F - 111 Aardvark

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The aircraft’s wingman saw only a flash on the VA-145 made its first Intruder deployment with CVW-9 in Enterprise in 1969. Here, a pair of ‘Swordsmen’ prepare for launch during work-ups in December 1968. BuNo 152604/NG 513 was lost with VA-52 on 28 March 1973 when the wing separated from the aircraft during a bombing run, killing both crew. BuNo 152626, which survived the war, is marked up as the commanding officer’s aircraft. The tiny ‘JR’ to the right of the ‘NG’ tailcode was inspired by the CO’s name, N Gooding Jnr (US Navy via Tailhook Association Collection) VA-85’s fourth, and final, deployment to Vietnam was with CVW-14 and Constellation.

The Crusader pilot, Capt Larry Hubler, was killed. The following night another VMA(AW)-533 jet went down, this time while striking Hoi Lac airfield located about 20 miles northwest of Hanoi. Maj Jerry Marvel and Capt Larry Friese had flown at low level to the target, dodging SAMs and AAA en route, only to find that their computer would not allow a system delivery, so they performed a manual drop on the runway. They were hit (in BuNo 152644) by a SAM on egress, forcing both men to eject into captivity.

The ‘Golden Intruders’ were the west coast counterpart to VA-42, and they provided aircrew and maintenance training through to September 1995. Here, a division of their A-6As fly westbound over their home town of Oak Harbor, Washington, circa late 1967. The Naval Air Station’s seaplane base, which operated SP-5B Marlins into the early 1960s, is located directly under NJ 801. The jet facility at Ault Field is located across the island about three miles away (US Navy) T H E O N LY WA R W E H AV E ‘Boomer’ A-6C NG 522 traps aboard America during the 1970 deployment, with a VAQ-132 EKA-3B sitting behind it.

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