GUN TRAIN SCOOTER
This Douglas A-4E (BuNo 149993) belongs to VA-72, part of Carrier Air Wing 7 (AG) aboard the USS Independence (CV-62).
The A4 Skyhawk, originally designated the A4D-5 using pre-1962 Navy nomenclature, was affectionally known as the Scooter because of it’s diminutive size.
VA-71, known as the Blue Hawks, was established in 1945 flying F6F Hellcats and served until 1991 when the long-lived squadron was disestablished.
CVW-7 was commissioned in 1943 at NAS Alameda, and embarked on USS Intrepid (CV-11) for combat operations against the Japenese. During the Korean War the air group deployed aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31). Later, aboard the USS Independence CVW-7 became the first all jet air wing.
The USS Independence was a Forrestal Class aircraft carrier with tactical voice radio call-sign of Gun Train. She was followed by the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), and my ship, the USS Constellation (CV-64) the last of the Forestall class which was superseded by the USS Enterprise (CV-65) nuclear carrier.
The A-4E was the first version of the Skyhawks equipped specifically for air support and conventional bombing instead of the nuclear mission for which it was originally designed.