Tag Archives: Bicentennial A-6

Bicentennial Minuteman Corsairs

Last July 4th, we covered the NAVAIR Bicentennial schemes of 1976 so this is a good turnaround.

A pair of Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D Corsair IIs of the New Mexico and Colorado Air National Guard, respectively, flying over the Rocky Mountains. The “Sprit of 76” is 70-1048 of the 188th TFS, 150th TFG, NMANG out of Kirtland AFB. It was one of two Air National Guard A-7s that wore a special bicentennial scheme.

70-1048 served in the New Mexico Air Guard, first in the 188th and then in the 146th TFS under a more traditional scheme until it was transferred to AMARC in 1991 when the unit switched roles to become a refueling squadron. It was scrapped in 1997.

The second “Independence Day” bird was 72-0223 of the Louisiana ANG from the 75th TFS, 23rd TFW, at England AFB.

72-0223 went on to serve in the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia ANG and was sent to the boneyard at AMARC in 1991. It was scrapped in 1998.

And another 1976 holdover, since you came this far:

Happy Independence Day: NAVAIR Bicentennial Schemes

The 1976 Bicentennial celebration these days is probably best remembered for the occasional side-drum Minuteman quarter coin they find in their change.

However, for those who don’t remember or weren’t around, the year saw a host of NAVAIR assets with special livery. The time was a curious crossover from the Navy and Marine Corps, as it was the twilight of Vietnam-era assets such as the A-4, F-8 and F-4, while new warbirds such as the F-14 were coming online.

The below images are from the NHHC Photographic Section, Navy Subject Files, Aviation (120); the National Archives, and the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Enjoy, and stick a feather in your cap, you Yankee.

Bicentennial Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 15-4290 of the “Bandits” of VF-126 speeds past Mt. Rushmore, circa March 1976. This Navy photo was published on the front page of the LA Times, as well as other major regional newspapers, the last week of May 1976

F-14A Tomcat BuNo 15-9616 of VF-124 “Gunfighters” Miramar Naval Air Station in Bicentennial colors, April 1, 1976. Of note, the Tomcat had only entered deployable service a three years before and the “Wolfpack” and “Bounty Hunters” of VF-1 and VF-2 had flown CAP over the Operation Frequent Wind evacuation of Saigon in April 1975. PH3 Bruce Gray DN-SC-88-06706

Naval Air Station, Miramar, San Diego, California. A Bicentennial paint scheme on the tail of a Sundowners (VF-111) F-4N Phantom II fighter aircraft (BuNo.15-1510) from USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV 42). Also, note the Shark-Mouthed F-4N still marked with the Coral Sea’s stencil from their 1973 deployment. 428-GX-K-113545

Pacific Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, California. A parked Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Four, VX-4, F-4J Phantom II fighter painted for the Bicentennial. 428-GX-KN 24280

Bicentennial VX-4 F-4 Phantom II pictured over NAS North Island.

Now you don’t see that very often

A better view of the above Phantom’s tail feathers. 428-GX-K-112653

RF-8G Crusader BuNo 14-6858 of Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron 63 (VFP-63) parked on the flight line at Naval Air Station, Miramar, April 1, 1976. The aircraft has been painted in Bicentennial theme PH3 Bruce Gray DN-SC-88-06704

The Marines also got into the act, of course.

A U.S. Marine Corps McDonnell RF-4B Photo Phantom (BuNo 153101) from Marine Reconnaissance Squadron VMFP-3 “Eyes of the Corps” in flight. The plane is painted in US Bicentennial markings. Flying out of El Toro, this plane deployed on USS Constellation the same year with Det RF-10. NNAM

A-6E Intruder VMA(AW) 121 Green Knights Bicentennial scheme NAS Moffett Field April 30, 1977. NNAM

And another 1976 holdover, since you came this far: