VAQ/VAK-308 “Griffins” Tactical Aerial Refueling Squadron Home » NAS Units » VAQ/VAK-308 “Griffins” Tactical Aerial Refueling Squadron

vak-308-griffins-patchAs a result of the overhaul of the Naval Air Reserve, at NAS Alameda, California on May 2, 1970, VAQ-308, under the command of CDR Gregory Bambo Jr., was the first squadron of the first reserve Carrier Air Group to be commissioned.

Comprised of a unique complement of civilian reservists and active duty personnel, VAQ-308 was assigned KA-3B’s. At 0750, November 10, 1970, VAQ-308’s Skywarrior, made the first arrested landing for the newly formed Carrier Air Group 30. The landing was made during low ceilings and 14 foot seas aboard USS TICONDERGA (CVS-14) while cruising approximately 100 miles southwest of San Clemente Island. Never before had non-active duty reservists been day and night carrier qualified!

This was the first A3 Skywarrior and the first Heavy Attack Squadron ever assigned to the Naval Air Reserve. VAQ-308 along with its later formed sister squadron, VAQ-208, established a new precedence by flying combat support missions in S.E. Asia during the Vietnam War with civilian reservists (not recalled to Active Duty) during short leaves of absence from their civilian occupations.

The squadron supported peacetime as well as critical emergency deployments to the Indian Ocean (e.g., during the India-Pakistan conflict in 1971 and the transfer of aircraft to Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973). The AERREFRON designation was adopted on October 1, 1979, thus making VAK-308 and VAK-208 the only Navy units ever to have been given air refueling as their primary mission. After adding over 19 years to the “Whale’s” already long operational tenure, VAK-308 was decommissioned at NAS Alameda on September 30, 1989.

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— provided by Mr. Robert M. Cieri and Mr. William T. Larkins

13 thoughts on “VAQ/VAK-308 “Griffins” Tactical Aerial Refueling Squadron

  1. I am looking for any pictures of my father. His name is LCDR Ron MacDougall. He passed away back in 1997. I would appreciate anything at all.
    Ron MacDougall ( son ).

  2. Sorry for your loss ?. I was OPS from 1982-1985. Salute to your father and Blessings to All. AZ3 John Dewey Denison, USN

  3. I don’t have any pictures of your father however, I served with him both on active duty when he was a lieutenant in vah 123 at Whidbey Island (1960-1964) and then in vak 308 at NAS alameda (1970-1975) when he was OinC.

    1. It sounds like your service dates and duty stations might line up with my grandfather, Jerald Swain. Any chance you served with him?

    1. i REMEMBER YOU, WAS YOUR WIFE LINDA ? MY WIFE THEN JOANNE KNEW YOU. MY DAUGHTER WAS NAMED CHRISTA MY SON NAME IS PAUL. I WENT TO VR-55 AFTER SHUT DOWN. I RETIRED IN 1992 AFTER GULF WAR. AS AMH-1 ILVE IN OAK HARBOR,WA MOVED HERE AFTER RETIRING AFTER 20 YEARS IN PIEDMONT,CA POLICE DEPT. LIFR IS GOOD HERE IN OAK HARBOR,WA !

  4. TRYING TO FIND THE DATES VAK-308, ALAMEDA, CA DEPLOYED TO NAVAL AIR STATION ROOSEVELT ROADS PUERTO, RICO. IM SURE IT WAS VAK-308 NOT VP-90. COULD YOU PLEASE HELP ME. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

  5. VAK-308 was deployed to Roosevelt Roads from 17 April 1982 – 30 April 1982. For VAK-308 ACDUTRA Training/Readex 2-82. I was in the squadron until December1987, and that’s the only time the entire squadron was deployed to Roosevelt Roads.

  6. For fourteen days In April 1982, VAK 308 went to NS Roosevelt Roads, PR for Personnel Support for VAK-308 ACDUTRA Training/Readex 2-82. As far as I remember the entire squadron participated. It was my first trip toPR and enjoyed the visit. Hope this helps YN1 Jose Ortiz.

  7. My dad was in VAK 308 from 1981-1985 ish. We transferred to Oak Harbor after and he retired in 1989. AMSC Jerald Swain. He passed away a few years back. I am his second oldest and I retired from the Coast Guard Dec 2022. I had a house fire 1 Jan 2023 and lost all the pics I had of him in the Navy. If anyone remembers him and has any photos I would love to talk to you.

  8. Greetings All,

    I am looking for supporting documents for my FIL service with the unit from 1969-1975. I have his DD-214 but (like most of my DD-214’s from the Army) it is missing information in block 26. It only has his GCM and his pistol qual. I’m looking for Vietnam service documentation (flight records, assignment orders etc…) Any and all leads are greatly appreciated. He passed away peacefully yesterday morning, 03MAY2024. I wanting to make sure his record is complete for his grandkids and future generations.

    His name and rank are below:
    John H Minnick E4
    AMS-8357
    AMS-8344

    Thank you for your time.

    1. We do not retain any records at all for service members. You will have to go to DOD records, you can do a search on that to find the link! Good luck

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