March 7, 2017

A-6 Intruder Units of the Vietnam War by Rick Morgan, Jim Laurier

By Rick Morgan, Jim Laurier

Designed within the years following the Korean warfare after which synthetic for over 30 years beginning in 1960, the A-6 fast grew to become the main able assault airplane within the US Navy's strong. the 1st squadron, VA-75, made its preliminary deployment without delay into strive against in south-east Asia in 1965, and, over the following 8 years, ten US military and 4 Marine Intruder squadrons might behavior wrestle operations all through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. After preliminary difficulties and a excessive loss expense, the kind proved itself past all doubt because the Naval providers' most sensible evening and foul-weather platform, relatively through the region's infamous monsoon season.

The A-6 Intruder grew to become a real vintage of naval aviation over the skies of North Vietnam however the fee used to be excessive as sixty nine Intruders have been misplaced in strive against to all reasons in the course of the battle. This paintings tells the whole tale of those airplane in strive against throughout the Vietnam battle.

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They had already made two combat deployments in A-1s before beginning their transition to the A-6 at Oceana with VA-42 in May 1966 and finally moving to their new homeport at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, on 15 October. NAS Whidbey Island was originally established during World War 2 as an auxiliary field to NAS Seattle, and from the mid-1950s it had housed a number of patrol squadrons flying P2V Neptunes and P5M Marlins. During the later part of the decade Whidbey Island became home for AirPac’s A3D Heavy Attack community.

Following what one squadron member described as an ‘uneventful’ final line period, ‘Indy’ departed the waters off Vietnam for its long trip home on 21 November 1965, the vessel’s spot on the line being taken by the San Diego-based USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). The ‘Hawk’s’ CVW-11 brought with it the second Intruder unit to deploy, the ‘Black Falcons’ of VA-85. The ‘Buckeyes’, as they were also known, had traded in their A-1s in 1964 and followed VA-75 through the RAG. This would be their first A-6 deployment, as well as the first one for a Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific (AIRPAC) carrier and air wing.

With these issues in mind, and the future of the platform honestly in the balance, the third Intruder squadron arrived on the line in the form of the ‘Tigers’ of VA-65, sailing with CVW-15 in USS Constellation (CVA-64). The ‘Tigers’, who were also known by their somewhat offbeat official radio call-sign of ‘Cupcake’, were another Oceana-based outfit with an A-1 background. Like VA-85, the ‘Tigers’ were assigned to a west coast team, Constellation and CVW-15, in which they joined two A-4 light-attack squadrons.

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