March–April 2004


Topgun Farewells the Tomcat


March–April 2004


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

Volume 86, No. 3

March–April 2004


C o n t e n t s

10 America’s Flagship: A History of USS

Constellation (CVA/CV 64)

20 VQ-2 Shines in Operation Iraqi Freedom

24 Hank Caruso’s Aerocatures™ Sketchbook:

Nobody Flies Without These Guys

26 TOPGUN Farewells the Tomcat

32 Sea Control Squadrons Deactivated

34 From Tomcats to Super Hornets:

VF-2 Becomes VFA-2 Bounty Hunters

38 New Air and Space Museum at Dulles:

Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center Opens

F e a t u r e s

De p a r t m e n t s

4 Grampaw Pettibone

6 Airscoop

40 People–Planes–Places

47 Professional Reading

48 Flightbag

ibc ANA Photo Contest

COVERS—Front: Ted Carlson’s image of an NSAWC F-14 Tomcat at the merge with a VF-32 Tomcat over Nevada won the annual

ANA photo contest (see inside back cover for contest details). Back: Rick Llinares shot this VMA-542 AV-8B Harrier II as it

popped a flare. This page: F/A-18 Blue Angel number 1 stands in the foreground as the background is engulfed in the “Great

Wall of Fire” staged during the 2002 MCAS Miramar, Calif., air show. Photo by Ted Carlson.

2 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

RAdm. Mark Fitzgerald

Director, Air Warfare

Dr. William S. Dudley

Director, Naval Historical Center

Cdr. Jeremy W. Gillespie

Editor in Chief


Sandy Russell Editor

Wendy Leland Managing Editor

Morgan I. Wilbur Art Director

JO2 Dan Ball Associate Editor

JOSN Brandy Lewis 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

Contributions Welcome

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with the permission of the commanding officer. For guidelines

on submissions, contact the Managing Editor at DSN 288-

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The guided-missile cruiser Gettysburg (CG 64), bottom, and the

aircraft carrier Enterprise, top, cruise in the Arabian Sea

alongside the fast combat support ship Detroit (AOE 6) during a

replenishment at sea. The Enterprise carrier strike group is

currently conducting missions in support of Operations Iraqi

Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

PH2 Douglas M. Pearlman

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 3

Gramps from Yesteryear

Some Gramps


We are gathered here for

the pure purpose of flying—

and enjoying it! I would like

to take this opportunity to

point out just how much akin

this flying game is to

entering into a marriage


First of all, you gotta get

down on your bones and beg

the old man for an airplane,

as scarce as flight time is

today. Then comes the license

counterpart where you

energetically bounce into

maintenance control to

review the yellow sheets. Keep in mind when you sign

that you are saying “I do” or “I’m gonna” for the

duration of this flight. And in signing, you have solemnly

promised to love, honor and cherish the bird in sickness

and health for as long as you both shall live/fly. The

latter terms are not necessarily interchangeable since

some flights are of much shorter duration than intended

or desired.

Then, we get to the part in the program where the man

says, “Should any person here know any reason why this

team should not be joined, let them speak now or forever

hold the pieces.” This is where you come in, Skipper, or

you, Safety Sam, or Quality Assurance, Maintenance

Chief, Supervisor, Plane Captain and, even you,

Aircrewman. More than one wise partner has backed out

at this point—a temporary disappointment, perhaps, but

they lived to fly another day.

Now, for the preflight. Unlike marriage, you should

insist upon a thorough inspection of the machine to

ensure that “what you see is what you get,” and that all

of the vital parts—whether they be something old,

something new, something borrowed or something

blue—will remain attached during the performance of the

entire mission. If, for any reason, you are not certain

about some of the parts, you’d best consult the birds or

the bees. To you, that’s the Naval Air Training and

Operating Procedures Standardization manual,

maintenance pubs and/or the wise old maintenance chief.

Like any protective parent, the chief takes a mighty dim

view of fliers who, after an improper preflight, have the

gall to bring the machine back to the line sans panels or

vital parts. You just try returnin’ a new bride to Momma

or Poppa with missing panel or parts adrift, and you’ll

likely be lookin’ down both barrels of a double muzzler.

Should your trusty steed not be ready for flight, another

word of caution lest ye be tempted. Fellow aviators take

that same dim view of a wingman who lays lustful looks

upon their flyin’ machine.

Like marriage, the rewards for those aviators who

perform these rituals with tender loving care

(professional planning and execution) are most

satisfying. Additionally, they foster longevity and, if

nothing more, avoid confrontation with the most dreaded

panel of scrutinizers: the mishap board and its potential

divorce decree.

Ole Gramps wishes these unions every success for

long and pleasurable relationships. But they can be

attained only through dedicated efforts and attention to

detail. We can ill afford an aviation divorce rate

comparable to that of today’s society.

4 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004


Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 5

6 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

PH2 James K. McNeil

Osprey Highlights

In November 2003, the V-22

Osprey program began testing the

aircraft’s deicing and anti-icing

systems in Canada. Osprey No. 24

will conduct test flights from

Shearwater, Nova Scotia, through


Also in November, the V-22

Integrated Test Team completed a

detachment to Bataan (LHD 5),

below, the Osprey’s

second at-sea period.

During 11 days of

shipboard suitability

testing, 5 V-22 pilots

performed deck

landing qualifications.

Tests were also

conducted to expand

the aircraft’s windover-

deck envelope

and measure the

effects of hovering H-

53 and H-46

helicopters on the

Osprey while on deck.

In December, the

V-22 surpassed 1,000 flight hours

since the aircraft returned to flight

in May 2002. On 9 January Maj.

Gen. Jim Amos, Commanding

General 3d Marine Air Wing flew

the Osprey in both helicopter and

airplane modes. Maj. Gen. Amos is

pictured at right in top photo with

Lt. Col. Kevin Gross, V-22

Integrated Test Team Government

Flight Test Director.



The Boeing Co. received a

contract for system design and

development of the EA-18G, an

airborne electronic attack aircraft

based on the F/A-18F. The five-year

S&D program runs from FY 04

until FY 09, and includes

laboratory, ground testing and flight


WW II Aircrew


The remains of seven Naval

Aviators missing in action from

WW II were found in Russia,

identified and returned to their

families for burial in November

2003. The PV-1 Ventura crew—

comprised of Lt. Walter S. Whitman,

Jr.; Ltjg. John W. Hanlon, Jr.;

Second Class Petty Officers

Clarence C. Fridley, Donald G.

Lewallen and Jack J. Parlier; and

Third Class Petty Officers Samuel

L. Crown, Jr., and James S. Palko—

was lost after takeoff from Attu

Island, Alaska, headed for the Kurile

Islands, Japan.

For the Record

The Navy’s newest Arleigh

Burke-class guided missile

destroyer, Halsey (DDG 97), was

christened on 17 January. The

destroyer is the second ship to be

named for Fleet Adm. William F.

Halsey, Jr. Halsey distinguished

himself in various commands in

WW I and was awarded the Navy

Cross. He qualified as a Naval

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 7


The last CH-53E Super Stallion was delivered to Marine Heavy

Helicopter Squadron 461 at MCAS New River, N.C., in November 2003.

The Super Stallion provides heavy lift and transport capability for the

Marine Corps. Facing page, combat cargo crew members secure a forklift to

a CH-53E aboard Peleliu (LHA 5) during Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Randy Teufel

PH3 Brandy Tilbury

Aviator in 1935, and became a key

leader of combat operations in the

Pacific in WW II.

The Naval Air Systems Command

F/A-18 Program signed a second

multiyear procurement contract for

the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet,

valued at approximately $8.5 billion,

which includes a total of 210 aircraft

over five years.

Lockheed Martin Systems

Integration, Owego, N.Y., was

awarded a $423 million contract in

December 2003 for procurement and

delivery of common cockpits for

the MH-60R and MH-60S


8 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

The Navy’s RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical

unmanned aerial vehicle, above, completed its 100th flight on 17

December 2003. Two days later, an Aircraft Improvement Program

P-3C Orion launched, took control of and recovered a Fire Scout.

Equipped with an integrated tactical control system, the Orion

controlled both the UAV and its sensor payload while airborne.

During the flight, the Fire Scout relayed motion video of a

simulated target to the Orion, which in turn fed the sensor data to

a ground station.

On 21 November 2003 aboard John F. Kennedy (CV

67), an E-2C Hawkeye equipped with NP2000 eightbladed,

digitally controlled propellers makes its first

carrier arrested landing. Flight testing of the new

propeller ended in January, and retrofitting of the

Navy’s E-2C fleet is expected to begin in the spring.

Kurt Lengfield

PH3 Christian Weibull

In December 2003 the Raytheon

Co. was awarded a $292 million

contract for full-rate production of

the AN/ASQ-228 Advanced

Targeting Forward Looking

Infrared pod.

The end date of the refueling and

complex overhaul of Eisenhower

(CVN 69) was extended by 11

weeks to 6 November 2004.

The AH-1W Super Cobra

attack helicopter celebrated its

20th anniversary in November

2003. Its successor, the AH-1Z,

exceeded 1,000 flight hours in



On 23 January, a Marine Light

Attack Helicopter Squadron AH-1W

Super Cobra was destroyed but there

were no fatalities following a crash

at MCAS Yuma, Ariz.

A UH-1N “Huey” of Marine

Medium Helicopter Squadron 166

was destroyed with four fatalities

following a crash on 22 January at

Camp Pendleton, Calif.

On 17 December 2003, an

F/A-18C Hornet of Air Test and

Evaluation Squadron 9 suffered

Class A damage when it departed the

runway upon landing at NAWS

China Lake, Calif.

AMarine Attack Squadron 211

AV-8B Harrier II was lost but the

pilot ejected safely following an inflight

engine failure at MCAS Yuma,

Ariz., on 8 December 2003.

On 3 December 2003, the pilot of

a Marine Attack Squadron 211 AV-

8B Harrier suffered minor injuries

after ejecting at MCAS Yuma, Ariz.

Aboard George Washington

(CVN 73) on 21 November 2003, a

crew member was killed during the

repositioning of an aircraft towing


Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 9

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is restarting

its EA-6B outer wing panel production line in St.

Augustine, Fla.. The original production line in New

York was closed in 1987. The first outer wing panels

will be delivered in summer 2005 for installation on

Prowlers at fleet sites or Navy depots. Northrop

Grumman is also currently producing wing center

sections for the Prowler. Production of these parts will

help bring EA-6Bs that have reached their wing fatigue

life back into service more quickly. Background photo,

VAQ-137 Prowler flies a mission in support of

Operation Iraqi Freedom in November 2003.

Ltjg. Victor Dymond

Prowler Update

The keel of the second Kitty Hawk-class attack aircraft carrier

(CVA), hull number 64, was laid on 14 September 1957 at New

York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, N.Y. She had been named

Constellation on 7 November 1956. Christened by Mrs. Christian A.

Herter, wife of the Secretary of State, the carrier was launched on 8

October 1960. Tragedy struck the ship on 19 December when a

catastrophic fire caused the loss of 50 workers and $75 million in

damages. Following a seven-month delay, she was commissioned on 27

October 1961 as the nation’s 16th active CVA, Captain Thomas J.

Walker III commanding.

Following fitting out and acceptance trials, Constellation departed her

home port of Norfolk, Va., on 7 February 1962 for initial air operations

off the Virginia Capes. She conducted her first catapult launch and

arrested landing the same day with Commander George C. Watkins, air

group (CVG) 13 commander, at the controls of an A4D-2 Skyhawk of

Attack Squadron 34. After a month of operating locally, Connie

conducted a two-month shakedown cruise in the Caribbean.

In summer 1962, Constellation was transferred to the Pacific Fleet

and CVG-13 was disestablished. For the two-month trip around Cape

By Mike Weeks

Horn to her new home port of San Diego, Calif., Connie

embarked elements of CVG-5 and departed Mayport,

Fla., on 25 July. In November Constellation, with CVG-

14 on board, commenced workup exercises for her

upcoming maiden deployment to the western Pacific as a

component of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. The uneventful

cruise took place from February to September 1963.

