Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
This Skyhawk Association website page is posthumously dedicated to:
Lieutenant Bennett W. Hooks, United States Navy
Following graduation he served aboard the USS Philippine Sea (CVA-47) as a division officer in the gunnery department for three years. During this period he acted for a short time as an Aide to Admiral Richard E. Byrd on an expedition to the Antartcic.
He was then assigned duty with Anti-Submarine Squadron 22 and later served on the staff of Commander Carrier Division Eighteen. During this assignment he served as an Aide to Admiral A. B. Vosseler and Admiral F. T. Ward.
Airdevron Five Barracks
Photo from Ken Savage
In 1951 the original VX-5 squadron members sat down to design an emblem that would reflect their squadron's mission. They faced several problems: first, the design had to be within guidelines set by the Chief of Naval Operations, and the proposed emblem would have to be officially approved. Second, since the mission of VX-5 was to develop day and night, all-weather attack tactics, the task of designing a meaningful symbol to signify that broad a charter was not a simple one.
The central symbol, the "Vampire" bat, was picked for its notorious night-flying abilities. The blue and gold background (as well as being Navy colors) represents the squadron's all-weather capabilities, with the sun and moon included to represent day and night capabilities. Lightning bolts from under the bat's wings depict VX-9's role in strike aviation. The burst at the bottom of the emblem represents a bomb burst and is normally depicted in red, gold and green. In 1994, the four stars were added in remembrance of the disestablishment of VX-4.
The squadron's emblem is used on everything from aircraft to stationery and can also be seen on the patches worn on jackets and flight gear by squadron personnel. The largest examples of the Vampires' emblem can be seen today on the east and west walls of VX-9's Hangar One at Armitage Field.
Air Development Squadron FIVE (VX-5), was commissioned on 18 June 1951 at NAS Moffett Field, California, with 15 officers, 100 enlisted men, and nine AD Skyraider aircraft. The Squadron, under the operational control of Commander, Operational Development Force, now Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR), was assigned to develop and evaluate aircraft tactics and techniques for delivery of airborne special weapons.
Over the years, VX-5 has maintained numerous detachments around the U.S. to take full advantage of the variety and diversity of facilities available, and to help keep the Squadron abreast of the latest fleet tactics. These detachments have included NAS Oceana, VA; Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility, Albuquerque, NM; NAS Whidbey Island, WA; and NAS Sanford, FL.
In July 1956 VX-5 moved to the Naval Air Facility, China Lake, CA, as an independent tenant command because of the availability of vastly improved ranges and instrumentation facilities. In January of 1985, the VX-5 Detachment at Whidbey Island, which oversaw developments relating to the EA-6B weapon system, was relocated to China Lake. Since then, temporary detachments have been made nationwide from Alaska to Florida, as required to test airborne weapons in a variety of conditions. To keep pace with the changes and improvements in Navy weapon systems since VX-5's commissioning, the Squadron's mission has evolved over the years to include independent operational test and evaluation of all air-dropped munitions destined for use in the attack role by the Fleet and Marine Corps; development of initial tactics to be employed with new weapon systems; and incorporation of electronic warfare advances into the self-defense capability of attack aircraft.
In June 1993, the CNO directed the consolidation of VX-4 and VX-5 into a single operational test and evaluation squadron designated as VX-9, with a permanent F-14 Detachment located at Point Mugu, CA. This initiative was launched as part of the "right-sizing" of our Naval Forces in the aftermath of the Cold War.
NAS Moffett Field, CA
NAF China Lake, CA
No info yet.
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
Date First Received: Type of Aircraft:
Before 1953: McDonnell F2H-2B Banshee
Before 1953: McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee
Before 1953: Grumman F9F-5 Panther
DEC 1952: Douglas F3D-2 (TF-10B) Skyknight
MAY 1953: Chance Vought F7U-3 Cutlass
195?: Douglas AD-4 Skyraider
DEC 1953: Douglas AD-6 (A-1H) Skyraider
Before 1954: Beechcraft SNB-2
Before 1954: Lockheed TV-2 (T2V-1) Sea Star
MAR 1954: Douglas AD-5N (A1G) Skyraider
Before 1955: Beechraft SNB-2C (UC-45J)
APR 1956: Grumman F9F-8/8B Cougar
MAY 1956: Douglas A3D-1 (A-3A) Skywarrior
25 AUG 1956: Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk*
SEP 1956: Douglas AD-7 (A-1J) Skyraider
MAY 1957: North American FJ-4B (AF-1E) Fury
07 AUG 1957: Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk*
FEB 1958: Douglas A3D-2 (A-3B)
AUG 1958: Beechcraft SNB-5
AUG 1959: Douglas AD-5W (EA-1E) Skyraider
SEP 1959: Grumman F9F-8T (TF-9J) Cougar
31 DEC 1959: Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk
03 DEC 1962- Douglas A4D-5 (A-4E) Skyhawk *
APR 1963: Cessna O-1C Birddog
19??: McDonnell F4H-1/F-4A
MAY 1963: McDonnell F-4B Phantom II
JAN 1964: North American T-28C Trojan
JAN 1965: Douglas AD-5 (A-1E) Skyraider
DEC 1966: Vought A-7A Corsair II
17 MAY 1967: Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk
01 JUN 1967: Douglas A-4F Skyhawk
JUN 1967: McDonnell F-4J Phantom II
196?: Grumman TF-1/C-1A Trader
SEP 1967: Grumman US-2A Trader
SEP 1967: Grumman A-6A Intruder
SEP 1967: Grumman A-6B Intruder
APR 1968: Vought A-7B Corsair II
APR 1969: Vought A-7E Corsair II
197?: Grumman F-14A/B/D Tomcat
06 AUG 1971: Douglas A-4M Skyhawk
SEP 1971: Vought A-7C Corsair II
DEC 1971: Bell AH-1J Sea Cobra
DEC 1971: Brumman A-6E Intruder
MAR 1972: Grumman A-6C Intruder
DEC 1974: Grumman US-2B Tracker
JUN 1976: Grumman C-1A Trader
JUN 1978: Vought TA7C Corsair II
NOV 1978: Boeing AV-8C Harrier
JAN 1979: Bell AH-1T Sea Cobra
AUG 1979: Douglas OA-4M Skyhawk
JUN 1980: Bell Uh-1N Iroquis (Huey)
APR 1982: Boeing F/A-18A Hornet
SEP 1982: Boeing Vertol CH-46E Sea Knight
MAY 1982: Boeing TF/A-18A Hornet
AUG 1983: North Amercian AviationOV-10A
JUN 1983: Sirkorsky CH-53D Sea Stallion
AUG 1984: Boeing AV-8B Harrier
AUG 1986: North American Aviation OV-10D
MAR 1987: Bell AH-1W Sea Cobra
MAR 1988: Boeing F/A-18C Hornet
25 AUG 1989: Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk
* November 30, 1962
A4D-1 designation was changed to A-4A
A4D-2 designation was changed to A-4B
A4D-2N designation was changed to A-4C
A4D-5 designation was changed to A-4E
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
No info yet
June 1951 - June 1953-----------Cdr. T. J. Walker III
June 1953 - June 1954-----------Cdr. H. H. Epes Jr.
June 1954 - June 1955-----------Cdr. W. N. Leonard
June 1955 - June 1957-----------Capt. Fillmore. B. Gilkeson
June 1957 - June 1959-----------Capt. Richard A. Beveridge
June 1959 - September 1961------Capt. K. S. Van Meter
September 1961 - January 1963---Cdr. W. A. "Tank" Schroeder
January 1963 - February 1964----Cdr. H. N. O'Conner
February 1964 - May 1965--------Cdr. Jack M. Manherz
May 1965 - July 1965------------Cdr. Edward E. Riley
July 1965 - October 1966--------Cdr. Don Loranger
October 1966 - October 1968-----Capt. W. B. Muncie
October 1968 - October 1970-----Capt. Charles W. Fritz
October 1970 - August 1972------Capt. Carl "Tex" Birdwell, Jr.
August 1972 - June 1975---------Capt. Edwin M. Crowe
June 1975 - May 1977------------Capt. R. N. Livingston
May 1977 - January 1979---------Capt. Leonard E. Giuliani
January 1979 - March 1981-------Capt. Paul D. Stephenson
March 1981 - July 1983----------Capt. P. F. Hollandsworth
July 1983 - April 1985----------Capt. Roger P. Flower
April 1985 - August 1987--------Capt. A. M. Phillips
August 1987 - September 1989----Capt. E. Vanderpoel II
September 1989 - September 1991-Capt. R. A. Kellett, Jr.
September 1991 - July 1993------Capt. Garth A. Van Sickle
July 1993 - September 1994------Capt. Scott C. Ronnie
VX-9 - Commanding Officers
September 1994 - April 1995-----Capt. Scott C. Ronnie
April 1995 - April 1997---------Capt. Craig F. Weideman
April 1997 - August 1999--------Capt. John V. Stivers
August 1999 - August 2000-------Capt. Robert H. Rutherford
August 2000 - May 2003----------Capt. Perry D. Maxwell
May 2003 – March 2005-----------Capt. Wade C. Tallman
March 2005 ---------------------Capt. Bruce W. Fecht
No info yet
No additional info
October 10, 1956: Lt. Bennett W. Hooks was killed when he tried to make a forced landing rather than bail out of a burning jet. His A4D-1 Skyhawk (BuNo 139926) exploded and burned on a dry lake yesterday While on a training flight from NOTS China Lake. A Navy spokesman said that moments before he attempted to land Lt. Hooks shouted over the radio "I'm on fire." Star-News, Thursday, October 11, 1956. Lt. Bennett W. Hooks VX-5 Project Officer and pilot, was killed when his A4D-1 Skyhawk crashed five miles south of Inyokern at noon last Wednesday. The plane was totally destroyed. China Lake Rocketeer, Friday, October 12, 1956. According to Henry White (VX-5 Feb.1956 - Oct. 1957) it was determined that he was trying to land on the deserted runway at Inyokern during an inflight fire. The autopsy indicated he had inhaled the hot flames and probably died before impact.
Lt. Bennett V. Hooks project officer was killed instantly when his A4D-1 BuNo 139926 crashed five miles south of Inyokern at noon.
May 31, 1958: LCdr. Larry Cauble, VX-5, parachuted to safety when his A4D-2 Skyhawk (BuNo 142727) flamed out while executing an over-the-shoulder loft bombing maneuver during the air show NAS Corpus Christi, TX, on Tuesday. A few seconds before the flame out he lofted a simulated A-bomb from an altitude of several thousand feet and dropping it within yards surplus PBM target. Following the flameout he aimed the Skyhawk for the gulf of Mexico, ejected and was rescued by the NAS Corpus Christi rescue helicopter that was hovering nearby. Flown back to the grandstands a dripping wet Cauble was greeted by 150 visiting members of the Aviation Writers Association of America and three Admirals. Rocketeer, Thursday, May 30, 1958. LCdr. Larry Cauble, NOTS China Lake, VX-5, ejected into the Gulf of Mexico when he flamed out during air show demonstration of over-the-shoulder loft bombing maneuver. Only the group around the grandstands including 150 visiting members of the Aviation Writers Association of America and three Admirals knew of his predicament since the majority of the 8,000 spectators were not being informe by the PA system. On hand to greet him after his rescue by the NAS Corpus Christi rescue helicopter were VAdm. Robert Goldwaite, RAdm. Joseph Clifton and RAdm. John T. Hayward. The Bakersfield Californian, Saturday May 31, 1958. After his May 26, 1958 ejection and at the insistence of a flight surgeon - Commander Cauble was flown back to China Lake on a stretcher placed on the flight deck floor ofA3D-2 Skywarrior BuNo. 142250 .
April 18, 1961: Lt. Georges E. "Frenchy" LeBlanc, using the NOTS developed RAPEC I seat, ejected safely from his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 145075) as his engine flamed out at an altitude of 11,000 feet over the Dallas, TX, area Tuesday morning. LeBlanc, Lt. Paul Weitz, and Lt. Charles H . Brown were in flight from NOTS to Cherry Point, NC. He attempted two air starts and ejected at 4,000 feet. After LeBlanc landed in a farm field and signaled he was okay Weitz and Brown headed for NAS Dallas and reported the accident. Rocketeer, USNOTS, China Lake, CA, Friday, April 21, 1961.
September 25, 1962: Cdr. Shelley B. Pittman, 40, ejected safely when his A4D flamed out during maneuvers over the Salton Sea Gunnery Range yesterday. The wreckage fell in an open field about three miles NW of Westmoreland, one mile from U.S. 99. The Pasadena Independent, Wednesday, 26 September 1962. Cdr. Shelley B. Pittman, 40, VX-5 Weapons Officer ejected safely from A4D-2N BuNo 145066, Mystify 2, after the fuselage fuel cell ruptured and the engine flamed out. The flight mission called for glide bombing on target 103A in the vicinity of NAF El Centro, CA, and on target "Candid Camera" near Yuma, AZ. As Mystify 2 accompanied by Mystify 8 passed 5 miles to the east of Thermal Vortac Mystify 8 noticed fuel streaming from the lead at 1345 PDT. Further examination noted it was streaming heavily from the centerline bomb rack and stbd wing root. At that time Mystify 2 reported 6,700 lbs. of fuel. The flight commenced descent to get below the scattered clouds in the El Centro area that had a base of 6,000 feet. They contacted El Centro tower and at that time Mystify 2 reported 4,000 lbs. of fuel, a loss of 1,300 lbs. in less than 2 minutes. Immediately thereafter the fuel reading dropped to 1,000 lbs. and the engine flamed out at about 15,000 feet. After three unsuccessful relight attempts the pilot decided to eject. The aircraft crashed about 1.5 miles S. of the south shore of the Salton Sea and 1 one mile east of U.S. 99. USCG UF-1G Albatross c/n G-307, USAF s/n 51-7226, USCG s/n 7226 supported the rescue as did VX-5 A4D-2N Skyhawk BuNo 145112, Mystify 8. AAR (page 11, page 12, page 13,) 25 September 1962.
October 14, 1965:
February 9, 1970: USAF Maj. Jerry Hoblit ejected safely (BuNo 152015) after ingesting FFAR debris during a flight test of the "ZAP" ZUNI caused the engine to fail over B Range, NAF China Lake, CA.
Earliest: VX-5 pilots WILL test anything. Gary Verver Collection.
Date unknown: VX-5 AD-7 SPAD XE-3 with the T-63 nuclear shape. Photos from C. Gilbert, Gary Verver Collection.
Circa 1957: VX-5 A4D-1 Skyhawk BuNo 139925, XE-7, special weapons, next to VA-54 AD-7 Skyraider BuNo 142070, Armitage Field.
1958: VX-5 Skyhawk BuNo 142121, XE-23, refueling VX-5 BuNo 142095, XE-5, with a nuclear shape on the centerline.
Circa 1958: BuNo 142095, XE-5, on the ramp. Photo from C. Gilbert, Gary Verver Collection.
19 NOV 1959: VX-5 A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 142122, XE-6, MCBR and Mk-82 bombs. Official U.S. Navy photo courtesy of LtGEN Fitch.
03DEC59: 03 DEC 1959: VX-5 Vampires A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 142122, XE-6, original MCBR and Mk-81 bombs, MCAS Yuma. Photo by William Swisher courtesy of A. Romano www.navarchives.com.
DEC 1959: VX-5 A4D-2 BuNo 142122, XE-6, MCBR demo December 1959. Probably taken at Yuma. Photo is courtesy of Ray Powell.
Circa 1960-62: VX-5 Vampires A4D-2 Skyhawk BuNo 145041, XE-5 in-flight with A4D-2 BuNo 142122 with a locally applied brown camouflage scheme, circa 1960-1962. Official U.S. Navy photo, Paul Minert Collection, courtesy A. Romano www.navarchives.com.
03MAR61: Posing in front of an unknown VX-5 Vampires Skyhawk ... Cdr. Robert E. Kuntz (l) hands his aircraft fire control grip handle to LCdr Boyd Muncie who takes over as the VX-5 Vampires Project Director. Cdr. Kuntz will assume command of VF-21, NAS Alameda. Rocketeer photo.
1962-1965: BuNo 149659, VX-5 XE-4, at China Lake. From Gary Verver.
Circa 1963: VX-5 A-4E BuNo 149655, XE-21, circa 1963, unknown carrier. Xe-21 has pickedup a wire and is pulling it out. Photo from Ray Powell.
1963 Navy photo from Larry Cauble: VX-5 AE-3 Paul Dros (ladder) and AT-3 Gil Aguilera (by cockpit) discussing a pre-flight problem on VX-5 A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 149659, XE-24. Photo from Paul Dros.
07 JUN 1963: NAF NA-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145063 and VX-5 Event 19 pilots LT Bob Boyd, LCDR Gary Palmer & USMC CAPT Ray Powell. Photo from Ray Powell.
Circa 1963: VX-5 A-4C BuNo 148565, XE-8, circa 1963. VX-5 A-1H BuNo 139731, XE-14 in the foreground. Photo is courtesy of Ray Powell.
1963: Swinging VX-5 A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145068, XE-4, on the compass rose using a system designed by Paul Dros & Don Spruill. Photos are from Paul Dros.
1964: VX-5 F-4B Phantom II BuNo 150440, XE-13, sporting its new paint job and with nine ZUNI rocket pods. NAF A-4B Skyhawk BuNo 142892 at right. Photo from Paul Dros.
28 FEB 1964: VX-5 A-4C BuNo 145064, in the background as VX-5 Drill Team led by Jesus C. Lujan, YN2 (far right) makes their debut at the VX-5 Navy Day Open House. Rocketeer photo.
Circa 1964: VX-5 A-4C BuNo 145068, XE-4, at NAS China Lake circa 1964. Top row: Terry Willmam; MAJ Paul "Tex" Montague; Vern Snyder; ?; ? & Ted Dugas. Bottom row: ?; Phil Hooper; ? & ?. Photo from Phil Hooper.
MAY 1964: VX-5 Vampires A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 149657, XE-22, with Shrike missiles on #1 & #5, ZUNI FFAR pods on # 2 & #4 and an MBER with Snakeyes on the centerline, Edwards AFB. Photo courtesy A. Romano www.navarchives.com.
MAY 1964: MAY 1964: VX-5 Vampires A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 149657, XE-22, with Shrike missiles on the #1 & #5, ZUNI FFAR pods on # 2 & #4 and an MBER with Snakeyes on the centerline, Edwards AFB. Clay Jansson, courtesy A. Romano www.navarchives.com.
Circa 1965: VX-5 A-4E BuNo 149659, XE-4, circa 1965. Photo from Ray Powell.
Circa 1965: VX-5 A-4E BuNo 152015, XE-6, circa 1965. "Ordnance from l-r is Fireye, Shrike, Sadeye, Walleye & can not really see #1, but it might be Rockeye." Gary Verver. From Ray Powell.
