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VB-75 (Vee Bee) Bombing Bees 1945
VA-3B Indians 1946
VA-44 Hornets (ATKRON-44) 1950
VA-44 Hornets 1963
VA-44 Hornets (Attack Squadron 44)
Patches from: Steve Smith, Otto Krueger, Tom Smith, Walt Adams.
VB-75's Bee patch was in use before August 1945.
After being re-designated Attack Squadron Three B (VA-3B) on November 15, 1946, a new indian head and bomb patch was initiated in August 1947. The Indian head and bomb patch represented the bombing and scouting mission of the carrier based squadron.
When the squadron was re-designated VA-44 in 1948 it adopted a patch with a scarlet chess knight centered on a white shield.
VF-44's Hornet patch was first used before December 1952 and approved by CNO on December 11, 1952. This patch was used by both VF-44 and VA-44. The patch had a blue shield with a yellow banner across the shield with the word "Hornets" in red. There are two white playing cards, one with four black clubs and the other with four red hearts - to identify the squadron's designation number. The Hornet is yellow and black with a red eye and white details.
Harry S. Gann.
Peter A. Keery.
Hornets, 1950 to 1970.
June 1, 1945, Bombing Squadron SEVENTY FIVE (VB-75) established.
November 15, 1946, VB-75 re-designated as Attack Squadron THREE B (VA-3B).
September 1, 1948, VA-3B re-designated as Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44).
June 8, 1950, Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44) was disestablished.
September 1, 1950, Fighter Squadron FORTY FOUR (VF-44) established.
January 1, 1956, VF-44 re-designated as Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44).
May 1, 1970, VA-44 was disestablished.
June 1, 1945 - - - - - - - Naval Auxiliary Air Station Chincoteague
March 1946 - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Norfolk
February 12, 1949- - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville
September 1, 1950- - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville
September 19, 1950 - - - - Naval Auxiliary Air Station Cecil Field
October 13, 1952 - - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville
February 18, 1963- - - - - Naval Air Station Cecil Field.
June 1945 - - - - - - - - - - Curtiss SBF-4E Helldiver. ***
August 1945 - - - - - - - - - Curtiss SB2C-4E Helldiver.
March 1946- - - - - - - - - - Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver.
March 20, 1947- - - - - - - - Douglas AD-1 Skyraider.
May 1948- - - - - - - - - - - Douglas AD-1Q Skyraider.
February 25, 1949 - - - - - - Martin AM-1 Mauler.
October 12, 1949- - - - - - - Douglas AD-1 Skyraider.
September 1950- - - - - - - - Vought F4U-5 Corsair I.
December 1, 1951- - - - - - - Vought F4U-4 Corsair I.
December 1953 - - - - - - - - McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee.
April 1956- - - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-8 Cougar. **
January 23, 1958- - - - - - - Grumman F9F-8T (TF-9J) Cougar *
April 16, 1958- - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk *.
June 1958 - - - - - - - - - - Lockheed TV-2 Seastar.
June 1958 - - - - - - - - - - North American T-28B Trojan.
September 1958- - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
January 1959- - - - - - - - - Douglas AD-5 & 6 Skyraider *
February 9, 1960- - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
October 1964- - - - - - - - - Douglas A-4E Skyhawk.
August 3, 1966- - - - - - - - Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk.
November 1969 - - - - - - - - Douglas A-4F Skyhawk.
