Attack Squadron 56 (ATKRON 56)

VA-56 ‘Champions’

 

va-56 champions attack squadron insignia crest patch badge atkron us navy

va-56 champions attack squadron atkron us navy a-7 corsair a-4 skyhawk

 

STATUS:

established as Attack Squadron 56 (VA-56) on June 4, 1956
disestablished on August 31, 1986

AIRCRAFT:

Grumman F9F-3 Panther (Jun 1956)
Grumman F9F-8B Cougar (Jul 1956)
Grumman F9F-8 Cougar (Oct 1956)
North American FJ-4B Fury (May 1958)
Douglas A4D-1 Skyhawk (Dec 1958)
Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk (Apr 1959)
Douglas A-4E Skyhawk (Jul 1963)
Douglas A-4C Skyhawk (Jul 1966)
Douglas A-4E Skyhawk (Aug 1967)
Ling-Temco-Vought A-7B Corsair II (Jan 1969)
Ling-Temco-Vought A-7A Corsair II (Mar 1973)
Ling-Temco-Vought A-7E Corsair II (Apr 1977)

 

images

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7e corsair ii carrier air wing cvw-5 masdc amarc davis monthan afb arizona

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) on the ground at MASDC / Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona - undated (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway cv 41 mount fuji

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) with Mount Fuji in the background - 1986 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair crash landing on uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) crash landing on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1984 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1984 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1984 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair carrier air wing cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1983 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1982 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1982 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7e corsair ii cvw-5 uss midway

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1982 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair carrier air wing cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1982 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7e corsair cvw-5

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1982 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7e corsair carrier air wing cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1981

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair cvw-5

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1980 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1980 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1980 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1979

 

va-56 champions attack squadron atkron a-7e corsair cvw-5

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - late 1970’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair ii carrier air wing cvw-5 uss midway

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - late 1970’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions a-7e corsair ii uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - late 1970’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7e corsair cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1977 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7e corsair ii

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1977 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions a-7e corsair

A-7E Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1977 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7a corsair carrier air wing cvw-5 uss midway cv 41

A-7A Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1976 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions atkron a-7a corsair cvw-5

A-7A Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CV 41) - 1976 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7b corsair cvw-5 uss midway

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1970’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7b corsair

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - circa 1971 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7b corsair carrier air wing cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - circa 1969/70 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

atkron 56 champions a-7b corsair cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - circa 1969/70 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7b corsair cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - off Vietnam 1970 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7b corsair uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - off Vietnam 1970 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7b corsair cvw-2 uss ranger

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - off Vietnam 1970 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7b corsair carrier air wing cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II’s (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1969 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7b corsair cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1969 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

atkron va-56 champions a-7b corsair cvw-2

A-7B Corsair II’s (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1969 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-7b corsair cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II’s (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1969 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1969 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions a-7b corsair cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1969 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions atkron a-7b corsair

A-7B Corsair II (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1969 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-7b corsair cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

A-7B Corsair II’s (VA-56 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1969 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

 

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-4c skyhawk carrier air wing cvw-9 uss enterprise cvan 65

A-4C Skyhawk (VA-56 / CVW-9) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) - 1966-67 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions ta-4f skyhawk cvw-9

TA-4F Skyhawk (VA-56 / CVW-9) - 1960’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-4e skyhawk carrier air wing cvw-5 uss ticonderoga cva 14

A-4E Skyhawks (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) - mid 1960’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions atkron a-4e skyhawk cvw-5 uss ticonderoga cva 14

A-4E Skyhawk (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) - mid 1960’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

atkron va-56 champions a-4e skyhawk cvw-5 uss ticonderoga cva 14

A-4E Skyhawks (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) - mid 1960’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-4e skyhawk cvw-5 uss ticonderoga cva 14

A-4E Skyhawk (VA-56 / CVW-5) landing on USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) - mid 1960’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a-4e skyhawk cvw-5 uss ticonderoga cva 14

A-4E Skyhawks (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) - 1964/65 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a-4b skyhawk cvw-5 f-8f crusader

A-4B Skyhawk (VA-56 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) refueling an F-8E Crusader - 1960’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

va-56 champions attack squadron a4d-2 skyhawk cvw-5

A4D-2 Skyhawk (VA-56 / CVW-5) - 1960’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

attack squadron va-56 champions a4d-2 skyhawk carrier air wing cvw-5

A4D-2 Skyhawk (VA-56 / CVW-5) - early 1960’s (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

 

history

attack squadron va-56 champions oversea deployments

 

 

Chronology of significant events:


25–31 Oct 1961: VA-56 participated in Operation Crosstie with HMS Victorious (R-38), conducting flight operations from the deck of Victorious to evaluate the compatibility of USN/RN aircraft, armament, and handling facilities.


