Warship Wednesday: Coral Sea, arriving with a mighty flock, 55 years ago today

A brief WW this week gives us the view of the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) underway in the Pacific, April 18, 1963, just out of Pearl Harbor with various aircraft of Carrier Group Fifteen (CVG-15, NL) spotted on deck.

Would you look at that enormous Douglas A-3 Skywarrior (Whale) from VAH-2 on the center deck!

1280×1611

Other aircraft are F-4B Phantoms from VF-151, A-4C/Es Skyhawks from VA-153 and 155, F-8C Crusaders from VF-154 along with photo birds from VFP-63, and A-1H Vigilantees from VA-165. The radar domes of VAW-11’s E-1B “Stoofs with a roof” are easy to spot.

All of the above aircraft types have long been discarded in U.S service (although Japan, Turkey, Iran and others still fly F-4s in limited numbers and roles).

Of the squadrons, most don’t exist anymore. Two notable exceptions are the Vigilantes of VF-151 that fly F-18E/Fs from CVW-9 (Stennis) while the Knights of VF-154 fly the same type from CVW-11 (Nimitz). In 1968, the VAH-2 was redesignated as Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 132 (VAQ-132) and have been in the jamming game ever since, flying EKA-3Bs, then later EA-6Bs and currently EA-18G Growlers.

As for CVG-15, on 23 Dec. 1963, it became CVW-15 and would deploy on the Coral Sea an amazing 10 times (Vietnam-1964, Vietnam-1967, Vietnam-1968, Vietnam-1969, Vietnam-1970, Eastpac-1971, Vietnam-1972, Vietnam-1973, WestPac-1975, WestPac-1977). After the Coral Sea was retired, CVW-15 spent two decades swapping between Carl Vinson and Kitty Hawk before it was disestablished in 1995 as part of the post-Cold War drawdown.

The Coral Sea, decommissioned in 1990 after 43 years of hard service, was dismantled slowly over a seven-year period and was the largest vessel ever scrapped up until that date. Her sistership, USS Midway, of course, survives as a museum.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

3 responses to “Warship Wednesday: Coral Sea, arriving with a mighty flock, 55 years ago today”

  1. Bob G. says :


    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsI remember the Coral Sea! Such a shame that some of those aircraft no longer serve.
    I always loved the Skyhawk, especially after meeting one of the more famous naval aviators to pilot that aircraft: Richard A. Stratton (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Stratton).
    He gave the “rules of war” speech to my OCS class in Newport in 1985, while he was the heading of the Naval Academy Prep School. During a break, he showed us the scars on his arms and described the rope-and-pulley torture sessions: all the skin between elbow and shoulder on both arms was scar tissue. He also talked about meeting Susan Sontag at the Hanoi Hilton, and described his “robotic” confession to the media that caused quite an uproar.
    As always, this is one of my all-time favorite blogs.
    Bob

  2. PD says :

    The aircraft forward on the left in the photo are F3B Demons (original designation F3H-2).

  3. Johno says :


    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsI really like your website. The A-1H piston engined prop-plane attack birds are correctly Douglas Skyraiders.

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