its aircraft can be fitted with internal and

external EW equipment for threat simulation

and active and passive jamming systems

covering a wide spectrum of frequencies, and

can simulate the specific radar signatures of

potential bad guys.

The company’s flight crews and onboard

electronic warfare operators are highly

experienced in both the flight test and

operational environments, and the crews are

well versed in threat scenarios and tactics.

Rather than take the more lucrative path of

26 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002




Story and Photos by Rick Llinares

Top, Flight International Inc. relies on a large fleet of Learjets

to accomplish its global mission. Above, a towed target rests

under the wing of a Learjet. Below left, a Strike Fighter Squadron

37 F/A-18 Hornet escorts a Learjet to NAS Oceana, Va.

commercial airline aviation, the small cadre of

experienced pilots take on the challenging and diverse

mission that FII supports. The average company pilot

brings thousands of hours of military flying experience

into the cockpit, including some combat.

Jim Pressick is typical of the aviators who fly for Flight

International. He flew F-4 Phantom IIs in combat during

the Vietnam War, as well as F-15 Eagles during his 22-

year career in the Air Force. The former fighter pilot

described some of the varied missions that he and the

other FII pilots fly. “During air gunnery engagements with

the Navy, we fly several profiles. The first is straight and

level and the fighter pilots provide their own angle off the

target. The other profile is more interesting. Called the

‘squirrel cage,’ it’s a circular pattern and very dynamic in

which three fighters attack the target banner at different

times in a continuous manner.”

After the mission, the Learjet typically flies back to

NAS Oceana, Va., with a fighter escort. Since the banner

trails the Learjet, an F-14 Tomcat or F/A-18 Hornet flies

aft of it to ensure that no aircraft accidentally cross the

path of the banner. Once over the airfield, the Learjet crew

cuts the banner free and it floats harmlessly to the ground

where it can be inspected for hit accuracy.

An equally important part of FII’s mission is to support

the surface fleet with towed targets. The Learjets carry tow

reels under the wing that have a target connected to up to

22,000 feet of cable which is reeled out and back. The

Navy ships fire their guns at the towed target which

simulates a cruise missile. The Lear pilots usually keep the

target anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 feet above the water,

but in some cases present it at altitudes below 200 feet to

simulate a low flying cruise missile. This tests a ship’s

ability to locate and track these threats.

For true simulation of high-speed threat aircraft, the

company relies on some interesting assets, including a pair

of SAAB Draken aircraft and an Israeli Kfir fighter. In

addition, mission-specialized pods are hung underneath the

Lear aircraft which allow the jets to simulate the electronic

signatures that potentially hostile aircraft represent to

Navy ships and ground controllers.

Much of the Navy training done by the company in the

Atlantic Fleet is over the large warning areas off the

Virginia and North Carolina coasts. While FII owns the

aircraft, the actual flight time is arranged and paid for by

the Navy and managed by the Fleet Area Control and

Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC), Virginia Capes in

Virginia Beach. The facility monitors aircraft movements

and coordinates assignments as well as the use of the

offshore warning areas for all air, surface and subsurface

units. It also handles many other tasks, from search and

rescue operations support to range safety and control for

live-fire exercises and supplying air intercept control

services for fleet readiness squadrons. FII also maintains a

base of operations at NAS North Island, Calif., where it

provides similar services to its primary Navy customer in

the Pacific Fleet, FACSFAC San Diego.

All of this support provides the Navy a valuable

training capability that enables aircrews to remain the best

of the best.

Rick Llinares is a professional photographer and writer specializing in Naval

Aviation. The author is grateful to Flight International Inc. and FACSFAC

VACAPES for their support of this article.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 27

Some people travel to frigid

Greenland to retrieve aircraft

from beneath 250 feet of

glacial ice. Others go to the

sweltering jungles of New Guinea

to bring them back. The National

Museum of Naval Aviation,

Pensacola, Fla., went to the bottom

of Lake Michigan to recover a

Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless, and the

Michigan-based Kalamazoo

Aviation History Museum, along

with the national Guadalcanal

Memorial Museum, are the

beneficiaries. After years of

fundraising and negotiation, this

aircraft was brought to the “Air

Zoo” in early November 1993. The

dive-bomber is probably most

noted for its work in the Pacific,

especially during the Battle of

Midway where its type sank three

major Japanese aircraft carriers and

damaged a fourth.

Divers retrieved SBD BuNo

06624 from the freshwater lake

where it crashed near Naval Air

Station Glenview, Ill., on 19

September 1943. After sustaining

damage in a landing accident and

being underwater for 50 years, the

Dauntless was in very poor

condition. To prevent further

corrosion, power sprayers were

used to remove muck and silt from

the aircraft, which was then

completely disassembled. All of the

parts were cleaned and oiled to

preserve them.

While the restoration team, led

by Air Zoo members Greg Ward

and Rick Johnson, planned the

rebuilding of the aircraft, museum

volunteer Richard Bauer

researched the history of BuNo

06624. Assigned to the Tophatters

of Scouting Squadron 41 on 12

September 1942, the aircraft

played an important role in

supporting U.S. forces off Africa’s

west coast while operating from

Ranger (CV 4).

28 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

The SBD-3 Dauntless retrieved from the

depths of Lake Michigan by the National

Museum of Naval Aviation was a shadow

of its former self, above center. A

painstaking restoration by the Kalamazoo

Air Zoo, above, restored the plane to its

former glory, top. Opposite page, the SBD

sits on the tarmac with a modern

squadronmate, an F/A-18E Super Hornet.

After dismantling the aircraft at the museum in 1994,

a decision was made to rebuild it to static condition. On

long-term loan from the Navy, it was unlikely that it

would be allowed to fly. Even so, the personnel carrying

out the restoration are perfectionists and they replaced

parts that no one would ever see, including wiring, cables

and other interior equipment. Restoring the propeller,

spinner, cowling and the entire engine took almost eight

years of devoted labor. Both damaged wings also had to

be restored, but one of the biggest challenges was

rebuilding the flaps and dive brakes. A special mold had

to be made to accomplish the task.

The fuselage was completely stripped, all corrosion

removed and some new skin added. The tail wheel was

gone, but one was found at an auction on eBay. The

landing gear was restored, magnesium wheels replaced,

cockpit renovated and the canopy manufactured. All

exterior painting, including insignia and other markings,

was completed on the Dauntless for a dedication

ceremony at the Air Zoo on 11 May. The original pilot of

BuNo 06624, E. F. Anderson, was unable to attend the

ceremony, but his son and grandson attended and posed

for photos in the cockpit of the restored SBD.

