The Broncos Of VAL-4



 BUNO: 155393   5th Bronco Built |•| 4th Marine OV-10A   Side # 115 
 Replacement For 155490 Stationed At Binh Thuy 
155393 arrived in Binh Thuy on February 6, 1970 after it was shipped to VAL-4 on January 12, 1970 by the Acceptance & Transfer Unit at NAS North Island as a replacement for Buno 155503. 155393 was the third OV-10A that VAL-4 lost when it crashed fifty-two days later near Hue Duc, 20 miles north of Rach Gia after being hit by ground fire. It was struck from the records as a combat loss on March 30, 1970. LCdr. John Westerman and Lt(jg). Pete Ford ejected and were Wounded In Action.
 
See: VAL-4 Lost Broncos
 
 BUNO: 155394   8th Bronco Built |•| 5th Marine OV-10A   Side # 111 
 Replacement For 155503 Stationed At Binh Thuy 
It was shipped to VAL-4 on January 12, 1970 by the Acceptance & Transfer Unit at NAS North Island and it arrived in Binh Thuy on February 6, 1970 as a replacement for Buno 155493.
 
Lt(jg). Don Hawkins (Check Crew OIC) reports that while he was in the Philippines on January 13, 1971 the aircraft was involved in an in-flight mishap when the Pilotís - Lt(jg). Ron Beeley's left canopy came open on take-off with Lt(jg). Lynn Henish in the back seat. You might remember that, by a rather poor design, the canopy was mechanically locked by two pins that went into receivers at either end of the canopy frame. It was possible to lock the canopy without the pins being properly seated and the canopy could open in flight. On this flight, the canopy opened on take-off and the pilot's map bag fell out and was ingested by the left engine unknowingly causing damage to the pitch reverse on that engine. The aircraft came around for a landing and as was normal, reverse was selected on both engines. With reverse working only on the #2 engine, the aircraft departed the runway and cart-wheeled on its wing tips and nose in the elephant grass. It must have been a real exciting ride. Had the two pilots ejected as they said they started to do, they probably would have paralleled the ground and ruined their whole day, but by riding it out they were able to walk away.
  • Chinook Bringing 155394 Back To Navy Binh Thuy
  • 155394 Home For Repairs
  • Broke Bronco On The Ramp At Navy Binh Thuy
  • In The Hangar: A Close Up Look At The Damage
  • Flip Side Of 394 In The Hangar
     
    The plane was repaired, but eight months later 155394 became the sixth Bronco VAL-4 lost when it crashed approximately 15 miles south-east of Phu Vinh after being hit by ground fire and was struck as a Combat loss on 10/29/71. Lt.'s Segars And Smith ejected and were WIA.
     
    See: VAL-4 Lost Broncos
  •  
     BUNO: 155405   26th Bronco Built |•| 16th Marine OV-10A   Side # 111 
     Replacement For 155394 Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    VMO-6 at Futema, Okinawa, Japan transferred it to VAL-4 on November 20, 1971 as a replacement for 155394. Flown to NAS Cubi Point on April 5, 1972 when the squadron was decommissioned. Now N414DF with the California Forestry Department.
     
     
     BUNO: 155417   48th Bronco Built |•| 28th Marine OV-10A   Side # 105 
     Replacement For 155497 Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    VMO-2 in Da Nang RVN sent 155417 to VAL-4 on November 2, 1970 as a replacement for 155497. Flown to NAS Cubi Point on April 5, 1972 when the squadron was decommissioned.
     
    Converted to an OV-10D+ in 1991. transferred to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in July 1994. transferred to the State Department on October 1, 1996. Converted to a spray configuration and sent to Columbia on February 25, 1997. Last known to be at a technical school in New York.
     
