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A-4E Skyhawk VA-192, USS Ticonderoga, April 1967 LCDR Michael J. Estocin "MOH"
General Background
The A-4 Skyhawk is one of the most successful attack aircrafts ever built. This smallest jet aircraft ever deployed on a carrier was the product of Douglas's Chief Engineer Ed Heinnemann in the 1952. This was the time when a more lightweight aircraft was in demand to fit into those post-war vintage carriers.

The Skyhawk was extensively used during the Cold War period and the Vietnam War by the Navy and the Marines. Because of its small size and powerful performance, the A-4 was also known as the “Heinnemann's Hot Rod”. A total of 2, 960 of Skyhawk were built and many of them were exported to other countries.
The Aircraft
A-4E Skyhawk Bu.No 151073 NM208 belonged to the Operations Officer of VA-192 “Golden Dragons”. On April 20, 1967 LCDR Michael J. Estocin led a Shrike anti-radar attack on Haiphong. His aircraft was damaged by a SAM but he managed to return to the Ticonderoga. On April 26, 1967 he led another attack on Haiphong and again his aircraft was badly damaged by a SAM. With his aircraft burning he managed to fire his missiles at the target and then turn toward the sea but as he approached the coast his fiery aircraft rolled inverted and crashed. Another pilot said he didn’t see any sign of a parachute. LCDR Estocin was considered an MIA until November 10, 1977 when the Secretary of the Navy gave approval for a Presumptive Finding of Death. The cause of death was coded as “Hostile, Died While Captured”. Sadly his remains have never been repatriated. For his many actions during these two missions LCDR Estocin was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is the only Navy pilot to receive the MOH for actions performed during a combat mission. The USS Estocin was named after him.
Specifications :
Engine: 1 x Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6A turbojet, 8500 lb. of thrust
Max speed 673 mph at sea level with a clean aircraft: 636 mph at sea level with a Mk. 28
Cruising speed: 498 mph
Stall speed: 139 mph
Combat ceiling (clean aircraft): 40,500 feet
Runway to 20,000 ft: 4 minutes
Flight distances: 230 miles with a Mk. 28 weapon
680 miles with 2 X 300-gallon drop tanks
Ferry range: 2130 miles
Wingspan: 27 ft 6 in
Length: 41ft 4 in
Height: 15 ft
Wing area: 260 sq ft
Empty: 9,624 lb.
Gross: 18,300 lbs.
Maximum: 22,950 lbs
Armament: 2 x 20 mm cannon with 200 rounds/gun
Maximum weapons load: 8,200 lbs. carried on 5 pylons - 2 pylons under each wing and 1
center-line pylon