Here’s a must-see video for you Vietnam-era naval aviation fans. Shot aboard the carrier Midway (CVA-41) during her 1971 and 1972-1973 Western Pacific (WestPac) deployments, there is something for just about everybody.
The video was uploaded as a tribute to the late Lieutenant Raymond P Donnelly. Donnelly was a VA-115 A-6A bombardier / navigator who was seriously wounded by ground fire while on a mission over North Vietnam on July 19th 1972. Despite the best efforts of his pilot, Lieutenant Michael T McCormick, to revive him, Donnelly died before the Intruder made it back to the Midway. The flight deck footage is as remarkable as the message of the video is poignant.
Featuring footage shot during actual A-6A strikes, and plenty of cat shots and traps (including a barrier trap), the film stars the A-6A Intruders of VA-115 Arabs (call sign Arab), but also the rest of Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW5). The A-7s of VA-56 Champions (call sign Champion) and VA-93 Blue Blazers (call sign Raven), F-4s of VF-151 Vigilantes (call sign Switchbox) and VF-161 Chargers (call sign Rock River), EKA-3Bs of VAQ-130 Zappers (call sign Robinson), E-2Bs of VAW-115 Liberty Bells, SH-3Gs of HC-1 Detachment 8 Angels (call sign Clementine), HH-3As of HC-7 Detachment 110 Sea Devils (call sign Big Mother), even the RF-8Gs of VFP-63 Detachment 3 (call sign Cork Tip) all play supporting roles.
The footage is as mixed bag in that much of it was obviously shot during CVW-5 WestPacs but some other footage has been spliced in. Nonetheless the video is definitely worth watching- especially if you served aboard Midway during the timeframe of the film. Titling is a bit confusing because Midway’s WestPac deployments ran from April to November of 1971, and from April 1972 to March of 1973.
Enjoy the video, and remember Lieutenant Raymond P Donnelly and his devotion to, and ultimate sacrifice for, his country.