     
     BUNO: 155425   64th Bronco Built |•| 36th Marine OV-10A   Side # Unknown 
     Supplemental Aircraft Arrived Binh Thuy 
    Arrived at Binh Thuy from VMO-2 in Da Nang on February 19, 1971. Departed VAL-4 for VMO-6 on June 23, 1971.
    (This aircraft was misidentified on the Buno list in Kit Lavell's book "The Flying Black Ponies" and other places as 155427. Apparently both 155425 and 155427 were transferred to NAS Cubi Point and 155425 was redirected to VAL-4. Naval History and Heritage Aircraft History Card Records indicate 155425 was attached to VAL-4 and not 155427. Verified by VAL-4 pilot logbook entries for March & April 1971 by Don Hawkins, Mike Lamberto and Jim Hanks)
     
    Transferred to Morocco 5/4/81.†Suspected to have crashed in April 1984.
     
     
     BUNO: 155458   130th Bronco Built |•| 69th Marine OV-10A   Side # 110 
     Replacement For 155495 Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Came to VAL-4 from VMO-6 on June 22, 1970. On April 5, 1971, Lt. Howard Hotchkiss Was Wounded In Action While Flying 155458. A Round Entered The Cockpit, Richocheted Off The Landing Gear Handle, Passed Under His Left Leg, Went Through The Ejection Handle, And Penetrated His Right Leg Slightly. He Flew The Aircraft Back To Binh Thuy And Landed Safely. The Back Seater Was A Marine Observer And Could Not Help "Hotch" Fly The Plane.
     
    Transferred to the Boneyard in Tucson, AZ on June 6, 1980 and was stricken from the record on August 8, 1983 after being damaged in a wind storm.
     
     
     BUNO: 155460   134th Bronco Built |•| 71st Marine OV-10A   Side # 101 
     Original Aircraft, Remained At North Island 
    Received new from the factory, 155460 was rec'd by VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on October 2, 1968. 155460 was transferred to VAL-4 when the squadron commissioned on January 3, 1969 and then back to VS-41 on February 28, 1969 to be used for training replacement pilots at NAS North Island.
     
    On August 7, 1970 155460 was destroyed in a crash at North Island. Former Black Pony Instructor Pilot Lt. Bill "Flash" Leebern and Student Pilot Lt. Thomas Lange were both killed.
     
    See: Crash Report
     
     
     BUNO: 155461   136th Bronco Built |•| 72nd Marine OV-10A   Side # 102 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Vung Tau 
    Received new from the factory, 155461 was received by VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on October 3, 1968 and transferred to VAL-4 on January 3, 1969 when the squadron was commissioned. To Binh Thuy on July 21, 1970 when Det. Bravo in Vung Tau closed. Crashed at sea on February 9, 1972, 155461 became the seventh Bronco that VAL-4 lost. Pilot Lt. Robert Lutz was Killed In Action and Observer 1st Lt. Eugene Brindle ejected and survived the crash.
     
    See: VAL-4 Lost Broncos
     
     
     BUNO: 155462   138th Bronco Built |•| 73rd Marine OV-10A   Side # 103 
     Original Aircraft Remained At North Island 
    Received new from the factory, 155462 was received by VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on October 8, 1968 then transferd to VAL-4 on January 3, 1969 when the squadron was commissioned and then back to VS-41 on February 27, 1969 to be used in the training of replacement pilots. transferred to Columbia in 1980 and then to Morocco in 1981.
     
     
     BUNO: 155463   140th Bronco Built |•| 74th Marine OV-10A   Side # 104 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Received new from the factory, 155463 arrived at VS-41 - NAS North Island, California on October 9, 1968 and was transfered to VAL-4 on January 10, 1969. When the squadron decommissioned, 155463 was flown to NAS Cubi Point. Aircraft was destroyed in a landing accident on July 9, 1974.
     
     
     BUNO: 155470   154th Bronco Built |•| 81st Marine OV-10A   Side # 105 
     Original Aircraft, Remained At North Island 
    Received new from the factory, 155470 was rec'd by VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on October 2, 1968. 155460 was transferred to VAL-4 when the squadron commissioned on January 3, 1969 and then back to VS-41 on February 28, 1969 to be used for training replacement pilots at NAS North Island.
     
