Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mojave Skyrays

A pair of VMF-115's Skyrays cruise over the mountains of the Mojave Desert.
(Mojave Transportation Museum Collection)
From the archives of the Mojave Transportation Museum come today's three photos, depicting the Douglas F4D-1 Skyrays that Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-115 operated from MCAAS Mojave during the summer and fall of 1956.

VMF-115 had been the first USMC squadron equipped with the Grumman F9F Panther in 1949, and with the jets, they had expended more ordnance in Korea than any other Marine squadron.

When the new Douglas F4D came on line (nicknamed "Ford") in early 1956, VFM-115 got the Marines' first jets, and deployed to MCAAS Mojave for six month of operational flight testing.

Mojave was first established as a Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station in July, 1942, at a time when the Corps needed a place for its pilots to get their gunnery training. They stayed there until 1946, and then returned in 1953, staying that time until 1959. During this second stay in the desert, the Corps drastically lengthened the main runway to accommodate their new jets. This legacy, years later, made the now-civilian Mojave Airport an ideal location for flight testing, and eventually the space port that it now is.

The Skyray was the last Douglas fighter built before that company had a "McDonnell" shoved in front of it.

VMF-115 personnel go through the ceremonies of departing MCAAS Mojave
on November 20, 1956

No comments:

Post a Comment