VA-303

VA-303 / VFA-303 - Golden Hawks
(VF-876, VA-876, VA20G2)

Point of Contact - Squadron Duty Officer (SDO)

Refer to the CONTACT LIST under "THE ASSOCIATION" drop down menu.


Provided by Gary Galvan

1971
Provided by Paul Veltman

1971
Provided by John Gabbard
 

1984
Provided by Paul Veltman

1984
Provided by John Gabbard

1984
Provided by John Gabbard


Patch

  • 23 February 1972 -- The squadron's insignia was approved by CNO.
    Colors for the hawk insignia are: a blue background outlined by two gold circles with white diamonds between the gold circles; white and red bridge; gold hawk with black markings and a red lightning bolt eminating from its beak.
  • 24 April 1984 -----A modification to the above insignia was approved by CNO.
    The bridge design was replaced by brown mountains with white markings.


Handle

  • 1972-1994 -- Golden Hawks


Heritage

  • Reserve Fighter Unit EIGHT SEVEN SIX (VF-876) was established in the late 1940's.

  • 1961 Reserve Fighter Unit EIGHT SEVEN SIX (VF-876) was redesignated Reserve Attack Squadron EIGHT SEVEN SIX (VA-876).

  • 1968 Reserve Attack Squadron EIGHT SEVEN SIX (VA-876) was redesignated Reserve Attack Squadron TWENTY G TWO (VA-20G2).

  • July 1, 1970 - Reserve Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VA-303) Golden Hawks was established at Naval Air Station Alameda, California, using assets of Reserve Attack Squadron TWENTY G TWO (VA-20G2).

  • 1 January, 1994 - Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VA-303) (reserves) was redesignated Fighter Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VFA-303) (reserves).
  • December 31, 1994 - Fighter Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VFA-303) disestablished.


Home Ports

  • Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
  • Late 1940's- - - - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Oakland, CA
  • 1 July 1970- - - - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Alameda, CA
  • 1 January 1984 - - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Lemoore, CA


strong>Air Wings

  • Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
  • 1 July 1970 - - - - - - - - ND - - - - - - CVWR-30 Reserves


Deployments

  • Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
  • No info yet

 


Aircraft

 

  • Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
  • 194? - - - - - - - - - F4U-4B Vought Corsair I.
  • 195? - - - - - - - - - FJ-1 North American Fury
  • 195? - - - - - - - - - F2H McDonnell Banshee
  • July 1, 1970 - - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
  • July 11, 1970- - - - - Douglas A-4L Skyhawk
  • April 5, 1971 -  - - - A-7A Chance Vought Corsair II
  • August 11, 1977- - - - A-7B Chance Vought Corsair II
  • October 19, 1985 - - - F/A-18A Boeing Hornet
  • Three view drawings from Harry Gann, redrawn by Bud Southworth.
  • * November 30, 1962
    • The A4D-2N designation changed to A-4C

     


    Commanding Officers

    • Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
    • 1 July 1970 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander William E. Nelson
    • 1 July 1971 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Philip H. Benz
    • 21 January 1973 - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Olin A. Gray
    • 14 December 1974- - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Reid T. Melville
    • 19 June 1976- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Alfred F. Talley
    • 17 June 1978- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Thomas E. Gehman
    • 21 June 1980- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Donald P. Smith
    • 1982- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander CDR Harold Shorr
    • 23 July 1983- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Richard A. Banks
    • 1984- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Robert R. Greathouse
    • October 1985- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Jon L. Green
    • 11 April 1987 - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Scott H. Davis
    • 22 October 1988 - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander John S. Wood
    • 19 May 1990 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Charles B. Askey
    • 18 May 1991 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Barry C. Douglas
    • 19 September 1992 - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Ronald J. Smeltzer
    • 8 January 1994- - - - - - - - - - - - - Commander Jeffrey L. Schram


    Events

    • 194x:
      About 1948 a Reserve Fighter Unit EIGHT SEVEN SIX (VF-876) was established at Naval Air Station Oakland, California. The Reserve Fighter Unit was probably assigned the Grumman F6F Hellcat (Whistling Outhouse) for its first aircraft. Sometime during the Korean War (about 1950) the Squadron was assigned the Chance Vought F4U Corsair.
      The 1949 Navy Reserve concept was to attached Reserve Units to a Naval Air Station which held assets such as the aircraft the Reserve Units flew.

    • 195?:
      VF-876 was assigned the FJ-1 North American Fury.

    • 195?:
      VF-876 was assigned the F2H McDonnell Banshee.

    • 1961:
      Naval Air Station Oakland, California was renamed Naval Air Station Alameda. The Reserve Fighter Unit EIGHT SEVEN SIX (VF-876) was redisignated Reserve Attack Squadron EIGHT SEVEN SIX (VA-876) and assigned the Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk.

    • 196?:
      VA-876 was assigned the Douglas A-4B Skyhawk.

    • 1968:
      Reserve Attack Squadron EIGHT SEVEN SIX (VA-876) was redesignated VA-20G2 at Naval Air Station Alameda, California. Reserve Squadron TWENTY G TWO (VA-20G2) was assigned the Douglas A-4C (A4D-2N) Skyhawk.
      Up to this time, a Reserve Unit (Squadron) reported to the Naval Air Reserve Unit on their Naval Air Station. The 1961 Navy Reserve concept had Reserve Squadrons hold their own assets (such as the aircraft the Reserve Squadron flew).

    • July 1, 1970:
      The Navy Reserve Force concept was implemented and Reserve Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VA-303) Golden Hawks was established at Naval Air Station Alameda, California, using assets of Reserve Attack Squadron TWENTY G TWO (VA-20G2).
      For Skyhawk Association purposes Reserve Squadron VA-20G2 was redesignated VA-303 when Naval Air Reserve Units were combined into a newly established Carrier Air Wing 30 (West Coast ND).
      The new VA-304 was assigned the Douglas A-4L Skyhawk.
      About 100 A-4C Skyhawks were re-manufactured into the hot-rod A-4L.

    • April 1971:
      VA-303 was assigned the Chance Vought A-7 Corsair II.

    • November 1975:
      The squadron deployed aboard Ranger (CV 61) for the annual active duty training and as part of CVWR-30's tactical air mobilization test and the operational readiness exercise/inspection to ensure the squadron was seaworthy and combat ready.

    • 19 October 1985:
      VFA-303 was the first reserve squadron to transition to the F/A-18 Hornet. When VA-303 became the first Naval Air Reserve Squadron to transition to the F/A-18 Hornet, the change over took place at NAS Alameda, prior to the squadron leaving for NAS Lemoore.

    • 198?:
      Fighter Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VFA-303) (reserves) moved to Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

    • 25 September - 20 November 1990:
      A detachment of the squadron's F/A-18 Hornets and personnel, along with VFA-305, joined CVW-11 aboard Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) for her transit from Norfolk to Alameda, via Cape Horn.

    • November 1990:
      A detachment of squadron aircraft and personnel deployed to NWC China Lake in direct support of Operation Desert Shield. Provided critical real world electronic warfare test and evaluation missions requiring aircraft fully functional with electronic warfare, Harm missile and electronic countermeasure suites.

    • In early 1993:
      The squadron added the roles of Adversary and Fleet Support to its primary mission.

    • 1 January, 1994:
      Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VA-303) (reserves) was re-designated Fighter Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VFA-303) (reserves). The squadron was assigned the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet.

    • 31 December, 1994:
      Fighter Attack Squadron THREE ZERO THREE (VFA-303) dis-established.


    Awards

    • Award - - - Inclusive Dates -- Covering Unit Award:
    • NAVE - - - 1 July 1971 - - - - - - 31 December 1972
    • NAVE - - - 1 January 1987 - - - 31 December 1987
    • NAVE - - - 1 January 1989 - - - 31 December 1989
    • NAVE - - - 1 January 1991 - - - 31 December 1991

     

    Photographs

    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. On this site you will find all era reserve combat aircraft images in the appropriate squadron photo page, and only non-combat support aircraft images in the reserve station photo page.

    June 1962 NARTU Alameda Skyhawk BuNo 139933 parked on the ramp with a tug moving into position for the tow.
    Naval Aviation News photo

    Reserve assigned aircraft at NAS Alameda.

    Reserve assigned aircraft at NARTU Alameda.
    Sources:

     

    • William E. Nelson, Capt. USNR (Ret)
    • Paul Veltman

    • A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit:
      • Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk
        • 145092 c/n 12338
          • 05 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 24 Sep 1970 - VA-303 - Convert to A-4L
          • 28 Jan 1971 - VA-203 - NAS Jacksonville, FL
        • 145099 c/n 12345
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 12 Feb 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 145100 c/n 12346
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 07 Apr 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 145103 c/n 12349
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 02 Mar 1971 - VA-303 - Convert to A-4L
          • 18 Jul 1971 - MARTD - NAS Glenview, IL
        • 145132 c/n 12378
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 07 Apr 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 145139 c/n 12385
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 05 Feb 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 147687 C/N 12451
          • 21 Jan 1971 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 01 Jun 1971 - VA-305 - NAS Point Mugu, CA
        • 147717 C/N 12481
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 02 Dec 1970 - VA-205 - NAS Atlanta, GA
        • 147748 C/N 12512
          • 13 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 19 Feb 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 147792 C/N 12556
          • 16 Jan 1971 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 08 Jul 1971 - MARTD - MCAS El Toro, CA
        • 148438 C/N 12631
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 22 Jan 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 148464 C/N 12657
          • 24 Jan 1971 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 01 Mar 1971 - VSF-86 - NAS New Orleans, LA
      • Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk (Continued)
        • 148521 C/N 12714
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 10 Mar 1971 - MARTD - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 148536 C/N 12729
          • 13 Feb 1971 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 03 Apr 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 148550 C/N 12743
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 07 Apr 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 148555 C/N 12748
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 11 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - Convert to A-4L
          • 10 Feb 1971 - VA-209 - NAS Glenview, IL
        • 148590 C/N 12783
          • 22 Jan 1971 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 18 Mar 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 148612 C/N 12805
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 30 Mar 1971 - MARTD - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 149595 c/n 12920
          • 16 Aug 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 27 Jan 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 149622 c/n 12947
          • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 07 Apr 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 150585 c/n 12996
          • 16 Aug 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 07 Apr 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
        • 150593 c/n 13004
          • 09 Jul 1970 - VA-303 - NAS Alameda, CA
          • 14 Oct 1970 - VA-303 - Convert to A-4L
          • 01 Feb 1971 - MARTD - NAS Memphis, TN

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