December 1969 - - - - - - - -
The AD-5 designation changed to A-1E
The AD-6 designation changed to A-1H
The F9F-8T designation changed to TF-9J
The A4D-1 designation changed to A-4A
The A4D-2 designation changed to A-4B
The A4D-2N designation changed to A-4C
** The F9F through the F9F-5 Panther have straight wings; The F9F-6 through the F9F-8 Couger have swept wings.
*** The SBF-4E was a SB2C-4E built by Fairchild of Canada.
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
June 1, 1945 - - - - - - F - - - CVBG-75/CVBG-3/CVG-4*
September 1, 1950- - - - F - - - CVG-4
March 19, 1951 - - - - - T - - - CVG-1
October 8, 1951- - - - - F - - - CVG-4
June 30, 1953- - - - - - - - - - ATG-1
October 9, 1953- - - - - F - - - CVG-4
1957 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - COMFAIRJACKSONVILLE
February 15, 1958- - - - AQ- - - ATG-202
March 15, 1958 - - - - - AD- - - CVG-4/RCVG-4/RCVW-4**
* CVBG-75 was established on June 1, 1945, re-designated CVBG-3 on November 15, 1946; re-designated CVG-4 on September 1, 1948 and disestablished on June 8, 1950.
** CVG-4 was re-designated RCVG-4 in April 1958. On December 20, 1963, RCVG-4 was re-designated RCVW-4
01-08-46 to 03-19-46 - CVBG-75 - CVB 42 - SB2C-4E- - Caribbean/SoLant
08-08-46 to 10-04-46 - CVBG-75 - CVB 42 - SB2C-5 - - Mediterranean
09-13-48 to 01-23-49 - CVG-4 - - CVB 42 - AD-1 - - - Mediterranean
01-06-50 to 05-23-50 - CVG-4 - - CVB 41 - AD-1 - - - Mediterranean
03-20-51 to 10-06-51 - CVG-1 - - CVB 43 - F4U-5- - - Mediterranean
04-19-52 to 10-12-52 - CVG-4 - - CVB 43 - F4U-4- - - Mediterranean
04-26-53 to 12-04-53 - CVG-4/ATG-1* - CVA 39/CVA 21* - F4U-4 - Med/IO/ WestPac/Korea
05-28-55 to 11-22-55 - CVG-4 - - CVA 11 - F2H-2- - - Mediterranean
08-30-57 to 10-22-57 - † - - - - CVS 18 - F9F-8- - - NorLant
* VF-44 deployed to Korea as part of CVG-4 embarked in United States Ship Lake Champlain CVA 39 and conducted its first line period from Lake Champlain. On June 30, 1953, the squadron was transferred to ATG-1 aboard United States Ship Boxer CVA 21. The squadron remained aboard Boxer until October 9, 1953 when it transferred back to CVG-4 and Lake Champlain. † The carrier air group may not have been aboard during this deployment on United States Ship Wasp CVS 18. Antisubmarine carrier air groups were not established until 1960.
June 1, 1945 - - - - - - LT Ben K. Harrison (acting)
June 10, 1945- - - - - - LCDR John W. McManus
December 20, 1946- - - - LCDR Elmer Maul
December 3, 1947 - - - - LCDR Oscar I. Chenoweth, Jr.
January 30, 1949 - - - - LT K. F. Rowell (acting)
February 28, 1949- - - - LCDR Robert N. Miller
September 1, 1950- - - - LCDR J. B. Bain (acting)
September 11, 1950 - - - LCDR P. E. Greenlee, Jr.
December 9, 1951 - - - - LCDR Reid W. Stone
November 10, 1952- - - - LCDR W. D. Houser
November 1953- - - - - - CDR V. P. O'Neil
October 1954 - - - - - - CDR C. A. Crow, Jr.
January 27, 1956 - - - - LCDR Theron J. Taylor
June 1957- - - - - - - - CDR T. R. Sedell
June 30, 1958- - - - - - CDR Clifford A. McDougal
July 14, 1959- - - - - - CDR Damon W. Cooper
July 22, 1960- - - - - - CDR A. L. Detweiler
July 21, 1961- - - - - - CDR W. B. Barrow, Jr.
April 17, 1962 - - - - - CDR M. C. Griffin
March 6, 1963- - - - - - CDR S. W. Callaway, Jr.
