|Squadron specific radio frequency|
The Association has been notified that "Youthly Puresome" now has a web site.
Mar 14, 2015, Tom wrote:
I am a former Marine who was a member of H&MS-12, MAG-12, 1st MAW in Chu Lai, S. Vietnam/Iwakuni, Japan from July ’69 – June ‘70. I was an Aviation storekeeper (MOS 3071). MAG-12 consisted mainly of A4E aircraft.
My boss was A4E pilot Captain Michael Kelley, USMC. He was a CPA and designated as Fiscal Officer for the Group.
I am currently engaging Factory Direct Models (FDM) to craft an A4E model of the H&MS-12 “Outlaws”. Though I have read the Marine Skyhawk Ordnance Loads on your web page can you furnish me with which load would have been most typical for this squadron to best represent the squadron on my model (I’m not an ordnance expert)? I’m inclined to select Option #1 which seems to include 12 each MK82 500lb Snake-Eye Retarded bombs inboard, 2 each 500lb Napalm outboard with a single 300gl centerline fuel tank. Does this make sense?
Also, where is the likely placement on the fuselage for the H&MS-12 insignia (picture attached)?
Finally, is it possible that then Captain Mike Kelley is a member of your organization? If so, is there any way for me to contact him?
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Sgt. “Tom” USMC 1967-1971
I have some info that might be of interest. Our records show that H&MS-12 at Chu Lai had 5 TA-4F assigned over the period of 7 Sept 67 until 7 Nov 69. These aircraft were used for tactical air control airborne (TACA), training and support. There was one TA-4F lost on 29 Sept 67, 153499, piloted by a Maj Starnes who was killed in a landing accident at Chu Lai. The rear seat was occupied by a Capt Pool and he was a medivac stateside. The other 4 TA-4F were eventually transferred to H&MS-11 at Da Nang by 7 Nov 69. H&MS-12 did not possess any single seat aircraft but MAG-12 had 3-5 A-4 squadrons at any one time which flew either the A-4C or A-4E. If you model is a TA-4F with H&MS 12 markings- tail code WA (photo attached), it would probably be best configured with 2 drop tanks, one each on the inboard wing stations, and a 4 pack of zuni rockets on each outside wing station- this would give the aircraft endurance with extra fuel to hunt for targets and forward firing ordnance to mark targets for other aircraft. If you model is a single seat A-4E, a typical load out would be a centerline drop tank with 3 MK-82 500lb snakeyes on each inboard wing station on a multiple bomb rack and 1 500lb MK-77 napalm on the outboard wing stations. For your tour at Chu Lai, the A-4E gun squadrons in MAG-12 at that time were VMA-211 (CF), VMA-223 (WP) and VMA-311 (WL). Regarding the insignia, the H&MS birds normally did not have an insignia on them in country. Also, I was unable to find a Michael Kelley in our database or in the Marine Corps Aviation Association database. Hope this helps.
APR 2013: A recent series of emails pointed out the confusion that sometimes surrounds the term "Skyhawk II".
Ref: In a photo of the Douglas "advertisement" for the Skyhawk based on the A-4N - for Israel, the a/c is painted with Skyhawk II.
"I believe that is the source of the II designation and over time, it was added (by who?) to the A-4M. The Jan 4, 1977 Douglas "Main Differences Table" only has I and II in the box labeled A-4N which makes sense based on the attached photo (out of Tommy Thomason's SCOOTER as provided by the National Naval Aviation Museum)." Bill.
FEB 2013: To make this discussion (control sticks) even more interesting, see this image of the stick grip used on the Blue Angel A-4Fs. Denny wrote:
"I am sending a picture of the control stick we had in the Blue's jets. The troops presented them to us when we left the team. The coolie hat is the stabilizer trim button and the slide button that replaced the bomb release is to mechanically increase the feel of the stabilizer by increasing stick pressure to around 18-20 pounds. The call for this was to "roll in the feel" prior to formation flight so we always had positive stick pressure. I think the gun/rocket trigger switch then controlled the nose gear steering as all the bomb racks and guns were removed from the aircraft. We retained a centerline station for the external drop tank used for crosscountry flights and it could be pickled off using the jettison handle."
08 DEC 2012:
In 1970-72' I was an Instructor in VT-23 flying TA-4's at NAS Kingsville,TX.Coors beer had just become available in northTexas and was a premium commodity in south Texas. Since the TA-4 had no radar installed,the hinged,upward opening radome was empty. The space inside would accommodate about six cases of beer. Shepard AFB,in Wichita Falls,TX, a source location of the coveted Coors, became a favorite destination for out- and- back student instrument cross countries. So,in search of this nectar, I took a student up to Shepard in the back seat, under the hood. After parking on the transient line, I requested transportation to the O Club. When asked my reason for going there, I replied,"for Coors,of course. "Transportation was denied by order of the base commander, so I asked "will you take us there for lunch?" and it was done. At the club, we had lunch, went into the liquor store, bought two cases each and called a base taxi. When the taxi arrived,the driver saw the beer and refused to transport us. We carried our beer about a mile back to the transient line. The explanation was this: a couple of months before our visit, a TA-4 loaded with beer commenced takeoff at Shepard. At about eighty knots,the nose cone came unlatched and flew open, obscuring the pilot's vision. He promptly aborted takeoff, commenced heavy braking and spewed six cases of Coors onto the only runway, fouling it and closing the field for about two hours. Base flight training was secured and several studs had to be diverted to other bases - which is a BIG deal to the USAF Training Command! About three years ago, I spent a night at Shepard and met the Commanding Officer, a BG, at Happy Hour. He got a real kick out of this story.
Jack was in VF-74 aboard the Forrestal when I was there in VA-46. He spent a lot of time pulling bodies out of burned out compartments and helping with fire hoses. I have a lot of respect for what he did while I was down in sick bay, Ward II. Many years later, he relieved me as CO of VA-203...reserves at Cecil.
I've heard a lot of his stories, but never this one....funny.
As I recall, you could get about 6 cases of Coors in an F-9 if you broke them down and stashed them around the guns and other non essential equipment. The Coors run to Shepard was very popular in the late 60s out of Beeville and if you did it right, you could salute the tower with a wing fold while taxiing! The beer run was not appreciated by Lone Star.
18 APR 2012
Q: ..is the scooter an all aluminum skin and frame jet?
Ans: All aluminum except for the nose cone. (from a former metal bender).
All aluminum. Some bits and pieces are steel and stainless steel. Some nose cones are honeycomb fiberglass. The rudder has some honeycomb in it. All in all it is a 7075 T6 aluminum airplane.
The A-4A, B, C aircraft all are essentially the same aluminum 2024-T, 6061-T and 7075-T alclad skin panels. There are some small areas of titanium alloy and steel panels but for the most part its an aluminum alloy skin.
Filipino Spaghetti: 1/2 Kils ground pork or ground beef, (or mystery meat), Carrot chop or brunuei, Cellery chop, Onion chop, Garlic chop, (hot dog - chop [some do - sort of a bonus), Catsup, Tomato sauce, Sugar, Cheddar cheese.
Saute ground beef or pork - strain out of grease. set aside, Saute garlic & onion til golden brown, Add Carrots, until they are cooked too, Add the cooked meat - saute and then add hotdog and warm, Mix in the catsup, tomato sauce - add sugar, salt, pepper to taste, Mix in some cheese. When cooked pour into a hot-dish pot and put some cheese on top. Cook the Spaghetti a dente and put some on plate and put the mystery stuff on-top.
Buds' notes - You can substitute monkey meat or dog or cat or rat for ground beef & when in doubt throw in a well aged baloute or an old rotten duck egg. It helps to have several San Magoos b-4 eating.
01 JUL 2011:
Bill "Jigger" Egan of the Skyhawk Association presents Margaret “Warrior Princess” Bone, with a instrument of appreciation for her contributions to the success of the Skyhawk Association Journal. Margaret has retired, but her influence on our journal will remain.
20 JUN 2011:
Q: I am avid modeler of naval aviation subjects and have finished converting a Fujimi A-4C in 1/72 scale into a A-4L flown by my local unit, VA-205. The pictures on your site proved very helpful towards building an accurate A-4L from 1974. I am now working on a late model A-4M that has an angle rate bombing system in the nose and I wanted to hang some ordinance that would be unique to this version. According to "Naval Fighter 55, McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk" by Steve Ginter, the angle rate bombing system allowed the Skyhawk to use Maverick and other laser guided bombs. As the subject of my model is a A-4M from VMA-214 during the eighties when they were painted in a low viz scheme, I wanted to hang something other than the usual run of the mill unguided bombs, rockets, Walleye, and napalm. Thus my question, if I go with Mavericks, what should be hanging from the weapon stations, the same with Paveway series laser guided bombs. While the book is a good research help for the later model scooter, it doesn't have much in way of proper weapons load-outs. Also, most of the pictures I have of Skyhawks carrying war loads date back to Vietnam and show earlier varients. I look forward to any help you might give.
A: You asked the Skyhawk Association for information about laser guided bomb (LGB) and Laser Maverick missile (LMAV) load outs on the A-4M. Your message got forwarded to me for response.
From 1979-80, I was a Project Pilot for Laser Maverick at NWC China Lake, and from 1980-83 I was an Operational Test Director at VX-5 where I planned, conducted, and reported on the LMAV’s Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL). Here’s what I know in answer to your questions.
LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) went on all five weapons stations on MERs/TERs.
LMAVs (Laser Mavericks) went on LAU-117 rail launchers mounted only on A-4M wing stations—see picture of VX-5 A-4M with max LMAV load out of four.
Closer view of an LMAV test missile (telemetry warhead) and LAU-117 launcher on A-4M station 4.
Last A-4M produced (160264) on the catapult on USS Constellation (CV-64) with LMAV on station 4 during the Laser Maverick missile’s OPEVAL.
View of the LAU-117 launcher and LMAV being loaded onto an F/A-18.
FYI—LMAV was integrated only into A-4M aircraft reworked with the Angle Rate Bombing System (ARBS). The ARBS incorporated a dual-mode target tracker in the aircraft’s nose; a pilot move-able electro-optical imaging (television) tracker and a Laser Spot Tracker (LST) which tracked a coded airborne or ground laser-designated target. The pilot entered the laser designator’s laser code for the LST as well as the LMAV. The laser code was a four-digit number displayed at the bottom of cockpit’s Walleye video monitor. Once a coded laser-designated target was acquired, the both the LST and LMAV locked-on to and continuously tracked the target, and the Head-Up Display (HUD) LST symbol stopped, fixed on the target. The pilot then had visual verification of the target for both the LST and the LMAV by looking through the HUD’s LST symbol.
03 JUN 2011
Q: Anyone have the recipe for the great Filipino Spaghetti they served in the Cafetera at Cubi Point Officers Club?
A: Thank you Bud for the Recipe.
Although I can tell it is not the same as what was served at the "Cafeteria" at Cubi Point, it does indeed look interesting and I may still try it. Good piece of humor you added too...
I would also like to thank all of you gentlemen in regards to trying to help me out in finding the recipe I am looking for.
If any of you have not had this style of spaghetti... I highly recommend you at least try it sometime! It is "Not" the same as what most Americans eat out of a jar or box, and of course also not the same as what we classically know as "Italian" style.
Just this Sunday, after the Indy 500 race, I attended a Filipino Birthday party for a family friend. They had Filipino spaghetti there too. And in actuality... one of the better ones I've ever had (although still not the specific recipe I'm looking for). Have tried to weasel it out of them but so far, don't appear they wish to share the recipe.
In actuality... some of the problem of being able to duplicate the real taste of Filipino spaghetti... is finding the ingredients.
First... the "hot-dogs" they put in it, are "Manila" style hot-dogs. Actually quite different than American hot-dogs, and you would also notice when seeing them, that they are a very bright red color, not to mention taste much different.
There is also a mixture of Pork and Beef, but not sure to as what proportions.
Last... (of course based only on what I've learned over time and via other Filipinos whom have let me try their recipes)... another ingredient is "Banana Ketchup".
Yes... if never heard of it, it does indeed exist, and is NOT made with tomatoes, but instead... Bananas. A very unique taste, but still with a slight taste of what we also know as ketchup.
Anyway... If I should obtain the recipe of this last dish I tried... I will be glad to share it with you gents. Again... it was one of the better ones I've had over the last 10 years.
As for Cubi Point... if you have never been there... you've also missed out on a great place to visit and see! The scenic view from the top of the hill is breath taking and the countryside something else! (Just watch out for snakes... and don't piss off the Monkeys! LOL)
As for any other Philippine dishes you gents should try.. I recommend the following:
Pan de Sol (bread)
Again gents... Thanks so much for all your help and responses!
10 MAY 2010:
Q: "...the bent probe was necessitated by a Shrike mission avionics change and the incidents of fuel ingestion during inflight refueling caused it to have wider application. However, nobody has yet identified the specific antenna change or AN system number associated with that different blob under the nose or I missed it (SIDS and TIAS/TAIS have been mentioned).
A: Not sure I am on the right track, but the best knowledge I have was that with installation of the APR-23 inside the nose cone, functionality was inhibited to some degree by the straight probe. We had the APR-23 in some of our birds in VMA-121 in Chu Lai- A-4Es. They were supposed to help with target location for Shrike use. I believe this is what is probably attributed to TIAS- Target Identification and Acquisition System (this is an opinion!) There were also some A-4Fs in Navy squadrons that were modified with Laser Spot Trackers and the probe may have interfered as well with that field of view/scan--?? Later with the incorporation of the Angle Rate Bombing System, the field of view and scan were greatly increased and the probe would have been a problem had it not been "bent". During the engineering flight tests of the first A-4M with ARBs (I was the pilot for those tests), the chins blisters around the ARBs dome included 2 ALR-45 receivers on either side and ALQ-126 active jammer mid and low band antennas underneath the ARBs. A fully functional ALQ-126 in a jamming mode put out enough energy to cause the ARBs tracker to break lock and/or slew to one side un-commanded. This resulted in many hand made modifications to the RF screening around the ARBs cables in the dome- eventually leading to an ECP for the program to satisfactorily perform as required. Now, what was the question?
27 MAY 2010:
Q: Flying the TA-4J, need know the differences between it and the A-4L.
A: If it still has the J65-W-20, military power gives approximately 104%RPM and 8,400# of thrust on the single spool engine. The engine will vibrate over 100%, but that's normal.
It has a total loss oil system, with oil venting from the #2 and #3 main bearing cavities, leaving oil on both sides of the airplane...should blow out 2 qts per hour. There is no pressure oiling on the J-65, so oil is added by the quart on the top of the fuselage. The J-65 requires an external starter probe.
Maximun time at military power is 30 minutes. Start temp limit is 720 degrees/military temp is 695/normal power EGT is 640/Acceleration limit EGT is 720.
FOOT STOMPER: The J-65 has been known to run for 30 minutes with no oil pressure, but only if the power is set at 87% and not moved till time to land. As I discovered, this also could apply to any thrust surges, which might indicate impending main engine bearing failure...cost me a punch out in '68.
The L has ground spoilers...but I guess the T does too...armed for TO/Lnding. ...no nose gear steering, so differential braking only.
Q: "Hello there, I am an italian engineering student, and a fan of the great Bantamweight Bomber. Your site is beautiful and plenty of useful informations, so I thought I could ask you for a little technical problem, which arose in my Skyhawk research. The electic system of the Skyhawk consisted in a 20 kVA alternator for AC 115 V. For emergency, there is an external Ram Air Turbine (RAT), but for the sake of reducing weight, the Skyhawk has no battery. And this is the big problem: how is possible to start the engine without any battery? It is possible that a front-line attack aircraft like the A-4 required always a Groud Power Unit (GPU) just to start the engine? I'm quite sure that this little aircraft either had no space for an APU... It would be awesome if anyone collaborating in your website has an answer, from technical experts to ex-USN and USMC pilots (who surely remember the starting procedures).
Thanks a lot for any answer and for your beautiful website"
Ans: "Buon Giorno Daniel,
All US Skyhawks with the exception of the A-4M required an external start cart in order to start the engine. Some of the earliest models also were required to carry a starter probe in the rear "hell hole" which was a gear mechanism that was placed in the right wing root in order to turn the engine before adding fuel and then re-stowed after start. Multiple airplanes could share the same starter. The A-4M had its own starter along with a very small pump handle that had to be attached to the JFS (Jet Fuel Starter) and hand pumped whenever the start was not successful on the first attempt. Some of us had "borrowed" F-16 starter handles that were longer and easier to use.
You have to remember that when the Skyhawk was developed, there was plenty of money for the military, start carts were very common on the first jet aircraft and adding a self start capability always adds a lot of weight, which is a bad idea in any airplane. The decision is always a trade off between convenience, performance, cost and function.
27 OCT 2008
My trip to Subic...what a disappointment! While the trip to/from was no prob (beautiful, high speed toll way...through Angeles City and Clark), when I got to Subic, I was shocked. When I crossed shit river, I literally didn't know whether I was coming or going. Olongapo looked the same on both sides. There were two RPN ships in port, so I was able to ID where the waterfront was. My trip to Cubi NAS was no different. I struggled, but finally found the Cubi O Club. The front doors had a steel bar through them, preventing entrance. I walked around back, to find a Philippino family living in the club! Roosters were clucking among the weeds, where the nice lawn overlooking the RW and the bay used to be. The Ready Room bar was still there, but all sadly in need of paint. At the BOQ, Philippino families were living in the rooms. The BOQ swimming pool was partially filled with green fetid water...disease and bugs growing among the trash that had sunk to the bottom. The two Navy exchanges (Cubi/Subic) were very poor copies of Kmart. Fedex was operating out of the old air wing hangar. No paint had been applied since the USN moved out. The only bright spot was the Binictican Valley golf course...now called the Subic Bay Golf Course. It was in great shape. Only three foursomes were on the course (Sat afternoon). Apparently the last touchup work really accompl ished on the base was in 1996, when the RP hosted an APEC summit at Cubi. Eight private homes were built just above the runways, but below the O Club...one home for each world leader. They are now privately owned...but are starting to show wear/tear so common in this harsh environment. Everything else was overgrown, buildings slowly receding back into the jungle. No lawns were without thigh-high weeds. Fences falling over, parking lots empty and chained off, with weeds growing among the cracks. I'll not go back. Sad.
09 SEP 2008:
Brent: Re: your question as to the height beyond which a pilot might have trouble flying the A-4.
I can't give you a figure. But I've known some pretty long Scooter Drivers!
Early on in the late fifties to mid-sixties, there was a rule put into effect(?) by the human engineering types that limited the height of A-4 pilots(Largely ignored in the real world of the A-4). It was not from a problem of flying the plane. Rather, the height limit was put at about 6' 4" or thereabout - which corresponded to a hip-knee length beyond which a pilot was expected to have trouble were he to have to eject from the a/c.
The measure of his hip-to-knee length was the important criteria. If one was too long in that dimension, upon ejecting from the aircraft, the legs would be thrown forward and there was a great likelihood that toes, feet, or whatever would not clear the instrument panel and would be rather summarily chopped off .... or so it was feared! (all of which would quickly reduce the pilot to the proper measurements.)
I only knew one chap who ran afoul of that rule. He was Skipper of VA-44, the A-4 RAG in Jacksonville, FL. When he flew the A-4, he lowered his seat all the way to the bottom, extended rudder peddles to maximum, closed the canopy and cocked his head to one side or the other. He was just too tall to sit upright. His head rested tightly against the canopy.
The folks from above dictated that he was too tall & invoked the proscription against his flying the A-4. He routinely saluted, closed the canopy and, on a regular basis, took off! He was Cdr. Damon 'Hutch' Cooper, ..... later to be an admiral.
I don't recall ever reading of any A-4 ejection in which the dreadful "missing toes" occurred.
Stars and Bars
Sent: April 09, 2008 11:44 AM
Subject: A4 Markings
Do you remember any data on the placement of the Star on the A4's? I have seen graphics that place the Star on the E's up front at the cockpit area like I remember, and have seen on all A4-A through C models.
I recently purchased the "US Navy & Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk Units of The Vietnam War", and they show an A4-E BuNo 151105 of VA-93 in the Artists Color Plates, pages 65-72 with the Star forward.
I thought that when the E model came out, with the engine change along, with the added length to the nose of the aircraft, they moved the Star to the rear at the speed brake area. Following up grades kept the Star in the rear area.
Evergreen's E model replica of John McCain's #416 from VA-46 is with the Star forward, but pictures of VA-46 E models show it to the rear.
Sent: April 09, 2008 12:57 PM
Subject: RE: A4 Markings
The Evergreen replica is correct. The only A-4E in VA-46 on the ’67 WESTPAC cruise to have the stars and bars on the tail just happened to be the airplane I was in during the Forrestal fire, 150129. The paint scheme change for the Echo was taking place that year, and as the airplanes got new paint at O&R, the stars and bars moved to the rear. Around the same time, new airplanes coming from Douglas started showing the new paint scheme. In the photos from our ’67 cruise, you can see the change. In VA-46 paint, it caused us to paint only one plaid strip on the tail, as “NAVY” and the BUNO was in the way.
Sent: April 09, 2008 10:23 AM
Subject: A4 Markings
Jim - all A-4's powered by the J-65 engine (A/B/C/L) had the star forward because the I-65 emitted oil from a vent on the starboard side of the fuselage aft and the oi would eat the star off - all others had the star aft since the J-52 did not spit out oil - that's how I remember it.
The "S" after the BuNo.
I'm pretty sure that the letter after the BuNo indicates what manufacturing block the airplane was built in. It wasn't a common practice but I've seen it occasionally.
That "S" is a, from what I have been told, a modification program designator. Which modification program it would be I have no idea. From what I know it seems that no one has a record of them.
I don't know when block identification became a sometime practice, but I know it predates 1962. That's not to say that a BuNo suffix couldn't have been used to denote a mod program as well.
I got it out of the F3H flight handbook, of all places.
It was there because of variations in configuration between manufacturing blocks, e.g. whether the primary dc bus or the utility bus provided electrical power to the engine fuel shutoff valve.
10 SEP 08 - Production Blocks:
In the immediate postwar years, like the USAF, the US Navy/Marine Corps often used a production block system to keep track of minor production line changes that were not deemed sufficiently drastic as to call for a new aircraft configuration sequence number. This system continued after the adoption of the unified designation system in 1962. Just like the Air Force, the Navy/Marine Corps did not use production block designations for all of their aircraft, and there was considerable variation in the systems used from one aircraft type to another.
Block Numbers normally progressed in increments of 5 starting with -1, then -5, -10 and so on. Intermediate numbers were reserved to denote field modifications carried out after the aircraft's delivery, although the use of these seems to be exclusive to the USAF, and there is no known record of any USN aircraft having such intermediate numbers. Exceptions to the 'plus 5' rule of progression were fairly frequent, the prime examples being the McDonnell Banshee, Demon, and Phantom and the LTV Corsair II, whose Block Numbers progressed in single increments -1. -2, -3 and so on. In addition to Block Numbers. the Navy also often used Block Letters to denote different production standards. although these don't seem to be related to any USAF-style designation. . There were various letter styles and combination of letters that were used. The differing styles appear to have no particular significance and probably existed because of the lack of any firm USN directive on the subject. Sometimes the sequence started with the letter 'A' or 'a", with the first change in production standard being denoted by 'B', then 'C', etc, until 'Z' was reached. If letters beyond 'Z' were required, it sometimes happened that the letters are started over from 'A', but on other occasions the next change was denoted by 'AA' to 'ZZ' . In order to avoid confusion with the number zero, the letter 'O' is skipped.
To summarize some recent traffic concerning a modelers question:
Can, and would you, place a MARK 84 2000lb bomb on Stations 2 and/or 4?
Weight limits not a problem.
Clearance a problem? Would you use, or have to use, a MER or TER?
Has anyone seen a MARK 84 loaded on Stations 2 and/or 4?
So far we have:
After checking with some Marines I found they did carry them on the center line - Station 3. The in-boards 2 and 4 had a clearance problem but it was between the hooks on the rack.
And that in the :..... A-4 section from the USMC fixed wing aircraft: description, planning specifics and utilization planning factors manual....
Page 7 shows the various load-outs on the wing stations and shows the Mk-84 on #3 only.
David found that:
I found researching that: MER uses two suspension lugs 14 inches apart (MK 84 lugs are 30 inches apart) and TER suspension hooks space 14 inches apart (MK84 lugs are 30 inches apart).
The Mark 84 2000lb bomb had suspension lugs 30 inches apart, and only the center-line rack on the Skyhawk could accommodate that configuration.
Heard that Rahn used to explain the reason the slats on the A4 were not interconnected was expense. It would have cost $70 on an airplane then worth 900 grand apiece.
The first fleet squadron to get the A4D-1 was VA-72 (CAG 7). I flew my first A4 flight on 19 December 56. We had transitioned from the F9F-5 Panther. The Squadron insignia was a hawk, with the word "Skyhawk" along the lower margin. We had had that insignia long before we got the A4. But sometime after we got the plane, Douglas Aircraft Co. said we couldn't use the name "SKYHAWK" because they had it as a trademark? copyright?, or whatever they called it. Letters went back and forth from squadron to Douglas, but they remained chicken-shit to the end. Ended up keeping the hawk insignia, but with the "SKYHAWK" deleted.
It was a good bird, but couldn't be trimmed for "hands -off" flying. And it was cheap, even for those days, something like $250,000 a copy. With the added mission of "special weapons delivery", we got to do a lot of legal flathatting on low level flights. After passing over a herd of cattle or horses at 50 feet, you'd look back and see them scattering like chickens. There were also a few incidents of turkey flock kills, and those flights were hell on mink farms. Had to make some route changes after awhile. Had to chuckle several years later when I started flying the F8 with VF-74, and those hot fighter jocks thought a "low level" flight meant that they had to get all the way down to a 1000 feet and still not get lost! I always did think that Mach .98 at 50 feet was a lot more fun than 1.75 at 40,000 feet. Would have liked to make it to P-Cola for that A4 retirement, but not possible. Maybe some other VA-72 ers will make it.
Bill Buc email@example.com
I read the comments by Bill Buc with interest and enjoyed them. It is always good to hear from people that were there.
Bill’s statement regarding Douglas objection to VA-72 using the name Skyhawk is interesting. I was very junior with the company at that time so do not have any insight on that. However, I later wrote a memo to the company lawyer protesting Cessna using Skyhawk and Skymaster names on their aircraft, both Douglas trademarks. I do not believe any action was taken on this by Douglas so Cessna continued to use these names.
The comment about the original cost of $250,000 per aircraft is a little low. The fly-away costs for the 165 A4D-1 aircraft averaged about $700,000 (excluding the GSE) which was still a bargain at the time compared to other military aircraft prices. The total cost of the XA4D-1 ran to about 8.4 mil on a CPFF development contract. As I remember off the top of my head, the last Skyhawks built ran somewhere in the vicinity of 5 mil apiece. Figuring the "costs" of military aircraft is not an exact science. It all depends on the basic inputs. I was in the business for 42 years and still cannot fully explain the costing in a few distinct terms. Maybe someone else could throw some learned opinions.
There is some debate about the origins of the term "Murphy's Law". Find here what we believe is the the straight skinny, not scuttlebutt!. Murphy's Law and Captain J.N. Murphy, USN
04 APR 2007
I have been searching for information regarding Captain J.N. Murphy, USN. I keep bumping into him linked somehow to the Skyhawk Organization. That may be because he was C.O. of Pt. Mugu back in 1950, when the A4 was in early development. I believe he was also C.O. at China Lake back in those days.
He retired as a Rear Admiral and I believe his final tour was as Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative - Central District (BAGR-CD) at Wright-Patterson AFB. Admiral Murphy was a Naval Aviator and designated as an Aeronautical Engineering Duty Officer (AEDO). I served under him at BAGR-CD at WPAFB. in '56-57.
My interest in him stems from the fact that I strongly believe that he deserves recognition for being the originator of "Murphy's Law". A USNA graduate, probably somewhere in the late 1930, he soon won his wings and was sent to MIT for graduate studies in aeronautical engineering, which lead to his designation as an AEDO. Pearl Harbor found him assigned to a fighter squadron aboard one of our Pacific Fleet carriers where he soon became one of our first aviators to gain combat experience against Japanese aircraft. Before long he was ordered back to BuAer in Washington where his combat experience could be utilized in the specifications for new fleet aircraft. In that role, he traveled about visiting our aircraft factories, consulting with their engineers on the design of new aircraft to help make them superior to the Japanese aircraft.
Our fleet aircraft were being maintained by boys barely out of high school, and one of the lessons Murphy constantly hammered on was, "If a part can be installed incorrectly, it will be installed incorrectly" or words to this effect. It was vital, he maintained, that engineers actually design parts so they could not be installed incorrectly. This became known in the aircraft manufacturing plants of WW II as "Murphy's Law".
I suspect Murphy's Law was incorporated in the design of the Skyhawk, and possibly even earlier in the AD and later SBDs produced by DAC, and most other post '41 designs of all WW II aircraft. Admiral J. N. Murphy deserves credit as the author. My research into the origins of Murphy's Law discloses that credit is generally going to some USAF engineer involved in the sleds used in ejection seat tests at a later date. Wikepedia does contain a brief mention possibly attributing it to a Commander J. Murphy who was a naval aircraft procurement officer in the '30s. This, I believe, may be a partially accurate clue, but they still give the credit to the USAF's Murphy.
How can we make this right? Rear Admiral Murphy was one of the finest Naval Officers I ever knew.
Allyn E. "Al" Rowley, CDR, Supply Corps, USN (Retired)
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Webmaster's Note: I support the above assessment of the origins of "Murphy's Law". It's entirely possible that later another Murphy coined the jest of the law, perhaps based upon what he was exposed to, or had heard, earlier in his career. Or someone who worked around him remembered a past reference to a Murphy's Law and revitalized the term.
Perhaps someone who worked in the aircraft plants of WWII, or has related historical documentation of that environment, can verify that "Murphy's Law" existed in their environment.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (edited for briefness)
Changes in culture and lifestyle have caught up with Trader Jon's, a ramshackle waterfront bar, filled with naval aviation memorabilia, that for a half-century catered to military personnel from raw recruits to generals and admirals.
The famed bar, which also attracted astronauts, politicians, royalty and movie stars, including John Wayne, Bob Hope, Elizabeth Taylor, Prince Andrew and Brooke Shields, will close this weekend, owner Matt Heckemeyer said Tuesday.
Heckemeyer bought the bar from the estate of Martin``Trader Jon'' Weissman, who died in 2000. Weissman opened the bar in 1952 and ran it until he suffered a stroke in 1997. About 10,000 items, including photographs, crash helmets, flight suits, model airplanes and assorted aircraft parts, will be acquired by a law firm that then will donate them to the museum foundation. Blue Angels photographs collected by Weissman over the years will be used in a future display about the Navy precision flying team at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola Naval Air Station. The last event at Trader Jon's will be a Blue Angels party Saturday after the Pensacola-based team finishes its season-ending homecoming show. ``It was the social heart of the Pensacola naval aviation community,'' said retired Capt. Bob Stumpf, a former Blue Angels leader. ``It's going to be missed. There's no replacement for it.''
Cubi Point Revisted
Bud Taylor wrote an article (see below) about his visit to PI. Titled "The Budman's 1999 Cubi Point Visit".
I would like to reply to him with the following:
Check out the web site at www.subicbaypi.com
Photo Galleries of Off-Base Girls of Olongapo: in the 1960's section. Five of the pictures belong to VA-163 folks. Lots of other good photo's in this web site.
Mister Ed, VA-163 Saints SDO
The Budman's 1999 Cubi Point Visit Since the Navy left Cubi Point, Philippines in the early 90's, two factors have greatly influenced the area:
First, the Taiwanese have invested heavily in the building of computer component manufacturing and production facilities in the Subic area. It has included factories, resorts with casino's, yacht club with condominiums and improved recreational facilities.
Second, FDX has utilized the airport area as a major Far East hub for time-definite delivery to that part of the world. As such, let's start at the airport.
The area, previously known as VC-5, VRC-50 and Flag spaces, is now all FDX, which has numerous Airbus, DC-10 and MD-11 aircraft transiting Cubi on a daily/nightly basis. The runway is the same, and pilots have to be mindful of the mountain to the west and the terrain to the east.
The area toward the bay, known as 'The Air Wing Maintenance Hanger' is now deserted. There is a small racetrack in the lower aircraft parking area and a restaurant adjacent to Leyte pier. Not much activity down in that area.
Around to the south is the old ammo pier which is also deserted; however, the dungaree beach areas are still active for tourists, such as the Taiwanese. At the east side of the runway, there is now a commercial international airline terminal with 6 or so gates. That's about it for the airpatch.
Next, Cubi Point, and it's probably most fitting to start with the O'club. It is now an office building; no more club, however-the Catapult room is still functioning and is now known as the 'Flight Deck' with a disco.
I walked completely around the O'club and still marvel at the beautiful view of the bay and surrounding area. There are benches there for those inclined to rest and reminisce. Now, as I walked around the club, I did find a few old shoes, khaki shirts and smelly socks and if I was real quiet, I could here some sounds from the pass-like somebody calling "Main Gate" or something about a "Klondike" game. I also found an old pair of dogtags; but the name was hardly legible-there was a J, an e and a Sat or something. Anyway, it's not the same, boys. OK-as you come out of the club, in your mind eye and to the right would be the gym and bowling alley. There are now restaurants and stores. Facing up the hill toward the BOQ, you'll notice a new casino hotel and resort right in the area that used to be barracks.
That is some of that Taiwanese $. On up past the chapel, the BOQ is now a hotel with another hotel across the street between the Q and the A-5 which is still there.
I went into the Q and looked for a barber shop, and inquired about a Cubi Dog and San Maguil at the back bar. Also, wanted to buy some belt buckles and patches. Boy's (weep), it's all gone. Listening real hard, I could hear some splashes out back, pool is now part of the resort and, well-it's just not the same. By the way, the Cubi exchange with Martinez model shop is all closed and deserted. You can still, however, visit JEST; which still has a zoo, run by the Negrito's including a camp-out, if you so desire.
Well, that's 'bout it for Cubi-in many respects, it a ghost town. Some activity; but most of the activity is down toward Subic side; which will be the subject of page 2, later. Hope you enjoyed the tour, I did. I still in my mind's eye, see the carrier arriving pierside with transportation waiting-the exodus from the ship and the high speed pass to the club and BOQ and the aviator's blowing off some steam.
Bodies crawlin' around the jungle, tomorrow's duty officer meandering back to the ship, the XO wanting to know where everybody is and has ANYBODY read the message board in the last week. And, of course, the Skipper's leading the charge. "Binictican come in-Main Gate" Later, gentleman, the Budman.
PS. Maybe someone has a famous story about the "aaaaatttttddddmmminn car" or whatever to pass along.
Cubi...'Being There' I've been enjoying your travelogue of Subic and I've been meaning to add some of my own experiences for the guys who don't get out much but who remember those days of our Great Adventure. So here are a few words from the Turtle:
I spent a great day in Subic about two weeks ago having some great regression moments. Although I've flown through there a few times with Tigers and FedEx since my Navy days, this was my first actual layover in Subic since my last overnight there sometime in May 1973! So, naturally, sleeping took second place to the urge to revisit the scenes of the crimes.
I was raring to go up and have a look around Cubi. I had two choices, as always: Walk 5 miles up the hill in 900 degrees and 400% humidity (no damn way). Or take de bus. I took de bus. I hopped dis bus pull ob billipilos and blasted up the hill the Cubi Club and the old BOQ. On de bus, de radio was blasting and the air conditioner on de roof was roaring with the condensate dripping right on my head! It was great to be back!
As you go around the bay toward Cubi, right at the split in the road where you either go up the hill to the O'club or down to the pier, there is still that F-8 sitting there, painted sort of a dark Air Force blue from the tip of the pilot tube to the back of the tailpipe. Reminded me of the time when our beach Det was supposed to paint one of our F-8s (in full squadron colors, of course) but decided to hit the Po-town instead and pay the joes to paint the aircraft (no doubt the payoff was two cases of beer or some such). When they got back, the entire aircraft was painted all right, It was gray from pitot tube to titanium tailpipe, including the canopy, the wheel wells and the tires. All gray. Lots of yellin' and snortin' about that as I recall. Glad I wasn't working in Maintenance at the time.
Going up the hill takes you through lots of jungle trees and big bushes as always. It's very quiet up around the old Cubi club but the buildings are about the same with some actual improvements. They've built a few new structures (no high-rises, though) and added some nice features that make it like a tropical hotel/resort deal. There are some walking/sitting areas with views where there was once only jungle down below the O'Club.
You can meander around the grounds and enjoy the heat and the view. (The view is still terrific.) I walked past the Chapel (funny, I don't remember the Chapel at all) over to the BOQ. It's also a hotel/resort but not much in the way of guests. We walked through the place where the old barbershop and massage rooms were (they're gone-turned back into hotel rooms) and out back to the pool. Even though it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, there was not one soul at the pool. I stood there remembering that I never saw that pool with less than 300 guys laying around it. But it looks exactly the same. The cabanas (with grass underneath) by the pool are still there where we got out of the sun and asked the girls to bring us another cold one. The diving boards are low ones now, but I remember colossal buffooneries on a high diving board by many a star athlete/nasal radiator augmented by a few (more than a few...) beers.
The old O'Club is not in daily use now. But it's been maintained and is used on an as-needed basis for conference meetings and presentation meetings. The main dining room is set up with chairs and a big projection screen on the same stage where the Marines used to enhance the floor shows with their "Mushroom soup" routines or the F-8 guys used to give impromptu renditions of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," complete with raunchy gestures. Just writing this is making me laugh so hard, my eyes are watering and I can't see to type! I turned left inside the front door to go have a Cuba Libre at the bar, but, as we all know, the bar is GONE! It's in the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.
As luck would have it, only 10 days earlier, I was having a Cubi Dog at the actual Cubi Bar in the Museum with 400 other F-8 pilots during our annual reunion. Having a Cubi Dog in Pensacola and nothing but a sweatburger in Cubi was a little strange. It was a quiet moment to stand there and think about the flow of incredible talent, wit and humor that flowed through that building. It was slightly sad to see all the touchstones of the past (the big tall windows were not as tall as I remember 'em, the club itself is not as big as I remember it being, and the slot machines are gone) but the place is the same place, just very quiet.
I stood out in the parking lot, remembering that we only had about two highly stylized cars/trucks per squadron and as JOs we were always stealing the Skipper's truck and blaming it on the XO from the other squadron as we piled in for the trip to the main gate. I walked to the right outside and remembered that facade of dark stone, perfectly fitted together on the face of the club. It's still there. If there was ever a stirring testament to the fact that PEOPLE make the difference in any enterprise, there it was. A building and no people --- nothing. Well, I slapped myself out of my trance and realized that, of course, no trip to Subic is complete without a trip into the 'ville.
So back on de bus to Po wit de billipino beoples, past the huge new Acer computer factory to pick up about a million Bilipino girls who assemble your computers and on to de "Men Gate." The liber (as in that well-known rock song: "Lolling on de Liber") is just as disgusting as ever, but no boys diving for coins. Big wall on the bridge to prevent you from even seeing the liber unless you work at it. On the other side, lots of jeepneys, dust, little shops selling electronics, pizzas, other stuff. No juke joints, dives, bimbos, guys with machine guns or other fun stuff. Just a grubby little third-world town. They did have a huge flea-market set up there, with lots of cheap stuff and the all-time BEST selection of flip-flops I've ever seen. And I've traveled over the years to some big-time flip-flop wearing cultures. This was the worldwide best. Well, what the hell did I expect?
It was so damn hot, I finally had to get the hell out of there, but it wasn't without a moment of serious reflection on what we all enjoyed there. All of us flying F-8s, F-4s, Vigies, Spads, A-4s, A-6s, Whales, and all the rest. The incredible effort of the ships, the squadrons, the shore effort, the beach dets, the liberty fun. Hell, once there were so many ships in port in Subic including two other carriers, we had to "anchor out" with the Oriskany and ride the Higgins boats to the liberty pier. It was a huge effort.. an incredible expenditure of the nation's capital.
As I sat in the MD-11, flying back across the Pacific, I looked out the window at the water and the clouds and thought about all those people, those places and those great days. We all miss 'em, but those days set us on the road to becoming effective people, they made us feel like true agents for our country and they taught us how to do big things in the world and not just root around in the pine trees of our little hometowns, screwing around with old Mary Lou Rottencrotch. As we get older, my friends on this list, you guys who were there with me, are the most valuable things in my life. We were huge, weren't we? Don't worry, Cubi lives.