... to the memory of all the U.S. Naval aircrews that gave their lives ...
The EA-3B Skywarrior was in service for more than three decades in the U.S. Navy's secret reconnaissance war against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Conceived at the dawn of th Cold War as an aircraft carrier-based nuclear bomber, the A-3 Skywarrior was the largest aircraft ever designed to operate from an aircraft carrier - hence its nickname, "the Whale." The aircraft was also an ideal platform for electronic reconnaissance, a mission it filled around the globe beginning in 1956. Designated the EA-3B in 1961, the aircraft and its crew of seven offered the fleet unique electronic reconnaissance capabilities that served the Navy well in numerous Cold War-era conflicts and crises, including the Vietnam War. The U.S. Navy retired its last EA-3B from service in October 1991.
The EA-3B Bu No 144850, Ranger-12 assigned to Navy Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ-2), crashed during an operational mission in the Mediterranean on 25 January 1985 while landing on the USS Nimitz
, killing all seven crew members:
LT Stephen H. Batchelder
LCDR Ronald L. Callender
AT2 Richard A. Hertzling
LT Allen A. Levine
CTI3 Patrick T. Price
LT James D. Richards
CTI3 Craig H. Rudolph
This EA-3B, dedicated at the National Vigilance Park in July 2004, bears the markings of the lost aircraft, to commemorate their sacrifice.
[Seal of the]
Department of the Navy, United States of America
This display is dedicated to the memory of all the U.S. Naval aircrews that gave their lives in secret electronics surveillance missions around the world in defense of freedom. [Rendering of an EA-3B Skywarrior]
This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola Florida.