USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY

CHAPTER XXIII to XXIV (8 August 1968 to 16 April 1971)

CHAPTER XXIII (8 August 1968 to 11 September 1969) to

XXIV (12 September 1969 to 16 April 1971)

 USS CORAL SEA (CV 43)

SEVENTH “WESTPAC” DEPLOYMENT AND

FOURTH VIETNAM COMBAT CRUISE

U. S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA

RESTRICTED AVAILABILITY AT BREMERTON, WASHINGTON

& LOCAL TRAINING OPERATIONS

(8 August 1968 to 11 September 1969)

CHAPTER XXIII

 

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with CVW-15 embarked (tail code NL) departed Naval Air Station, Alameda, California 7 September 1968, on her seventh “WestPac” deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet (25 January 1960 to Present) and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, her sixth South China Sea deployment, on her fourth Vietnam Combat Cruise, with Captain Shawcross, William H. in command. Prior to her deployment she was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E,” conducting CarQuals and weapons training evolutions, marking the first time that an A-6A squadron had operated from a Midway-class carrier, as VA-52 reported to CVW-15, proceeded by operations locally off the California coast through the 1968 summer, conducting carrier suitability trials for the F-4K Phantom, a Royal Navy variant on 18 July, and the F-III B from 23 to 24 July 1968 - the latter proving to be a large, unwieldy aircraft for the size of the ship in which it was embarked, upon completion of overhaul at Hunters Point (NHC Battle Order p 11), completing her 1st & 2nd Vietnam Expeditionary Force (VEF) deployments during her 1st & 2nd “WestPac,” (first CVA in the Bering Sea during 12 December 1961 to 17 July 1962 deployment). She will undergo her seventh foreign water deployment since her visit to Vancouver, B.C. (18 to 22 March 1960) when she deployed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington upon completion of sea trials and a post-overhaul inspection and survey evaluation, commencing once recommissioned, following SCB 110A conversion (16 April 1957 to 25 January 1960), decommissioned on 24 April 1957, completing nine tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea operating with the 6th Fleet (7 June 1948 to 13 August 1956); reclassified hull classification symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952. She will under go her 18th deployment since her commission on 1 October 1947” (Ref.1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35 & 72).

 

USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43) with CVW-15 (NL)

(7 September 1968 to 18 April 1969)

SQUADRON

SQUADRON NICK NAME & PRIMARY

ROLE

AIRCRAFT DESIGN

NICK NAME &

PRIMARY ROLE

TAIL

CODE

Modex

AIRCRAFT

DESIGNATION

VF-151

Vigilantes -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NL100

F-4B / F-4B /

F-4B

VF-161

Chargers -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NL200

F-4B / F-4B /

F-4B

VA-153

Blue Tail Flies -

Attack Squadron

Douglas - Skyhawk -

Jet Attack Bomber

NL300

A4-F (NA-4F)

VA-52

Knightriders -

Attack Squadron

Grumman - Intruder -

Jet Attack Bomber

NL400

A6-A / A-6A

*VFP-63 Det. 43

Eyes of the Fleet or

Gators - Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

Vought - Crusader -

Jet Fighter - Reconnaissance

NL500

RF-8G

VA-216

Black Diamonds

Douglas - Skyhawk -

Jet Attack Bomber

NL600

A-4E / A4-E

VAW-116

Sun Kings - Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron

Grumman - Hawkeye - Electronics

NL010

E-2A

VAW 13 Det. 43 Changed to:

Zappers -

Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron

Douglas - Skywarrior - Jet Attack - Special electronic installation

(VR)
734-736

 

EKA-3B

VAQ-130

Det. 43

Zappers - Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron or Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron

Douglas - Skywarrior - Jet Attack - Special electronic installation

(VR)
014-016

 

EKA-3B

VAH-10

Det. 43

Vikings -

Heavy Attack Squadron

Douglas - Skywarrior - Jet Attack Fighter - Tanker

NL   720-017

 

 

KA-3B /

EKA-3B

A-3  (KA-3B)

HC-1 DET 43

Pacific Fleet Angels - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

Kaman - Seasprite - Transport (Utility)

(UP)
70-72

(UP)
04-06

 

UH-2C

CVW-15 operated advanced models of its aircraft such as VA-153's A-4Fs and this time with two Whale units, VAQ-130 Det. 43 "electric" EKA-3Bs and VAH-10 Det 43's KA-3B tankers” (Ref. 43).

VAW was designated Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron in 1968 - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 1969 until Present
VAP-61's Command History Report for 1968 indicated continued support of 7th Fleet carriers on Yankee Station.  However, the squadron's report does not identify the detachments deployed aboard carriers in WestPac during 1968.
VQ-1 detachments continued to support carrier operations in Vietnam, however, the 1968 Command History Report for VQ-1 does not mention any detachments that were aboard carriers operating on Yankee Station.
In 1968 an HC-7 detachment was formed and given the mission of maintaining year-round combat configured helos aboard carriers and other ships operating on “Yankee Station” for combat search and rescue missions. The 1968 Command History Report for HC-7 does not identify all the specific ships that detachment 110 operated aboard.
On 1 October 1968, VAQ-13 and its detachments were redesignated VAQ-130.
VQ-1 and VAP-61 detachments provided support from DaNang Air Base, Republic of South Vietnam, for Fleet carriers operating on Yankee Station in 1969.
*These squadron detachments were not aboard the carrier for the entire deployment.
(Ref. 34, 35, 39, 41 & 76)

 

    “Departing Alameda on 7 September 1968 and proceeding via Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) reached Yokosuka, Japan on the 25th, relieving USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) "Bonnie Dick"” (Ref. 43).

 

 

McDonnell F-4B Phantom II, BuNo 151487, modex NL215, VF-161 "Chargers," probably during the ship's fourth Vietnam cruise. NS024360 495k. Glenn M. Millar.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024360.jpg

 

Iran History & Air Arm

The first batch of F-4Ds arrived in Iran on 8 September 1968. A second batch of 16 more F-4Ds were ordered later” (Ref. 20).

 

    “Between line periods, USS America (CVA-66) visited Hong Kong, Yokosuka and Subic Bay, Philippines” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

    “With USS America (CVA-66) mission on "Yankee Station" nearing completion, she launched the last of her attack aircraft at 1030, 29 October 1968” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS America (CVA-66) set sail for Subic Bay, Philippines and the offload of various "Yankee Station" assets from 30 October 3 November 1968” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

Operation Rolling Thunder

(2 March 1965 to 31 October 1968) – Ref. 102D

 

    “President Johnson had ordered a bombing halt above the 18th parallel and transshipment points along the highways and ferries became the new targets.  The air war for the Seventh Fleet aircraft carriers was now turning to close ground support of allied forces in South Vietnam. Enemy concentrations, storage areas and supply routes were the major targets for the airwing pilots.

 

    This stopped on at 2100 Saigon time, November 1, 1968, when President Johnson ordered a complete bombing halt above the 17th parallel” (Ref.1-Constellation). 

 

    “On 1 November 1968 the last Navy mission over the restricted area was flown earlier in the day from USS Constellation (CVA-64) by Cmdr. Kenneth E. Enney in an A-7 Corsair II” (Ref.1-Constellation).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) moved south of that 17th parallel; from that point on, the ship flew only reconnaissance sorties over the North and strikes into South Vietnam and Laos. Ultimately, with USAF and USMC aircraft operating over the former, all strike missions came to be flown over Laos” (Ref. 43).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) last combat mission in the north above the 17th parallel was at the northernmost costal defense sites on Hon Matt Island” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea).

 

    “President Lyndon Johnson's halting all bombing of North Vietnam above the 20th parallel, together with other imposed limitations, restricted the Navy's operational area to the territory between the 18th and 19th parallels. Lack of lucrative targets, poor weather, and crowded air space as a result of three carriers on station, characterized the Navy's operations there, as USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) planes struck a series of traffic control points along the major highways in an effort to impede the logistics flow southward” (Ref. 43).

 

    “A heavy attack squadron, VAH-10, and an electronic countermeasures squadron, VA-130, departed USS America (CVA-66) on 3 November 1968, as they bean a transpacific movement of their entire detachments t o Alameda, and 144 aviators along with several members of the ship's company departed for the United States on the "Magic Carpet" flight” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “The days USS America (CVA-66) spent en route to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Norfolk were, of necessity, more relaxed than those of her six months of combat. Nine hundred ninety-three "Pollywogs" were initiated into the realm of Neptunus Rex on the morning of 7 November 1968, the ship again crossed the Equator” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 9 November 1968, a flight deck "cookout" was sponsored by the supply department as the entire crew of the USS America (CVA-66) enjoyed char- broiled steaks and basked in the equatorial sun” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “Between the end of August and mid-November 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) completed her eighth and ninth line periods on "Yankee Station" and communications patrol in the Tonkin Gulf” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “Punctuating her time on “Yankee Station” with a nine-day in port period at Subic, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) resumed air operations on November 1968, with strikes in USAF Steel Tiger (Southern Laos) areas controlled by airborne or radar controllers located at Camp Carroll, Dong Ha or DaNang. CVA-43's pilots encountered SAMs over North Vietnam for the last time in 1968 when LTJG James S. Ozbirin evaded one as he flew his VFP-63 RF-8G on a photo mission near Vinh, on 3 December 968. Five days later the ship's second line period ended” (Ref. 43).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) catapult shot put A-4C in water, killing CDR M Naschek of VA-216 attached to CVG-15 on 21 November 1968” (Ref. 34).

 

    “On 26 November 1968, USS Hancock (CVA-19) and the USS Camden (AOE-2) collide during an underway replenishment. There are no injuries but the Camden is slightly damaged” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “In early December 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) got underway for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “While at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii during mid December 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) conducted communications tests” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) spent from 12 to 25 December 1968 in Japanese waters” (Ref. 43).

 

    “On the 18 December 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in TF 130, the Manned Spacecraft Recovery Force, Pacific” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Hornet (CVS-12) arrived in port Sasebo, Japan on 23 December 1968” (Ref. 1-Hornet & 323).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) was in port at Sasebo, Japan for Christmas on 25 December 1968, operating in Japanese waters from the 12th” (Ref. 34).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) carried out two more line periods on “Yankee Station,” interspersing launching strikes in support of ground operations in South Vietnam and Laos followed by visits to Singapore, Subic Bay, Philippines (twice, for upkeep) and Hong Kong” (Ref. 43).

 

    “Acting as primary landing area communications relay ship, USS Arlington (AGMR-2)  participated in the recovery of Apollo 8 and returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 29 December 1968” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Bainbridge (CGN-25) and USS Robison (DDG-12) were part of USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) battle group” (Ref. 84A).

    “On 31 December 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) sailed for the Subic Bay, Philippines” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

Air War

“Early in the war encounters between Migs and U.S. jets were rare but they increased steadily as the conflict grew larger. The two main fighters North Vietnam used were the Mig-17 and the supersonic Mig-21. The Mig-19 also served in small numbers but was virtually identical to the Mig-17. Both planes are primitive by western standards but possess superb maneuverability and multiple heavy cannon. The Mig-21 is significantly more advanced having better radar and heat-seeking air-to-air missiles as well as cannon.

 

The F-4 Phantom, the main fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, lacked an internal gun or cannon.

 

The Phantom relied on state of the art radar, long-range Sparrow missiles and short-range heat-seeking Sidewinders. Before Vietnam this all-missile armament was seen as quite sufficient and an internal gun obsolete. Pilots dogfighting in the skies over south-east Asia soon found the lack of a gun a real liability.

 

Rules of engagement from the White House often put American aircrews at a disadvantage. Pilots had to visually identify targets as enemy aircraft before firing which often meant they were too close to engage with missiles.

 

The loss in Southeast Asia of 421 fixed-wing aircraft from 1965 to 1968 attested to the strength of these defenses. The aviators killed, missing, or made prisoner totaled 450. The operating environment was especially dangerous in North Vietnam, where 382 Navy planes were shot down, 58 of them by SAMs (Air War)” (Ref. 102A).

 

Over 20,000 combat missions were flown by Thunderchiefs in Vietnam. A total of over 350 Thunderchiefs (Ds and Fs) were lost in combat, most of them to North Vietnamese anti-aircraft fire. This was over half of all Thunderchiefs built. 126 F-105s were lost in 1966 alone, 103 of them to AAA. At one point in 1965-1968, it was calculated that a F-105 pilot stood only a 75 percent chance of surviving 100 missions over North Vietnam. Although the total number of losses was rather high, the actual loss rate was not that bad considering the total number of missions that were flown.

 

The Thunderchief made an excellent tactical bomber. The internal bomb bay had originally been designed with nuclear weapons in mind, but for operations in Southeast Asia, the internal bay of the F-105D rarely carried any ordnance, usually being fitted with a 365-gallon auxiliary fuel tank.

 

Weapons

With the exception of the ammunition for the M61A1 cannon, all the ordnance was carried externally. With multiple ejector racks the F-105D could carry an impressive load of external fuel, ECM gear, and up to eight 750-pound bombs on long-range missions. On short-range missions, it could carry sixteen 750-pound bombs. Alternative combat loads were two 3,000-pound bombs or three drop tanks.

 

On a typical mission over North Vietnam, the F-105D would carry six 750-pound bombs or five 1,000-pound bombs, along with two 450 US-gallon drop tanks. The D could also carry the Martin AGM-12 Bullpup air-to-surface missile, but this weapon was to prove almost useless in Vietnam against hardened targets. The F-105D could carry 2.75-inch rocket pods, napalm canisters, as well as four AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared homing air-to-air missiles. The M61A1 Gatling-type 20-mm cannon proved invaluable in the dual role of air-to-air combat and ground strafing. With its size and range, the F-105D could carry twice the bombload further and faster than the F-100 (Weapons)” (Ref. 102B).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed the Subic Bay, Philippines, and, on 17 January 1969, she resumed direct communications support for naval units in the Tonkin Gulf on her tenth line period on "Yankee Station” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “At San Diego, California, USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) embarked a cargo of Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters for delivery to transport squadrons in Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 6 February 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed "Yankee Station," ending her tenth line period and communications patrol in the Tonkin Gulf and proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “After upkeep at Yokosuka, Japan, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) conducted operations off southern Japan and in the Ryukyus” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 6 February 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed "Yankee Station," ending her tenth line period and communications patrol in the Tonkin Gulf and proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “After upkeep at Yokosuka, Japan, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) conducted operations off southern Japan and in the Ryukyus” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “After a brief stop at Pearl Harbor a week later, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) continued her voyage to Yokosuka, Japan where she arrived on the 20 February 1969” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) departed Yokosuka, Japan on 28 February 1969 for the coast of Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “Over the next four months, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) served four periods on the line off Vietnam, interdicting communist supply lines and making strikes against their positions” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga & 72).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) arrived on “Yankee Station” on 4 March 1969 and began flight operations conducting combat sorties, interdicting communist supply lines and making strikes against positions of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) loaded special landing-force equipment at Subic Bay, Philippines and embarked the Commander, Special Landing Forces Bravo and a squadron of Marine CH-46 transport helicopters” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 10 March 1969, USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) began operating in support of Operation Defiant Measure, steaming off Danang as her helicopters flew missions “on the beach” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “Repairs to the USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65) were completed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in early March 1969” (Ref. 1-Enterprise, 72 & 84A).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) visited Singapore and Hong Kong from 12 to 18 March 1969 on her way home to Alameda, Calif.” (Ref. 34).