A fitting tribute took place on 30 May when F/A-18

Hornets from today’s Tophatters of Strike Fighter

Squadron 14 flew in to meet a WW II ancestor.

Gerard Pahl is Education Director at the Kalamazoo Aviation History


Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 29

As of May 2002, the Director of Naval

History, who has management responsibility

of all historic, sunken naval aircraft, requires a

permit for recovery of sunken aircraft.

Applicants must include a feasible and

comprehensive plan for recovery, conservation,

safety and addressing environmental concerns.

For more information contact the Underwater

Archaeology Branch of the Naval Historical

Center at 202-433-7562 (DSN 288-7562).

After the invasion of South Korea by

North Korean troops on 25 June 1950,

American forces were strung out

through the Far East. One American carrier

was available, along with one British Royal

Navy flattop, and that was the extent of naval

airpower in Korea for a month.

As the small carrier task force pounded the

North Koreans, the Truman administration

sent in the Marines. On 7 July, the Forward

Echelon, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW)

and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade,

consisting of the 5th Marine Regiment and

Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 33, stood up.

MAG-33 included Marine Fighter Squadrons

(VMF) 214 and 323, Marine Night Fighter

Squadron (VMF(N)) 513, Marine Observation

Squadron (VMO) 6 and two radar units. The

brigade’s formation and departure had been a

marvel of logistical coordination, activating

reserve components and creating new ground

units almost overnight. The brigade left San

Diego on 12 July aboard the escort carrier

Badoeng Strait (CVE 116). Transport

squadrons VMRs 152 and 352 with longrange

R5D Skymasters also moved men and

material into the theater.

30 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

By Cdr. Peter B. Mersky, USNR (Ret.)

A VMF-214 Black Sheep F4U-4B launches from

Badoeing Strait early in the war. The Corsair was

invaluable in Navy and Marine Corps squadrons

throughout the conflict in Korea.


IN KOREA, 1950–1953


After arriving in Japan and

checking its aircraft and equipment,

the brigade set out for Korea,

landing at Pusan on Korea’s extreme

southeast coast on 2 August 1950.

The first Marine strikes of the war

launched on 3 August, with VMF-

214 sending eight F4U Corsairs

flying close air support (CAS) for

U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK)

soldiers near Pusan. Initially on

board Badoeng Strait, VMF-214

transferred to Sicily (CVE 118),

skippered by WW II Navy ace

Captain John S. Thach. By 7 August

VMFs 214 and 323 were flying

continuous CAS sorties ahead of the

Marine and Army troops on the


The WW II-vintage Corsair,

rockets and napalm were an

effective combination throughout the

entire war, but especially during this

early period. Short-legged jets could

not loiter above the battlefield, and

airfields in country were not yet

available. Flying from carriers

allowed more on-station time. Thus,

it fell to the veteran Navy and

Leatherneck Corsairs to carry the

war in the beginning.

Marine helicopters were active,

too. One of the first helicopter

rescues by Marine aircrews occurred

on 10 August 1950, when an

HO3S-1 of VMO-6 flown by First

Lieutenant Gustave F. Lueddeke

picked up Captain Vivian M. Moses

of VMF-323. Moses’s Corsair had

been hit by enemy ground fire and

lost oil pressure, and he had to ditch.

In a sad twist, Capt. Moses

32 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

Left, an F4U Corsair of VMF-

212 is hoisted on deck off

Yokosuka, Japan, in

September 1950. Below,

F4Us and F7F Tigercats wait

on the frozen flight line at

captured Yanpo airfield,

North Korea, in 1950.

volunteered for another mission the

next day, only to be shot down

again. After being thrown from his

aircraft on crashing into a rice

paddy, he drowned. It was MAG-

33’s first combat fatality.

VMO-6 also flew several OY

Sentinel artillery-spotting aircraft,

nicknamed “Grasshoppers.”

Although unarmed, these little

planes flew a dangerous mission,

and after taking ground fire several

spotter pilots retaliated. Capt.

Francis A. McCaleb began carrying

hand grenades, tossing them out

over any small group of enemy

troops that fired on him.

Inchon Operations

After intensive planning, a

massive allied operation against the

port of Inchon on the west Korean

coast began in September 1950.

Inchon was the port facility for the

capital city of Seoul, now under

Communist domination. The

projected amphibious landing

required a lot of planning. The great

tides moving on the harbor, with

differences of as much as 35 feet,

were of primary concern. In fact, the

tides actually determined the

invasion date of 15 September when

the flood tide would be highest.

The invasion force hit Green

Beach on the northwest tip of the

small offshore island of Wolmi-do

after a lengthy softening up by

carrier aircraft. VMF-323 and VMF-

214 Corsairs flew cover for the

Marines, pouring machine gun fire

into enemy positions not 50 yards

ahead of the assault forces. Men and

tanks stormed ashore, but met

surprisingly light resistance. The

enemy had badly underestimated

American capabilities, thinking the

dangerous tides and currents would

take care of the invaders.

Operation Chromite established

an allied foothold that eventually

pushed the North Koreans back,

freeing the South Korean capital

area and proving the Marine Corps

amphibious operation was alive and

well. Chromite also upheld the hardwon

doctrine of Marine CAS, the

Corsair squadrons in particular

receiving high praise from Army and

Marine commanders.

After the great gains of the

Inchon invasion, however, the

Marines faced one of their greatest

challenges as they came up against a

new and powerful enemy, the

Chinese Army at Chosin. The

withdrawal from the Chosin

Reservoir in the bitterly cold early

winter of 1950 is one of the most

terrible, yet heroic chapters in

Marine Corps history.

By mid-November, the winter

had arrived, creating a new danger

for friend and foe. Communist

China had joined the fighting and

the Marines faced a huge force of 10

Chinese divisions, comprising

100,000 men. Outnumbered and

fighting against the unexpected

Chinese offensive, the Marines

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 33

Left, Marine pilot 1st Lt. Gus Lueddeke hovers a Bell HTL-3

during a simulated rescue using a sling. Below, a VMO-6 HO3S

leaves a front-line position carrying a Navy corpsman injured

while trying to rescue a Marine from a minefield in September

1951. Bottom, an OY-2 Sentinel flies over a ridge in North

Korea in June 1951. The pilot spotted fleeing Chinese troops,

and shortly after this photo was taken, Marine aircraft bombed

the ridge.

