NADC Warminster

Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, PA

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LT Kenneth "Kenny" Wetzel, United States Navy

Naval Aviator Wings
Sailor playing TAPS
23 JULY 1974

On July 23, 1974, Lt Kenneth "Kenny" Wetzel took off in A-4C BuNo 147680 on runway 9, and started to experience a rough running engine. He made a turn back towards NADC, and held the aircraft as long as he could.
The aircraft started to nose over near the intersection of Hatboro and Bristol Rds, Southampton Township, PA, approximately 1/2 mile short of Runway 27.
He ejected, but his parachute deployed over the fireball and he fell to his death.
The aircraft hit the ground, crossed Bristol Road and through the base fence.





NADMC Johnsville
patch from G. Verver

NADC Warminster
patch from G. Verver

NADC Warminster
patch from G. Verver

NADC Technology Dir.
Patch from G. Verver

NAF Warminster
Patch from John Gabbard

Heritage-Patches

In 1944, the Navy acquired the Brewster Aircraft Corporation which consisted of production shops,administration spaces and the adjoining airfield and hangar spaces. The Navy designated the plant the Naval Air Modification Unit (NAMU), a branch of the Naval Air Material Center (NAMC), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The task assigned to NAMU involved quantity conversion and modification of newly produced aircraft prior to delivery to the fleet for combat use. With the end of WW II the need for NAMU vanished and in 1947 it was redesignated as the U. S. Naval Air Development Station (NADS). Expansion of NADS activities necessitated another reorganization along more functional lines as the U. S. Naval Air Development Center (NADC) in 1949. NADC became part of the Naval Air Warfare Center command in 1996 and was closed 31 Mar 1997

Sources

David Weber

Gary Verver

Armand Rubbo, ASCS(SW/AW) USN, ret

Commanding Officers

Jul 43 – Nov 46 - - CAPT R.S. Barnaby

Nov 46 – Jul 47 - - CAPT C.E. Kirkbride

Jul 47 – Jun 50 - - CAPT E.W. Rounds

Jul 50 – Aug 51 - - RADM S.B. Spangler

Oct 51 – Mar 53 - - CAPT R.S. Hatcher

Mar 53 – May 54 - - CAPT C.J. Pfinstag

May 54 – Aug 56 - - CAPT J.A. Haley

Aug 56 – Aug 59 - - CAPT E.E. Fawkes

Sep 59 – Aug 62 - - CAPT H.L. Leon

Aug 62 – Jul 65 - - CAPT A.E. Paddock

Jul 65 – Aug 66 - - CAPT Benjes, Jr.

Aug 66 – Oct 68 - - CAPT B.L. Towle

Oct 68 – Jul 71 - - CAPT F.W. Ewald

Jul 71 – Jun 74 - - CAPT H.B. McCaulley

Jun 74 – Jun 76 - - CAPT G.M. Yowell

Jun 76 – Jun 79 - - CAPT C.M. Rigsbee

Jun 79 – Aug 81 - - CAPT P.L. Dudley, Jr.

Aug 81 – Jul 84 - - CAPT J.B. Anderson

Jul 84 – Jul 87 - - CAPT E.J. Sturm

Jul 87 – Jun 91 - - CAPT C.J. Winters

Jun 91 – May 95 - - CAPT W.L. McCracken

May 95 – Sep 96 - - CAPT M.A. Cosgrove

Awards

No info yet.

Base Tail ID

No info yet.

Hosted Units

No info yet

Aircraft

Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:

1950 - - - - - - - - WV-1

1957 - - - - - - - - WV-2

Unknown- - - - - - - EC-121

Unknown- - - - - - - Lockheed NP-2E

Unknown- - - - - - - Douglas RA-3B

126 May 1969 - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *

5 June 1974- - - - - Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk

29 September 1976- - Douglas A-4M Skyhawk

* November 30, 1962

The A4D-2N designation was changed to A-4C

For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:

Events

1943
U. S. Naval Aircraft Modification Unit (NAMU) Johnsville, PA

1947 Naval Air Development Station (NADS) Johnsville, PA

1949
Naval Air Development Center (NADC) Johnsville, PA

1965
Naval Air Development Center (NADC) Warminster, PA

July 23, 1974
Lt Kenneth "Kenny" Wetzel took off in A-4C BuNo 147680 on runway 9, and started to experience a rough running engine. He made a turn back towards NADC, and held the aircraft as long as he could, ejected but landed in the crash fire ball and perished
Bucks County, PA Courier-Times article
Bucks County, PA Courier-Times article

1996
Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Warminster, PA

31 Mar 1997
NADC Johnsville closed

Photos


NA-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145062 assigned to the Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, PA.

Left front view of Naval Air Development Center A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145062 parked on the ramp.

Left front view of Naval Air Development Center A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145062 with NADC Johnsville designed special delivery containers which are 21 inches in diameter, 9 feet long with a capacity of 500 pounds.

Right front view of Naval Air Development Center A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145062 parked on the ramp.

Left side view of Naval Air Development Center A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145062 parked on the ramp.

Prototype A-4F (NA-4F) Skyhawk assigned to the Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, PA.

Prototype A-4F (NA-4F) Skyhawk BuNo 152101 assigned to the Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, PA.

This photo was provided by the US Navy to John Chesire while he was flying A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145062 at the NADC facility.

Circa 1962: The following seven images are of NADC Johnsville A4D-2N BuNo 145062 - Ordnance is unknown.
Pic1
Pic2
Pic3
Pic4
Pic5
Pic6
Pic7
From Gary Verver Collection.

152865: TA-4F 152865 of VMT-203 undergoing full scale airframe fatigue test at Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, PA. NADC photo from Ron Picciani.


Off-Duty Photos

No info yet.

A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit:

  • Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk
    • 145062 c/n 12308
      • 01 Jun 1972 - NAF - NAF Warminster, PA
      • 01 Jul 1973 - NAF RDT&E - NAF Warminster, PA
      • 30 Jun 1975 - Stricken - 1SO
    • 147680 C/N 12444
      • 16 May 1969 - NAF - NAF Warminster, PA
      • 23 Jul 1974 - Stricken - 1SO
    • 149646 c/n 12971
      • 03 Sep 1975 - NAF RDT&E - NAF Warminster, PA
      • 19 Jan 1977 - NATF - NAS Lakehurst, NJ
  • Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk
    • 152865 C/N 13511
      • 05 Jun 1974 - NASC Rep - NAF Warminster, PA
      • 06 Jun 1974 - Stricken - 3S0

  • Douglas A-4M Skyhawk
    • 158425 c/n 14247
      • 29 Sep 1976 - NAF RDT&E - NAF Warminster, PA
      • 09 Jun 1977 - NPRO - Long Beach, CA

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