U.S. Navy RVAH-13 Bats Squadron Patch – Plastic Backing
RVAH-13 was a Reconnaissance Attack (Heavy) Squadron of the U.S. Navy. Originally established as Heavy Attack Squadron Thirteen (VAH-13) on 3 January 1961 it was redesignated as Reconnaissance Attack (Heavy) Squadron Thirteen (RVAH-13) on 1 November 1964. The squadron was disestablished on 30 June 1976.
Reconnaissance Attack Squadron THIRTEEN (RVAH-13) was commissioned
at the Naval Air Station, Sanford, Florida, as a unit
of the U. S. Atlantic Fleet on 3 January 1961. The Squadron
was designated Heavy Attack Squadron THIRTEEN (VAH-13) with
capabilities for nuclear and conventional weapons delivery.
VAH-13 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN embarked in USS
KITTY HAWK (CVA-63) when that carrier was commissioned in 1961.
The BATS of VAH-13 deployed with KITTY HAWK for her shakedown
cruise in the Caribbean in 1961 and transferred with her to
the Pacific Fleet. At that time the Squadron’s homeport was
changed to Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington. As
Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN’s Heavy Attack Squadron, embarked in
USS KITTY HAWK, VAH-13 spent the next three years maintaining
readiness requirements for and functioning as a unit of the
U. S. SEVENTH Fleet.
The BATS distinguished themselves by participating in several
air shows, including the World’s’Fair in Seattle. In May
1963, VAH-13 performed for the late President John F. Kennedy
in USS KITTY HAWK off the coast of San Diego. In recognition
of its commendable safety record during 1964, VAH-13 was
awarded the Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award.
• In August 1964, VAH-13 was transferred back to Sanford,
Florida, where the BATS commenced training for transition to
the RA-5C “Vigilante,” the Navy’s sophisticated Mach 2 reconnaissance
attack aircraft. On 5 October 1964, VAHL-13 received
its first RA-5C aircraft and on 1 November 1964, the Squadron’s
designation was officially changed to Reconnaissance Attack
Squadron THIRTEEN (RVAH-13).
The BATS commenced their first combat cruise as a component
of Attack Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN in USS KITTY HAWK in November
1965. The BATS were temporarily based ashore at Sanford,
Florida, from July to September 1966 and returned to the USS
KITTY HAWK for their second combat deployment in November.
Following this deployment, the Squadron joined the USS AMERICA
(CVA-66) and Attack Carrier Air Wing SIX for its third combat
deployment to the Gulf of Tonkin.
On 16 December 1968, the Squadron returned to its new
homeport at the Naval Air Station, Albany, Georgia. The BATS
joined Attack Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN embarked in USS
FORRESTAL (CVA-59) and deployed to the Mediterranean area on
3 December 1969, the first “MED” cruise for RVAH-13. The
Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award was awarded to
RVAH-13 for sustained accident-free operations during 1970.
In June 1970, the USS FORRESTAL steamed to the coast of
Israel where she patrolled the off-shore waters in an alert
status during the evacuation.of American citizens from Jordan.
The Squadron returned to Albany, Georgia, on 8 July 1970 and
under the command of Commander Franklin G. HAMRICK, the BATS
began training for the second cruise to the Mediterranean.
On 5 July 1971, RVAH-13 embarked in USS AMERICA as a part of
Carrier Air Wing EIGHT and deployed to the Mediterranean on
6 July 1971. During this deployment, Commander Raymond VEHORN
relieved Commander HAMRICK as the Squadron’s fifteenth Commanding
Officer. These ceremonies were held on 20 October 1971
while the-USS AMERICA ‘(CVA-66) was anchored in Thessaloniki,
Greece. RVAH-13 returned from its Mediterranean deployment
in December 1971, and subsequently spent its next six months
in an operational status while in Albany. In July 1972, the
Squadron headed westward toward San Francisco and USS ENTERPRISE
(CVAN-65) where it would become part of Attack Carrier
Air Wing FOURTEEN. Six weeks later, after having participated
in Ship Air Wing and Squadron Operational Readiness Inspections
(during which the Squadron received grades of excellence),
RVAH-13 returned to Albany where a standdown and a change of
command would take place before deploying to Southeast Asia.
On 12 September 1972, RVAH-13 aboard USS ENTERPRISE
(CVAN-65) sailed from NAS Alameda for the Western Pacific
and on 28 September, the Squadron launched its first sortie
against North Vietnam. The Squadron successfully and busily
operated during the critical juncture from September 1972
through January 1973, when attempts at a Vietnamese settlement
precipitated – a most challenging reconnaissance program. RVAH-
13 accomplished its missions in fine style and was recognized
for its excellent participation by the operational commanders
including Vice Admiral D. W. COOPER, Commander, Attack Carrier
Striking Force, SEVENTH Fleet.
In recognition of heroic performance in aerial flight
against the enemy and meritorious achievement in support of
these operations, the officers and men of RVAH-13 have earned
1 Navy Cross, 19 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 1 Bronze Star,
159 Air Medals, 63 Navy Commendation Medals, 13 Navy Achievement
Medals, 1 Purple Heart and Unit Commendation Medal with
Reconnaissance Attack Sqtadron THIRTEEN deployed to the
Mediterranean aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) from October
1975 to April 1976. The Squadron was disestablished 1 July
1976 at Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida, with Commander
R. E. KUHLKE as its last Commanding Officer.
RECONNAISSANCE ATTACK SQUADRON THIRTEEN
Captain George KOEN Jan 61 – Jan 62
Captain Robert E. OSTERHOLM Jan 62 – Jan 63
Commander Alexander W. URQUHART, Jr. Jan 63 – Jan, 64
Commander Walter P. CARLIN – Jan 64 – Jul 64
Commander Cornelius V. NOLTA, Jr. Jul 64 – Dec 64
Captain Dean E. WEBSTER Dec 64 – Jan 66
Captain Roy W. McLAIN, Jr. Jan 66 – Jan 67
Commander Charles L. PUTNAM Jan 67 – Mar 67
Captain Leonard H. HIGGINBOTHAM Mar 67 – Jun 68
Commander David FALL, Jr. Jun 68 – Jun 69
Commander Robert S. DONALDSON Jun 69 – Aug 69
Commander Edmond FEEKS Aug 69 – Nov 69
Commander James D. TAYLOR Nov 69 – Nov 70
Commander Franklin HAMRICK Nov 70 – Nov 71
Commander Raymond VERHORN Nov 71 – Sep 72
Commander Sylvester G. CHUMLEY Sep 72 – Oct 73
Commander Ronald J. QUEEN Oct 73 – Dec 74
Commander Robert E. KUHLKE Dec 74 – May 76