Constellation’s second deployment began on 5 May

1964. She relieved Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) on station in the

Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam on 8 June, and embarked

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 (air groups had been

redesignated air wings on 20 December 1963) flew

armed photoreconnaissance missions over Laos until 13

July. Following an upkeep period at Subic Bay, P.R.,

Constellation reached Hong Kong for a port visit on 27

July, but within a few days was called back into action.

Following an attack by three North Vietnamese torpedo

boats on the destroyers Maddox (DD 731) and Turner Joy

(DD 951) on 2 August in international waters,

Constellation got underway to return to the Gulf of

Tonkin. Further word was received of a second attack on

the destroyers on 4 August. That day, Connie launched

F-4B Phantom IIs to provide air cover over the destroyers,

and on 5 August launched retaliatory air strikes on North

Vietnamese naval bases and vessels. CVW-14 lost two

aviators, one killed in action (KIA) and the other taken as

a prisoner of war (POW). Operations returned to a more

normal cycle for the remainder of the deployment, and

Constellation returned to San Diego on 1 February 1965,

ending a nearly nine-month cruise. Connie and CVW-14

were awarded a Navy Unit Commendation (NUC) for the

early August operations.

Constellation’s first shipyard period followed, lasting

eight months; then workups commenced for her first fullblown

war cruise. The carrier, with CVW-15 on board,

was underway for operations off Vietnam in May 1966.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 11

Facing page, Constellation nears completion at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard in 1961. Above, the carrier’s 40-year history

concluded with a memorable final cruise, which included Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

PH3 Kristi Earl

During 111 days on station,

Constellation’s aircraft pounded roads,

bridges and other targets, attempting

to impede the flow of men and war

materials south. The F-4B aircrew of

pilot Lieutenant William M.

McGunigan and radar intercept officer

Lieutenant (jg) Robert M. Fowler from Fighter Squadron

(VF) 161 shot down a MiG-17 on 13 July, marking the

ship’s first MiG kill of the war. Connie returned to San

Diego in December after her seven-month combat cruise,

having lost 16 aircrewmen and 15 aircraft. Subsequently,

both Constellation and CVW-15 were awarded an NUC

for this deployment.

After a short workup cycle, Constellation’s third

combat deployment commenced in April 1967. With

CVW-14 embarked, the carrier operated first on Dixie

Station off South Vietnam with strikes in the Iron

Triangle region, and then moved north to Yankee Station

for a total of 121 days on the line.

Reflecting the intensive nature of air

operations, F-4Bs of VFs 142 and 143

accounted for four MiG kills. The

eight-month deployment ended in

December, having totaled losses of 16

aircraft and 20 personnel, including 7

KIAs and 8 POWs. Both the carrier and CVW-14

received an NUC.

Returning to Vietnam in May 1968 after six months

stateside, the Constellation/CVW-14 team was restricted

to strikes below the 20th parallel of North Vietnam as a

result of a March presidential order. This was followed

by a complete halt to strikes over the north on 1

November. Connie spent 128 days on the line, flying

more than 11,000 combat and support missions and

dropping almost 20,000 tons of ordnance. Fifteen aircraft

were destroyed, nine due to enemy action. Six aircrew

members perished, five were listed as KIAs and three

12 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

A KA-3B Skywarrior prepares to

launch from Constellation operating

off Vietnam on 26 August 1967.

were taken as POWs. The eight-month deployment ended

in January 1969.

By August, it was time for Connie to return to

Vietnam for a fifth combat deployment, again with

CVW-14. Following an initial 20-day period of

supporting strikes in South Vietnam as well as Laos,

Constellation sailed to Defender Station in the Sea of

Japan, which had been created as a result of increased

tensions on the Korean Peninsula. A return to Yankee

Station on 1 November also produced a major milestone

in the carrier’s life when the F-4J aircrew of air wing

skipper Cdr. R. K. Billings and Ltjg. Jeff Taylor of VF-

143 conducted Connie’s 100,000th arrested landing.

During a mission on 28 March 1970, the VF-142 F-4

crew of Lts. Jerome E. Beaulier and Steven J. Barkley

downed a North Vietnamese MiG-21. Following a total

of 128 days on the line, Connie’s nine-month deployment

ended in May, with CVW-14 suffering the loss of seven

total aircraft, five to enemy action. One aircrewman was

taken as a POW, but there were no fatalities.

Upon her return Constellation began a nine-month

major shipyard overhaul, her second since

commissioning. In spring 1971 she welcomed aboard a

new air wing, CVW-9, and departed San Diego on 1

October for what would become a historic combat

deployment. Air operations commenced with strikes

against mainly logistic targets in Laos as well as

reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam into 1972.

On 19 January, the VF-96 F-4 Phantom crew of Lt.

Randall H. Cunningham and Ltjg. William P. Driscoll

scored a kill against a MiG-21, the first for a Navy

aircraft since Connie’s VF-142 kill on 28 March 1970.

The carrier was nearing the end of her scheduled

deployment when her tour was extended to meet the

threat posed by the North Vietnamese “Easter Offensive”

of 2 April 1972.

Initial air strikes in support of ground troops were

followed by a new, more intensive series of air strikes

against major targets in North

Vietnam. On 8 May, the same

VF-96 aircrew team of

Cunningham and Driscoll

scored against a MiG-17.

Then on 10 May, Cunningham

and Driscoll downed three

MiG-17s, becoming the first

aces of the Vietnam war.

Three more MiG-17s were

downed by two other VF-96

crews, two by Lts. Michael J.

Connelly and Thomas J.

Blonski and one by Lt. Steven

C. Shoemaker and Ltjg. Keith

V. Crenshaw. Adding to the

score, VF-92 aircrew Lt. Curt

Dose and Lieutenant

Commander James McDevitt

downed a MiG-21. All told, Constellation fliers downed

seven MiGs on 10 May. The nine-month deployment

ended on 1 July, the carrier having spent 154 days off

Vietnam. Seven aircraft were lost, two aircrewmen were

reported KIA and two became POWs. The Connie/CVW-

9 team received the Presidential Unit Citation for their

outstanding efforts.

In January 1973, Constellation headed back to

Southeast Asia. The Vietnam Peace Accords took effect

on 28 January, but CVW-9 aircraft continued to strike

targets in Laos until a cease-fire in that country was

called on 21 February. Thus Connie, which had been on

station at the beginning of combat operations in Vietnam

in 1964, was on station at the end, nine years later. The

remainder of the nine-month deployment consisted

largely of flights in support of mine-clearing operations

in North Vietnam.

Upon her return in October 1973, Constellation

enjoyed a nine-month workup cycle, and departed in

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 13

Above, special events

aboard Constellation

included the wedding

of BM3 R. Stroud in

the carrier’s forecastle

on 14 February 1971.

Left, Lt. Randy

Cunningham and Ltjg.

William P. Driscoll

discuss their first MiG

kill in early 1972. The

F-4 Phantom aircrew

would become the

first aces of the

Vietnam War.

continued on page 16

14 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

USS Constellation (CVA/CV 64) Major Deployments

This list provides the squadron number, type of aircraft and tail code. The tail codes include the first number of the

series; the remaining series numbers are indicated by Xs.

Caribbean Shakedown (CVG-13)

03 Mar–06 May 1962

VF-131 F3H-2 AE1xx

VF-132 F8U-2N AE2xx

VA-133 A4D-2 AE3xx

VA-134 A4D-2 AE4xx

VA-135 AD-6 AE5xx

VAH-10 A3D-2 AE6xx

VAW-12 Det 64 WF-2 GE70x

VFP-62 Det 64 F8U-1P GA90x

HU-2 Det 64 HUP-2 Hxx

Western Pacific (CVG-14)

21 Feb–10 Sep 1963

VF-141 F-8E NK1xx

VAH-10 A-3B NK2xx

VF-143 F-4B NK3xx

VA-144 A-4C NK4xx

VA-145 A-1H/J NK5xx

VA-146 A-4C NK6xx

VAW-11 Det F E-1B RR78x

VFP-63 Det F RF-8A PP90x

HU-1 Det 1 UH-25B UP5

Western Pacific/Vietnam (CVW-14)

05 May 1964–01 Feb 1965

VAH-10 A-3B NK1xx

VF-142 F-4B NK2xx

VF-143 F-4B NK3xx

VA-144 A-4C NK4xx

VA-145 A-1H/J NK5xx

VA-146 A-4C NK6xx

VAW-11 Det F E-1B RR78x

VFP-63 Det F RF-8A PP90x

HU-1 Det 1 UH-25B UP5

Vietnam (CVW-15)

12 May–03 Dec 1966

VF-151 F-4B NL1xx

VF-161 F-4B NL2xx

VA-153 A-4C NL3xx

VA-65 A-6A NL4xx

VA-155 A-4E NL5xx

VAH-8 A-3B NL6xx

RVAH-6 RA-5C NL70x

VAW-11 Det D E-2A NL75x

VAW-13 Det 1 EA-1F VR7xx

HC-1 Det 1 UH-2A UP31

Vietnam (CVW-14)

29 Apr–04 Dec 1967

VAH-8 KA-3B NK1xx

RVAH-12 RA-5C NK12x

VF-142 F-4B NK2xx

VF-143 F-4B NK3xx

VA-196 A-6A NK4xx

VA-55 A-4C NK5xx

VA-146 A-4C NK6xx

VAW-113 E-2A NK75x

VAW-13 Det 1 EA-1F VR77x

HC-1 Det 64 UH-2A UP41

Vietnam (CVW-14)

29 May 1968–31 Jan 1969

VAW-13 Det 64* EKA-3B NK10x

VAH-2 Det 64** KA-3B NK11x

RVAH-5 RA-5C NK12x

VF-142 F-4B NK2xx

VF-143 F-4B NK3xx

VA-196 A-6A NK4xx

VA-97 A-7A NK5xx

VA-27 A-7A NK6xx

VAW-113 E-2A NK75x

HC-1 Det 64 UH-2C UP70

* became VAQ-130 on 01 Oct.