SSgt Ed Barnum National Museum of Naval Aviation

National Museum of Naval Aviation

began to withdraw. This started an

epic story of survival and courage

whose costly success would be due

in no small measure to cooperation

between Navy and Marine Corps air

units coordinating with the

struggling ground troops.

MAG-33 squadrons did their best

to hamper the enemy. VMF-312,

which had arrived in theater with

F4U-4s in mid-September,

accumulated nearly 2,000 flight

hours, while losing four aircraft and

one pilot, even while moving to

Yonpo Airfield near Hamhunn on 1

December. By 28 November, the

situation was becoming desperate as

Chinese troops harassed positions at

Hagaru-ri, where a 2,900-foot

airstrip had become crucial to the

resupply effort.

An essential airborne asset to

what was called the Chosin

Breakout was the air-supply

operation by VMR-152 R4Q

Packets. These twin-engine, twinboomed

cargo planes made most of

the supply runs to Marines trying to

get out of the Chosin area—

dropping some 1.8 pounds of

supplies, including a 19-ton bridge

in eight sections.

The first Marine jets arrived with

VMF-311 at Yonpo on 10

December, assigned to MAG-12,

flying its first combat missions that

afternoon. The squadron was soon

ordered south to Pusan, from which

it flew missions all over Korea. The

Marines had developed CAS during

the Philippine Campaign of January

1945 and made this coordination

between aircraft and requesting

ground units their own special field

of operations. CAS by F9F Panther

jets brought in a new discipline,

which took into account the new

type’s high speed and reduced range

and loitering capabilities. There was

also concern about the Panther’s

shallower dive angle because of the

jet’s higher speed. This reduced

angle increased the fighter’s

exposure to its own bomb fragments

after delivery.

By January 1951, however, the

Panthers were grounded because of

problems with their Pratt & Whitney

engines, and the squadron was sent

back to Japan. In February VMF-

311 was reassigned to MAG-33 and

relocated to Pohang’s airfield. Until

February 1952 VMF-311 was the

only Marine jet squadron in Korea.

It was joined by VMF-115, and in

March by Marine Photographic

Squadron (VMJ) 1 flying F2H-2P


During the Korean War, the

Marines initiated a new form of

troop insertion with the introduction

of the helicopter. Marine Helicopter

Transport Squadron (HMR) 161

brought HRS-1s in September 1951

34 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

Above, film is loaded in a VMF-311

Panther’s gun camera as the pilot folds

the plane’s wings after a mission.

Right, Maj. John H. Glenn poses by the

torn tail of his F9F Panther in March

1953. Below, R4Q Packet cargo planes

were key to the resupply effort. Bottom,

Korean farmers seem unconcerned as

two Panthers fly overhead while

returning to their base.

Sgt C. D. Prindle

Sgt Curt Giese

MSgt W. F. Gemeinhardt via Nicholas Williams

Backround photo by TSgt Ralph J. Austin

aboard Sitkoh Bay (CVU 86), and

quickly began using the newly

developed doctrine of vertical

envelopment: moving Marine

combat troops and their equipment

to the battlefield by helo. The

HRS-1, right, was an unusual

helicopter with its engine mounted

in the nose, below and in front of

the cockpit, and two clamshell


HMR-161 flew its first resupply

missions by mid-September,

followed by its first airlift missions

on 21 September in support of

Operation Summit, the relief of an

embattled ROK unit. Besides 224

troops and nearly 18,000 pounds of

cargo, the HRSs carried telephone

wire to connect the reconnaissance

teams with the command post. That

November, the HRS crews airlifted

Thanksgiving dinners to the men in

the field.

Aerial Combat

From the Navy and Marine Corps

standpoint, air-to-air action was

sporadic, with the Air Force seeing

most of the engagements against

Communist aircraft. At first, the

enemy seemed reluctant to commit

its few modern MiG-15 fighters, and

sent in WW II veterans like Yak-9

fighters and Il-10 ground-attack

bombers. Flying from Bataan (CVL

29), VMF-312 Corsair pilot Capt.

Phillip C. DeLong shot down two

Yaks on 21 April 1951, while his

wingman, First Lieutenant Harold

Daigh, accounted for two others.

DeLong was already an ace in the

Pacific with 11 Japanese kills.

Squadron aviators scored again on

10 September 1952 when Capt.

Jesse G. Folmar shot down a MiG-

15 with his Corsair.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 35

TSgt V. Murdutt

continued on p. 37

36 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

Clockwise from left: VMF-312 aviators (left

to right) 1st Lt. Harold Daigh, 2nd Lt.

Robert Howard, Jr., 1st Lt. Shelby Forrest,

2nd Lt. Edward Leiland and Capt. Phil

DeLong celebrate a quadruple shootdown.

Maj. John F. Bolt shot down six MiG-15s in

Korea to become the Marine Corps’ only

jet ace, and the only Marine aviator to

achieve ace status in two different aircraft

and two wars. With the F3D-2 Skynight’s

nose compartment open in preparation for

maintenance, the large search radar

antenna and the small lock-on radar

antenna which made the F3D-2 a skilled

night fighter are visible. From the cockpit

of their Skynight, Lt. Col. Robert Conley

(right) and radar operator SSgt. Connor

indicate their nighttime shootdown of a


The maneuverable MiG-15 was a formidable

adversary. Left upper, Soviet volunteer pilots

inspect a MiG-15 for use in Korea. Left lower,

well over 30,000 Po-2 biplanes were built and

found work throughout the Communist world.

During the war the Po-2 was used mostly as a

nuisance raider in Korea, carrying light bombs

and machine guns to harass the enemy at

night. Right, an F7F Tigercat crew chief sends

off his plane and pilot.

via Col. Phillip C. DeLong Yefim Gordon Archive

E. S. Holmberg via Steven P. Albright

Other aerial kills by Marine

crews included Po-2s used as night

hecklers by the enemy. These small

biplanes were very hard to locate in

the dark, because their wooden

construction greatly reduced the

effectiveness of the Marines’ radar.

