Attack Squadron Twelve

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Courtesy John Gynan

Chronology of Significant Events


5 Oct 1945:

The squadron participated in an aerial parade over Washington, D.C., in honor of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. It also engaged in several other air parades and exhibition flights during the month of October.

6 Oct 1945:

VBF-4’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Lackey, was killed during a training flight in an SNJ.

21 Aug–19 Sep and
Nov–Dec 1946:

The squadron operated ashore at Kobler Field, Saipan. Conducted training and preparations for special fleet exercises while shore based.

26 Apr 1952:

The squadron was embarked in Wasp (CV 18) en route to the Mediterranean when the carrier collided with the Hobson (DMS 26) which sank along with her 176 men. There were no injuries to squadron personnel. The squadron’s F2H-2s remained aboard until Wasp entered dry dock at New York to repair her catapults which were damaged in the collision.

19 Aug 1955:

While operating from Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA 42) in the Mediterranean Sea, the squadron’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Breen, was lost at sea.

Feb 1955:

VA-12 supported the evacuation of Chinese Nationalist civilians and military personnel from the Tachen Islands which were being bombarded by the People’s Republic of China.

1 Aug 1955:

With the redesignation of VF-12 to VA-12 and the acquisition of a new type of aircraft in December 1955, the F7U Cutlass, the squadron’s mission changed from jet intercept to special weapons attack.

October – November 1957

A “first “for VA – 12
Caribbean Cruise aboard the USS Ranger – CVA 61

October 28, 1957 was “first” for VA – 12:  CDR Pete Deputy, the Skipper of the squadron, landed an A4D-1 Skyhawk on board the USS Ranger .This was the first jet, from an operational squadron, to land on the newly commissioned USS Ranger. CDR Deputy, holder of the Navy Cross, was feted by Captain C.Booth, Commanding Officer of the USS Ranger, with a cake baked to mark this special event.

It had been more than 2 years since VA – 12 had been to Sea. The Navy had decreed that the F7U-3 Cutlass, the aircraft assigned to VA- 12, would not be allowed to deploy aboard a Carrier because of maintenance problems at sea.
With the new A4D 1- Skyhawk
VA – 12 was once again deployed on a Carrier.
The USS Ranger deployment was a significant event in VA – 12 history.

A personal experince courtesy Wm. Doody

I can still recall an incident on that deployment. One morning I was on the cat on the canted deck in an A4D, had saluted and was waiting to be launched.
All of a sudden the ship veered sharply to the left and folks were running foward. I was given a hold signal because a pilot in VF 84 who had launched just ahead of me,had just been given a " cold shot"  and was in the water. He was never recovered.

14–27 Nov 1960:

VA-12, embarked in Shangri-La (CVA 38), was part of the task force ordered to the coast of Central America to counter the infiltration of Cubans into Guatemala and Nicaragua.

21–27 Nov 1961:

VA-12, embarked in Franklin D. Roosevelt, operated off the coast of the Dominican Republic to support the newly established democratic government.

Apr 1962:

VA-12 was selected by CNO to conduct “Operation Trap,” a test firing of Bullpup missiles to evaluate their usefulness to the Navy. The test firings took place while the squadron was based at their home port of NAS Cecil Field.

Jul–Aug 1963:

A-4C detachments from the squadron operated aboard Essex (CVS 9) and Intrepid (CVS 11) as fighter support for antisubmarine exercises. These operations were also used to help develop and evaluate ASW tactics and doctrine.

8–29 Aug 1964:

Franklin D. Roosevelt and her air wing were ordered to operated in the vicinity of Cyprus after fighting escalated between Turkish and Greek forces on the island.

Aug 1966:

VA-12 flew its first combat sortie since its establishment 21 years earlier. The squadron completed its Vietnam deployment in December 1966 without sustaining any combat damage to its aircraft.

12 Nov 1966:

VA-12’s commanding officer, Commander Robert C. Frosio, was lost at sea during flight operations from Franklin D. Roosevelt.

14 Dec 1966:

Commander Barnett, commanding officer of VA-12, led a 42-plane strike against a heavily defended target in North Vietnam and for which he was awarded the Silver Star.

Aug.1967- May 1968:

C ommander Austin O'Brien Jr. embarked VA12 on board USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA 42 to the Mediterranean. 

Jan 1969- July 1969:

Commander Richard Fletcher embarked VA12 on board USS Shangri-La CVA 38 to the Mediterranean. 

Mar 1970- Dec. 1970:

Commander Walter Petersen led VA12 on board USS Shangri-La CVA 38 to West-Pac / Viet Nam This was the last deployment flying the A4 Skyhawk.

Sep. 1971- Mar 1972:

Commander Daniel Gholson embarked VA12 on board USS Independence to the North Atlantic / Mediterranean. VA 12 deployed flying the new A7E.

Oct–Dec 1973:

Independence (CV 62) and VA-12 took station southeast of Crete after the outbreak of war between Israel, Egypt and Syria on 6 October 1973. During this period of operations the squadron conducted surveillance flights against a large Soviet fleet that had sortied from the Black Sea.

Aug 1974:

As a result of the crisis on Cyprus, Independence, with VA-12 aboard, was stationed off the coast of Crete. Tensions increased significantly on 19 August when the American Ambassador to Cyprus, Roger Davies, was killed by a Cypriot mob. The squadron prepared for possible assistance in the evacuation of American nationals. It flew surveillance of Greek, Turkish and Soviet naval and merchant activity in the area.

7 Sep 1974:

The squadron participated in the search for victims of a TWA airliner crash in the Ionian Sea. No survivors were located.

15 Apr 1980:

VA-12 deployed aboard Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) to the Indian Ocean in response to the Iran-American Embassy hostage situation. The squadron was at sea for 254 days with only one port call during the entire eight and one-half month deployment.

Jun, Aug and Sep 1983:

VA-12 operated from Dwight D. Eisenhower while on station off the coast of Lebanon. The squadron flew in support of the multinational peacekeeping force stationed in Beirut.

23 Oct 1983:

Dwight D. Eisenhower and her air wing returned to the coast of Beirut after 241 Marines died in a terrorist-suicide attack there.

1 Oct 1986:

VA-12 was disestablished, bringing to a close the long history of the squadron and its motto “Kiss of Death.”

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