** became VAQ-132 on 01 Nov.

Vietnam (CVW-14)

11 Aug 1969–08 May 1970

HC-1 Det 5 SH-3A NK00x

VAW-113 E-2A NK01x

VF-143 F-4J NK1xx

VF-142 F-4J NK2xx

VA-97 A-7A NK3xx

VA-27 A-7A NK4xx

VA-85 A-6A NK5xx

RVAH-7 RA-5C NK60x

VAQ-133 EKA-3B NK61x

Vietnam (CVW-9)

01 Oct 1971–01 Jul 1972

HC-1 Det 3 SH-3G NG00x

VAW-116 E-2B NG01x

VF-96 F-4J NG1xx

VF-92 F-4J NG2xx

VA-146 A-7E NG3xx

VA-147 A-7E NG4xx

VA-165 A-6A NG5xx

RVAH-11 RA-5C NG60x

VAQ-130 EKA-3B NG61x

Vietnam/Western Pacific (CVW-9)

05 Jan–11 Oct 1973

HS-6 Det 1 SH-3G NG00x

VAW-116 E-2B NG01x

VF-96 F-4J NG1xx

VF-92 F-4J NG2xx

VA-146 A-7E NG3xx

VA-147 A-7E NG4xx

VA-165 A-6A NG5xx

RVAH-12 RA-5C NG60x

VAQ-134 EA-6B NG61x

Western Pacific/Indian Ocean (CVW-9)

21 Jun–23 Dec 1974

VAW-116 E-2B NG01x

VF-96 F-4J NG1xx

VF-92 F-4J NG2xx

VA-146 A-7E NG3xx

VA-147 A-7E NG4xx

VA-165 A-6A NG5xx

RVAH-5 RA-5C NG60x

VAQ-131 EA-6B NG61x

HS-6 SH-3A NG73x

Western Pacific (CVW-9)

12 Apr–21 Nov 1977

VF-211 F-14A NG1xx

VF-24 F-14A NG2xx

VA-146 A-7E NG3xx

VA-147 A-7E NG4xx

VA-165 A-6E NG5xx

VAW-126 E-2C NG60x

VFP-63 Det 1 RF-8G NG61x

VAQ-132 EA-6B NG62x

VS-21 S-3A NG7xx

HS-6 SH-3A NG72x

Western Pacific/Indian Ocean (CVW-9)

26 Sep 1978–17 May 1979

VF-211 F-14A NG1xx

VF-24 F-14A NG2xx

VA-146 A-7E NG3xx

VA-147 A-7E NG4xx

VA-165 A-6E NG5xx

VAW-126 E-2C NG60x

VFP-63 Det 3 RF-8G NG61x

VAQ-132 EA-6B NG62x

VS-37 S-3A NG7xx

HS-6 SH-3D NG72x

Western Pacific/Indian Ocean (CVW-9)

26 Feb–15 Oct 1980

VF-211 F-14A NG1xx

VF-24 F-14A NG2xx

VA-146 A-7E NG3xx

VA-147 A-7E NG4xx

VA-165 A-6E NG5xx

VAW-116 E-2C NG60x

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 15

VFP-63 Det 1 RF-8G NG61x

VS-38 S-3A NG7xx

HS-6 SH-3H NG72x

VRC-50 Det C-2A RGxx

Western Pacific/Indian Ocean (CVW-9)

20 Oct 1981–23 May 1982

VF-211 F-14A NG1xx

VF-24 F-14A NG2xx

VA-146 A-7E NG3xx

VA-147 A-7E NG4xx

VA-165 A-6E NG5xx

VAW-112 E-2C NG60x

VAQ-134 EA-6B NG60x

VS-38 S-3A NG7xx

HS-8 SH-3H NG72x

VRC-50 Det C-2A RGxx

Western Pacific/Indian Ocean (CVW-14)

21 Feb–24 Aug 1985

VF-154 F-14A NK1xx

VF-21 F-14A NK2xx

VFA-113 F/A-18A NK3xx

VFA-25 F/A-18A NK4xx

VA-196 A-6E NK5xx

VAQ-139 EA-6B NK60x

VAW-113 E-2C NK60x

HS-8 SH-3H NK61x

VS-37 S-3A NK7xx

VRC-50 Det C-2A RG4xx

Western Pacific/Indian Ocean (CVW-14)

(Operation Ernest Will)

11 Apr–12 Oct 1987

Same as previous cruise.

Western Pacific/Indian Ocean (CVW-14)

01 Dec 1988–01 Jun 1989

Same as previous cruise.

Post-SLEP Caribbean

Shakedown (CVW-17)

04 Mar–08 Apr 1993

VF-74 F-14B AA1xx

VA-35 A-6E AA5xx

VAW-125 E-2C AA60x

VAQ-132 EA-6B AA62x

VS-30 S-3B AA7xx

HC-16 Det SH-3H BFxx

VRC-40 Det C-2A JKxx

Korea/Arabian Gulf (CVW-2)

(Operation Southern Watch)

10 Nov 1994–10 May 1995

VF-2 F-14D NE1xx

VMFA-323 F/A-18C NE2xx

VFA-151 F/A-18C NE3xx

VFA-137 F/A-18C NE4xx

VAW-116 E-2C NE60x

HS-2 SH-60F NE61x

HH-60H NE61x

VAQ-131 EA-6B NE62x

VS-38 S-3B NE7xx

VQ-5 Det D ES-3A NE72x

VRC-30 Det 2 C-2A RW3x

Arabian Gulf (CVW-2)

(Operation Southern Watch)

01 Apr–01 Oct 1997

VF-2 F-14D NE1xx

VMFA-323 F/A-18C NE2xx

VFA-151 F/A-18C NE3xx

VFA-137 F/A-18C NE4xx

VAW-116 E-2C NE60x

HS-2 SH-60F NE61x

HH-60H NE61x

VAQ-131 EA-6B NE62x

VS-38 S-3B NE7xx

VQ-5 Det C ES-3A NE72x

VRC-30 Det 3 C-2A RW3x

Korea/Arabian Gulf (CVW-2)

(Operation Southern Watch)

18 Jun–17 Dec 1999

VF-2 F-14D NE1xx

VMFA-323 F/A-18C NE2xx

VFA-151 F/A-18C NE3xx

VFA-137 F/A-18C NE4xx

VAW-116 E-2C NE60x

HS-2 SH-60F NE61x

HH-60H NE61x

VAQ-131 EA-6B NE62x

VS-38 S-3B NE7xx

VRC-30 Det 3 C-2A NE3x

Arabian Gulf (CVW-2)

(Operation Southern Watch)

16 Mar–15 Sep 2001

VF-2 F-14D NE1xx

VMFA-323 F/A-18C NE2xx

VFA-151 F/A-18C NE3xx

VFA-137 F/A-18C NE4xx

VAW-116 E-2C NE60x

HS-2 SH-60F NE61x

HH-60H NE61x

VAQ-131 EA-6B NE62x

VS-38 S-3B NE7xx

VRC-30 Det 2 C-2A NE3x

Arabian Gulf (CVW-2)

(Operation Iraqi Freedom)

02 Nov 2002–02 Jun 2003

Same as previous cruise.


personnel prepare an

S-3B Viking for

morning flight

operations in support

of Operation Iraqi

Freedom on 23 March


PH2 Charles E. Alvarado

June 1974 for her first peacetime

deployment in 10 years. On 23

November, she became the first

carrier to enter the Arabian Gulf since

1949. The six-month cruise ended on

23 December 1975.

A 14-month major overhaul and upgrade at Puget

Sound Naval Shipyard, Wash., commenced in February

1974, during which Constellation was modified to reflect

the Navy’s new multipurpose air, surface and

antisubmarine warfare role for carriers. She was

redesignated a CV on 30 June 1975. With the overhaul

completed in April 1976, Connie could now operate both

the new S-3A Viking and F-14A Tomcat. However, the

workups uncovered problems, and a 26-day drydocking in

late 1976 at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Calif., was

required. The highlight for the remaining workup cycle

was participation in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC)

multinational exercises held in and around the Hawaiian

Islands. An uneventful April to November 1977

deployment, Connie’s tenth, to the Far East followed.

Constellation’s next deployment, from September

1978 to May 1979, was originally scheduled to end in

March but was extended due to her sortie into the Indian

Ocean in reaction to a political crisis in

Yemen. Following a relatively short

eight-month turnaround cycle, she was

underway again in February 1980.

After participating in RIMPAC

exercises, Constellation steamed

westward to the Arabian Sea, where Gonzo Station had

been established following the November 1979 takeover

of the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Connie had

reached the eastern Indian Ocean when the unsuccessful

24 April 1980 raid to free American hostages took place,

and she relieved Coral Sea (CV 43) on Gonzo Station on

1 May. This at-sea period would last a record-setting 110

days. The deployment ended in mid-October.

During the 1981 workup cycle President Ronald

Reagan visited Constellation on 20 August, and

proclaimed the carrier “America’s Flagship” while

presenting the crew a presidential flag. An uneventful

deployment to the western Pacific and Indian Ocean

from October 1981 to May 1982 followed. In January

1983, Constellation entered the Puget Sound Naval

Shipyard for a 13-month complex overhaul, during

which the ship’s Terrier missile system was replaced with

NATO Sea Sparrow, the Phalanx Close-In Weapon

16 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

Above, an impressive variety of

aircraft types is visible on

Constellation’s flight deck in

December 1978 during her 11th


System was added and modifications were made to allow

the carrier to operate the new F/A-18A Hornet strike

aircraft. Connie deployed from February to August 1985

with CVW-14 embarked, marking the first deployment

for the F/A-18.

As preparations for a 1987 deployment proceeded, it

was announced that Constellation had earned the coveted

Pacific Fleet Battle Efficiency Award (Battle E) for the

18-month period ending on 30 June 1986. During an

April to October 1987 deployment, Connie conducted air

operations in support of Operation Earnest Will, the

escorting of reflagged Kuwaiti tankers in the Arabian

Gulf as a result of Iranian attacks against international

shipping. Following a 14-month turnaround period

stateside, the Connie/CVW-14 team deployed on 1

December 1988 for the Indian Ocean. This uneventful

deployment ended six months later at San Diego on 1

June 1989.

With CVW-9 embarked, Connie departed San Diego

on 12 February 1990 for the East Coast. Following

exercises with the air forces of several South American

countries while en route and preparations at Norfolk, Va.,

Constellation entered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pa.,

in July to begin a $800-million, three-year Service Life

Extension Program (SLEP). Completed in March 1993,

the SLEP was a cross between new construction and a

comprehensive overhaul, designed to add 15 years to the

carrier’s operational life. Constellation conducted her

post-SLEP shakedown with a number of CVW-17

squadrons then moored at Mayport, Fla., on 8 April. With

CVW-2 assigned, Connie departed Mayport on 29 May

and conducted exercises with various South American air

forces while en route to San Diego, where she arrived on

22 July 1993.

During May–June 1994 Connie and CVW-2

participated in RIMPAC exercises, and on 10 November

departed San Diego for an extended deployment for the

first time in six years. Exercises off Okinawa were

followed by a number of exercises off Korea—a region

that had once again become the focus of world attention

with the news that North Korea was attempting to

develop nuclear weapons. On 11 January 1995, the

Constellation battle group entered the Arabian Gulf to

take up station in support of Operation Southern Watch

(OSW), enforcing the “no-fly” zone over southern Iraq.

The six-month deployment concluded with her return to

San Diego on 10 May. Constellation’s next deployment,

from 1 April to 1 October 1997, included a return to the

Arabian Gulf for OSW activities, now under operational

control of the Fifth Fleet. In over 10 weeks of operating

in the gulf, CVW-2 flew more than 4,400 sorties, with

well over 1,000 sorties in direct support of OSW.

As Connie prepared for her 1999 deployment, tensions

were once again rising on the Korean Peninsula

following an exchange of gunfire between North and

South Korean vessels. Constellation departed San Diego

on 18 June 1999 for the Korean Peninsula to monitor the

situation. On 28 August, she entered the Arabian Gulf

and in 10 weeks conducted more than 5,000 sorties and

1,256 OSW sorties. This period was highlighted by air

strikes against two Iraqi radar stations and an attempt by

VF-2 to engage an Iraqi jet with the long-range Phoenix

air-to-air missile on 14 September. CVW-2 aircraft

engaged in nine specific ordnance-dropping air strikes

while in the Arabian Gulf. The battle group departed the

gulf on 5 November and was home for the holidays on

17 December. At year’s end, Constellation was awarded

her second Battle E as the Pacific Fleet’s best carrier for

the 12-month reporting period.

Constellation’s 20th deployment began on 16 March

2001. She entered the Arabian Gulf on 30 April and

immediately commenced operations in support of OSW.

On 13 May Capt. John W. Miller assumed command as

Connie’s 30th skipper, and her last. She ceased OSW

operations on 4 August, having conducted multiple air

strikes in response to Iraqi violations of the no-fly zone.

On 11 September Connie was approaching Pearl Harbor,

Hawaii, to take on board dependents for the traditional

Tiger Cruise on the final leg to San Diego, when word

was received of the terrorist attacks on New York and the

Pentagon. Despite discussions about turning the battle

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 17

group around, the carrier was allowed to complete her

regularly scheduled deployment. Connie arrived in San

Diego on 15 September and celebrated her 40th birthday

the next month.

Following an abbreviated turnaround cycle,

Constellation prepared for her final deployment and the

opportunity to fight in the global war on terrorism. She

departed on 2 November 2002 and was soon supporting

Operation Enduring Freedom; on 17 December she

entered the Arabian Gulf to begin OSW missions. By 20

March 2003, with two carriers in the eastern

Mediterranean and three in the gulf, Operation Iraqi

Freedom commenced. Connie was designated a night

carrier and remained on station throughout the major

ground combat phase. She launched more than 1,500

sorties and CVW-2 aircraft delivered over 1.7 million

pounds of ordnance. While one aircraft was lost in an

operational mishap, there were no fatalities.