 

    “With her part in Operation Defiant Measure over, USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) debarked her helicopters before steaming to Subic Bay, Philippines for upkeep on 18 March 1969” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) continued to operate in the Danang area during the weeks that followed, her helicopters flying frequent support missions, and her marines preparing for further combat landings” (Ref. 1Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “Toward the end of March 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) sailed for Hong Kong, whence she returned to Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) arrived at "Yankee Station" on her 11th line period and communications patrol in the Tonkin Gulf on 6 April 1969 and began testing her Apollo communications equipment” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) was relieved at Yokosuka, Japan once more by USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) "Bonnie Dick" on 9 April 1969 and sailed for Alameda” (Ref. 43).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) remained at "Yankee Station" on her 11th line period from 6 to 14 April 1969, where she tested her Apollo communications equipment” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 14 April 1969, North Korean aircraft shot down an unarmed EC-121 propeller-driven Constellation which was on a routine reconnaissance patrol over the Sea of Japan from its base at Atsugi, Japan. The entire 31-man crew was killed. U.S. response was to activate Task Force 71 to protect such flights over those international waters in the future. Initially, the TF consisted of the carriers USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65), USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14), USS Ranger (CVA-61) and USS Hornet (CVA-12) with cruiser and destroyer screens” (Ref. 1-Enterprise & 72).

 

    “On 15 April 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed the Tonkin Gulf and headed back to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “During USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) second line period, however, her tour of duty off Vietnam came to an abrupt end on 16 April 1969 when she was shifted north to the Sea of Japan. North Korean aircraft had shot down a Navy reconnaissance plane in the area, and Ticonderoga was called upon to beef up the forces assigned to the vicinity. However, the crisis abated, and Ticonderoga entered Subic Bay, Philippines on 27 April 1969 for upkeep” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga & 72).

 

    “USS Hornet (CVS-12) was the first carrier to arrive in Sea of Japan on 16 April 1969, when North Korean shoot down an unarmed Navy EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft” (Ref. 1-Hornet & 323).

 

 

Aerial view of the San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point, sometime between April and July 1968. USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and USS Hancock (CVA-19) are easily identifiable. Also visible in this photo are USS Midway (CVA-41), undergoing her SCB-101.66 modernization in the drydock just aft of Coral Sea, and USS Oriskany (CVA-34), undergoing an 8-month overhaul in the background. Chester Morris comments: "The two A shaped structures (painted with stripes) next to the large overhead crane at the bottom of the photo, are a part of the system used to test the new Polaris missile during the 60's at Hunters Point. They would fire a missile with what I assume was compressed air, and they were a part of the catching apparatus." Robert M. Cieri 4th Vietnam Cruise, 7 September 1968 – 18 April 1969. NS024345 175k.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024345.jpg

 

    “On 18 April 1969, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with CVW-15 embarked (tail code NL) arrived Alameda, California, with Captain Shawcross, William H. in command, ending her seventhWestPac” deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet (25 January 1960 to Present) and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, on her sixth South China Sea deployment, her fourth Vietnam Combat Cruise (110 line days on 5 line periods), proceeding via Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea reached Yokosuka, Japan the 25th, relieving USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), departing Yokosuka, operations on “Yankee Station” followed (action summary & port visits not reported from 25 April to 10 October 1968, returning to “Yankee Station”, commencing air operations on 11 October 1968, that included close ground support of allied forces in South Vietnam and enemy concentrations, storage areas and supply routes were the major targets for the air wing pilots, as a result of a bombing halt above the 18th parallel by President Johnson, resulting in new targets such as transshipment points along the highways and ferries, combat missions ceasing at 2100 Saigon time, on 1 November 1968, when President Johnson ordered a complete bombing halt above the 17th parallel, with Coral Sea’s last combat mission in the north above the 17th parallel at the northernmost costal defense sites on Hon Matt Island, moving south of the 17th parallel, the ship’s aircraft flew only reconnaissance sorties over the North and strikes into South Vietnam and Laos, followed by a halt of all bombing of North Vietnam above the 20th parallel, together with other imposed limitations, restricted the Navy's operational area to the territory between the 18th and 19th parallels, while lack of lucrative targets, poor weather, and crowded air space as a result of three carriers on station, characterized the Navy's operations there, as Coral Sea's planes struck a series of traffic control points along the major highways in an effort to impede the logistics flow southward. Coral Sea moved south of the 17th parallel; from that point on, the ship flew only flew reconnaissance sorties over the North and strikes into South Vietnam and Laos, punctuating her time on “Yankee Station” with a nine-day in port period at Subic, Coral Sea resumed air operations 14 November 1968, with strikes in USAF Steel Tiger (Southern Laos) areas controlled by airborne or radar controllers located at Camp Carroll, Dong Ha or DaNang, during which time a catapult shot put A-4C in water, killing CDR M Naschek of VA-216 attached to CVG-15 on 21 November 1968, operations continuing, CVA-43's pilots encountered SAMs over North Vietnam for the last time in 1968 when LTJG James S. Ozbirin evaded one as he flew his VFP-63 RF-8G on a photo mission near Vinh, 3 December. Five days later the ship's second line period ended, spending 12-26 December in Japanese waters, Coral Sea was in port at Sasebo, Japan for Christmas on 25 December 1968, departing Sasebo, Coral Sea carried out two more line periods on “Yankee Station,” interspersing launching strikes in support of ground operations in South Vietnam and Laos followed by visits to Singapore, Subic Bay (twice, for upkeep) and Hong Kong (Mar 12-18), with her last port visit at Yokosuka where Bon Homme Richard relieved Coral Sea on 9 April 1969 prior to sailing home to Alameda 9 April 1969. With the knowledge that CVW-15's losses were reduced as a result of the bombing halt; however, 2 Aviators & 2 Airman KIA and four were missing in action during the downing of four aircraft (NHC Battle Order p 11), completing her 1st & 2nd Vietnam Expeditionary Force (VEF) deployments during her 1st & 2ndWestPac,” (first CVA in the Bering Sea during 12 December 1961 to 17 July 1962 deployment). Her seventh foreign water deployment since her visit to Vancouver, B.C. (18 to 22 March 1960) when she deployed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington upon completion of sea trials and a post-overhaul inspection and survey evaluation, commencing once recommissioned, following SCB 110A conversion (16 April 1957 to 25 January 1960), decommissioned on 24 April 1957, completing nine tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea operating with the 6th Fleet (7 June 1948 to 13 August 1956); reclassified hull classification symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952. Her 18th deployment, since her commission on 1 October 1947 (26 July 1967 to 6 April 1968)” (Ref.1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35 & 72).

 

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Air Wing: Carrier Air Wing Fifteen (CVW)-15

 

DEPLOYMENT

 DATES

K

I

A

M

I

A

P

O

W

PLANES LOST

LINE DAYS

LINE PERIODS

WESTPAC

    & Combat

Mission

CVW-15 (NL)

 07/09/68-18/04/69

2

1

N/A

 4

 110

 5

 7th / 4th

 South China Sea

Reference 34, 35 & 43 reflect Chat info.

