So – after a sabbatical of sorts, Flightdeck Fridays will be returning to these parts. In the intervening time I’ve been able to compile enough material to make for some…interesting topics. Along the way, if there is something you’d like to see, drop a note to me and we’ll work it out. Since this year is also the 10-yr anniversary of this blog, I’ll be pulling up and refreshing some of the classics along the way. – SJS
On 6 Jun 1967, the USS Forrestal departed Norfolk for her first deployment to Vietnam. Some 80 aircraft of CVW-17 were embarked (yes, we really did embark that many aircraft on a carrier at one time), and included:
- Attack Squadrons 46 and 106 with 24 A-4E SKYHAWK light bombers
- Attack Squadron 65 with 12 A-6A INTRUDER all-weather bombers
- Fighter Squadrons 11 and 74 with 24 F-4B PHANTOM fighter-bombers
- Heavy Reconnaissance Squadron 11 (RVAH-11) with 6 RA-5C VIGILANTE recon aircraft
- Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123 (VAW-123) with four HAWKEYE airborne control aircraft
- Det 59, Heavy Attack Squadron 10 (VAH-10) with four KA-3B SKYWARRIOR tankers
- Det 59, Helicopter Squadron 2 (HC-2), with several UH-2A SEASPRITE utility and ASW helicopters
- A VAP-61 detachment of RA-3B SKYWARRIOR intelligence collection aircraft
Headed east, the long way around Africa, FID would arrive at Yankee Station on 25 July 1967 as part of Attack Carrier Strike Group 77.6 (she was CVA-59 back then) – in company with USS Rupertus (DD-851) and USS Henry W. Tucker (DD-875) and commenced strike operations into North Vietnam and the ship and air wing began to settle into what passed for “normalcy” in Yankee Station ops.
Four days later, it would all drastically change.
Forty-eight years later, the Navy History and Heritage Command is in the process of refreshing the Cold War exhibit that includes a 1/72 scale display model of the Forrestal just before the fire. But there is a problem — see if you can spot it:
Yep, you guessed it. The Hummer is MIA, but not for long.
Thanks to the superb modeling skills of LCDR Mike “Psycho” McLeod, USN-Ret. and the fiscal support of the Hawkeye Greyhound Association, the Screwtops will be taking their rightful place with the rest of the airwing on board NHHC’s Forrestal model very soon. What will it look like? Glad you asked:
Whet your appetite? Good – head over to the Hawkeye Greyhound Association’s Portfolio page for the full selection of photos under the “Forrestal Project” header. Once BuNo 152482 (logbook check) has assumed its rightful place on the flightdeck, we’ll update the photos accordingly. And for reference, the VAW-VRC Foundation is working a similar project for the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Lincoln model with two Hawkeyes and a COD – so a heads-up to our West Coast folk to be on the watch when that project is completed and please send pics our way!