VA-304

VA-304
(VF-879, VA-20G1, VA-879)

Point of Contact - Squadron Duty Officer (SDO)

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


David Sheeley

David Sheeley

Paul Velltman
 

1971
Stephan Garnaud

Provided by John Gabbard

1994
Paul Velltman
 

A-6C
John Gabbard

Provided by John Gabbard

Provided by John Gabbard
 
 
Provided by John Gabbard
 


Patch

  • VF-879 patch from David Sheely.
  • VA-879 Leaping Lizard patch from David Sheely.
  • VA-879 Leaping Lizard patch from Paul Velltman.
  • 1971 VA-304 Firebird patch from Stephen Garnaud.
  • 1970 - 1994 VA-304 Firebird patch from Paul Velltman.


Handle

  • Leaping Lizards
  • 1970 - 1994 - Fire Birds.


Heritage

  • Reserve Fighter Unit EIGHT SEVEN NINE (VF-879) was established in the late 1940's.
  • 1961 Reserve Fighter Unit EIGHT SEVEN NINE (VF-879) was redesignated Reserve Attack Squadron EIGHT SEVEN NINE (VA-879).
  • 1968 Reserve Attack Squadron EIGHT SEVEN NINE (VA-879) was redesignated Reserve Attack Squadron TWENTY G ONE (VA-20G1).
  • July 1, 1970 Reserve Attack Squadron THREE ZERO FOUR (VA-304) Firebirds established at Naval Air Station Alameda, California, using assets of Reserve Attack Squadron TWENTY G ONE (VA-20G1).
  • 198? Reserve Attack Squadron THREE ZERO FOUR (VA-304) was redesignated Reserve Fighter Attack Squadron THREE ZERO FOUR (VFA-304).
  • 1994 Reserve Fighter Attack Squadron THREE ZERO FOUR (VFA-304) disestablished.


Home Ports

  • >Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
  • Late 1940's- - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Oakland
  • 1961 - - - - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Alameda


Air Wings

  • Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
  • 1970 - - - - - - - - - - NG - - - - - - - - CVWR-30 Reserves


Deployments Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:

  • No info to date

 


Aircraft

 

  • Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
  • 194? - - - - - - - - - - F4U-4B Vought Corsair I.
  • 1950 - - - - - - - - - - F6F Grumman Hellcat (VF-879).
  • 195? - - - - - - - - - - FJ-1 North American Fury
  • 195? - - - - - - - - - - F2H McDonnell Banshee
  • 1961?- - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk *
  • 196? - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
  • July 1, 1970 - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
  • July 15, 1970- - - - - - Douglas A-4L Skyhawk
  • 6 Aug 1971 - - - - - - - A-7A Chance Vought Corsair II
  • Sep 1977 - - - - - - - - A-7B Chance Vought Corsair II
  • Sep 1986 - - - - - - - - A-7E Chance Vought Corsair II
  • Jul 1988 - - - - - - - - KA-6D
  • Aug 1988 - - - - - - - - A-6E
  • 19?? - - - - - - - - - - F/A-18 Boeing Hornet
  • * November 30, 1962
    • The A4D-2N designation changed to A-4C


    Commanding Officers

    • Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
    • 1 July 1970 - - - - - - - - CDR John H. Thompson
    • 1 Jul 1971- - - - - - - - - CDR Peter L. Hammes
    • 21 Jan 1973 - - - - - - - - CDR Jerry V. Kirk
    • 20 Jul 1974 - - - - - - - - CDR Raymond G. Blake
    • 17 Jan 1976 - - - - - - - - CDR David M. Boaz
    • Jan 1978- - - - - - - - - - CDR Matthew A. McCarthy
    • 20 Oct 1979 - - - - - - - - CDR Frank J. Bender
    • Jun 1981- - - - - - - - - - CDR R. F. Bush
    • Mar 1983- - - - - - - - - - CDR D. B. Ashworth
    • Sept 1984 - - - - - - - - - CDR Thomas A. Hearn
    • 20 Apr 1986 - - - - - - - - CDR Donald K. Simmons
    • 26 Apr 1987 - - - - - - - - CDR Daniel R. Kestly
    • 16 Oct 1988 - - - - - - - - CDR Michael F. Dibello
    • 20 May 1990 - - - - - - - - CDR John R. Hines, Jr.
    • 16 Nov 1991 - - - - - - - - CDR Robert S. Mull, Jr.
    • 22 May 1993 - - - - - - - - CDR William A. Roig
    • 25 Jun 1994 - - - - - - - - CDR Craig C. Groom


    Events

    • 194?:
      Fighter Squadron EIGHT SEVEN NINE (VF-879) (reserves) was established at Naval Air Station Oakland, California in the late 1940's. VF-879 was assigned the Vought F4U-4B Corsair I.

