VA-35 Black Panthers A-6 Model
Proudly display this 18 inch wooden model of the VA-35 Black Panthers A-6 Intruder. Each model is carefully carved and painted by master craftsman. This is perfect for the goat locker or office and will provide a perfect aid for aviator told stories!
May 1935: Ranger (CV 4) and her embarked air group, including VB-3B, participated in Fleet Exercise XVI. This was the first time VB-3B and Ranger participated in a Fleet Exercise.
25 Nov 1935–25 Feb 1936: A detachment from VB-3B, including six BG-1s, was assigned to Ranger’s Cold Weather Test Detachment and operated aboard Ranger in Alaskan waters.
Apr–Jun 1936: The squadron participated in Fleet Problem XVII.
Apr–May 1937: The squadron participated in Fleet Problem XVIII.
28 May 1937: VB-3B participated in an aerial review celebrating the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Jul 1937: The squadron, embarked in Lexington (CV 2), participated in the search for Amelia Earhart Putnam and Fred Noonan.
Sep 1937: VB-4, embarked in Ranger, visited Lima, Peru, in conjunction with the International Aviation Conference being held there.
Mar–Apr 1938: The squadron participated in Fleet Problem XIX.
Apr–May 1940: The squadron participated in Fleet Problem XXI. This was the last major fleet problem conducted before America’s involvement in World War II.
Apr 1942: VB-3, embarked in Enterprise (CV 6), provided escort patrols for the task force which launched Colonel Doolittle’s B-25 raid against Tokyo.
4 Jun 1942: At the Battle of Midway, VB-3, embarked in Yorktown (CV 5), engaged in its first combat operations. Yorktown’s first strike included 17 SBD-3’s from VB-3 led by Lieutenant Commander Leslie. Approximately an hour after launch, VB-3’s aircraft sighted the Japanese Fleet and commenced their dive-bombing attack; the primary target was the carrier Soryu. Lieutenant (jg) Paul A. Holmberg was the first to drop his 1,000 pounder on the Soryu. His hit was followed by two more from VB-3’s SBDs. Soryu erupted into flames and eventually sank.
With the Soryu in flames, the other VB-3 SBDs directed their attack against other targets. They attacked a destroyer, the Isokaze, making one hit on her fantail and “what appeared to be a battleship,” claiming a hit on her stern. All 17 SBDs from VB-3 escaped the attack without a hit and returned to Yorktown. Prior to landing on the carrier, they were directed to leave the area due to incoming enemy aircraft. All VB-3’s SBDs landed on Enterprise except for Lieutenant Commander Leslie and his wingman, Lieutenant (jg) Holmberg. These two men, low on fuel, ditched their aircraft alongside the cruiser Astoria and were picked up by the ship’s motor whaleboat.
The battle was still not over for VB-3. In late afternoon, 14 of VB-3’s SBDs were launched from Enterprise as part of a strike group ordered to attack the fourth Japanese carrier, Hiryu. Lieutenant Shumway was in charge of VB-3’s formation. The strike force located Hiryu and again caught a Japanese carrier in the vulnerable position of having armed and fueled planes on deck. Direct hits from Shumway’s SBD’s resulted in a torched Hiryu and her eventual sinking. Several of VB-3’s aircraft suffered heavy damage from attacking Japanese aircraft. However, all but two of VB-3’s aircraft returned to Enterprise. Seventeen of VB-3’s pilots received the Navy Cross for their action during the Battle of Midway, they were Ensigns Benson, Butler, Campbell, Cobb, Cooner, Elder, Hanson, Isaman, Lane, Merrill and Schoegel; Lieutenant (jg)s Holmberg, Sherwood and Wiseman; Lieutenants Bottomley and Shumway; and Lieutenant Commander Leslie.
Aug 1942: While operating from Saratoga in the South Pacific, the squadron participated in strikes against Guadalcanal and other enemy installations in the Solomon Islands in support of the occupation of Guadalcanal.
24 Aug 1942: VB-3 participated in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, attacking Ryujo, a Japanese light carrier, and helping to sink her. Jan–Jul 1943: VB-3 operated in the South Pacific flying combat sorties against various Japanese-held islands and providing air cover for American forces.
July 1943: VB-3 and the Saratoga Air Group were relieved by Air Group 12 and boarded HMS Victorious for transfer to CONUS to reform, arriving at San Diego on 18 August. This ended the air group and VB-3’s association with Saratoga (CV 3).
Nov 1944: VB-3 conducted combat operations from Yorktown (CV 10) against various targets, including shipping, in support of the Leyte invasion.
Jan 1945: Combat operations were conducted against targets in Formosa and the Philippines in support of the Lingayen Gulf landings on Luzon in early January. With Yorktown leading the way, Task Force 38 entered the South China Sea on 10 January. VB-3 struck targets near Saigon and along the Vietnamese coast, Canton and Hong Kong areas, Formosa and Okinawa.
Feb 1945: VB-3 participated in the first carrier strikes against the Tokyo area, bombing the Kasumiga-ura Airfield, an air depot 25 miles north of Tokyo, and the Tachikawa Aircraft Engine Plant, located 16 miles west of the Imperial Palace. Following these strikes, the squadron concentrated its attention on air support for the invasion of Iwo Jima. This operation was the last combat action for the squadron during World War II. On 6 March, the squadron transferred from Yorktown to Lexington (CV 16) for transfer to CONUS.
11 Oct 1950: While deployed to the Korean Theater aboard Leyte (CV 32), the squadron launched its first combat mission since February 1945, striking North Korean targets.
12 Dec 1950: The squadron’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Bagwell, crash-landed in North Korea and was taken prisoner.
Jul–Aug 1958: VA-35, along with other squadrons from CVG-3, provided support for U.S. Marines landing in Lebanon.
Oct–Nov 1962: VA-35 deployed to McCalla Field, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During December, the squadron was embarked in Saratoga (CVA 60).
4 Feb 1965: The squadron’s commanding officer, Commander Richard G. Layser, was killed in an accident.
15 Aug 1965: VA-35 transferred from CVW-3 in preparation for its transition to the A-6A Intruder. This brought to a close an illustrious career with CVW-3 that began in 1939.
26 Feb 1967: The squadron participated in the first combat aerial mining operations since World War II, when its A-6A Intruders dropped mines in the Song Ca and Song Giang Rivers of North Vietnam.
1 Oct 1967: During a weapons training deployment to NAS Yuma, Arizona, VA-35 became the first A-6A squadron to fire the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.
Jan–Feb 1968: While embarked in Enterprise (CVAN 65) and en route to Yankee Station, the carrier was ordered to the Sea of Japan for operations following the seizure of the Pueblo (AGER 2) by the North Koreans.
12 Mar 1968: The squadron’s commanding officer, Commander Kollmann, was lost in an operational accident.
17 Sep 1972: While on a mission over North Vietnam the squadron’s Commanding Officer, CDR Verne Donnelly and Admin Officer, LCDR Ken Buell were lost. CDR Donnelly’s remains have been found. LCDR Buell is still listed as missing in action.
Grumman KA-6D Intruder of VA-35 aboard USS Nimitz CVN-68 during a visit to Scotland in 1975. The Black Panther marking is displayed on the fin
3 Jan 1980: VA-35 departed Naples, Italy, embarked in Nimitz (CVN 68), en route to the Indian Ocean via the Cape of Good Hope after the U.S. Embassy staff was taken hostage in Tehran, Iran. This was the beginning of 144 consecutive days at sea for the squadron.
26 May 1981: While on a training exercise aboard Nimitz off the coast of Charleston, S.C., an EA-6B from VMAQ-2 crashed into parked aircraft while attempting to land. VA-35 personnel provided firefighting support and assistance to the injured. There were no injuries to VA-35 personnel. Over 130 members of the squadron received awards for fighting fires and assisting the injured.
Jun 1985: Nimitz and VA-35 were ordered to operate off the coast of Lebanon due to the hijacking of TWA flight 847 by Arab radicals. The carrier and squadron remained on station until the release of the hostages in the latter part of June.
Feb 1987: VA-35, embarked in Nimitz, operated off the coast of Lebanon after three U.S. citizens were taken hostage from the American University in Beirut.
Jul 1988: VA-35 participated in a firepower demonstration for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his guest, the Marshal of the Soviet Union.
Sep 1988: While deployed to the North Atlantic aboard Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), the squadron conducted flight operations from the carrier while in the Vestfjord of Norway.
Aug–Dec 1990: The squadron flew missions in support of Operation Desert Shield, the build-up of American and Allied forces to counter a threatened invasion of Saudi Arabia by Iraq and part of an economic blockade of Iraq to force its withdrawal from Kuwait.
31 January 1995: Second VA-35 was disestablished after over 60 years of service.