    Converted to an OV-10D+ this aircraft is now flown for Mosquito Control by Beaufort County South Carolina.
     
     
     BUNO: 155471   156th Bronco Built |•| 82nd Marine OV-10A   Side # 106 & 101 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Received new from the factory, 155471 was rec'd by VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on November 2, 1968 and transferred to VAL-4 on January 16, 1969. Flown to NAS Cubi Point on April 5, 1972 when the squadron was decommissioned. Now N410DF with the California Forestry Department.
     
    155471 is the aircraft whose nose tire was reportedly shot by the VAL-4 Maintenance Officer LCdr. Bill Bartlett for "failure to perform properly" causing Skipper Marty Schuman to bounce this Bronco on the Portable Steel Plate (PSP) runway at Chu Lai while Admiral Zumwalt was riding in the back seat.
    See: Marty - 106 - Chu Lai
     
     BUNO: 155472   158th Bronco Built |•| 83rd Marine OV-10A   Side # 107 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Received new from the factory, 155472 arrived at VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on November 2, 1968 and transferred to VAL-4 on January 3, 1969. On May 25, 1969 shortly after VAL-4 began flight operations in the Republic of Vietnam Lt. Pete Russell was Killed In Action while flying this aircraft. Rear seater Lt. Jeff Johnson flew the aircraft back to Binh Thuy. Converted to an OV-10D+ in October of 1991. Through the efforts of Pete Russell's brother, 155472 was transferred to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida in October of 2004. ALt.hough it is still configured as an OV-10D+, it is on display in the original green VAL-4 paint scheme.
     
     
     BUNO: 155473   160th Bronco Built |•| 84th Marine OV-10A   Side # 108 
     Original Aircraft - Remained At NAS North Island 
    Received new from the factory, 155473 was rec'd by VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on November 21, 1968. When the squadron was commissioned it was transferred to VAL-4 and then back to VS-41 on February 28, 1969 to be used for training replacement pilots. Converted to an OV-10D in December 1978 and eventually to an OV-10D+. 155473 was painted in Desert Sand paint while serving with VMO-2 at MCAS Camp Pendleton before deploying for Operations Desert Storm & Desert Shield. Transfered to the Department of State in November 1998.
     
     
     BUNO: 155474   162nd Bronco Built |•| 85th Marine OV-10A   Side # 116 & 102 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Received new from the factory, 155474 was accepted by VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on November 21, 1968. Transferred to VAL-4 when the squadron was commissioned on January 3, 1969. Flown to NAS Cubi Point when the squadron decommissioned. Converted to an OV-10D+ in 1972 and went on to serve with VMO-2 in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. 155474 was acquired by an aviation technical school in Burlington, Vermont.
     
     
     BUNO: 155475   164th Bronco Built |•| 86th Marine OV-10A   Side # 101 & 110 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Vung Tau 
    Received new from the factory, 155475 was rec'd by VS-41 at NAS North Island, California on November 14, 1968 and transferred to VAL-4 on January 3, 1969 when the squadron was commissioned. Flown to NAS Cubi Point on April 5, 1972 when the squadron decommissioned. Currently N407DF flying with the California Forestry Department.
     
     
     BUNO: 155480   174th Bronco Built |•| 91st Marine OV-10A   Side # Unknown 
     Replacement For 155393 Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Sent to VAL-4 by VMO-6 at MCAS Futema on Okinawa, Japan. Arrived at Binh Thuy on April 29, 1970. Flown to NAS Cubi Point when the squadron decommissioned on April 5, 1972. Currently flown as N408DF with the California Department of Forestry.
     
     
     BUNO: 155490   194th Bronco Built |•| 101st Marine OV-10A   Side # 111 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Received new from the factory, 155490 was accepted by VAL-4 at NAS North Island on January 12, 1969. This airframe was only seven months old when it became VAL-4's first combat loss. Patrolling near the Three Sisters Mountains 45 miles west of Saigon the night of July 19, 1969, 155490 was struck by enemy fire and crashed near Ap Bac, Chau Doc Province, South Vietnam.
     
