a3_skywarrior_returnsc6347607-379b-4f41-8900-fd911063de350000_20090526171847_640_480Ranger 07 is now at it’s temporary home on the air station side of NS Norfolk (Chambers Field).  Some of us remember back to when VAQ-33 was onboard then-NAS Norfolk and shared hangar and flight line space with VAW (1979).  In the Firebird’s inventory at the time, besides an EC-121, where a number of EA-3 Whales used for fleet training run by FEWSG.  It was also my first up close and personal with a Whale that wasn’t stuck in the back lot of a museum.

Here is a first hand report of Ranger 07’s arrival:

The big story from Tom Brennan, Det Wasp A-3/VQ OINC:

“I am VERY pleased to report that EA-3B Skywarrior BuNo 146457 is safely ashore aboard Naval Station Norfolk Virginia.

The evolution began early today (May 26th) under cloudy skies, and the offload was conducted entirely under clear skies.  The aircraft sling straps had to be reset a couple of times, but once the rig was set, the lift off of USS Wasp went perfectly.  The aircraft was set down onto the deck of the YD floating crane and the crane re-positioned to Pier 14 for offload.

At that point, there was a delay until some cars could be moved.  Once the way was clear, the crane crew lifted the plane into the street just as the skies opened and rain began to pour down.  The plane was quickly hooked up to a tow tractor and was last seen being towed off into the driving rain down the tow way toward the flight line.”

Remember, the journey’s not over yet…we still need to move her from Norfolk down to the Gulf for final residence at the USS Alabama memorial.  Hit the link up and to the right there to add your tuppence to the effort!

What’s next:

The plan, at least temporarily, is to store the “Whale” at Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field until the we can arrange to move it to the Gulf and on to Mobile.  The aircraft will be monitored by Allen Giannerini, Randy Steele, Bob Hosang, Rich Kessman, and Kevin Ruce while in Norfolk, our military POC’s are Cdr Gathright and Chief Curry.  We do not have enough cash to tear it down professionally and move it overland, nor do we have enough to transit to the Gulf by barge on our own.  We are actively searching out alternate means of transportation via piggy-back on any waterways shipment to the Gulf and at the same time formulating a plan that has local Norfolk volunteers prep the aircraft for overland shipment.

Video here.

(h/t CAPT Andy Niemyer, US-Ret.)


  1. Dorman Burtch

    If this is VQ-2’s Ranger 7, I was a crew member (CTI) when she made VQ-2’s first deployment on the JFK’s maiden cruise to the Med in April 1968. I still have the “cherry” from that first launch. The squadron’s XO was the pilot, and my recollection is that we were so intent on appearing squared away, it seemed as though the wings were folding before we hit the deck… Ranger 8 followed the next day.

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