My Tour with VA-126
1960 – 1962
My tour with VA-126 began after I graduated
from AT-A school, NATTC, Millington, TN in July of 1960. When
I arrived at NAS Miramar in August of 1960, Cdr. C. J. Lee was
CO and the squadron had three types of aircraft. – FJ-4B, A4D-1
and F9F-8T. The FJ’s and A4’s were used for training loft bombing
and close air support techniques and the F9’s for instrument
flight training. Our call sign was Cherry Coke.I don’t remember exactly when Cdr. Chapman
became CO, but it was sometime in early to mid-1961. We made
a trip to MCAAS, Yuma for bombing exercises in late 61 or early
62 with the last group of pilots to qualify with the FJ’s. The
FJ’s were replaced with A4D-2’s. 

Shortly thereafter the squadron was split
into two groups. The A4’s went to then new NAS Lemoore and the
F9’s stayed at NAS Miramar. I stayed with the F9’s. During this
transition period the squadron adopted a radically different
maintenance program designed to increase aircraft availability.
The program was very successful. We had 100% availability at
least twice in April and May of 62. The skipper wanted to show
the world we really did have 100% availability so, on a clear
day in May, 1962, he arranged for a flyby of all 22 aircraft
in the squadron. We had one more F9 designated 00, it was being
used by CAG and was on a different flight that same day. After
take off the squadron formed up in a 4 x 4 diamond with two groups
of three behind the rear diamond and flew over the station. An
F8-U PP plane flew alongside taking official photos. I had an
OMIAS card and was privileged to ride in the back seat of the
lead plane in the left group of three.

My tour with VA-126 ended in August 1962 with a transfer to VAH-8,
NAS Whidbey Island / USS Midway. I was released from active duty
in Sept 1963 and went on to college at Cal Poly Pomona.


VA-126 fly by formation



Lined up for take off – Photos by L.S. Garner

Forming up off La Jolla

In formation

Over Ramona lining up for fly-by