May 1964 - - - - - - - - CDR Harold K. Matthes
July 1965- - - - - - - - CDR Max E. Malan
September 22, 1966 - - - CDR James W. Roberts
October 1967 - - - - - - CDR Joe D. Adkins
February 1969- - - - - - CDR J. H. Wynn III
January 1970 - - - - - - CDR Robert E. Holt
09 June 1953 to 27 July 1953
June 1953 to 27 July 1953
09 June 1953 to 27 July 1953
June 1, 1945: Bombing Squadron SEVENTY FIVE (VB-75) established, its first assigned aircraft was the Curtiss SBF-4E Helldiver, which was built under license in Canada.
June 4, 1945: Bombing SEVENTY FIVE began its first flight operations.
January and February 1946: VB-75 deployed aboard United States Ship Franklin D. Roosevelt CVB 42 for her shakedown cruise to the Caribbean and Brazil. While visiting Rio de Janeiro the squadron, air group, and carrier represented the United States of America at the inauguration of Brazilian president, Eurico G. Dutra.
November 15, 1946: VB-75 was re-designated as Attack Squadron THREE B (VA-3B).
March 20, 1947: VA-3B received the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider.
September 1, 1948: Re-designated as Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44).
February 25, 1949: VA-44 received the Douglas AM-1 Mauler.
June 8, 1950: Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44) was disestablished.
September 1, 1950: Fighter Squadron FORTY FOUR (VF-44) was established with the Vought F4U-5 Corsair I.
June 13, 1953: VF-44 Hornets conducted their first combat operations, striking targets in Korea.
December 1953: VF-44 Hornets were assigned the McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee.
January 1, 1956: VF-44 Hornets were re-designated Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44).
April 1956: VA-44 Hornets were assigned the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.September to October 1957: During the squadron's deployment aboard United States Ship Wasp CVS 18, its mission was temporarily changed from attack to a fighter role in order to provide air protection for the VS squadrons operating from the carrier.
February 4, 1958: VA-44 Hornets were assigned the Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk.
June 1, 1958: The squadron's mission changed from light attack to a fleet replacement group (RAG) training squadron. The new mission involved flight training for pilots and maintenance training for enlisted personnel. Under this concept, pilots and enlisted personnel ordered to East Coast fleet A4D squadrons completed the course of instruction provided by VA-44 before reporting to their assigned fleet squadrons. The Hornets were assigned the Lockheed TV-2 Seastar and the North American T-28B Trojan.
June 6, 1958: Fleet All Weather Training Unit Detachment ALFA, an instrument training detachment, was disestablished and its personnel and aircraft were transferred to VA-44.
June 1958: VA-44 Hornets were assigned the North American T-28B Trojan.
August 8, 1958: The squadron graduated its first replacement pilot under the new training program for attack pilots.
September 1958: VA-44 Hornets were assigned the Douglas A4D-2/A-4B Skyhawk.
December 16, 1958: Ens. M.W. "Pat" Patrick ejected safely after the engine in A4D-1 BuNo 142172 flamed out pulling off a rocket firing run and his A4D-1 Skyhawk Baker Boy 325 crashed in a swamp near NAS Jacksonville. From "Pat" Patrick. Members can read about it in the Ready Room.
January 1959: The squadron's first Douglas AD-5 & 6 Skyraider arrived and preparations began for the additional mission of replacement training for this aircraft. The Hornets now instructed in the propeller driven SPAD and the jet powered Skyhawk.
February 19, 1959: Jack Norton ejected safely A4D-1 BuNo 142197 ... we were at Gitmo doing laydown deliveries on their targets when at 500+ knots and about 50' the engine unwound to idle. A zoom climb to 10,000' gave me time to try two restarts which were unsuccessful as the engine was at idle and not shut down. It was determined that this plane did not have the fix that when the fuel control linkage broke [a common occurrence] it was to go to 86% and not idle. I then ejected and did what I was told to do. Put it in deep water so no one can dispute your story. Jack Norton.
February 21, 1959: Ens. M.W. "Pat" Patrick ditched A4D-1 Skyhawk BuNo 142176 in the St. John's river after the engine flamed out on Baker Boy 326 when the high-pressure fuel pump spline that connected the fuel pump to the engine’s accessory gear drive failed. He was rescued By a USMC HS-3 enroute to New River, NC. From "Pat" Patrick. Members can read about it in the Ready Room. NAS Jax divers save ditched VA-44 plane. Jax Air News, 26 February 1959.
May 1, 1959: Lt. Robert C. Brown, 33, ditched his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 142213) in a wooded area Friday and came out with only scratches. He was 15 miles from NAS Cecil when the jet developed engine trouble and he was two miles short when he realized he couldn't make it to Cecil and was too low to eject. He was picked up by a helicopter and returned to Cecil. Daily Oklahoman, Saturday, 02 May 1959.
December 5, 1959: LCdr. R.T.E. Bowler exited his A4D-1 (BuNo 139944) after it hit the water when it flamed out in the landing pattern during landing exercises. The injured pilot was rescued by the USS Independence helo. Cdr. G. E. Peddicord, USS Independence Air Officer (1958-1960). 1109 (hours) A4D BuNo 139944 of VA-44, Pilot LCdr. R.T.E. Bowler, Jr. crashed into sea off the 180 while making his approach for landing at Latitude 30-44.3N, Longitude 80-56.3W and sank in 13 fathoms of water. 1116 Helicopter recovered pilot from water. 1120 Pilot recovered by helicopter was delivered aboard USS Independence (CVA-62). USS Independence deck log, Saturday, 5 December 1959.
July 1960:JET ATTACK: The mosquitoes in the Jacksonville area might as well give up.
Jet powered spraying of insecticide is the very latest step taken to insure their demise. VA-44 and VA-12 jet aircraft have proved that flying at 150 feet, the Skyhawk can distribute 300 gallons of insecticide a minute. This has all been a part of the experiment conducted by NAS JAX Disease Vector Control Center to determine the value of jet-propelled aircraft as a means of spreading insecticide and controlling disease carrying insects to protect personnel in military operations. The Center, working with VA-l2 from Cecil Field and VA-44 from NAS JAX, has found it works. David Hayden is the entomologist at the Center, who has directed two years of study involving use of a Navy single-engine Skyhawk. He says that this is the first known instance of using jet aircraft for the war against insects. He said that jet aircraft were tried because prop-driven aircraft and heli- copters are not always available or are highly vulnerable to-attack. The average prop plane can move at 175 miles per hour at the maximum and normally travels at a rate of 125 mph. With the jet we move at 500 mph at an extremely low altitude of only 150 feet, capable of putting out 300 gallons a minute, Hayden said. Ground-to-air radio communication has been used in jet spraying operations. In addition, such things as big red arrows and red weather balloons were set up to guide the pilot to the target. The apparatus used to disperse liquid insecticide was a tank having a capacity of 85 gallons. Under present-day conditions, it would seem that insecticide dispersal by jet aircraft is very costly and somewhat impractical, at least for civilian usage, Hayden said. There is no question that jet air- craft have promising potentialities for insect control work. Certainly, for the present at least, jets will be available for use where no propeller-driven craft are available, he went on to say. It is doubtful, however, that jet-carried equipment will be extensively used, except for aerial dispersal of insecticide in support of tactical military operations. NavAir News.
February 15, 1961: Lt(jg). Sherwood E. Gifford Jr., 29, parachuted to safety Wednesday when his A4D-1 Skyhawk (BuNo 142164) crashed 16 miles SW of NAS Jacksonville. He was ejected from the plane at 2000 feet. The Derrick, Oil City, PA, Thursday, 16 February 1961. Lt(jg). Sherwood E. Gifford Jr., 29, ejected safely after a flame-out and his Skyhawk crashed near Camp Blanding. The Tittusville Herald, Titusville, PA, Wednesday, March 1. 1961.
February 27, 1961: Lt(jg). Sherwood E. Gifford Jr., 29 year old student pilot attached to Attack Squadron 44, who escaped when his jet bomber crashed two weeks ago was killed yesterday in the crash of another attack bomber at Guantanamo Naval Base. Gifford's Skyhawk bomber (BuNo 142153) plunged to the ground from the low level portion of a bombing training mission within the boundaries of the naval base. The Miami News, Miami, FL, Tuesday, 28 February 1961. Lt(jg). Sherwood E. Gifford Jr., 29, was killed yesterday when his Skyhawk plunged to the ground from the low level portion of a bombing training mission within the boundaries of the Guantanamo Naval Base. The Tittusville Herald, Titusville, PA, Wednesday, 01 March 1961. New Castle, PA News, Wednesday, March 1, 1961. Hunington and Union, PA The Daily News, Wednesday, March 1, 1961.
November 15, 1961: The squadron graduated its 1,000th enlisted maintenance Skyhawk trainee.
May 3, 1962: Cdr. Mitchell C. Griffin was rescued after his VA-44 A4D-2N (BuNo 147694) went into the Gulf of Mexico after a bad catapult from the deck of the USS Antietam at 9:31 a.m. Thursday. Griffin was rescued uninjured by an HTS-8 helicopter piloted by Lt. R.G. Breitenbach, swimmer AE2 W.D. Horton and AMS2 L.S. Coffee. Pensacola News Journal, Friday, 04 May 1962.
May 15, 1962: Ens. Robert E. Kelly, 23, was killed Tuesday when his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 142738) crashed into heavy woods near Jacksonville, FL. The Courier News, Thursday, 17 May 1962.
February 15, 1963: The propeller training section of the squadron was removed from VA-44 and established as a separate squadron and designated VA-45. VA-44 continued its training mission by becomming a strictly jet squadron flying A-4Bs, A-4Cs and TF-9Js.
August 23, 1963: Cdr. Luther E. Elliott was killed (A-4C BuNo 147686) when he crashed in the Atlantic off of Cape Hatteras, NC when he went off the angle deck of the USS Forrestal on a landing attempt. The Gastonia Gazette, Sunday Aug. 25, 1963.
June 3, 1965: Lt. J.F. Wilkinson was killed yesterday when his A-4C Skyhawk (BuNo 149504) crashed during a routine training flight north of Jacksonville. The Miami News, Friday, 04 June 1965.
July 20, 1965: Lt. James L. Karg, attached to a unit training at MCAS Yuma ejected from his A-4E (BuNo 150113) at 3,000 feet elevation yesterday. He landed in the desert about 4 miles SE of Yuma and the plane crashed nearby. Arizona Republic, Wed., July 21,1965.
August 24, 1965: (Lt(jg). Paul S. Forman) of an A4 jet (A-4C BuNo 150594) from MCAS Yuma was killed yesterday when the plane crashed in a restricted target area near the Salton Sea between Indio and El Centro area 56 miles from Yuma. The pilot ejected and was found dead a considerable distance from the plane wreckage. Arizona Republic, Wednesday, 25 August 1965. Lt(jg). Paul S. Forman, a member of VA-44 based at NAS Cecil Field, FL, was killed Thursday near the Salton. Yuma Sun, Thursday, 26 August 1965. Lt(jg). Paul S. Forman, 23, was killed Thursday when his A4 jet trainer from MCAS Yuma crashed near the Salton Sea about 58 miles from Yuma. The body of the pilot, recently assigned to MCAS Yuma from Cecil Field, FL, was found in the planes ejection seat. The Arizona Daily Star, Friday, 27 August 1965.
August 28, 1965: Lt. Paul Johnson ejected safely after his A4E BuNo 150069's engine exploded in-flight and crashed in a field 32 miles SW of Wichita, KS. Great Bend, KS, Great Bend Sunday Tribune, Sunday, August 29, 1965. Hutchinson, MO, The Hutchinson News, Sunday, August 29, 1965
July 20, 1965: Lt. James L. Karg, training at MCAS Yuma ejected from his A-4E BuNo 150113 at 3,000 feet elevation, land1ng in the desert about 4 miles SE of Yuma and the plane crashed nearby. Phoenix, AZ, The Arizona Republic, Wednesday, July 21, 1965.
