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VA-44 Hornets

VA-44 Hornets

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VB-75 1945

VA-3B 1946

VA-44 1950


VA-44 Hornets 1963
Patch
  • Patches from: Steve Smith, Otto Krueger, Tom Smith, Walt Adams.

  • VB-75's Bee patch was in use before August 1945.
    Patch colors were as follows: white background outlined in forest green; the head, arms, body and antenna of the bee were royal blue and the wings were light blue with royal blue vains; the V on the bee was yellow, his eyeball was white, eyelid light blue, and pupil black; deep scarlet nose, dark gray mouth with an inner lining of deep scarlet; white teeth and deep scarlet drops of blood; the bee's gloves were white; its lower body had bands of green and yellow with a deep scarlet tip; dark gray telescope with white highlights and a white lens, forest green bomb with yellow fins and the rocket had yellow fins and nose while the body was forest green; the banner was royal blue with yellow lettering. Description by Bud Southworth.
    VB-75 patch provide by Steve Smith whose farther wore it on his fligth jacket in 1945/6.
    Note: During World War II, squadron numbers or designations were not permitted in patch design.

  • After being redesignated Attack Squadron Three B (VA-3B) on November 15, 1946, a new indian head and bomb patch was initiated in August 1947. The indian head and bomb patch represented the bombing and scouting mission of the carrier based squadron.
    This patch is displayed above.

  • When the squadron was redesignated VA-44 in 1948 it adopted a patch with a scarlet chess knight centered on a white shield.

  • VF-44's Hornet patch was first used before December 1952 and approved by CNO on December 11, 1952. This patch was used by both VF-44 and VA-44.
    The patch had a blue shield with a yellow banner across the shield with the word "Hornets" in red. There are two white playing cards, one with four black clubs and the other with four red hearts - to identify the squadron's designation number. The Hornet is yellow and black with a red eye and white details.

Handle
  • Hornets, 1950 to 1970.

Heritage
  • June 1, 1945, Bombing Squadron SEVENTY FIVE (VB-75) established.
  • November 15, 1946, VB-75 redesignated as Attack Squadron THREE B (VA-3B).
  • September 1, 1948, VA-3B redesignated as Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44).
  • June 8, 1950, Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44) was disestablished.
  • September 1, 1950, Fighter Squadron FORTY FOUR (VF-44) established.
  • January 1, 1956, VF-44 redesignated as Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44).
  • May 1, 1970, VA-44 was disestablished.

Home Ports
  • June 1, 1945 - - - - - - - Naval Auxiliary Air Station Chincoteague
  • March 1946 - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Norfolk
  • February 12, 1949- - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville
  • September 1, 1950- - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville
  • September 19, 1950 - - - - Naval Auxiliary Air Station Cecil Field
  • October 13, 1952 - - - - - Naval Air Station Jacksonville
  • February 18, 1963- - - - - Naval Air Station Cecil Field.

Air Wings
  • June 1, 1945 - - - - - - F - - - CVBG-75/CVBG-3/CVG-4*
  • September 1, 1950- - - - F - - - CVG-4
  • March 19, 1951 - - - - - T - - - CVG-1
  • October 8, 1951- - - - - F - - - CVG-4
  • June 30, 1953- - - - - - - - - - ATG-1
  • October 9, 1953- - - - - F - - - CVG-4
  • 1957 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - COMFAIRJACKSONVILLE
  • February 15, 1958- - - - AQ- - - ATG-202
  • March 15, 1958 - - - - - AD- - - CVG-4/RCVG-4/RCVW-4**
  • * CVBG-75 was established on June 1, 1945, redesignated CVBG-3 on November 15, 1946; redesignated CVG-4 on September 1, 1948 and disestablished on June 8, 1950.
  • ** CVG-4 was redesignated RCVG-4 in April 1958. On December 20, 1963, RCVG-4 was redesignated RCVW-4

Deployments
  • 01-08-46 to 03-19-46 - CVBG-75 - CVB 42 - SB2C-4E- - Caribbean/SoLant
  • 08-08-46 to 10-04-46 - CVBG-75 - CVB 42 - SB2C-5 - - Mediterranean
  • 09-13-48 to 01-23-49 - CVG-4 - - CVB 42 - AD-1 - - - Mediterranean
  • 01-06-50 to 05-23-50 - CVG-4 - - CVB 41 - AD-1 - - - Mediterranean
  • 03-20-51 to 10-06-51 - CVG-1 - - CVB 43 - F4U-5- - - Mediterranean
  • 04-19-52 to 10-12-52 - CVG-4 - - CVB 43 - F4U-4- - - Mediterranean
  • 04-26-53 to 12-04-53 - CVG-4/ATG-1* - CVA 39/CVA 21* - F4U-4 - Med/IO/ WestPac/Korea
  • 05-28-55 to 11-22-55 - CVG-4 - - CVA 11 - F2H-2- - - Mediterranean
  • 08-30-57 to 10-22-57 - † - - - - CVS 18 - F9F-8- - - NorLant
  • * VF-44 deployed to Korea as part of CVG-4 embarked in United States Ship Lake Champlain CVA 39 and conducted its first line period from Lake Champlain. On June 30, 1953, the squadron was transferred to ATG-1 aboard United States Ship Boxer CVA 21. The squadron remained aboard Boxer until October 9, 1953 when it transferred back to CVG-4 and Lake Champlain. † The carrier air group may not have been aboard during this deployment on United States Ship Wasp CVS 18. Antisubmarine carrier air groups were not established until 1960.

Aircraft
Commanding Officers
  • June 1, 1945 - - - - - - LT Ben K. Harrison (acting)
  • June 10, 1945- - - - - - LCDR John W. McManus
  • December 20, 1946- - - - LCDR Elmer Maul
  • December 3, 1947 - - - - LCDR Oscar I. Chenoweth, Jr.
  • January 30, 1949 - - - - LT K. F. Rowell (acting)
  • February 28, 1949- - - - LCDR Robert N. Miller
  • September 1, 1950- - - - LCDR J. B. Bain (acting)
  • September 11, 1950 - - - LCDR P. E. Greenlee, Jr.
  • December 9, 1951 - - - - LCDR Reid W. Stone
  • November 10, 1952- - - - LCDR W. D. Houser
  • November 1953- - - - - - CDR V. P. O'Neil
  • October 1954 - - - - - - CDR C. A. Crow, Jr.
  • January 27, 1956 - - - - LCDR Theron J. Taylor
  • June 1957- - - - - - - - CDR T. R. Sedell
  • June 30, 1958- - - - - - CDR Clifford A. McDougal
  • July 14, 1959- - - - - - CDR Damon W. Cooper
  • July 22, 1960- - - - - - CDR A. L. Detweiler
  • July 21, 1961- - - - - - CDR W. B. Barrow, Jr.
  • April 17, 1962 - - - - - CDR M. C. Griffin
  • March 6, 1963- - - - - - CDR S. W. Callaway, Jr.
  • May 1964 - - - - - - - - CDR Harold K. Matthes
  • July 1965- - - - - - - - CDR Max E. Malan
  • September 22, 1966 - - - CDR James W. Roberts
  • October 1967 - - - - - - CDR Joe D. Adkins
  • February 1969- - - - - - CDR J. H. Wynn III
  • January 1970 - - - - - - CDR Robert E. Holt

Events
  • June 1, 1945:
    Bombing Squadron SEVENTY FIVE (VB-75) established, its first assigned aircraft was the Curtiss SBF-4E Helldiver, which was built under license in Canada.

  • June 4, 1945:
    Bombing SEVENTY FIVE began its first flight operations.

  • January and February 1946:
    VB-75 deployed aboard United States Ship Franklin D. Roosevelt CVB 42 for her shakedown cruise to the Caribbean and Brazil. While visiting Rio de Janeiro the squadron, air group, and carrier represented the United States of America at the inauguration of Brazilian president, Eurico G. Dutra.

  • November 15, 1946:
    VB-75 was redesignated as Attack Squadron THREE B (VA-3B).

  • March 20, 1947:
    VA-3B received the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider.

  • September 1, 1948:
    Redesignated as Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44).

  • February 25, 1949:
    VA-44 received the Douglas AM-1 Mauler.

  • June 8, 1950:
    Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44) was disestablished.

  • September 1, 1950:
    Fighter Squadron FORTY FOUR (VF-44) was established with the Vought F4U-5 Corsair I.

  • June 13, 1953:
    VF-44 Hornets conducted their first combat operations, striking targets in Korea.

  • December 1953:
    VF-44 Hornets were assigned the McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee.

  • January 1, 1956:
    VF-44 Hornets were redesignated Attack Squadron FORTY FOUR (VA-44).

  • April 1956:
    VA-44 Hornets were assigned the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.

  • September to October 1957:
    During the squadron's deployment aboard United States Ship Wasp CVS 18, its mission was temporarily changed from attack to a fighter role in order to provide air protection for the VS squadrons operating from the carrier.

  • February 4, 1958:
    VA-44 Hornets were assigned the Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk.

  • June 1, 1958:
    The squadron's mission changed from light attack to a fleet replacement group (RAG) training squadron. The new mission involved flight training for pilots and maintenance training for enlisted personnel. Under this concept, pilots and enlisted personnel ordered to East Coast fleet A4D squadrons completed the course of instruction provided by VA-44 before reporting to their assigned fleet squadrons. The Hornets were assigned the Lockheed TV-2 Seastar and the North American T-28B Trojan.

  • June 6, 1958:
    Fleet All Weather Training Unit Detachment ALFA, an instrument training detachment, was disestablished and its personnel and aircraft were transferred to VA-44.

  • June 1958:
    VA-44 Hornets were assigned the North American T-28B Trojan.

  • August 8, 1958:
    The squadron graduated its first replacement pilot under the new training program for attack pilots.

  • September 1958:
    VA-44 Hornets were assigned the Douglas A4D-2/A-4B Skyhawk.

  • December 16, 1958:
    AD-325 - Engine flamed out in A4D-1 BuNo 142172 due to fuel exhaustion near NAS Jacksonville, FL - Ens. Pat Patrick ejected safely. Members can read about it in the Ready Room.

  • January 1959:
    The squadron's first Douglas AD-5 & 6 Skyraider arrived and preparations began for the additional mission of replacement training for this aircraft. The Hornets now instructed in the propeller driven SPAD and the jet powered Skyhawk.

  • February 21, 1959:
    Lieutenant Junior Grade Pat Patrick strikes again in another A-4A Skyhawk, BuNo 142176. The engine flamed-out and Pat ditched in a river. Members can read about it in the Ready Room.

  • December 5, 1959:
    During carquals an unidentified pilot exited his A4D-1 BuNo 139944 after it hit the water when it flamed out in the landing pattern during landing exercises. The injured pilot was rescued by the USS Independence helo.
    Cdr. G. E. Peddicord, USS Independence Air Officer (1958-1960).

  • February 15, 1961:
    Student pilot Sherwood E. Gifford ejected from A4D-1 BuNo 142164 near Camp Blanding, FL, following engine losing of power, Gifford was recovered.
    Hunington and Union, PA The Daily News, Wednesday, March 1, 1961.
    Tittusville, PA The Tittusville Herald, Wednesday, March 1, 1961.
    New Castle, PA News, Wednesday, March 1, 1961.

  • February 27, 1961:
    Lt(jg) Sherwood E. Gifford perished in A4D-1 BuNo 142153 on a low level training flight at NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
    Hunington and Union, PA The Daily News, Wednesday, March 1, 1961.
    Tittusville, PA The Tittusville Herald, Wednesday, March 1, 1961.
    New Castle, PA News, Wednesday, March 1, 1961.

  • November 15, 1961:
    The squadron graduated its 1,000th enlisted maintenance Skyhawk trainee.

  • February 15, 1963:
    The propeller training section of the squadron was removed from VA-44 and established as a separate squadron and designated VA-45. VA-44 continued its training mission by becomming a strictly jet squadron flying A-4Bs, A-4Cs and TF-9Js.

  • August 23, 1963:
    Cmdr. Luther H. Elliot perished in A-4C BuNo 147686 in a USS Forrestal landing accident.
    Gastonia, NC, The Gastonia Gazette, Sunday, August 25, 1963.

