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Douglas A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149574, VA-153, USS Coral Sea, 1960s
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
In February 1965 A-4C 149574 was transferred from VA-144 to VA153 “Blue Tail Flies” on board the USS Coral Sea. In Vietnam this aircraft made numerous sorties carrying ordnance such as Mk. 84 2,000 pounds and fuel tanks. On June 25, 1965 while on an armed reconnaissance flight 10 miles north of Thanh Hoa and piloted by CVW-15 CAG, ex-VA153 CO, Cdr. Peter Mongilardi, A-4C 149574 NL/306 was hit by 37mm flak and crashed killing the pilot. Mongilardi became the first CAG to be shot down in the Vietnam War.
Specifications :
Crew: 1 Pilot
Length: 40 ft 3 in
Height: 14 ft 11 in
Wingspan: 27 ft 6 in
Empty Weight: 10,450 lbs
Gross Weight: 24,500 lbs
Loaded: 18,300 lbs
Powerplant: 1 x Wright J-65-W-20 non-afterburning turbojet, 8,200 lbs. of thrust
Combat Radius: 1,000 miles
Max. Speed: 673 mph
Ferry Range: 4 2,130 miles
Service Ceiling: 42,250 ft
Maximum Rate of Climb: 8,440 ft/min