“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

South Weymouth in Norfolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)

A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk

Shea Field Memorial Grove

A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 26, 2013
1. A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk Marker
Inscription.  On June 12, 1952, the U.S. Navy contracted with Douglas Aircraft Company to build one prototype XA4D-1 Skyhawk attack aircraft. Before delivery of the A4D to fleet units, an improved version, the A4D-2 was ordered into production. This Skyhawk (Bureau Number 142940) was flown from Naval Air Station South Weymouth by Marine and Navy Reserve Attack squadrons through much of the 1960’s. It was one of 542 of the “B” version (designations were changed in the 1960’s) to roll off the assembly line starting in 1956. A total of 2,960 of the many versions of the A4 were built.

This Skyhawk was accepted into service Nov. 25, 1958 and assigned to Marine Attack Squadron VMA 311, in El Toro, CA. Fleet Refurbishment, Quonset Point RI received the aircraft July 18, 1965, overhauled it, then assigned it to NAS South Weymouth Sept. 24, 1965 where it was based until Feb. 1, 1971. It was stricken from Navy inventory on April 30, 1971 and then assigned to the Naval Air Technical Training Center. In 1981, Captain Ray Demming (a former Reserve squadron Commanding Officer) arranged for the assignment and transport of 1429240 to NAS SoWey for use
A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 26, 2013
2. A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk Marker
as a display aircraft. In August 1997 it took its place here in the Shea Field Memorial Grove.

The A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk airframe is 38’ long with a wing span of only 27.5’, which obviated the need for the heavy and expensive wing fold system normally found in carrier based aircraft. Though empty weight was only 9,146 lbs.. its maximum takeoff weight was 22,500 lbs. Powered by a Wright J65 turbojet engine, its maximum level speed was 660 mph.

Pilots called the Skyhawk: Heinemann’s (the designer) Hot Rod”, “Scooter” and ”The Tinkertoy”. It enjoyed the longest production run of any tactical aircraft in the history of aviation, about 25 years! First flown in 1954, it was finally retired from U.S. Navy active service in 2003. Although early versions were designed to deliver carrier based nuclear weapons, the Skyhawk ultimately found primary use in close air support, interdiction and training, and is still in use in some foreign countries. Its contribution during the conflict in South Asia is well documented. Top Gun instructors flying later versions could beat any aircraft flown against them. The Blue Angels flew the Skyhawk for twelve years.

For more information on the aircraft and its designer, visit
Topics. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, Vietnam.
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42° 9.87′ N, 70° 56.76′ W. Marker is in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, in Norfolk County. Memorial is at the intersection of Shea Memorial Drive and Memorial Grove Avenue on Shea Memorial Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: South Weymouth MA 02190, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. History of NAS South Weymouth (here, next to this marker); Shea Field Memorial Grove (within shouting distance of this marker); War Memorial (approx. 3 miles away); First School House in Weymouth (approx. 4˝ miles away); The First Church in Weymouth (approx. 4˝ miles away); Abigail Adams Birthplace (approx. 4.7 miles away); Abigail Adams Cairn (approx. 5˝ miles away); Adams National Historical Park (approx. 5.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Weymouth.
More about this marker. The marker is mounted on the base of the stand holding the aircraft
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 27, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 406 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 27, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Sep. 24, 2020