MAY65: MAY 1965: VX-5 Vampires A-4C BuNo 148585 , XE-12, aircraft & people involved in the Snakeye Weapon System. Rocketeer. China Lake A-4B BuNo 142892 (left) and VX-5 A-4C BuNo 148585, XE-12. From the May 1965 Rocketeer â€œAircraft & people involved in the Snakeye Weapon System. Supporting Program Manager Roy Compton (right front) and Tony Simshauser, Project Manager (front left), engineers, technicians, ordies, technical assistants and secretaries, loading and scheduling groups, B-1 range crew, engineering drawings, packaging, inspection, supply, NAF & VX-5 pilots and plane crewman.
Date unknown: VX-5 A-4M BuNo 160245, XE-14 at China Lake. Bob Niedermeier.
Circa 1967: VX-5 Vampires A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150080, XE-3, XE-3, with TER's and practice bombs in formation with VX-5 A-7A Corsair II BuNo 152674, XE-10, with MER's and Snakeyes. Photo from Paul Minert Collection, courtesy A. Romano www.navarchives.com.
25JAN68: VX-5 Vampires A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145127, XE-9, refueling a NAF China Lake F-8 Crusader. Rocketeer photo.
18MAY69: VX-5 Vampires A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 152015, XE-6, tail close-up, Edwards AFB. Photo from Clay Jansson Collection, courtesy A. Romano www.navarchives.com.
MAY 1970: BuNo 152015 of VX-5. Source - Hansen? From Gary Verver Collection.
20JUL71: A J-52 jet engine is reinstalled in VX-5 Vampires A-4F Skyhawk (154177 or 154179) during a 5 day training program for Sea Cadets, China Lake. Rocketeer photo.
10DEC71: VX-5 TA-4J 152862 VX-5 AMS-3 Kenneth Gardner takes the oath of enlistment from LT M. C. Lansford at 20,000 feet in TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 152862, XE-12, China Lake, 10 December 1971. Rocketeer photo.
BuNo 152862, TA-4J XE-12, parked on the ramp. Gary Verver is the source.
JUN73: VX-5 Vampires A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 158170, XE-15, unknown location with Mk-81 bombs. P/C is ATAN Lucas. Photo by Harry Tyrpak, Paul Minert Collection, courtesy A. Romano - see navarchives.com.
1975: VX- 5 A-4M BuNo 158170, XE-15, 1975. Photographer unknown from Verver collection.
JUN76: JUN 1976: right side view of VX-5 Vampires A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159471, XE-15, on the ramp next to a F-101 Voodoo. Photographer unknown.
APR77: VX-5 Vampires A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159485, XE-13, on the ramp with a wing tanks and empty MER's on #1 and #5, location unknown. Photo from Paul Minert Collection, courtesy A. Romano.
14SEP79: Carl Burkey inspects Angle Rate Bombing System (ARBS) equipment in the nose of VX-5 Vampires A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 159485, XE-13, prior to a test, China Lake. Rocketeer photo by Ron Allen.
Circa 1982: VX-5 A-4M Skyhawk BuNo 160245, XE-15, landing aboard either U.S.S. Midway (CVA-41) or U.S.S. Coral Sea (CVA-43) - probably Midway. Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3 Pic 4 Pic 5 Pic 6 Pic 7 Pic 8 Pic 9 Pic 10 Pic 11 Courtesy of Phil Thompson.
23AUG85: VX-5 Vampires AT-1 Doug Cross re-enacts his reenlistment in the cockpit of VX-5 TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 152862, XE-12, with LCDR Len Fox as the photographer refused to be an in-flight wing-walker, Armitage Field, China Lake. Rocketeer photo.
Circa 1986: VX-5 TA-4F/J BuNo 152853, XE-11 at China Lake. Probably official U.S. Navy, from Gary Verver.
00AUG86: VX-5 Vampires TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 152853, on display at an open house at Abbotsford. Copyright Werner Munzenmaier.
1989: VX-5 A-4M BuNo160245, XE-14. Photographer unknown from Gary Verver Collection.
1996: VX-5 A-4M BuNo 160264, XE-15, at George AFB. Photographer unknown from Verver Collection.
No info yet.
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: