VA-66 Waldos Squadron Patch
The squadron’s second insignia was approved by CNO on 25 January 1955. This insignia, a rooster toting a machine gun, became a well known design during the next three decades. Colors for the insignia were: a black background outlined in red; the rooster was red with black markings; his feet and beak were yellow, as well as the life vest; the face, hands and neck were white with black markings and he had black eyes; his claws and spurs were gray; the machine gun was gray with black markings and white smoke trailing from the barrel; and the banner was white, outlined in black and with black letters.
The insignia continued in use following the squadron’s redesignation on 1 July 1955.
Nickname: Waldomen, circa 1950s-early 1960s.
Waldos, circa early 1960s–1987.
27 May 1959: During the squadron’s deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, the commanding officer, Commander McNeil, was killed in an aircraft accident during a practice Carrier Controlled Approach.
14 Aug 1962: The squadron participated in cross deck operations aboard the British carrier HMS Hermes (R12).
Oct–Dec 1962: While embarked in USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), the squadron participated in the Cuban blockade.
31 Jul–3 Oct 1964: Enterprise, with VA-66 embarked, participated in Operation Sea Orbit, the first circumnavigation of the world by a nuclear task force. The sixty-five day voyage was accomplished without replenishment. The squadron participated in numerous airpower demonstrations during the voyage.
8 Jun 1967: VA-66’s aircraft were part of an Air Wing 6 strike group that was launched to defend USS Liberty (AGTR-5) when she came under attack by the Israelis during the 1967 Six-Day War. When word was received that the attack had been a mistake on the part of the Israelis, the aircraft were recalled.
Jun 1970: VA-66, embarked in USS Forrestal (CVA-59), operated in the Eastern Mediterranean after Americans were taken hostage by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Amman, Jordan.
Oct–Nov 1973: Embarked on USS Independence (CV-62), the squadron operated south of Crete during the Yom Kippur War.
Aug 1974: USS Independence (CV-62) relieved USS America (CV-66) off Cyprus following the 1974 Cypriot coup d’état. During the crisis the American Ambassador was killed and anti-American demonstrations took place which led to the evacuation of U.S. citizens to American vessels.
15 Apr 1980: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) deployed to the Indian Ocean as part of the continuing response to the Iran hostage crisis.
22 Dec 1980: The squadron returned from its deployment to the Indian Ocean after spending a total of 246 days at sea. With only one port visit, the longest at sea period was for 153 days.
Jun 1982: After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon on 6 June, VA-66 operated in the Eastern Mediterranean. During the latter part of June the American carrier forces in the Mediterranean included Eisenhower (CVN-69), Independence (CV-62), Forrestal (CV-59), and John F. Kennedy (CV-67).
24 Jun 1982: VA-66 provided air support during the evacuation of Americans from Beirut, Lebanon, prior to the siege of Beirut by the Israelis.
25 Oct 1983: Due to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, Eisenhower (CVN-69) terminated its visit to Naples and departed for the eastern Mediterranean. The squadron operated in the vicinity of Lebanon until the latter part of November.
7 Mar 1985: Eisenhower cut short a visit to Palma, Spain, and made a high speed transit to the Eastern Mediterranean due to the increased tension in Lebanon.
1 Oct 1986: The Waldos of VA-66 were officially disestablished but continued to operate as a detachment. The detachment continued to operate because its primary mission during the deployment was to provide HARM missile support for the air wing and carrier.
30 Jan 1987: USS Kennedy (CV-67) cancelled its port visit to Malaga, Spain, and made a high speed transit to the eastern Mediterranean due to the increased tension over the Lebanon hostage crisis.
31 Mar 1987: VA-66 Detachment was disestablished.