18 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

Facing page, clockwise from

bottom: a rainbow graces

Connie’s island as she returns

from her final deployment. During

the carrier’s 7 August 2003

decommissioning ceremony, her

colors are lowered for the last

time, and Command Master Chief

Mark D. Hayes presents CO Capt.

John W. Miller with the ship’s

commissioning pennant.

Constellation was designated a

night carrier for Operation Iraqi

Freedom. Left, aviation

ordnancemen load Joint Direct

Attack Munitions onto an F/A-18

Hornet, and a Hornet launches for

an OIF mission, above.

PH2 Felix Garza Jr.

PH2 Charles E. Alvarado

Connie departed the gulf on 17 April and steamed for

San Diego for the last time. On 1 June a Sea Control

Squadron 38 S-3B Viking crewed by Lt. Hartley

Postlethwaite, Ltjg. Arthur Gutting and CO Capt. Miller

recorded Connie’s 395,710th and final arrested landing.

Her 21st and final deployment ended the next day.

On 7 August 2003, Constellation’s commissioning

pennant was hauled down and her deck log closed. Her

legacy might best be remembered today in the words of

President Ronald Reagan from 1981: “Let friend and foe

alike know that America has the muscle to back up its

words, and ships like this and men like you are that

muscle . . . you are America’s Flagship.”

Mr. Weeks, a former naval reservist, is a contributing editor to The Hook

magazine and an avid Naval Aviation researcher. He extends special

thanks to the Naval Aviation History and Archives Branch of the Naval

Historical Center; Lt. Wendy Snyder, Connie’s Public Affairs Officer; and

the Tailhook Association for assisting with this article.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 19

PH2 Prince A. Hughes III Capt. Faris P. Farwell

PH2 Charles E. Alvarado

Naval Aviation’s surveillance and reconnaissance

program has historically maintained a low profile.

The sensitive nature of the mission has created a

degree of mystery about the community. Most people had

never heard of an EP-3E until April 2001 when an EP-3E

Aries II of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1 was

involved in a midair collision with a Chinese fighter. This

incident and the subsequent detainment of the crew at

Hainan Island received front-page coverage across the

nation (see NANews, Sep–Oct 03). However, long before

this publicity, the Navy’s fleet air reconnaissance squadrons

were quietly at work.

Established on 1 September

1955, the VQ-2 Rangers have

shifted their mission focus over

the years. VQ missions during

the Cold War collected strategic

intelligence on the former Soviet

Union and its satellite states in

the European theater. Yet, the

geopolitical changes and

computer communications

revolution during the last 20

years have altered the way VQ-2

does business. The focus has

shifted to providing tactical

intelligence and time-critical

targeting directly to fleet and

component commanders around

the world. As the mission

changed, VQ capabilities and tactics have kept pace.

Though the P-3 airframe is old, EP-3Es are now

equipped with the Sensor System Improvement Program

mission avionics suite, consisting of state-of-the-art signals

intelligence intercept, information management and

communications technology. Manned by 24 highly trained

crew members, from a variety of cryptologic and aviation

ratings, who are experts in operating and maintaining the

equipment, the EP-3E brings a potent capability to

intercept, exploit and disrupt the entire enemy commandcontrol-


architecture. “We have the right training, the right

equipment and the right crew for getting the job done,”

stated Lieutenant Pete Salvaggio, a senior evaluator who

flew extensively during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

America’s adversaries learned of the strength of U.S. air

power from the crushing defeat of Iraqi forces in the first

Gulf War and have sought to

update air defense tactics. U.S.

naval and Air Force aircraft

subsequently faced new

challenges in the Balkans

Conflict. Coalition aircrews,

therefore, expected to see

improved techniques attempted

by the Iraqi air defense units in

2003. VQ-2 was ready, bringing

the lessons of the first Gulf War,

the Balkans and Operation

Enduring Freedom to bear on the

enemy during OIF.

Balancing the adversaries’

improvements, years of

experience in Operations Northern

Watch, Southern Watch, Joint

Forge and Joint Guardian had

honed VQ-2’s ability to gather, process and disseminate

real-time threat intelligence directly to air, sea and landbased

shooters. The VQ-2 combat reconnaissance crews

(CRC) knew that their experience in those operations

would be vital in overcoming the enemy’s improved air

defense techniques in Iraq. To be combat effective, VQ-2

20 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

VQ-2 Shines

in Operation

Iraqi Freedom

By Lieutenant (jg) Hugh N. Batten

Above, a Rangers EP-3E Aries II banks over

water. Background, the cloaked figure in VQ-2’s

insignia characterizes the sensitive nature of

squadron operations. Facing page, an

aircrewman returns from a mission while

deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

continued on page 22

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 21

PH2 Michael Sandberg

would have to provide coalition shooters and decision

makers with significant intelligence fast enough to beat the

enemy’s sensor-to-shooter process.

In the weeks leading up to the war, VQ-2 and sister

squadron VQ-1, along with operators from Naval Security

Group Activities (NSGA) Manama, Bahrain; Rota, Spain;

and Misawa, Japan, assembled in Bahrain under

Commander Task Force 57 as the Navy’s airborne

intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance team. There are 10

EP-3Es in the Navy inventory, three of which were in

Bahrain during the buildup for OIF. The VQ crews flew 24

hours a day, monitoring threats to the carrier battle groups

in the northern Arabian Gulf and communicating threat

warnings to coalition strike packages flying in Operation

Southern Watch. Tensions mounted as the rhetoric of war

increased. “We all knew it was just a matter of time. We

knew the moment it started, we would be ready,” said Lt.


In the early morning hours of 19 March, the coalition

launched the first strike of Tomahawk land-attack missiles

into Iraq. VQ-2’s CRC-1 monitored the destruction from an

orbit over Kuwait. CRC-2 soon followed, providing

imminent threat warnings to coalition strike packages

ingressing Iraqi airspace. When the strikes began, VQ-2

added suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) to

reconnaissance and threat-warning responsibilities and, as

expected, the SEAD tactics quickly established air

superiority over the weakened

Iraqi air defense. As the ground

war began, the VQ aircrews left

familiar tactics and airspace to

keep pace with advancing

coalition forces. Instead of

orbiting in the Kuwaiti airspace

directly adjacent to the Iraqi

border, VQ-2 received its first

“killbox” assignment on 23

March, flying overland Iraq for

the first time. Unarmed and

unescorted over Iraq without

chaff or flares, the Rangers

demonstrated their own brand of

valor. “We were up there all by

22 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

Top right, a VQ-2 EP-3E

flies over the bull ring

at El Puerto de Santa

Maria, Spain. Above,

CRC-2 crew members

pose with their aircraft.

Right, CRC-2 pilot Lt.

Bill Hammond scans

the horizon. Below

right, navigator Ltjg.

Chris Knaus mans his station.

ourselves, watching the war unfold,” explained Lt. T. C.

Howery, CRC-2 aircraft/mission commander. “I’m really

proud of the crew and how they performed in the face of

hostilities. You can prepare yourself all you’d like, but

nothing can really get you ready for the first time you

encounter antiaircraft artillery [AAA],” he added about the

overland Iraq combat mission.

The launch of the ground offensive toward Baghdad

compelled VQ-2 to emphasize ground support. Initially

providing surface-to-air missile and AAA threat warnings

to the coalition strike packages, the VQ crews quickly

broadened their focus to include direct strike support and

battle damage assessment for ground operations.

Lieutenant Commander Andrew Johnson, a former

infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division and a VQ-2

aircraft/mission commander, reported to Camp Commando

in Kuwait as the VQ/patrol liaison to the Marines. “I was

basically sent in to support the 1st Marine Expeditionary

Unit for the location and targeting of Iraqi enemy units,”

explained Johnson. “We had to take a mission that had

never been done before by our EP-3Es and use them to

supply critical information to our ground units advancing

against the enemy.” As a result, new procedures for VQ

direct support to ground forces were developed.

By the end of the war, VQ Detachment Southwest Asia

had flown over 50 combat missions totaling over 400 hours

with three different aircraft. Over 300 of these hours were

spent on station. VQ adapted new tactics literally on the

fly, and wrote a new chapter of joint warfare as it

supported U.S. Marine Corps and Army ground forces.

The men and women of the VQ and NSGA

communities understand that while the nature of their

missions will rarely make them front-page news, the

electronic combat information they provide is critical to

the succes of our forces around the globe.

Ltjg. Batten is VQ-2’s Public Affairs Officer. Special thanks to LCdr.

Craig Lee, Lt. Jason Wells and Ltjg. David Cooper for their assistance

with this article.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 23

Illustrations and Text © Hank Caruso

Ready for Sea. This is the motto of the Navy’s

Supply Corps, whose mission for the past 209 years

has been to provide combat capability to the fleet

through logistics support. The scope of the Supply

Corps’ global responsibilities and professional

competency is truly awe inspiring: in theater during

combat operations, on the waterfronts of fleet

concentration areas, and supporting the fleet’s farflung

shore activities. The Aerocature™ above was

commissioned by the NAS

Patuxent River, Md., Supply

Corps Association.

Greenshirts—The Magic Behind

the Mission. Getting the supplies

and spare parts to their destination

is only the beginning. Using them to

keep the Naval Aviation fleet ready

at the tip of the sword is the

challenge met every day by

“Greenshirts,” the Navy’s and

Marine Corps’ aviation maintainers.

This special cadre of officers and

enlisted personnel has to make all of

the pieces come together to keep the

fleet flying safely and effectively.

This specially commissioned

Aerocaturerecognizes the skill

and tenacity of aviation maintainers


24 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

Hank Caruso’s Aerocatures™ Sketchbook:

Nobody Flies Without

These Guys!

When it comes to military aviation, most of the glamour

seems to go to airplanes with pointy noses, sensuous sensor

bulges or high decibel-to-size ratios. This may be due to the

jets’ camera action image upon which the media often dwells.

But the support base required for these aircraft comprises a

unique blend of technical competence, undiminished

enthusiasm and administrative finesse. It’s a privilege and a

delight to be able to turn the spotlight on some of these people

and their unsung, yet vital contributions to Naval Aviation’s


Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 25

North Island Makeover.

Airplanes get old and sometimes

they break. When new aerospace

technology comes along, they

need to be made over. To keep the

fleet’s aircraft in fighting trim,

special expertise and facilities are

needed to repair, renovate and

modernize the Navy’s winged

warriors. Not all of this work can

be done in the field. Much of it

must be done at the air depots.

Naval Air Depot North Island,

Calif., commissioned this

Aerocature™ to highlight the

intensive repair and maintenance

services its personnel perform on

the F/A-18 Hornet, S-3 Viking,

C-2 Greyhound, E-2 Hawkeye

and SH-60 Seahawk aircraft.

Fit to Fly. It takes more than healthy

aircraft to keep U.S Naval Aviation flying

and fighting effectively. The health of

aviators is obviously of crucial importance.

Two groups of professionals make the

aviators’ health their first order of business:

aerospace physiologists and flight surgeons.

Aerospace physiologists constantly poke

and probe to learn as much as they can

about an aviator’s responses to the flight

environment. They are the ones who devise

the appropriate instruments of torture that

an aviator must endure on a regular basis to

retain the privilege of working in Naval


Flight surgeons get up close and personal

with aviators to help maintain their health,

well-being and safety. In addition, they

must keep current with all of the changes in

modern medicine, new devices, threats and

safety gear. They are the final gatekeepers

who ultimately let Naval Aviators be where

they want to be most—in the air.