  • August 28, 1965:
    Lt. Paul Johnson ejected safely after his A4E BuNo 150069's engine exploded in-flight and crashed in a field 32 miles SW of Wichita, KS
    Great Bend, KS, Great Bend Sunday Tribune, Sunday, August 29, 1965
    Hutchinson, MO, The Hutchinson News, Sunday, August 29, 1965

  • July 20, 1965:
    Lt. James L. Karg, training at MCAS Yuma ejected from his A-4E BuNo 150113 at 3,000 feet elevation, land1ng in the desert about 4 miles SE of Yuma and the plane crashed nearby.
    Phoenix, AZ, The Arizona Republic, Wednesday, July 21, 1965.

  • March 28, 1966:
    Ens. James E. Theriault ejected safely from his A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150008, which was deployed to MCAS Yuma, AZ for training, crashed in the desert at MCAS Yuma's instrumented loft bombing range after he was unable to restart the engine.
    Yuma, AZ, The Yuma Daily Sun, Tuesday, March 29, 1966.

  • August 3, 1966:
    VA-44 was assigned the Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk.

  • April 30, 1968:
    Lt. James C. Delesie suffered a minor leg fracture after ejecting from his crippled A-4B BuNo 142872 which crashed in a wooded area.
    Panama City, Fl Panama City News, Wednesday Morning, May 1, 1968.

  • November 8, 1968:
    A-4C BuNo 147828 and A-4C BuNo 147829 were lost in a mid-air collision.
    Phoenix, AZ The Arizona Republic, Saturday, November 9, 1968.

  • January 24, 1969:
    LCdr. Thomas Dibiase and Lt. Allen Adler ejected safely when A-4C BuNo 145094 and A-4C BuNo 149624 collided over Green Cove Springs, 40 miles SW of NAS Jacksonville, FL.
    Panama City, FL, Panama City News, Saturday, January 25, 1969.

  • March 25, 1969:
    Capt. Mike Korte, 36, (USAF) and his student pilot, Lt(jg). Lawrence Pigeon parachuted to safety when their TA-4F BuNo 152873 Skyhawks’ canopy released & both pilots were automatically ejected, after the slipstream caught Mike's overhead ejection curtain. The aircraft crashed in a pasture two miles west of Cecil Field, FL.
    Panama City, FL, Panama City Herald, Wednesday, March 26, 1969.
    Lowell, MA, The Lowell Sun, Wednesday, March 26, 1969.

  • July 31, 1969:
    Lcdr. Alan Everest Hospes perished when his parachute failed to open after ejecting from A-4C BuNo 149538 which crashed northwest of Flagler Beach, FL.

  • August 21, 1969:
    Lcdr. Ken Olsen ejected safely from TA-4F BuNo 152866 and the RP, Lt(jg). William “Bill” A. Stone was killed without ejecting in a mid-air collision when they were over taken and struck from below and behind by VA-45 BuNo 153682 while making a simulated low-oil pressure approach to Cecil Field.
    From Ken Olsen.
    Albuquerque, NM The Albuquerque Tribune, Friday, August 22, 1969
    Albuquerque, NM The Albuquerque Tribune, Friday, August 22, 1969

  • May 1, 1970:
    VA-44 was disestablished!


Awards
  • KPUC
    • 09 June 1953 to 27 July 1953
  • KSM 09
    • June 1953 to 27 July 1953
  • UNSM
    • 09 June 1953 to 27 July 1953


    Photographs


    May, 1958 Promotion of B. H. Fischer
    Advancement in Rate of B. H. Fischer, AM3, By Cdr. T. R. Sedell, C.O. of VA-44. Fischer is from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

    MAY 1959: BuNo 139923 - most likely Armed Forces Day at NAS Jacksonville, there is an F-100 behind the A-4.
    Ron Picciani.

    Naval Air News - 1959 & 1960

    1959-60:
    BuNo 139945 of VA-44 visiting from NAS Jacksonville.
    'When I arrived at VA-43 (Oceana) 1 Jun 1960, all the tiger teeth were gone from the A-4s, though they still had 6 F11Fs with that paint scheme. VF-21 was re-designated VA-43 1 Jul 1959, so the photos had to have been taken winter of '59-'60."
    John "Gabby" Gabbard.
    Photo submitted by Dave Tipps

    JUL 1960: Flying at 150', Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142167, AD-326, delivers 300 gallons of insecticide a minute over the Jacksonville, FL area.
    Navair News

    Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142126, AD-304, in the U.S. Navy's new hi-vis paint scheme which is the result of constant research in an effort to decrease mid-air collisions.
    NavAirNews April 1961

    NavAirNews April 1961

    1961: Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142797, AD-444, parked on the ramp.
    Unknown photographer via W. Mutza

    VA-44 A-4B and A-4C Skyhawks BuNo. 142122 and BuNo. 149519. - 1960
    A VA-44 formation of two Hornet Skyhawks. The lead Skyhawk is A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142122, side number AD 475. On leads' right wing is A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 149519, side number AD 425. VA-44 first got the A-4B in September 1958 and the A-4C was first assigned in February 1960.

    A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142122, side number AB 502 with VA-72 and United States Ship F. D. Roosevelt CVA 42 - 1967. Blue Hawk A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 144881, side number AB 501 leads Steve Pollock in A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142122, side number AB 502. Number three is A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142745, side number AB 505. USN photograph from Steve Pollock.
    United States Navy Photograph from Walt Adams.

    1966-68: Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142105 trailing the refueling hose and drogue and accompanied by an RA-3B Skywarrior.
    U.S. Navy by PH2 Don K-Sieburg, Jr.

    1968: Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 142105 refueling an RA-3B Skywarrior.
    U.S. Navy by PH2 Don K-Sieburg, Jr

    MAY 1968: Hornets Skyhawk BuNo 152871, AD-465, parked on the flightline.
    Nick Williams

    Front View of a VA-44 Skyhawk.
    A Hornet A-4C loaded for bear on the flight line.
    United States Navy Photograph from Walt Adams.

    Passing Gas.
    Two VA-44 Skyhawk passing gas. The lead Skyhawk is toting a tanking package to pass gas to thirsty buddies.
    United States Navy Photograph from Walt Adams.

    A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155060 - 1969.
    A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155060, side number AD 403 getting the United States Intrepid three wire removed from the tailhook. VA-44 was performing Carrier Qualifications (CQ) on Intrepid.
    Photograph by Peter A. Keery.

    1970-early:
    A TA-4F of VA-44 is launching with a RNZAF crew. The RNZAF 75 SQN was in the U.S.A. for training as they received their new Skyhawks from the California Douglas factory. Sqdn Ldr Ross Donaldson preceded the ten 75 Squadron pilots on an exchange posting to VA-44, Florida, and here briefs visiting senior RNZAF officer Bill Stratton (left) before a flight in a US Navy TA-4. Several weeks later Donaldson suffered a freak accident in a US Navy Skyhawk. The accident was in a TA-4 with a USN student in front. A bird strike caused Donaldson to be injured, he lost an eye. The student recovered the aircraft with damaged canopy. Apparently Donaldson did not fly again but remained in the RNZAF for many years in desk jobs. Note the 75 SQN patch on Donaldson's right shoulder.
    Pic 1
    Pic 2
    VA-44 A-4C BuNo 147745 in the hangar with RNZAF ground crew in the foreground. RNZAF 75 SQN is in the U.S.A. training and receiving their new A-4K Skyhawks.
    Groundcrew Pic
    VA-44 flight line. L-r AD-406, A-4C BuNo 149594 (AD-426), TA-4F BuNo 152875 (AD-471) and A-4E BuNo 149651 (AD-452). RNZAF 75 SQN is in the U.S.A. training and receiving their new A-4K Skyhawks.
    VA-44 Flight line Pic 1
    VA-44 flight line. Front row l-r unknown, unknown, TA-4F BuNo 154341 (AD-463) & AD-400. Back rows l-r VA-127 TA-4F BuNo 153687 (NJ-717), TA-4F BuNo 152877 (AD-472) & TA-4F AD-475. RNZAF 75 SQN is in the U.S.A. training and receiving their new A-4K Skyhawks.
    Flight line Pic 2
    Douglas photo of NZ6251 (157914) in flight over the Califronia Sierras. RNZAF 75 SQN is in the U.S.A. training and receiving their new A-4K Skyhawks.


    Sources
    • Walt Adams.
    • Harry S. Gann.
    • Masaaki Hayakawa.
    • Takafumi Hiroe.
    • Peter A. Keery.
    • Otto Krueger.
    • Tom Smith.
    • Steve Smith.


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