Notes received from Alan Wayne Felton Flanary


   My name is Alton Wayne Flanary, AQB-2. I just received your email concerning the RA5C. I was stationed in Sanford Florida with RVAH1 from 1964 through 1967. I was in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966. I was Aviation Fire Control Technician Second Class and worked on the navigation, radar, and fire control system in a central (BASE) facility both on land and at sea. I have names some of people who were in the squadron with me including LCDR Bell and LT Hutton both of whom were POW’s and released after seven years. LT Hutton was listed as MIA and I was pleased and surprised to see him on TV walking off the plane in Washington after his release. I have cruise books of cruises on the USS Independence to Vietnam in 1965 and to Europe in 1966.  The Independence is now scrap metal. We were one of the first East Coast Carriers (conventional) to round the Horn of Africa to fight in the Pacific.

    I was in Sanford when the RA5C had to be grounded for a time. Six of them crashed within as many weeks due to hydraulic malfunctions.

    I was also on the maiden cruise of the first Intruders. We lost LCDR Jeremiah Denton, US Senator from Alabama on that cruise in an Intruder. He was a POW for over 7 years.

    By the way, you probably already know this but VAH-3 and RVAH-3 was not a deployed combat squadron. They were a land based support squadron in Sanford Florida. All of the RA5C squadrons were later moved to Albany Georgia. Each time a hurricane came by, every plane that could fly went to Olathe KS.

 Lot of nostalgia… Thanks.

 Al Flanary


   Here a few digital pics that I snapped from my cruise book. We crossed the equator 4 times in making this cruise so the Shellback/Pollywog thing was a very big deal. Cooper out of the RVAH-1 Jet Shop was one of the strongest men I have ever known. He was selected as the Shellback Royal Baby. Of course, pollywogs had to kiss the Royal Baby’s belly… don’t make him cry. I am also including a picture of our killed or missing in action list. Notice that we had two killed and two missing. The two killed were in the same RA5C. CDR Matula was the pilot. The plane made a perfect landing but the arresting cable broke at the end of the run-out. We lost others in an RA5C on the shake-down but were not included as part of the mission casualties apparently.

    Anyway, if you would like to see more or better pictures just let me know. I can do better with a flat bed scanner.

 Al Flanary





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