NAS Minneapolis / NAS Twin Cities
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Before 1944 Naval Air Station Minnesota established.
01 JUL 1963: redesignated NAS Twin Cities.
1970: NAS Twin Cities is closed.
1962-63: Twin Cities patch.
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Base Tail ID
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Known units at Naval Air Station Twin Cities - FAS-812, VA-811, VA-813 and VA-5E2; probably established in that order.
194? - - - - - Stearman PT-17.
194? - - - - - North American SNJ Standard Navy Jet.
194? - - - - - Beech SNB Secret Navy Bomber.
194? - - - - - Grumman F4F Wildcat.
194? - - - - - Grumman F6F Hellcat - Whistling Outhouse.
194? - - - - - Grumman TBM Avenger - Turkey.
194? - - - - - Grumman F8F Bearcat - Blue Scooter.
194? - - - - - Douglas AD-1 Skyraider SPAD.
194? - - - - - Douglas AD-5 Skyraider - Lumber Wagon.
194? - - - - - Vought F4U Corsair.
194? - - - - - Lockheed P2V Neptune.
194? - - - - - Douglas R4D Goonie Bird.
195? - - - - - Grumman S2F Tracker - STOOF.
195? - - - - - Grumman F9F-4 Panther.
195? - - - - - Lockheed T2V-1 (T-1A) Seastar.
03 May 1966 - - Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk *
27 May 1963- - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
* November 30, 1962
The A4D-1 designation changed to A-4A
The A4D-2 designation changed to A-4B
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
19??: Naval Air Station Twin Cities established. The base is located on the north side of Wold Chamberlain Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Wold Chamberlain Field is now known as MSP - Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport.
194?: During World War II Naval Air Station Twin Cities was used as a Navy training facility. President George Bush was a student there, flying the PT-17 Stearman there in 1943.
Following World War II, Naval Air Station Twin Cities hosted Naval Reserve units. Some of the reserve units assigned to Naval Air Station Twin Cities were VA-5E2, FAS-812, VA-811 and VA-813.
Dec 1945: The reserve Marine squadron was moved to MCAS El Toro and assigned to Marine Carrier Air Group, Marine Aircraft Group 33. It remained at El Toro until March 1946 when it was decommissioned.
July 1947: The Marine Squadron was recommissioned as Marine Fighter Squadron 234 (VMF-234) at the Naval Air Station, San Diego. The unit operated F-4U Corsairs as part of the Marine Air Reserve Training Command (MARTC). Shortly thereafter, VMF-234 occupied its new home base at the Naval Air Station, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1956: In the 1950's there were a number of Navy jet crashes on or near Naval Air Station Twin Cities. A Grumman F9F Panther crashed northeast of the airport into a residential area. This crash destroyed several houses and killed the families. Earlier there has been another jet crash into the metropolitan area. Finally, in November 1956, another F9F-4 Panther crashed and the Navy moved the T-33B and F9F-4 jets out.
1963: VA-811 and VA-813 were dual reserve squadrons based at Naval Air Station Twin Cities. The two squadrons transitioned from A-1E to A-4B's in 1963. There were also three T-1A's to get everyone jet qualified. Most pilots went on two weeks active duty for training to Naval Air Station Kingsville or Naval Air Station Beeville Texas for that.
August 30, 1963: Lieutenant Dick Dellwo flew the first Skyhawk Naval Air Station Twin Cities acceptance test flight that afternoon in A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142762. Not much was said about the first Navy jet flight in seven years as the base PAO was too gunshy to go out and talk about it.
August 31, 1963: Lieutenant Dick Dellwo flew A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142762 twice this day.
September 8, 1963: A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 144922 flew it's acceptance test flight. This was the second operational Twin Cities Skyhawk. A Commander from Naval Air Station Detroit checked out the Twin City pilots in the Lockheed T-1A Shooting Star. The base Aviation Safety Officer, a helo pilot, was also checked out in the T-1A.
October 1963: Naval Air Station Twin Cities received a third A-4B Skyhawk, BuNo. 144916. Others A-4B Skyhawks followed. One Skyhawk was assigned to maintenance and did not count against operational availability. The Twin Cities A-4B Skyhawk complement was:
BuNo. 142762 (1st A-4B to arrive August 30, 1963)
BuNo. 144916 (3rd A-4B to arrive in October 1963
BuNo. 144922 (2nd A-4B to arrive September 8, 1963)
October 1963: The three Lockheed T-1A (T2V-1) Seastars were BuNo. 144183, BuNo. 144209 and BuNo. 144214 (a real dog and hangar queen).
November 1963: The A-4B Skyhawk had only TACAN for navigation and instrument approaches to landing. The Minneapolis VORTAC was at Anoka airport 20 miles northwest of Naval Air Station Twin Cities. The Skyhawks only approved instrument approach was a TACAN /BACK COURSE ILS approach to runway 9. GCA (radar Ground Controlled Approach) was the ONLY way in for the Skyhawks in bad weather.
February 4, 1964: A fire at the NAS Minneapolis hangar destroyed A-4B BuNo 142931 and caused extensive damage to the hangar. One workman was injured in the fire, which was caused when a gas tank being repaired exploded.
1965: After trying for two years Naval Air Station Twin Cities received a TACAN trailer from Chu Lai, Vietnam Marine Corps Air Station. It took another year to get the TACAN operational. The instrument approach had a 7 mile arc to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. The instrument approach worked for all four runways. The whole TACAN aquistion was called DELLWO's Folly.
1966: A four-plane flight led by experienced fleet Grumann F9F pilot and North Central Airline driver lost the number 2 man on a section approach to landing. The leader did not brief according to the procedure outlined in the the Flight Training Manual. Old number two stalled/spin/crash/burn/died on final approach to the runway.
March 12, 1967: Cdr. Allen W. Cater parachuted to safety moments before his A-4B BuNo 144975 crashed five miles SW of Fargo, SD, when his controls malfunctioned during a landing approach.
The Marines flew the same aircraft as did the Navy reserve squadrons until they received the C-119's.
The function of the MARTC was to preserve the technical skills in the vast pool of Marine Aviation Specialists returning to civilian life. These technical skills were tested in March 1951 when the squadron personnel were called up to participate in the Korean War. By 23 April 1951, all that remained of VMF-234 at Minneapolis was a mailing address. Over a year later in October 1952, VMF-234 returned to the NAS Twin Cities. In February 1955, the squadron reorganized as a Marine Fighter Squadron flying the Grumman F9F-4 Panther. In May of 1958, '234 received the AD-5 Skyraider and was redesignated a Marine Attack Squadron (VMA-234).
Webmaster note: Prior to 1970, reserve aircraft belonged to the local NARTU or Reserve Naval Air Station. Except for those squadrons on active duty, as in Korea, no reserve squadron "owned" their aircraft, as they were assigned to the NARTU/Station. In 1970, during that reorganization of the reserves into the "Reserve Force" concept, each new squadron was made independent of NARTU (later called NAR), and assigned either to CVWR-20 or CVWR-30. All squadrons were then made in the image of active duty units, with the reserve unit Commanding Officer owning the aircraft and reporting to the CAG.
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A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to NAS:
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to NARTU: