I’ve been trying to get info from my dad about his time flying A-7s on the USS Coral Sea, flying adversary for Top Gun, etc. Sadly, I know so little. But every now and then he emails me photos with tidbits about his Naval career. Here’s some photos that he took during his time on the USS Coral Sea circa 1973. His attack squadron was VA-22 The Fighting Red Cocks.
He found the photo below on Wikipedia of (what he thinks is) his A-7E airplane.
An in-flight left side view of a Vought A-7E ”Corsair II” aircraft, from attack squadron VA-22 ”Fighting Redcocks”, assigned to ”Carrier Air Wing 15 (CVW-15)” embarked aboard the aircraft carrier ”USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)” in 1981. The aircraft carr. (via)
In my dad’s words:
This is the airplane I jumped out of (Maybe). This one is Beefeater 314, or NL-314, pronounced November lima 314 with the identical paint scheme & markings. The star on the top of the LH wing blocks the 6-digit Bureau Number (BuNo) that would have been painted on the lower portion of the aft fuselage right in front of the horizontal stabilizer. Mine was BuNo 156846, ..( I think). When a unit/squadron sustains a loss, they get another one, different BuNo, & they paint it with the Unit number sequence, etc.