RVAH-5 Savage Sons (1974) RA-5c
Fly with the RVAH-5 Savage Sons again with this 18 inch wood model that has been carefully carved and hand painted to provide a unique memory of this great squadron and jet!
RVAH-5 was a Reconnaissance Attack (Heavy) Squadron of the U.S. Navy. Originally established as Composite Squadron Five (VC-5) at NAS Moffett Field, California on 9 September 1948, it was redesignated as Heavy Attack Squadron Five (VAH-5) on 1 November 1955 and was later redesignated as Reconnaissance Attack (Heavy) Squadron Five (RVAH-5) in May 1964. The squadron was disestablished on 30 September 1977.
1-Reconnaissance Attack Squadron FIVE has both an'”official”
and an “unofficial” origin. Although it is not considered the
“official” origin of RVAH-5, there was a Composite Squadron FIVE
comissioned on 6 September 1943 at NAS Seattle, Washington.
During the years prior to its decommissioning, the Squadron
participated in World War II action at Guam, Peleliu and Leyte
Gulf. In one span from April 1944 to December 1944, VC-5 flew
2,273 combat sorties and a total of 7527.4 hours. The Squadron
returned to the United States following the war and was decommissioned
on 1 October 1945.
The official origin dates from the commissioning of VC-5
at Moffett Field, California in 1948. The Squadron was known •
as the “Grim Reapers” and flew the P2V-3 Neptune until March 1950,
when the first of the North American AJ-1 “Savage” aircraft was
received. The Squadron moved to Norfolk, Virginia, in late 1950,
and to NAS Jacksonville, Florida in 1952, deploying twice to
Port Lyautey, Morocco during this period. In February 1955, the
Squadron moved to Sanford, Florida, with the nickname “The
Savage Sons of Sanford”.
Flying the AJ “Savage”, the “Savage Sons” won the first
HATWING ONE Bombing Derby in the Spring of 1957. In October
•of the same year, the “Savage Sons” won the second HATWING ONE
Bombing Derby, flying the new A-3D “Skywarrior.” During the
period from January 1958 until January 1968, the Squadron
underwent many changes, both in mission and aircraft. Highlights
of this period were:
1958 – Won fourth HATWING ONE Bombing Derby, won the Third
Annual Naval Air Weapons Meet at El Centro, California
representing the Atlantic Fleet. Named the top Heavy
Attack Squadron in the Navy for the year, and won the
Douglas Bombing Trophy for the year 1957. Deployed
twice to the Mediterranean.
1959 – Won the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award for
1958-1959. Won Seventh HATWING ONE Bombing Derby,
including Wing Commander’s Trophy.
1960 – Received the Atlantic Fleet Battle Readiness Excellence
Pennant (“E”). Deployed to Mediterranean aboard USS
1961 – Deployed to Mediterranean aboard FORRESTAL – the third
cruise in as many years. The Squadron set many
bombing and flight time records for A-3 squadron. Topped all other Altantic Fleet Heavy Attack by 750 flicht hours for the year. Received the
Atlantic Fleet “E” for the second time in three years.
1963 – Transitioned to North American RA-5C, changing the
Squadron’s primary mission from bombing to tactical
1964 – Became first operational squadron to deploy with
RA-5C. Deployed on USS RANGER (CVA-61) and played
a key role in early combat operations in Vietnam.
1965 – Deployed to the Mediterranean aboard the Navy’s
to newest attack carrier, USS AMERICA (CVA-66).
Deployed to the Mediterranean aboard USS AMERICA
participating in extensive sea surveillance during
the Middle East War.
In April 1968, the “Savage Sons of Sanford” departed. NAS
Sanford for the last time. The Squadron home port would be
changed to NAS Albany, Georgia prior to their return from that
deployment. RVAH-5 left CONUS in May 1968 on an eight-month
deployment to Southeast Asia embarked in USS CONSTELLATION
(CVA-64). The Squadron was engaged in Air Wing FOURTEEN combat
operations, flying pre-strike, bomb damage assessment, and
electronic reconnaissance. RVAH-5 remained in WESTPAC until
January 1969 when it returned to its new home at NAS Albany.
Following a training cycle, the Squadron again moved across
country to NAS Alameda, where its aircraft and men were embarked
in USS RANGER (CVA-61) in August 1969 to commence carrier
qualifications and training in preparation for another deployment
In October 1969, RVAH-5 departed Alameda on deployment to the
Western Pacific as part of the RANGER/Air Wing TWO team. The
Squadron conducted extensive reconnaissance missions in support
of combat operations against the enemy in Southeast Asia. On 1
June 1970, the “Savage Sons” returned to NAS Albany, Georgia.
On 8 June 1971, RVAH-5 deployed aboard USS ENTERPRISE (CVA-
65) for its 3rd consecutive combat cruise. RVAH-5, as a part of
the ENTERPRISE/Air Wing FOURTEEN team, was involved in lengthy
operations in the Indian Ocean during the Indian/Pakistani
Conflict. On October 17, 1971 the Commanding Officer, CDR
EVERETT, and his Navigator, LCDR Paul STOKES, were lost at sea
when their RA-5C Vigilante crashed in the Gulf of Tonkin. CDR
Douglas C. COLEMAN assumed command and the Squadron continued
combat operations, returning in February 1972.
In May 1972, the Squadron began intense preparations for
its 4th consecutive combat cruise with Carrier Air Wing TWO
onboard USS RANGER (CVA-61). USS RANGER arrived in Subic
Rs-Qublic of the Philippines on 1 December and commenced
intensive combat operations in North Vietnam. The Vietnam
cease fire agreement was signed on 28 February 1973, and the
Squadron returned home on 21 June 1973 and began the turnaround
cycle for its next deployment. It was during this
period that three significant events took place. In December
1973, RVAH-5 earned the highest grade ever given to a squadron
completing the annual Reconnaissance Attack Wing ONE Training
Exercise and all flight crews were awarded the “E” for Excellence.
On 16 January 1974, RVAH-5, along with the rest of
the Wing, moved to their new base of operations at Key West,
Florida, and continued intensive training for its deployment
with Attack Carrier Air Wing NINE in USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-
64). The Squadron spent the month of May aboard the “CONNIE”
where it participated in the combined Ship/Air Wing Operational
Readiness Exercise, completing it with a 96.4, the highest
grade ever given to an RA=5C Reconnaissance Attack Squadron.
USS CONSTELLATION arrived in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines
on July 10, and commenced training and operational.
The 1974 CONSTELLATION cruise provided many honors and
memorable moments. On 19 August 1974, RVAH-5 was awarded the
Atlantic Fleet Battle “E” for excellence in the tactical reconnaissance
community. In November 1974, while aboard the
CONSTELLATION, RVAH-5 operated in the Persian Gulf. It marked
the first time a U. S. carrier and air wing had visited the
Gulf in 25 ‘years. An interesting and unusual port visit to
Karachi, Pakistan, capped the 1974 WESTPAC cruise and the
“Savage Sons” headed home in December, reaching Key West on
Christmas Eve 1974.
The year 1975 was spent in training and preparation for
the Squadron’s next deployment aboard USS RANGER. In the
midst of this turnaround cycle, RVAH-5 was awarded the CNO
Safety Award for extended accident-free operations and an
exceptional safety program.
On 30 January 1976, the “Savage. Sons,” attached to Carrier
Air Wing TWO, departed San Diego aboard USS RANGER for
its sixth consecutive deployment to the Western Pacific.
Acting as the eyes of the carrier task force, the Squadron’s
RA-5C’s were utilized extensively in several fleet-wide exercises
and joint operations with foreign armed forces.
Additionally, the Squadron enjoyed port visits to Manila,
Hong Kong and Singapore. On 8 July, RANGER was diverted
from routine operations and deployed to the Indian Ocean to
for contingencies arising from growing unrest in
Africa. While on station, RVAH-5 flew frequent sortis
to provide long-range sea surveillance to the contingency
task force. RANGER departed the Indian Ocean on 28 July for
its return home. The “Savage Sons” arrived in Key West on
7 September 1976. RVAH-5 was disestablished on 30 September
1977 in accordance with CNO message 121530Z JUL 77.