VX-5 Vampires. Last updated 13 November, 2015
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VX-5 patch

VX-5 barracks

VX-5 refueling
Airtevron Five Patch
from Gary Verver
Airdevron Five Barracks
Photo from Ken Savage
Air-to-air refueling
Photo from Tom Scott

Air Development Squadron FIVE (VX-5), was commissioned on 18 June 1951 at NAS Moffett Field, California, with 15 officers, 100 enlisted men, and nine AD Skyraider aircraft. The Squadron, under the operational control of Commander, Operational Development Force, now Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR), was assigned to develop and evaluate aircraft tactics and techniques for delivery of airborne special weapons.

    Over the years, VX-5 has maintained numerous detachments around the U.S. to take full advantage of the variety and diversity of facilities available, and to help keep the Squadron abreast of the latest fleet tactics. These detachments have included NAS Oceana, VA; Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility, Albuquerque, NM; NAS Whidbey Island, WA; and NAS Sanford, FL.

    In July 1956 VX-5 moved to the Naval Air Facility, China Lake, CA, because of the availability of vastly improved ranges and instrumentation facilities. In January of 1985, the VX-5 Detachment at Whidbey Island, which oversaw developments relating to the EA-6B weapon system, was relocated to China Lake. Since then, temporary detachments have been made nationwide from Alaska to Florida, as required to test airborne weapons in a variety of conditions. To keep pace with the changes and improvements in Navy weapon systems since VX-5's commissioning, the Squadrons mission has evolved over the years to include independent operational test and evaluation of all air-dropped munitions destined for use in the attack role by the Fleet and Marine Corps; development of initial tactics to be employed with new weapon systems; and incorporation of electronic warfare advances into the self-defense capability of attack aircraft.

    In June 1993, the CNO directed the consolidation of VX-4 and VX-5 into a single operational test and evaluation squadron designated as VX-9, with a permanent F-14 Detachment located at Point Mugu, CA. This initiative was launched as part of the "right-sizing" of our Naval Forces in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Squadron Patch:




China Lake/Mugu

Airdevron 5 Airtevron 5
Patch from G. Verver
Airtevron 9
Patch from G. Verver
Airtevron 9
Patch from G. Verver

  • In 1951 the original VX-5 squadron members sat down to design an emblem that would reflect their squadrons mission. They faced several problems: first, the design had to be within guidelines set by the Chief of Naval Operations, and the proposed emblem would have to be officially approved. Second, since the mission of VX-5 was to develop day and night, all-weather attack tactics, the task of designing a meaningful symbol to signify that broad a charter was not a simple one.
  • The central symbol, the "Vampire" bat, was picked for its notorious night-flying abilities. The blue and gold background (as well as being Navy colors) represents the squadron's all-weather capabilities, with the sun and moon included to represent day and night capabilities. Lightning bolts from under the bat's wings depict VX-9's role in strike aviation. The burst at the bottom of the emblem represents a bomb burst and is normally depicted in red, gold and green. In 1994, the four stars were added in remembrance of the disestablishment of VX-4.
  • The squadron's emblem is used on everything from aircraft to stationery and can also be seen on the patches worn on jackets and flight gear by squadron personnel. The largest examples of the Vampires' emblem can be seen today on the east and west walls of VX-9's Hangar One at Armitage Field.

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  • Vampires

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VX-5 Vampires History:

  • 18 June 1951 Air Development Squadron FIVE (VX-5), was commissioned at NAS Moffett Field, CA with 15 officers, 100 enlisted men and nine AD Skyraiders. The on-line 1954 Moffett Field 'Cruise' Book includes photos of  VX-5 personnel.
  • July 1956 VX-5 moved to the Naval Air Facility, China Lake, CA with 30 officers and 200elisted men.
  • 1956 Detachment Alpha was moved to NWEF Albuquerque, NM, to complete the testing of the A2J Vigilante.
  • 1957 took delivery of the A4D-2 Skyhawk and FJ-4B Fury.
  • 1958 light attack in-flight refueling strike technique was evaluated.
  • 1959 nuclear weapons delivery maneuvers were demonstrated on C-3 range.
  • 1960 took delivery of the A4D-2N Skyhawk for evaluation.
  • 1960 devised an adapter which enabled the Mk-55 bomb rack to carry the Mk-106 practice bomb.
  • 1961 took delivery of the F4H-1 Phantom for tactical development for nuclear weapons delivery.
  • 1962 took delivery of the A-4E Skyhawk, the first squadron to receive the E.
  • 1962 Detachment Alpha was assigned two A-6A Intruders to evaluate the advanced weapon system.
  • 1963 participated in the ordnance demonstration for President Kennedy.
  • 1965 focused on perfecting the A-4E computer assisted bombing system and to the SHRIKE missile.
  • 1965 Detachment Alpha (later Det Oceana) move to NAS Oceana, VA.
  • 1966 Detachments were maintained at NAS Oceana, VA, and at Nashua, NH.
  • 1967 took delivery of the A-7A Corsair II, #31 and the second assigned to the west coast.
  • 1967 camouflaged A-4 Skyhawk aircraft in a project to aid combat pilots. Color schemes tested were all black, vegetation green and tan an overall light blue.
  • 1967-68 conducted tests enabling the Intruder to carry Sidewinder missiles without impacting the air-to-ground ordnance load
  • 1969 Ensign Patricia C. Bainmain reported to VX-5.
  • 1970 received a meritorious unit commendation for support of combat operation in SEA.
  • 1972 took delivery of the AH-1J Sea Cobra.
  • 1972 earned the CNO Aviation Safety Award.
  • 1974 earned the CNO Aviation Safety Award for a second time.
  • 1974 Detachment Oceana was disestablished and the four officers and three A-6E Intruders relocated to China Lake.
  • 1975 Detachment Whidbey was established to evaluate the EA-6B Prowler.
  • 1976 a C-1 Trader was acquired from the USS Enterprise and was designated the squadron's bicentennial aircraft and was judged as tops among 23 other designs.
  • 1976 a squadron A-6E Intruder successfully launched the standard arm (AGM-78D-2) missile at Holloman AFB.
  • 1977 evaluated FLIR for the Corsair II.
  • 1979 commended for the part it played in a precision guided munitions demonstration at the Army's White Sands Missile Range.
  • 1981 took delivery of several F/A-18 Hornets.
  • 1984 OPEVAL of the AV-8B Harrier started.
  • January 1985 Detachment Whidbey, which oversaw developments relating to the EA-6B weapon system, was relocated to China Lake.
  • 1989 an AH-1W Cobra destroyed an airborne target with a AIM-9M Sidewinder missile for the first time in the history of night flight.
  • 1990 added the bat and lightning bolt the existing XE logo.
  • 1990 evaluated night vision goggles.
  • 1990 received a Meritorious Unit Commendation for support of the DOD charter for independent test & evaluation of airborne strike weapon systems.
  • 1991 deployed 14 airplanes and 300 personnel to NAS Fallon, NV to develop F/A-18 LOT XII strike fighter tactics.
  • June 1993 VX-5 and VX-4 were combined to create VX-9 located at Pt. Mugu, CA

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VX-5 & VX-9 Commanding Officers:

  In Command Commanding Officer
  June 1951 - June 1953 Cdr. T. J. Walker III
  June 1953 - June 1954 Cdr. H. H. Epes Jr.
  June 1954 - June 1955 Cdr. W. N. Leonard
  June 1955 - June 1957 Capt. Fillmore. B. Gilkeson
  June 1957 - June 1959 Capt. Richard A. Beveridge
  June 1959 - September 1961 CAPT. K. S. Van Meter
  September 1961 - January 1963 CDR. W. A. "Tank" Schroeder
O'Conner January 1963 - February 1964 Cdr. H. N. O'Conner
Manherz February 1964 - May 1965 Cdr. Jack M. Manherz
  May 1965 - July 1965 Cdr. Edward E. Riley


July 1965 - October 1966 Cdr. Don Loranger
Muncie October 1966 - October 1968 Capt. W. B. Muncie
  October 1968 - October 1970 Capt. Charles W. Fritz
Birdwell October 1970 - August 1972 Capt. Carl "Tex" Birdwell, Jr.
  August 1972 - June 1975 Capt. Edwin M. Crowe
  June 1975 - May 1977 Capt. R. N. Livingston
  May 1977 - January 1979 Capt. Leonard E. Giuliani
  January 1979 - March 1981 Capt. Paul D. Stephenson
  March 1981 - July 1983 Capt. P. F. Hollandsworth
  July 1983 - April 1985 Capt. Roger P. Flower
  April 1985 - August 1987 Capt. A. M. Phillips
  August 1987 - September 1989 Capt. E. Vanderpoel II
  September 1989 - September 1991 Capt. R. A. Kellett, Jr.
  September 1991 - July 1993 Capt. Garth A. Van Sickle
  July 1993 - September 1994 Capt. Scott C. Ronnie


  September 1994 - April 1995 Capt. Scott C. Ronnie
  April 1995 - April 1997 Capt. Craig F. Weideman
  April 1997 - August 1999 Capt. John V. Stivers
  August 1999 - August 2000 Capt. Robert H. Rutherford
  August 2000 - May 2003 Capt. Perry D. Maxwell

May 2003 - March 2005

Capt. Wade C. Tallman
  March 2005 - Capt. Bruce W. Fecht
  unknown  - July 2008 Capt. Kent "Aitch" Aitcheson
  July 2008 - March 2010 Capt. Daniel Doster
  March 2010 - August 2011 Capt. Don E. Berry
  August 2011- Capt. Brett M. Pierson

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Event Inclusive Dates:
No info

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Award Inclusive Dates:
No info

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