VC-12 & VAW-12 1949-66
VAW-2 established July 6 1948; redesignated VC-12 October 1 1948; redesignated VAW-12 July 2 1956. In 1948 VAW-1 on the West Coast and VAW-2 at NAS Norfolk on the East Coast, were formed to replace the FAETU's (Fleet Aviation Electronics Training Units) VAW-12 was Established as Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron TWO (VAW-2) at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, on 6 July 1948. Within a year, VAW-2 was re-designated Composite Squadron Twelve (VC-12) and relocated to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, where the TBM-3W was replaced with the AD-3W SKYRAIDER and later the AD-4 before they all went to the Royal navy. In July 1955 the squadron was re-designated VAW-12. In 1955 the squadron was re-equipped with the AD5 (later called the A1E.) All the AD series planes carried versions of the APS 20 radar. In 1962 the Squadron, equipped with WF-1 and 2, later E1A and B, moved back to Norfolk, and VAAW-33 which had moved to Quonset from Atlantic City in 1959 took over our AD5s. The WF1 went into operational service in February 1958, serving with Squadrons VAW-11 and VAW-12. It was know as "Willie Fudd" by crews, in reference to its designation code, and sometimes as "Stoof With A Roof". The WF Tracer featured a large fiberglass honeycomb dorsal "saucer" radome with dimensions of 6.1 by 9.14 meters (20 by 30 feet) to accommodate the antenna for its Heseltine APS-82 search radar, and a new tail unit with three fins to compensate for the wake interference of the radome. As the radome blocked the wings from folding upward, they were redesigned to fold backward along the fuselage in classic Grumman fashion. The Tracer had a crew of four, including pilot, copilot, and two radar operators. A total of 89 Tracers were built. In 1966 the squadron divided into 6 new squadrons based on the detachments then at sea. These were shortly equipped with the E2 series
In 1998 a dozen former enlisted men, organized by Bob Marvin, who had kept together from the 1953-5 era and who had flown as radar operators on the AD3W and AD4W met in Portsmouth, RI. to form the reunion group. Their focal point was the book, Sailors In The Sky, written (and very well written, indeed) by one of them, Jack Sauter. A year later a larger gathering in Pensacola included some pilots and commissioned air controllers.
Apr 28 2006 10:35:55:000PM