16 Jul–15 Sep 1962: The squadron was embarked in Constellation (CVA 64) during her transit from the East Coast, via Cape Horn, to her new home port on the West Coast.


Jul 1964: VA-56’s A-4E Skyhawks participated in special Yankee Team operations, providing aerial refueling support and experimenting with the tactic of employing A-4Es as armed escorts for the RF-8 and RA-3 reconnaissance aircraft flying missions over Laos and South Vietnam to detect Communist military presence and operations.


2–4 Aug 1964: During a Desoto Patrol mission (intelligence collection missions begun in 1962) Maddox (DD 731) was attacked by three motor torpedo boats on 2 August off the coast of North Vietnam. Following this incident, the squadron flew sorties in support of the destroyers on Desoto Patrol.

5 Aug 1964: VA-56’s Skyhawks participated in Pierce Arrow, retaliatory strikes against the North Vietnamese. Along with other aircraft from CVW-5, they were part of the first sortie that struck the antiaircraft gun emplacements at the Vinh oil storage facility. Ninety percent of the complex was destroyed by the sorties flown against this facility. The squadron also participated in strikes against the Ben Thuy naval base, resulting in the sinking and destruction of several torpedo boats.


10–29 Oct, 1–5 and 22–28 Nov 1964: The squadron continued to participate in special Yankee Team operations off the coast of Vietnam.

7 Feb 1966: Lieutenant Commander Render Crayton was awarded the Silver Star (in absentia) for his actions while engaged in a combat mission over North Vietnam.


10 Jun 1967: The squadron’s commanding officer, Commander Sherman, failed to return from a strike in North Vietnam and is now listed as missing in action, presumed dead.


Jan–Feb 1968: While embarked in Enterprise (CVAN 65) and en route to Yankee Station, the carrier was ordered to the Sea of Japan for operations following the seizure of Pueblo (AGER 2) by the North Koreans on 23 January.


19 Jun 1968: Lieutenant Commander Crater received the Silver Star for his actions in coordinating the successful night rescue of a downed F-4 crewman in North Vietnam. This action was part of the rescue operations in which Lieutenant Lassen, a helicopter pilot and not a member of VA-56, received the Medal of Honor for his exploits.


1 Nov 1968: The squadron’s last A-4E Skyhawk was transfered and training began for the transition to the A-7 Corsair II.


May 1972: On 12 May Midway (CVA 41), with VA-56 embarked, shifted its operations from the area of An Loc, South Vietnam to targets in North Vietnam. It participated in the mining and interdiction of Haiphong Harbor and North Vietnam’s extensive coastal waterway system. This was an extension of operation Pocket Money which was initiated on 9 May by squadrons from Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) and Coral Sea (CVA 43). It also participated in operation Linebacker I, the concentration of heavy strikes against targets in North Vietnam to interdict the flow of supplies into the country and reduce its ability to prosecute the war. Linebacker I operations lasted until 22 October.


29–30 Apr 1975: Midway, including elements of VA-56, participated in operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of American citizens from Saigon, South Vietnam.


Aug 1976: VA-56, embarked in Midway, operated in Korean waters following the killing of two American officers in the DMZ by the North Koreans.

Apr–May 1979: Midway, with VA-56 embarked, deployed to the Gulf of Aden to relieve Constellation (CV 64) and maintain a U.S. carrier presence following the out break of fighting between North and South Yemen and the fall of the Shah of Iran.


Oct 1979: As a response to anti-American demonstrations in Iran, Midway and its air wing, including VA-56, were ordered to deploy to the Indian Ocean for the second time in 1979.

Nov 1979–Feb 1980: Following the Iranian seizure of the American Embassy in Teheran and the taking of American hostages on 4 November, Midway proceeded to the Gulf of Oman and remained on station until relieved in early February 1980.

May–Jun 1980: Midway, with VA-56 embarked, operated off the coast of Korea due to the civil unrest in South Korea and the massacre of several hundred people in the town of Kwangju.

May 1986: The squadron was reassigned to NAS Lemoore as a result of the change in CVW-5’s composition from A-7 and F-4 aircraft to FA-18A. It began the transfer of its personnel and aircraft in preparation for the disestablishment of the squadron on 31 August.


Squadron’s nickname: Boomerangs: 1957-circa 1958 / Champions: circa 1958–1986.


Homeport assignments:
NAS Miramar (Jun 1956)
NAS Lemoore (Jun 1961)
NS Yokosuka* (Jun 1973)
NAS Lemoore May 1986

 

(* Under the Overseas Home Port Program, VA-56 and CVW-5 were permanently based aboard Midway (CV 41) and home ported with the carrier at Naval Station Yokosuka, Japan. The home port was officially changed on 30 June 1973. However, Midway did not arrive in Japan until 5 October. Elements of VA-56, when not operating from Midway, were based ashore at NAF Atsugi or Misawa, Japan.)

 

patches

 

 

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