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VA-22 Fighting Redcocks
NAS Lemoore, California
Attack Squadron 22 - VA-22
USS Midway Pineapple Cruise (Hawaii)
October 7 - November 6, 1964
USS Midway CVA- 41
USS Midway CVA-41


Bob SwansonJuly 3, 1964 Seaman Apprentice (SA) Bob Swanson commenced a sea duty tour with Attack Squadron Twenty Two (VA-22).

October 2, 1964, Attack Squadron 22 (VA-22) changed command. Commander (Cmdr.) Claude E. Duchow took command of the squadron from Cmdr. R. S. Smith who had been commanding officer from September 12, 1963.

VA-22 packed the cruise boxes and set off from NAS Lemoore for Naval Air Station Alameda (NAS Alameda) to board the USS Midway for Cruise to Hawaii and operations in Hawaiian waters and a STRIKEX (Strike Exercise) off the coast of California. 

October 06, 1964, the new Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Claude E. Duchow crashed in an A-4C (BuNo 149496) while landing at NAS Alameda.

Crash Kills Commander - San Mateo Times, San Mateo, Ca., Tuesday, October 6, 1964, pg. 1.

ALAMEDA (AP) - The crash of a jet fighter-bomber today killed Cmdr. Claude E. Duchow, commanding officer of Attack Squadron 22, based at Naval Air Station, Lemoore, Kings County. 

The one-seater struck the seawall at Alameda Naval Air Station at 7:14 a.m. and exploded. 

Commander Duchow is survived by his widow, Edna, and four children at Lemoore.

One witness said be saw the plane dissolve into "an orange ball of flame" heard and explosion, followed quickly by another Air Station spokesman said Commander Duchow's plane was coming in for a landing under radar control and was waved off. There was another plane on the runway.

The A4B Skyhawk, rocketing through a haze which hung over the water, was about 50 feet up.

It was one of 12 flown from Lemoore for service aboard the carrier Midway. 

October 6, 1964 CDR E. H. Schorz becomes acting Commanding Officer of VA-22. 

October 7, 1964 the USS Midway Departed NAS Alameda for Hawaiian waters.

October 17, 1964 VA-22 Aviator Lt. Paul M. Grafton was landing his A4-C Skyhawk aboard Midway and crashed into the A4C of Lt. Warner F. Lee. Lt. Lee sitting on the flight deck. Lt. Lee surveyed the crash but Lt. Grafton ejected and was killed on impact.

Airman George M. Lipe Jr. was struck by one of the aircraft. In an effort to save Airman Lipe the mess deck  was crowded with shipmates lined up to donate blood. His wounds were to severe and our shipmate Airman George Lipe Jr. passed away. 

Airman George W. Lipe JrHayward Flier Dies In Carrier Crash - Oakland Tribune Tues., Oct. 20 1964

Investigators today are trying to determine the cause of an unusual accident aboard the carrier Midway which claimed the lives of a Navy pilot and a flight deck crewman.

The dead were identified as Airman George W. Lipe Jr., of 27879 Havana Ave., Hayward, and Lt. Paul M. Grafton, who lived at Lemoore Naval Air Station.

The accident occurred Saturday night while the Alameda based carrier was conducting air operations near Hawaii.

Grafton's A4 Skyhawk jet was landing on the carrier when it crashed into another aircraft still on the flight deck.

The other jet, piloted by Lt. Warner F. Lee who was not injured, had just landed and was being towed off the deck.

Airman Lipe, who was married just a month ago, was at the front of Lee's aircraft directing it. He was struck down during the crash and fatally injured. He leaves his widow Eva. 

Witnesses said Grafton ejected from his plane at the moment of impact. It was not known whether he ejected intentionally or whether the ejection seat was accidentally fired.

There was also no explanation of why the flight deck was not cleared before Lt. Grafton came for his landing.

Lieutenant Paul M. GraftonLieutenant Paul M. Grafton '55 U.S.N.R.
Paul was born at Carney Hospital on May 30, 1937, to Edmund Grafton and Mary (Kelly) Grafton. Paul had two sisters, Mary Anne and Liz, and two brothers, David and Vincent. 

He attended the Willard School in West Quincy and then on to Archbishop Williams High School, where he participated in wrestling, hockey and baseball. Paul enjoyed high jumping at the quarries in West Quincy with his friends. He raced both small and larger class sailboats in college. 

Paul went on to Maritime Academy and joined the Navy while attending school. He was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Wrangell and the Destroyer Leader U.S.S. Norfolk. Paul attended Naval Air Station in Florida for basic training and advanced training at Kingsville, Texas. He was a Navy pilot flying an A4B Skyhawk aircraft on board the Aircraft Carrier CVA 41 U.S.S. Midway when he lost his life on October 17, 1964, during the Vietnam conflict. Paul made a promise with a classmate and close friend, for each to watch over the other's family. From October 1964 to this day, Captain Harry Cannon has called me every month and kept me on an even keel. 

Yes, I still miss you Paul, Thank You and God Bless. You and our other five heroes gave your lives for us and we have the privilege of honoring you today. Please remember all those that have served are serving and those that will serve. Our prayers are with all those that gave their lives for our freedom. David P. Grafton (Brother) _ 

When I first met Paul, he was assigned to the U.S.S Norfolk, based in Norfolk, Virginia. He loved the Navy, his Sunbeam car, and any water sport. We were married in December 1962. His desire was to become a naval aviator, rather than remain in the surface warfare branch of the Navy. After receiving his wings he was ordered to Light Attack Squadron VA-22 based at Lemoore, California, flying A4 aircraft. When Paul died he left behind two children, Brian, who was two at the time, and Paula Michele (named after Paul) who was born after his death. Babs Demand (Paul's widow) 

October 20, 1964
Captain Donald M. Wyand -USN CDR Donald. M. Wyand took over VA-22 as Commanding Officer from acting Commanding Officer CDR E. H. Schor.

In October 1964, he was ordered to the "Fighting Redcocks" of Attack Squadron TWENTY-TWO as Commanding Officer.  In 1965 Captain WYAND participated in 161 combat missions in Southeast Asia from USS MIDWAY.  He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, fifteen Air Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star and Palm, and his squadron was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. (More about Commander Wyand)

November 2, 1964 Bob Swanson promoted to Seaman (SN).

November 6, 1964 the USS Midway returned to NAS Alameda. I was transferred on Noveber 13, 1964 to Va-113 Detachment Quebec (Det Q).

USS Midway
USS Midway is now a Museum in San Diego, California.

Presidential Unit Citation
Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation
Navy Unit Commendation (Four Awards)
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Three Awards)
Battle Efficiency Award (Five Awards)
Navy Expeditionary Medal (Four Awards)
China Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
World War Two Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal (Three Awards)
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Seven Awards)
Vietnam Service Medal (Five Awards)
Southwest Asia Campaign Medal (Two Awards)
Humanitarian Service Medal
Sea Service Ribbon (17 Awards)
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

CVW-2CVW-2 - VA-22 was with Carrier Air Wing TWO until 1968-69


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