Tag Archives: Vietnam

Warbirds – A-6 Intruder

Today I’m feeling the love for the ugliest plane in the U.S. Navy, the A-6 Intruder.  This all-weather carrier based ground-attack aircraft has been lovingly nicknamed “Double Ugly”, “Drumstick”, and even “Iron Tadpole”.  The unique side-by-side crew configuration led to the rounded and big-nosed aspect of this hard-working plane.

Developed to not only to replace the aging propeller-driven AD- 6/7 Skyraider, she was designed for “over-the-shoulder” launching of nuclear weapons.  Never used for the latter role, variants of the Intruder have served the Navy and Marine Corps from 1963 to the present day.

The sturdy airframe and advanced suite of electronics allowed the Intruder to provide close air support for ground troops in Vietnam even through the blinding cloud cover and torrential rains of the monsoon season.  The first loss of an A-6 to combat occurred in 1965 with both crew surviving.  Of the 84 lost during the war, only 2 were shot down in air-to-air combat.  Intruders saw combat later in Lebanon, Desert Storm, Somalia, and Bosnia before they were retired.

In 1991 Congress cancelled the planned A-12 Avenger II replacement for the aging Intruders.  Avionics and electronics upgrades allowed them to remain operational through 1997 until sufficient LANTIRN-equiped F-14 Tomcats and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets came into service.  The specialized EA-6B, known as the Prowler, still remains in service however.  With it’s stretched airframe, fully integrated electronic warfare systems, and four-man crew, the EA-6B Prowler proudly honored its Intruder heritage with service in Iraq and ongoing roles in Afghanistan.

Feel free to learn more by visiting the Intruder Association website for more history, technical information, and trivia.

P.S. – Don’t forget the Stephen Coonts novel Flight of the Intruder or the film of the same name starring Danny Glover and Willem DaFoe.  Both are available at Amazon.com .

Lost and Found – January 21st Edition

What to remember about January 21st…

  • 1738  American patriot, Revolutionary War hero, and founder of Vermont, Ethan Allen is born in Litchfield, Connecticut (d. 1789)
  • 1855  (21st or 23rd) American firearms designer and inventor John Moses Browning is born in Ogden, Utah (d. 1926); known as father of modern firearms
  • 1861  Jefferson Davis delivers farewell speech and then resigns from the senate; will become president of the Confederate States of America
  • 1924  Architect of the Bolshevik Revolution and 1st leader of the Soviet Union Vladimir Lenin dies (b. 1870); replaced by Joseph Stalin
  • 1950  Former State Department official and Soviet spy Algier Hiss is convicted of perjury
  • 1954  USS Nautilus is launched; worlds 1st operational nuclear powered submarine
  • 1968  Initial engagements of the 66-day long Battle for Khe Sanh
  • 1976  Concorde SST aircraft carries its 1st commercial passengers with simultaneous departures from London and Paris
  • 1977  President Carter unconditionally pardons thousands who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War
  • 1985  Ronald Reagan inaugurated to second term as president; ceremony delayed as the 20th fell on a Sunday
  • 2003  U.S. Census bureau announces that Hispanic population outnumbers African-American population in U.S. for the 1st time
  • 2010  Supreme Court rules in Citizens United v. FEC that portions of McCain-Feingold Act are unconstitutional; 1st Amendment prohibits limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions

From beginning in this humble shop in the old West, J.M. Browning went on to bring the world such important weapons as the M1911 pistol, the Browning M2 .50 caliber machine gun, the Browning Hi-Power pistol, the Browning Automatic Rifle, and the Browning Auto-5, and the Ithaca Model 37 semi-automatic shotgun.

Lost and Found – January 15th Edition

What to remember about January 15th…

  • 1777  New Connecticut (Vermont) declares independence from Britain and the colony of New York
  • 1815  USS President is captured by British squadron during War of 1812
  • 1919  Storage tank holding 2.5 million gallons of boiling molasses ruptures in Boston killing 21 and injuring scores with 8-foot high molten wave
  • 1929  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 1968)
  • 1943  Dedication of the United States Department of Defense headquarters in Arlington, Virginia; building popularly called “the Pentagon”
  • 1947  “Black Dahlia” investigation  begins with discovery of body of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles, California; mystery remains unsolved today
  • 1951  Ilse Koch known as “Witch of Buchenwald”, wife of commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp is sentenced to life in prison
  • 1973  President Nixon suspends offensive military action in Vietnam to give peace process a better chance of success
  • 2009  Commercial airline pilot Captain “Sully” Sullenberger performs his Miracle on the Hudson; lands powerless Airbus 320 safely on the water; walks the flooding aircraft twice to ensure all 150 passengers escape safely

Lost and Found – January 5th Edition

What to remember about January 5th…

  • 1779  American explorer and army general Zebulon Montgomery Pike Jr. is born in Lamberton, New Jersey (d. 1813)
  • 1781  Traitor Benedict Arnold, now a General in British army, leads loyalist troops to capture and destroy Richmond, Virginia
  • 1920  New York Yankees announce the purchase of Babe Ruth from Boston Red Sox; worst baseball deal in history?
  • 1933  Construction begins on the Great Depression delayed Golden Gate Bridge; most popular suicide location in the world
  • 1949  President Truman gives “Fair Deal” State of the Union speech outlining national health insurance, public housing, and more
  • 1967  U.S. Marines begin amphibious operations in Mekong Delta
  • 1970  United Mine Workers (UMW) leader Jock Yablonski and his family found murdered in their home; investigation reveals that UMW leadership had paid for their murders for disputing election
  • 1972  President Nixon signs bill authorizing Space Shuttle program
  • 1976  Pol Pot, murderous, communist dictator of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, renames the country Democratic Kampuchea
  • 1993  Serial killer and  child molester Westley Allen Dodd is executed; last execution by hanging in the U.S.
  • 1996  Palestinian master bomb maker is killed by Israel’s Shin Bet with bomb placed in his cell phone

Lost and Found – January 1st Edition

What to remember about January 1st…

  • 1781  1500 Patriot troops under General Anthony Wayne mutiny over not being paid; they march off on their own to capture Princeton
  • 1808  As the 20-year constitutional prohibition against legislation in relation to slavery expires, Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves goes into effect in any U.S. jurisdiction
  • 1863  As promised, President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in rebellious America; Union army is instructed to liberate any they find
  • 1892  Federal immigration receiving station opens on Ellis Island
  • 1934  Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring goes into effect in Nazi Germany; court ordered sterilization
  • 1942  President Roosevelt and Minister Churchill issue proclamation at end of the Arcadia Conference vowing to create United Nations
  • 1958  At San Quentin Johnny Cash plays his 1st prison performance; inmate Mearle Haggard is inspired to change his life
  • 1959  Communist led by Fidel Castro force Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista to flee the country for the Dominican Republic
  • 1962  United States Navy’s Sea, Air, and Land Teams (SEALs) are established
  • 1966  Advance units of 1st Marine Division arrive in Vietnam; by march 20,000 Marines will be in country
  • 1984  As a result of 1974 anti-trust lawsuit brought by Justice Department, AT&T is broken into 7 holding companies known as “Baby Bells”
  • 2004  Roman Catholic and Protestant Boy Scout organizations reunite after almost a century of division

Lost and Found – December 5th Edition

What to remember about December 5th…

  • 1775  Colonial Colonel Henry Knox arrives at Ticonderoga to form expedition to bring 60 captured artillery to General Washington; 10-week journey is astounding winter feat
  • 1782  Future 8th President Martin Van Buren is born in Kinderhook, New York (d. 1862)
  • 1791  Austrian musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies of fever in Vienna (b. 1756)
  • 1831  Former President John Quincy Adams takes office as a member of the House of Representatives
  • 1901  American entrepreneur and philanthropist Walter Elias “Walt” Disney is born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1966)
  • 1933  Prohibition ends when Utah ratifies 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified and 18th is repealed
  • 1945  27 men lost when squadron of Navy planes disappears over Bermuda Triangle; mystery of Flight 19
  • 1955  American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations merge to become AFL-CIO
  • 1964  Army Captain Roger Donlon is presented 1st Medal of Honor awarded during Vietnam War; 1st member of Special Forces to receive the award
  • 2007  19-year-old gunman opens fire at Westroads Mall in Nebraska; 8 killed and 4 wounded before shooter kills himself
  • 2008  O.J. Simpson is sentenced to 15-33 years in prison for his role in kidnapping and robbery at casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Lost and Found – December 4th Edition

What to remember about December 4th…

  • 1780  Patriot dragoons use fake cannon to bluff British troops into surrender near Camden, South Carolina
  • 1783  At a tavern in New York, General George Washington informs his officers that he is returning to civilian life
  • 1872  After leaving New York a month before, British ship Mary Celeste is found abandoned at sea and under full sail
  • 1912  Marine pilot, POW, and Medal of Honor winner Gregory “Pappy” Boyington is born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (d. 1988); commander of famous “Black Sheep Squadron” in Pacific
  • 1917  Psychiatrist W.H. Rivers publishes report on psychological trauma of WWI troops; “shell shock” is the name given to what is now known at PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • 1918  Woodrow Wilson sets sail for Europe; 1st President to visit the continent while still in office
  • 1942  Polish Christians form Zegota resistance group to aid Jews avoid or escape the Nazi’s “final solution”
  • 1945  Senate votes to allow U.S. participation in the United Nations
  • 1966  Viet Cong infiltrate defenses and shell Tan Son Nhut airport for over an hour damaging U.S. aircraft
  • 1980  After the death of drummer John Bonham, legendary rock band Led Zeppelin announces they have disbanded
  • 1992  President George H.W. bush orders U.S. troops to Somalia to secure humanitarian efforts during ongoing civil war
  • 2009  American student Amanda Knox is convicted by Italian Jury in murder of her British roommate; conviction overturned 2011

Led Zeppelin album cover

Lost and Found – December 1st Edition

What to remember about December 1st…

  • 1824  Because no candidate received a majority of electoral votes, Congress determines that John Quincy Adams will become 6th President of the United States
  • 1913  Ford Motor Company installs the 1st moving assembly line; manufacturing time for Model T cars goes from 12 hours to just 2-and-a-half
  • 1941  Civil Air Patrol (United States Air Force Auxiliary) is formed by Administrative Order 9
  • 1955  Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man violating Alabama segregation laws; her arrest sparks outrage and bus boycott
  • 1959  12 nations sign Antarctica Treaty banning military activity on the continent
  • 1969  U.S. holds 1st draft lottery since WWII
  • 1981  Centers for Disease Control officially recognizes AIDS as a disease; at that time known as GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency
  • 1988  1st Annual World AIDS Day is observed; held every December 1st
  • 1990  Workers break through and connect 2 tunnels under the English Channel; 4 years later the “Chunnel” will connect France and England by rail

Lost and Found – November 24th Edition

What to remember about November 24th…

Thanksgiving Celebrated (USA)

    • 1784  Future 12th President of the United States Zachary Taylor is born in Barboursville, Virginia (d. 1850)
    • 1863  Union troops capture Lookout Mountain; begin to lift Confederate siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee
    • 1877  Future 35th Vice President Alben W. Barkley is born in Graves County, Kentucky; elected with President Harry S. Truman
    • 1944  Mass air raid over Tokyo by 111 B-29 Superfortresses; 1st bombing of the city since 1942 Doolittle raid
    • 1963  Nightclub owner Jack Ruby shoots and kills JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas police station basement
    • 1969  Army officials announce 1st Lt. William Calley will be court-martialed for massacre of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai
    • 1971  Mysterious hijacker D.B. Cooper parachutes from airliner into a nighttime thunderstorm over Washington state with $200,000

Lost and Found – November 19th Edition

What to remember about November 19th…

    • 1794  U.S. and Great Britain sign Jay’s Treaty to resolve issues still creating tension after end of the Revolutionary War
    • 1831  Future President James A. Garfield is born near Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1881)
    • 1863  President Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address at dedication for military cemetery in Pennsylvania
    • 1942  Soviets begin counterattack at Battle of Stalingrad; by January this battle will turn the tide in the Allies favor
    • 1967  For heroism on the battlefield this day U.S. Army Chaplain Charles Watters will receive Medal of Honor (posthumously)
    • 1977  Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is 1st Arab leader to set foot in Israel; peace process moves forward
    • 1985  President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet for 1st time at summit in Geneva
    • 1998  Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives begins impeachment hearings for President Clinton
    • 2002  Cameras capture King of Pop Michael Jackson dangling his infant son from a hotel balcony in Berlin
    • 2006  Nintendo releases their 7th generation gaming console the Wii