Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
June 1956: Attack Squadron FIFTY-SIX (VA-56) inaugurated a superbly designed patch that remained viable throughout the squadron's 30-year history and it's numerous assigned aircraft. A yellow boomerang with a dark blue speed arrow and black electron rings represent the squadron jet attack capabilities using modern electronic equipment. This patch is displayed above.
Randy Bob Wilson
1957 - 1960: Boomerangs
1960 - 1986: The Champions
June 4, 1956, Attack Squadron FIFTY-SIX (VA-56), established at Naval Air Station Miramar, California.
August 31, 1986, Attack Squadron FIFTY-SIX (VA-56), dis-established at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.
Jun 1956 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Miramar
Jun 1961 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Lemoore
Jun 1973 - - - - - - Naval Station Yokosuka/Midway CV 41)*
May 1986 - - - - - - Naval Air Station Lemoore
* Under the Overseas Home Port Program, VA-56 and CVW-5 were permanently based aboard United States Ship Midway CV-41 and home ported with the carrier at Naval Station Yokosuka, Japan. The home-port was officially changed on June 30, 1973. However, Midway did not arrive in Japan until 5 October. Elements of VA-56, when not operating from Midway, were based ashore at Naval Air Facility Atsugi or Misawa, Japan.
Jun 1956 - - - - - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-3 Panther
Jul 1956 - - - - - - - - - - - - Grumman F9F-8B Cougar
May 1958 - - - - - - - - - - - - North American FJ-4B Fury
1 Jan 1959 - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk *
23 Apr 1959 - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
23 Jun 1963 - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A-4E Skyhawk
6 Sep 1963 - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk
23 Jun 1966 - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
Jan 1969 - - - - - - - - - - - - Vought A-7B Corsair II
Mar 1973 - - - - - - - - - - - - Vought A-7A Corsair II
Apr 1977 - - - - - - - - - - - - Vought A-7E Corsair II
* November 30, 1962
The A4D-1 designation was changed to A-4A
The A4D-2 designation was changed to A-4B
The A4D-2N designation was changed to A-4C
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
Jun 4, 1956 - - - S/NF- - - - CVG-5/CVW-5*
Jul 1, 1966 - - - NG - - - - - CVW-9
Oct 1968- - - - - B- - - - - - COMFAIRALAMEDA
Jun 9, 1969 - - - NE - - - - - CVW-2
Jun 1, 1970 - - - NF - - - - - CVW-5
* Carrier Air Groups were redesignated Carrier Air Wings on December 20, 1963, hence, CVG-5 became CVW-5.
CVG-5's tail code was changed from S to NF, probably in July 1957.
07/12/57 - 12/09/57 - CVG-5 - CVA 31 - F9F-8 - WestPac
03/06/60 - 10/10/60 - CVG-5 - CVA 14 - A4D-2 - WestPac
05/10/61 - 01/15/62 - CVG-5 - CVA14 - A4D-2 -- WestPac
01/03/63 - 07/15/63 - CVG-5 - CVA 14 - A-4B -- WestPac
04/14/64 - 12/15/64 - CVW-5 - CVA 14 - A-4E -- WestPac/Vietnam
09/28/65 - 05/13/66 - CVW-5 - CVA 14 - A-4E -- WestPac/Vietnam
11/19/66 - 07/06/67 - CVW-9 - CVAN 65 - A-4C - WestPac/Vietnam
01/03/68 - 07/18/68 - CVW-9 - CVAN 65 - A-4E - WestPac/Vietnam
10/14/69 - 06/01/70 - CVW-2 - CVA 61 - A-7B - WestPac/Vietnam
04/16/71 - 11/06/71 - CVW-5 - CVA 41 - A-7B - WestPac/Vietnam
04/10/72 - 03/03/73 - CVW-5 - CVA 41 - A-7B - WestPac/Vietnam
09/11/73 - 10/05/73 - CVW-5 - CVA 41 - A-7A - WestPac*
