For the Navy – the Attack bird of prey was the A-6 Intruder; a medium payload bomber that has never been replaced – and Naval force projection has been severely hampered for its' loss.
I served with an A-6E Attack Squadron on Whidbey Island, one that was mobilized and activated for the First Gulf War. I was also deployed when the unit went, but I ended up at HeadQuarters in Pearl Harbor - not a bad place to spend a war-if you have to go to one. Countless sorties, and seemingly infinite number of bombs were dropped from our birds, running daylight, night, harsh weather - it just did not seem to matter for the Intruder. Any Time or Clime - you need to put munitions on target - the A-6 was a heavy sledge hammer for putting the pain on the ground.
I was sorry to see the bird go - there is nothing in the Navy battle scope that can compete with the payload, range, nor survivability of the Intruder. It's loss has effectively cut the power projection of the carrier battle group; and more and more upper brass is finally beginning to see that.
Intruder A-6 Tribute A tribute for a great plane with a good song of Spencer Davis...