Vikings. Hawkeyes. CODs. Prowlers. Whales (when they were still around) — ‘Cats and dogs’ we were called…

Didn’t go fast (‘cept down hill). Didn’t do afterburner flybys. Boss and Handler generally tolerated us, barely, unless we went stiff wing in the wires, then all hell was unleashed. Usually got the back-end pick of the Ready Rooms (“Viking ready room? yeah – it’s back aft under the wires, next to the Hummers…”).

And now of course, there’s one less in the family.
Rifling through my rapidly dimming synapses pulls some fond, funny and sad memories to the fore – of time spent by a Hawkeye guy with my Viking buds… (more here)

Posted by SteelJaw in Aviation
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  • Byron

    My ADC son-in-law got to experience the whole squadron retirement when VS-32 stood down last summer.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    At the dawn of career 1.0 I worked on the S-3 FIT (Fleet Introduction Team) program and was at NORIS when we had the formal “first delivery” day: VIP’s abounded, SecNav flew down from Burbank in one of VS-41’s birds, the whole schmeer. (Including worried audience looks as the bird, which was parked next to the podium, had the wind blow through the fan blades and they slowly turned, each one rattling loudly throughout the speeches – these were the first turbofans most everyone had experienced!)

    As a fellow cats-n’-dogs bubba, I feel the Hoover community’s end of the trail pain. BTDT x 2. The bean counters and the Bug mafia have won this round, to be sure. But it was a sturdy, if unexpandable (hard to longitudinally splice a keel) system that was a tireless yeoman that did a number of missions it was never envisioned to do, and performed them well.

    Of course L-M was its own worst enemy in some ways; the unit price they quoted the Navy both in the late 70’s and again in the early 80’s for a dedicated COD run was higher than a full up VS bird, which is part of why the C-2 line was reopened. That could have kept things opened long enough to look at the proposed S-3B+/S-3C and other options. But what’s done is done and we best keep looking forward. I will always remember those generic post flight ops Air Plans: “H3: Hoovers, Hummers and helos” 24/7 some days. (translation for those who didn’t experience it: when the rest of the Air Wing wasn’t flying, the E-2’s, S-3’s and helos would still be flying multiple cycle missions, keeping us all a bit safer)


  • CF

    Went to sea with VS-32 in the air wing. And as a helo bubba, I understand exactly what Andy is talking about.

    Port? That’s for the fixed wing guys. We’ve got the Mayor and his dignitaries needin’ some rotary-wing transportation out to that big, gray ship anchored off his coast.

    I think soon there’s gonna be a Hornet variant replacing every bird we used to know and appreciate. I can’t wait to see the one that hovers.

  • Airedale

    Our watch fades into the log books;

    S-3 Viking Ball

    Farewell old friend…

  • @CF:

    At one time, just before they put a bullet in its head, the A-12 was envisioned as a replacement for the VAQ AND VAW communities as well as VAM/VAL. The joke, and it really was a joke, was that you would need two AEW variants of the A-12 to match the onstation time and coverage one E-2C would provide because of the way the retractable antenna (gotta keep the stealth at all costs) would work.


    Well remember many of those H-3 nights, being last one back to the boat in time to view with dismay the full wardroom with all the VA/VF guys hogging the breakfast after their beauty sleep…all before the extended GQ.

    – SJS

  • CF

    Ah, yes, SJ. Interesting. As somebody involved with the A-12 back in the day, I had heard a variation of that joke.

    I always wondered how the “Flying Dorito” would have worked out.

    So many years…so many strange turns of events.

  • b2

    Generous of you to put this up here SJS. I appreciate it.

    Re “Sundown” (or is it Sunrise?)

    Adios Amigos, the 30+ years of CARRIER Vikings…Red-headed stepchild of the CV concept no longer! TRULY ENJOY the left-hand pattern, SuperHornet drivers! It’s all about you. Keep those Growlers and vampire like mini-bugs airborne… 😉

    Yes, Big Navy, you have won a pyrrhic victory. Congrats “Black” and #1 acolyte “Killer”, among others, but be aware, the Viking lives on here:

    PS Jaw- take notice a former S.J. pilot takes custody or did a week ago…

    And here:

    BTW, any “piling on after the whistle” will be noticed Gentlemen…

    And lastly, acquisitions of Vikings for other unnamed government activities and FMS cases are still in the works!

    Yes. The Viking itself lives! Shed a tear for the VS community but not the “product”.

    The only losers? Naval Aviation and the carrier airwing….along with any meaningful OTH ASW/ASuW capability for every “Shoe” who ever aspired to be AX…Rest easy in your racks Sailors, a torpedo attack is extremely low, low risk. Anybody want to buy a bridge?

    For a final toast to “60 years of VS”, I say “Skol, Brothers” and may I be wrong.


  • G-man

    Well, we have the bugs, and now we have tanker bugs, and even Growler bugs. The one I’m waiting for is for some bird brained CVN “ex-spurt” to decide that the “Flying Dorito” was a great idea, and now we only need to stick a roto-dome on top of a Hornet variant! Maybe another fuselage extension so we can have some tunnel rats in the back. Sing along one and all (to the tune of “All We Need is Love)
    “all we needs is bugs,
    all we need is bugs
    bugs is all we need”
    We’re eliminating some of the greatest learning opportunities I had – cross pollinating with other communities and platforms. Admittedly, the maint and support cycle is easier to manage, man, and budget, but “multi-tasking” often is another term for “not doing any one of my jobs particularly well”.
    Sorry to see such a capable platform with airframe hrs still left put out to pasture.
    Rant over and out.

  • Byron

    My ADC son-in-law got attached to them as well during his 3 1/2 years with them, and then had to put VS-32, the Maulers, to bed. Now he’s an FRC Chief for the helo wing at Mayport. Sad, indeed.

    Of course, a greater crime was boneyarding the Intruders.

  • b2


    As one cannot compare apples and oranges, on can never compare Vikings and Intruders…The 80’s rewinging program for the Intruders was a so-so proposition that didn’t pay off- they had to go…As did the used up Tomcat. Most aircraft over time and fatigue life expended become dangerous to fly and unlike your ships you can refit and weld over, an aluminum aircraft structure cannot be so easily worked…..

    The average S-3 on the other hand has almost another service life left. Structural service life is determined at design phase- the
    S-3 was overdesigned. So why did it get the axe? It went away because of internal Naval Aviation politics with decisions made by consensus and because “they” said “make it happen”…nothing else. Nothing. Any other story or reason is Bull.

    Again- the S-3B Viking lives, and will continue to live; it’s the “VS community” that has been Sundowned. There’s the distinction I’ve been pounding on.

    BTW, most Intruders are part of a reef near you. Less than 1/3 of them made it to the desert…They hid the evidence sorta. LOL.