11/26/73 - 12/22/73 - CVW-5 - CVA 41 - A-7A - WestPac
01/29/74 - 03/06/74 - CVW-5 - CVA 41 - A-7A - WestPac
10/18/74 - 12/20/74 - CVW-5 - CVA 41 - A-7A - WestPac
01/13/75 - 03/18/75 - CVW-5 - CVA 41 - A-7A - WestPac
03/31/75 - 05/29/75 - CVW-5 - CVA 41 - A-7A - WestPac
10/04/75 - 12/19/75 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7A - WestPac/IO
03/13/76 - 04/26/76 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7A - WestPac
05/19/76 - 06/22/76 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7A - WestPac
07/09/76 - 08/04/76 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7A - WestPac
11/01/76 - 12/17/76 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7A - WestPac
01/11/77 - 03/01/77 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7A - WestPac
03/19/77 - 09/02/77 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac†
09/27/77 - 12/21/77 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac/IO
04/11/78 - 05/23/78 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
11/09/78 - 12/23/78 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
01/11/79 - 02/20/79 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
04/07/79 - 06/18/79 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - IO
08/20/79 - 09/14/79 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
09/30/78 - 02/20/80 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - IO
07/14/80 - 11/26/80 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac/IO
02/23/81 - 06/05/81 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac/IO
06/26/81 - 07/16/81 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
09/03/81 - 10/06/81 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
04/26/82 - 06/18/82 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
09/14/82 - 12/11/82 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - NorPac/WestPac
06/02/83 - 08/13/83 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
10/25/83 - 12/11/83 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
12/28/83 - 05/23/84 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - IO
10/15/84 - 12/12/84 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
02/01/85 - 10/14/85 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - IO/WestPac
11/15/85 - 12/12/85 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac
01/17/86 - 03/30/86 - CVW-5 - CV 41 - A-7E - WestPac**
* The squadron and United States Ship Midway CVA 41 arrived at their new homeport, Naval Station Yokosuka, Japan. Since the squadron was permanently forward deployed all future deployments for the squadron will cover only those operations outside the home waters of Japan.
† The squadron was shore based at Naval Air Station Cubi Point during the latter part of April to August 1977 undergoing transitional training in the A-7E.
**The squadron returned to CONUS in May 1986, ending its overseas basing assignment.
Jun 1956 - - - - - CDR Richard O. Devine
Dec 1957 - - - - - CDR C. G. Mitchell
Dec 1958 - - - - - LCDR R. L. Walker
Dec 1959 - - - - - CDR R. McBride
Jan 1961 - - - - - CDR W. H. Hoover
Jan 1962 - - - - - CDR James A. Homyak
Mar 1963 - - - - - CDR Donald L. Campbell
Feb 1964 - - - - - CDR Wesley L. McDonald
Mar 1965 - - - - - CDR William G. Nealon
Feb 1966 - - - - - CDR Carl Ray Smith, Jr.
Mar 1967 - - - - - CDR Peter W. Sherman
Jun 1967 - - - - - CDR Ernest R. Seymour
Jul 1968 - - - - - CDR John L. Nicholson, Jr.
Dec 1969 - - - - - CDR Joseph E. Potosnak
Oct 1970 - - - - - CDR John W. Weed
Aug 1971 - - - - - CDR Neil L. Harvey
Aug 1972 - - - - - CDR Walter Lewis Chatham
Aug 1973 - - - - - CDR Charles G. Andres
Jul 1974 - - - - - CDR Ronald N. Artim
Sep 1975 - - - - - CDR Gary L. Starbird
Dec 1976 - - - - - CDR Robert E. Smith
Mar 1978 - - - - - CDR Roger P. Flower
Jun 1979 - - - - - CDR Leon C. Bryant
Aug 1980 - - - - - CDR Charles S. Mitchell IV
Dec 1981 - - - - - CDR Edwin E. Shipe III
Mar 1983 - - - - - CDR Garold S. McDaniel
Jul 1984 - - - - - CDR Paul R. Statskey
Jan 1986 - - - - - CDR J. R. Hutchison
01 Jul 1959 to 30 Jun 1960
01 Jul 1977 to 31 Dec 1978
26 Sep 1961 to 30 Sep 1961
27 Sep 1961 to 01 Oct 1961
10 Oct 1961 to 14 Oct 1961
16 Oct 1961 17 Oct 1961
02 Aug 1964 to 05 Aug 1964
11 Aug 1964 to 22 Sep 1964
07 Oct 1964 to 29 Oct 1964
02 Nov 1964 to 06 Nov 1964
21 Nov 1964 to 28 Nov 1964
10 Jan 1970 to 13 Jan 1970
12 Apr 1970 to 13 Apr 1970
29 Apr 1975 to 30 Apr 1975
29 Apr 1975 to 30 Apr 1975
27 Oct 1969 to 12 May 1970
07 May 1971 to 28 Oct 1971
01 Jan 1978 to 20 May 1979
13 Nov 1979 to 08 Feb 1980
27 Jul 1982 to 01 May 1984
15 Apr 1979 to 06 Jun 1979
21 Nov 1979 to 07 Feb 1980
19 Aug 1980 to 13 Nov 1980
12 Mar 1981 to 19 May 1981
02 Aug 1964 to 05 Aug 1964
18 Dec 1966 to 20 Jan 1967
14 Jan 1968 to 26 Jun 1968
29 Apr 1975 to 30 Apr 1975
01 Jan 1978 to 30 Jun 1979
30 Apr 1972 to 09 Feb 1973
30 Mar 1972 to 15 Jul 1972
05 Nov 1965 to 01 Dec 1965
22 Dec 1965 to 14 Jan 1966
22 Jan 1966 to 16 Feb 1966
06 Mar 1966 to 31 Mar 1966
10 Apr 1966 to 21 Apr 1966
17 Dec 1966 to 17 Jan 1967
31 Jan 1967 to 03 Mar 1967
20 Mar 1967 to 18 Apr 1967
28 Apr 1967 to 26 May 1967
04 Jun 1967 to 21 Jun 1967
21 Feb 1968 to 17 Mar 1968
26 Mar 1968 to 24 Apr 1968
11 Jun 1972 to 07 Jul 1972
16 Jul 1972 to 13 Aug 1972
23 Aug 1972 to 10 Sep 1972
23 Oct 1972 to 23 Nov 1972
03 Dec 1972 to 22 Dec 1972
31 Dec 1972
04 Jan 1973 to 24 Jan 1973
30 Apr 1968 to 21 May 1968
30 May 1968 to 27 Jun 1968
07 Jan 1969 to 30 Jan 1969
15 Feb 1969 to 16 Mar 1969
04 Apr 1969 to 17 Apr 1969
16 Nov 1969 to 07 Dec 1969
17 Dec 1969 to 12 Jan 1970
29 Jan 1970 to 18 Feb 1970
27 Feb 1970 to 30 Mar 1970
16 Apr 1970 to 14 May 1970
17 May 1971 to 09 Jun 1971
29 Jun 1971 to 20 Jul 1971
31 Jul 1971 to 17 Aug 1971
26 Sep 1971 to 11 Oct 1971
01 May 1972 to 01 Jun 1972
11 Jun 1972 to 07 Jul 1972
16 Jul 1972 to 13 Aug 1972
23 Aug 1972 to 10 Sep 1972
23 Oct 1972 to 23 Nov 1972
03 Dec 1972 to 22 Dec 1972
31 Dec 1972
04 Jan 1973 to 24 Jan 1973
03 Feb 1973 to 09 Feb 1973
June 4, 1956: Attack Squadron FIFTY-SIX (VA-56), established at NAS Miramar, California.
November 1959: "Top Gun" all-Navy -MarCorps Weapons meet at Yuma, conducted by FAGU (Fleet Air Gunnery Unit) stationed at El Centro.
June, 1960 VA-56 becomes "Light Attack Bombing Champions" of the Navy. Information provided by Jerry Shelley via Scott Turchin.
For a 1960 CVA-14 cruise, off-loaded most all other attack A/C and on-loaded 78 Marine Corp A4D's. This rememberance from Jerry Shelley via Scott Turchin.
October 25 through 31, 1961: VA-56 Champions participated in Operation Crosstie with HMS Victorious (R-38), conducting flight operations from the deck of HMS Victorious to evaluate the compatibility of USN/RN aircraft, armament, and handling facilities.
July 16 through September 15, 1962: The Champions were embarked in USS Constellation CVA 64 during her transit from the East Coast, via Cape Horn, to her new home port on the West Coast.
Jan. 07, 1963 through July 15, 1963: USS Ticonderoga 07 Jan 1963 to 15 July 1963 with A-4C's modex 40x's.
April 14, 1964 through December 15, 1964: The VA-56 Champions flying A-4E Skyhawks (modex40x) embarked with Carrier Air Wing 5 on USS Ticonderoga CVA 14 to WestPac and the Champs first Vietnam combat cruise.
April 29, 1964: Lt(jg). G.W. Taylor was lost when his aircraft (A-4E BuNo 151031) landed in the water starboard side after launch at 2016. Secured from launching aircraft. Commenced maneuvering in the vicinity of the crash while rescue destroyers searched for the pilot. Resumed flight operations at 2052. USS Ticonderoga log book, 29 April 1964. Lt(jg) Gerald Whitnor Taylor, VA-56, CAW-5, is missing and presumed dead at sea after his Skyhawk crashed 130 miles SW of Oahu Wednesday night. The Skyhawk faltered as it started to climb after launching from the USS Ticonderoga, and plunged into the sea. Bits of the wrecked plane have been found by the USS O'Bannon, but Taylors body was presumed trapped in the cockpit of the sunken jet. The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, 01 May 1964.
July 1964: VA-56 Champion A-4E Skyhawks participated in special Yankee Team operations, providing aerial refueling support and experimenting with the tactic of employing A-4Es as armed escorts for the RF-8 and RA-3 reconnaissance aircraft flying missions over Laos and South Vietnam to detect Communist military presence and operations.
August 2 through 4, 1964: During a Desoto Patrol mission (intelligence collection missions begun in 1962) USS Maddox DD 731 was attacked by three motor torpedo boats on 2 August off the coast of North Vietnam. Following this incident, the Champs flew sorties in support of the destroyers on Desoto Patrol.
August 5, 1964: Champion Skyhawks participated in Pierce Arrow, retaliatory strikes against the North Vietnamese. Along with other aircraft from CVW-5, they were part of the first sortie that struck the antiaircraft gun emplacements at the Vinh oil storage facility. Ninety percent of the complex was destroyed by the sorties flown against this facility. The Champs also participated in strikes against the Ben Thuy naval base, resulting in the sinking and destruction of several torpedo boats.
August 13, 1964: Lt(jg). A.J. Shower ejected safely when his A-4E BuNo 150018 crashed in the water 500 yards starboard bow at 14-10N 11-13E and sank in 700 fathoms of water at 1306. Pilot was recovered by helo and returned on board. Pilot received no injuries and stated that he ejected due to a power loss after a normal catapult shot. USS Ticonderoga deck log, 13 August 1964.
25AUG64: A-4E BuNo 151026 of VA-56 piloted by CDR McDonals crashed on Deck after the nose-wheel collapsed. A/c minor damage, pilot had no injuries. CVA-14 Deck Log.
September 7, 1964: Lt. Donald Vol Hester was launched in A-4E BuNo 150024 and crashed on the horizon, Lat. 30-12.5N, long 133-17E at 2009. Commenced search 2020. Commenced maneuvering at various courses and speeds while conducting a search for the downed pilot 2140. USS Ticonderoga deck log, 6 September 1964. Presently conducting expanding rectangular area search perpendicular to axis 240 for downed aircraft and pilot (0000-0400) USS Ticonderoga deck log, 7 September 1964.
October 10 through 29; November 1 through 5 and 22 through 28, 1964: The Champs continued to participate in special Yankee Team operations off the coast of Vietnam.
September 28, 1965 through May 13, 1966: The VA-56 Champions flying A-4E Skyhawks (modex 46x) embarked with Carrier Air Wing 5 on USS Ticonderoga CVA 14 to WestPac and the Champs second Vietnam combat cruise.
April 20, 1965: Cdr. Robert E. Tigner, 38, (VA-56 XO) from NAS Lemoore, was killed Tuesday when his A-4C Skyhawk (BuNo 150030) crashed 30 miles north of Twenty Nine Palms on an ordnance training mission. The Daily Review, Wednesday, April 21, 1965.
July 19, 1965: Lt(jg). Virgil Jackson Jr., 25, of NAS Lemoore ejected safely from his A-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 152026) before it crashed and burned five miles north of Woodlake, CA near Sequoia Park today. The Skyhawk crashed in the front yard of a home owned by Leonard Hanson on Sentinel Butte. Oakland Tribune, Monday, July 19, 1965. Lt(jg). Virgil Jackson Jr., 25, stayed with his jet bomber Monday until it was safely away from the Woodlake community, but it was almost too late. He initiated ejection at 2,000 feet and nothing happened, he was forced to eject his canopy and seat manually at 1,200 feet and looked to be above the ground when his chute opened. The bomber crashed on a car and pickup truck in the driveway of the Leonard Hansen home. Long Beach, Press-Telegram, Thur., July 20, 1965.
December 5, 1965: Lt. D.M. Webster and Mark 43 TN nuclear weapon are lost in 16,000 feet of water 80 miles from one of the Ryukyu Islands in Okinawa when it went overboard while being rolled from the number 2 hangar bay to the number 2 elevator. 1450 While being rolled from No.2 hangar bay to No.2 elevator A4E aircraft BuNo 151022 of VA-56, with pilot LTJG D.M. Webster aboard, rolled off the elevator and sank in 2700 fathoms of water at 27-35.2N, 131-19.3E. 1543 Recovered this vessels lifeboat (cont) which had been lowered to search for the lost pilot. 1624 USS Gridley (DLG-21) and USS Turner Joy (DD-951) left the screen to conduct search for lost pilot and plane until sunset. 1740 COMDESRON 19 in search of lost pilot and plane reports search conclude, results negative. USS Ticonderoga deck log, 05 December 1965. "While the USS TICONDEROGA is en route from operations off Vietnam to Yokosuka, Japan, an A-4E aircraft of VA-56 loaded with one B43 nuclear weapon goes overboard. The aircraft was being rolled from the number 2 hangar bay to the number 2 elevator when it rolled off the elevator with the pilot LTJG D. M. Webster and the bomb and sank in 2700 fathoms of water. A search fails to find the pilot. The Department of Defense states this accident took place "more than 500 miles from land" when it reveals the accident in 1981. However, Navy documents show the accident occurred about 80 miles east of the Japanese Ryuku Island chain and 250 miles south of Kyushu Island, Japan, and about 200 miles east of Okinawa." Quoted from USS Ticonderoga Site.
Doug Webster was a native of Warren, Ohio where he was in the Boy Scouts and the Warren YMCA, serving as a river guide on Y-sponsored whitewater canoe trips. He was vice president of his class at Warren G. Harding High School as well as one of the finest gymnasts in school history, excelling in the iron ring exercise. Doug graduated from Harding in 1960 and enrolled at Ohio State University where he was named the co-captain of the Ohio State University gymnastics team. He received his degree in 1964 and married his college girlfriend soon thereafter. Doug received his pilot training in California and shipped out from there on his first assignment, where his death occurred three months later near Ruyku Island off the coast of Yokosuka, Japan.
February 7, 1966: LCdr. Render Crayton ejected and was captured after he was hit by 37mm AAA as he was diving to attack railway trucks near Phu Dien Chau and his Skyhawk became uncontrollable. LCdr Render Crayton was awarded the Silver Star (in absentia) for his actions while engaged in a combat mission over North Vietnam.
17 April 1966: LCdr. V.G. Hough ejected and was rescued by a USAF helicopter after he was hit by AAA 40 mile S of Vinh causing a fire and causing the Skyhawk to break up as he ejected.
18 August 1966: LCdr. Arthur K. Tyszkiewicz ejected safely from A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 148570 during a scheduled two plane combination navigation and bombing/strafing flight. The flight departed NAS Lemoore and flew the navigation phase of the flight to the bombing range. The flight made three 45 degree MK76 bombing runs on selected targets. On the fourth run, the flight made a 15 degree individual strafing runs with 20mm ball ammunition. As LCdr. Tyszkiewicz commenced his second strafing run, he noticed the utility hydraulic system warning light flickering. As he aborted the run he noticed the fire warning light and flight control hydraulic warning light had also had come on. He reduced the power control level to idle, but the hydraulic system warning and fire warning lights remained on. He then secured the engine and successfully ejected at approximately 2,500 AGL at 190 knots. The aircraft impacted at 30 degrees nose down angle and was completely destroyed. Joe Idoni. Sadly less than six months after surviving this accident, at the age of 33, LCdr. Arthur Kasimi Tyszkiewicz was killed in action on January 14, 1967 in Laos. LCDR Tyszkiewicz was buried at sea from the USS Enterprise.
November 19, 1966 through August 6, 1967: The VA-56 Champions flying A-4C Skyhawks embarked with Carrier Air Wing 9 on USS Enterprise CVAN 65 to WestPac and the Champs third Vietnam combat cruise.
January 14, 1967: Lt(jg). Karl Alfred Vogelgro III in Champion 407 (BuNo 147724) and LCdr. Arthur Kasimir Tyszkiewicz in Champion 411 (BuNo 145087) reported down over Laos, Mayday from both. 0601 SAR forces have contact with both pilots, rescue attempts will be made at first light. 0631 received word that Lt(jg). Vogelgro has been picked up. pick-up in progress on LCdr Tyszkiewicz in progress. USS Enterprise deck log, 14 January 1966. Other info is that Vogelgro survived mid-air collision with 145087 and LCdr. Arthur Kasimir Tyszkiewicz was KIA in mid-air collision with A-4C 147724.
June 10, 1967: Cdr. Peter Woodbury Sherman (CO) was killed when his Skyhawk was apparently hit by a SA-2 missile while leading an Iron Hand strike in support of an attack on the Van Dien SAM support depot.
An update from "Viet Nam Air Losses" by Chris Hobson: 10 June 1967
January 3, 1968 through August 18, 1968: The VA-56 Champions flying A-4E Skyhawks embarked with Carrier Air Wing 9 on USS Enterprise CVAN 65 to WestPac and the Champs fourth Vietnam combat cruise.
January and February 1968: While embarked in USS Enterprise CVAN 65 and en route to Yankee Station, the Enterprise was ordered to the Sea of Japan for operations following the seizure of Pueblo (AGER 2) by the North Koreans on 23 January.
May 7, 1968: During a rocket attack, A-4E BuNo 152005 was lost to ground fire. Lt. D.A. Lawrence was rescued by USS Jouett (CG-29) HC-7 Seadevils Det. 110 SH‑3A Sea King, 40 miles 160⁰ from Vinh, 19 miles inland.
June 19, 1968: LCdr Crater received the Silver Star for his actions in coordinating the successful night rescue of a downed F-4 Phantom crewman in North Vietnam. This action was part of the rescue operations in which helicopter pilot Lieutenant Lassen received the Medal of Honor for his exploits.
November 1, 1968: The squadron's last A-4E Skyhawk was transferred and training began for the transition to the A-7 Corsair II.
October 14, 1969 through June 1, 1970: The VA-56 Champions flying A-7B Corsair II embarked with Carrier Air Wing 2 on USS Ranger CVA 61 to WestPac and the Champs fifth Vietnam combat cruise.
April 16, 1971 through November 6, 1971: The VA-56 Champions flying A-7B Corsair II embarked with Carrier Air Wing 5 on USS Midway CVA 41 to WestPac and the Champs sixth Vietnam combat cruise.
April 10, 1972 through March 3, 1973: The VA-56 Champions flying A-7B Corsair II embarked with Carrier Air Wing 5 on USS Midway CVA 41 to WestPac and the Champs seventh Vietnam combat cruise.
May 12, 1972: USS Midway CVA 41, with the Champs embarked, shifted its operations from the area of An Loc, South Vietnam to targets in North Vietnam. It participated in the mining and interdiction of Haiphong Harbor and North Vietnam's extensive coastal waterway system. This was an extension of operation Pocket Money which was initiated on 9 May by squadrons from USS Kitty Hawk CVA 63 and USS Coral Sea CVA 43. It also participated in operation Linebacker I, the concentration of heavy strikes against targets in North Vietnam to interdict the flow of supplies into the country and reduce its ability to prosecute the war. Linebacker I operations lasted until 22 October.
April 29 and 30, 1975: USS Midway, including the Champions, participated in operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of American citizens from Saigon, South Vietnam.
August 1976: VA-56, embarked in USS Midway, operated in Korean waters following the killing of two American officers in the DMZ by the North Koreans.
April and May 1979: USS Midway, with VA-56 embarked, deployed to the Gulf of Aden to relieve USS Constellation CV 64 and maintain a U.S. carrier presence following the out break of fighting between North and South Yemen and the fall of the Shah of Iran.
October 1979: As a response to anti-American demonstrations in Iran, USS Midway and its air wing, including VA-56, were ordered to deploy to the Indian Ocean for the second time in 1979.
November 1979 through February 1980: Following the Iranian seizure of the American Embassy in Teheran and the taking of American hostages on 4 November, USS Midway proceeded to the Gulf of Oman and remained on station until relieved in early February 1980.
May and June 1980: USS Midway, with VA-56 embarked, operated off the coast of Korea due to the civil unrest in South Korea and the massacre of several hundred people in the town of Kwangju.
May 1986: The Champions were reassigned to NAS Lemoore as a result of the change in CVW-5's composition from A-7 and F-4 aircraft to FA-18A. It began the transfer of its personnel and aircraft in preparation for the disestablishment of the squadron on 31 August.
August 31, 1986: Attack Squadron FIFTY-SIX (VA-56) dis-established at NAS Lemoore, California.
NOV56: VA-56 Champions F9F-8B Cougar NF-304, Armitage Field, China Lake, November 1956. Top: Cumbie, Meigs, unknown, Shanahan, unknown, Font, Estocin, Mitchell, Jennings, __nell, Dean, Titcomb and Cheisty. Bottom: unknown, unknown, Devine (CO), Short, Ettinger and Joyce. Navy Photo.
NOV 56: VA-56 Champions F9F-8B Cougar BuNo 138xxx, NF-301, Armitage Field, China Lake, 08 November 1956. Top: Jewell, Thomas, Dean, Shanahan and Joyce. Bottom: Ettinger, Titcomb, Mitchell, Akers and Font. /p>
MAR62: NAN photo of a VA-56 crew working on a J-65 engine. MAR62 NAN.
JUL59: NAN photo of VA-56 mounting a J-65 engine into the a/c. JUL59 NAN photo.
1959: VA-56 A4D-2 BuNo 144971, NF-401, 1959 Weapons Meet light attack winners of the Kane trophy. l-r: Ed Leutschwager, Gracey, Walker, Harper, Phillips & Tony Tambini. Gary Verver
1959: VA-56 Champions A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 144980, NF-409, MCAAS Yuma, 03 December 1959. Photo by W.L. Swisher.
FEB60: NAN photo of Westcoast 1959 Champions, winner of the Kane Trophy. Pilots l to r are Luetschwager, Gracey, Wlaker, Harper, Phillips and Tambini. FEB60 NAN.
1960: VA-56 BuNo 144980 takes a ride on elevator 3.
1960-61: Boomerangs Skyhawk BuNo 144964, NF-402, in-flight with a special weapons shape. Douglas.
1961-62: Champions Skyhawk formation from l-r: NF-403, NF-405, NF-406 & NF-412. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1961-62: Another shot of Champions Skyhawk formation from r-l: NF-403, NF-405, NF-406 & NF-412. Naval Aviation News Photo.
Circa APR61: VA-56 Pilots circa April 1961. Herb Foreman, Bill Wesley, and Denny Cook were members of the VA 56 team that claimed the Light Attack Top Gun award at the November 1959 all Navy-Marine Corps Weapons meet in Yuma (hence the call sign "Champ"). Lou Racy was a member of the Host Fleet Air Gunnery Unit (FAGU) out of El Centro. Back L-r: Ross Cooper, Dash Hicks, Chuck George, Mike Cater, Phil Benz, Charlie Hayworth (AI), Herb Foreman, Arnie Beckenhauer, Bill Wesley, Denny Cook, Gary Kappahn, Gerry Sagehorn, Jack Moran. Front: Jerry Bassett, Lou Racy, CO Bill Hoover, XO Walt Walt. Provided by Ross Cooper
1961: Champions Skyhawk BuNo 144976, NF-405. Naval Aviation News Photo.