26 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

For 30 years, the F-14 Tomcat has played a

role in advanced fighter pilot training with

TOPGUN, the Navy’s premier tactical fighter

training program. From its establishment as the

Navy Fighter Weapons School at NAS Miramar,

Calif., to its existence today as a syllabus under

the training department at the Naval Strike and

Air Warfare Center (NSAWC), NAS Fallon,

Nev., TOPGUN’s mission has remained the

same. It trains weapons and tactics instructors

who can return to the fleet and pass along the

skills they learned to other fleet aviators. As the

fleet continues to transition to the F/A-18E/F

Super Hornet and phase out the Tomcat, the

F-14’s role in this training has drawn to a close.

In September 2003, the last Tomcat class

completed the TOPGUN curriculum, marking

the end of an era.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 27

TOPGUN Farewells

the Tomcat

Story and Photography by Ted Carlson

TOPGUN department head Commander Richard

Butler explained how the Strike Fighter Tactics

Instructor course adapted over the years to match the

growing capabilities of the Tomcat. “Initially, it was

very F-14 centric, training specifically to air-to-air

missions. Through time, though, TOPGUN has

evolved, adding an air-to-ground syllabus that caters

to the multirole capability of the F/A-18 and, more

recently, the F-14.” Although the Tomcat will no

longer be part of the syllabus, the legacy it has left

will be felt in the fleet for years. Cdr. Butler

continued, “The F-14 will soldier on through FY 07

with fleet units, so it still remains critical to maintain

knowledge of the Tomcat’s capabilities. The

personnel going through this NSAWC class will be

responsible for imparting this knowledge to the fleet

as the curtain gradually falls on the F-14. Many F-14

crews will transition to the F/A-18F in which they

will apply what they have learned here to the Super


One of the last four Tomcat students was

Lieutenant Steve Djunaedi, an F-14A radar intercept

officer. “Since the 1986 movie Top Gun, people

associate the Tomcat with TOPGUN,” he said. “Only

two crews were selected for this class, marking the

final opportunity for an F-14 aircrew to earn a

TOPGUN patch.” Pilot Lt. John Brattain added, “I

feel honored to be one of the last F-14 guys to go

through TOPGUN. The training is graduate level and

unequalled in the service.”

28 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

continued on page 31

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 29

Above, Cdr. Richard Butler of TOPGUN. Background photo, a TOPGUN F-14A, left, and a Fighter

Squadron 32 F-14B cruise the skies over Nevada.

30 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

From foreground, an F-14A Tomcat, F/A-18A Hornet

and F-16B Falcon of the Naval Strike and Air

Warfare Center fly over Lake Tahoe.

Through the years, TOPGUN instructors have

flown F-14s in two distinct roles: in support of class

fighters in blue air training and as adversary aircraft

for TOPGUN classes, air wing training and fleet

support. TOPGUN instructor Lt. Jeremy Andrew said,

“I love flying the Tomcat here. The flying and

training we do at Fallon is aggressive, precise and

second to none. You continually learn and work with

professionals in the business of aerial combat. Since

TOPGUN was established, the F-14 has participated

in nearly every class, excluding the first four years.

We have to take our hats off to the maintainers who

have done a superb job of keeping the F-14 flying and

at the forefront of Naval Aviation.”

Cdr. Scott Guimond, TOPGUN’s one-versus-one

air combat expert and the NSAWC Operational Risk

Management department head, commented, “When

TOPGUN was founded, the F-8 [Crusader] pilots

helped the F-4 [Phantom II] fliers. Then the F-4 folks

imparted their knowledge to F-14 crews. The F-14

crews later helped the F/A-18 and now the Super

Hornet communities. It makes a big difference when

everyone is willing to help each other. The new F-14

instructors deserve a pat on the back.”

The F-14 has become an icon of both the Navy and

TOPGUN, and TOPGUN’s rich Tomcat heritage

passes on a legacy of excellence and experience to the

Navy’s tactical air community.

Ted Carlson is a professional aviation photographer. The author thanks

VAdm. Michael D. Malone; RAdm. D. C. Nichols; Capts. Jim Knight and

Dan Dixon; Cdrs. Richard Butler and Scott Guimond; LCdr. Robert Jones;

Maj. Mike Sobkowski; Lts. Jeremy Andrew, John Brattain, Rick Burgess,

Steve Djunaedi, John Hildebrandt, Rob Simone and Matt Thrasher; OSC

Brian Bassett; and all of the NSAWC personnel who contributed.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 31

VS-29 Dragonfires

Sea Control Squadron (VS) 29 is scheduled for

deactivation on 30 April 2004, at NAS North Island,

Calif., as one of the first VS squadrons to be disbanded in

the drawdown of the S-3 Viking community. VS-29 will end

43 years of service after a combat deployment in support of

Operation Iraqi Freedom. Cdr. Keff M. Carter will be the

last CO of the Dragonfires.

The unit was established as a split-off of VS-21 as Air

Antisubmarine Squadron 29 on 1 April 1960 at North

Island, its home base throughout its service. Equipped with

S2F-1/1S (S-2A/B) Tracker antisubmarine warfare (ASW)

aircraft, VS-29 joined Antisubmarine Carrier Air Group

(CVSG) 53 assigned to Kearsarge (CVS 33). Except for a

one-month exercise with CVSG-54 on board Wasp (CVS

18) in 1971, VS-29 remained with CVSG-53 until 1973.

While assigned to Kearsarge, VS-29 participated in

numerous exercises in the eastern and central Pacific. The

squadron’s first major deployment to the western Pacific

(WESTPAC) in March 1961 covered fleet operations in the

South China Sea during the 1961 Laotian Crisis. The

squadron participated in the recovery operations for two

Project Mercury space capsules—Sigma Seven, carrying

Cdr. Walter Schirra, and Faith Seven, carrying Maj. L.

Gordon Cooper.

By 1963, VS-29 was equipped with S-2Fs (upgraded S-

2As), which it flew during 1963 and 1964 WESTPAC

deployments. The squadron upgraded to the S-2E in 1965

and deployed with this version on three more deployments

to WESTPAC (1966, 1967–1968 and 1969), including the

Tonkin Gulf, where the squadron supported combat

operations in Vietnam. VS-29 crews flew shipping

surveillance patrols, naval gunfire spotting missions and

ASW patrols.

After return from the Tonkin Gulf in September 1969,

VS-29 participated in exercises in the eastern Pacific from the

decks of Hornet (CVS 12), Wasp and Ticonderoga (CVS 14).

In 1972, the Dragonfires made a major WESTPAC

deployment on board Ticonderoga, the squadron’s last with

S-2Es. VS-29 supported the intensive operations against

enemy forces in Vietnam and guarded against the

deployments of Soviet guided-missile submarines to the area.

In 1973, VS-29 retired its S-2Es as the CVS era ended

and began transition to the new jet-powered S-3A Viking

ASW aircraft. The squadron became a participant in the

“CV Concept,” which combined strike and antisubmarine

aircraft in the same carrier air wing (CVW). In July 1976,

the squadron made the first WESPTAC deployment of the

S-3, joining CVW-14 on board Enterprise (CVN 65). The

Dragonfires joined CVW-2 on board Ranger (CV 61) for a

1979 WESTPAC deployment and CVW-15 aboard Kitty

Hawk (CV 63) for its 1981 WESTPAC/Indian Ocean cruise.

VS-29 was assigned with CVW-15 to Carl Vinson (CVN

70) in 1982 and in 1983 deployed to the Mediterranean and

on through the Indian and Pacific oceans to the ship’s new

home port on the West Coast. Over the next seven years,

VS-29 completed four WESTPAC/Indian Ocean

deployments on board Carl Vinson.

During these operations, the Dragonfires

operated near the Soviet Union and

also supported Operation Ernest

Will, the escort of tankers in the

Arabian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq


In 1990, VS-29 joined CVW-11 and Abraham Lincoln

(CVN 72), accompanying the carrier around Cape Horn for

a move to her new home port on the West Coast. After a

1991 deployment to WESTPAC and the Indian Ocean,

VS-29 upgraded to the S-3B version of the Viking, and also

acquired aerial refueling as one of its missions.

VS-29 was redesignated a sea control squadron on 16

September 1993, a reflection of its wider range of roles.

However, in 1999 the ASW mission systems were removed

from the S-3B. Two more deployments on board Abraham

Lincoln to the Arabian Gulf followed in 1993 and 1995,

which included missions in support of air operations over

Somalia and in Operation Southern Watch, enforcement of

the no-fly zone over Iraq.

After a 1996–1997 Arabian Gulf cruise on board Kitty

Hawk, VS-29 made three more Arabian Gulf/Arabian Sea

deployments, all of which involved combat operations. In

December 1998, VS-29, on board Carl Vinson, supported

Operation Desert Fox, a period of intensive strikes against

Iraq. On its next deployment, beginning on 9 October 2001

aboard Carl Vinson, the squadron supported the first air

strikes against Taliban and al Qaeda targets by providing

vital refueling services for aircraft making the longest

carrier-based strikes in history.

For its final deployment, on board Nimitz (CVN 68) in

March 2003, VS-29 supported strikes against Iraqi forces

32 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

Sea Control Squadrons Deactivated

By LCdr. Rick Burgess, USN (Ret.)

PH3 Kristi J. Earl

during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron’s

forthcoming deactivation was foreshadowed on this

deployment, however, as CVW-11 deployed with new F/A-

18E/F Super Hornets, capable of aerial refueling while

accompanying strike aircraft to their targets.

VS-38 Red Griffins

Sea Control Squadron (VS) 38 is scheduled for

deactivation at NAS North Island, Calif., on 30 April

2004, as part of the planned phaseout of the S-3B Viking

aircraft from the Navy. VS-38 will end more than 53 years

of service as an active squadron, which was mobilized

from reserve status during the Korean War and retired

after combat service over Iraq. Cdr. Steven M. Kelly will

be the last CO of the Red Griffins.

The Red Griffins began service as Air Antisubmarine

Squadron 892, a reserve squadron based at NAS Seattle,

Wash. Less than a month after the North Korean invasion of

South Korea, VS-892 was activated on 20 July 1950. In

mid-1951, the squadron and its TBM-3S/3W Avengers were

ferried to the war zone on board Sicily (CVE 118), where

the squadron conducted antisubmarine warfare (ASW)

patrols from the escort carrier, as well as from Rendova

(CVE 114).

On 4 February 1953, VS-892 was redesignated VS-38

and in April returned to the Korean War 1953 on board

Point Cruz (CVE 119). In 1954, the squadron received the

new S2F-1 Tracker twin-engine ASW aircraft, and in 1955

took the new aircraft on its first

West Coast deployment, in this

case to the western Pacific

(WESTPAC) on board Badoeng

Strait (CVE 116). In 1956, VS-

38 became a larger squadron when it absorbed sister

squadron VS-25. Two more WESTPAC deployments were

made on board Princeton (CVS 37) and Hornet (CVS 12)

before the squadron was assigned to Antisubmarine Carrier

Air Group 59 assigned to Bennington (CVS 20) in 1960. At

the same time, VS-38 became smaller when VS-33 was

formed from a segment of the Red Griffins.

From 1960 through 1968, VS-38 made six WESTPAC

deployments—one with the S-2F-1/1S, one with the S2F-2,

and four with S-2E Trackers (the first squadron to operate in

the fleet)—on board Bennington. These included four in the

Tonkin Gulf, where the squadron flew shipping surveillance

and antisubmarine patrols and naval gunfire spotting


When Bennington was decommissioned in 1970, VS-38

operated from Hornet and Ticonderoga (CVS 14),

completing one WESTPAC/Indian Ocean deployment in

1971 and returning to the Tonkin Gulf on Ticonderoga in

1972. Later that year, the squadron upgraded to the S-2G,

and in 1973 joined Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 on board

Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the wing’s ASW component under

the new “CV Concept.” VS-38 completed two WESTPAC

deployments on board Kitty Hawk before beginning in 1976

to make the transition to the new S-3A Viking jet.

