As 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.
- VAQ-308/VAK-308 Unit Page (Military.com)
- Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons – Volume I (see “Chapter 4 Tactical Aerial Refueling Squadron Histories (VAK) (VAK-208 to VAK-308)”)
— provided by Mr. Robert M. Cieri and Mr. William T. Larkins