From the past
The following are some pics that I took in 1980 with a Yashica TL Electro 35mm SLR. I scanned the prints so they are not the best. But these few pictures are representative of a life that I chose so very long ago. The Black and White of eight of us Argonauts is an official Navy Photo. We were young…………….once……………and our bond was as strong as any.
Me, first row, middle. AMS2 Tim Lobretto, middle, second row. AQC Ed Zwick to Tim’s left and then the CO, CDR Jim Oliver. This was when I was in VA-147, The Argonauts out of NAS Lemoore, CA and embarked with Carrier Air Wing Nine in USS Kitty Hawk CV63.
The following are from the Long Cruise of September 1980 to May 1981 aboard USS Ranger CV61 when I was in VA-145, The Swordsmen. We had the A-6E and KA-6D. Pinch will fill you in on the K version. Tomcats had to plug in after launching!
The above shot also has NE 505, NE 621 and NE 400 in it. 505 is a Swordsmen bird. NE 400 is from VA-25, Lex will know it as VFA-25. I got a few years on ya, there, Lex.
Above is a Tomcat of Fighting One, The Wolfpack. This outfit was consigned to the history books even before I retired!
The F-15 is a bad ass fighter but there is nothing on this earth quite like a Tomcat. Any Time, Baby!
This is a shot of the first ship I served aboard. The guy in the green jersey to the left is AD1(AW) Darryl Hinkle. He was in VAQ137 at the time. We had made two cruises together on Independence when he was in VAQ132 and I was in both V-1 division as an elevator operator and AIMD Hydraulics shop as an AMH3. We go a long ways back.
KA-6D. An A-6A re-manufactured. The avionics and LOX converters were removed from the aft equipment platform and moved under the radome. The radar was taken out for this. A hose reel and plumbing was installed in the aft platform and we had a tanker. Full fuel on this puppy was 26,000 pounds. Off a deck. Check with Lex and Pinch. They know.
The prop job with it’s wings folded back is the E-2C Hawkeye. Think AWACS for the Fleet. Still in production in it’s latest version with those cool eight blade scimitar props! Still a Grumman Iron Works product on Deck in the Fleet!
That is us. Passing gas to VAQ137’s Prowler! Not the best shot but it is all I have. Other than memories. And the occasional cheap shot in the general direction of Pinch and Lex. With out us and these birds……………………………..
Mark 82, GP, 500 pound bombs. Showing off for some dignitary, I guess. We didn’t get to go to Tehran and use them for keeps.
On a flyby. The Bounty Hunters now fly the F/A-18E Super Hornet. Out of Lemoore. CVW-2 is a whole lot different these days.
The Wolfpack is gone. The Swordsmen of VA-145 have been gone since six months before I retired. The Rooks of VAQ137 will be transitioning to the EA-18G Growler. A plastic jammer! The Fisties went plastic in 1985, as one of the first two operational Hornet outfits at Lemoore. For a short period of time, CVW-2 was a Grumman Air Wing, per se. Two Tomcat squadrons, two Intruder squadrons, one Prowler squadron, one Hawkeye squadron, in addition were the S-3s and H-3s. Now the Carrier Air Wing is dominated by the epoxy rocket from Saint Louis. The McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet in it’s various versions including the new Growler Electronic Attack platform. I will never call it a Boeing. To old for that, now. Like a T-2 is still North American to me, not Rockwell.
I went to sea in January of 1974 aboard the Good Ship Independence. The primary Fleet Fighter was still the F-4 Phantom II. When I retired the Tomcat was looking at it’s end of service. The A-6 was being stood down by then. The A-7 was completely gone shortly after Desert Storm. VA-46 and VA-72 on USS John F. Kennedy stood down almost upon return to the States. JFK is gone, as well. There are no oil fired carriers in the Fleet. And even Enterprise is slated to be decommissioned in a couple of years and by then she will have served over 50 years!
But I hope everyone enjoys the pictures. I enjoyed the times I was there to take them.
And we are our own Band of Brothers, Cold Warriors all of us.
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