- No additional data to-date
- Blue Nemesis
- Grey Nights
- 02 MAY 1949 as VC-3
- 01 JUL 1956 redesignated VF(AW)-3
- 01 APR 1963: Decommissioned
- 02 MAY 1949: NAS North Island, CA. as VC-3
- OCT 1949: NAS Moffett Field, CA. as VC-2
- 01 JUL 1956: NS Moffett Field, CA. as VF(AW)-3
- 1950s: NORAD
- Tailcodes: “NP” through 1956, “TT” from 1956.
- None known with A4D-1 Skyhawk.
- Date Assigned: Aircraft
- APR 1956: Douglas F-4D Skyray
- Also flew: F4U-4N, F4U-5N, F4U-5NL, F6F-5N, F3D-2, FJ-3, FJ-3M, F7U-3, AD-2Q, AD-3, AD-3Q, AD-3N, TBM-3E, SNB-5, F9F-6, TV-2, F2H-3, F2H-2N, F3H-2M, F3H-2N, F4D-1, F8U-1.
- 27 SEP 1956:Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk *
- A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to VFAW-3
- Circa 1959: CDR John "Tex" O'Neil.
VFAW-3 (Fighter Squadron, All Weather), was in the late 1950's the only U. S. Naval element of the North American Defense Command (NORAD). NORAD's duty was to detect aircraft approaching Alaska, Canada, and the Contiguous United States ("CONUS" in "milspeak"), to verify the incoming aircraft against filed flight plans, and aircraft would be "scrambled" to investigate when necessary.
- SEP 1956: The first Navy unit on the west coast to receive the A4D-1 Skyhawk for evaluation.
- 29 MAR 1957
LCDR Patrick F. Cunningham, CO., punched out of A4D-1 BuNo 139924 over San Joaquin Valley, CA
Events VC-3 was Airpac’s carrier-based night fighter squadron from 1949 through 1 July 1956 when it was redesignated VF(AW)-3. The squadron continued in a unique training role until disestablished on 2 May 1958. On the same day Fleet All Weather Training Unit U.S. Pacific Fleet (FAWTUPAC) was redesignated VF(AW)-3 at NAS North Island, CA. The two units have no connection other than designation and are completely separate organizations for historical and lineage purposes.
VC-3 provided night attack and fighter detachments (or teams) to Pacific Fleet carriers from 1949. The night attack role was transferred to VC-35 in May 1950 with VC-3 becoming a night fighter only outfit out of Moffett Field.
COMPRON-THREE was heavily involved through the Korean War flying Vought Corsairs (mostly F4U-5N and -5NL) on night heckler and night fighter missions. Squadron member LT Guy Bordelon was officially credited with five air-to-air kills during the Korean War, making him the only recognized Navy ace of the war.
After the Korean War VC-3 continued providing night fighter teams to AirPac carriers with F2H-3 Banshees arriving in 1953 to replace the Corsairs. By 1955 night flying was spreading to the rest of the Air Group and dedicated VF(N) units were not required. The final VC-3 team returned home in 1956.
Starting in mid-1954 the squadron became an transition training unit for many of the hot new swept-wing jets entering the fleet. Under legendary CAPT “Jig Dog” Ramage, the Grey Knights provided initial training for aircraft like the Douglas F4D Skyray, McDonnell F3H Demon and Vought F8U Crusader for senior officers headed for fleet duty. It also led “Project Cutlass”, which was the fleet introduction of the radical Vought F7U Cutlass.
Redesignated VF(AW)-3 in July 1956, by 1957 the unit was calling itself the “School of Supersonic Knowledge” and functioning not unlike a replacement squadron which became the blueprint for the RAG system introduced in 1958. With its mission complete the Moffett Field-based VF(AW)-3 was disestablished on 2 May 1958.
The second VF(AW)-3, based at NAS North Island, worked for the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) as an interceptor unit with F3D and F4D (F-6) aircraft. It is a historically distinct squadron and not associated with the first, Moffett Field unit.
Naval Aviation News, June 1958: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1958/jun58.pdf
DEC56 NAN photo of a refueling improvement at NAS Moffett Field, fueling a Skyhawk from VF(AW)-3.
DEC56 NAN photo.
- 24OCT to 31DEC 1962: Detachment "Echo" of VF(AW)-3 awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for participating in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
- NAS Key West: VFAW-3 was awarded (twice) NORAD’s "best performing unit" trophy for their service in NORAD.
- John Gabbard