 

07/09/68 - 18/04/69

 AWARD OR CITATION

 AWARD DATES

  “WESTPAC”

 Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit

 Citation

 15, 17 - 18, 21, 25 - 27 October, 14 - 16, 23, 25 & 28 November, 1- 2, 4 - 5 & 30 December 1968

  7th & 4th

 Vietnam

 Combat

 Vietnam Service Medal for Combat

 Operations

 16 - 11 October - 3 November, 14

 November - 8 December 1968 – 4 April on the 18th April 1969

 7th

 Engineering Excellence

 1968

 7th

 Communications Excellence

 1968

 7th

 Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Award

 1968

 7th

 Battle Efficiency Award 7th Fleet in

 the In the Pacific FY 1968

 30 September 1968

 7th

 Navy Unit Commendation

 18 April 1969

 7th

Reference 34 & 35 reflect Chat info.

 

Seventh “Westpac” deployment and Fourth Vietnam Combat Cruise

(7 September 1968 to 18 April 1969)

(2 Aviators & 2 Airman KIA, 4 MIAs with 2 Presumed Killed in Action)

KIA/MIAs/POWs

NAME

RANK

SQUADRON

DATE of LOSS

LOSS-COUNTRY
HOW

COMMENT

O. R. Orell

CDR

VA-52
A-1H

13 Oct. 1968

North Vietnam
Unknown

Missing in Action

James D. Hunt

LT
U. S. Navy

VA 52
A-6A

13 Oct.
1968

North Vietnam
Over Water
Unknown

Status in 1973: Missing in Action
Status in 1978 changed to: Presumed Killed in Action

Quinlen Orel

CDR
U. S. Navy

VA 52
A-6A

13 Oct.
1968

North Vietnam
Over Water
Unknown

Status in 1973: Missing in Action
Status in 1978 changed to: Presumed Killed in Action

Larry J. Stevens

LT JG
U. S. Navy

VA 216
A-4C

14 Feb. 1969

Laos, AAA and Small Arms Fire

Status in 1973: Missing in Action

Rodney Chapman

LT CDR
U. S. Navy

VAH 10
KA-3B

18 Feb. 1969

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not

Stanley M. Jerome

E-6
U. S. Navy

VAH 10
KA-3B

18 Feb. 1969

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

Eddie Schimmels

E-
U. S. Navy

VAH 10
KA-3B

18 Feb. 1969

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

Rodney Chapman

LT CDR
U. S. Navy

VAH 10
KA-3B

18 Feb. 1969

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Association http://www.usscoralsea.org - Ref. 34

Reference 43 reflects CVW-15's losses reduced as a result of the bombing halt; however, two more men died and one was missing in action during the downing of four aircraft.

 

    “On 2 May 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and once again joined TF 130” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) re-embarked her helicopters as well as part of a battalion landing team of Marines who had been taking part in fighting ashore on 3 May 1969, arriving Danang on 18 March 1969” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) with TF 130 was assigned as primary landing area communications relay ship for the Apollo 10 capsule” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 8 May 1969, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) departed Subic Bay, Philippines to return to "Yankee Station" and resumed interdiction operations. Between her third and fourth line periods, the carrier visited Sasebo and Hong Kong” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga & 72).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 11 May 1969 and steamed for the Apollo 10 recovery area, some 2,400 miles south of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) new CO: Captain Samuel G. Gorsline, Jr., USNA arrived on board on 16 May 1969” (Ref. 34).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) operated in Danang on 3 May 1969 to late May, arriving Danang on on 18 March 1969” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 26 May 1969, the Apollo 10 capsule was recovered and the assigned ships USS Arlington (AGMR-2) including returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “A new, major development in carrier fire prevention occurred on 26 May 1969 when USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) put to sea from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., after an 11-month overhaul which included installation of a deck edge spray system using the new seawater compatible fire-fighting chemical, Light Water” (Ref. 1-Roosevelt).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) completed a two month restricted availability at Bremerton, Washington returning to NAS Alameda, Ca. on June 1969 and a slate of refresher training operations out of San Diego” (Ref. 34).

 

    “During late May and early June 1969, USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) received visits from Secretary of the Navy John Chafee and Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander 7th Fleet” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “From Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) proceeded to Midway Atoll where she provided communications support for the Nixon-Thieu conference on 8 June 1969 and, on the 9th, she sailed west” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) offloaded her marines at Danang on 10 June 1969 and embarked a battalion landing team for transportation to Okinawa” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) arrived Okinawa on 16 June 1969 with a battalion landing team for transportation” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 24 June 1969, the first operational "hands off" arrested landing using the AN/SPN-42, Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS), on a carrier was performed by Lt. Dean Smith and Lt.j.g. James Sherlock of Fighter Squadron 103 when their F-4 Phantom landed aboard USS Saratoga (CV-60)” (Ref. 1-Saratoga).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) arrived on “Yankee Station” for her last line period of the deployment on 26 June 1969 and there followed 37 more days of highly successful air sorties against enemy targets. Following that tour, she joined TF 71 in the Sea of Japan for the remainder of the deployment until which time she departed the Sea of Japan and deployed to Subic Bay, Philippines” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “The battalion landing team arriving onboard in Okinawa conducted amphibious exercises with USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) from 16 to 27 June 1969 (11 days) and boarded the ship for a voyage to Subic Bay, Philippines where they continued the training process” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 27 June 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) returned to the Vietnamese coast” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 7 July 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) was ordered east for her third Apollo recovery mission” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Hornet (CVA-12) was the recovery carrier for the Apollo 11 moon mission during which astronauts Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin Jr., landed on and walked on the moon in July 1969. Fellow astronaut Michael Collins remained in orbit around the moon” (Ref. 1-Hornet).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) returned to the Danang area on 8 July 1969 and resumed flying helicopter support for Marine ground forces in the northern I Corps area, during which time she took evasive action to avoid an approaching typhoon and then began preparations for an amphibious operation” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “Arriving in the Apollo recovery area on 21 July 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) tested her equipment; and, on 22 July 1969,  moved to Johnston Island” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 23 July 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) embarked President Nixon for an overnight visit; and, on the 24th, supported the recovery of Apollo 11. Crew and capsule successfully recovered, Arlington headed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, whence she steamed to the west coast” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “Operation Brave Armada began on 24 July 1969 with a helicopter-borne assault on suspected Viet Cong and North Vietnamese positions in Quang Ngai Province” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) remained in the Quang Ngai-Chu Lai area to support this attack until its completion on 7 August 1969 and then steamed to Danang to debark her marines” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) departed Danang and sailed for Okinawa on 13 August 1969” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) arrived Okinawa four days after her departure from Danang and disembarked her helicopter squadron before getting underway again to evade another typhoon” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) departed Okinawa and proceeded to Hong Kong, dropping anchor there on 22 August 1969, the day on which she received a message announcing her forthcoming inactivation” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 22 August 1969, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) collides with a tug and a Navy barge in San Francisco Bay, injuring one barge crewman” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “Following an initial 20-day period of supporting strikes in South Vietnam as well as Laos, USS Constellation (CVA-64) sailed to Defender Station in the Sea of Japan, which had been created as a result of increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula” (Ref. 1-Constellation & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) returned to Danang  on 3 September 1969 to load material for shipment to the United States and sailed that evening for Yokosuka for three days of upkeep before leaving the Far East” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) departed Subic Bay, Philippines on 4 September 1969 headed to San Diego, Calif.” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) got underway from Yokosuka, Japan on 11 September 1969 and sallied for Long Beach, Calif.” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

 

EIGHTH “WESTPAC” DEPLOYMENT AND

FIFTH VIETNAM COMBAT CRUISE

U. S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA

OVERHAUL AT HUNTER’S POINT NAVAL SHIPYARD, SAN FRANCISO, CALIFORNIA & LOCAL TRAINING OPERATIONS

(12 September 1969 to 16 April 1971)

CHAPTER XXIV

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with CVW-15 embarked (tail code NL) departed Naval Air Station, Alameda, California 23 September 1969, on her eighth “WestPac” deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet (25 January 1960 to Present) and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, on her seventh South China Sea deployment, her fifth Vietnam Combat Cruise and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East since her 1st conversion (25 January 1960); completing her 1st & 2nd Vietnam Expeditionary Force (VEF) deployments during her 1st & 2nd “WestPac,” (first CVA in the Bering Sea during 12 December 1961 to 17 July 1962 deployment). Prior to her deployment she completed a two month restricted availability at Bremerton, Washington returning to NAS Alameda, Ca. June 1969 and a slate of refresher training operations out of San Diego. She will undergo her eighth foreign water deployment since her visit to Vancouver, B.C. (18 to 22 March 1960) when she deployed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington upon completion of sea trials and a post-overhaul inspection and survey evaluation, commencing once recommissioned, following SCB 110A conversion (16 April 1957 to 25 January 1960), decommissioned on 24 April 1957, completing nine tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea operating with the 6th Fleet (7 June 1948 to 13 August 1956); reclassified hull classification symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952. She will undergo her 19th deployment. NHC Battle Order p 13” (Ref.1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34 & 35).