    • 1950(?):
      VF-879 was assigned the F6F Grumman Hellcat.

    • 195?:
      VF-879 was assigned the FJ-1 North American Fury.

    • 195?:
      VF-879 was assigned the F2H McDonnell Banshee.

    • 3 AUG 1960:
      'I have come across a decal and photo (my father's) as related to the Leaping Lizards. This particular VF-879 decal would have been used by the squadron just prior to there transitioning from the Banshee to the Skyhawk in 1961. ...... group photo of the squadron with the Banshee in the background.'
      David Sheeley, son of a Naval Aviator.
    • 1961:
      Naval Air Station Oakland, California was renamed Naval Air Station Alameda. VF-879 was assigned the Douglas A4D-1 Skyhawk.
    • 196?:
      VA-879 was assigned the Douglas A-4B Skyhawk.
    • 1969:
      VA-879 was redesignated VA-20G1? (reserves). VA-20G1? was assigned the A-4C Skyhawk.
    • April 1, 1970:
      VA-20G1? was redesignated Attack Squadron THREE ZERO FOUR (VA-304) (reserves). VA-304 was assigned the Douglas A-4C Skyhawk.
    • 1 July 1970
      Attack Squadron (VA-304) was established at Naval Air Station Alameda. The squadron consists of twelve Ling-Temco-Vought A-7B Corsair II's.
      VA-304 is a squadron of Reserve Carrier Air Wing Thirty (CVWR-30), also headquartered at NAS Alameda.

      Since its inception, the squadron has built a reputation as the performance leader in the Naval Air Reserve Community. In LATWINGPAC Bombing Derby competition, held at NAS Fallon, NV, VA-304 captured the Silver Bomb Award as the best A-7A/B squadron in four of the six derbies in which it competed.

    • 1971
      VA-304 was assigned the A-7B Corsair II

    • 28 Sep 1982:
      the squadron exceeded eight years and 27,500 accident free flight hours. This safety milestone is the second longest sustained record for both Active Fleet and Naval Air Reserve A-7 squadrons.

    • 1986
      VA-304 transitioned from the A-7B to the A-7E

    • 1986
      VA-304 was assigned the A-6E and the KA-6D

    • May 1987:
      VA-304 operated from the Canadian Forces Base at Edmonton, Alberta, while participating in exercise Rendezvous 87-Bold Warrior. The exercise was a mock full-scale battle between elements of the Canadian Armed Forces with VA-304 acting as an aggressor force.

    • 1994:
      Attack Squadron THREE ZERO FOUR (VA-304) disestablished.


    Awards

    • Award - - Inclusive Dates - Covering Unit Award:

    • MUC - - - - 1 Nov 1973 - - - - 30 Nov 1975

    • NAVE - - - 1 Jul 1974 - - - - - 30 Sep 1976

    • Since its inception, the squadron has built a reputation as the performance leader in the Naval Air Reserve Community. In LATWINGPAC Bombing Derby competition, held at NAS Fallon, NV, VA-304 captured the Silver Bomb Award as the best A-7A/B squadron in four of the six derbies in which it competed.

    • VA-304 has received the Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award, presented by the Chief of Naval Reserve to the most outstanding Naval Air Tailhook squadron in the United States. In addition, the squadron has twice won the Noel Davis trophy as the most efficient attack squadron in the Naval Air Reserve.

    • VA-304 was awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) by Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf for the period of 1 November 1973 through 30 November 1975, for distinguishing itself by meritorious achievement as the Outstanding Naval Air Reserve Squadron.

    • Attack Squadron 304 was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award (Navy "E" Ribbon) for the period 1 July 1974 through 30 September 1976, winning the fleet-wide eighteen month competitive cycle of exercises, testing all phases of battle readiness.

    • During the tenure of Commanding Officer CDR John R. Hines Jr. (20 May 1990 - 16 November 1991) VA-304 was awarded the Golden Anchor for retention and two consecutive "Silver Bullet" Awards for Ordnance Department Excellence.

     

    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.

    Jun 1962 Five pilots from VA-879, Alameda, gather in front of Skyhawk BuNo 142154, 6G-107, after flight at NAAS Fallon. All five are United Airline pilots who fly Skyhawks on the weekends. BuNo 142227 at left.
    Naval Aviation News Photo.


    AUG 1964: NATU Alameda LTS Dave Luna, Dewey Powell and Dennis Heckerson check map before flight as they stand by Skyhawk BuNo 142758.


    Sources:

     

    • Stephen Garnaud
    • William E. Nelson, Captain USNR (Ret)
    • Paul Velltman
    • Huel Bowen
    • David Sheeley
    A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit:
    • Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk
      • 145100 c/n 12346
        • 07 Apr 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 29 Jun 1971 - MARDT - NAS Alameda, CA
      • 145111 c/n 12357
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 18 Sep 1971 - MARTD - NAS Alameda, CA
      • 145118 c/n 12364
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 10 Jul 1971 - VC-2 - NAS Oceana, VA
      • 145125 c/n 12371
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 17 Aug 1971 - VA-305 - NAS Point Mugu, CA
      • 145129 c/n 12375
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 20 May 1970 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
      • 145132 c/n 12378
        • 07 Apr 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 27 Jul 1971 - VC-2 - NAS Oceana, VA
      • 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
      • 147761 C/N 12525
        • 04 Aug 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 22 Sep 1970 - VA-304 - Convert to A-4L
        • 06 Feb 1971 - MARTD - NAS Memphis, TN
      • 147845 C/N 12609
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 03 Dec 1970 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
      • 148311 C/N 12621
        • 04 Aug 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 28 Dec 1970 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
      • 148467 C/N 12660
        • 04 Sep 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 05 Dec 1970 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
      • 148513 C/N 12706
        • 12 Jan 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 25 Jun 1971 - MARTD - NAS Alameda, CA
      • 148525 C/N 12718
        • 30 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 13 Apr 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
    • Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk
      • 148526 C/N 12719
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 17 Jul 1971 - NAS - NAS Glynco, GA
      • 148528 C/N 12721
        • 12 Jan 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, Ca
        • 22 Jul 1971 - MARTD - NAS South Weymouth, MA
      • 148529 C/N 12722
        • 17 Jan 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 22 Jul 1971 - MARTD - NAS South Weymouth, MA
      • 148610 C/N 12803
        • 08 Jan 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 24 Jun 1971 - MARTD - NAS Alameda, CA
      • 149493 c/n 12818
        • 16 Jan 1971 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 07 Aug 1971 - MARTD - NAS South Weymouth, MA
      • 149500 c/n 12825
        • 06 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 28 Aug 1970 - VA-304 - Convert to A-4L
        • 11 Feb 1971 - MARTD - NAS Jacksonville, FL
      • 149506 c/n 12831
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 16 Feb 1971 - VA-304 - Convert to A-4L
        • 14 Aug 1971 - NAS - NAS Glenview, IL
      • 149522 c/n 12847
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 19 Mar 1971 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
      • 149540 c/n 12865
        • 22 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 22 Oct 1970 - VA-304 - Convert to A-4L
        • 20 Feb 1971 - MARTD - NAS Memphis, TN
      • 149577 c/n 12902
        • 08 Sep 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 22 Oct 1970 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
      • 149626 c/n 12951
        • 01 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 15 Jul 1970 - VA-304 - Convert to A-4L
        • 26 Oct 1970 - MARTD - NAS Jacksonville, FL
      • 149642 c/n 12967
        • 04 Aug 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 26 Aug 1970 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
      • 150592 c/n 13003
        • 07 Aug 1970 - VA-304 - NAS Alameda, CA
        • 24 Jun 1971 - MARTD - NAS Alameda, CA

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