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VMA-324

VMA-324 Devildogs

Point of Contact - Squadron Duty Officer (SDO)

Refer to the CONTACT LIST under "THE ASSOCIATION" drop down menu.


Courtesy of George Ertlmeier

George Ertlmeier

Nicholas Carton

Patch
  • 1971: Third Patch from A-4M Era via Nicholas Carton

Handle
  • Vagabonds.
  • Devildogs.

Heritage
  • 1 Oct 1943
    VMF-324 was established at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 32, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force.
  • 15 Oct 1945
    VMF-324 was disestablished at Marine Corps Air Depot, Miramar, California.
  • 17 Mar 1952
    Reestablished as VMA 324, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic based at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Home Ports
    Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
  • 1964 - - - - - - - MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina.
  • 1971 - - - - - - - MCAS Yuma, Arizona.

Air Wings
  • Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
  • 1 October 1943 - - - - MAG-32 3rd MAW
  • 11 November 1943 - - - MAG-34 3rd MAW
  • 1 April 1944 - - - - - MAG-34 9th MAW
  • 6 September 1944 - - - MAG-23 3rd MAW
  • 17 March 1952- - - - - MAG-31 3rd MAW
  • 15 February 1954 - - - MAG-32 2nd MAW
  • 18 July 1954 - - - - - MAG-31 3rd MAW
  • 28 February 1958 - - - MAG-33 3rd MAW
  • 2 July 1958- - - - - - MAG-24 2nd MAW
  • 10 August 1959 - - - - MAG-14 2nd MAW
  • 13 September 1960- - - CmdGen 1st MAW
  • 23 September 1960- - - MAG-12 1st MAW
  • 8 October 1961 - - - - MAG-32 2nd MAW
  • 10 January 1966- - - - MAG-31 2nd MAW

Deployments
    Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
  • 01/55 to 03/55 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - AD-4B - - - - NAS ROOSEVELT ROADS PUERTO RICO
  • 08/63 to 03/64 - - - - - CVG-7 - - CVA 62 - A-4B - - - - MEDITERRANEAN
  • 01/65 to 03/65 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  A-4E - - - - NAS ROOSEVELT ROADS PUERTO RICO
  • 06/66 to 02/67 - - - - - CVW-7 - - CVA 62 - A-4E - - - - MEDITERRANEAN
  • 07/67 to 05/68 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A-4B & A-4C - NAS ROOSEVELT ROADS PUERTO RICO


Aircraft
Commanding Officers
Events
  • October 1, 1943
    VMF-324 was established at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 32, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force.

  • October 12, 1943
    VMF-324 moved for training to Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Facility, (Oak Grove) Pollocksville, North Carolina (near Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point). Later that month the Squadron was transferred.

  • November 11, 1943
    Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 34, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force to New Bern, North Carolina Simmons Knott Field. Later that month the Squadron was transferred to Mitchell Field, New Bern, North Carolina.

  • April 1, 1944
    VMF-324 was detached from the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and joined the 9th Marine Aircraft Wing.

  • July 15, 1944
    Detached from the 9th Marine Aircraft Wing and departed from Marine Corps Air Facility, Kinston, North Carolina for Marine Corps Air Depot, Miramar, San Diego, California.

  • July 20, 1944
    VMF-324 arrived at Miramar and attached to Marine Fleet Air, West Coast for pre-combat training.

  • August 31, 1944
    Detached from Marine Fleet Air, West Coast and sailed from San Diego for Ewa, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii for staging to Midway Island.

  • September 6, 1944
    VMF-324 joined Marine Aircraft Group 23, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force.

  • September 10 - 16, 1944
    VMF-324 arrived at Midway. At Midway the Squadron acted as training and replacement unit for the Pacific theatre.

  • September 1, 1945
    Transferred in increments to Headquarters Squadron, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force at Ewa, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii.

  • September 22, 1945
    Attached to Headquarters, Marine Fleet Air, West Coast.

  • September 28, 1945
    Arrived at San Francisco, California and proceeded to Marine Corps Air Depot, Miramar, San Diego, California.

  • October 15, 1945
    VMF-324 was disestablished at Marine Corps Air Depot, Miramar, California.

  • March 17, 1952
    Reestablished as VMA 324, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic based at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.

  • April 5, 1952
    Transferred to Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, Florida. The Squadron was assigned the FG-1 Chance Vought Corsair and F6F Grumman Hellcat for training.

  • November 1952
    The Squadron was assigned a complete complement of FG-1 Corsairs and the Grumman F6F Hellcats were retired.

  • January and February 1953
    VMA-324 was deployed to Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for Training Exercise III. The exercise was comprised of close air support strikes on Vieques, Culebra Desecheo and St. Croix Islands.

  • June 1953
    Carrier Qualifications on the United States Ship Saipan.

  • September 1953
    Carrier Qualifications on the United States Ship Saipan.

  • October 13, 1953
    Sailed from Naval Auxiliary Air Facility, Mayport, Florida for duty on board the United States Ship Saipan to the Western Pacific.

  • November 1953
    Arrived at Kokosuka, Japan and Task Force 95.

  • February 15, 1954
    Reassigned Marine Aircraft Group 32, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.

  • April 1954
    VMA-324 flew its Corsairs from the United States Ship Saipan to an airport in Indo-China and turned the planes over to French pilots.

  • May 1954
    The United States Ship Saipan and its Air Group were relieved and returned to Mayport Florida via the Suez Canal.

  • July 18 1954
    Arrived at Mayport and changed location from the United States Ship Saipan to the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, Florida. Operational control transferred from the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet to the Commanding Officer, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.

  • January through April 1955
    VMA-324 deployed to Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for training. The VMA-324 January 22, 1955 fly-away schedule.

  • August 1, 1955
    Redesignated VMA 324, Marine Aircraft Group 31, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.

  • August 23, 1955
    Departed from the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami for the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia where it embarked on board the United States Ship Lake Champlain the following day for a Mediterranean cruise, during which it was attached to Carrier Aircraft Group 6.

  • March 29, 1956
    Disembarked from the United States Ship Lake Champlain at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk and moved to Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, arriving the same day.

  • April - May 1956
    The Vagabonds were reorganized and assigned Douglas AD-6 Skyraiders.

  • June 1956
    VMA-324 was deployed to Naval Air Station Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone for training.

  • January 6, 1957
    Arrived at Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California.

  • January 12, 1957
    Departed U. S. for Japan where it arrived 15 January and joined Marine Aircraft Group 11, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

  • September 8, 1957
    Sailed on the United States Ship Lake Champlain from the Marine Barracks Annex, Bayonne, New Jersey for Operation DEEPWATER.

  • October 30, 1957
    Arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, Florida.

  • February 28, 1958
    Departed from Japan and arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro on 1 March where it was attached to the Marine Aircraft Group 33, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing.

  • March 14 - 18, 1958
    Departed by elements from Marine Corps Air Station, Miami for about six weeks temporary additional duty in connection with Single Squadron Operations at the Naval Air Station, Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.

  • April 16 - 19, 1958
    Returned to the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami from the Naval Air Station, Roosevelt Roads.

  • May 1959
    The Vagabonds were assigned the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk.

  • July 2, 1958
    Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 24, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.

  • August 10, 1959
    Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.

  • August 24, 1959:
    While on an instrument approach to MCAS Cherry Point, NC, 1st Lt. William Foley ejected when his A4D-2 BuNo 144969 collided with a civilian aircraft and exploded near Morehead City, NC. Foley suffered minor burnes and bruises.
    Gastonia, NC, The Gastonia Gazette, Monday, August 24, 1959
    Statesville, NC, The Statesville Record & Landing, Monday, August 24, 1959
    Galesburg, IL, Galesburg Register-Mail, Tuesday, August 25, 1959
    US Armed Forces, The Stars and Stripes, Thursday, August 27, 1959

  • September 18, 1959
    1st Lt. Peter B. Lee sustained minor cuts and bruises when his engine flamed out at 20K feet and he ejected A4D-2 BuNo 144968 at 5K feet after steering his crippled aircraft away from a populated area.
    Gastonia, NC The Gastonia Gazette Saturday, September 19, 1959

  • April 11, 1960
    Capt. Edwin F. Jackson perished when his A4D-2 BuNo 144991 exploded over a runway, returning from a training flight
    Statesville, NC Record & Landmark, Monday, April 11, 1960

  • September 13, 1960
    Attached to the Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

  • September 23, 1960
    Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Japan. VMA 324 deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. During the five months the Iwakuni runway was being rebuilt the Squadron deployed aboard United States Ship Coral Sea CVA-43.

  • February 1, 1961
    Redesignated VMF(AW)-324.

  • February 11, 1961
    A4D-2 BuNo 142880 and A4D-2 BuNo 144910 were lost in separate accident.
    Capt. Charles Popok, USMC, immediately after launch, was attempting to join up on his section leader during rendezvous. It was estimated that he crashed when he got too low mistaking a star for his wingman and went into the water. No visual nor voice communication was ever received from Popok. The surface search was not successful.
    From Fred Shaffer.
    As far as Charlie goes we should have moved rendevous up a lot higher at night than 1000 feet. I think the flt leader would be at 250 knots, 30 degreee bank which forces anyone joining up into steeper angle of bank OK in daytime but not at night with no visible horizon when we should have been on instruments.
    From Andy Anderson
    Capt. James Gurtner USMC who was following in a section CCA approach to Coral Sea during a rain storm by Major Harvey Keeling USMC, the 324 XO. Keeling landed aboard the carrier safely and Gurtner went into the water behind the carrier on final approach. No visual nor voice communication was ever received from Gurtner. A surface search was not successful.
    From Fred Shaffer.
    My recollection that night is Major Keating was the flight ldr and got vertigo at altitude . Jim took the lead for the recovery and in the transition from 1000 feet to 500 where gear and flaps were extended (by radio calls). Keating overran Jim and may have said I lost you. My best quess is that Jim looked away from the instruments while all the speed , altitude, and configuration changes taking place and decended into the ocean. It was a terrible dark night and radio altimeter and autopilot would have been a big help.
    From Andy Anderson

  • April 21, 1961
    Capt. Lorenzo H. Hill Jr. perished in a crash of A4D-2 BuNo 142888 after engine failure a 500 ft. Capt. Hill guided his stricken plane away from a highly populated area of Fujisawa, Japan, killing a farmer
    US Armed Forces, Pacific Stars & Stripes, Saturday, April 22, 1961
    US Armed Forces, Pacific Stars & Stripes, Saturday, April 22, 1961
    US Armed Forces, Pacific Stars & Stripes, Saturday, April 22, 1961

  • July 1, 1961
    Redesignated VMF-324.

  • October 8, 1961
    Redesignated VMA-324, Marine Aircraft Group 32, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Beaufort, South Carolina.

  • August 18, 1963:
    Capt. Wilbur Eugene (Billy) Skinner crashed in A-4B BuNo 144945 off of the USS Independence during a MED Cruise. The pilot's remains were recovered, the a/c was abandoned since it was too difficult to recover.
    US Armed Forces, The Stars and Stripes, Wednesday, August 21, 1963
    Note:
    "As a 41 years old french history teacher, I'm looking about any informations about air actions over east of France. I'm living near Belfort not far from Swiss border and I've found an A-4B crash site, very close from my home. This was plane # 144945/DX-502 from VMA-324. Pilot ... Skinner was killed in the crash on august 18 1963."
    Stéphane Muret

  • January 10, 1966
    Reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing.

  • June 13, 1966 - February 1, 1967
    VMA-324 in USS Independence participated on a Mediterranean Cruise flying A-4E Skyhawks.

  • August 15, 1966
    Capt. Chuck Woodworth ejected from A-4 E BuNo 150093 due to A/C fire during in-flight refueling.

  • March 3, 1967
    Capt. Dick Barker ejected from A-4B BuNo 142939 due to engine failure.

  • November 16, 1967
    2ndLt. Bob Stamper crashed A-4B BuNo 145020 on a night landing at MCAS Beaufort.

  • June 14, 1968
    1/Lt. Brian Lucas was killed on a night rocket run in A-4B BuNo 145016 while operating out of Roosevelt Roads.

  • June 12, 1970
    1LT. Robert Jay Johnson ejected from A-4E BuNo 150035 but perished, 11 miles from Meridian, MS, due to an in-flight fire.
    Stuart McNames, nephew

  • February 4, 1971
    An unknown VMA-324 pilot on a cross country training flight from Beaufort, SC, ran his A-4E BuNo 149988 off a runway at NAS Corpus Christi and hit a truck, injuring himself and a civilian workman who was installing new runway lights when the accident occurred at 11:10 a.m.
    The Corpus Christi Times,Thursday, February 4, 1971.

  • 1973:
    VMA-324 A-4, Bu No 158163 Crashed in Greys Hill, SC Just West of USMCAS Beaufort. It is a more rural then residential area. It landed on a (trailer) Mobile Home, only one day after the resident family moved out. The Pilot was Lt. Coleman. It's not visible from this photo, but the horizontal stabilizer was in the extreme nose up position. The cause of crash was a runaway stabilizer, which is controlled by an electric motor driven screw actuator. Lt Coleman fought the stick trying to keep the Sky Hawk from wanting to go into a loop and ejected safely when he realized he was not going to archive stabilized flight. I was there. If I remember correctly it was 1973."
    David Rosowski

  • March 5, 1974
    1stLt. Mike Coleman ejected following run-away nose up trim on takeoff. A-4M BuNo 158163 crashed in a residential area near MCAS Beaufort, without loss of life.
    The Beaufort Gazette
    The Beaufort Gazette

  • As luck would have it, I was the Safety Officer in VMA-324 when that accident occurred. The Naval Safety Center assigned one of their highly experienced investigators to assist in the investigation. I learned a lot from him and we had an open door to NARF Pensacola for their assistance during the mishap reconstruction. The cause officially listed was run-away nose up trim on take-off, but the aircraft wreckage was destroyed by fire to such an extent that physical evidence was not conclusive.
    The pilot indicated that the aircraft pitched up immediately after liftoff (probably about the time he raised the gear and flaps) and he was not able to push the stick forward and hold it there long enough even with two hands to get the nose down. Whenever he took his left hand off the stick to use the elevator over-ride lever, the nose would pitch up again, so he used the rudder to get the nose down in a series of wingover type maneuvers. I think the aircraft made one or more 360 degree turns before he had enough and decided to eject.
    As I recall, the A-4M was light loaded (slick - no tanks or racks) so the acceleration would have been pretty spectacular. The pitch up from a run-away nose up trim failure would have been significant also in a light loaded, accelerating aircraft. We did some experimentation with nose up trim controllability (above 10,000 ft of course) during and after the investigation and the airplane was pretty much uncontrollable even with full forward stick above about 200-220 kts with the flaps up. Reducing power and lowering the gear & flaps to full helped a lot. I don't think the mishap pilot had a chance to experiment too much since he was never above about 500 ft and things happened pretty quick. He did not recall reducing power or lowering the flaps to full.
    Some of you may recall that in the "old Days"(1960's) the A-4 had a control stick extender button which was used when the flight controls were disconnected in the event of a hydraulic failure. This allowed the pilot to pull the stick up about 6 more inches and gave him additional mechanical advantage to control the roll. As you may imagine, many pilots found this feature to be a novelty to be exercised frequently during periods of boredom. In order for the stick extension trick to work, the wires going up the inside of the stick were extra long, with a loop folded within the stick. These wires which controlled - among other things... TRIM - were not intended to be "exercised" routinely, rather only infrequently in an emergency situation. Well at some point (Late 60's, early 70's) the Fleet started experiencing intermittent or uncommanded trim anomalies which were traced to shorting of these wires. Thus this feature was disabled. The wires however continued to be looped in the stick. (The Safety Center guy told me all about that history) The best guess was that for some unknown reason there was a short in the trim wires in the stick causing a run-away nose up.
    As all A-4 drivers know, the elevator trim actually moves the entire horizontal stabilizer, so the effect of the trim setting is pretty spectacular as airspeed builds. Douglas Aircraft Corp. recognized this and installed a manual override/trim lever on the left console behind the throttle. (side note: during the investigation I learned that the over-ride switch was the same one used in several Douglas WWII piston aircraft such as the SBD. It was almost indestructible). The Mishap board determined that the most probable cause for the mishap was run-away nose up trim and that since the aircraft accelerated so rapidly the aircraft was in extremis almost immediately when the pilot raised the gear and flaps. They also concluded the pilot followed proper procedure by using the over-ride but the stick force was too great for the pilot to hold the lever long enough to get the desired effect before he released the lever and put both hands back on the stick, where upon the trim ran away again. I think most A-4M pilots have experienced this drastic trim change requirement during the (infrequent) opportunities we had to fly the A4-M in the slick configuration.
    Hindsight being what it is, we decided that reducing some power, lowering the gear and full flaps would have helped control the pitch. Keeping the airspeed below 200 kts was considered essential. Deploying the RAT was also discussed.
    The pilot was credited with staying with the aircraft until it was pointed away from most of the houses. The fact that he stated he was unable to keep the stick full forward with only one hand was significant because he was a pretty strong individual, first name Mike, was a football player for Pitt I believe. He was a capable and conscientious pilot. His wife was a nurse and he got out of the USMC after his first tour was up. I'll try to find his last name in my 324 stuff. He was a 1/Lt and I think he was the Flight line Officer. I also think he was on a post maintenance test flight, but maintenance was not considered a cause.
    I think the aircraft took off from runway 36, it crashed in the back yard of a lot with a trailer in the Gray's Hill community. The trailer was either burned or destroyed. No one was killed or injured in the mishap. Your photo shows the horizontal stab in an up position.
    I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if you need more info, etc
    Jim Williams
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Awards
    Award - - - - - - - - - Inclusive Dates:
  • No info yet

Photographs


1955-56 MED Cruise:
VMA-324 Skyraiders craned aboard for 1955-56 Mediterranean cruise aboard the USS Lake Champlain, which had a straight wooden flight deck and no hurricane bow (only gun tubs).
Andy Anderson of VMA-324.

Devil Dog A-1H Skyraider Line - 1956
A color photograph of VMA-324's ramp at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, February 1956. At the time the squadron was assigned the trusty single seat Douglas AD-4B Skyraider -- lovingly called the SPAD (a trusty WW-I French fighter) by its pilots. At times on the boat the SPAD wasn't so trusty. Here we see the result of "torque roll" when the Devil Dog pilot cobbed the power at slow airspeed.
Comment by Bill Headley
Photograph by Harry S. Gann

Jun 1959: big transition from the Spad to the Skyhawk is taken by USMC Capt. George Fritschi as he moves from the piston driven AD-6 to the jet powered Skyhawk, BuNo 144955.
Naval Aviation News Photo.

VMA-324 A-4B
A-4B Skyhawk BuNo. 142937, side number DX 17 is pictured on the VMA-324 ramp.
Harry S. Gann

BuNo 145039 traps via ground gear.

VMA-324 A-4C - 1964
A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 145080, side number DX 19 was on the USS Independence CVA-62 cruise from August 63 to March 1964. The picture was taken May 1, 1964 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. Shortly after the picture was taken VMA-324 was issued the A-4E Skyhawk.
USMC photograph from Allen Feldman

THE VAGABONDS - 1965
VMA-324 in a group photo at Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads in March of 1965.
BuNos of the Skyhawks in the picture: 150064, 150098, 150090, 150061, 150068, 150006, and 149995.
USMC photograph from Steve Waldschmidt

26 MAR 1966: head on view of Devildogs Skyhawk BuNo 151051, after it failed to clear a ridge line on approach to MCAS beaufort, SC, and cut some 68 trees 30-40 feet above the ground.
Naval Aviation News

VMA-324 MAINTENANCE HANGER - 1966
Squadron Skyhawks are getting last minute maintenance work at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina before the 1966 USS Independence (CVA-62) cruise. Scooters were having the tail DX identification changed to the Indy Air Group's AG identification; and the normal orange trim was being replaced by the Airgroups blue trim.
BuNos of some of the A-4E Skyhawks making the Indy cruise: 150123, 150082, 151072, 150110, 150095, 152067, 150138 and 150090.
From a Steve Waldschmidt 35mm slide

VMA-324 ON THE INDY - 1966
VMA-324 Devil Dogs and VA-86 Sidewinder tinkertoys are shown lined up on the Indy's port side before a mission in May 1966. The Devil Dogs were assigned 300 series numbers and the Sidewinders were assigned 400 series numbers. During the cruise Lt.Col. Elder received the 1966 CNO Safety Award for VMA-324.
From a Steve Waldschmidt 35mm slide
USN photograph from a Steve Waldschmidt

VMA-324 A-4C - 1967
Photo of a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 148575, side number DX 11, from VMA-324. The photo was taken May 29, 1967 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann

BuNo.145033 Devildogs Skyhawk, DX-1, tied down on the ramp.
Courtesy of Scott Van Aken.

VMA-324 A-4M - 1971
A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158158, side number DX 3 was on Detachment at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona on April 22, 1971 and is shown firing a Zuni rocket. VMA-324 was the first operational Marine squadron to receive the A-4M Skyhawk. The A-4Ms were received by VMA-324 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann
Photograph scanned by Fred Lewis

VMA-324 A-4Ms - 1971
A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158158, side number DX 3 flies close parade right eschelon on A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 1 near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, April 1971.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier

VMA-324 A-4M BuNo. 158164
A-4M Skyhawk 158164, side number DX 7, rests on the ramp.
The photograph is from Michael Klaver, Webmaster of the F-4 Phantom II Website.

VMA-324 A-4Ms - 1971
A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158171, side number DX 16 and A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160 DX-1 in left eschelon near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, April 1971.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier

VMA-324 A-4M and Squadron Pilots - 1971
This photo was taken in April 1971 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma with A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 1 and A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 150138 in the backgound. VMA-324 was on a det from Cherry Point to received their A-4Ms. They were the first squadron to be outfitted with the A-4M aircraft. The skipper was Lieutenant Colonel George Ertlmeier shown eighth from left on rear row.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier

Commanding Officer's A-4M - 1971
A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 1 stands ready for a mission at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, April 1971.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier

VMA-324 A-4M Loose Deuce - after 1971
A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 19 leads A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158171, side number DX 16 over the mountains near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier

VMA-324 A-4M after 1971
A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 19 rolls in on a target near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier

VMA-324 A-4M after 1971
A-4M Skyhawk BuNo. 158160, side number DX 19 breaks near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
Photograph by Harry S. Gann from Peggy Ertlmeier

1971: BuNo 150031, DX-4, parked on the ramp next to BuNo 151074.
Unknown photographer via W. Mutza

1971: BuNo 151074, DX-15, parked on the ramp.
Unknown photographer via W. Mutza

MAY 1971: BuNo 152012, DX-8, parked on the ramp next to a TF-9J Cougar.
J. Wible

1971: Skyhawk BuNo 151040, DX-22, piloted by John Garretson over Mt Rainier taken by his wingman.
Mark Williams

  27 MAY 1972: Vagabonds Skyhawk BuNo 158160, DX-19, releasing a TV guided Walleye over one of the practice ranges.
Harry Gann

  VMA-324 A4-M BuNo 158158 fires rocket.
Looks like it is a 5" ZUNI FFAR (folding fin aircraft rocket).
Douglas photos from Gary Verver Collection that were a part of the 27 Feb 1979 News Release from McDonnell Douglas.




Sources:
  • Peggy & George Ertlmeier
  • Allen Feldman
  • Harry S. Gann
  • Bill Headley
  • Michael Klaver
  • Bill Lover
  • Frank Mirande
  • Steve Waldschmidt
  • John Gabbard


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