The VA-72 “Blue Hawks” entered the break today at 800 feet and 250 knots…all received an OK-3 as they arrived onboard YORKTOWN. I had the privilege and pleasure of leading their reunion around the ship, I listened more to their stories, but I did tell a few myself.
VA-72 was the first Skyhawk squadron in the Navy, accepting the first factory to fleet A-4 with the arrival of Bureau Number 139935 in October 1956. Click here for the squadron history and images on the Skyhawk Association pages.
In the above photo are VA-72 pilots (from right to left) Al Carpenter, Ed Moir, Lane Hubbard, John Stevens, Hal Brewer, Terry Thies, D. D. Smith, Ken Craig, Carl Moslener, Bob Hoch, John Bittick, Ron St. Martin and J. P. Lamers. If I mixed up any names and faces, I’m sure the Blue Hawks will email me with the correct pecking order. Click here to see some of these pilots onboard the USS Independence, CVA-62, in 1965.
The pilot on the far right below is Al Carpenter. He was a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam, shot down on 01 November 1966 in Haiphong Harbor. Click here for his story. Al now lives in Virginia and flies his own RV-6…I’d love to build and fly an RV-7 one day…dreams can come true. Thanks Blue Hawks for your service to the nation and to your wives for their sacrifices to the country as well…I salute you!