A new phase of the air war

opened on the night of 3 November

1952 when an F3D-2 Skyknight crew

from VMF(N)-513 shot down the

first enemy jet at night, a Russian

Yak-15. Painted flat black with red

tail code letters and side numbers,

the Skyknights were intended as

escorts for Air Force B-29s that had

been harassed by enemy

interceptors. The F3Ds proved their

worth and never lost a B-29 to

Communist fighters, shooting down

seven enemy aircraft, including six


Marines also flew exchange

tours with the Air Force’s F-86

squadrons. Major John F. Bolt had

been a Pacific ace with six kills

flying with Pappy Boyington’s

Black Sheep of VMF-214. After 89

missions with VMF-115, he got a

90-day assignment with the 39th

Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 51st

Fighter Interceptor Wing. During

May and June 1953, he shot down

six MiG-15s to become a two-war

ace, and the Marine Corps’ only jet


Flying Sergeants:

Enlisted Aviators in

the Marines

Although many countries

numbered enlisted pilots in

their squadrons, the United

States military had generally

ruled that only commissioned

officers could be pilots. There

had been many American

enlisted aviators just before

WW II, but by the end of the war,

most of them had accepted


Navy and Marine Corps enlisted

aviators were called Naval Aviation

Pilots (NAPs). The Marines had 131

NAPs in 1952, and not just in

transport squadrons. NAPs flew

helicopters and jets, seeing heavy

action in Korea. Flying sergeants

flew Corsairs and F7F Tigercats at

Pusan and Chosin, Panthers in close

air support against the Chinese, and

OY Sentinels in dangerous artilleryspotting


Several of these NAPs had

actually been commissioned officers

in WW II. After mustering out in

1945 and 1946, many of the former

Corsair and SBD Dauntless drivers

regretted leaving active duty. When

the Corps found itself short of

aviators to fly its new jets and to

man its remaining squadrons, it

developed a program whereby

former Marine officer aviators could

return as master sergeants (E-7s) if

they reupped 90 days or less after

leaving active duty. After the 90

days, the former aviator could rejoin

as a technical sergeant, a grade

below master sergeant.

When VMF-311 brought its F9F

Panthers to Korea, several of its

pilots were enlisted. Master Sergeant

Avery C. Snow was the first NAP to

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 37

Above, MSgt. Paul Miller takes advantage of personal time to read a

letter in his quarters at the K-3 airfield in South Korea. Left, five master

sargeant Naval Aviation Pilots of VMJ-1 pose with a squadron Banshee,

left to right: J. R. Todd, Sam Cooper, LeRoy Copland, Marv Myers and

Red Truex.

via L. R. Truex

via L. R. Truex

38 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

complete 100 combat missions in a jet. He had been

a captain with Marine Torpedo Bomber Squadron

232 during WW II. Another new NAP was Master

Sergeant Lowell T. Truex, also flying photo

Banshees, who was a commissioned fighter pilot in

the Pacific.

Master Sergeant James R. Todd was VMJ-1’s

high-mission man, completing 101 photo sorties. He

was a second lieutenant at the end of WW II and was

mustered out in 1946. He returned in November,

resigned his commission and reenlisted as a master

sergeant. Todd served in Vietnam, where he flew

Above, an F2H-2P

Banshee photoreconnaissance

plane awaits

its next mission in

South Korea. Left, Maj.

Tom Miller, XO of VMA-

323, climbs out of his

AU-1 after a mission in

1952. Among the many

reservists recalled to

active duty were two

professional baseball

players who traded in

their bats and gloves

for the controls of

Marine aircraft. Capt.

Jerry Coleman, below

left, flew F4U Corsairs

with VMA-323, and

Capt. Ted Williams,

right, flew Panthers

with VMF-311.

George Terry

Ron Marsh via Jerry Coleman

C-117s, occasionally on dangerous

night flare-dropping missions.

Marine enlisted aviators were an

integral part of their service’s

capability. In the Vietnam War,

however, there were only a few

NAPs on active duty and fewer

still flying. By 1973, only four

NAPs were still serving and all

four were simultaneously retired

on 1 February 1973, closing a

colorful era in naval aviation and

Marine Corps history.


Most countries rely on a cadre

of regular servicemen, backed up

with a larger contingent of

reservists who can be called back to

active duty in a short time. During

the Korean War, reservists from all

of the U.S. military branches were

mobilized. The Marine Air Reserve

had a small number of people

participating, but a large number of

“inactive” reservists were on the

rolls, and many of these were called

up by late 1950.

Many of the activated reservists

had seen action in WW II, but very

few had any flight time in the new

jets. Thus, the reservists filled out

the Corsair squadrons, performing

vital CAS work. One such former

aviator-reservist played for the New

York Yankees, another for the

Boston Red Sox. Capt. Jerry

Coleman played in Yankee

pinstripes at second base after flying

SBD Dauntlesses with VMSB-341

during the Philippine Campaign in

January 1945. Capt. Theodore “Ted”

S. Williams played left field for the

BoSox, but was better known for his

hitting genius. Unlike Coleman,

Williams had not seen action in WW

II, but served as a flight instructor in

the States. Coleman flew Corsairs

with VMA-323, while Williams got

the jets of VMF-311. (The Navy and

Marine Corps fighter squadrons

flying propeller-driven aircraft were

redesignated as attack squadrons in

March 1952.)

Final Days

As the spring and early summer

of 1953 proceeded, the Marine

squadrons of MAGs 12 and 33 kept

up the pressure, flying countless

sorties against enemy lines and

installations. Sometimes, their

attention made the difference

between a Communist victory and

an outpost remaining in Marine


Flying was completely cancelled

for 12 days in July because of rain

and heavy cloud cover, but there

were signs of a coming cease-fire.

Even so, Chinese troops made one or

two last-ditch efforts. On 25 July,

VMFs 115 and 311 flew strikes

against enemy concentrations.

Finally, word came that 27 July

would be the last day of the war.

Even as the 7,000 men of the 1st

MAW prepared to stand down, the

wing’s aircraft flew 222 sorties on

that final day. Capt. William I.

Armagost of VMF-311 flew the last

jet mission of the war against

Chinese supply areas in the late

afternoon, 35 minutes before the

cease-fire was to take effect at 1910


After the armistice went into

effect, the 1st MAW remained part

of the Fifth Air Force to enforce the

no-fly zone south of the

demilitarized zone. F3D Skynights

of VMF(N)-513 and radar-equipped

AD Skyraiders from Marine

Composite Squadron 1 and Marine

Attack Squadron 251 flew security

patrols to guard against Communist

violators. Aerial movement in and

out of Korea was restricted to five

airfields. Withdrawal of in-country

units, either to Japan or back to the

United States, was an ongoing

operation, coupled with introducing

new squadrons into the theater to

continue post-armistice activities.

The war in Korea had given the

Marine Corps in general, and

Marine aviation in particular, a

much needed shot in the arm.