    Per operational diary for US Navy Squadron VAL-4:
    "Bu No 155490 was shot down by enemy ground fire Saturday night, July 12 [1969]. Both pilots are classified as missing in action but there is little reason for hope. The airplane was observed to be receiving fire at 2,700 feet aLt.itude, enter a shallow dive, and strike the top of a mountain 1,700 feet high. Explosion and fire ensued. No ejection seat rocket flame or inflated parachutes were in evidence. Air cover remained over the area all night and the next day, monitoring emergency radio frequencies, but received no signals.
     
    A survey of the crash site from the air the next day revealed that the aircraft had broken up upon initial contact with the top of the mountain and spewed parts over a wide area for several hundred yards down the mountainside. Since the mountains and valley below are occupied by enemy forces and there is no suitable terrain to land a helicopter in the area, there is no intention at this time for further investigation at the crash site.
     
    Since there was no radio transmission from the aircraft and that it appeared to be out of control after being hit by the ground fire, it is concluded that both pilots probably received fatal or incapacitating injuries prior to the crash"
     
    Both crew - Lt. Aubrey Grady Martin (pilot) and Lt.(jg) Roy Dean Sikkink (observer) - posted as MIA/KIA. The body of Lt. Martin was later found, and repatriated to the US on 31 July 1974, but not formally identified until 14 June 1977. The remains of Lt. Sikkink were Repatriated on 19 July 1969 (Returned to US soil) but also not formally identified until 14 June 1977
     
    See:
    Flight Safety Foundation Crash Database And VAL-4 Lost Broncos
     
     
     BUNO: 155491   196th Bronco Built |•| 102nd Marine OV-10A   Side # 112 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Vung Tau 
    Received new from the factory, 155491 was accepted by VAL-4 at NAS North Island on January 15, 1969. To Binh Thuy on July 21, 1970 when Det. Bravo in Vung Tau closed. On April 5, 1972 it was transfered to VMO-6 at MCAS Futema, Okinawa, Japan. It was struck from USMC records and transferred to Morocco on March 13, 1981.
     
     
     BUNO: 155493   200th Bronco Built |•| 104th Marine OV-10A   Side # 113 & 115 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Received new from the factory, 155493 was accepted by VAL-4 at NAS North Island on January 27, 1969. When the squadron decommissioned on April 5, 1972 it was transfered to VMO-6 at MCAS Futema, Okinawa, Japan. Converted to an OV-10D+ in 1991. The airframe was last known to be in parts at the National Vietnam War Museum east of Mineral Wells, Texas.
     
     
     BUNO: 155494   202nd Bronco Built |•| 105th Marine OV-10A   Side # 114 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Vung Tau 
    Received new from the factory, 155494 arrived at NAS North Island on January 23, 1969 and was flown to NAS Cubi Point on April 5, 1972 when the squadron decommissioned. Converted from "A" to "D+" in 1990. It was a Desert Storm Veteran and returned aboard ship in June 1991. Transferred to the MCAS El Toro museum late 1993. Was moved to MCAS Mirmar, CA Command Museum in 1999.
     
     
     BUNO: 155495   204th Bronco Built |•| 106th Marine OV-10A   Side # 113 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Was received new from the factory at NAS North Island on January 21, 1969. Fourth Bronco that VAL-4 lost in Vietnam on June 7, 1970 near an island in the Mekong River, five miles northeast of Vinh Long. LCdr. Jere Barton was Killed in action and LCdr. Jimmie Hanks was Wounded in Action.
     
    See: VAL-4's Written Off Broncos
     
     
     BUNO: 155496   206th Bronco Built |•| 107th Marine OV-10A   Side # 103 & 116 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Vung Tau 
    Came to VAL-4 new from the factory at NAS North Island on January 28, 1969. To Binh Thuy on July 21, 1970 when Det. Bravo in Vung Tau closed. Transferred to VMO-6 when the squadron decommissioned at MCAS Futema, Okinawa, Japan on April 5, 1972. Now being operated as N421DF by the California Forestry Department.
     