 

USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43) with CVW-15 (NL)

(23 September 1969 to 1 July 1970)

SQUADRON

SQUADRON NICK NAME & PRIMARY

ROLE

AIRCRAFT DESIGN

NICK NAME &

PRIMARY ROLE

TAIL

CODE

Modex

AIRCRAFT

DESIGNATION

VF-151

Vigilantes -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NL100

F-4B / F-4B /

F-4B

VF-161

Chargers -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NL200

F-4B / F-4B /

F-4B

VA-82

Marauders -

Attack Squadron

Vought - Corsair II -

Jet Attack Aircraft

NL300

A-7A

VA-86

Sidewinders -

Attack Squadron

Vought - Corsair II -

Jet Attack Aircraft

NL400

A-7A

VA-35

Black Panthers -

Attack Squadron

Grumman - Intruder -

Jet Attack Bomber

NL

610-617
614-616

 

A6-A / A-6A

VFP-63 Det. 43

Eyes of the Fleet or Gators - Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

Vought- Crusader -

Jet Fighter -Reconnaissance

NL600

RF-8G

VAQ-135

Black Ravens - Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron or Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron

Douglas - Skywarrior - Jet Attack - Tanker  - Special electronic installation

NL610

KA-3B /

EKA-3B

A-3  (KA-3B)

VAW-116

Sun Kings - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron

Grumman - Hawkeye

NL010

E-2A

HC-1 Det. 9

Pacific Fleet Angels - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

Kaman - Seasprite - Transport (Utility)

NL

004-006

 

UH-2C

“For this cruise Coral Sea operated for the first time with the A-7A Corsair, brought on board by VA-82 and -86 from the East Coast” (Ref. 43).

VFP or VF(P) - Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron or Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron or Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (Light) or Light Photographic Squadron.

VQ-1 and VAP-61 detachments provided support from DaNang Air Base, Republic of South Vietnam, for Fleet carriers operating on Yankee Station in 1969.

“For this cruise Coral Sea operated for the first time with the A-7A Corsair, brought on board by VA-82 and -86 from the East Coast” (Ref. 43).

(Ref. 34, 35, 39, 41 & 76)

 

 

NS024378a 142k. Grumman E-2A Hawkeye, BuNo 150539, modex NL010, VAW-116 "Sun Kings."

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024378a.jpg

 

 

McDonnell F-4B Phantom II, BuNo 149450, modex NL206, VF-161 "Chargers." (The original NL206, BuNo 152286, had been lost in an operational accident on 25 February, as it ran out of fuel and the crew had to eject—both pilot and RIO were rescued.). NS024378b 103k.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024378b.jpg

 

 

NS024359 518k. F-4B Phantom II, VF-111 "Sundowners."

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024359.jpg

 

 

NS024378c 128k. Ling-Temco-Vought A-7A Corsair II, BuNo 152685, modex NL306, VA-82 "Marauders."

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024378c.jpg

 

 

NS024378d 123k. Grumman A-6A Intruder, BuNo 152902, modex NL500, VA-35 "Black Panthers."

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024378d.jpg

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) relieved USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) at Yokosuka, Japan on 16 October 1969, and shortly thereafter received her fourth NUC for operations conducted the previous deployment” (Ref. 43).

 

    “On 24 November 1969, the Apollo 12 astronauts — all Naval Aviators — Richard F. Gordon, Charles Conrad Jr., and Alan L. Bean were recovered by Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Four (HS 4) and returned to USS Hornet (CVA-12)” (Ref. 1-Hornet).

 

 

Aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) along with a supply ship and her escorts whilst operating in the Gulf of Tonkin during 1969. A Soviet "trawler," in fact an Okean-class AGI (intelligence collector) is in the foreground. NS024343 85k. Robert Hurst.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024343.jpg

 

 

Near the Philippines, late 1969. Carrier in the background is USS Ranger (CVA-61). NS024319. David Guerra.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024319.jpg

 

    “The Midway (CV-41), former CVB-41, the 35th aircraft carrier of the United States Navy by Hull No. and in order of commission, the 35th, commissioning on 10 September 1945, completed SCB-101 and recommissioned a second time on 31 January 1970 at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco Bay. Midway was at once one of the oldest and newest carriers in the fleet accomplishing, the most extensive modernization ever completed on a naval vessel from 11 February 1966 to 31 January 1970, decommissioning on 15 February 1966. Her increased capabilities included the enlargement of her flight deck from 2.82 acres to 4.02 acres plus the addition of three new deck-edge elevators and the new catapults on the bow and three arresting gear engines and one barricade were installed and re-arranged to accommodate a change of 12 degrees to the angle deck. The smaller waist catapult was removed since it was ineffective in launching the now heavier aircraft. Modern electronic systems were installed, central chilled water air conditioning system replaced hundreds of individual units, and Midway became the first ship to have the aviation fueling system completely converted from aviation gas to JP-5. Midway also sorted the largest, most complex avionics shop in the fleet, the computerized Naval Tactical Data System and many improvements to habitability. The year 1970 was one of transition, training and preparation for Midway and her 2500 man crew. There was much to be learned and much to improve upon to home man and machine into an effective fighting unit, capable of assuming her place as an integral part of the Pacific Fleet. The effort having encountered delays and massive cost overruns. In addition, the modifications significantly reduced the ship’s sea-keeping capabilities and ability to conduct air operations in rough seas. Additional modifications partially corrected these problems. Midway’s cost overruns and delays caused cancellation of a similar modernization for USS Coral Sea (CV-43)” (Ref. 1180A, 1180B, 1181N & 1183).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) delays caused partially by the simultaneous construction of USS Horne (DLG/CG-30), modernization of USS Chicago (CA-29), and unscheduled repairs to the fire-damaged USS Oriskany (CVA-34) drove the initial modernization estimate of 87 million dollars to 202 million dollars” (Ref. 1181N).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) gained 13,000 tons to her weight as compared to her original full load figure” (Ref. 1176A, 1176G, 1176I & 1181N).

 

    “USS Midway (CV-41) underwent her final renovation before going to her new forward deployed home, serving as a forward deployed unit of the Seventh Fleet from 11 February 1966 to 31 January 1970” (Ref. 1181O).

 

    “On 10 February 1970, a Bullpup missile aboard USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) cracks and leaks toxic gases and liquids when its pneumatic hoist fails and drops it on the deck of the weapons magazine. A Navy spokesman says the missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead but was not believed to be armed at the time. 200 crewmembers are evacuated from the surrounding areas and the rest of the 3500-person crew stands by to take the ship to sea if necessary as a precaution. The broken rocket motor is safely lifted out of the ship and transferred to the dock.  Coincidently, minutes before the Bullpup missile drops in a starboard magazine, an electrical fire breaks out in a port side magazine aboard the Bon Homme Richard while the ship is docked at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, Calif.” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “From October 1969 to February 1970, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) operated on “Yankee Station” five times, punctuating those periods of combat operations, hurling strikes "in country" and supporting ground forces in Laos and South Vietnam, with visits to Subic, Sasebo, Yokosuka, Japan and Hong Kong” (Ref. 43). 

