|US AIRCRAFT CARRIERS - INDIAN OCEAN AND PERTH
The 1980s brought a variety of US military maritime might to the Indian Ocean, with Perth visits for crew R&R.
Thanks to the US Consulate in Perth, our enthusiast group enjoyed excellent access. Here's a selection of my photographs.
|USS Carl Vinson in the Indian Ocean early morning in December 1986.
Photo taken from a HH-46's helicopter's open cargo ramp
|USS Ranger anchored at Fremantle in September 1982. Photo taken from a Cessna
|View from the bridge of USS Enterprise at Fremantle with aircraft and deck equipment secured for crew shore leave
|Vought Corsair II Bu160861 AE303 on the deck of USS Independence, February 1981
|Vought RF-8G Crusader Bu144618 AE601 on USS Independence at Fremantle in February 1981
|Veteran Douglas EA-3B Skywarrrior Bu146457 NF002 Aging Beauty was on USS Carl Vinson in July 1985
|North American RA-5C Vigilante Bu156638 NK611 on USS Enterprise at Fremantle in August 1978
|While carriers were anchored off Fremantle, helicopters delivered sling loads of food and supplies from the Fremantle helipad.
HH-46A Sea Knight Bu151955 RB06 from USS San Jose hovers to collect the sling load, the next inbound Sea Knight behind
|The usual COD aircraft (Carrier Onboard Delivery) for each Perth carrier visit were Grumman C-2A Greyhounds from VRC-50
Squadron in Philippines. They flew shuttles of personnel and supplies between Perth Airport and each carrier while at sea.
|In July 1981 Dick Siudak and I were included in a group flown to the carrier USS Kittyhawk in the Indian Ocean for an overnight
visit prior to its arrival at Fremantle. Dick's photo shows me wearing VRC-50 safety gear, boarding the C-2A at Perth Airport
west over the Indian Ocean in rearward facing seats to withstand the
deceleration force of the arrester wire deck landing.
The VRC-50 Loadmaster was seated at rear in front of the closed rear cargo ramp
|Our Greyhound later that day, returning to the USS Kittyhawk on its shuttles from Perth. This flight carried MPs accompanying
a large consignment of Australian currency to pay the carrier's 5,000 man crew for shore leave R&R in Perth
|US Kitty Hawk that evening, when a break in aircraft operations allowed crew on deck to enjoy an Indian Ocean sunset
|Boeing Vertol UH-46A Bu150938 VR60 lands on the Kittyhawk at dusk, bringing officers from support ship USS Wabash
|Launching from the USS Kittyhawk: Grumman F-14A Tomcat Bu160682 NL210 in foreground moving up to the catapult
|F-14A Bu160683 NL113 being attached to the catapult cradle, with Crusader NL115 on the rear catapult
|The deck blast deflectors are raised for take off power, F-14A Bu160666 NL200 and the Crusader about to launch
|Two-way traffic on deck. Grumman EA-6B Prowler Bu158040 NL604 taxies close to the island to join the departure queue
|Part of the operational crew on the Kittyhawk's bridge controlling an aircraft launch sequence
After cruising for an hour, the carrier slowed and swung into the wind. The deck and arrester cables were readied for the next
aircraft recovery sequence. First was Grumman E-2C Hawkeye Bu158639 NL603 which had been away on a long patrol
|Another landing E-2C Bu160011 NL600 picks up an arrester wire
|F-14A Bu160687 NL103 returns to "Mother"
|Late wave-off for Tomcat Bu160688 NL206
|Lockheed S-3A Viking Bu160507 NL707 takes the wire
|50mm standard lens shot of A7E Corsair II Bu160737 NL302 receiving a very late wave-off. The noise was shattering.
US Marine Corps attack carriers, named Amphibious Assault Ships, also visited Perth:These formidable vessels could power in to beach-heads, open bow doors to deploy a range of assault vessels and vehicles down a heavy duty ramp. Top cover was provided by its helicopters and McDonnell Douglas AV-8A VTOL attack jets.
|USMC AV-8A Bu158699 EP32 on board amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa at Fremantle February 1981.
|Marines AV-8A Bu158393 EP31 on the USS Tarawa
Each US Navy carrier group included up to ten defence and support vessels. This is the USS Vincennes guided missile cruiser:
|USS Vincennes in the Indian Ocean in December 1986. Photo taken from the bridge of the combat stores ship USS San Jose.
Earlier that day we had landed on the helipad of the San Jose in a HH-46A Sea Knight helicopter from Fremantle
HH-46A Bu152535 VR65 from replenishment oiler USS Roanoke was deployed to carry us from the San Jose to the Vincennes.
Dick Siudak was on hand again to capture this view of my winch descent on to the stern of the Vincennes.
18 months later the USS Vincennes infamously shot down an Iran Air Airbus in the Persian Gulf
|Farewell Perth formation
The aircraft carrier USS Midway put on a Farewell flypast over Perth when it sailed after a week's R&R in September 1985.
This shot was taken from Kings Park near the city. The F-14A Tomcat at lower right was "Ringmaster"
Tailpiece: the last of the mighty battleships, USS Missouri on her final cruiseIn October 1986, the venerable battleship USS Missouri visited Perth while on its last Indian ocean cruise before retirement. Launched in 1944 she served in the US Pacific fleet under Admiral Halsey. Despite various refits since then, Missouri retained the massive 16 inch guns. The Missouri's visit provided a valued opportunity to stand on her polished wooden deck and read the plaque on the site where General Douglas MacArthur took the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945.