Rocket Hits EA-3B in DaNang
Photos by Roger Sharrer
Text by T. J. Wiley

144848140mmrocketdamage.jpg (54670 bytes)
Damage seen the night of the rocket attack

In September of 1968, VQ-1 had a det in DaNang. During the night the VC staged an attack on the base and planted a 140MM rocket about 5 feet from the nose of 144848 while it was parked in the revetments. The aircraft caught on fire, but a conscientious plane captain, ADJ2 Edward M. Boyd, managed to extinguish the fire. The cockpit was extensively damaged. Due to a shortage of VQ type aircraft, the USN decided to ship the A-3 back to Alameda for repair. It was stripped of back-end gear and arrangements were make to tow the plane through the city of DaNang to the deep water pier over at TienSha.

This was quite an effort, since power poles had to be relocated along the route to allow the plane to pass through the streets. When the day finally came, it was towed to TienSha and loaded on a ship for transport back to the U.S. When they put the plane on the ship, the struts were properly service with nitrogen as per instructions.

The ship sailed and somewhere along the Marianna trench, the ship hit a storm. The storm was large enough and the seas rough enough that the pitching of the deck caused the shock absorber action of the struts to break the tie-downs. The plane came loose and was lost over the side into the drink. It now serves as an artificial reef for the sea life at the bottom of the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.

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The morning after assessment of damage