 

 

USS Constellation (CVA-64)

NS024321. 77k Circa 1969. David Guerra.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024321.jpg

 

    “Following an initial 20-day period of supporting strikes in South Vietnam as well as Laos, USS Constellation (CVA-64) sailed to Defender Station in the Sea of Japan, which had been created as a result of increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula” (Ref. 1-Constellation & 72).

 

    “On 28 March 1970, Lt. Jerome E. Beaulier and Lt. (j.g.) Steven J. Barkley in an F-4 Phantom II of VF-142 off Constellation shot down a MiG-21 while escorting an unarmed Navy reconnaissance plane on a mission near Thanh Hoa, North Vietnam. This was the first North Vietnamese MiG kill since the 1st of  November 1968 bombing halt” (Ref. 1-Constellation & 72).

 

    “Upon arrival to "Yankee Station," USS America (CVA-66) aircraft pounded at roads and waterways, trucks and waterborne logistic craft (WBLC), hammered at petroleum storage areas and truck parks in an attempt to impede the flow of men and war materials to the south” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 26 May 1970, USS America (CVA-66) began its first day of special operations in the Gulf of Tonkin, when Comdr. Fred M. Backman, commanding officer of VA-165, and his bombardier/navigator, Lt. Comdr. Jack Hawley, in a Grumman A-6C "Intruder" flew the ship's first combat sortie of the 1970 “WestPac” Cruise. On the same day, the Navy's newest light attack aircraft, the A-7E Corsair II received its first taste of combat. At 1201, Lt. (j.g.) Dave Lichterman, of VA-146, was catapulted from the deck in the first A- 7E ever to be launched in combat. He and his flight leader, Comdr. Wayne L. Stephens, the squadron's commanding officer, subsequently delivered their ordnance with devastating accuracy using the A-7E's digital weapons computer. Shortly after 1300, Comdr R. N. Livingston, skipper of the "Argonauts" of VA-147, and Lt Comdr. Tom Gravely rolled in on an enemy supply route to deliver the first bombs in combat in an A-7E, reportedly "all on target”  (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) sailed from Subic Bay, Philippines on 4 June 1970 for Australia” (Ref. 43).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) pulled in for a port call at Sydney, Australia on 13 June 1970” (Ref. 34).

 

 

On her way back home, after her 5th Vietnam Cruise, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port call to Sydney, Australia, 13–17 June 1970. This series of photos was taken during an open house event while in port. Kaman UH-2C Seasprite, BuNo 152202, modex NL006, HC-1 Det. 9 "Pacific Fleet Angels." NS024378 115k. Courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024378.jpg

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made port call at Sydney, Australia on 13 to 19 June 1970 before proceeding to Alameda” (Ref. 34).

 

    “On 1 July 1970, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with CVW-15 embarked (tail code NL) arrived Naval Air Station, Alameda, California, ending her eighth “WestPac” deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet (25 January 1960 to Present) and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, on her seventh South China Sea deployment, her fifth Vietnam Combat Cruise and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, relieving USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) at Yokosuka, Japan on 16 October 1969, and shortly thereafter received her fourth NUC for operations conducted the previous deployment, while over the next few months, Coral Sea operated on “Yankee Station” five times, punctuating those periods of combat operations, hurling strikes "in country" and supporting ground forces in Laos and South Vietnam from October 1969 to February 1970, when on 12 December 1969, she suffered a minor explosion in shaft alley caused by cigarette 12 December 1969, and on 15 January 1970, she suffered damage to her No.2 elevator in heavy seas; a C-IA Trader on the elevator at the time rolled part-way off, but the quick thinking of her crew resulted in no lives being lost and the aircraft saved, while the bombing halts brought a reduction of losses for the carrier aviators in Vietnam, as CVW-15 listed 7 Aviators & 1 Airmen KIA and 1 Aviator MIA. Ports of call: Hong Kong, Sasebo, Japan; Olongapo, Subic Bay, R.P., Yokosuka, Japan, sailing from Subic Bay 4 June 1970 for Sydney, Australia from 13 to 19 June 1970, before proceeding to Alameda (NHC Battle Order p 13), completing her 1st & 2nd Vietnam Expeditionary Force (VEF) deployments during her 1st & 2nd “WestPac,” (first CVA in the Bering Sea during 12 December 1961 to 17 July 1962 deployment). Her eighth foreign water deployment since her visit to Vancouver, B.C. (18 to 22 March 1960) when she deployed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington upon completion of sea trials and a post-overhaul inspection and survey evaluation, commencing once recommissioned, following SCB 110A conversion (16 April 1957 to 25 January 1960), decommissioned on 24 April 1957, completing nine tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea operating with the 6th Fleet (7 June 1948 to 13 August 1956); reclassified hull classification symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952. Her 19th deployment since her commission on 1 October 1947 (23 September 1969 to 1 July 1970)” (Ref.1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35 & 72).

 

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Air Wing: Carrier Air Wing Fifteen (CVW)-15

 

DEPLOYMENT

 DATES

K

I

A

M

I

A

P

O

W

PLANES LOST

LINE DAYS

LINE PERIODS

WESTPAC

    & Combat

Mission

CVW-15 (NL)

23/09/69-01/07/70

N/A

1

N/A

 1

 125

 5

 8th / 5th

 South China Sea

Reference 34, 35 & 43 reflect Chat info.

 

                                                        23/09/69 - 01/07/70

 AWARD OR CITATION

 AWARD DATES

  “WESTPAC”

 National Defense Service Medal

 10 - 11 December 1969

 8th & 5th

 Vietnam

 Combat

 Vietnam Service Medal for Combat

 Operations

17 Feb - 9 March, 19 March to 11 April & 28 April - 1 June 1970

 8th

 Meritorious Unit Commendation

 27 October 1969 - 1 June 1970

 8th

 Excellent Deck Efficiency Admiral

 Flatley

 1970

 8th

 Navy Unit Commendation

 23 September 1969 - 1 July 1970

 8th

Reference 34 & 35 reflect Chat info.

 

Eighth “Westpac” deployment and Fifth Vietnam Combat Cruise

(23 September 1969 to 1 July 1970)

(7 Aviators & 1 Airmen KIA & 1 Aviator MIA)

KIA/MIAs/POWs

NAME

RANK

SQUADRON

DATE of LOSS

LOSS-COUNTRY
HOW

COMMENT

Dustin C. Trowbridge

LT JG
U. S. Navy

VA 35

26 Dec.1969

South Vietnam/ Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

M. G. Hoff

LT CDR

VA-86
A-7A

7 Jan. 1970

Laos
AAA

Missing in Action

John J. Parker

LT
U. S. Navy

VA 86

4 March 1970

South Vietnam/ Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

Curtis H. Cropper

LT
U. S. Navy Reserve

VF 151

5 April 1970

North Vietnam
Over Water

 

Brian Bushnell

E-3
U.S. Navy

VAW 116
E-2A

9 April 1970

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: 
Killed Body not Recovered

Larry C. Knight

U. S. Navy

VAW 116
E-2A

9 April 1970

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973:

Charles B. Pfaffmann

U. S. Navy

VAW 116
E-2A

9 April 1970

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973:

Andrew A. Horchar Jr.

U. S. Navy

VAW 116
E-2A

9 April 1970

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973:

Norman P. Westwood, Jr.