March 28, 1966: Ens. James E. Theriault ejected safely from his A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150008, which was deployed to MCAS Yuma, AZ for training, crashed in the desert at MCAS Yuma's instrumented loft bombing range after he was unable to restart the engine. Yuma, AZ, The Yuma Daily Sun, Tuesday, March 29, 1966.
August 3, 1966: VA-44 was assigned the Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk.
January 26 1967: Lt(jg). J.F. "Fred" Dickenson ejected safely from VA-44 A-4E BuNo 150112 at 1918 after he bounced off of the ramp while attempting a carrier landing during CarQuals aboard the USS Lexington at 30-26.7N, 80-14.1W. At 1930 USS R.E. Byrd (DDG-23) recovered pilot, no apparent injuries. USS Lexington, Deck Log, 26 January 26, 1967. USS Lexington, Deck Log (cont.), 26 January 26, 1967.
April 8, 1967: Lt. James J. Murphy ejected safely at low altitude Saturday when he had to climb sharply during a tandem take-off when the lead A-4E piloted by Lt. N.F. Justensen blew a tire. Murphy's A-4E (BuNo 152065) was extensively damaged when it pancaked wheels up back down on the Kirtland AFB runway and burned. Both pilots are from NAS Cecil, FL and were enroute to NAS North Island, San Diego, CA. Albuquerque Journal, Sunday, 09 April 1967. Lt. J.J. Murphy ejected safely at low altitude when he had to climb sharply during a tandem take-off when the lead A-4E piloted by Lt. N.F. Justensen blew a tire. Murphy's A-4E was destroyed when it pancaked back down on the Kirtland AFB runway and burned. Both pilots are from NAS Cecil, FL. Alamogordo Daily News, Sunday, 09 April 1967. Lt. J.J. Murphy ejected safely at low altitude Saturday when he had to climb sharply during a tandem take-off when the lead A-4E piloted by Lt. N.F. Justensen blew a tire. Murphy's A-4E was destroyed when it pancaked back down on the Kirtland AFB runway and burned. Both pilots are from NAS Cecil, FL and had stopped at Kirtland to refuel enroute to NAS North Island, San Diego, CA. Roswell Daily Record, Sunday, 09 April 1967.
April 25, 1967: Lt(jg.) Michael J. Concanon escaped with minor injuries Tuesday night when his A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 150021) crashed into the Gulf of Mexico shortly after taking off from the USS Lexington. Concannon was practicing carrier landings outside Pensacola and rode the plane into the water. He was picked up by the USS Lexington and returned to VA-44 at Cecil Field after receiving medical treatment aboard the Lexington. The Pensacola News, Wednesday, 26 April 1967.
August 17, 1967: Lt. Bruce Stevenson, 30, and Lt. Richard Koffanrus, the co-pilot, age 29, are missing after their TA-4F (BuNo 152876) from NAS Cecil Field crashed into the Gulf of Mexico during a practice bombing mission Thursday night. The plane crashed about three miles west of Cross City on the Gulf coast about 9:30 p.m. The Pensacola News, Friday Morning, 18 August 1967. Lt. Bruce Stevenson, 30, and Lt. Richard Offarus, 29, are missing after their TA-4F from NAS Cecil Field crashed into the Gulf of Mexico during a practice bombing mission Friday. Panama City News, Saturday Morning, Aug. 19, 1967.
April 30, 1968: Lt. James C. Delesie suffered a minor leg fracture after ejecting from his crippled A-4B BuNo 142872 which crashed in a wooded area. Panama City, Fl Panama City News, Wednesday Morning, May 1, 1968.
