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This Is What Naval Aviation Looked Like Back When The Beatles Ruled The Airwaves

Rare look at life onboard an aircraft carrier in 1965 as Vietnam War steadily grew in scope.

Here’s another gem from days gone by. This film, entitled ‘Ready on Arrival”, is a look at life aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVA-62) during her May 1965 through December 1965 Western Pacific (WestPac) deployment to the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam. Shot at the opposite end of the Vietnam War from our recent find highlighting flight ops aboard the Midway during her 1972 WestPac, this film is narrated and covers more of the facets of life in general aboard a United States Navy aircraft carrier during the mid-1960s.

Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7) plays a large part in the film. The Indy and CVW-7 were on their first (and last until 1990) WestPac when the footage was shot. The film features the F-4B Phantom IIs of VF-41 Black Aces (call sign Fast Eagle) and VF-84 Jolly Rogers (call sign Victory), the A-6A Intruders of VA-75 Sunday Punchers (call sign Flying Ace), the A-4E Skyhawks of VA-72 Blue Hawks (call sign Decoy) and VA-86 Sidewinders (call sign Winder), the RA-5C Vigilantes of RVAH-1 Smokin’ Tigers (call sign Comanche Trail), the E-1B Tracers of VAW-12 Bats Detachment 62, the A-3B Skywarriors of VAH-4 Fourrunners Detachment 62 (call sign Holly Green), the EA-1F Skyraiders of VAW-13 Zappers Detachment 1 (call sign Robinson), the EA-3B Skywarriors of VQ-1 World Watchers Detachment 62 (call sign Deep Sea), the RA-3B Skywarriors of VAP-61 World Recorders (call sign Quiz Show), and the UH-2A Seasprites of HC-2 Fleet Angels Detachment 62.

Flying with the Sidewinders during this WestPac was none other than Youthly Puresome himself, also known as CDR Jack D. Woodul UNSR (ret). This was Youthly’s first deployment flying A-4E Skyhawks with CVW-7. He recently recalled a particularly hairy mission he flew during this WestPac against the Cao Nung bridge in an exclusive interview he did with me for which can be enjoyed right here.

The film does include some footage spliced in from other sources and the narration is just a little bit tedious at times, but the film was sponsored by Grumman in cooperation with the Navy and narrated by the voice of 20th century educational films Alexander Scourby (when you hear it you’ll know). But for good-quality footage of mid-60s, orange flight suit, American carrier flight deck action, and life while deployed, it’s worth every minute. Enjoy you geeks!

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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