Attack Squadron 46 (United States Navy)

Attack Squadron 46 (United States Navy)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Attack Squadron 46


caption= VA-46 insignia
dates= May 24 1955June 30 1991
country= United States
allegiance=
branch= United States Navy
type= All Weather Attack
role=
size=
command_structure= Inactive
current_commander=
home base=
ceremonial_chief=
colonel_of_the_regiment=
nickname= Clansmen
patron=
motto= “Vincere Vel Mori” “To conquer or to die”
march=
mascot=
battles= Vietnam War * Operation Rolling Thunder * 1967 USS Forrestal fire Operation El Dorado Canyon Operation Desert Storm
aircraft_attack= A-4 Skyhawk A-7 Corsair II
aircraft_fighter= F9F Panther F9F Cougar
anniversaries=

Attack Squadron 46 (VA-46 or ATKRON 46) was an attack squadron of the United States Navy that was active during the Cold War. Nicknamed the "Clansmen," they were based out of Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida. The squadron flew during the Vietnam War and was onboard the USS "Forrestal" in 1967 when a fatal fire broke out on the flight deck killing 134 sailors. In 1986 they took part in strikes against Libya known as Operation El Dorado Canyon, and their last combat action was seen during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. VA-46 was deactivated as part of the post-Cold War drawdown of forces on June 30 1991.

History

Early years

Attack Squadron 46 was formed at Naval Air Station Cecil Field on May 24 1955. They departed the United States for their first deployment to the Mediterranean Sea on July 14 1956 aboard the USS "Randolph". This was the first overseas deployment of the AIM-9 Sidewinder. In October and November 1956 the squadron, along with other units of ATG-202, provided air support for the evacuation of foreign nationals from Alexandria, Egypt during the Suez Crisis. In August 1965, VA-46 was onboard the USS "Shangri-La" and operated off the coast of Cyprus in response to a crisis in that country between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Vietnam War

On July 25 1967 the Clansmen took part in their first combat operations during the Vietnam War flying from the USS "Forrestal" in Yankee Station. A few days later on July 29, while aircraft were being prepared for the second launch of the day against targets in North Vietnam, a fire broke out on the flight deck of the "Forrestal". Flames engulfed the fantail and spread below decks, touching off bombs and ammunition. Heroic efforts by VA-46 personnel, along with other members of Carrier Air Wing 17 and ship's company, brought the fires under control. Damage to the carrier and aircraft was severe, and the casualty count included 134 dead and 62 injured. The squadron lost seven A-4E Skyhawks during the fire.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =The VA-46 Clansmen
work =
publisher =The Skyhawk Association
date =
url =http://a4skyhawk.org/3e/va46/va46.htm#EVENTS
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-07
] At the epicenter of the fire that day was squadron membercite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =VA-46 photograph album
work =
publisher =The Skyhawk Association
date =
url =http://www.skyhawk.org/3e/va46/va46p.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-07
] and then Lieutenant Commander John McCain. He escaped from his burning jet and was trying to help another pilot escape when a bomb exploded;Weinraub, Bernard. [http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/flash/politics/20080203_MCCAIN_TIMELINE/content/pdf/19670731b.pdf "Start of Tragedy: Pilot Hears a Blast As He Checks Plane"] , "The New York Times" (1967-07-31). Retrieved 2008-03-28.] he was struck in the legs and chest by fragments.Timberg, "American Odyssey", 72–74.]

Transition and the 1970s

From May 4 through November 15 1968, VA-46 transitioned to the A-7 Corsair II. On September 17 1970, while en route to the Caribbean for training exercises on board the USS "John F. Kennedy", they received emergency orders to deploy immediately to the Mediterranean due to the hijacking of four airliners by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They remained on station off the coast of Israel until November. During October 1973, with the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War between Israel, Egypt and Syria, the "Kennedy" and her air wing, while operating in the North Atlantic after just completing a Mediterranean deployment, were ordered back to the Mediterranean. During the latter part of October through mid-November, VA-46 conducted flight operations while the carrier was on station south of Crete. On November 25 1975 during night operations, the "Kennedy" collided with the USS "Belknap", causing major damage to the cruiser. Eight VA-46 personnel received awards for their heroism and devotion to duty as a result of their actions following the collision.

1980s, Gulf War and decommissioning

From September 17 to 19, 1985, VA-46 – along with other units of Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW-1) – were the first to conduct flight operations from a carrier operating inside a fjord. The USS "America" operated in Vestfjord, Norway during this evolution. The next year on April 14 1986, as a response to terrorist actions, the squadron took part in strikes against targets in Libya. During that action, VA-46 provided air-to-surface Shrike and Harm missile strikes against Libyian radar missile sites. Beginning on January 17 1991, the squadron took part in Operation Desert Storm, the combat operations to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The squadron's A-7E Corsair IIs participated in the first combat strike against Iraqi targets in Baghdad, and VA-46 and VA-72 made the last combat sorties of the A-7 Corsair II during Desert Storm flying from the Red Sea.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Theaters of Operation
work =
publisher = Electronic Aviation
date =
url =http://www.electronicaviation.com/aircraft/A-7_Corsair_II/1093
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-07
] Upon their return from the Arabian Gulf they were decommissioned on June 30 1991. VA-46 were the last United States Navy squadron to fly the A-7 Corsair II.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Heritage Park - Naval Air Station Jacksonville's Aircraft Static Display Park
work =
publisher = United States Navy
date =
url =http://www.nasjax.navy.mil/Command_Information/heritage_park_photo_gallery.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-07
]

urviving aircraft

* An A-7 Corsair with VA-46 markings is on static display at Heritage Park on Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.
* An A4D-2 Skyhawk (BuNo 142741) with VA-46 markings is on display at the National Vietnam War Museum in Orlando, Florida.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =US Navy and US Marine Corps BuNos - Third Series (140053 to 145061)
work =
publisher =
date =
url =http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/thirdseries17.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-07
] cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Douglas A4-B Skyhawk Aircraft
work =
publisher = National Vietnam War Museum
date =
url =http://www.nwmvocf.org/window-academic.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-07
]

ee also

*History of the United States Navy
*List of United States Navy aircraft squadrons

References

Bibliography

*cite book |last=Timberg |first=Robert |title=John McCain: An American Odyssey |publisher=Touchstone Books |year=1999 |location=New York |isbn=0-684-86794-X Online access to [http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/t/timberg-mccain.html Chapter 1] is available.

External links

* [http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA---Navy/LTV-A-7B-Corsair/1199919&tbl=photo_info&photo_nr=278&prev_id=1200170&next_id=1199555 Photo of an A7-B Corsair II on display at RAF Mildenhall during an airshow in 1977]


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