VAW-2 established at NAS Norfolk July 6 1948 from Fleet Air Electronics Training Unit (FAETULANT), Within a year, VAW-2 was re-designated Composite Squadron Twelve (VC-12) and relocated to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, where the TBM-3W was replaced with the AD-3W SKYRAIDER. In 1956 the squadron was re-designated VAW-12. It was no longer a composite squadron, having lost its anti-submarine mission to the VS squadrons and was entirely an Airborne early warning mission. The WF-1 (later designated the WF-2) was developed in 1954 and later and was redesignated as the E-1B when deployed with us in 1959-60. See http://www.anft.net/f-14/grumman-s2a.htm for details, although that page erroneously lists the E-1 as Tracker, it should be Tracer.

In 1962 the Squadron, equipped with WF-1 and 2, moved back to Norfolk, and VAAW-33 which had moved to Quonset from Atlantic City in 1959 took over our AD5s. In 1966 the squadron divided into 6 new squadrons based on the detachments then at sea. The Trader led in turn to another Tracker derivative, the "WF-1 Tracer" airborne early-warning (AEW) variant, which first flew in March 1957. The production version, the "WF-2", went into operational service in February 1958, serving with Squadrons VAW-11 and VAW-12. It was known as "Willie Fudd" by crews, in reference to its designation code, and sometimes as "Stoof with a Roof". The Tracer featured a large fiberglass honeycomb dorsal "saucer" radome with dimensions of 6.1 by 9.14 meters (20 by 30 feet) to accommodate the antenna for its Hazeltine APS-82 search radar, and a new tail unit with three fins to compensate for the wake interference of the radome. As the radome blocked the wings from folding upward, they were redesigned to fold backward along the fuselage in classic Grumman fashion. The Tracer had a crew of four, including pilot, copilot, and two radar operators. A total of 89 Tracers were built. In 1966 both squadrons were so big and administratively unwieldy that they were broken up into separate squadrons which are the current VAW squadrons of the fleet. In late 1966, when the Navy introduced the E-2A, VAW-11 was the first to start transitioning. It split into VAW-111 to provide E-1B detachments while some detachments were transitioning to the E-2. VAW-12 existed until 1 Apr 67 when VAW-121 was formed to continue providing E-1B detachments and the new E-2A squadrons started to form at NAS Norfolk.

In 1998 a dozen former enlisted men, organized by Bob Marvin, who had kept together from the 1953-5 era and who had flown as radar operators on the AD3W and AD4W met in Portsmouth, RI to form the reunion group. Their focal point was the book, Sailors In The Sky, written (and very well written, indeed) by one of them, Jack Sauter. A year later a larger gathering in Pensacola included some pilots and commissioned air controllers through another book contact with the author of Guppy Pilot, reviewed on the Able Dog Website. The reunion roster has grown to include all eras of the squadron and the mailing list is some 1850 names and 700 more deceased identities (as of 12/07.)

Photo by Richard N. Filteau

Commanding Officers of VC-12/VAW-12

  1. VADM Allen M. Shinn, First CO of VC-12 July 1948-Sept 1949. He was CDR then. Later COMNAVAIRPAC 1966-70 Died Age 90 4/4/98. Born 1908. USNA 1930. San Rafael, CA. Buried at Arlington Natl Cem.

  2. CDR Charles F. Garrison, 2nd CO 1949-1951 fm Middletown, CT. born 10/29/12; died Brownwood, TX 2/4/99.

  3. CAPT Maxwell D. McDonald 107 North Monte Vista St. Ada, OK 74820 580-332-7020 VC-12 in 1950 LCDR O-IN-C of a detachment, Became Engineering officer, then XO then CO. Then went to VS-36 as CO.

  4. CDR Robert L. Milner 1952 3rd CO VAW-12 1951-3. died in 1960s. Great skipper and aviator and a Pax River test pilot as well. Flew Hungarians out in ‘56 when skipper of a VR squadron. (Capt. Haskell).

  5. CAPT James F. Rigg, East Greenwich, RI 12th ranking navy Ace of WWII. Skipper of the fighter squadron on the Essex under McCampbell. 1953-55 (later Exec of Tarawa.) See McCampbell's Heroes by Edwin P. Hoyt. Navy Cross, DFC x 5, Air Medal x 10, PUC, Bronze Star. Priscilla. Died 7/11/04.

  6. CAPT Charles Crabill 5th CO VAW-12 1956-7 died 4/00.

  7. CAPT Leonard E. Ewoldt, Navy Cross. Born Nov. 19, 1913- died Oct 10, 2001 Fort Myers, FL. 6th CO VAW-12 1957-9.

  8. CAPT Jerald C. Lawrence 1959-60.

  9. CDR Clayton Millard Scott, Jr. Mukilteo, WA. 7/57-60; 8th CO VAW-12 1960-61 U. Washington. Eileen. Born 7/10/20; died 4/20/99.

  10. CDR Ken Kier, Died, February 10, 2002. He was 80. CDR Kier became a Naval Aviator, receiving his wings on November 18, 1942. He served in several Navy squadrons, including the famous Night AII-Weather Fighter Squadron, and as 9th Commanding Officer of VAW-12 (1961-2.)In 1962, CDR Kier joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA while on active duty with the Navy. Following retirement in 1965, he became NASA's representative to the Department of Defense in the establishment and operations of NASA's Contract Administration Liaison Office with the Defense Contract Administration Services organization. He later served as the Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. He received several Outstanding Performance Awards, as well as the Apollo Achievement Award for his service to the nation as a member of the team which advanced the nation's capabilities in aeronautics and space. He was born in Rocky Hill, CT on November 18, 1921. He attended the Naval Line School in Monterey, CA, and the Armed Forces Staff College. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters of Science degree from George Washington University. He was Commodore of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club Association, 1989-1990, and served on the Virginia State Boating Advisory Committee for over five years. He is survived by his wife Jeanne of 57 years. Burial Arlington National Cemetery.

  11. CAPT William H. Cruise, Jr. 1962. Bastrop, TX

  12. CAPT Arthur Motley, Jr. Virginia Beach, VA XO under Capt Cruise; 1963

  13. CAPT Kenneth B. Lake, Las Vegas, NM 1964

  14. CAPT Joseph J. Rezzarday, Fort Walton Beach, FL 1965.

  15. CAPT Joseph Adrian Pariseau, Beeville, TX 78102 Last CO VAW-12 1965-7 and first CO CCAEWW-12 1967. CO VAW-121 1967. Anna C. died in 2002.

COMCAEWW-12 Captains

Joe A. Parseau 1965-'67 VAW-12

Sheldon L. Corner 67-69 VA-75CO VAW 121 1967 then CO VAW 120 1967-68 then COMCAEWW-12 1967-9(A pilot in the Mariner Miracle-VA-75)

Tom Donald Quinn 69-71

Jack R. Ekstein 71-74

Ray Pettigrew 74-76 VAW-12

W. Paul Courtney 76-78

Tom P. McClenahan 78-80 VAW-12

Jack Larison 80-82 VAW-12

Jim E. Connerton 82-84 VAW-11

John R. Condon 84-85 VAW-12

John W. Bookhultz 85-87 VAW-12

R. L. Bunton 87-89

William C. Liebe 89-92 Virginia Beach, VA

E. F. Caffrey 92-