November 8, 1968: unknown pilots ejected safely and were rescued in 15 minutes by a Navy helicopter after their Skyhawks (BuNo 147828 and BuNo 147829) crashed and sank yesterday 19 miles off Roosevelt Roads Naval Base on the east coast of Puerto Rico. The Arizona Republic, Saturday, Nov. 9, 1968.
January 24, 1969: LCdr. Thomas Dibiase and Lt. Allen Adler ejected safely when A-4C BuNo 145094 and A-4C BuNo 149624 collided over Green Cove Springs, 40 miles SW of NAS Jacksonville, FL. Panama City, FL, Panama City News, Saturday, January 25, 1969.
March 25, 1969: Capt. Mike Korte, 36, (USAF) and his student pilot, Lt(jg). Lawrence Pigeon parachuted to safety when their TA-4F BuNo 152873 Skyhawks’ canopy released & both pilots were automatically ejected, after the slipstream caught Mike's overhead ejection curtain. The aircraft crashed in a pasture two miles west of Cecil Field, FL. Panama City, FL, Panama City Herald, Wednesday, March 26, 1969. Lowell, MA, The Lowell Sun, Wednesday, March 26, 1969.
May 6, 1969: Unidentified pilot of a U.S. Navy A-4 (BuNo 145095) was killed when his plane crashed into the Caribbean about six miles from NAS Roosevelt Roads. The plane apparently exploded upon impact with the water and the pilots body was recovered. The Pittsburgh Press, Wednesday, 07 May 1969.
August 21, 1969: Lt. John Hall Burns, 29, (IP) was killed without ejecting and his RP Lt(jg). William L. Sloop, 24, was killed when he ejected into the ground after their VA-45 TA-4F BuNo 153682 was ordered to abort landing at an altitude of 600 feet. The pilot brought the nose up and collided with the tail section of VA-44 TA-4F BuNo 152866 which was making a simulated low-oil pressure approach to NAS Cecil Field, FL. LCdr. Ken A. Olsen (VA-44) ejected safely a split second before both jets struck a grassy strip between runways. His RP Lt(jg) William “Bill” A. Stone, 24, of VA-44 was killed without ejecting. From Ken Olsen. Fort Walton Beach, FL, Playground Daily News, August 22, 1969. Albuquerque, NM, The Albuquerque Tribune, Friday, August 22, 1969.
November 4, 1969: Unidentified pilot of a U.S. Navy A-4 (BuNo 148460) is missing after his plane crashed into the Caribbean Tuesday near the island of Culebras, off the NE coast of Puerto Rico. A Coast Guard Cutter and a Navy salvage vessel were searching for the pilot. A helicopter picked up pieces of the wreckage, including a helmet and a lifejacket. The Cincinnati Enquirer, Wednesday, 05 Nov 1969.
May 1, 1970: VA-44 was dis-established!
MAY 1958: Promotion of B. H. Fischer. Advancement in Rate of B. H. Fischer, AM3, by Cdr. T. R. Sedell, C.O. of VA-44. Fischer is from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
MAY 1959: BuNo 139923 - most likely Armed Forces Day at NAS Jacksonville, there is an F-100 behind the A-4. Ron Picciani.
1959-60: BuNo 139945 of VA-44 visiting from NAS Jacksonville. 'When I arrived at VA-43 (Oceana) 1 Jun 1960, all the tiger teeth were gone from the A-4s, though they still had 6 F11Fs with that paint scheme. VF-21 was re-designated VA-43 1 Jul 1959, so the photos had to have been taken winter of '59-'60." John "Gabby" Gabbard. Photo submitted by Dave Tipps.
JUL 1960: Flying at 150', Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142167, AD-326, delivers 300 gallons of insecticide a minute over the Jacksonville, FL area. Navair News
Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142126, AD-304, in the U.S. Navy's new hi-vis paint scheme which is the result of constant research in an effort to decrease mid-air collisions. NavAirNews April 1961.