LT
U. S. Navy Reserve

VF 161

17 May
1970

North Vietnam

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Association http://www.usscoralsea.org/ (Ref. 34)

Reference 43 reflects the bombing halts brought a reduction of losses for the carrier aviators in Vietnam, as CVW-15 listed one aircraft lost in combat with its pilot MIA.

 

    “With over 215,000 (as of 1970) arrested landings to the Coral Sea’s credit, more than any other operational carrier in the fleet, she was awarded the 1970 Admiral Flatley Award for aviation safety.  This was the third such award and the second consecutive for the ship.  In addition to this honor, Coral Sea was awarded her fifth consecutive Navy Unit Citation and two Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals for her performances during the cruise” (Ref. 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34 & 43).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with CVG-15 embarked (tail code NL) was greeted by her adopted city with the biggest welcome ever accorded a returning ship to that city.”  (Ref. 34)

 

    “There were a number of other “first” for USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), but of a slightly different nature. Her crewmembers contributed $57,000.00 to the United Fund—a new carrier record at that time. Also, donations from Coral Seaman to a Japanese “Stamps for Children” campaign surpassed all other contributions. The program was designed to give hospitalized children a gift, which would be both educational and entertaining:  a stamp collection” (Ref. 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure).

    “Following a brief stop at NAS Alameda, Ca. on 2 July 1970, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) headed for Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, Ca., where the ship underwent a $44-million extensive overall. Among the work performed: improved habitability, the installation of a Navy Tactical Data System, elevator improvements, and other repairs” (Ref. 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure & 43).

 

    “USS Shangri-la (CVS-38) spent 12 days in drydock at Yokosuka, Japan, in July 1970” (Ref. 1-Shangri-la & 72).

 

    “On 20 August 1970, at Manila, Vice Admiral Frederic A. Bardshar, Commander, Attack Carrier Striking Force, 7th Fleet, hosted the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos, on board USS America (CVA-66). President Marcos was given a 21-gun salute as he and Mrs. Marcos arrived on board from their Presidential yacht to visit the ship. Accompanied by American Ambassador and Mrs. Henry A. Byiade, they were greeted by Vice Admiral Bardshar and America's commanding officer, Capt. Thomas B. Hayward and were subsequently escorted to the ship's hangar deck where the carrier division band and the ship's marine detachment rendered honors. Following their arrival, the visiting party dined with Vice Admiral Bardshar and Capt. Hayward, and were later given a brief tour of the ship” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto presented token helm at Alameda, Ca. on board USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) in August 1970” (Ref. 34)

 

    “On 17 September 1970, USS America (CVA-66) completed her fourth line period and headed for special operations off the coast of Korea and subsequently, the Sea of Japan” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 23 September 1970, USS America (CVA-66) entered the Tsushima Straits, remained in the Sea of Japan for approximately five days” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 25 September 1970, word was received that Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of the United Arab Republic had died; an event that might plunge the entire Middle East into a crisis. USS Independence (CVA-62), along with USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67), USS Saratoga (CVA-60), and seven other U.S. Navy ships, were put on standby in case U.S. military protection was needed for the evacuation of U.S. citizens and as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union's Mediterranean fleet” (Ref. 1-Independence).

 

    “USS America (CVA-66) departed the Sea of Japan and exited through the Tsugaru Strait on 27 September 1970” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “During this period, USS America (CVA-66) and CVW-9 engaged in three exercises: "Blue Sky," with elements of the Republic of China Air Force; "Commando Tiger," conducted in the Sea of Japan, involving air units of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Air Force (ROKAF); and, after exiting the Tsugara Straits, "Autumn Flower," air defense exercises with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) and the United States Fifth Air Force” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 28 September 1970, President Richard M. Nixon and his party arrived on board USS Saratoga (CVA-60). That night, word was received that Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of the United Arab Republic had died; an event that might plunge the entire Middle East into a crisis.

 

    The intelligence and communications personnel of Saratoga were required to supply the President, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretaries of State and Defense with the essential intelligence information to keep them abreast of the deteriorating situation. The Presidential party departed the ship the next evening, and Saratoga continued on patrol in the eastern Mediterranean” (Ref. 1-Saratoga)

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) new CO: Captain Wesley L. McDonald arrived at Hunters Point Naval Ship Yard on 16 October 1970” (Ref. 34).

 

    “USS Shangri-la (CVS-38) visited to Manila and Hong Kong, in October 1970” (Ref. 1-Shangri-la & 72).

 

    “USS Towers (DDG-9) and USS Turner Joy (DD- 951) were part of USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) battle group” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “On 7 November 1970, USS America (CVA-66) completed her fifth line period and departed for her last visit to Subic Bay, Philippines (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS Shangri-la (CVS-38) returned to the United States and her home port on 9 November 1967, when she stood out of Subic Bay, Philippines to return home, visiting Sydney, Australia; Wellington, New Zealand; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil en route to Mayport, Florida” (Ref. 1-Shangri-la & 72).

 

    “On the long trip home, USS America (CVA-66) welcomed approximately 500 more "pollywogs" into the realm of "Neptunis Rex." The day before the carrier arrived at Sydney, Australia, for a three day rest and recreation visit, United States ambassador to Australia and his wife, the Honorable and Mrs. Walter L. Rice, flew on board to accompany the ship into Sydney” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “Aircraft from USS Hancock (CVA-19) joined with other planes from USS Ranger (CVA-61) and USS Oriskany (CVA-34), for air strikes against North Vietnamese missile and antiaircraft sites south of the 19th parallel in response to attacks on unarmed U.S. reconnaissance aircraft on 21-22 November 1970” (Ref. 1-Hancock).

 

    “With so much to be thankful for, USS America (CVA-66) celebrated two Thanksgivings. At exactly 2329, 26 November 1970, America crossed the International Date Line. Moments later it became Thanksgiving Day again. On both days, crew-members feasted on turkey, beef, lobster tails, Virginia ham and roast duckling” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “After rounding Cape Horn on 5 December 1970, USS America (CVA-66) headed north, stopped briefly at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for fuel” (Ref. 1- America & 72).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) departed San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard for Naval Air Station Alameda, California, making preparations once introduced to Commander, Carrier Air Wing Sixteen (CVW-16) (tail code (AH)) for operations at sea conducting carrier qualifications the remainder of 1970” (Ref. 1-Midway & 72).

 

USS Midway (CVA-41) with CVW-6 (AH)

(16 April to 6 November 1971)

Hull No. /

Fleet

Foreign Water Fleet

Deployment

 Air Wing

Tail

Code

Depart

Return

Days at Sea

Fleet D. No.

USS Midway (CVA-41) – Pacific Fleet

 

CVW-16

AH

1970

1971

 

Pre-Deployment – Ref. 1180C

 

SQUADRON

SQUADRON NICK NAME & PRIMARY

ROLE

AIRCRAFT DESIGN

NICK NAME &

PRIMARY ROLE

TAIL

CODE

Modex

AIRCRAFT

DESIGNATION

 

VF-161

Chargers -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

AH100

F-4B

 

VF-151

Vigilantes -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

AH200

F-4B

 

VA-93

Blue Blazers -                     Attack Squadron

Vought - Corsair II -

Jet Attack Aircraft

AH300

A-7B

 

VA-56

Champions -

Attack Squadron

Vought - Corsair II -

Jet Attack Aircraft

AH400

A-7B

 

VA-115

Arabs -

Attack Squadron

Grumman - Intruder -

Jet Attack Bomber -Tanker

AH500

A-6A / KA-6D

 

VFP-63 Det. 3

Eyes of the Fleet - Light Photographic

Reconnaissance Squadron

Vought - Crusader -

Jet Fighter - Reconnaissance

600

RF-8G

 

VAW-

Carrier Airborne Early

Warning Squadron

Grumman - Hawkeye Electronics

010

E-2B

 

HC-1 Det. 8

Pacific Fleet Angels -           Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

Sikorsky - Sea King -

Anti-submarine

004-006

SH-3G

Squadrons: VF-161, F-4B; VF-151, F-4B; VA-93, A-7B; VA-56, A-7B; VA-115, A-6A / KA-6D; VFP-63 Det. 3,                  RF-8G; VAW-, E-2B and HC-1 Det. 8, SH-3G.

 

    “On 31 January 1971, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), USS Hancock (CVA-19), and USS Ranger (CVA-61), alternating on “Yankee Station”, flew a total of 3,214 sorties during the month, of which 3,128 deliverect ordnance in Laos. A-6 and A-7 aircraft were particularly effective in attacking truck traffic, the enemy having put a seasonally high number of trucks on the road, averaging close to 1,000 per day” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk).

 

Iran History & Air Arm

“Of the second order of 32 F-4D Phantoms’s in October 1968, the IIAF took delivery of 32 F-4Ds in March of 1971.

 

IIAF took delivery of 20 Elicotteri Meridionali built CH-47Cs in 1971” (Ref. 25).

 

“Iranian F-4Ds were used in several unsuccessful attempts to intercept Soviet MiG-25 that were spying on Iran” (Ref. 20).

 

“Iran Air Defense relied heavily on western hardware” (Ref. 19).

 

“The willingness of the US to supply it's top of the range military hardware, such as the F-14A Tomcat and AIM-54 Phoenix showed the close relationship between the two countries” (Ref. 27).

 

    “While on “Yankee Station” on 6 March 1971, a member of the USS Ranger (CVA-61) flight deck force was blown over the side during launching operations. USS Towers  (DDG-9), providing plane-guard service for Ranger, quickly sped to the scene, rescued the sailor, and returned him to his ship” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “Because of USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14) change in mission, her tour of duty did not include combat operations off Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “In 1971, USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14) conducted training exercises in the Sea of Japan with ships of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and operations in the Indian Ocean with units of the Thai Navy and a transit of Sunda Strait during which a ceremony was held to commemorate the loss of USS Houston (CA-30) and HMAS Perth in 1942” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).  

 

    “In addition to the training exercises in the Sea of Japan, USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14) also joined ASW training operations in the South China Sea” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “On 10 March 1971, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) and USS Ranger (CVA-61) set a record of 233 strike sorties for one day and went on during the ensuing six-day period to mark up a strike effectiveness record that exceeded record performances by TF-77 during the previous three-year period while on “Yankee Station”” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk).

 

    “In early April 1971, North Vietnamese regular forces launched massive invasions across the DMZ and into the northern province of South Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea). 

 

    “During April, the three carriers assigned to Task Force 77 – USS Ranger (CVA-61), USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) and USS Hancock (CVA-19), provided a constant two-carrier posture on “Yankee Station.” Hours of employment remained unchanged with one carrier on daylight hours and one on the noon to midnight schedule. Strike emphasis was placed on the interdiction of major Laotian entry corridors to South Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Ranger & 72).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) with Rear Admiral J. L. Butts, Jr., Commander and Captain F. T. Hemer as Chief of Staff Carrier Division One, Rear Admiral J. L. Butts, Jr. and Commander  Captain R. B. Rutherford, Commander, Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) embarked departed Naval Air Station, Alameda, California 16 April 1971, with Captain E. J. Carroll, Jr., as Commanding Officer and Captain G. E. Jacobssen Jr., as Executive Officer, on her seventh “WestPac” deployment, operating with the Pacific Fleet and the 7th Fleet, her second South China Sea deployment, on her second Vietnam Combat Cruise on “Yankee Station” in the Far East. She will under go her first deployment since her second recommission on 31 January 1970, following completion of a four-year conversion-modernization at the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard, arriving on 11 February 1966, ending the year of 1965 upon arrival from her sixth “WestPac” deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet, on her first Vietnam Combat Cruise in the Far East and first South China Sea deployment. She will under go her seventh deployment since her first recommission upon completion of SCB-110 (August 1955 to 30 September 1957), decommissioning in August 1955 upon completion of her World Cruise for a five month SCB-110 modernization that included new innovations such as an enclosed bow and an angled flight deck to be installed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton Washington; redesignated CVA-41 on 1 October 1952. She will under go her 20th deployment since her commission 10 September 1945, having the destination of being the lead ship of her class, and the first to be commissioned after the end of lead ship of her class, and the first to be commissioned after the end of World War II” (Ref. 1-Midway, 72, 1180, 1180AA, 1180C, 1180D, 1180D1, 1180D2, 1180E, 1180F, 1180G, 1180I, 1180J, 1180J2, 1180J3, 1180K & 1181N).

 

USS Midway (CVA 41) WestPac Cruise Book 19711180

Chain of Command – Ref. 1180D2

COMCARDIV 1 Staff – Ref. 1180K

The Cruise and Ports of Call – Ref. 1180L

 

USS Midway (CVA-41) with CVW-5 (NF)

(16 April to 6 November 1971)

Hull No. /

Fleet

Foreign Water Fleet

Deployment

 Air Wing

Tail

Code

Depart

Return

Days at Sea

Fleet D. No.

USS Midway (CVA-41) – 3rd & 7th

7th WestPac

2nd SCS

CVW-5

NF

16 Apr 1971

6 Nov 1971

Vietnam War

205-days

2nd Vietnam Combat Cruise

 

SQUADRON

SQUADRON NICK NAME & PRIMARY

ROLE

AIRCRAFT DESIGN

NICK NAME &

PRIMARY ROLE

TAIL

CODE

Modex

AIRCRAFT

DESIGNATION

 

VF-161

Chargers -                   Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NF100

F-4B

 

VF-151

Vigilantes -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NF200

F-4B

 

VA-93

Blue Blazers -                     Attack Squadron

Vought - Corsair II -

Jet Attack Aircraft

NF300

A-7B

 

VA-56

Champions -

Attack Squadron

Vought - Corsair II -

Jet Attack Aircraft

NF400

A-7B

 

VA-115

Arabs -

Attack Squadron

Grumman - Intruder -

Jet Attack Bomber -Tanker

NF500

A-6A / KA-6D

 

VFP-63 Det. 3

Eyes of the Fleet - Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

Vought - Crusader -

Jet Fighter - Reconnaissance

600

RF-8G

 

VAW-115

 

Liberty Bells - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron

Grumman - Hawkeye Electronics

010

E-2B

 

VAQ-130 Det. 2

Zappers - Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron

Douglas - Skywarrior -

Jet Attack - Special electronic installation

610

EKA-3B

 

HC-1 Det. 8

Fleet Angels - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

Sikorsky - Sea King -

Anti-submarine

003-006

SH-3G

 

*HC-7 Det. 110

Pacific Fleet Angels -        Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

Sikorsky - Sea King -

Search and Rescue

 

HH-3A

 

**C1A Det.

 

 

 

 

*These squadron detachments were not aboard the carrier for the entire deployment.

**During Midway’s conversion, all aviation fuel tanks were converted for jet fuel only and it was planned that only the turbojet powered C2A COD aircraft would be utilized. While en route to the Western Pacific word was received that all CVA’s would be required to carry one C1A aircraft for logistics, mail and cargo flights. Midway accepted her own C1A on 12 May 1971. The original “Cod Squad” crews conducted field quals at NAS Cubi Point on 14 to 15 May 1970. Initial carrier quals on 16 to 17 May 1970. Midway flew the first scheduled logistics flight on 18 May 1970. Midway’s first day on the line, Triple zero (000) met every scheduled commitment throughout the deployment.