Sunday, February 1, 2015

Leatherneck Skyhawks

Alrighty, our last installment of 'TWW' was the first in a while. What can we say, we take a break every now and again... and again... and again.

Anyhoo, that last installment was itself a bit of a break from the series we had been running on the A-4 Skyhawk. Much as we like the 'Bantam Bomber' around these parts, sometimes a little variety is called for. So, with this installment, we pick things up where we left off in our Scooter series. (For all you Phantom Phanatics out there, don't fret... we'll undoubtedly have more for ya'll further on down the line.)

Up to now we've concentrated on Skyhawks of the U.S. Navy. Well, the U.S.M.C. also flew the type. And today we present a few photos of  Leatherneck Skyhawks... specifically those operated by the 'Green Knights' of VMA-121. This outfit converted to the A4D-2 from the Grumman F9F-8B Cougar in late 1958 and became the first Marine Corps squadron to fully qualify for 'special weapons' delivery. (read; nukes)

The 'Green Knights' deployed aboard the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) as part of Carrier Air Group Fifteen for a WESTPAC cruise that began on September 19th, 1960 and ended on May 27th, 1961. This photo shows A4D-2 BuNo. 142938 ready for launch from the Coral Sea's waist catapult. Note that this jet, and presumably the rest of its squadron-mates, retained its normal tail code, 'VK'. More often than not, while deployed aboard a carrier, Marine squadrons adopted the tail code of the Navy air group/wing that was embarked.

National Naval Aviation Museum

Here's a closer look...

National Naval Aviation Museum

In this next shot, taken high above MCAS El Toro on June 21st, 1961, we see a four-ship of 'Green Knights' Skyhawks. These jets were brand-new A4D-2Ns (later re-designated A-4C) which had been delivered to the squadron over the previous few months.

National Naval Aviation Museum

As mentioned in an earlier installment, the A-4 was a veritable workhorse for the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, and the same is true for the Skyhawks of the U.S.M.C. The 'Green Knights' saw action during that conflict and operated from Chu Lai Airbase near the city of Tam Kỳ in the Quảng Nam Province from December of 1966 to June of 1967, and again from September of 1967 to January of 1969.

We wrap up this installment of 'TWW' with a couple'a shots of VMA-121 Skyhawks departing Chu Lai, on their way to deliver things that go boom to Charlie. 

National Naval Aviation Museum

National Naval Aviation Museum

More Skyhawks on the way...

Fade to Black...

No comments:

Post a Comment