Although its record in WW II spoke

for itself, the Corps’ air arm had

been close to disbanding. But when

the first shots were fired in June

1950, the air Marines were among

the first to be sent. They would also

be among the last to leave.

Cdr. Mersky has written several books and

magazine articles on Navy and Marine Corps

aviation. He has been the book review editor

for Naval Aviation News since 1982. He retired

as the editor of Approach in 2000.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 39

Right, VMC-1 AD-4W Skyraiders on the

flight line at the K-3 airfield in Pohang,

South Korea. Below, ground crew

members maintain a VMA-121 Skyraider

which sports a notable mission

scoreboard below the cockpit.

Fred C. Dickey Jr. via Nicholas Williams

Major D. C. Georgia


Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) took

home top honors as the 2001

Battenberg Cup winner. The cup is

presented annually to the Atlantic

Fleet Battle Efficiency winner with the

greatest accumulation of crew

achievements. TR also won the 2001

Capt. Edward F. Ney Award for

food excellence and the 2001

Admiral Flatley Memorial Award

for safety.

The 2001 Grampaw Pettibone

Award winners were VAQ-136 and

Lt. Christopher Sullivan of VAQ-

132. The award is presented every

calendar year to the organization and

individual who contributed the most

toward aviation safety through


ET2(SW) Timothy J. Spillan was

named the 2001 Vice Admiral

William P. Lawrence Air Traffic

Control Technician of the Year.

Belleau Wood (LHA 3) won a

2001 CINCPACFLT Golden

Anchor Award for retention.

For the third straight year, VF-11

won the AIRLANT Grand Slam

award for most effectively

employing air-to-air weapons during

the year.

The Green Hornet Team of the

F/A-18E/F Acquisition Program,

NAS Patuxent River, Md., won the

CNO Environmental Excellence

in Weapon System Acquisition

40 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

AO2 Jeremy Moore checks a

Sidewinder missile on a VFA-34

F/A-18 Hornet on the flight deck of

George Washington (CVN 73).

PHAN Jessica Davis

The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation presented its annual awards to

outstanding contributors in Naval Aviation. The 2001 Admiral ArthurW.

Radford Award for excellence in

Naval Aviation history and

literature was presented to Hal

Andrews (left) for four decades

of significant contributions. The

2001 R. G. Smith Award for

excellence in Naval Aviation art

was presented to Keith Ferris

(right), an internationally

acclaimed aviation artist.

JO3 Dan Ball

Award for its approach to

incorporating environmental

awareness and pollution

prevention into their planning


The 2002 Atlantic Fleet Aviation

Boatswain’s Mate of the Year title

was awarded to ABE1(AW/SW) Jon

Clark of Enterprise (CVN 65).

Helicopter Training Squadron 8,

NAS Whiting Field, Fla., and

Training Squadron 10, NAS

Pensacola, Fla., each received

CNET 2002 Training Excellence

Awards for providing the highest

quality of training to Sailors around

the world.

VF-154 on board Kitty Hawk (CV

63) won the CVW-5 Top Hook


Recognizing exceptional

examples of safety and occupational

health program improvements, the

2001 Secretary of the Navy

Achievement in Safety Ashore

Awards for the aviation community

went to: Large Industrial Activity,

NAVDEP Jacksonville, Fla., and

Out-CONUS Non-Industrial, NAS

Keflavik, Iceland.

Scan Pattern

A new graduate education

program aimed at the enrichment of

Naval Aviation and the professional

growth and development of aviation

officers is targeted for rollout at

NAS Lemoore, Calif., and NAS

Whiting Field, Fla. During

September the Naval Postgraduate

School (NPS) is offering an

executive master of business

administration (EMBA) program to

aviation officers who meet entrance

criteria. The EMBA course consists

of a 24-month curriculum, resulting

in a financial management degree.

Prior to beginning the course, the

student must attend a one-week, no

cost to their command, TAD

introductory course at the NPS.

Most of the program will be

conducted on Navy time at no

expense to the student. The class

combines web-based and classroom

instruction two Fridays each month

and an occasional requirement for

Saturday instruction. Obligated

service is a part of the complete

degree program, and DOD graduate

education policy GREEMAIN

applies and will be served

concurrently with any existing

obligation. This obligation will

begin one year after program

enrollment rather than upon degree

completion. For more information

go to

Records and


On board Harry S. Truman (CVN

75), Cdr. Ted Carter completed his

Chief Petty Officer Bart Reabe performs preflight checks on an SH-60 Seahawk

assigned to the HS-15 Red Lions on board George Washington (CVN 73).


PHAN Jessica Davis

1,646th trap in a VF-32 F-14


HC-3 celebrated its 28-

year anniversary and has

completed over 176,000

mishap-free flight hours.

On board Kitty Hawk (CV

63) the deputy commander of

CVW-5, Capt. Patrick

Driscoll, completed his

1,000th trap in a VFA-192

F/A-18 Hornet.

VX-20 surpassed 38,015

hours during 10 years of

Class A mishap-free flying.

On 22 April aboard

Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72),

VAQ-139 XO Cdr. Scott

Pollpeter achieved 3,000

hours in the EA-6B Prowler.


On 24 February a Coast

Guard C-130 Hercules from San

Juan, P.R., investigated an

emergency radio beacon signal and

spotted an inflatable dingy and life

raft lashed together with four

people on board. The aircrew

dropped a radio to the

survivors and learned that

their 53-foot sailboat had

struck something in the

water the night before

and sank within minutes.

Since their location was

130 miles from St. Croix,

U.S.Virgin Islands, they

were out of range of the

Coast Guard’s HH-65

Dolphin helicopters. The

Coast Guard contacted

VC-8 at NS Roosevelt

Roads, P.R., which put

together a crew for its

UH-3H Sea King. The

helo arrived on scene

following a 1.5-hour

transit and deployed a

rescue swimmer, who

determined that there

were no serious injuries

among the survivors.

After 45 minutes of fighting large

swells, the swimmer was able to

hoist all of the victims aboard the

42 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

PH3 Travis Ross

A Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) crew member checks on the

catapult and launch bar assembly before the launch of an E-2C

Hawkeye assigned to the Screwtops of VAW-123.



Category Pacific Atlantic

VF VF-213 VF-102




VS VS-29 VS-24

VAW VAW-117 VAW-123

VP VP-9 VP-5

HS HS-6 HS-11


HC HC-11 HC-6

HM N/A HM-14





helo and they were taken to the

Roosevelt Roads naval hospital for


Coast Guard cutter Harriet Lane

rescued 71 Haitian migrants from a

capsized vessel six miles west of

Great Inagua, Bahamas, on 10 May.

Two Bahamian vessels assisted two

HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and an

HU-25 Falcon jet from CGAS

Miami, Fla., in the rescue.

On 15 April a CGAS Elizabeth

City, N.C., HH-60 Jayhawk

helicopter rescued a father and son

after their boat ran aground near the

mouth of the York River. The two

were picked up from their vessel and

transported to Coast Guard Training

Center Yorktown, Va., in good


NAS Whidbey Island, Wash.,

Search and Rescue personnel and

their UH-3H Sea King accomplished

two challenging rescues, one from

the edge of a cliff, the other from the

9,500-foot mark of Mount Baker.

The first incident started with a call

to aid a critically injured hiker who

had fallen 100 feet from a cliff.

Because of rough terrain, the victim

could be rescued only by helicopter.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 43

By JO2 Jd Walter, Task Force

EXCEL Public Affairs

Seeking out training and

educational solutions from the

civilian sector is a primary focus of

the Navy’s Revolution in Training

initiative. Taking the best that

industry offers and adapting it to

Navy needs provides Sailors with

proven and respected training

certifications and professional

credentials, while creating a more

efficient and effective training

program for the Navy.

At the International Center for

Emergency Response Training

Academy (ICERTA), Ocala, Fla.,

the temperatures soar as two fire

hose teams advance into a towering

inferno. Black smoke curls into the

afternoon sky, blotting out the sun.

Underneath 70 pounds of Nomex,

beads of sweat roll into the eyes of

the Sailors, stinging as they

struggle to subdue a 1,000-degree

propane fire.

This course is part of the CNO’s

initiative to revolutionize Navy

training and education. At ICERTA,

eight Sailors are earning not only

professional firefighting

certifications, but also college

credits. This ensures that Sailors are

not only employed, but employable.

Through the eight weeks of

arduous schedules and intense heat,

the course receives nothing but

accolades from the students. All

coming from damage control

backgrounds, they represent a

cross-section of Navy platforms,

from fleet training centers to

precommissioning crews and

aircraft carrier flight decks.

Likewise, the class ranges from the

enlisted ranks of second-class petty

officer to chief warrant officer.

Despite their years of experience in

the Navy, the ICERTA course is

still teaching them new ways to go

about the business of fighting fires.

“There is a big difference

between fighting fires aboard a ship

and fighting a house fire,” said

HT1(SW) William Stevens, Fleet

Training Command Atlantic Fleet,

Norfolk, Va. “If necessary, you can

leave a burning house and fight the

fire from the outside. Aboard a

ship, there is no leaving until the

fire is out, and if we don’t put it

out, we don’t go home, ever.”

Stevens sees great benefits for the

Navy damage control program in

outside training, “Even though the

techniques aren’t always the same,

this training provides a new way of

thinking about fighting fires.”

A new way of thinking is exactly

what the Revolution in Training is

all about. The course began with

Sailors completing an intensive

Firefighting I and II section, the

initial course required for all

civilian firefighters, which included

practical applications on vehicle,

structure and gas fires. Students

also completed training in

rappelling, search and rescue and

ladder handling. The course merges

several ICERTA components

specifically for the Navy.

Upon completion of the course

each Sailor will receive

International Fire Service

Certification and Accreditation

Commission certifications in Fire

Fighter I and II, Hazardous

Materials Awareness and

Operations, Fire Instructor I, and

Fire Officer I and II. The

certifications will be issued through

the Missouri State Fire Marshall’s

office. Additionally, each student

will be awarded eight credits from

the University of Missouri, which

can be applied to a degree in the

field of fire science.


Don Smith

With sunlight fading, the H-3

hovered close to the treetops while

hoisting a corpsman to an adjoining

cliff. The corpsman then traversed

the edge to the hiker, confirmed the

hiker’s condition as critical, placed

him on a litter and returned to the

pickup point. The hiker, suffering

from a broken pelvis, internal

bleeding and organ damage was

safely flown to a Seattle, Wash.,

trauma center.

The second incident involved a

climber who suffered a 400-foot

fall and was unconscious. When

the helicopter arrived the crew

found it lacked power to hover at

high altitude. To reduce weight the

crew dropped off extra personnel

and cargo at a nearby ski area and

dumped some fuel. Then, while

balancing on a 60-degree slope,

two corpsmen were lowered to

place the injured climber on a

litter. After 20 minutes, they were

all hoisted aboard the helicopter,

and the victim was taken to a

hospital in Bellingham, Wash.

Military forces in Hawaii

combined to rescue an injured

merchant mariner aboard the vessel

Pequen nearly 700 miles west of

Oahu, Hawaii. The rescuers included

Lake Erie (CG 70) and O’Kane

(DDG 77); two MCB Kaneohe Baybased

HSL-37 SH-60B Seahawks;

two Army doctors from Tripler

Army Medical Center, Honolulu;

and a CGAS Barber’s Point C-130

Hercules. The Seahawks delivered a

neurosurgeon and an anesthesiologist

to Lake Erie, while the C-

130 flew overhead providing

communications and coordination

support. Diagnosed with a serious

head injury, the victim was

stabilized and then transported to

Tripler Medical Center.

44 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002

Petty Officer 2nd Class Warren Fallashernandez visits the Navy ELearning

website as Chief Warrant Officer Virginia Tirado looks on. Navy

E-Learning, one of the largest systems of its type in the world, provides

more than 1,400 courses for naval personnel and families. For more

information go to

Battle of Midway

Marks 60th


Crew members of

Harry S. Truman

(CVN 75) honored the

Sailors who fought the

Battle of Midway in

WW II during a

ceremony held on the

carrier. Recognition of

the battle’s 60th

anniversary included a

21-gun salute and a

flyover by five WW IIera

American aircraft. LCdr. Lance Massey from PCU Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), whose grandfather was

killed in the initial wave of attacks, ended the ceremony by laying a wreath over the side of the ship.

Darlene Goodwin

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 45

New Training Video Keeps

Aviators Safe

By Carlos Medina, VAQ-129

Video crews from the Air Force Air Combat

Command visited the VAQ-129 Vikings to record

inside footage from an EA-6B Prowler during lowlevel

flight. The footage, along with interviews from

VAQ-129 instructors, will be used to update the

training video entitled How Low Can You Go? Pilots

LCdr. William Doster and Lt. Daniel Shaarda used

helmet and dash-mounted cameras to capture the look

and feel of low-altitude maneuvering for the filming.

Low-altitude flight is one of the most exciting parts

of Naval Aviation, but it can also be one of the most

dangerous. Since 1992, 96 aviation mishaps have

occurred in the low-altitude environment and 24

percent of those were a grim reminder of the

importance of this type of training.

The original How Low Can You Go? was produced

in 1986 to warn aviators of the dangers and

misperceptions of maneuvering at low altitude. Air

Force pilots were the intended audience and the video

featured photography and procedures of the F-16

Fighting Falcon. Other services quickly realized the

value of this training and began using the video, which

has since been seen by more than 400,000 aviators.

The new version has been expanded to reflect the

joint service nature of its audience. In addition to the

EA-6B and F-16, the video will feature portions on the

Air Force F-15 Eagle, A-10 Thunderbolt II and B-1

Lancer and Navy MH-53 Sea Stallion.

CVW-17: Capt. Dana R. Potts

relieved Capt. Rodger L. Welch,

26 Apr.

Essex (LHD 2): Capt. Ronald

R. Evans relieved Capt. Scott A.

Berg, 17 Apr.

HC-3: Cdr. George M. Matais

relieved Cdr. Sherman R. Lupton,

10 Jul.

NAS Pensacola, Fla.: Capt.

John M. Pruitt, Jr., relieved Capt.

Randal L. Bahr, 20 Jun.

NSAWC: RAdm. David C.

Nichols, Jr., relieved RAdm.

Richard J. Naughton, 29 May.

Nimitz (CVN 68): Capt. Robert

J. Gilman relieved Capt. Steven F.

Firks, 17 May.


E. Bennet relieved Capt. Douglas

R. Swoish, 27 Jun.

VFA-41: Cdr. Patrick R. Cleary

relieved Cdr. Brian G. Gawne,

27 Jun.

VP-8: Cdr. Jeffrey L. McKenzie

relieved Cdr. Michael W. Hewitt,

31 May.

VP-9: Cdr. Brad Carpenter

relieved Cdr. Robert Lally, 21 Jun.

VP-47: Cdr. Gerral K. David

relieved Cdr. Keith A. Bluestein,

3 May.

VR-59: Cdr. James McCullough

relieved Cdr. Mark Woodall,

13 Apr.


A VF-143 Pukin’

Dogs F-14B Tomcat

launches from John F.

Kennedy (CV 67).

PH1 Jim Hampshire

46 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002


Above, an F-14 Tomcat (top), two F/A-18 Hornets and an EA-6B Prowler from Kitty Hawk (CV 63) conduct a fly-by during a

carrier air power demonstration in the Asia/Pacific region in May. Below, an F-14 from Carrier Air Wing 7 breaks up and out

to demonstrate a “missing man” formation above John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and Hue City (CG 66) on Memorial Day to honor

those who gave their lives to preserve our nation’s freedom.

PH3 John E.Woods PH1 Jim Hampshire

Elward, Brad & Peter Davies. U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom II

MiG Killers 1965–70. Osprey Publishing, Elms Court,

Chapel Way, Botley, Oxford, OX2 9LP, UK. 2001.

Distributed in the USA by Motorbooks International,

729 Prospect Ave., PO Box 1, Osceola, WI 54020. 96

pp. Ill. $18.95.

Number 26 in Osprey’s Combat Aircraft series, this

new title is the first of a two-volume set. The

second book will deal with Navy (and the few

Marine) F-4 MiG killers 1971–1973. This book discusses

in detail many of the kills achieved by Phantom II crews

in the first half of the air war over Southeast Asia. Several

of the engagements have rarely been described, such as

the first F-4 kill and loss on 9 April 1965 involving VF-

96’s Ltjg. Terrance Murphy and Ens. Ronald Fegan. These

two young aviators engaged and shot down Communist

Chinese MiG-17s, but were themselves shot down in an

incident that was hushed up until recently.

The photos are great, and the color profiles by Jim

Laurier are also well done. A color folio also includes four

maps showing routes, MiG-kill locations and MiG bases.

The authors describe the development of the Navy’s

“missile mentality” before Vietnam when the McDonnell

F-3B Demon relied on the first generation of air-to-air

missiles. Actually, VF-161 might have used its Demons in

1965 in Vietnam if the squadron hadn’t been tapped to

transition to the F-4 and left Oriskany’s (CV 34) air wing

just before the ship sailed. To provide commonality

between the two embarked fighter squadrons, VMF(AW)-

212 brought its F-8E Crusaders to join VF-162 for the


There is an interesting discussion of problems with the

over-restrictive rules of engagement and with air-to-air

missiles, such as the AIM-7 Sparrow and early models of

the AIM-9 Sidewinder. Elward and Davies also track

individual F-4s and their careers in various squadrons.

This new addition to an open-ended series of great,

affordable references adds significantly to the growing

literature on the Vietnam air war.

Toperczer, Istvan. MiG-21 Units of the Vietnam War.

Osprey Publishing, Elms Court, Chapel Way, Boxley,

Oxford, OX2 9LP, UK. 2001. Distributed in the USA

by Motorbooks International, 729 Prospect Ave., PO

Box 1, Osceola, WI 54020. 96 pp. Ill. $18.95.

Afollow-on to the author’s history of MiG-17 units in

Vietnam, this book is Number 29 in Osprey’s

Combat Aircraft series. It has a fine spread of

photos showing aircraft details and markings, and the folio

of color profiles is good, although the MiG-21 Fishbed

usually flew in unexciting natural metal with limited

individual markings relegated to nose numbers and

occasional kill markings. A few were camouflaged in

hurried applications of greens and grays. The color folio

includes photos mostly of museum display aircraft and an

unusual two-page presentation of postal stamps

commemorating various events of the Vietnamese

experience in the air war, such as shootdowns of

American aircraft.

The Vietnamese People’s Air Force (VPAF) got its first

MiG-21s in late 1965, and the C and D models had

engaged U.S. aircraft by early 1966 with the 921st Fighter

Regiment based at Noi Bai, northwest of Hanoi. The

narrative gives details of careers of North Vietnamese

aces; an appendix notes there were 13. The top VPAF ace,

Nguyen Van Coc, scored 9 kills while flying with the

921st. The author finally lays to rest the legend of 13-kill

ace “Colonel Tomb,” the final victim of VF-96’s ace team

of Cunningham and Driscoll on 10 May 1972. He also

ventures that this F-4 Phantom II crew was actually shot

down by another MiG-21 pilot, Le Thanh Dao, who had

spotted the F-4J, sneaked in behind and shot a missile up

its tailpipe. The accepted reason for the loss has always

been a surface-to-air missile (SAM).

