VR-7A Insignia



July 1, 1958 - Established at NAS Atsugi Japan. OIC Cdr. J. Schrefer. Detachment from Parent VR-7 August 1958 - OIC Cdr. A. Ellingson

August 1959 - Relocated Tachikawa AB Japan
OIC's 1959 - 1960: Cdr. A. M. Ellingson - A.C. Ansemlo, Cdr. Jones - Cdr. Gerdes

De-established July 1966, Tachikawa AB Japan

Aircraft Types Flown:
R4D Skytrain, R5D Skymaster,
R6D Liftmaster, C-130 Hercules

Originally established as part of the of the NAVAL AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE operating from NAS Atsugi Japan with the R5D Skymaster aircraft surplused when most units in NATS transitioned to the R6D Liftmaster or the C-121G Super Constellation. Most of the personnel were taken from the VR-21 Detachment Alpha at NAS Atsugi. By August Its personnel complement had grown to 25 Officers, three Nurses and 120 enlisted men It's mission was to fly the everyday unscheduled Naval support flights from Japan to Korea, thereby linking the MATS routes to smaller bases in Korea and the Japanese Islands. Most flights carried personnel and mail from Japan to Korea, with some flights returning wounded personnel to military hospitals in Japan. Operational control was assigned to the 1503rd Air Transport Wing with it's mission "To provide inter-theater airlift as directed." A move to Tachikawa AFB Japan was inevitable.

In 1957 the parent squadron VR-7, operating the C-121G Super Connies was relocated to NAS Moffett Field CA. Shortly thereafter, four C-121C's from Air Force units at Charleston S.C. were then allocated to the detachment thereby extending their range and payload. A cadre of experienced C-121 personnel was obtained through volunteers from VR-7 and sent to Tachikawa to operate this new equipment, with CDR. K.L. "Whitey" Jones relieving CDR. A.C. Anselmo as Officer-in-Charge. The cadre of personnel included six Flight Engineer Instructors. CDR Jones was later succeeded by CDR Gerdes. The schedule of flights would remain those previously flown by the R5D aircraft.

With the advent of the C-121G Super Connie aircraft, and the increased role by the U.S. in Vietnam and S.E. Asia, the requirement for Medical Air Evacuation became readily apparent. VR-7A, with it's complement of Constellations easily convertible to "air ambulance" configuration was a natural to augment this medical airlift. This required flights through Okinawa, Taipei and Taiwan to Clark AFB in the Philippines alongside the Air Force's 6485th Air Transport Squadron flying litter equipped C-54's. When the C-141 aircraft became available, VR-7A's role ceased.

Unlike most Navy MATS squadrons, VR-7A's personnel not only flew these missions with permanently assigned crews, they also maintained their own aircraft, performing whatever maintenance was necessary. This meant the personnel might work on the aircraft prior to missions, then flying the mission also. This meant many a night was spent returning the aircraft to flying status, followed by a day of flying it. With the age of the C-121G slowly reaching retirement, this became a normal mode of operation.

Although records of this squadrons activities are sorely lacking, from first hand accounts of personnel deployed with this unit, it becomes apparent that the personnel were dedicated, efficient, professional and capable. With little fanfare, the detachment was decommissioned sometime in the late 1960's.