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Chuck A. Villanueva
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Douglas A-1H Skyraider, Tamiya 1/48th USN Vietnam 1965 “Special”

November 26, 2020 · in Aviation · · 24 · 2.5K

It's the last mission day for the USS Midway (CVA-41) before sailing back home to Alameda, Ca. Conducting operations into North and S. Vietnam. The XO of VA-25 " Fist of the Fleet" CDR Clarence Stoddard, Jr. was planning the last raid into S. Vietnam, their mission would also be one that would drop the 6th million bomb into Vietnam. The carrier was operating out of Dixie Station, the strike to be carried out onto targets in the Mekong Delta. During the whole det were constant nagging from CINCPAC for what seemed like lack of mission taskings being conducted to all the carriers in theater and directly to the CAG's then down to the squadron CO's asking for answers why is that so? One big relevant reason was the lack of ordnance, bombs and rockets, bullets, naphalm every kind of ground ordnance was being used up in mass quantities. So much so that missions were being conducted at half loads just to get aircraft up and out to conduct daily sorties. And to keep the sortie rate up. To keep the REMF from complaining too much. Meanwhile a toilet bowl on the ship has become defective and is about to be tossed overboard, but the ordies of VA-25 rescue the wayward bowl by attaching a tail unit, home made bomb rack and a nose fuse. To commemorate the 6th million bomb dropped the unit is attached to the RH outer bomb rack station on NE/572 "Paper Tiger II". The mission will be flown by CDR Stoddard , his wingman LTCDR Robin Bacon will be flying NE/577 which also had the last remaining wing camera left over from WWII in the fleet. As the aircraft are armed and the flight deck checker crew are cooperating with the squadron in allowing the aircraft to proceed to the cat as they also walk with her in keeping from view the special bomb from the Air Boss and Captain. Just as 572 launches, a shout from the 1mc, "is what the hell is that on the right wing of 572?" As the flight proceeds into the Delta, and arrive on station, CDR Stoddard contacts the FAC(forward air controller) his list of ordnance which the last item on the list is code named "Sani Flush". The FAC doesn't believe it and joins up to see it. Ok, he marks the targets and clears the 2 Skyraiders to prosecute them, first going in is Stoddard, with Bacon flying close to record the event. The toilet comes off and almost hits the FAC's airplane, as a hole in the wind, he can hear it whistle all the way down to the ground. The origin of this whole evolution dates back to the Korean War when it was stated the can drop everything but the kitchen sink. Well not so as a kitchen sink was attached to a thousand pound bomb and dropped showing that yes including the kitchen sink. One of the running jokes on board with air intelligence was about germ warfare and this was another one of those Navy answers to that with the toilet bowl. I know about those situations first hand while I served. Gotta have those fun moments with your squadron mates and we did. Especially when you have a great CO who understands that even though we have a demanding task at hand even during peace time, a little laughter is always good medicine. One slip your dead period. Sadly CDR Stoddard was killed in action in Sept 1966 flying 572, when hit by SAM's over Vinh, first listed MIA, then changed to KIA in 1973.

The kit itself is fun to build. It is one with some unique twists to it than prior builds, one is the use of polycaps to attach the drop tanks and the large 1000lb bombs. The nicely detailed landing gear, drop flaps, the option to open the dive brakes. Having built the Monogram Skyraider, which really is a nice kit, the only negative on that is the cowl is off a bit. Other wise it's another very good Monogram kit with raised panel lines and I really don't care about that detail raised or engraved. The other build is the Hasegawa kit in 72nd scale. Which is fine as well. I used Tamiya Gloss white for the undersurfaces and the flying surfaces and rudder. Gunze acrylic semi gloss Lt Gull Grey for the top surfaces. Eduards zoom set for the cockpit and seat belts. Quick boost canvas rear canopy actuator cover on the rear deck. Brengun models for the Toilet seat, decals for VA-25 as it appeared in November 1965. I used Tams decals for the stencils which performed pretty well. The gun barrels and antenna on the vertical tail are from Master. I also used Tamiya Smoke for the exhaust trails along the side of the fuselage, oil and grunge wash over the drop tank and in around the leakage areas under the engine and center fuselage areas. Overall a very fun and nice build. I hope yall enjoy the build. I want to wish everyone a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Stay safe and healthy.


Fly Navy

Reader reactions:
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51 additional images. Click to enlarge.

24 responses

  1. ***T HOT! An unusual load out there, with a mix of newer and older ordinance. Must have been during the bomb shortage. Great looking builds!

  2. Great touch! Nice one, Chuck.

  3. Thanks Gary, happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Great write-up as always, Chuck, and very neat modelling on this classic kit. Definitely liked.

  5. Great job and a great piece of history. When I first saw the photo of the toilet on that A-1 back in USAF pilot school in 1971, I laughed soooo hard. For those of us that were there, it was a fitting statement for the War.

    • Thanks Tom, when I first saw the image as well I thought it was the usual Navy having fun as a display. It was later on I found out they actually flew a mission and dropped it. Seeing the video confirmed it.

  6. Chuck you have done it again and built up another very nice looking plane. This is a kit that I have always wanted to build. Looks fantastic and I pressed the liked button too.

    Stay safe and Happy Thanksgiving

    • Hey Louis, yes it is very much so an enjoyable project. Down the road a ways i will get the USAF Sandy built up. Will see how that plays out as the new year approaches rather quickly. Thanks and I hope you and the family had a filling Thanksgiving day.

  7. This is an amazing build and an equally amazing story, Chuckn @uscusn!
    I can imagine the "atmosphere" at the deck upon seeing the "weapon"!

  8. With extreme severe restrictions during combat operations and the environment, just to get the "bomb' loaded onto the aircraft was pure luck. A lot of people had to buy into the idea to sneak it on deck past prying eyes of the brass and the usual loud mouths around that just want to make points with the same brass. You could say there was some clever wheeling and dealing made to succeed with the plan. Then to wait for your turn to get to the cat as the launching evolution cycle is taking place. Just a quick glance from the Air boss or Captain or anyone else looking down could've put the kabash to the whole thing. But once she launches from the cat and into the air, very few will recall the plane to return, just not a good thing to do especially with the REMF on your tail with the low sortie rate and all kinds of paperwork. Besides it was the last day on station before departing for home. The Navy even today very little wiggle room to do anything out of the ordinary, it depends on the command and those in leadership that at times will go with the flow and make calls that may not sit well with the boys at CINCPAC for instance they can be rather stodgy, then there are those that are by the book and just won't take chances. Usually it was the right call to make and when things work out for the best so be it.

    • Everything you mentioned here sounds very familiar as we had a similar group of people in the Army as well. Funny thing is that we called them REMF’s too ! I haven’t heard that word in a long while now. You brought a smile to my face. Thanks buddy ...

    • Fantastic work, Chuck! @uscusn I had seen the photos before, but never heard the story behind it.

      I notice that you don't explain what REMF means! Perhaps that is best. LoL! Like Louis, I haven't heard that acronym in a long while.

  9. Great story, Great build Chuck. I hope you are prepared to tell this story to everyone who sees your model.

  10. Nice job on this one Chuck. I knew the Skyraider could carry a lot of c**p, but never the crapper as well. Great story.

  11. Nice build and interesting read

  12. Thanks Anthony, appreciate that.

  13. Turned out great Chuck. Well done.

  14. Well done! Nice looking 'Raider, and I always get a kick out of the "special ordnance" delivered.

  15. Hi Greg, thanks yes love the special ones myself.

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