The author details early problems with the speedy little

delta and how the VPAF came up with tactics to best use

the MiG’s advantages. The first MiG-21 kill of a manned

aircraft (the VPAF also shot down several unmanned

reconnaissance drones) was an F-105 Thunderchief on 7

June 1966, although the USAF didn’t record a loss on that

day. This highlights an ongoing conflict with previous

MiG-17 books in getting claims and records to agree.

There are constant variances between American and

Vietnamese logs, and the Americans often attributed a loss

to flak or SAMs, not MiGs.

Toperczer’s book is full of interesting tidbits from the

VPAF’s side of the war. For example, during the USAF’s

legendary Operation Bolo MiG sweep on 2 January 1967,

two Vietnamese aces, including Nguyen Van Coc, were

shot down by Col. Robin Olds’ F-4s in action over the

MiGs’ home field at Noi Bai. Then, there’s the harrowing

experience of the crew of a Mongol (the MiG-21’s twoseat

trainer version), a Soviet instructor pilot and his

VPAF student. On 11 November 1972 while out on a

training sortie, they were overrun by a flight of F-4s.

Unarmed and with a limited fuel supply, the Mongol crew

threw their MiG all over the sky to evade several missile

shots from the aggressive Phantom IIs. Eventually, the

MiG’s engine flamed out and they ejected. Yet, according

to the author, neither the Air Force or Navy claimed a

MiG that day.

All in all, this is a fascinating look at the VPAF’s war,

which leaves plenty of room for discussion on both sides.

Naval Aviation News September–October 2002 47

By Cdr. Peter B. Mersky, USNR (Ret.)

NAS Hitchcock:


This letter from Kim and Mike

Brieden, 7765 Pigeon Drive,

Hitchcock, TX 77563, was in

response to the article “Then and

Now: NAS Hitchcock, Texas” in the

Nov–Dec 01 issue. Kim notes that

she saw the article because someone

in the Navy stationed in Hawaii read

it and mailed it to his mother in

Hitchcock. The woman owns an

interior design firm where a friend

of Kim’s works. The Briedens bought

items for their renovation through

the store, and the owner gave the

magazine to Kim’s friend to pass on.

If it had not been for this string of

coincidences, the Briedens would

never have known about the

NANews article.

Four years ago, my husband and I

stumbled upon the abandoned radio

communications building a short

distance from the main building of

the base. The roof, plumbing,

electrical, windows, doors and all

other equipment were destroyed. But

unlike most of the other structures

that were made of wood and are now

gone or past saving, the

communications facility’s brick and

concrete shell remained rock solid.

My husband and I had always

wanted a ranch-style home on

acreage. I loved the lines and

historical aspects of the Victorianera

homes on Galveston Island. The

naval building was an unexpected

and wonderful compromise, sitting

on almost 11 acres. Renovations

include fixtures and art that echo the

military and naval origins of the

structure. We love the fact that

we’ve saved a small piece of local

history and that our “dream home” is

so unique.

Correction, Jul–Aug 02

Page 12: Ratings should read:

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate

(Equipmentman) vice (Electronics);

ABH (Handler) vice (Hydraulics).


USMC/Vietnam Helicopter

Assn., 3–6 OCT, Pensacola Beach,

FL. POC: 781-337-3239;

VP-40 (1948–1968), 8–12 OCT,

San Diego, CA. POC: Robert Foss,


Cabot (CVL 28), 9–13 OCT,

Mobile, AL. POC: Barrett Frink;


Salamaua (CVE 96), 10–12

OCT, Kansas City, MO. POC: Walt

Johnson; 913-432-9760.

Rudyerd Bay (CVE 81), 10–13

OCT, New Orleans, LA. POC: Bill

Flanagan; 858-277-2819;

HS-7, 11–13 OCT, St. Louis,

MO. POC: Rick Schawacker;

800-684-8792; schawacker@

VP-45, 11–13 OCT, San Diego,

CA. POC: C. B. Caldwell;

NAS New York, 17–20 OCT,

Virginia Beach, VA. POC: Chet

Atkinson; 757-495-1338.

Lake Champlain (CV/CVA/CVS

39), 24–27 OCT, Myrtle Beach, SC.

POC: Eugene Carroll; 607-532-


Constellation (CV 64), 24–29

OCT, Charleston, SC. POC: Tommy

& Rebecca Best; 919-383-7216;

VF-11, 25–27 OCT, NAS

Oceana, VA. POC:;

A-3 Skywarrior Assn., 25–28

OCT, Van Nuys, CA. POC: Gil

Bouffard; 209-234-1929;;

Wasp (CV/CVA/CVS 18), 9–15

NOV, Miami, FL. POC: Richard

VanOver; 716-649-9053.

48 Naval Aviation News September–October 2002



Is Your Insignia Official?

During 2003, Naval Aviation News, in conjunction with CNO’s Naval

Aviation History and Archives Office (N78H), plans to publish a poster

illustrating insignia and lineage of all current Marine Corps squadrons

with assigned aircraft.

If your unit’s insignia has not been officially approved in accordance

with OPNAVINST 5030.4, the poster will have a blank space above your

squadron designation where the insignia should be.

A copy of the instruction may be obtained from CNO’s Navy

Directives website at

Direct questions to N78H, 1242 10th Street SE, Washington Navy

Yard, DC 20374-5059; 202-433-2321, DSN prefix 288, or email

The Association of Naval Aviation’s photo contest is

open to everyone except the staffs of ANA, Wings of Gold

magazine and Naval Aviation News. The subject matter

MUST pertain to Naval Aviation. Submissions can be in

black and white or color, slides or prints, or electronic

images. Please include the photographer’s name and

address, and PHOTO CAPTION.

For details call 703-960-2490. Mail photos to ANA,

2550 Huntington Ave., Suite 201, Alexandria, VA

22303-1499; email

Two images tied for first place in the bimonthly photo

contest. Top, PH2 Aaron Ansarov captured the essence of

amphibious operations as CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters

conduct low-level flight operations while amphibious

attack vehicles storm the beach during Exercise Cobra

Gold 2002 in Thailand. Right, you can’t get much closer

than this Ted Carlson shot of an HSL-41 SH-60 Seahawk

departing NAS North Island, Calif., on a training sortie on

20 February 2002.