In April 1978, the Red Griffins took their S-3As on a

WESTPAC/Indian Ocean deployment with CVW-14 on

board Enterprise (CVN 65), followed by two more with

CVW-9 aboard Constellation (CV 64). In 1983, VS-38 was

assigned to CVW-2, its parent command for the next two

decades. During the 1980s, the squadron made three

WESTPAC/Indian Ocean deployments on board Ranger

(CV 61), the last of which supported Operation Ernest Will,

the escort of tankers through the Arabian Gulf during the

Iran-Iraq War.

In December 1990, Ranger headed for the Arabian Gulf

with VS-38 on board. The Red Griffins participated in

Operation Desert Storm in January 1991, supporting the

coalition forces in the gulf with surveillance missions. The

squadron’s S-3s began taking on the aerial refueling role from

the A-6 Intruder. The squadron’s 1992 WESTPAC/Indian

Ocean cruise would be the last for the S-3A. VS-38 took the

S-3A to sea for the last time in May 1993 when the squadron

rode Constellation around Cape Horn to North Island

following completion of the service-life extension program

for the ship.

In 1993, VS-38 received the S-3B version of the Viking.

In recognition of the multimission capabilities of the S-3B,

VS-38 was redesignated a sea control squadron on 16

September 1993. The Red Griffins took the S-3B on four

WESTPAC/Arabian Gulf deployments on board

Constellation between 1994 and 2001, participating in

Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the no-fly

zone over Iraq. By 1999, the ASW capabilities had been

removed from its S-3Bs, leaving them with aerial refueling

and surface surveillance as their primary roles.

The squadron’s final deployment took the Red Giffins to

war once again. VS-38 deployed to the Arabian Sea in late

2002 and supplied aerial refueling support for the strike

aircraft patrolling over Afghanistan. In March and April

2003, VS-38 provided support to the strikes that supported

the liberation of Iraq from the regime of Saddam Hussein.

One VS-38 aircrew fired a Maverick missile at an Iraqi

vessel, marking the only time a missile was fired in combat

by an S-3. Upon return home, CVW-2 received F/A-18E/F

Super Hornet strike fighters, capable of serving as aerial

tankers, and VS-38 was slated for deactivation.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 33

PH2 Timothy Smith

34 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

From Tomcats to Super Hornets:

VF-2 Becomes VFA-2

Navy carrier-based aviation is currently undergoing a transformation in its

warfighting capability. Air wings are in the midst of retiring the F-14

Tomcat, the fleet’s long-standing fleet air defense and long-range strike

fighter, and upgrading to the new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The Navy fighter

squadron (VF) community is quickly becoming a memory, and the strike

fighter (VFA) community is expanding dramatically. Challenges abound for

Tomcat units moving to the Super Hornet.

Few squadrons have faced the series of challenges and met them

head-on better than the Bounty Hunters. In less than one year the

squadron came off combat operations in

Iraq, handed in its venerable F-14

Tomcats, and moved across the

country to a new home at NAS

Lemoore, Calif., and into the

F/A-18F Super Hornet,


VFA-2 Public

Affairs Officer

Lieutenant (jg) Ryan


commented, “The

past year has been

one of many

milestones for the Bounty

Hunters. From workups to combat ops and finally to NAS

Lemoore, successfully completing the transition to the Super

Hornet has been no easy journey. Accomplishing the tasks are a direct

result of the hard work and professionalism of squadron aircrews and


“VF-2 was deployed aboard Constellation (CV 64) with Carrier

Air Wing (CVW) 2 from 14 October 2002 to 2 June 2003,” Fulwider

continued. “The Bounty Hunters participated in Operations Enduring

Bounty Hunters

We are going to continue to train and deploy as the world’s greatest and most capable strike

fighter squadron. We will get home safely. We will fly, fight and win. We will train for war, take care

of our people and take care of our 12 F/A-18F Super Hornets.

—Cdr. Doug Denneny, VFA-2 Commanding Officer

Story and Photos by Rick Llinares

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 35

Freedom, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom (OIF), flying

more than 2,000 combat hours and 483 sorties. The

challenge of keeping the squadron’s 10 aging F-14Ds ready

for all taskings was met by the dedication and effort of the

sailors and chiefs. It cost nearly 60 maintenance man-hours

per flight hour, but the effort paid off in a 98-percent sortie

completion rate during OIF and dropping 320,000 pounds of

ordinance with 100-percent weapon systems reliability.”

On 28 February 2003 during Southern Watch, aircraft

111, flown by Commander Dave Burnham and Lieutenant

Justin Hsu, delivered the first Joint Direct Attack Munition

(JDAM) from an F-14D in combat. The Bounty Hunters

worked hand in hand with Air Test and Evaluation

Squadrons 9 and 31 at NAWS China Lake, Calif., and

personnel at NAS Patuxent River, Md., to ensure that the

F-14D community would have the JDAM capability in time

for Iraqi Freedom. Subsequently, all three deployed F-14D

squadrons utilized JDAMs during the Iraqi war.

In May, VF-2’s fly-off ended the Bounty Hunters’ 30

years of flying the F-14. As the squadron made its way back

for a fly-in at NAS Oceana, Va., aircraft 100, flown by

Lieutenant Commander Kurt Frankenberger and Cdr. Doug

Denneny, was met by one of the F/A-18Fs that they would

be flying in a few months. Cdrs. Keith Taylor and Mark

Adamshick of VFA-122, the Super Hornet fleet readiness

squadron (FRS), flew the aircraft out to welcome them.

On 1 July 2003, VF-2 officially became VFA-2 and

began transition training to the F/A-18F Super Hornet. The

VFA-2 Bounty Hunters took delivery of their first F/A-18F

on 1 October. Currently, VFA-2 is fully operational with 12

aircraft. All of the squadron’s F-14s remained at NAS

Oceana for dispersion to other Tomcat squadrons. At full

manning, the squadron will have 17 pilots and 17 weapon

systems operators, as well as 4 maintenance officers and

200 enlisted personnel.

When asked how VF-2 came to be selected for transition

to the two-seat Super Hornet, Ltjg. Fulwider said, “All

Tomcat squadrons are eventually scheduled to transition to

the F/A-18F, with the exception of VFA-14. The reason for

this is that each air wing had one Tomcat squadron except

CVW-11 which had two, VFs 14 and 41. When they

transitioned, in order to diversify the air wing and bring the

different benefits of both platforms, VF-41 went to the F,

and VF-14 went to the single-seat E.”

While the new Super Hornet represents the cutting edge

of Naval Aviation technology, the transition has not been as

dramatic as one might think. Even though the Super Hornet

is a different aircraft with different systems, the mission

hasn’t changed. The challenge has been for the aircrew to

learn to employ the new aircraft as effectively in the same


VFA-2 Operations Officer LCdr. Mike Peterson, a Super

Hornet weapon systems operator, explained, “As Tomcat

guys, we were familiar with the Hornet because we had

three F/A-18 units in the air wing. F-14 strike fighter

squadrons and Hornet units had similar missions. It’s like a

36 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

DM2 Arthur Chavez

football team. One team might use the run-and-gun offense

while another runs the West Coast offense, but they both do

the same basics: blocking, tackling and passing. F-14 crews

are familiar with offensive counter-air, air-to-ground strike

and forward air control missions. With standardized

procedures, we had an easier time than you might think

moving to the Super Hornet.

“One of the most important aspects of the F-14 to F/A-

18F transition is the continuation of the two-seat strike

fighter community,” Peterson emphasized. “The F/A-18F

allows us to fulfill several missions that are simply too

complex for a single person. Forward air control and the

electronic warfare mission with the eventual replacement of

the EA-6B Prowler are examples.”

Ltjg. Fulwider noted, “VF-2 aircrews had the luxury of

flying the F-14D with a digital cockpit, unlike other Tomcats.

This made transition to the Super Hornet’s digital cockpit a lot

easier. Initially, the change was tougher for the maintainers,

going from an aircraft built with Cold War technology to one

with next-generation systems. Now, they are beginning to

enjoy the benefits of working on an aircraft that takes roughly

15 maintenance hours per flight hour as opposed to the

F-14D’s 50 maintenance hours per flight hour.”

Fulwider went on to outline VFA-2’s training process since

transitioning to the F/A-18F, “The squadron was split up into

two classes at VFA-122. The first class completed a fighter

weapons detachment to NAF Key West, Fla., and spent a week

getting their carrier qualifications on board John C. Stennis

(CVN 74). The second class went to NAF El Centro, Calif.,

for a strike detachment and then on to carrier quals. The

aircrew syllabus at the FRS included approximately 41 flights

for 61 flight hours, 40 simulators for 50 hours and 215 hours

of either classroom or computer-aided instruction. The

maintainers completed 6 months of classes and training to

recertify and qualify 14 shops to work on the Super Hornet.”

Cdr. Denneny summed up the transition training, “The

FRS was incredibly efficient and I was very pleased with the

high quality of the syllabus. We had fantastic weather and I

never missed a sortie. To give you an idea of how good these

new airplanes are, I’ve flown about 30 times and I’ve never

gone down, never written a gripe. Sure, other guys have gone

down on the line or have had to return from the area early,

but it is rare. Someday, the jet will get old and may even

become a maintenance challenge, but for now it is very


Rick Linares is a professional photographer and writer specializing in

Naval Aviation.

The author is grateful to Cdr. Doug Denneny and Ltjg. Ryan Fulwider for

allowing the use of their essays in this article. Thanks to LCdr. Mike

Peterson, Ltjg. Aaron Vernallis and all VFA-2 personnel. Special thanks to

Colonel Earl Wederbrook and Major Doug Pasnik of MAG-11 and the

Raiders of VMGR-352 for their assistance.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 37

Facing page, two VFA-2 F/A-18F

Super Hornets mark the

beginning of a new era for the

Bounty Hunters. Below, the

F-14D Tomcat served the

squadron well.

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

Vice Admiral Don Engen must have been smiling

somewhere high above the snowy skies over the

Washington, D.C., area on 5 December 2003. The

opening of the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy (pronounced OODvar

HAH-zee) Center, the National Air and Space Museum

Annex at Dulles airport in Virginia, had become a reality.

Even with the inclement weather that day, hundreds of

journalists made their way to the IMAX theater for

welcoming remarks by retired Marine Corps General John

R. Dailey, Director of the National Air and Space Museum.

The former F-4 pilot, one of only a handful of Marine

aviators to reach four-star rank, succeeded retired

VAdm. Engen, who died when his glider crashed in

July 1999 in the California Sierras. Bringing the same

dedication and forceful personality to the job, Gen.

Dailey lifted Don Engen’s dream to fruition and, now,

it was time to show it off.

Even before the well-known National Air and

Space Museum opened its doors in 1976, museum

officials knew they needed more room to display a

major portion of the aviation treasures the

Smithsonian held. By 1980, proposals for a new

facility were being considered, and within 10 years a

176.5-acre site south of the main terminal at Dulles

International Airport, some 40 miles west of

Washington, D.C., was selected.

Overall estimated cost for the new museum is $311

million, with only $8 million coming from the federal

government for initial planning. By congressional

mandate, no government funds were used for the

construction of the facility. Pledged shortly after

VAdm. Engen’s death, Mr. Udvar-Hazy’s incredibly

generous gift of $60 million propelled the new

museum’s schedule off the ground. The Smithsonian

understandably felt that naming the new facility after

its principal benefactor, who is president and CEO of

a commercial aircraft-leasing company and a licensed

pilot with more than 6,000 hours flight time, was the

only proper way to show its gratitude. With Mr.

Udvar-Hazy and his family attending, ground for the

new center was broken on 25 October 2000. Actual

construction began the following June.

The 760,000 square foot facility features a large

aviation exhibit hangar which is complemented by a

smaller space exhibit hangar. At the December grand

opening about 80 aircraft and dozens of space artifacts

were on display. This will eventually grow to more than

200 aircraft and 135 spacecraft. In addition to the exhibits,

visitors can enjoy films in the 479-seat IMAX theater, or

observe air traffic at Dulles airport from the 164-foot

Donald E. Engen observation tower.

Even from the outside, the huge hangar, looking like a

massive quonset hut with its rounded roof, beckons

enthusiasts to come in and be astounded. Many of the

Smithsonian’s most prized aviation artifacts, until now

stashed in the Paul Garber facility in suburban Maryland, are

displayed for the generations of personnel who flew them or

38 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

New Air and Space Museum at Dulles:

Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy

Center Opens

Above, an N3N-3

floatplane, left, and an

F4U-1D Corsair

represent U.S. naval

aircraft of the past.

Right, an F8F Bearcat,

modified for civilian air

racing, stands at right in

the foreground of an Air

France Concorde

supersonic transport.

Peter Mersky

fought against them. An example is the B-29 Enola Gay,

which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6

August 1945. The world’s most advanced bomber of its

time, it takes its place in history as one of only two aircraft

(both B-29s) to drop an A-bomb in combat.

Grouped in general sections, a Korea/Vietnam-period

collection features an F-86 and MiG-15, side by side, as

well as an F-4 and MiG-21. Both displays highlight each

pair’s immortal relationship in their specific wars.

Currently displayed in the colors of the Marine squadron

with which it served at the end of its long career, the F-4 is

a bona fide MiG killer, having scored against a North

Vietnamese MiG-21 in June 1972 with Navy Fighter

Squadron 31.

The incredible displays also include a huge SR-71

supersonic reconnaissance aircraft that retained astounding

performance until its retirement. By way of comparison,

another supersonic type is the gleaming white Concorde

on display in Air France livery. This gorgeous aircraft

towers over many of the nearby planes and one can easily

walk under it to view the Concorde’s massive engine


Close by, nestled under the B-29, are a P-47 and P-38.

Surprisingly, the P-38 is relatively small considering its

twin-engine, twin-boomed layout; however, the P-47 is

absolutely huge! One can imagine a 20-year-old second

lieutenant honking that massive fighter around the sky

against a Zero or Focke-Wulfe 190, or sending it into a

dive against a German flak tower.

Readers of Naval Aviation News won’t be disappointed

because the Udvar-Hazy Center features several naval

aircraft. Besides the previously mentioned MiG-killer F-4,

the list includes a Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat, Vought

F4U-1D, Curtiss 1A Gulfhawk, Grumman G-22 Gulfhawk

II and Vought OS2U-3 Kingfisher. The Dash-3 Hellcat is

quite rare; most F6Fs on display elsewhere are later

models. The two Gulfhawks were air show aircraft of the

1930s and demonstrated maneuvers of well-known Navy

and Marine Corps fighters of the period. Of course, the

F4U Corsair needs no introduction to Navy and Marine

Corps enthusiasts.

The WW I period also includes several interesting types,

including a Nieuport 28. While having a combat history

only with the U.S. Air Service, this elegant little fighter

also served briefly with the U.S. Navy immediately after

the war, flying from gun-turret platforms aboard battleships

and cruisers.

Next time you’re in the national capital area, make time

to see the new museum. Plans include a shuttle bus that

will move between the National Mall and the Udvar-Hazy

Center. But it’s not hard to reach from either local or

interstate roads. The experience is well worth the trip.

For more information log on to

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 39



Cdr. Paul S. Dillman of

CARGRU-5 received the Air Medal

with Combat Distinguishing

Device for heroic achievement in

Operation Iraqi Freedom.

VP-66 won the 2003 Reserve P-3

Liberty Bell competition held at

NAS North Island, Calif. The annual

tactical event tests the aircrew and

ordnance load teams’ proficiency in

a variety of warfighting areas.

John C. Stennis (CVN 74)

received the Pacific Fleet’s annual

Ship’s Store Retail and Service

Excellence Award while Theodore

Roosevelt (CVN 71) and Kearsarge

(LHD 3) were named the Atlantic

Fleet’s “Best of Class” winners. The

award recognizes outstanding

professionalism and contributions

made by ship’s store personnel in

improving the quality of life for

their shipmates.

The 2003 Secretary of Defense

Maintenance Award recognizes

outstanding achievements in

military equipment and weapon

systems maintenance by

organizations of the military

services. Naval Aviation commands

were among the winners in every

competitive category, including:

Small, VFA-81; Medium, MALS-

12; and Large, MALS-14.

40 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

Edited by JOSN Brandy Lewis

AMS1 Kevin Peck

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 41

Facing page, two HH-60H helicopters assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Special Squadron (HCS) 5 fly over a

hardened aircraft structure heralding “Fly Navy” at Baghdad International Airport, Iraq. Below, Chief Petty Officer

William Kruppa of HCS-5 mans a machine gun during a flight over Baghdad.

SSgt. Stacy L. Pearsall

42 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

Capt. Patrick Driscoll makes his last

arrested landing, below, as Commander

Carrier Air Wing 5 aboard Kitty Hawk

(CV 63), handing over the reigns to

Capt. Joseph Aucoin during a unique

airborne change of command

ceremony. Left, Rear Admiral James

Kelly, Commander Carrier Group 5 pins

the Legion of Merit on Capt. Driscoll for

his meritorious service as COMCVW-5.

PHAN Bo Flannigan

PH3 Jason T. Poplin

During a 3 December

2003 ceremony at the

Pima Air and Space

Museum, Tuscon, Ariz.,

Navy pilot Charles D.

Cain was awarded the

Navy’s Meritorious

Public Service Medal for

his efforts in restoring

the last remaining WW IIera

Martin PBM-5A

Mariner flying boat.





































The Atlantic Fleet Retention

Excellence Award acknowledges

superior levels of retention. Aviation

community winners were:

Ships and Shore Commands

AIMD Key West, Fla.

AIMD Oceana, Va.

ASD Brunswick, Maine

ASD Key West, Fla.

ASD Mayport, Fla.

BR Med Clinic NAS Oceana, Va.

COMCARGRU-6 (staff)


Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)

Enterprise (CVN 65)

Iwo Jima (LHD 7)

NAS Brunswick, Maine


Nassau (LHA 4)



George Washington (CVN 73)

surpassed 100,000 traps on 19

November 2003.

LCdr. Joel Janopoulus of CVW-

1 made his 500th career trap, aboard

Enterprise (CVN 65), on 5

November 2003 in an F/A-18


VFA-195 surpassed 21 years and

90,000 Class A mishap-free hours in

September 2003.

VAW-77 CO Cdr. John Winkler

surpassed 3,000 flight hours in the

E-2C Hawkeye on 26 October 2003.

VR-52 surpassed 6,564 Class A

mishap-free hours in 2003.


In November 2003, 40-year-old

Panamanian civilian Jose Hernandez

experienced decompression

sickness, commonly known as the

“bends,” while diving 350 miles off

the coast of Costa Rica. An SH-60B

Seahawk helicopter from the

HSL-43 detachment deployed on

board McCampbell (DDG 85) flew

to Rentz (FFG 49) to pick up the

injured diver and then returned to

McCampbell. Later, a P-3 Orion

provided overhead coverage and

communication relay for the helo as

it then flew from McCampbell to a

civilian hospital in Panama City,

Fla., where the victim was treated in

a decompression chamber.


In November 2003, the Naval Air

Systems Command celebrated the

25th anniversary of the F/A-18

Hornet’s first flight.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 43



NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., retired its 9E8E singleplace

underwater egress trainer on 14 November

2003. Capt. Stephen Black, above, is one of more than

8,300 aircrew personnel who trained in the “Dilbert

Dunker” since it was put into use in 1984 as part of the

Aviation Survival Training Center’s curriculum. The

device impacts the water, submerges and turns upside

down while the student is strapped in the “cockpit.” The

9E8E trainer was retired when the Naval Operational

Medicine Institute opened a new $4.5 million state-ofthe-

art Aircrew Water Survival Training Facility at

Whidbey Island in mid-January 2004. A multiplace

underwater egress trainer that can seat multiple fliers, a

parachute overwater trainer and a parachute drag and

helicopter trainer is part of the new pool complex.

PH2 Michael Watkins

44 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

CCG-7: RAdm. Patrick M. Walsh

relieved RAdm. Matt Moffit,

15 Nov 03.

CPRW-5: Capt. Daniel G. Lynch

relieved Capt. James C. Grunewald,

12 Dec 03.

CVW-5: Capt. Joseph Aucoin

relieved Capt. Patrick Driscoll,

5 Dec 03.

HT-18: Lt. Col. Ronald J. Colyer,

USMC, relieved Cdr. David Schnell,

13 Nov 03.

LHA-5: Capt. Pam A. Markiewicz

relieved Capt. Dennis D. DuBard,

14 Aug 03.

LPD-9: Capt. Todd A. Zecchin

relieved Capt. Bradley E. Johanson,

11 Dec 03.

TACRON 22: Cdr. Jeffery C.

Smith relieved Cdr. Steven G.

Brockett, 21 Nov 03.

VAQ-137: Cdr. Jeff Ruth relieved

Cdr. Brian Glackin, 30 Oct 03.

VF-11: Cdr. W. Scott Moyer

relieved Cdr. Leif E. Lagergren,

7 Nov 03.

VFA-27: Cdr. Jay Bynum relieved

Cdr. Gary Shoman, 29 Aug 03.

VFA-204: Cdr. James Kuhn

relieved Cdr. Thomas L. Egbert,

31 Jan.

VS-24: Cdr. Tom Fasanello

relieved Cdr. Brad Robinson,

16 Dec 03.


Tom McFalls’ squadron of “helicopters”

can be seen from the air in late fall

through spring. The NADEP Cherry

Point, N.C., aeronautical engineer

increased the display from one to four

birds in 2003 to honor service members

stationed on foreign soil. His message,

made from grass and dirt, greets aircraft

crews who fly over his private airstrip

near MCAS New River, N.C.


Tom McFalls


1–2 Fort Lauderdale, FL

8–9 NAS Atlanta, GA

15–16 Andrews AFB, MD

22–23 NAS Kingsville, TX

26 U.S. Naval Academy, MD

29–30 Calverton, NY


5–6 Myrtle Beach, SC

12–13 Bermuda

19–20 Oklahoma City, OK

26–27 Elmendorf AFB, AL


3–4 Traverse City, MI

9–10 Pensacola Beach, FL

17–18 Rochester, NY

24–25 Peoria, IL

30 Helena, MT


1 Helena, MT

7–8 Seattle, WA

21–22 Chicago, IL

28–29 TBD


4–6 St. Louis, MO

11–12 Shearwater, Nova Scotia

18–19 Nantucket, MA

25–26 NAS Oceana, VA


2–3 Salinas, CA

9–10 MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI

16–17 MCAS Miramar, CA

23–24 NAS New Orleans, LA

30–31 NAS Jacksonville, FL


6–7 Key West, FL

12–13 NAS Pensacola, FL

PHAN Mark Rebilas

The Blue Angels are accepting officer applications until 30

April for two demonstration pilots (both Navy and Marine), an

events coordinator, a Marine C-130 pilot (for “Fat Albert,” above

at MCAS Miramar, Calif.), a flight surgeon, a supply officer and

an administrative/executive officer. Enlisted applications for the

E-5 and E-6 levels in all aviation ratings and E-5 and E-6 yeoman

billets will be accepted until 1 April. Application details and

additional information are available at

Scan Pattern

The Center for Naval Aviation

Technical Training (CNATT) is

one of 13 “learning centers” under

Naval Personnel Development

Command, Norfolk, Va., which is

responsible for developing and

maintaining the sailor continuum.