1963-65: BuNo 150030, NF-401, over the Sierras. Douglas Aircraft.
Dated 1964: BuNo.150030 VA-56 A-4E NF-401 with the USS Constellation in the background. Dated 1964 and the carrier the photo was taken from must be the Ticonderoga, VA-56 was the only A-4E squadron using modex NF-4nn in 1964 and they were on the Tico. Official U.S. Navy photo from the Don Scott Collection.
March 1964: BuNo.150030 and VA-56 Champions. VA-56 Champion Officers pose by Skipper Don Campbell's A-4E Skyhawk. This photograph was taken just before the Champions embarked with Carrier Air Wing 5 on United States Ship Ticonderoga CVA 14 to WestPac and the Champs first Vietnam combat cruise. Official Navy photograph from Roland Schmidt.
1965: VA-56 Champions, 1965. Photo taken just prior to 1965-1966 Vietnam deployment aboard U.S.S. Ticonderoga (CVA-14). My father Dale Palmer was a pilot in this squadron during the 1965-66 Vietnam deployment. He is second from the left in the top row. Back of photo says "VA-56 Champions, Yuma, Arizona 1965. I am assuming this was a weapons training event held just prior to deployment. Photo from Dennis Palmer.
1964-1966: USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) and CVW-5 (NF) aircraft including VA-56 Champions A-4E Skyhawks and VA-55 Warhorses A-4E Skyhawks. The Air Group squadrons/aircraft were VF-51 Screaming Eagles F-8E Crusaders, VF-53 Iron Angels F-8E Crusaders, VA-52 Knightriders A-1H Skyraiders, VA-56 Champions A-4E Skyhawks, VA-55 Warhorses A-4E Skyhawks, VAH-4 Four Runners Det. B A-3B Skywarriors, VFP-63 Eyes of the Fleet Det. B RF-8A Crusaders, VAW-11 Early Elevens Det. B E-1B Tracers and HU-1 Pacific Fleet Angels Det. B UH-2A Seasprites.
1966-67: Right side view of Skyhawk BuNo 145078, NG-404, assigned to LTJG Bob Simmons parked on the ramp. Unknown photographer via W. Mutza.
1967: LTJG Gerald Hausmann inspects the damage to the wing of his Champions Skyhawk after he took a 37mm round in the starboard wing panel which left the pilot sized hole and knocked out the starboard aileron and flap. Naval Aviation News Photo.
"I was there when this happened. This incident is what led to the air-frame change that allowed the transfer of fuel from the drop tanks without going into the wing. The A-3 brought him by the ship and he didn't unplug till more than half through the 180 turn. They told him he needed to catch the wire on the first pass or else. This picture was in my cruise book. I got out of the Navy in July 68 and went to work at the Naval Air rework Facility NAS Alameda. This plane was still in Emergency Repair when I went to work there in Sept 68." Randy Wilson VA-56 65-68
1967: hook runner prepares to disengage the arresting wire from Champions Skyhawk NG-412 after a successful trap. Naval Aviation News Photo.
JUN67: NAN photo of CDR P.W. Sherman of VA-56. JUN67 NAN.
JUN67: NAN photo of CDR C.R. Smith of VA-56. JUN67 NAN photo.
OCT 1967: Left side view of VA-56 Champions A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 148605, NG-402, on the ramp, NAS North Island. Copyright R.W. Harrison.
JAN68: A-4E BuNo.152005 was lost to AAA over North Vietnam. Pilot LT D.A. Lawrence ejected and was rescued.
1968: Champions Skyhawk BuNo 151151, NG-400, launches from the USS Enterprise. Naval Aviation News Photo.
jan68:>A-4E BuNo 151151 at NAS Atsugi as she taxis by the photographer Isamu Yatsuhashi.
1968: VA-56 Champion A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151184, side number NG-401 visits Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan on February 3, 1968. Champ A-4E NG-401 was based aboard United States Ship Enterprise CVAN-65. Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa, Webmaster of the Jet Intake Website.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: