Light Attack - the Mission
|This page is dedicated to
Medal of Honor holder
Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale, USN
Please read about him below.
"FIGHTER PILOTS MAKE MOVIES; ATTACK PILOTS MAKE HISTORY"
|The Attack Mission||Patches Worn
|Squadron Lineage||CVA-41 "Attack"
- The mission of the aircraft carrier is to put ordnance on target. Everything else such as Indian Country, unreps, the grid, SSC, and anything else starting with F- is simply support for the attack mission.
- You win the war by killing the enemy by the thousands, not one at a time at twenty thousand feet.
- In peacetime, DCM is something the attack pilot uses to rejoin off the range.
In wartime, DCM is something the attack pilot uses to turn and shoot some asshole in the face who's trying to stop the attack pilot before he destroys his high value target.
- There is no such thing as defensive DCM. I become offended when someone jumps me enroute to my target, and much offense is intended when I have to take the time to blow his ass off.
- Concerning the tally of Medal of Honor winners in southeast Asia, the score tells it all: Attack = 5, Fighter = 0.
- In wartime, our POW's were not released because the enemy sent representatives to sit smugly at peace talks. They were not released because domestic antiwar groups unwittingly played into the hands of the enemy, and tied the hands of their countrymen at arms. They were not released because the enemy lost five aircraft to a select few called aces. They were released because brave men took their bombers downtown and spoke personally to their captors in the only language the enemy understands:
Iron bombs raining down on their heads!
- These lessons have been forged in blood and steel by all those attack pilots and bombadiers who have gone before you; back when happiness was flying Spads; back when jets were hard-lighting and mean, and only quiche-eatin' airline pukes flew fans; back when Spads roamed valleys and spit death to those who would try to stop them; in an earlier time when the biggest cadillac in town was called "BUFF" and when men took pride in decorating their leather flight jackets with; "I've Been There" Patches, and the enemy hid every 1 + 45 because he knew the next cycle of the attack carrier was headed his way. Times change, technology changes, but the men in the cockpit must be the same brave warriors every age has counted upon in time of peril.
- Finally, and this is the bottom line! Real men fly attack because they understand the most fundamental law of wartime negotiations; you negotiate with the enemy with your knee in his chest and your knife at his throat.
I BELONG TO A GROUP OF MEN WHO FLY ALONE. THERE IS ONLY ONE SEAT IN THE COCKPIT OF MY AIRPLANE. I MAKE THE DECISIONS. I DO EVERYTHING MYSELF, FROM ENGINE START TO SHUT DOWN. IN COMBAT MY SURVIVAL AND ABILITY TO ACCOMPLISH THE MISSION AGAINST SOMETIMES OVERWHELMING ENEMY DEFENSES DEPENDS ON MY OWN SKILL AND ABILITY. IF I DO NOT SURVIVE, I DIE ALONE. BECAUSE OF THIS, AND BECAUSE THIS IS THE ONLY WAY I WOULD HAVE IT, I AM OCCASIONALLY DISDAINFUL OF MULTI-ENGINE MULTI-CREW TYPES. IT IS AN ARROGANT ATTITUDE AND UNFAIR. BUT, I HAVE LEARNED THE COLD HARD REALISM OF SELF RELIANCE WHICH SURVIVES ONLY IN THE SINGLE SEAT AIRPLANE. SO, I MAKE NO APOLOGY AS I CLAIM THAT THE TRULY GREAT PILOTS OF THE DECADE ARE ATTACK PILOTS WITH THE STEEL AND SKILL OF GENERATIONS OF GREAT MEN WHO HAVE GONE TO WAR WITH ONE ENGINE, ONE SEAT, AND A GREAT TRADITION OF COURAGE.
Adapted from Richard Bach, provided by Ron Schoff - a Marine A-4 Skyhawk Pilot.
A-4 Skyhawk Patchs
Check the unit pages for unit related patchs.
A Band of Brothers Spanning the Ages
Since 1911, the United States Navy / Marine Corps has attempted to accomplish its mission of defending and projecting the power of the United States of America on land, sea and air by using its citizen military and industrial technology under the direction of its elected civilian government.
Over the years the use of aircraft has developed as technology, strategy, world events and politics have changed. Naval Aviation has been in a constant and continuing state of evolution, from top to bottom, to meet these challenges and follow the directions of the civilian government that funds and directs it.
One engine, two engines, three engines, four engines; one turning & one burning, two turning & two burning; one burning, two burning, three burning, four burning; seaplanes, blimps, airships, land planes and carrier planes. Pistols, shotguns, rifles, cannons, rockets, bombs, torpedoes, mines and missiles. All to protect, defend and project the United States of America as directed by the elected civilian government.
To meet defense commitments the Navy / Marine force has continually evolved. This change has confounded people that would like to find direct linkage between fighting units of 1911 and the present. These people would like to trace squadron DNA, but squadrons lack DNA, the squadron units are only an organizational standard. Fundamentally naval aviation units are established, redesignated, and disestablished. Naval squadrons come and go like cats in a dairy barn. Each squadron established has a purpose and as the purpose changes so must the squadron. Most times it is easier and more economical to form a new squadron with a new purpose than update a squadron trained for another purpose.
The constant in this is the Naval Aviator and the supporting operational, administrative and maintenance staff that are trained and retrained for the evolving mission. The Naval Aviator is the unbroken heritage/lineage from 1911 to the present. Each year provides a new harvest from the cream of America's youth that adds the next generation of Naval Aviators to the unbroken heritage: The Naval Aviator is the DNA that links us to the past.
Guided by the above the Skyhawk Webmaster has linked many squadrons in the heritages presented on the Skyhawk Association Website. It is the Skyhawk Webmaster’s intention to link and include as many Naval Aviators as possible to squadrons that flew the A-4 Skyhawk -- for in reality we are talking about people --- A BAND OF BROTHERS SPANNING THE AGES --- not squadrons. Unlike the Naval Historical Center which only considers establishment, redesignation, and disestablishment as THE genealogical squadron relationship --- the Skyhawk Webmaster takes "A Road Less Traveled" to connect an evolving mission, technology, and the retrained people.
For "A Road More Traveled" the Naval Historical Center has a differing view.
Please consider their position and information.
From "Webmaster Emeritus" Asahel D. "Bud" Southworth.
The Back of a 1967 Liberty Card
Medal of Honor holder
Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale, U.S.N. (retired).
Admiral Stockdale (then a Commander), was the Commander of Carrier Air Wing 16, on board the carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34), when he flew on a mission with Attack Squadron 163 on September 9, 1965. On that mission, Commander Stockdale's A-4E Skyhawk, BuNo. 151134, was hit by enemy AAA fire and he was forced to eject from the aircraft over enemy territory. He was captured by the North Vietnamese and imprisoned for 7½ years, during which he suffered hideous torture, horrible abuse, debasement, and starvation. Promoted to the rank of Captain in absentia while a Prisoner of War, Stockdale was released from captivity at war's end in early 1973. Subsequently, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, and then to Vice Admiral, the rank in which he retired from active duty. In 1992, Admiral Stockdale was a candidate for Vice-President of the United States of America.
Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners' of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Admiral Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt.
Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Admiral Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese, who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War.
By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Admiral Stockdale's valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Retired VADM James B. Stockdale passed away July 6, 2005.
NAS North Island Memorial
Memorial Bird - BuNo 148516
Official Site for Admiral Stockdale.