A picture of a A-3 Skywarrior on the deck of the USS Kitty Hawk CV-63

A-3 Skywarrior Photos

(A Whale is what we called it)

on the deck of the USS Kitty Hawk, CV63


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A-3 Skywarrior  (Whale) on the deck of the USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63

Photo by C. Jeff Dyrek

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This aircraft is setup in an Electronics Warfare configuration.

The aircraft is an EA-3B Skywarrior. The "E" means Electronic Warfare. The squadron is the Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1) Detachment Bravo is the only squadron detachment presently serving aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. Three EA-3B Skywarrior aircraft and 39 flight and maintenance personnel are on temporary additional duty (TAD) from their parent squadron, based at NAS Agana, Guam. VQ-1 provides Electronic Warfare Support capability to Carrier Air Wing Eleven. The A-3 Skywarrior was sent with the battle group for extended communications and Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) The man in this picture is Steve Ostier (according to the yearbook) I always remembered him as Fenton, but after 25 years, who knows. If someone knows him please let me know at the bottom of this page.

A-3 Skywarrior Models.

I was in the Navy during the 1960's and was stationed with VAH-123 NAS Whidbey Island. I am looking for information about the A-3 Skywarrior. At the Western Aerospace Museum in Oakland, CA there is a Skywarrior on display.  
VAH-123 was out of Whidbey Island Washington and became the training squadron for VA-128. VA-128 was a training squadron for A-6's.

The Skywarrior was used as a refueling aircraft for the A-6A's and other military planes during the Vietnam era. I believe it was originally built as a bomber but eventually because a refueling aircraft.

I was an AZ3 during my time in the Navy. I was stationed at Whidbey Island and went on training detachments to both Fallon, Nevada and Yuma, Arizona. I did one year active reserve at Moffet Field in Northern California and totally enjoyed my time while serving my country. I even spent a couple weeks on the USS Constellation. It was something I will never forget.


Dear Skip,
Thank you very much for the information. I have placed your information on the only A-3 Skywarrior page that I have. I guess that just like most of the Navy Aircraft, they had many roles. That's why I joined the Navy myself, because we had to be trained in many areas. I would never trade my experiences in the Navy for any civilian job, ever. It was educational, exciting, adventurous, fun and just professional. C. Jeff Dyrek, Webmaster.

A Letter from Mike, one of our readers.

Good photo of the A-3 Skywarrior. The small window behind the cockpit was where the enlisted guy sat. His seat faced backwards by the way. The A-3 was also one of the last birds to use the cable sling type launch system, same as the F-4 Phantom, instead of the holdback link which is now used on current aircraft.  AMH1 M. M. Perkins 1974-1982) Go Navy!

Nice Job on the website.
I spent two years aboard the old Roosevelt (USS Franklin D. Roosevelt - CVA-42) - 1962-64.
I was an ET in ship's company and repaired ship's radar.

I note that the art of nicknaming airplanes seems to be fading. We carried a number of aircraft, many of which were called by unofficial nicknames. Some of the crew probably didn't know the "real" names. You mentioned one - the A-3 Skywarrior. We carried them in a heavy attack squadron eleven (VAH-11). As you mention, the A-3 Sky Warrior was known throughout the fleet as the Whale. The aircraft that we carried were attack configured and were designated A-3D (the D stood for Douglas - the manufacturer). The black joke was A-3D stood for "all three dead, since the aircraft has no ejection seats.

Others that I recall are: WF-2 Tracker "Willy Fudd" (predecessor to E2-C) S2-F Tracer (?) "Stoof" (predecessor to S-3) AD-6 Sky Raider "Spad" (I think the designation was changed later - talk about a bomb truck!) A4-D Sky Hawk "Scooter"

The F-8 Crusader, F-4 Phantom II, A-7 Corsair, F-18 Hornet, F-14 Tomcat all seem to have escaped nicknames - maybe we are getting better at naming aircraft!

The only two aircraft currently in operation (that I know of) that carry nicknames now (other than the Whale) are the S-3 Viking "Hoover" (due to the unique engine noise associated with a high bypass fan engine) and the E-2C Hawkeye "Hummer" (also due to the unique engine/propeller noise created by the Allison T56 engines). 

Concerning the RA-5, she was originally designed to be a supersonic high altitude nuclear delivery aircraft - sort of a shipboard B-70. The bomb bay opened aft and slanted down - the sailors referred to her as the aircraft that s__t it's load. Trouble was that the bomb could get caught up in the slip stream around the aircraft and actually hit the aircraft, or at least cause very large bombing errors. Also, it was a maintenance intensive aircraft and was very quickly relegated to recce work. We did the carrier quals for the A-3J (as it was originally designated) prototypes aboard the old Rosy Boat.

Finally, I take umbrage with your contention that the A-7 is the ugliest aircraft in the inventory. Have you looked at the A-6 lately? I contend that the "flying drumstick" is butt ugly and the A-7 is a beauty queen by comparison.

Thanks for a good walk down memory lane.

Bob Siefker

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