     
     BUNO: 155497   208th Bronco Built |•| 108th Marine OV-10A   Side # 105 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Binh Thuy 
    Received new from the factory, 155497 joined VAL-4 at NAS North Island on February 7, 1969. It was the fifth Bronco VAL-4 lost in combat on June 7, 1970 after being hit by ground fire near the village of Xom Thong Xoai, South Vietnam. Lt.(jg). Ed Bastarache and Lt(jg). Pete Ford - ejected safely, and were rescued. This was Lt(jg). Ford's second ejection from an OV-10A - he ejected from 155393 on March 30 1970.
     
    See: VAL-4 Lost Broncos
     
     
     BUNO: 155503   220th Bronco Built |•| 114th Marine OV-10A   Side # 115 
     Original Aircraft Stationed At Vung Tau 
    155503 was the last OV-10A Bronco Built for the Marine Corps. It arrived new from the factory at VAL-4 - NAS North Island on February 17, 1969. It was the second VAL-4 Bronco lost while patrolling the Saigon Long Tau shipping channel in the Rung Sat Special Zone ten months later on December 20, 1969.
     
    The pilot advised the Moon River Naval Operations Center that he was descending to investigate a sampan at about 4:45 PM; the Center was unable to contact the flight after that radio transmission. After twenty minutes of silence, the Vung Tau VAL-4 alert crew was scrambled to search for the missing aircraft. The burning wreckage site was spotted 10 minutes later in the swampy Rung Sat Special Zone, 8 miles north of Vung Tau.
     
    At the time there was no visible evidence to indicate the cause of the crash, but the area was definitely hostile where ground fire was often encountered. Both crew - Lt.(jg) Joel Sandberg, USN, and Capt Carl Long, USMC were KIA. Partial remains of Lt.(jg) Joel Sandberg were recovered about a month later and the remains of Capt Carl Edwin Long were recovered and returned to the United States in 1992. Carl's remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Site 50 of Section 68) In Washington D.C., on September 16, 2004.
     
    See: VAL-4 Lost Broncos and Carl Long Tribute
     
     
     BUNO: 155395 • 155396   Sixth & Seventh USMC OV-10A Bronco Built   Honorable Mention 
     YOV-10D Night Observation GunShip (NOGS) Broncos: Binh Thuy June - October 1971 
    The Marines wanted to make more of the Bronco by adding new sensors and heavier armament. North American Rockwell modified Bureau Numbers 155395 and 155396 to "YOV-10D" configuration in 1970. The gun sponsons were removed and a three-barrel General Electric M197 20 millimeter Gatling cannon in a turret was added under the rear fuselage. The Bronco's cargo space was used to accommodate the turret system and cannon ammunition. The nose was extended 30 inches to accommodate a turret-mounted "forward looking infrared (FLIR)" video imager.
     
    After stateside tests at NAS China Lake, the two YOV-10Ds were sent to Vietnam for combat evaluation with VAL-4. Before & after the NOGS operated with the Black Ponies in 1971, average 20 mm ammunition usage was 5,138 rounds a month; from June 5 to August 13, 1971 the average usage went up to 50,527 rounds as the Black Ponies & NOGS fired 151,580 rounds.
     
    The YOV-10Ds flew 207 missions with 275 confirmed enemy kills and 23 injured, 63 sampans were destroyed and at least 30 damaged, 39 structures were damaged and14 weredestroyed, 19 secondary fires were noted and 36 secondary explosions were heard, 7 bunkers were destroyed and 19 damaged and 4 supply caches were destroyed/damaged.
     
    See: Light Attack Squadron FOUR Command History - 1971
    And Photo of 155395 at China Lake
     



     
    E-Mail Suggestions, Comments, Additions, Changes, Revisions or Corrections to: Bob@blackpony.org