One of CNATT’s newest initiatives

involves identifying aviation

technical training devices for

possible conversion to computer

simulation. If implemented, it could

result in lower training costs,

reduced training time and a quicker

turnaround time for students headed

to the fleet. Simulation allows the

students to make mistakes with little

or no down time. For instructors and

administrators who maintain this

equipment, correcting problems

could be as easy as pushing the reset


The Naval Aviation

Schools Command has

streamlined the naval

aircrew (NAC) training

program that prepares

1,575 graduates for flight

duty each year. Those who

decide that NAC training is

not for them are permitted

to drop on request while at

Recruit Training Command

Great Lakes, Ill., rather

than wait until they reach

the school in Pensacola,

Fla. This initiative frees up

a billet for a recruit who

has been waiting for a slot,

and it saves the government

the expense of moving

personnel to Pensacola. In

addition, a physical

readiness test for potential

aircrew members has been

added to the recruit manual.

It is modeled after the

existing SEAL (sea-airland)

program with


requirements. Also, senior

aircrewmen are being

stationed at Great Lakes to

teach NAC candidates

about choosing Naval

Enlisted Codes. Serving as

subject-matter experts,

NAC instructors talk with

candidates and show them

videos to educate them

about the aircrewman

career path. AW2 Kenneth Hayman loads a .50 caliber machine gun with ammunition in an

SH-60F Seahawk aboard George Washington (CVN 73).

PHAN Joan Kretschmer

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 45

46 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004

By JO3 Delwyn X. Campbell

The 58-year-old aircraft carrier Midway (CV 41),

which last saw service in April 1992, has a new

mission. Midway, which participated in combat

operations from the Korean War to Desert Storm,

arrived at Navy Pier 10 in San Diego, Calif., in

January 2004. Now renamed the San Diego Aircraft

Carrier Museum, the former warship will educate

visitors about the role of U.S. Naval Aviation in our

nation’s defense. Among the activities planned for the

floating museum, youth groups will be invited to spend

the night on board as part of the Overnight Exploration

Program. During their time aboard the ship, they will

work in the galley, tour the engine and boiler rooms

and participate in team-building activities. They will

also view historical collections and exhibits and take

part in interactive displays, a learning laboratory and

an aircraft flight simulator. The museum is expected to

open to the public in the spring 2004.

Spectators watch as the carrier Midway is moved into

her final berth where she will be the centerpiece of

the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum.




By JOCS (SW) Doug Hummel

Aviation Electronics Technician Second

Class Kristopher M. Micon, a

production supervisor in the avionics division of the

Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department at NAS

JRB Willow Grove, Pa., didn’t want to give up his

dream of earning a college degree. He applied for a

program that would pay him while he attended school

full-time. After spending almost a year preparing his

package for submission, he was selected for the

Seaman to Admiral 21 (STA-21)

commissioning program, which gives

sailors the opportunity to receive a college

education while continuing to receive a

paycheck with full military benefits. STA-21 also

gives a sailor $10,000 a year to cover expenses as a

college student. After receiving their degree, students

are commissioned as ensigns. Micon advises anyone

thinking about applying to the program to take

advantage of the opportunity. For more information on

this program, visit

AT2 Kristopher M. Micon conducts a test on the

magnetic anomaly detector compensator at his

test bench in the AIMD avionics shop. Micon

will be moving from the test bench to the

classroom in April as he was selected to

participate in the Seaman to Admiral 21

commissioning program.

Cdr. Thomas Halley,

Strike Fighter Squadron

82 CO, pilots the

squadron’s air show

F/A-18 Hornet which

sports a brand-new

paint scheme. The

squadron is currently

conducting operations

in the Arabian Gulf in

support of Operation

Iraqi Freedom.

LCdr Peter R. Catalano

PHCS Mahlon K. Miller



Reed, Robert T. Lost Black Sheep: The Search for

WWII Ace Chris Magee. Hellgate Press/PSI

Research, Central Point, OR 97502. 2001. 246 pp. Ill.

$24.95. Chris Magee flew Corsairs with Pappy Boyington’s

“Black Sheep” of VMF-214 and with nine kills,

was second only to Pappy as the squadron’s top

ace. In a well-known photo, Magee is shown posing with

Boyington on the CO’s F4U while trading playing cards

stamped with the Rising Sun insignia for several baseball

caps. The setup was to publicize the St. Louis Cardinals’

offer of a cap for every Japanese plane shot down.

The author is the son of Chris Magee, a fact that he

discovered later in life. This well-done biography takes

Magee’s life from the beginning in Chicago and his

desire to fly combat before the United States entered

WW II and beyond. He was so anxious that he went to

Canada and trained with the Royal Canadian Air Force,

only to come home after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor,

Hawaii, and join the Marine Corps. His wartime service,

for which he received the Navy Cross, is well chronicled.

Magee left the Corps in October 1945. Three years

later, he was in Israel fighting for that new country’s

independence as one of its first fighter pilots. He flew the

Avia S-199, a bastardized Messerschmitt 109 with a

bomber engine that produced massive torque and an

unforgiving nature.

Chris Magee had trouble finding himself after his

military service, and he ended up on the wrong side of

the law, eventually going to prison after a series of bank

robberies—a huge downfall for such a colorful hero.

How the author discovered his father and joined the

“Black Sheep” family is an important part of this book.

This small volume is a good source of information about

VMF-214 as Reed had help from many of the surviving


Wildenberg, Thomas. All the Factors of Victory: Adm.

Joseph Mason Reeves and the Origins of Carrier

Airpower. Brassey’s, Inc., 22841 Quicksilver Dr.,

Dulles, VA 20166. 2003. 326 pp. Ill. $27.50. Bull Reeves is one of those seminal, but shadowy

figures of Naval Aviation. The face on the dust

jacket that stares back at the reader might be a

familiar, but unknown visage sporting a neatly trimmed

white goatee and moustache. In the black-and-white

photograph, the officer appears as a rear admiral with

two rows of the large ribbons of pre-Vietnam style and

what might be mistaken for the wings of a Naval Aviator.

In reality, the wings are silver, not gold, and represent his

designation as a naval aviation observer, not a pilot. He

sometimes shows up in various period photos, and was

even portrayed in the 1945 Gary Cooper film Task Force.

The author of this heavily researched biography has

produced an account of an era that is seldom discussed.

The United States had mostly given up its tenuous

leadership in military aviation shortly after the Wright

Brothers’ first flight, and it would not regain that position

until the middle of WW II. In the intervening 40 years,

Naval Aviation had come about through British

persistence in developing the aircraft carrier and using it

in the last years of WW I. Every major nation took note

of British experiences and soon several other countries

were planning air-capable ships. America was certainly

in on this important development, but was held back by

the traditional turf-guarding of surface-ship admirals. The

carrier was initially limited in the United States to one

converted collier, Langley (CV 1).

Young Joe Reeves had graduated from the Naval

Academy and established himself as a superb

engineering and gunnery officer. He had seen combat and

acquitted himself well during the Battle of Santiago in

the Spanish-American War of 1898. Working his way up

the promotion ladder during a time when officers sat for

examination to be promoted, Reeves showed his unique

abilities time and again, and found himself at Naval

Aviation’s doorstep.

He was fully engaged in the mid-1920s developing

tactics and operational procedures. The author describes

this important but little-known period, including new

aircraft like the Boeing and Curtiss fighters of the time.

In June 1927, Reeves became the first “aviator” to

become a flag officer and by 1933 he was wearing four

stars. Oddly, his career seems to have been complete by

the time America entered WW II, although he answered

a recall and served in a variety of staff and committee


Like many senior naval officers of his generation,

Reeves took a flight course that, while not training him

to actually pilot aircraft, gave him a solid appreciation of

the skills required to fly, particularly from a carrier’s

flight deck. He threw himself into the role of champion

for this new “weapon system.”

Wildenberg’s detailed text is a compendium of the

turn-of-the-century Navy that will be of interest to a

wider audience. Reeves quickly showed himself to be a

highly capable tinkerer and designer. He was always

trying to better the equipment with which he was

involved, and was also a good leader who looked after

his men. I highly recommend this look at one of Naval

Aviation’s most important personalities.

Naval Aviation News March–April 2004 47


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

WW II Memorial


The four-day “Tribute to a

Generation,” from 27 to 30 May, will

the feature formal dedication of the

National World War II Memorial on 29

May. Events include a National WW II

Reunion, exhibitions, military

performances and an interfaith

memorial service at the Washington

National Cathedral. Log on to or call

800-639-4992 for more information.

Following the kickoff, “America

Celebrates the Greatest Generation”

activities will run until Labor Day

2004 with more than 60 WW IIthemed

exhibitions, performances,

walking tours and hotel packages in

Washington, D.C., and throughout the

region. For details, visit www.americas

Ejection Histories Sought

As part of a wider history research

project begun in the early 1980s on the

development and use of assisted

aircrew escape systems, a private

researcher is compiling a

comprehensive listing of all known

aircraft ejections, successful and

unsuccessful, including names, dates

and photos of the pilot and crew. He

wishes to contact the involved aircrews

or witnesses from around the world to

obtain memories of the event. Contact

Mike Bennett, Escolbrook, 106 Main

Street, Clifton Campville, Tamworth,

Staffordshire B79 0AP England; email

USS Hornet Museum

Unveils TBM

During a 29 November 2003 public

ceremony, the USS Hornet Museum

unveiled a restored TBM Avenger. The

largest WW II type of aircraft to fly off

the Essex-class carrier Hornet (CV 12),

the TBM was restored to static display

status wearing the paint scheme of VT-

17, one of Hornet’s torpedo bomber

squadrons during WW II. TBM BuNo

69375 was manufactured in October

1944 by the Eastern Aircraft Division

of General Motors, and was retired

from active service on 12 June 1956

and stricken from the Navy inventory

on 29 August 1956. She then served as

a fire bomber for the U.S. Forest

Service until the late 1970s, and was

subsequently purchased by the Aircraft

Carrier Hornet Foundation in June

1998. The aircraft was restored

by the Hornet AirGroup,

volunteers dedicated to the

restoration and preservation of

naval aircraft. For more

information about Hornet’s

aircraft and the USS Hornet

Museum, please call 510-521-



PBM Mariner/P5M

Marlin, 6–9 MAY, Arlington,

VA. POC: E. Doug Anderson,

1101 S. Arlington Ridge Rd.,

Arlington, VA 22202; 703-892-5893;

Franklin D. Roosevelt

(CVB/CVA/CV 42), 12–16 MAY,

Albuquerque, NM. POC: Robert

McCauley, 9836 Kernville Dr., Las

Vegas, NV 89134; 800-437-0869.

Ranger (CVA/CV 61), 3–6 JUN,

Branson, MO. POC: Jerry Ziegler, 101

Heile Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45215; 513-

733-3655; duntrucken36@

USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Assn.,

8–11 JUL, Reno, NV. Call 781-337-


48 Naval Aviation News March–April 2004


“West View Toward Lincoln Memorial,” a watercolor by Joe McKendry, illustrates

how the WW II memorial nestles within double rows of elm trees flanking the

Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. The memorial’s most prominent features are

the ceremonial entrance, two memorial arches (Atlantic and Pacific) and 56 pillars,

the Freedom Wall and Field of Gold Stars commemorating more than 400,000

Americans lost, and the rebuilt Rainbow Pool and complementary waterworks.


Nov–Dec 03

Page 7: the E-2C Hawkeye that suffered a

mishap on 14 August 2003 was assigned to Defense

Contract Management Agency, Southeast Aircraft

Operations, St. Augustine, Fla.

Page 40: 2002 Battle E winners HS-5 (LANT)

and HS-15 (PAC) were inadvertently omitted. HSL-

42 (LANT) received the Battle E vice HSL-24.

Jan–Feb 04

Page 8: the E-2C Group 0 Hawkeye is still

flying with reserve units VAWs 77 and 78.

A N A P h o t o C o n t e s t

The Association of Naval Aviation’s (ANA)

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; or email Cash Awards:

Bimonthly—$100. Annual—First, $350; Second,

$250; Third, $150.

Above, Bob Lawson won the bimonthly photo contest with his shot of a training command TA-4 Skyhawk launching

during carrier quals. The 2003 annual photo contest winner is printed on this issue’s front cover.