1961: Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142797, AD-444, parked on the ramp. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
1960: VA-44 A-4B and A-4C Skyhawks BuNo. 142122 and BuNo. 149519. A VA-44 formation of two Hornet Skyhawks. The lead Skyhawk is A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142122, side number AD 475. On leads' right wing is A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 149519, side number AD 425. VA-44 first got the A-4B in September 1958 and the A-4C was first assigned in February 1960.
A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142122, side number AB 502 with VA-72 and United States Ship F. D. Roosevelt CVA 42 - 1967. Blue Hawk A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 144881, side number AB 501 leads Steve Pollock in A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142122, side number AB 502. Number three is A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142745, side number AB 505. USN photograph from Steve Pollock. United States Navy Photograph from Walt Adams.
1964: Right side view of VA-44 Hornets A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 148502, AD-430, on the ramp with a starter probe and huffer, NAS Sanford, 1964. Copyright R.W. Harrison
1966-68: Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142105 trailing the refueling hose and drogue and accompanied by an RA-3B Skywarrior. U.S. Navy by PH2 Don K-Sieburg, Jr.
VA-44 Hornets A-4E Skyhawks showing the nuclear cockpit thermal shield in different positions, NAS Cecil Field, 1966-1967. VA-44 A-4E Skyhawk AD-456 with NO BRAKES in large letters on the nose gear door and under the canopy rail and A-4B BuNo 142122, AD-475, in the background. Official U.S. Navy photo 1154317.
1968: Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142105 refueling an RA-3B Skywarrior. U.S. Navy by PH2 Don K-Sieburg, Jr.
MAY 1968: Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 152871, AD-465, parked on the flight-line. Nick Williams.
Circa 1968: Left side of VA-44 Hornets TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo 152869, AD-463, on the ramp, NAS Willow Grove,circa 1968. Copyright R.W. Harrison.
Front View of a VA-44 Skyhawk. A Hornet A-4C loaded-for-bear on the flight-line. United States Navy Photograph from Walt Adams.
Passing Gas. Two VA-44 Skyhawk passing gas. The lead Skyhawk is toting a tanking package to pass gas to thirsty buddies. United States Navy Photograph from Walt Adams.
A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155060 - 1969. A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155060, side number AD 403 getting the United States Intrepid three wire removed from the tailhook. VA-44 was performing Carrier Qualifications (CQ) on Intrepid. Photograph by Peter A. Keery.
1970-early: A TA-4F of VA-44 is launching with a RNZAF crew. The RNZAF 75 SQN was in the U.S.A. for training as they received their new Skyhawks from the California Douglas factory. Sqdn Ldr Ross Donaldson preceded the ten 75 Squadron pilots on an exchange posting to VA-44, Florida, and here briefs visiting senior RNZAF officer Bill Stratton (left) before a flight in a US Navy TA-4.
Note the RNZAF insignia below the canopy. The names there are SQD LDR WR Donaldson RNZAF and ATM W. Stratton RNZAF.
Several weeks later Donaldson suffered a freak accident in a US Navy Skyhawk. The accident was in a TA-4 with a USN student in front. A bird strike caused Donaldson to be injured, he lost an eye. The student recovered the aircraft with damaged canopy. Apparently Donaldson did not fly again but remained in the RNZAF for many years in desk jobs.
VA-44 A-4C BuNo 147745 in the hangar with RNZAF ground crew in the foreground. RNZAF 75 SQN is in the U.S.A. training and receiving their new A-4K Skyhawks.
1970s: VA-44 flight line. Front row l-r unknown, unknown, TA-4F BuNo 154341 (AD-463) and AD-400. Back rows l-r VA-127 TA-4F BuNo 153687 (NJ-717), TA-4F BuNo 152877 (AD-472) and TA-4F AD-475.
1970s: VA-44 Hornets Skyhawk flight line. L-r AD-406 in a tanker configuration, A-4C BuNo 149594 (AD-426), TA-4F BuNo 152875 (AD-471) with Mk-76's on a PMBR, Snakeyes on a TER, Snakeyes an a MER, an AIM-9 Sidewinder and A-4E BuNo 149651 (AD-452).
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: