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JIM HAYNES, PHCM(AC) USN RET. has compiled a detailed timeline of both VAP-61 & VAP-62 history with the help of contributing Vappers. Click on the dates below to view each section.

Around 1000 hours on 07 Sep 61, 144839, an A3D-2P from VAP-61, took-off from NAS Agana, Guam for routine touch and go practice at Guam's Anderson AFB. Things went fine until, on the second bounce, either the pilots glove or sleeve snagged the drag chute switch. He was reaching for either the landing gear handle or the throttles, I think it was the LGH myself. Seconds later the aircraft has bounced, the gear has started up, the engines are spooling-up and a very large drag chute has blossomed. Two hands (pilot and p/n) are reaching to jettison the chute. they fumble? yes, maybe not, they ARE descending though. The switch is now in the jettison position, WHAT, NO, it doesn't jettison. the runway is getting short, FAST, drop the hook, Anderson doesn't have an arresting cable, (Damn Bus Drivers), the end of the runway is a 150 foot no!! 500 foot, maybe 1000 foot drop to the sea, no, to rocks and sea. the belly hits, HARD, holy s*%#, that was very hard, hit the brakes, the brakes lock, wheels don't, s*%#, there's a catch, the wheels aren't on the runway as the gear is half way retracted, sliding too fast, engines still thrusting?, finally stopping, FIRE?, no, just smelling melted aluminum, three of them out the top hatch?, bombers have a lot bigger top hatch, how come? damn Douglas Rep. better have an answer for that one. Torso harness, personal chute, seat pack life raft, three guys, small hatch, fire?, yes, no, RUN......... finally 200 feet away, look at each other, grin, exhale, look back at the plane, no fire, good. ouh-oh, that's an engine sideways, that wing off kilter? that a crack over there? I think that row of rivets should be straight. We better think about having to explain this one, what do YOU mean, "WE"???...shoulders sag, heads hang, feet shuffle, siren wails, it's a damn AFB too................... s*%#!!!!!

Aboard 144839 that flight were Lt Wes Mason, Pilot, a new NFO (non-flight officer) in the 2nd seat, and a ADJ2 "Pappy" Eanes in the 3rd seat. Pappy may have roughed up the 2nd seater, a tad, shoving him out the upper hatch with his chute on. A later arriving cast member was AMS1 Jim Wellock, he orchestrated the dismemberment of a once beautiful Skywarrior. 

Soon all A3's have the drag chute switch moved, up above and between the windshields. No, don't let this be 144839's only claim to fame!

It takes six months for 144839 (in about seven pieces) to get to NARF at NAS Alameda, CA., on a rusty old Panamanian freighter. 144839 Is only a couple of years old. There are not too many A3D-2P's, there IS a LOT of work for 2P's in the pipeline. Douglas, El Segundo, isn't going to build any more. We'll try to fix 'er up. A long time.... and a lot of taxpayer bucks later, she flies again. Ouh-oh, she won't fly too straight, them photo-birds got to fly straight. Maybe they can use her at Point Magu, or someplace. She knocks around for a few years, un-loved and forlorn, a Cadillac turned into a dump truck. Back to NARF.... wait'n ... sit'n .. wait'n .. an "IMPORTANT" A3 needs some parts, 144839 has some parts, rape, pillage, open wounds, in sight of the Golden Gate, fog, smog, stack-gas from the carriers, never washed, never caressed by some gentle, Navy mechs., gnarled hand. Nov. 1969, listed as, "Salvaged by NARF".
No small child will ever pose by her nose, in the desert sun, listening to grandpa tell of what a fine lady she once was.

(from: bruce haase and a laid-off narf sheet metal mechanic, named juan perez, bruce met, once, at united airlines in about 1995. contributors: tom mcclain and mike setzer)


I have almost NO INFORMATION on this loss VAP-62 Please Help

?? APR 1969 VAP-62 RA-3B #144837 '"Lost in Flight" ? JAX?? CREW ?????

Cause ???? Details?????

Someone out there must know something about this one!


VAP-61 RA-3B, 144826 took off on 08 AUG 1969 from DaNang Air Base in South Vietnam on a logistics mission. Aboard were CDR James Berry, Pilot, LTjg Chris Overton, P/N, Civilian Cecil Brock in the 3rd seat, and AQBAN Jon White in the 4th seat. The aircraft experienced a fuel transfer problem over Cambodia and had a dual engine flame out. They had to bail-out. Overton and White landed on the ground, Berry and Brock ended up hanging in the trees. All four were rescued.

We need more details, any of the four available for interview, please email us!

photo courtesy of: GETA-O

16 JUN 1967, VAP-61 RA-3B, number 144828, Took-off from NAS Cubi Point, Philippines on a test flight. There was an in-flight fire. The aircraft was a total loss. That's all I know.

I NEED more information, please send to us at the site. Thanks, Bruce Haase

"The squadron's involvement in the Vietnam War started characteristically, at the very beginning when a Skywarrior crew was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for their role in the Gulf of Tonkin incident of 2 - 5 August 1964. For the next nine years, VQ-1 would operate from Danang, Cubi Point, Bangkok, aircraft carriers on patrol in Yankee Station and other bases in Southeast Asia. VQ-1's aircrews supported countless air strikes and are credited with assisting in the destruction of numerous MiG aricraft and Komar patrol boats. The first EP-3 Aries I joined the squadron in 1969, beginning the replacement program for the Super Constellations, which was competed in 1974. In 1971, the VQ-1 moved its homeport to NAS Agana, Guam. At that time it absorbed Heavy Photographic Squadron SIXTY ONE (VAP-61) and its former parent unit, VW-1. For a time VQ-1 consisted of thirty aircraft: sixteen Skywarriors, twelve Super Constellations and two Orions."

(Note that they were still VW-1 and VAP-61 as late as 1971)

Jim Falk went to VJ-61 at NAS Miramar, CA in 1955 as a PHAA. He was sent to NAS Atsugi, Japan to pick up VJ-61's Det. Queen 7. His story: The Queen Dets. flew AJ-2P's on mapping and recon jobs in the Far East. There were 7 "Savages" out there and they had the nickname 'Orphans of the Orient'. The last one from Atsugi moved to Bangkok around Feb. 1956 and operated out of Dan Mong (Bangkok International Airport). We had the admin. and Photo Lab facilities in what I recall being a Royal Thai Air Force building near downtown Bangkok.

Instead of returning home to San Diego after three months in Thailand, we were sent to NAS Agana, Guam to augment the Advance Detachment for moving the VJ-61 squadron there. VJ-61 was renamed VAP-61 and operated Dets. from Guam. After about three months the weather in South East Asia cleared and Det. Alpha was sent back to Bangkok for Aerial Photo Work in Nov.. Then three months later we were sent with Det. Bravo to replace Det. Alpha. I left VAP-61 after 2 years as a PH2. I have Patches for both Dets. and will scan them and email to you. 

Jim Falk was in the Navy from 1954-1974 and Retired as a JOCS

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Bruce Haase Stephen Stenger