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VA-144 Roadrunners

VA-144 Roadrunners

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VA-116 Patch - 1955
Drawn by Bud Southworth

VA-144 Patch - 1959 to 1971
Provided by Bob Evans

Unofficial VA-144 Patch - 1964
Patch from Frank Purpura

This page is posthumously dedicated to
LTJG John. V. "Mac" McCormick, USN.


Patch
  • December 1955 - Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTEEN (VA-116) created the Electron Lightning Bolt patch.
  • February 1959 - When VA-116 was redesignated VA-144 it continued using the Electron Lightning Bolt patch - modifying only the banner designation.
  • 1964 - Road Runner pilots were wearing an unofficial Scooter patch on their flight jackets.

Handle
  • 1960? - 1971 Road Runners

Heritage
  • December 1, 1955 - Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTEEN (VA-116) established.
  • February 23, 1959 - VA-116 was redesignated Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED FORTY FOUR (VA-144).
  • January 29, 1971 - Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED FORTY FOUR (VA-144) disestablished.

Home Ports
  • Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
  • December 1, 1955 - - - Naval Air Station Miramar, California.
  • May 1962 - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

Air Wings
  • Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - - - Air Wing
  • April 1, 1958 - - - - - - NK - - - - - - CVG-14/CVW-14†
  • June 1, 1965 - - - - -- - NF - - - - - - CVW-5
  • September 15, 1966 - -- - NH - - - - - - CVW-11
  • November 1, 1968 - - -- - NF - - - - - - CVW-5
  • * July 24 1956 the tail code W was assigned to ATG-2 and changed to NB July 1, 1957.
  • December 20, 1963 - CVG-14 was redesignated CVW-14 when Carrier Air Group (CVG) designations were redesignated Carrier Air Wings (CVW).
  • CVG 14 patch from Frank Purpura.

Deployments
    Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
  • 04-06-57 to 09-18-57 - - ATG-02 - CVA 19 - F7U-3M -- WestPac
  • 01-03-59 to 07-07-59 - - CVG-14 - CVA 61 - FJ-4B - - WestPac

  • 05-14-60 to 12-15-60 - - CVG-14 - CVA 34 - FJ-4B - - WestPac

  • 11-09-61 to 05-12-62 - - CVG-14 - CVA 16 - FJ-4B - - WestPac
  • 02-21-63 to 09-10-63 - - CVG-14 - CVA 64 - A-4C - -- WestPac
  • 05-05-64 to 02-01-65 - - CVW-14 - CVA 64 - A-4C - -- WestPac/Vietnam
  • 09-28-65 to 05-13-66 - - CVW-05 - CVA 14 - A-4C - -- WestPac/Vietnam
  • 11-05-66 to 06-19-67 - - CVW-11 - CVA 63 - A-4C - -- WestPac/Vietnam
  • 11-18-67 to 06-28-68 - - CVW-11 - CVA 63 - A-4E - -- WestPac/Vietnam
  • 03-18-69 to 10-29-69 - - CVW-05 - CVA 31 - A-4E - -- WestPac/Vietnam
  • 04-02-70 to 11-12-70 - - CVW-05 - CVA 31 - A-4F - -- WestPac/Vietnam
  • Patches from George Everding


Aircraft
Commanding Officers
  • Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
  • December 1, 1955 - - - - - - CDR J. L. Callis
  • October 10, 1957 - - - - - - CDR Ralph H. Beatle
  • August 29, 1958 - - -- - - - CDR James Ritchie
  • August 12, 1959 - - -- - - - CDR Carl B. Tanner, Jr.
  • December 10, 1960 - -- - - - CDR Rowland G. Freeman III
  • October 12, 1961 - - - - - - CDR Jerome S. Roth
  • January 2, 1963 - - -- - - - CDR Harry S. Sellers
  • December 6, 1963 - - - - - - CDR Donald B. Bolstad
  • January 2, 1965 - - -- - - - CDR Robert P. Nottingham
  • November 4, 1965 - - - - - - CDR David B. Miller
  • September 14, 1966 - - - - - CDR J. Richard Powell, Jr.
  • July 28, 1967 - - - -- - - - CDR Gary H. Palmer
  • July 26, 1968 - - - -- - - - CDR William H. Robinson, Jr.
  • July 17, 1969 - - - -- - - - CDR Donald Hull-Ryde
  • July 1, 1970 - - - - - - - - CDR Galen B. Allen

Events
  • December 1, 1955:
    Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTEEN (VA-116) established at Naval Air Station Miramar, near San Diego, California. VA-116 was assigned the Vought F7U-3M (Gutless) Cutlass.

  • September 1957:
    VA-116 embarked in United States Ship Hancock (CVA 19), was stationed off the coast of Taiwan due to a build-up of Chinese Communist forces on the mainland opposite Taiwan.

  • October 15, 1957:
    VA-116 was assigned the North American FJ-4B Fury.

  • May 26 through August 18, 1958:
    VA-116 was embarked in United States Ship Ranger (CVA 61) during its transit from the east coast, via South America, to Ranger's new Naval Air Station Alameda home port.

  • February 23, 1959:
    VA-116 was redesignated Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED FORTY FOUR (VA-144).

  • July 1959:
    The VA-144 Road Runners, embarked in United States Ship Ranger (CVA 61), maintained station off the coast of Taiwan due to increased tension between Taiwan and Communist China.

  • May 1962
    VA-144 homeport was changed to Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

  • June 4, 1962:
    VA-144 is assigned the Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk.

  • May 5, 1964 to February 1, 1965:
    VA-144 Road Runners flying the A-4C Skyhawk with CVW-14 embarked on United States Ship Constellation CVA 64 for the first of six Vietnam combat cruises.

  • June through November 1964:
    VA-144 Road Runners participated in Yankee Team Operations. These operations involved support for photo reconnaissance missions over Laos. During these operations, the squadron was the first operational unit to fly with and drop the Snakeye weapon.

  • August 4, 1964:
    VA-144 flew night sorties in support of the American destroyers, Turner Joy (DD 951) and Maddox (DD 731), following their harassment by North Vietnamese Motor Torpedo Boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.

  • August 5, 1964:
    VA-144 participated in Operation Pierce Arrow, air strikes against North Vietnamese torpedo boats, their bases and supporting facilities in retaliation for the attacks on the American destroyers the previous day. Strikes were flown against the North Vietnamese homeport of Hon Gay and the naval craft located there. During this engagement Lieutenant Junior Grade Everett Alvarez's A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 149578, side number NK 411, was hit by antiaircraft fire and Lieutenant Alvarez was forced to eject. A rescue attempt failed and the North Vietnamese captured him. Lieutenant Alvarez became the first American naval prisoner-of-war of the Vietnam War and was held by the North Vietnamese until 1973.
    During the first attack Constellation also lost VA-145 A-1H Skyraider BuNo. 139760, piloted by Lieutenant Junior Grade R. C. Sather, USN to AAA anti-aircraft fire. Lieutenant Sather was Killed-In-Action.

  • August 16, 1965:
    Cdr. Charles H. Peters, XO, was rescued from the sea after his A4C Skyhawk BuNo 149561 operating from the USS Ticonderoga crashed 66 miles south of San Diego during night ops.
    Reno Evening Gazette, Tuesday, August 17, 1965.

  • September 28, 1965 to May 13, 1966:
    The VA-144 Road Runners flying the A-4C Skyhawk with CVW-5 embarked on United States Ship Ticonderoga CVA 14 for the Roadrunners second combat cruise to Vietnam.

  • December 1, 1965:
    Lieutenant Junior Grade J. V. McCormick, United States Navy, flying A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 149560, side number NF 547, was shot down by AAA anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam. Lieutenant McCormick was Killed-In-Action.

  • February 9, 1966:
    Lieutenant Commander J. L. Snyder, United States Navy, flying A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 149557, side number NF 546, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile (SAM) over North Vietnam. Commander McCormick ejected and was rescued.

  • February 14, 1966:
    Lieutenant Junior Grade J. C. Durham, United States Navy, flying A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 149552, side number NF 543, was shot down by ground fire over Laos. Lieutenant Durham ejected and was rescued.

  • March 20, 1966:
    Lieutenant Junior Grade J. L. Pinneker, United States Navy, flying A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 145081, side number NF 553, was shot down by AAA anti-aircraft fire over South Vietnam. Lieutenant Pinneker, was Killed-In-Action.

  • November 5, 1966 to June 19, 1967:
    The VA-144 Road Runners flying the A-4C Skyhawk with CVW-11 embarked on United States Ship Kitty Hawk CVA 63 for their third combat cruise to Vietnam.

  • December 21, 1966:
    Lieutenant Junior Grade D. E. Glenn, United States Navy, flying A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 148507, side number NH 303, was shot down by AAA anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam. Lieutenant Glenn ejected, was captured and made Prisoner-Of War.

  • November 18, 1967 to June 28, 1968:
    The VA-144 Road Runners flying the Douglas A-4E Skyhawk with CVW-11 embarked on United States Ship Kitty Hawk CVA 63 for their fourth combat cruise to Vietnam.

  • November 22, 1967:
    Lt. Cmdr. Virgil J. Lamaur was lost in A-4E BuNo 151199 at sea following a cat launch.
    US Armed Forces Pacific Stars & Stripes article

  • December 20, 1967:
    Commanders J. R. Powell, Jr. and R. C. Bos were awarded the Silver Star for planning and leading a successful strike against the heavily defended Haiphong Thermal Power Plant (west).

  • January 5, 1968:
    Commander R. J. Schweitzer, United States Navy, flying A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 152074, side number NH 304, was shot down by AAA anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam. Commander Schweitzer ejected, was captured and made Prisoner-Of War.

  • January 5, 1968:
    A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151055, side number NH 3?? was lost in an operational accident. The pilot was recovered.

  • March 13, 1968:
    Lieutenant R. E. Curtis, United States Navy, flying A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 152088, side number NH 300, was shot down by ground fire over Laos. Lieutenant Curtis ejected and was rescued.

  • April 24, 1968:
    VA-144's aircraft participated in a strike against the Kep Airfield, the first time the airfield was hit during the air war over North Vietnam.

  • April 27, 1968:
    Lieutenant Commander R. Saavedra, United States Navy, flying A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151070, side number NH 303, was shot down by AAA anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam. Commander Saavedra was Killed-In-Action.

  • March 7, 1969:
    LTCDR H. Ross Wees Jr., was killed his A-4E BuNo 152094 collided with an A-7 Corsair (VA-122 BuNo 153476) over CA. His body was found in the plane's wreckage near Huron, CA. The other pilot reportedly parachuted to safety.
    Bedford, PA Bedford Gazette article

  • March 18, 1969 to October 29, 1969:
    The Road Runners flying the Douglas A-4E Skyhawk with CVW-5 embarked on United States Ship Bon Homme Richard CVA 31 for their fifth combat cruise to Vietnam.

  • June 22, 1969:
    Lieutenant Junior Grade L. C. Sage, United States Navy, flying A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 152029, side number NF 503, was shot down by ground fire over Laos. Lieutenant Sage was Killed-In-Action.

  • August 10, 1969:
    A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151131, side number NF 510 was lost in an operational accident. The pilot, LT Bill Mickelson, was killed when his Skyhawk struck the ramp.

  • August 13, 1969:
    A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 152003, side number NF 504 was lost in during a cat shot. The pilot, LT Bill Easterlin, was recovered.

  • April 2, 1970 to November 12, 1970:
    The VA-144 Road Runners flying the Douglas A-4F Skyhawk with CVW-5 embarked on United States Ship Bon Homme Richard CVA 31 for their sixth combat cruise to Vietnam.

  • June 7, 1970:
    A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154215, side number NF-5?? was lost in an operational accident. The pilot was recovered.

  • January 29, 1971:
    Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED FORTY FOUR (VA-144) disestablished.

Awards


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